A selection from America's Providential History by Mark A. Beliles and Stephen K. McDowell appeared in February's Harper's Magazine. This is apparently a very popular textbook for Christian educators of a certain persuasion and among home schoolers. Here is an additional selection from Chapter 1 plus selections from two "editorial reviews" on Amazon.com. The book is published by Providence Foundation. It is followed by a link to Theocracy Watch in which ideas in the book are compared with the Texas State Republican Party Platform of 2004 (and you really oughta check that out if you want to worry yourselves) and Bush's policies.
America's Providential History
by Mark A. Beliles, Stephen K. McDowell
Published by Providence Foundation, December 1, 1989
From Chapter 1, God's Plan for the Nations
The chapter is prefaced by a quote from Benjamin Franklin:
"He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world."
"The goal of America's Providential History is to equip Christians to be able to introduce Biblical principles into the public affairs of America, and every nation in the world, and in so doing bring Godly change throughout the world. We will be learning how to establish a Biblical form (and power) of government in America and we will see how our present government structures must be changed....As we learn to operate nations on Biblical principles, we will be bringing liberty to the nations of the world and hence fulfilling part of God's plan for the nations....
"The truth of the Bible (John 8:32) provides mankind with a Theology of Liberty that brings real freedom to those individuals and nations who are oppressed....When man rejected God's Law, and lost the ability to not only govern himself, but also to govern society, public tyranny and oppression reigned through sinful men.
"Through the ministry and death of Jesus Christ, however, the power for both self- and civil govenment was restored to mankind. Though internal liberty was a primary focus of Jesus Christ, it must not be overlooked that His inaugural and farewell sermons both emphasized external civil liberty. In Luke 4:18, Christ's first public message focused on "liberty" for "the poor...the captives...[and]those who are oppressed..." It is safe to assume that poverty, slavery, tyranny and injustice were on the Lord's mind when, in his final sermon, He commissioned His followers to "Go forth and make disciples of all the nations...." The great Bible commentator studies by our Founding Fathers, Matthew Henry, explains that "the principle intention of this commission" is clear. It is to "...do your utmost to make the nations Chritian nations." This is God's plan for the nations.
"....Providential history is true history. Many modern educators deny the Providential view of history and would have us believe that their promotion of one of several 'secular' views of history is simply the recounting of brute facts. They fail to tell their students that their own humanistic presuppositions and religious doctrines determine their choice of people, places, principles and events. They fail to communicate that neutrality is not possible in the teaching of history, for the historians word-view will dictate his perspective. Even as there are not many interpretations of Scripture (2Pet.1:20,21), neither are there of history ... there is really only one correct view; that which is the Author's [i.e. God´s] interpretation and perspective. God is the Author of Scripture and History.
"The Founders of the United States of America believed in the PRovidential View of History.
Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines "Providence as "the care and superintendence which God exercises over His creatures. By 'Divine Providence' is understood 'God Himself.'" This definition, written in the times in which our Founders lived, is significant for it helps us to see what they meant when they used this term in their writings. They also used many other names for God....George Washington's writings reveal 54 different titles, Abraham Lincoln used 49 and Robert E. Lee [!] used 45. This reflects the depth of understanding our Founding Fathers had of God and His involvement in human affairs."
Conservative Book Club
"This volume seems destined to become one of the best selling Christian books of our time."
Even "Newsweek" now admits: "Historians are discovering that the Bible, perhaps even more than the Constitution, is our founding document." In this enlightening book, you'll discover the remarkable evidence for this truth. Based on the assumption that all history is Providential (i.e., it reflects God's purposes) you'll learn how God's presence was evident at our nation's founding in the hearts and minds of the men who fought for independence and shaped the Constitution. Numerous illustrations, portraits, and visual aids make this book a valuable resource.
This selection and other information can be found at:
As mentioned above, the following link "compares the teachings of an influential Christian textbook, America's Providential History by Mark Beliles and Stephen McDowell, with the Texas 2004 Republican Party Platform and Bush Adminsistration poicies. It suggests a relationship between the "dominion mandate" as described in the textbook, and Bush's economic, social and environmental programs." Looks at Bush tax cuts, social security proposals, moving education and welfare to churches, attitudes towards the environment, government regulation and economics.
Kind of makes me sick. On CNN (I think) on Inauguration Day, one of their reporters sat with a roundtable of Ohio voters to find out their responses to Bush, his policies, etc. One of the participants was a young college student, intense and articulate, who supported Bush down the line and did so, it seemed, because of deeply held beliefs that mirrored those taught in textbooks such as this. No one questioned what she thought. This is where I think we get in trouble with trying to be tolerant of everything. We need to challenge this stuff in public, and do it from the perspective of people seeking truth.