The Foundation Of Economic Self-Reliance Is Spiritual God-Reliance

Posted: Nov 27, 2018 10:21 AM

Because the liberty – or freedom – which manifests in America springs forth from American Exceptionalism, which is (link to The Individual vs. the Collective article) leveraging our individual gifts from God toward His glory – most often by serving one another – this pattern of behavior gives us the abundant security of self-reliance.  Self-reliance emerges from building a personal relationship with God through Christ; it is building the American Dream in a God-centered manner.  This provides profound security even in times of severe crisis. 

In fact, Ronald Reagan discloses how security, or freedom, is secured by the polar opposite of the proposals we constantly hear from the collectivists.   Reagan said that:

Profit, property rights and freedom are inseparable, and you cannot have the third unless you continue to be entitled to the first two.[1]

In the church I attended while growing up in Central Indiana, there is a stain-glass window, which powerfully depicts this point.  It is a scene of a woman clinging to the Cross amidst a raging sea; clinging, knowing that her only salvation is holding tightly to Christ.  And it was Christ who said, “Take courage!  It is I.  Do not be afraid.” [2]  In Greek this translates to ‘Fear not, I am’ which is Jesus revealing that he took upon himself the divine name which God revealed himself to Moses – I am or Yahweh.[3]  Notice, the hand not clinging to the Cross is drowning.  But true self-reliance is Christ centered.  This window reflects much symbolism. For example, the sea is used multiple times throughout the Bible to represent different things.

Figure 3: Stain-glass window in the Sanctuary of Trinity United Methodist Church in Lapel, Indiana.

Paul wrote to the Romans, “Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”[4]  The citizens of America, must reject – hate – that which works against their foundational principles.  Collectivism and statism is the very evil which continually works to destroy the United States.  The sacrifice and love for our country must be sincere; that is, we must understand and cling to our history, our economics, and our foundation of liberty.  Without all of this, we become as the hand in the stain-glass window in the above Figure – drowning in a raging sea, as nearly all civilizations before us have done.

“Because the God whom Christians worship is a personal God who desires a voluntary relationship with each and every person, Christians recognize that religious faith is not something that can be externally enforced.  They ardently defend the freedom of each individual to worship God – or not – according to the dictates of their conscience.”[5]   Freedom is directly linked to Christ’s sacrifice – as pictured above in the stain-glass window of my childhood church and as the Pilgrims and Puritans believed when they landed in the New World.   “So Christ has made us free.  Now make sure that you stay free and don’t get all tied up again in the chains of slavery to Jewish laws and ceremonies.”[6]   What the Apostle Paul is explaining to the Galatians is exactly parallel to what Ronald Reagan is explaining above – individual liberty is the keystone to freedom, security, and, as we will see, the law.  And Christ is the foundation to this freedom; that is, eternal freedom of the individual, and freedom from the state, or collectivism. 

President Calvin Coolidge further explains:

…there was a wide acquaintance with the Scriptures…they were subject to this discipline not only in their religious life and educational training, but also in their political thought.  They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power.

No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence.   It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people.  We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things.  These did not create our Declaration.  Our Declaration created them.  The things of the spirit come first.  Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp.   If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it.  We must not sink into a pagan materialism.  We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy.   We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed.  We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshipped.[7]

Obedience to our King is necessary to build, maintain, and flourish in a good civil society.  The great Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith opined this staunchly by asking, “How vain, how absurd would it be for man, either to oppose or to neglect the commands that were laid upon him by Infinite Wisdom, and Infinite Power?”  And, in turn, Smith answers the question; “How unnatural, how impiously ungrateful not to reverence the precepts that were prescribed to him by the infinite goodness of his Creator…we are always acting under the eye, and exposed to the punishment of God, the great avenger of justice.”[8]  Smith’s philosophy is mirrored in the Declaration of Independence.

The colonial pastors of New England rang this message out to their congregations, which reinforced this historical thread up to and past the American Revolution.  Civil government was subservient to the people and to God’s Law.  In the 1670s, New England Pastors James Allen and John Oxbridge “warned [their congregations] against the subordination of the congregation to the power of civil government.  “The Danger to be feared in reference to the Civil State,” warned another New England Pastor, John Davenport of Boston even earlier in 1663, was “’a perverting of Justice’ and abandonment of scriptural norms in favor of secular, pragmatic notions of the good.”[9]  This is the core of the issues and concerns which ravage the Great Experiment of America today.

[1] Ronald Reagan, January 1978, “Whatever Happened to Free Enterprise?” Address delivered by Governor Reagan at Hillsdale College during the Ludwig von Mises Lectures Series, [].

[2] Guideposts, The Guideposts Parallel Bible (Carmel, NY: Guideposts), New International, Matthew 14:27, p. 2482.

[3] Lee Strobel, 2005 (originally published in 1998), The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigation of the Child in the Manger, (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI), p. 25.

[4] Guideposts, The Guideposts Parallel Bible (Carmel, NY: Guideposts), New International, Romans 12:9, p. 2880.

[5] Ken Connor, May 15, 2011, “Can Liberty Thrive in an Illiberal Culture?”, [].

[6] Guideposts, The Guideposts Parallel Bible (Carmel, NY: Guideposts), Living Bible, Galatians 5:1, p. 2975.

[7] Calvin Coolidge, July 5, 1926, “The Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence,” (Philadelphia, PA), [].

[8] Adam Smith, 2014 (originally published in 1759), The Theory of Moral Sentiments, (Lexington, KY: Economic Classics), p. 144.

[9] Mark Valeri, 2010, Heavenly Merchandize: How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press), p. 96.