May 11

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Were the words, “founding fathers,” limited to those who served as President, were there others who could rightfully be called “founding fathers?” If so, just who were they? The answer is, “Yes,” there were others who are rightfully called “founding fathers,” who never served as President! Therefore, who were these men?
If you are a student of history, and every American should be, then you would know or should know of those who rightfully are called “founding fathers.” However, there may not be total agreement on this subject! Well, this is alright! The first thing that we need to do is to learn how these men might be so identified. One person put it this way: “The United States of America was a collaboration among several brilliant men, focusing on enlightenment and the concept of equality for all men, regardless of birth. We use the term “Founding Fathers” to refer to the men who shaped the concept and destiny of America, including diplomats, inventors, soldiers, and philosophers.” Each of these men had a unique contribution to the concept of a democratic republican government by the people, for the people. Working together, these leaders determined a workable frame of government that is now a model. Just for a moment, stop and think what these men did and how they finally came together and gave to us a government unlike any that had been seen before!
Here is a list of those who are considered “founding fathers;” we have already noted the first six Presidents; therefore, our search will look elsewhere. Richard B. Morris, a historian in 1973 identified the following seven figures as the key “founding fathers”: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Could there be others that belong on this list, “Yes!”
Now, turning our attention to Benjamin Franklin, we ask our question, “What were his views about the Bible and Christianity? Frist he was: a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). He was well known for writing Poor Richard’s Almanac. Is there a Biblical verse that says this? In general, he wrote: “Here is my Creed, I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe.. That He governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting it Conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental Principles of all sound Religion, and I regard them as you do, in whatever Sect I meet with them.” (Benjamin Franklin His Autobiography 1706 – 1757).
Now on Jesus, he wrote: “Well, as for Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of Morals and his Religion as he left them to us, the best of the World ever saw, or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts to his Divinity; tho’ it is a Question I do not dogmatise upon, having never studied it, and think needless to busy myself with it now, where I expect soon as Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.” (ibid).
Benjamin Franklin may be better known for a saying of which he may not have said. What is it: “God helps those who help themselves?” However, it is quoted in Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1757. Is there a verse that has these words in it? No! Do they express a New Testament principle? You can go in search for the answer yourself! (2 Thess. 3:10-14). It is said, that the phrase originated in ancient Greece and may originally have been proverbial. It is illustrated by two of Aesop’s Fables and a similar sentiment is found in ancient Greek drama. Although it has been commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin.
Before concluding this article, there is a question the reader needs to consider. Have you noticed anything in common among those we have studied? This answer will be looked at when this series of articles is completed.

Frank R. Williams

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