America’s Founding Fathers gave us the country’s founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and others. In order for them to form such documents, they had to lean upon some common understanding of law, government, social order and a basic moral code. These understandings sprang from a common acceptance of what has come to be known as the Judeo-Christian Ethic. The term "Judeo-Christian" refers to "the influence of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament on one's system of values, laws and ethical code." It is not just a system of theological thought, but a culture of values as seen in one's individual's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Some would argue that a few of our nation's Founding Fathers were not Christians; some were Deists. Whether they were Christians or not, their writings, words and votes indicate that the vast majority of them embraced the Judeo-Christian Bible as the basis for a civilized society and social order. It is especially important during these days of rampant pluralism and situation ethics that we pastors (and our people) remember these same anchors of faith and values that are brought to us through the Word of God.
Although there are many biblical principles from which our Judeo-Christian values spring, I have selected seven that seem to have the greatest relevance in America's past and present. These "common sense" values provide moral balance in a seemingly unbalanced world.
Principle #1- The Dignity of Human Life
Exodus 20:13 "You shall not murder."
Matt 22:39 "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The Scriptures emphatically teach the great importance of the respect and preservation of human life. In the Declaration of Independence, our nation's Founding Fathers wrote that every man, woman and child has the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." We Americans not only believe this for our land, but we also send our brave men and women in our military forces across the world to defend the rights of those whose lives are threatened.
If people and nations do not grant this respect and protection for the born and unborn, all other professed morals and values are meaningless, because they are no longer undergirded by the most basic of human needs—the need to exist. The dignity of human life is not just a principle of the Bible—it is the beginning principle of any civilized society.
Principle #2 - The Traditional Family
Genesis 2:21-24 "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
The biblical view of marriage and family is the basis of our society and serves as the backbone of a healthy social order. The clear plan of God involves a man and a woman producing children within the institution of marriage. Since the joining together of Adam and Eve, marriage has been defined as a holy union between one man and one woman, and out of that union comes children born into a loving home with a father and a mother to nurture them and teach them how to become healthy, productive and responsible citizens.
When God’s definition of "marriage" and "family" are no longer respected, these institutions become meaningless. World history has proven over and again that preserving the traditional family is vital to the future of any great nation.