Educating evangelicals about how to use history responsibly

How to deal with people following Glenn Beck's example of the "Black Robe Brigade"

John Fea, professor of American History at Messiah College, just posted an important article at Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog. In response to a pastor's troubled heart about being approached to support a "God and Country" rally in his community, John gives some very helpful historical perspective.

See the entire post here: Beck’s Black Robe Brigade (by John Fea)

Here's a snippet:
"Did most, if not all, of the founders believe in some form of divine providence? Yes. Again, that is a historical question that is easily answerable. But were the founders right–from a Biblical and theological perspective rooted in Christian orthodoxy– when they said that God had a special, unique, and exceptional purpose for America? Again, this seems to be a theological question...
...The Christians associated with these kinds of documentaries blur the historical and the theological. If Washington mentioned God, they argue, then America must have been founded as a Christian nation. There is no attempt to offer theological reflection or critique on the views of the founders because they have been presented as being above reproach. Many of the defenders of “Christian America” believe that the founders have been specially appointed to do the work of God.

There is a lot of misinformation out there. Not everything David Barton, or Peter Marshall, or the Genesis of America people say is wrong, but it is twisted and presented in such a way that does not account for the complexity and fullness of the past.
Historians concerned with the integrity of the past and the integrity of their work must also note that John Adams rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. They should mention that George Washington deliberately avoided taking communion. They must also tell the whole truth about the so-called “Black Regiment.” Most of these clergymen were blatantly anti-Catholic. Others blurred Biblical teachings on freedom (from sin) with political teachings on freedom (from George III). These Christian America pundits tell just one side of the story because the so-called “rest of the story” does not suit their political needs in the present. This is what I mean by indoctrination by historian example. This is history at its worst!"

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