Nolan Harkness on Our Founding Fathers’ Vision and Divine Providence

Apart from the Bible, Peter Marshall Jr. and David Manuel’s The Light and the Glory has been the most fascinating book I have ever read. As these two historians, educated at Harvard and Yale, set out to publish a book about God’s involvement in American history, they understood how important it was to get it right! They therefore assiduously searched out every available document, including but not limited to, the personal journals and all obtainable writings authored by our forefathers.

You can imagine my excitement some twenty years ago when I heard that Peter Marshall Jr. was coming to speak at a local venue! I immediately secured a ticket to the event. To my dismay, only about 25 people showed up that night! However, Rev. Marshall did not seem to even notice the small crowd. Speaking with both humility and with seasoned eloquence, he described how they had felt God led them to write this book. Their joint convictions centered around the fact that, even back then, modern educators were deliberately censoring the very devout Christian faith of our most famous forefathers out of history. Many times, to fill in the void, erroneous tales were substituted portraying our American heroes as uneducated and immoral. In reality, their personal faith in Jesus Christ, demonstrated by their enormous sacrifices in the forming of this nation, was clearly spelled out in their personal journals.

Rev. Nolan J. Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. | Courtesy of Nolan Harkness

Perhaps due to the small crowd, when Peter Marshall Jr. concluded his talk that night, he offered to step down and speak to anyone who might have questions.

After all these years I am not quite sure if I hurried to the front, but I do remember I had a lot of questions for him. With a British ancestral line on my father’s side, I had always been extremely fascinated with American history. I cannot remember even one question that I asked him when it was my turn to talk to him, but I do remember that right in the middle of my star-struck enthusiasm, Peter interrupted me gently, personally challenging me to never forget that we are a republic and not a democracy!

I responded “Yes sir”.

He then said “Do you understand the difference?” I had to admit that I was not sure that I did. This many years later I still remember his stern and serious but kind demeanor as he reminded me of something that our forefathers made sure was written into our constitution. He said, “Nolan, I believe that because they were Godly men, the early framers of our government were led by God’s wisdom to create such components of our voting process as the Electoral College. You see, they recognized that in order for a republic to properly work, it would have to be governed by virtuous people. In understanding what the Bible teaches about the heart of man and how everyone is born into sin, they realized that the danger was that men and women in positions of political power would ultimately think of their own best interests first. Democracies had already proven throughout history to self-destruct. Something had to be added in to provide a system of checks and balances and built in levels of accountability.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Nolan Harkness