Just War, Rebellion, and the American Revolution: John Keown and Modern Critiques on whether the War of Independence was Just.
Part Two: Scripture and Rebellion, Introduction
by Leonard O. Goenaga
Noticeably absent from Keown’s analysis is a survey on the scriptural elements relevant to an analysis of just war and the American Revolution. It is understandable that Keown sought to leave the scriptural factors untreated, given his work is primarily engaged with a Roman Catholic understanding of Just War rooted in natural law. However, surveying the Scriptures for relevant passages proves appropriate, given it is the objective standard of what Christians determine to be ‘just’, and given it was the most often cited source by the Founders in works with political content.1 Although modern-day revisionists seek to rewrite history and portray the Revolution and the Founders as a secular affair, the degree of Calvinist influence through the forerunning Puritans, as well as the heavy reliance on Christian thinkers such as John Locke, warrant a treatment of Scriptural passages relevant to government.2 As such, this paper will shortly survey Scripture on what God’s Word has to say on government, on the common good, on liberty, on unchecked power, on the rule of law, and on consent.
1 Donald S. Lutz, “The Relative Importance of European Writers on Late Eighteenth Century American Political Thought,” American Political Science Review 189 (1984), 189-97. Donald S. Lutz and Charles S. Hyneman, after reviewing over 15,000 items with explicitly political content, identified 3,154 references to other sources, and concluded, “The source most often cited by the founding fathers was the Bible, which accounted for 34 percent of all citations.”
2 For a treatment on the influence of Calvin, the Puritans, and Scripture on the American Revolution, see my Academic Research Paper “The Pulpit and the Patriots” available at <http://leonardooh.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/eth7260-the-pulpit-and-the-patriots-theinfluence-of-calvin-the-puritans-and-the-pulpit-in-the-american-revolution.pdf>
The Moral Liberal Research Writer, Leonard O. Goenaga, is a Baptist Associate Pastor (assigned to the Youth) at Glory of God Christian Fellowship, Raleigh, North Carolina; a Mentor (Computer Lab/Technology) at the Wake Forest Boys & Girls Club; a husband (to Katrina); and rugby coach. He holds a B.A. in Political Science (with a specific concentration in Political Theory, Social Contract, and Constitutionalism), a second B.A. in Religious Studies (with a concentration in World Religions and Early Christianity), a Master of Divinity in Christian Ethics, and an A.A. in Entrepreneurship. He has begun Ph.D with a concentration likely centered on an analysis of Locke’s Social Contract, H.L.A. Hart’s Legal System, American Constitutionalism, and Baptist Ecclesiology of Covenant. Visit his website at Leonardooh.com