Posts Tagged ‘peter marshall’

We are grateful that Kirk Cameron has apparently abandoned the fictional pre-millennialism of his early “Left Behind” productions.   In one recent lecture, he did a masterful job of comparing the plot of his “Fire Proof” film to the grand redemptive story that God is telling in history.

Kirk Cameron made it clear that he was talking about “redemptive” not only in the individual sense, but in the sense of God renewing the entire created order under the kingly reign of Christ.  The lecture pointed to the victory of the church in history prior to the second coming, which the Bible clearly foretells in Psalm Two and many other passages.

For example, Is. 2:2 predicts that “…in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief … and all the nations will stream to it.”  Hebrews 1:2 informs us that the “last days” referred to began with the first advent of Christ.

More recently Kirk Cameron has turned his considerable talents to production of a documentary on American history.   MythBusters’ initial impression was that this project is perpetuating the historical “bait & switch” technique which is so common among the contemporary Christian defenders of 18th Century Federalism.

Further investigation confirmed our initial impression.  This new documentary, “Monumental,” unfortunately is another disappointing addition to the same shop-worn genre of Christian Constitutionalism.  This includes Gary DeMar, David Barton, Peter Marshall, Marshall Foster and a host of others.

MYTH:  The Constitutional framers of 1788 perpetuated the form of Biblical government established by the Puritan forefathers in the 1600s.

This sophisticated bait & switch technique is based on a monumental non-sequitor (pun intended).   First establish the Christian character and Biblical form of government of the early American colonists, which is true and accurate.   This is not difficult to do and is very emotionally and intellectually appealing to a Christian audience.

Most of the colonial constitutions were written covenant documents with the Triune God and required a religious test oath of public officials.  They did not just swear symbolically on the Bible, they swore to the Bible and God an oath to govern by it’s laws.  In some cases – like the Massachusetts Body of Liberties – Mosaic case law is actually written into the document word-for-word.

But then you throw in the non-sequitor.  Draw the illogical conclusion that the drafters of the United States Constitution shared the same faith and vision for Biblical government as the Puritan fathers.  Follow that up with the problematic claim that the United States Constitution is a faithful representation of Biblical principles of Civil Government.

Historical “Bait”

The “Monumental” kick-off cruise of the Northeast coastline is apparently designed to accomplish phase I described above.  According to this promotional piece, the focus of the voyage is to be on Pilgrim America.

Now you can experience Monumental as you join Kirk Cameron, Marshall Foster, and Gary DeMar as they retrace the steps of the forefathers and visit the historical sites, monuments, and locations of the Pilgrims. Every step of the journey will be filled with in-depth teaching, soul-stirring narratives, and unforgettable experiences.

There’s also an unanswered question about the lasting influence of the Puritans.  For a variety of reasons a Declension occurred among the Massachusetts Puritans that left a secularized skeleton of the original colony.   By 1700 the devout Puritan had been transformed into the self-sufficient, and secularized Yankee. Christian Federalists such as Kirk Cameron apparently overlook the unfortunate influence of the Puritan Declension.  The tract goes on to say….

….there’s no question the tiny band of religious outcasts who founded this country hit upon a formula for success that went way beyond what they could have imagined. How else can you explain the fact that they established a nation that has become the best example of civil, economic and religious liberty the world has ever known?  

Even the Great Awakening of the 1740s did not revive Puritanism after the Declension.  The Puritan vision of Christendom as A City Set On A Hill, was not rekindled in the pietistic, individualism that characterized the preaching of the Great Awakening.  Thus, it could not have been passed to the framers of the American Constitution.

Historical “Switch”

The monumental non-sequitor comes at that point in the film itself where the producer  travels to Texas to meet up with David Barton, “the leading expert” on the subject of the founding fathers.  Kirk wants to know if the Framers shared the same faith and vision of the Puritans, apparently unaware of the fact that David Barton is a master of the historical bait and switch.

After an interesting show & tell in David Barton’s library, he leaves with the conclusion that “the founding fathers did not ditch the faith.”  This conclusion is not based on any Biblical analysis of the Constitution itself.  Rather, Kirk Cameron appears to have been overwhelmed by the deluge of secondary source material in the Barton library.

Case Closed:   MythBusters concludes that the  “Monumental” film project is another victim (and now perpetrator) of the historical “bait & switch,” related to the drafters of the United States Constitution.   MythBuster Rating:  Given the proven inaccuracy of his research (cf. August, 2012 Archives), any documentary that relies so heavily on a David Barton interview is automatically awarded the MythBusters’ Red Flag.  Viewers should approach this film with great caution because of  its failure to evaluate the historical data from a Biblical standpoint.