Follow Christ, Lead the Way
Happy Independence Day – Praise God for our Freedom! image

By Dr. Bradford Sample

On July 4, 1776 the Second Continental Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson’s draft of “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America” after about one month of writing, review, and debate. Members of Congress did not argue over the philosophy or basic tenets of the document. Among its most powerful and well-remembered phrases are “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This sense of both endowed rights and basic equality is why historian Gordon Wood believes the American Revolution to be a radical one – a significant divergence from contemporary thinking about aristocracy and deference.

Much of the reason for the broad acceptance of equality is due to the First Great Awakening – a religious revival of the early-to-mid-1700s. It popularized not only religious beliefs that we would later call Wesleyan, but also political beliefs of natural equality that sprang from the concept that all people are equal under God. Theologians and pastors like William Tennent, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, and George Whitfield spread these concepts throughout the Colonies between the 1720s and 1760s, just in time for ordinary Americans to support a break from Great Britain based on these ideas. While some founders such as Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were Deists, many others were practicing Christians, and their words echoed the sentiments of the common people they inspired.

The Second Great Awakening, which started in the 1790s, deepened these ideals and spread them throughout what is now the Midwest. The public celebrations that heralded Independence Day in the early 19th Century started with prayer, included Sabbath School parades, and featured speakers who touted religious liberty as the cornerstone of American greatness. Daniel Pratt, a prominent Indiana attorney, was one such orator. On July 4, 1836 he noted “God directed our destiny and made us what we are. Let the sons and daughters of America ever cherish the creed of their fathers.” It was the children and grandchildren of Pratt’s generation who fought the Civil War to make the Declaration’s words more meaningful for those in slavery.  Christians led the call for abolition and later the Civil Rights movement. 

Christian belief in the inherent dignity of every soul because the God of the Universe created them provides the structural support for the Declaration of Independence. Ohio Christian University celebrates the Freedoms that logically flow from such a belief and the Creator God who has provided all of us with a way to be truly free. Happy Independence Day!

 

 

Sources:

Paul Johnson, A History of the American People.  NY: Harper-Collins, 1997.

Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution.  NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Folder “1836 – 11/11/1836,” Box 1816-1842, Daniel D. Pratt Papers (1813-1877), L128, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis.

Archived Articles of Interest

OCU Hosts Discussion on Religious Freedom  image

OCU Hosts Discussion on Religious Freedom

OCU Hosts Discussion on Religious Freedom  image

Published: March 30, 2016

Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government welcomed Michael Berry to campus as a guest speaker last month. Berry spoke on the topic of religious freedom in relation to his work with First Liberty Institute (formerly known as Liberty Institute). OCU believes that exposing students to a depth of knowledge and experience is a vital component in creating a firm foundation for their future. Each semester, dozens of honored guests are welcomed to campus so that students may engage in an open dialogue about the issues of today with some of the brightest minds in their
Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government welcomed Michael Berry to campus as a guest speaker last month. Berry spoke on the topic of religious freedom in relation to his work with First Liberty Institute (formerly known as Liberty Institute). OCU believes that exposing students to a depth of knowledge and experience is a vital component in creating a firm foundation for
Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government welcomed Michael Berry to campus as a guest speaker last month. Berry spoke on the topic of religious freedom in relation to his work
OCU Welcomes Former Wall Street Journal Editor to Campus image

OCU Welcomes Former Wall Street Journal Editor to Campus

OCU Welcomes Former Wall Street Journal Editor to Campus image

Published: March 24, 2016

Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome Stephen Moore as a guest speaker on Wednesday,March 23, 2016. Moore spoke on the topic of Regaining American Prosperity, offering finical advice and economic commentary to OCU Business
Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome Stephen Moore as a guest speaker on Wednesday,March 23, 2016. Moore spoke on the topic of Regaining American Prosperity, offering finical advice and economic commentary to OCU Business
Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome Stephen Moore as a guest speaker on Wednesday,March 23, 2016. Moore spoke on the topic of Regaining American Prosperity, offering finical advice and
OCU MBA Ranks 5th in Central Ohio  image

OCU MBA Ranks 5th in Central Ohio

OCU MBA Ranks 5th in Central Ohio  image

Published: December 15, 2015

Ohio Christian University now ranks fifth in Central Ohio for MBA programs according to a recent release from Columbus Business First. The announcement came as a part of Columbus Business First’s annual MBA Program List release, which ranks Central Ohio schools based on Fall enrollment numbers. OCU moved up three spots from 2014.  To view the full list, click here. If you’re looking for a career boost, an MBA from Ohio Christian University provides the leaders of today and tomorrow with the knowledge and skills required to succeed in a competitive business environment. The program
Ohio Christian University now ranks fifth in Central Ohio for MBA programs according to a recent release from Columbus Business First. The announcement came as a part of Columbus Business First’s annual MBA Program List release, which ranks Central Ohio schools based on Fall enrollment numbers. OCU moved up three spots from 2014.  To view the full list, click here. If you’re looking for a
Ohio Christian University now ranks fifth in Central Ohio for MBA programs according to a recent release from Columbus Business First. The announcement came as a part of Columbus Business First’s
MBA Student Values Faith in Learning image

MBA Student Values Faith in Learning

MBA Student Values Faith in Learning image

Published: September 25, 2015

                At Ohio Christian University, we take much pride in our students and their success, so the academic quality we produce to get them there is a huge priority to us.                 These academic priorities are evident to OCU student, Jalinda Wilson. With an undergrad degree under her belt, Jalinda transferred from a secular college to OCU and joined our MBA program.  She says, “What I like the best about attending OCU is that I am getting a quality education with a Christian perspective.  My undergrad was done at a secular college and in many of the classes, I
                At Ohio Christian University, we take much pride in our students and their success, so the academic quality we produce to get them there is a huge priority to us.                 These academic priorities are evident to OCU student, Jalinda Wilson. With an undergrad degree under her belt, Jalinda transferred from a secular college to OCU and joined our MBA program. 
                At Ohio Christian University, we take much pride in our students and their success, so the academic quality we produce to get them there is a huge priority to us
Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students image

Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students

Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students image

Published: September 1, 2015

Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students   “I’m Rob Portman. I work for you.”   That’s how Senator Rob Portman introduced himself to a room full of community leaders, students, and press at Ohio Christian University this afternoon.   Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome Sen. Rob Portman to campus today for a roundtable discussion on economic development and human trafficking awareness. Economic leaders from Fayette, Ross, Pickaway, and Franklin counties were present to discuss how the region’s role in business and workforce
Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students   “I’m Rob Portman. I work for you.”   That’s how Senator Rob Portman introduced himself to a room full of community leaders, students, and press at Ohio Christian University this afternoon.   Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome Sen. Rob Portman to campus today for a roundtable discussion on
Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students   “I’m Rob Portman. I work for you.”   That’s how Senator Rob Portman introduced himself to a room full of community