September 17: Should Christians Care About Constitution Day?

Lynette Kittle

iBelieve Contributors
Published: Sep 12, 2022
September 17: Should Christians Care About Constitution Day?

In a day of widespread misinformation, supported by a “cancel” and “woke” culture, we can help share the truth of the Constitution by sharing resources via word-of-mouth through social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and more.

If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably unaware that September 17, 1787, is a significant day in United States history. As well, like the majority of citizens, you may not know there is a Constitution Day set aside yearly on this date to celebrate its ratification. 

Because there are no fireworks celebrations, holiday pay, or time off, most of us will overlook the significance of this yearly date in September. But as Christians, should we be paying more attention? Is recognizing this day’s meaning important for the future of our family, our nation, and most importantly, our faith?

Providence Forum Executive Director Jerry Newcombe thinks so: “Yes, ultimately for freedom's sake, Christians need to care, so we can share the Gospel. If we enjoy our freedoms, which were hard won, we should protect the Constitution.” 

As Galatians 5:13 reminds us, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Still, this day set aside to remember and celebrate goes mostly unnoticed by countless U.S. citizens. “Unfortunately,” explains Newcombe, “Constitution Day probably doesn't mean much to most Christians, but it should because the Constitution was based on a Biblical worldview and it implemented the most stable government in the last two and half centuries.”

A Little Constitutional History

Senate.gov explains how the United States Constitution is the oldest written national constitution presently in effect and is the landmark legal document of the Western World. It defines the U.S. federal government’s fundamental law, setting forth three principal branches of the federal government and outlining their jurisdiction. 

Historian, author, and U.S. Constitution expert William J. Federer writes, “The original government of the United States operated under the Articles of Confederation, which were written in 1777, and not ratified until March 1, 1781.”

From May 25, 1787, to September 17, 1787, delegates from the original states, except Rhode Island, met together in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the Constitutional Convention to rewrite the Article of Confederation. Instead, they drafted the U.S. Constitution.

Federer writes that George Washington, who attended and was unanimously elected its president, opened the Convention by stating, “The event is in the hand of God.”

What Difference Does the Constitution Make?

Nowadays, some Americans desecrate the American flag, ban the Pledge of Allegiance, kneel during the National Anthem, and discount, cancel, and change America’s history. Some are challenging the validity of the U.S. Constitution, referring to it as “trash” and something that needs to be thrown out.

Dr. Walter Williams, George Mason University’s professor of economics, explains that the United States Constitution has been very valuable: “Number one, we still have the Constitution, although, it’s not obeyed all the time. But the Constitution has led to the richest and the most powerful nation on the face of this earth and the greatest amount of personal liberty that people enjoy. That is why people try to get to the United States.”

Williams notes how people worldwide want to live here and become American citizens because of the liberty the U.S. Constitution offers us.

Still, “Many want to tear it down,” explains Newcombe. “If the Constitution is done away with, I guarantee you, if that tragedy happened, it would bring disaster on all, not anything good.” 

Do Christians Have A Responsibility to Uphold the Constitution?

For Christians living in the United States, are we obliged to uphold the Constitution? After all, it was written and designed by men. Does God call us to support and submit to it? 

Romans 13:1 urges, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Because the Constitution was established upon biblical principles and truth, conscious-minded Christians ought to be able to support it on a personal and national level.

Does Freedom Matter to the Church?

 True freedom comes from God as 2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

If we enjoy the freedom to choose where to worship, where our children attend school, and the words we speak and write, we don’t want to let the U.S. Constitution slip away and become obsolete.

Rev. Robert J. Pacienza—President and CEO of D. James Kennedy Ministries and senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in South Florida—explains, “The Constitution is clear: religious freedom extends not only to beliefs, but also to public actions based on those beliefs.”

Is the Constitution Helpful to the Church?

The U.S. Constitution helps set guidelines and boundaries between the Church and the government. Newcombe refers to James Madison’s Federalist#51 writing that the Constitution is so durable because it is based on a biblical worldview. 

For example, the Bible recognizes that men are sinners. Therefore, we need government—to protect us from other sinners—but since sinners run the government, we need to be protected from the government as well.

In Pacienza’s new book, The Hope of the World: Christian Cultural Engagement in a Secular Age, he writes. “What are the limits of the governmental-political sphere? From studying Scripture, we learn that it should not try to infringe on the other spheres of culture. For example, the purpose of government and politics is not to ordain pastors, oversee doctrine, or determine church membership because that is the purpose of the Church.”

Are We to Participate in Upholding the Constitution?

Pacienza writes on the importance of our participation: “What is the purpose and nature of government and politics? From studying Scripture, we learn that the purpose of government is to achieve justice for the various individuals and communities under its purview. The purpose of politics is to influence or oversee government policy. And the purpose of political engagement is to persuade fellow citizens and elected representatives toward the most just policies.”

In summing up our responsibility as Christians, he writes: “To involve oneself in political engagement in a faithfully Christian manner is to do so with the powerful combination of truth and grace that Jesus Himself exemplified. To engage truthfully is to speak the truth about reality. To do so graciously is to do so with the disposition of one who has been humbled by the cross. This combination of truth and grace enables us to be firm and unflinching on one hand, while also kind and compassionate on the other hand.”

What Can We Do to Help Preserve the Constitution?

Truth brings freedom, as John 8:32 reminds us, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

In a day of widespread misinformation, supported by a “cancel” and “woke” culture, we can help share the truth of the Constitution by sharing resources via word-of-mouth through social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and more.

We can remind our sphere of friends, family, and communities of the biblical truth embedded within our Constitution.

Where Can We Learn More?

Providence Forum has many resources, including multiple articles sharing historical facts and the history of the Constitution, as does Federer’s American Minute website.

Likewise, The National Constitution Center offers an online interactive study of the Constitution, including the Constitution’s full text. It also hosts a two-day celebration with free admission to its museum.

Newcombe also suggests studying the Founding Fathers and their writing, along with reading the Federalist Papers, which he describes as “An outstanding representation of a Christian worldview.”

Newcombe further recommends Donald S. Lutz's classic book, The Origins of American Constitutionalism, and John Eidsmoe's book, Christianity and the Constitution.

How Do We Live It Out?

How we honor and support the Constitution impacts our influence in the world as believers in Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:13-17 urges, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Artisteer

Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.

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