WHAT in the world is a 


by Pastor Richard Tennesen

I  can still vividly remember the virtual epiphany when I realized what I was, politically: a BIBLICAL CONSTITUTIONALIST.

  It was almost 20 years ago, and the terms used for political identification were simply being “blurred,” in their usage. Intentionally or not, our society was losing its definition of such terms as “democrat,” “republican,” and of course, “liberal” and “conservative.” Most Americans, moreover, didn’t have a clue what they meant when they used terms like “right wing,” “left wing,” or “middle-of-the-road.” Frankly, they understand them even less today.

  The confusion that began back then has continued unabated to this day. I want to share my thoughts for anyone who might be seeking greater clarity in their search for political understanding and identity.

   First, a few foundational points:

1. The term “Biblical,” refers, of course, to the Bible, the inspired, infallible Word of God – Genesis to Revelation, 66 books, “rightly divided,” as II Timothy 2:15 instructs.

2. The term “constitutional,” refers to the U.S. constitution and other foundational documents. Among these are the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, understanding their original intention. Such works as Lex Rex (Samuel Rutherford), the Magna Charta, and the Federalist Papers, are also helpful in understanding the original intent of the framers of the constitution.

3. Therefore, the term “Biblical constitutional,” means means the application of Biblical principles constitutionally, and vice versa.

                Another foundational premise, not meant to be judgmental, but a reality of life in America today, is that the vast majority of American citizens don’t care how our country was founded, nor what its founding documents say or mean. In short, they want “theirs,” and don’t want to be confused with facts. That’s right: they want a government that will take care of them – a concept that, at its core, is expressly forbidden in our founding laws and principles.

                One further foundational premise, necessary to an understanding of the Biblical constitutional principle, is that America began departing from her constitution decades ago, and has accelerated that departure ever since. It was called an “evolving document,” by then presidential candidate Al Gore, a few years ago. Even comedy writers understand this concept. Tonight Show host, Jay Leno, a couple years ago, quipped, “Iraq needs a constitution? Why not give them ours – we’re not using it!”


                Perhaps some basic insights will help illustrate how distorted our basic American mindset has become:

1. “Separation of church and state,” has come to mean something quite different from its original intent – the founders never intended the affairs of our country to be separated from God.

2. The Preamble to the constitution states that the government should “promote the general welfare,” and “provide for the common defense,” with the verbs “promote” and “provide” quite deliberate by the writers. We have had decades of the unconstitutional practice of providing for the general welfare. Moreover, providing for the common defense has been under increasing attack!

3. The drift from, and outright change in, the principles of the constitution have left us in a position that many believe is broken-beyond-repair. People might say, “So what, it’s working, what’s the big deal.” For one thing, it isn’t working. Also, the further we get from the intent of the founders, the less it will work. Our country is hopelessly in debt, largely if not completely because of policies and practices in violation of the U.S. constitution.

4. Without a law, debate, or even notice for that matter, a phenomenal unconstitutional change has taken place in perhaps the most critical and strategic area of our national government. I’m referring to the Defense Department having become the War Department. The constitution provided for a War Department and other provisions, in the case America’s direct territory and/or citizens were threatened by a foreign power. Enter Sept. 11, 2001. Its aftermath was not the restructuring of the Defense Dept. to provide the needed future security, but the creation of an entire new bureaucratic entity with hundreds of thousands of employees: The Department of Homeland Security.

5. We’ve gone from the original design of a Federal Republic to a National Democracy, increasingly over the past 150+ years. We were originally to be a network of individual and sovereign states, with unspecified authority, overseen by a government of those United States, centered in Washington D.C. (intentionally not a state), with limited authority, clearly defined.

Karl Marx once said, “A democracy is not a form of government to survive. For it will only succeed until its citizens discover they can vote themselves money from the treasury. Then they will bankrupt it.” He was perhaps paraphrasing the words of Scottish professor Alex Tyler, a contemporary of our Founding Fathers. Tyler is noted for the oft-quoted observation that the average age of the world’s greatest civilizations was about 200 years, during which they inevitably progressed through the following sequence:

from bondage to faith, 

from faith to courage, 

from courage to liberty,       

from liberty to abundance,     

from abundance to complacency, 

from complacency to apathy,    

from apathy to dependence, and 

from dependence back to bondage.

Most Americans would be shocked to hear that the United States of America was never intended to be a democracy. James Madison argued, especially in The Federalist No. 10, that what distinguished a democracy from a republic was that the former became weaker as it got larger and suffered more violently from the effects of faction, whereas a republic could get stronger as it got larger and combats faction by its very structure.

                The foregoing should be sufficient to see how far our system of government has drifted from its original foundation; but what of the part the “Biblical” plays in concept under study in this monograph?


Originally, there was a precious and strong tie between our U.S. constitution and the Holy Bible. Countless works can back this up – especially David Barton’s “Myth of Separation,” “Original Intent,” and “America’s Godly Heritage.” This was the case, because the founders were aware that God’s purposes and principles had to govern what they did.

At the same time, the constitution and other founding documents would guide the members of the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) in the conduct of their duties. What do I mean by that? The answer to that question will constitute the remainder of this monograph, in the form of specific examples.

1. Welfare: The Bible tells us to help the poor. More than 100 years ago, the federal government embarked on the unconstitutional practice of taking monies paid in federal taxes and using that for purportedly altruistic purposes. Colonel David Stern Crockett (1786 – 1836) represented Tennessee in the House of Representatives. The fabled frontiersman learned the hard way that federal monies were not “theirs” to give, with the help of constituent Horatio Bunce. Unfortu-nately, the practice began, and has continued, with the unbounding assistance of the 16th Amendment to the constitution, in 1913. This Amendment allows the Congress to levy an income tax without regard to the States or the Census. The “rest is history,” as the saying goes, with the “New Deal,” deemed necessary to end the Great Depression, and further socialization of our nation (Great Society, etc., etc.). The Bible and constitution agree: giving for the less fortunate is highly desired, if not commanded; however, it is not to be forced upon by government. That is socialism, the stuff of Marx, Hitler, Stalin, etc. – totalitarian.

2. Immigration: The Bible tells us to love the strangers, and be merciful to them. Here again, though, Bible and constitution agree in principle: Immigration must be compassionate, yet controlled. It is the height of irony that people are drawn to the United States, only to have the excessive numbers of immigrants due to unimaginably poor rules and procedures contribute to ever increasing negative impact on the very society to which the immigrants have come for refuge. What we are experiencing in this area of immigration bears no resemblance to the intentions of the framers of our constitution, nor is it conducive to any positive development for our country. The negative impact to health, welfare, education, and other infrastructure and economic areas is staggering.

3. Even human sexuality is being turned in ways prohibited in the Bible, and unthinkable as applying to civil rights by our forefathers. Homosexuality and other sexual perversions (including heterosexual adultery) are clearly unacceptable in God’s design and provisions for procreation and pleasure; and certainly never intended to be included in the equality provisions of our founding principles. In God’s Word and our U.S. constitution, marital status is unalterably intended to be between one man and one woman.

4. Relations with the nation of Israel are on the verge of collapse. Here, the Bible is solely our guide, as our founders seem mute on the subject. The secular mindset sees our favor toward Israel with curiosity, at best, and antagonism, at worst. But, realizing it or not, our policies have been guided by the timeless promise (with explicit warning), “I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)

5. The list could go on and on. Our economic policies and practices have steered dangerously from the principles of God’s Word, and the safe provisions of our founding provisions. Our current economic collapse is a direct result of the flagrant violation of Biblical and constitutional principles of finance. The rise of abortion on demand, and countless other aberrant practices existent today can be traced to departure from the foundational principles contained in the Bible and the constitution.


Only a repentance from our national sinfulness, and a return to the principles upon which our nation was founded, can produce any positive direction for the future. The parallel courses our country has been pursuing the past several decades must stop, and be turned in the proper direction. The drift from God, accelerated by disastrous judicial decisions in the 1960s and 1970s, must be reversed, if our nation is to survive. And the insatiable appetite our leaders have shown for unconstitutional practices in seemingly every sphere of human activity, must be seen for what it is: the recipe for the downfall of our constitutional republic.

Is it too late? Perhaps. It is possible that a complete collapse is inevitable, and even necessary, in order for the proper direction to be restored. It is our prayer that restoration will begin immediately.


Pastor Richard Tennesen, Felton, CA, 2008


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