America’s Godly Heritage 101 Part 3… William Penn
As I have from time to time used this column to remind you of where this nation came from, let me give you another quick lesson in our national origins. Especially since there is a continued assault on the truth of our heritage, a lack of it’s teaching in our educational institutions and a systematic effort to rewrite history into a more politically correct version.
William Penn was an English nobleman who converted to Christ from atheism at the age of 22. Upon his conversion he joined the Friends Society of Quakers, and was imprisoned on three occasions for preaching the Word of God. During one 9-month sentence in the Tower of London prison, Penn began to envision starting a Christian colony in the new world where the bible could be taught and people could proclaim it without fear of persecution. In 1681 he arrived with his followers from England and in a short time founded the city of Philadelphia and the Province of Pennsylvania on a tract of land that was transferred to Penn from King Charles II as payment for a large loan the King had with Penn’s father. Even though the land was given to him from the English King, William Penn’s Christian character and integrity caused him to buy the land from the Indians rather than take it.
Penn had a great relationship of mutual respect with the Indians and made a treaty with them regarding the land purchase. If you have ever visited the US Capitol, you will see a frieze painting of that treaty, memorialized in the Capitol rotunda.
In his new colony, which would become the modern state of Pennsylvania, Penn established democratic principles that would serve as inspiration for the United States Constitution. In Penn’s formulation of his colony’s governmental constitution, the Fundamental Constitutions of Pennsylvania he clearly articulates the foundation of Christian religious freedom and the new colony as being Christian when he writes in its very first article these words…
“Therefore, in reverence to God the Father of lights and Spirits the Author as well as object of all divine knowledge, faith and worship, I do hereby declare for me and mine and d establish it for the first fundamental of Government of my Country that every person that does or shall reside therein shall have and enjoy the free possession of his or her faith and exercise of worship towards God, in such way and manner as every person shall in conscience believe is most acceptable to God and so long as every such person useth not this Christian liberty to licentiousness, that is to say to speak loosely and prophainly of God, Christ or Religion, or to commit any evil in their conversation, he or she shall be protected in the enjoyment of the aforesaid Christian liberty by the civil Magistrate.”
Further, in 1701 Penn issued a Charter of Principles in which he further clarifies that the expression of Christianity was to be protected as well as influential the operation of government for his province by writing…
“I do hereby grant and declare that no person or persons, inhabiting in this province or territory who shall confess and acknowledge our Almighty God and creator, upholder and ruler of the world; and profess Him or themselves obliged to live quietly under civil government, shall be in any case molested or prejudiced in his or her person or estate… And that all persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the savior of the world shall be capable to serve this government in any capacity, both legislatively or executively.”
You won’t hear that in today’s American History classes… but in a PC cultural, it’s worth knowing the truth about how we really started… and it is a reminder of how far we’ve drifted and it is a motivation to pray and seek God again as the real author of nations.
Remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your pastor!!
For God’s Glory Alone,