The Biblical Structure of History (17): Chapter 12, Representation

Gary North – November 13, 2021

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:18–20).

A. Covenant Model, Point 2

Point 2 of the biblical covenant model is hierarchy: God over man over the creation. Adam represented God to the creation. He represented the creation to God.

Point 2 of biblical social theory is authority, which is delegated to man by God.

Point 2 of Christian historiography is representation. This has to do with a judicial office: trusteeship. It has to do with speaking God’s word authoritatively in His name.

B. Christian Historiography as Prophetic

Jesus’ command to the disciples is known in Christian circles as the Great Commission. These are marching orders for the church. Jesus announced them, and Christians are supposed to obey them.

The first command is to go and teach all nations. This means all peoples. This means every group across the face of the earth. Second, this is a command to teach the whole world about the church covenant, since it involves baptism, the New Covenant’s mark of covenantal membership in the church. Baptism is an oath sign of the New Covenant, as Meredith Kline demonstrated in Chapter 5 of his book, By Oath Consigned (1972). Third, this is a command to teach the whole world about the God of the Bible, who is a Trinity. Fourth, this is a command to teach about ethics: whatever Jesus commanded the disciples.

It is not possible to teach people about who Jesus was, what He commanded, what His church is, and what baptism means unless you teach the history of Jesus as found in the four Gospels. You must also teach what is found in the Book of Acts and the epistles. When you bring the message of salvation to someone, you are bringing the story of the history of Jesus’ ministry. You also bring the history of Israel prior to A.D. 70. You also bring the story of the creation of the world and the developments of history up until the calling of Abram. In short, it is not possible to bring the gospel of salvation without simultaneously bringing the history of that gospel. The gospel developed over time. The gospel developed as part of the general development of history: the transition from wrath to grace.

This means that the evangelist is inescapably an historian. I argue that the reverse is also true. A Christian historian is inherently and inescapably an evangelist. He brings the message of the transition from wrath to grace. This is the history of the gospel. It is not possible to understand the gospel without understanding its history. It is also not possible to understand the gospel without the commentaries found in the epistles. There is an inescapable and unbreakable link between the facts of New Testament history and the interpretation of these facts by the epistles.

A Christian historian does not select, research, interpret, and teach history correctly if he ignores the general framework of biblical history: creation, image, law, imputation, and inheritance. There is a structure of history, and a Christian historian is supposed to use this structure as a template for interpreting the past. He is supposed to do this self-consciously. Historical facts are not brute facts, meaning uninterpreted facts. They are God-interpreted facts. The meaning of these facts is imputed by God. Every Christian interpretation of history should be based on the fact that a Christian historian can think God’s thoughts after Him. He is supposed to present history in terms analogous to the absolute and authoritative imputation of meaning by God. He cannot do this perfectly, but he can do it accurately. If he could not, history would be inherently incoherent and beyond man’s ability to understand. This is the conclusion of the most radical of the postmodernist historians.

If what I have said is true, then a Christian historian has a prophetic function. A prophet in the Old Testament came before the people and also before rulers and warned them that their violations of God’s law would bring God’s negative historical sanctions on them. He appealed to history, including the law of God and the past warnings of God, in order to validate his warning of what was going to happen in the future. That office was abolished after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Jesus is today the only covenantal prophet. He is prophet, priest, and king. So, when I say that a Christian historian has a prophetic function, I do not mean that he has the authority of an Old Covenant prophet. I mean that his task is analogous to the task of an Old Covenant prophet. A Christian historian is required by God to evaluate history in terms of men’s ethics-based decisions. Men’s decisions are either in obedience to God’s laws or in violation of God’s laws. A Christian historian is supposed to explain historical sanctions—positive and negative, individual and corporate—in terms of conformity to God’s law or a revolt against God’s law.

The prophet in the Old Testament evaluated the current decisions of the people of Israel in terms of God’s revelation of His laws. The prophet also warned that God in the past had brought negative sanctions against Israel when Israel revolted against His law. So, there was a strong historical component in the prophet’s message. Finally, he predicted future negative sanctions if there was no repentance. A Christian historian does not have equal access to the mind of God that a prophet had under the Old Covenant. He cannot see into the future as clearly as an Old Covenant prophet could. But he can make covenant-based judgments about the likely results for individuals and societies if they continue to violate specific biblical laws. There will be coherence between the nature of the laws violated and the kinds of negative sanctions imposed.

C. Four-Way Representation

All covenantal representation is four-way representation. It is representation upward toward God, outward toward other people, downward toward those under authority, and inward, meaning conscience above all. For example, a father must serve God. If he has a job, he has to serve his employer. He serves his wife and his children. He serves himself. How? He has his own self-image. He evaluates his own work. He has standards that he thinks he should meet. Some of these standards are ethical. Others are professional/technical. There is supposed to be coherence among all four kinds of representation.

Consider the work of a Christian historian. First, he is supposed to select a topic that is pleasing to God. God has some purpose for him in selecting this topic. He selects one topic, and he rejects all the others. Second, he has to meet standards regarding the quality of his work. Other historians may read his work and find errors. He will come under criticism. He wants to avoid this if this is possible by doing better research. Third, there are people under his authority: students, readers, and viewers of online lessons. He is acting on their behalf. They trust him. They are willing to re-think their view of a particular historical incident or trend. They may even change their behavior because of what they hear. Fifth, he must satisfy his own standards regarding the quality of his work. He does not want to feel guilty about his performance.

Covenantal representation is not easy. A Christian historian is not in a covenantal relationship with other historians or with students, but he is in a covenantal relationship with God. He is also in a covenantal relationship with himself. He is acting in the name of God and also on behalf of God. He is acting as a trustee of God. If he does poor work, this brings God’s name into disrepute. Nathan the prophet told David that this is what he had done by committing adultery with Bathsheba. The enemies of God blasphemed God (2 Samuel 12:14). A Christian historian wants to avoid anything remotely like that kind of performance. Therefore, he must count the cost: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:28–30).

D. Representation and Topic Selection

A Christian historian understands that his work is highly specific. It is specialized. He cannot research everything. He must work hard to produce something of value to God. So, he has to exercise judgment in selecting what he is going to study and how he is going to do this. There is a familiar statement in English: “Do the right thing, and do the thing right.” These are different requirements. You must do the right thing, which has an element of morality about it. You must do something that you think is a good thing to do. But, once you have decided to do it, you now face all of the difficulties associated with doing it. You must do it right. Your work must be technically precise. It must meet standards associated with professional performance. If you build a bridge, the bridge should not collapse.

A Christian historian also must think very carefully about the people under his authority. How can he serve them well? How can he make his presentation meaningful to them? Before he begins his work, he must identify his audience. This raises several questions:

1. What do they know already about the topic?

2. What else do they need to know in order to understand the past?

3. What do they need to know about the past in order to make good decisions?

4. What motivation will persuade them to make good specific decisions?

The answers to these questions will determine how the historian should present the results of his investigations. Should he write a book? Should he write an article? Should he produce an online video? Should he produce a Sunday school course?

Then there is the question of the level of sophistication of the presentation. A 500-page book filled with footnotes is suitable for instructing a student who is taking an upper-division college course in history, or maybe a graduate student. It is not suitable for people who have never taken a college-level history course. Self-taught experts will have no problem, but they are not normally the target audience of someone who is about to devote three or four years to writing a book. A publisher will reject the manuscript if he does not think there will be enough buyers to justify its publication. The publisher’s editor will also get involved in the selection process. The Christian historian must take all this into account.

Then he must assess his own capabilities. Is he sufficiently skilled to write a book? If not, what must he do to get the needed skills? Next, how will he have to budget his time in order to write it? There is always great competition for his time. Time is the only irreplaceable resource in history. He must budget it carefully. If he is plans to produce online videos, what equipment is required, and how long will it take him to master its use? The same applies to typesetting if he is going to typeset the book. All of these issues involve limits. Put differently, they involve boundaries. Boundaries are associated with point 3 of the biblical covenant.

E. Representation and Selection of Facts

1. Relevant Facts

This is the issue of the content of historiography. The number of facts that God has interpreted approaches infinity from the point of view of the Christian historian. The number of documents that deal with any particular incident or trend is also enormous. The cost in terms of time to get access to documents in archival collections is high. There are travel costs and lodging costs. This cost will decline as the posting of documents on the Internet continues. The cost will be much lower in half a century than it is today. It will be much lower in a century than it will be in half a century. We can be confident that there will be superior historiography because of the reduced cost of getting access to relevant documentation.

When we speak of relevant information, we raise the issue of standards of evidence. How do we determine what is relevant? Humanistic historians do not agree on this. They do not agree on a theory of relevant evidence, and they do not agree in terms of actual practice. They have no fixed standards that determine the correct answers.

The issue of relevance is the issue of imputation of meaning. This is associated with point 4 of the biblical covenant. In covenant theology, point 2 is always closely related to point 4. Point 2 is about the person who brings sanctions. Point 4 is about the sanctions. Assessing relevance is the task of casuistry: applying fixed principles (point 3) to specific situations. In the case of historiography, the historian must decide which facts to consider, but he also has to decide how the standards of interpretation should be applied to the available documents.

The facts do not speak for themselves. Van Til said there is no such thing as brute factuality. All factual reality is interpreted factuality. Most modern historians have concluded the same thing. (See Chapter 9.) Therefore, a Christian historian must interpret the facts. He must attempt to think God’s thoughts after Him. The heart of the week of creation was this: God spoke repeatedly. He spoke the world into existence, He spoke when He gave his assessment of the quality of His work at the end of days and the end of the week. Speaking is an inescapable aspect of the historian’s craft.

It is always possible to make an error when interpreting a fact. This is why it is imperative that historians should seek out confirming facts. The Bible says that in a multitude of counsellors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14). In a multitude of confirming verifiable documents there is safety. The historian may not be able to find verifiable documents that confirm the testimony of a document. In such cases, he must look for other documents that indirectly verify the document that he thinks is crucial to his argument. If he cannot find them, he is supposed to reconsider his thesis if it rests heavily on a single document that stands alone without verification. He does not want that document to become the cornerstone of his argument. It might collapse, bringing down the whole structure.

2. Relevant Selection

Some facts will support a thesis effectively. We do not have to search for all of the facts. We will never find all of the facts. We must find those facts which faithfully represent the broader event that we deal with in our presentation. Here are two biblical examples of this selection process.

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name (John 20:31–32). And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen (John 21:25).

John was a disciple of Jesus. He was recruited at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He was at Jesus’ crucifixion. He wrote the Gospel of John. He wrote three epistles. He wrote the Book of Revelation. No one had more personal experience in Jesus’ ministry than he did. When he wrote the Gospel of John, he excluded huge quantities of information. He was being rhetorical when he said that the world could not contain the books that would be written about everything that Jesus did. He was conveying a message. His Gospel is a short summary of what Jesus did in His ministry. He selected specific facts by means of a criterion: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” He was open about this. He selected a small number of facts about Jesus’ ministry because he knew that nobody was going to read a multi-volume book on everything that Jesus did.

John selected relevant incidents from Jesus’ ministry that would convey the same truth that he could convey if he had written multiple volumes. He adopted an economy of writing. He wanted the readers to read all of his Gospel. It was better that they read all of a short presentation than read only a small portion of a very long one. He did not select these incidents in order to deceive his readers. On the contrary, he selected them in order to persuade readers of the truth. He was not compromising the accuracy of the message that he could have conveyed in a longer Gospel. He selected facts that would convey accurate information in a more effective way. This was a matter of persuasion as well as a matter of accuracy. This raises the issue of persuasion.

3. Relevant Rhetorically

A Christian historian is like an attorney presenting a case to a jury. He has to pick those facts that confirm the arguments that he thinks will persuade the jury. But, unlike a lawyer, a Christian historian must seek the truth, a considerable part of the truth, and most of the truth. He cannot legitimately seek the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That would require omniscience. That is an incommunicable attribute of God. But he can present a case that will lead the jury to bring a verdict that is, in the language of American jurisprudence, beyond reasonable doubt. In doing this work, a Christian historian must recognize that he faces critics who are his intellectual peers. Other historians will examine his documentation if his thesis becomes popular. He is like an attorney facing another attorney. If he is facing a small army of attorneys who are critically inclined, he must go the extra mile in advance in order to make his thesis, if not airtight, then at least watertight. He does not want it to be sunk in full public view.

Once he is convinced that he is correct, he must become an advocate. He must become a promoter. He must become a persuader. The element of persuasion is always present, but in Christian historiography, it must be a major component of a presentation, whether the presentation is a book, an article, or an online video.

In all forms of nonfiction writing, there are three crucial elements: accuracy, clarity, and persuasiveness. Writing that does not have all three elements is unlikely to gain long-term influence. If it is erroneous, the book or article will be demolished by critics early in the debate. If it is not clear, it will not gain widespread acceptance by members of his targeted audience. If it is not persuasive, it will not change the thinking of most of the members of his target audience. He has wasted his time. His goal is not simply to change their thinking; his goal is to change their behaviour. It is to persuade them to act in new ways. He had better be persuasive.

Persuasion is the art of rhetoric. Rhetoric involves several components. The most familiar component is emotion. Another is the use of familiar symbols that evoke emotion. Another is the use of adjectives and adverbs that persuade people to draw conclusions that they would not have drawn had the adjectives and adverbs been missing. There can be an appeal to pride. There can be an appeal to someone who is responsible for protecting someone else. There can be an appeal to self-esteem.

I have spent almost half a century as a direct-response marketer. I have marketed my books and web materials. As is the case in every profession, direct-response marketing has many rules. As is the case in every profession, it requires creativity, which cannot be taught by a formula. The direct-response marketer understands this: you must appeal to emotion. But an even more powerful technique is this: sell a product that the shopper has already decided to purchase. We cannot always do this in non-fiction writing, but sometimes it is a good way to begin. A Christian historian who is attempting to confirm the beliefs of his audience will find this task easier than if he is trying to persuade them to abandon a strongly held belief. I speak from experience. My book on the conspiratorial origins of the United States Constitution was a failure, not because of its inaccuracy, and not because of its lack of clarity. It is accurate, and it is clear. But its thesis is offensive to almost all Americans, and especially those Christian Americans who believe that the Constitution is inherently Christian.

A Christian historian is wise to begin his presentation with a benefit. He must persuade the reader or viewer to read his book or watch his video because there will be one or more benefits associated with having completed the task. Here is the rule of the direct-response marketer: “Lead with the benefit. Follow with the proof.” The benefit should be presented early in the presentation. In the case of this book, I presented the benefits in the Preface, Part A: Benefits of Reading This Book. The remainder of this book is the proof. As a reader, you have not finished the book. But, if you have read this far, you probably have begun to receive at least some of the benefits. I reveal this technique here because I do not want you to waste time in producing materials that almost nobody in your targeted audience will read. List the benefits early.

Here is another crucial rule for persuasive writing. Do not write to persuade a committee. Write to persuade an imaginary reader. This reader is a representative of the targeted audience that you are attempting to persuade. This individual is a composite. He is an intellectual construct. You are trying to persuade this representative person to change his mind, change his behaviour, and buy another of your books.

It is the curse of academic historiography that apprentice historians are trained to write articles throughout their education. These articles are read by professors who are using standards of evaluation that are associated with peer-reviewed journal articles. In order to advance your career in academia, you have to publish in peer-reviewed academic journals. These articles are screened by committees. Academic writing is boring. Everyone in academia knows this, and everyone has known this for generations. Yet this never changes. That is because the academic sanctions never change. The sanctions do not have to do with persuading laymen to change their minds. They have to do with gaining guaranteed employment security (tenure) or a promotion through publication in peer-reviewed journals. One of the reasons why most academic historians are incapable of gaining widespread acceptance of anything they write is that they do not write for the general public. They write for each other. They use their own jargon. They use their own criteria of persuasion. They do not care what the public thinks. Then they complain that the public accepts what they refer to as conspiracy theories of history. Conspiracy theorists try to persuade large numbers of readers and viewers. They do not write for committees. Their writing is not boring.

F. Answering Two Questions in Advance

I learned about this strategy after years of copywriting. Years later, an idea hit me: this copywriting strategy applies to every form of persuasion. This includes the writing of history. Every sales presentation should overcome two almost automatic responses by listeners or readers. Over a lifetime of television viewing, they have read or watched tens of thousands of advertisements. They have learned to tune out these ads. Even among those few ads that they consider briefly, consumers remain sceptical. They do not want to hand money over to somebody for a product or service that will turn out to be a dud. They may not ask these two questions with exactly these four words, but they respond to new ads with these two questions:

So what?

Who says?

Try to get these questions answered early in the presentation. If you do not successfully do this, the listener at any time may decide to stop listening. This is especially true of the first question. “So what?” This is the sceptic’s first line of defense. He wants to know what the benefits are if he continues to listen to the sales pitch.

The second question has to do with evidence. The listener does not readily accept the sales copy unless he already trusts the salesman, and this trust is based on either the salesman’s good reputation or else past personal experience of the buyer. When dealing with strangers, readers ask this question: “Who says?” The reader wants verification from somebody he trusts. In matters historical, verification requires footnotes. There are also potential critics who are not part of the targeted audience. They are also ready to ask the question: “Who says?” They probably have made up their minds not to accept the thesis. Historians want to see evidence. Critical historians want to see a lot of evidence. Historians who are gifted hatchet reviewers, such as the legendary British historian A. J. P. Taylor, are nearly impossible to persuade, irrespective of the evidence. A Christian historian should ignore such reviewers, except as sources of minor corrections for future editions or a follow-up book. If the critics are inherently unteachable because of their ideological or religious commitment, it is not necessary to persuade them. A Christian historian’s readers will never read these negative reviews. The critics’ influence is getting less and less as time goes on. The number of students majoring in history is shrinking.

With respect to members of the targeted audience, the sooner in the presentation that a Christian historian offers validating testimony that supports his thesis, the better off he is. The more controversial his thesis, the earlier he should present evidence that indicates that he is not the only person ever to reach this conclusion. If a Christian historian can supply testimonies from people who lived in the era surveyed in his presentation, this may be able to persuade readers that the thesis is worth considering. The testimonies do not have to come from experts who are alive today. It is worthwhile for a Christian historian to search for this kind of confirming testimony in the piles of records that he must go through in order to construct the thesis.

G. Self-Taught Historiography

No one taught me what I have presented in this chapter. I developed these approaches and skills, beginning in 1965. I am putting them into something like final form here. As with so many of my books, I am writing this only because I think these things need to be said, but nobody else has bothered to say them. If I do not say them, nobody else will.

My first exercise in Christian historiography began in 1965 when I began researching Marx’s Religion of Revolution, which was published in 1968 by Craig Press, a spinoff of Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing. I had just read Rushdoony’s 1965 pamphlet, The Religion of Revolution. He argued that Marx had adopted an ancient theology of social regeneration: revolution through chaos. It occurred to me that Marx’s social theory rested far more on his non-scientific concept of social transformation than it did on dialectical materialism, the mode of production, or his theory of surplus value. I decided to investigate this. Over the next three years, I put together a manuscript. I was in graduate school. I began the project in my second semester of graduate school at the University of California, Riverside. I finished it a year after I received my master’s degree. I began the project at age 23. I finished at age 26.

The book was self-consciously a work in Christian historiography. I began with Rushdoony’s suggestion that the religion of revolution stretches back half a millennium before Christ. He identified Marxists as modern believers in this ancient pagan worldview. I decided to compare this theory of social regeneration with the social theory presented in the Bible. I announced this on page 15: “The chief motivation behind the writing of this study, however, was my desire to subject Marx to an evaluation based upon the perspective of that contemporary Calvinist system known as ‘presuppositionalism.’ The major exponents of this viewpoint are Professor Cornelius Van Til of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and Herman Dooyeweerd of the Free University of Amsterdam. So far as I know, no one writing in English has made this kind of analysis of Marx’s thought. I trust that this book will fill the gap.” At the end of chapter 2, “The Cosmology of Chaos,” which was the book’s major theoretical chapter, I wrote this:

The Bible affirms a wholly divergent cosmology. Man is not his own creator; he did not create himself “ex nihilo”—out of nothing. Man is a creature who must operate under law, and he lives in a universe which also operates under law. Because he is under God’s law, man can stand over creation as God’s vicegerent. Marx, however, could not admit that man’s authority is derivative; like the self-proclaimed autonomous men at the Tower of Babel, he announced the creative power of man apart from God: “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name [i.e., define ourselves without reference to God], lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth” (Gen. 11:4) . “Ye shall be as gods,” the Tempter promised, and Marx believed the promise. In affirming the powers of man for total creation, he launched the forces of absolute destruction. Man’s capacity for self-delusion seems boundless, but man has been warned of the results of such self-deception, and the Marxists shall be the recipients of their proper reward: “Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel (Prov. 20:17).

As you can see, I came to the readers as an explicitly Christian historian. I evaluated Marx’s theories in terms of biblical law. I condemned his work as anti-Christian and also inaccurate in terms of economic theory. I then pronounced a judgment, predicting the eventual failure of the Marxist movement. On December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev literally shut down the Soviet Union. This was the nicest Christmas present the West ever received. I did not write the book to impress my professors. I did some of the research in graduate seminars, but I did not expect them to read the book, nor did I expect either praise or criticism for it. I was operating outside the normal chain of authority within the university system. I have done the same through the remainder of my academic career. I was not looking for positive sanctions from humanists. This is why I have had to self-fund my academic work throughout my career. My donors and paying subscribers provided the funds. Accredited academia did not.

My major historical work is Crossed Fingers: How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church. I had my Institute for Christian Economics publish it in 1996. Basically, it was self-published. I would not have expected any other publisher to publish it. It was 1100 pages long. I began that book in the fall of 1962. The first version of it was 120 double-spaced typewritten pages. This was my bachelor’s thesis (spring 1963). The University of California, Riverside required every student in every department to write a bachelor’s thesis for graduation. That requirement was dropped in 1964, the year after I graduated. I researched the topic on and off until 1996. The manuscript kept growing. I typed the rough draft of the thesis on a Hermes 3000 portable typewriter. I finished it on WordPerfect for DOS, version 5.0.

My book was a detailed history of the Presbyterian Church in the United States—the northern Presbyterian Church—from about 1730 until 1936. It was mainly the story of how the Old-School Calvinists steadily lost control of the church from 1870 until 1936. I explained the long-term strategy of the theological liberals. I also described their tactics, decade by decade. I identified them as wolves in sheep’s clothing. There was nothing neutral about my book.

On page xi, which was part of “Note to the Reader,” I identified my audience: “I wrote this book for Christians who are tired of being milked, bilked, and forced to ride silently in the back of humanism’s bus. If this is you, keep reading.” I made it plain what the benefit of the book was: not being led by humanists. The final paragraph of the Conclusion announced this:

The question facing Christians today is this: Will there be a resurrection of Christendom? Few of [J. Gresham] Machen’s heirs believe in the possibility of such a resurrection; few believed in 1937. Some of them believe not only that it will not be resurrected; it should not be resurrected. I believe that Christendom can, will, and ought to be resurrected, though next time without kings, and also without a U.S. Department of Education. This is my confession. It was also Machen’s.

I followed a similar strategy in my book, Conspiracy in Philadelphia: The Origins of the United States Constitution (2013). I began the Foreword as follows:

This book is the history of a deception. I regard this deception as the greatest deception in American history. So successful was this deception that, as far as I know, this book is the first stand-alone volume to discuss it. The first version of this book appeared as Part 3 of Political Polytheism (1989), 201 years after the deception was ratified by representatives of the states, who created a new covenant and a new nation by their collective act of ratification-incorporation.

This new covenant meant a new god. The ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787–88 was not an act of covenant renewal. It was an act of covenant-breaking: the substitution of a new covenant in the name of a new god. This was not understood at the time, but it has been understood by the humanists who have written the story of the Constitution. Nevertheless, they have not presented the history of the Constitutional Convention as a deception that was produced by a conspiracy. The spiritual heirs of the original victims of this deception remain unaware of the deception’s origins.

There is no trace of either theological or ethical neutrality in my history books.


A Christian historian is supposed to serve a prophetic function. He is supposed to review documents of the past, and then evaluate them in terms of their faithfulness in revealing that past. Then he must impute judgment for and against the participants. There were good guys, and there were bad guys. He is supposed to identify the good guys, and then show the ways in which they were good guys. He is to identify the bad guys, and then show the ways in which they were bad guys.

A Christian historian is not to come in the name of some neutral concept of the structure of history. Therefore, he is also not to come in the name of some neutral structure of historiography. The principles of his historical investigation, evaluation, and publication should self-consciously parallel the biblical structure of history itself. What I have written here has not been believed by the vast majority of historians who have identified themselves as Christians. For over two centuries, they have adopted humanistic presuppositions about the structure of history and the structure of historical writing. They have compromised their faith by compromising their work. They have not served as covenantally faithful representatives of the God of providence. He expects better from those who research and then write about history in His name.

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