The Impact of Jesus on the Founding of America

, by Christopher D. Hudson

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The first Europeans who set foot on North American soil intended to build a Christian community. Fleeing persecution in Europe, the Pilgrims (and later the Puritans) sailed for the Americas with the goal of obtaining religious freedom. They sought to worship God and Jesus Christ in the manner they chose without interference or mandates.

Before leaving Europe, William Brewster (c. 1567–1644), the leader of the Pilgrims, said he hoped the Pilgrims would advance the gospel of the kingdom. When they drew up the Mayflower Compact, the very first European political document in the New World, the Pilgrims began with the words “In the name of God, Amen.” The compact also included the phrase “having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” Regardless of what others who followed them may have thought, the Pilgrims saw themselves as forming a Christian colony.

As the colonies turned into states, many other Christian phrases appeared in founding documents. South Carolina, Connecticut, North Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, and Massachusetts all referred to God by a number of names: “one God,” “Almighty,” “Supreme Being,” “the Creator,” and “Great Legislator of the Universe.”

The Declaration of Independence contains numerous phrases that reference God, even if they do not mention Him directly. The founding fathers believed that God extends rights to humanity. One central phrase has been passed down through the years: “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

No matter where modern readers fall on the debate of whether today’s United States should be considered a Christian nation, the Christian influence shaped the founding fathers’ work. The original colonists enjoyed the freedom of religion and aimed to create a community where they could worship as they saw fit.

The desire to worship Jesus had a profound impact on the founding of the United States of America.

This blog post was adapted from my book How Jesus Changed the World. You can read more about it here.


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