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Home > New Book By Dr. Farris Challenges Myths of America's Founding

New Book By Dr. Farris Challenges Myths of America's Founding

August 10th, 2007

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727

Was the United States truly founded as a Christian nation? A new book by Michael Farris, Chancellor of Patrick Henry College, sheds new light on that notion.

While the Church has taught that America was colonized by Christians for the purpose of religious freedom, secularists declare that early American Christians persecuted one other and the Indians until Enlightenment thinkers such as Locke pierced the darkness with their tracts on “freedom.” Both views, asserts Dr. Farris in his new book, From Tyndale to Madison, are wrong.

Cover image, From Tyndale to Madison

“The truth,” writes Farris, “is that it was a handful of Christians who believed in the authority of the Bible rather than the authority of the Church who were the true authors of religious liberty.”

Farris traces the roots of America’s founding documents all the way back to William Tyndale’s struggle in England in the 1500s to bring the Bible to the common man, or, in Tyndale’s words, “cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the Scripture than [the clerics].” Exposed to the Gospel for the first time, many new believers questioned the bureaucracy and corruption of established churches and often found themselves the targets of persecution.

Farris’s research tracks this troubling pattern from England to the first settlers in America, where groups forged like-minded colonies around their own theological views and punished dissenters much like church authorities from the society they had left. Illuminating both the Christian persecutors and the Christian dissenters, Farris demonstrates how the latter, trusting in Scripture alone, eventually won the day.

“At the end of the road,” he writes, “an Anglican, James Madison, trained in liberty by a Calvinist Presbyterian, John Witherspoon, worked with the persecuted Baptists of Virginia to turn a broken theory of religious toleration into the robust experience of religious liberty that has changed America and the world.”

Along the way, Farris dispels several myths about the advance of Christianity in America, including notions that “the Pilgrims came to America seeking religious freedom,” or that “the motives and beliefs of the founders of the American colonies were the same as those who founded the United States.”

Constitutional lawyer, author, leading pro-family activist and homeschooling pioneer, Dr. Farris is listed as one of “Top Ten Kingmakers of the Religious Right,” according to Religion News Service. Named among the 100 most significant “Faces of the Century” in education by Education Week, Farris was recently featured in Praying for the World’s 365 Most Influential People.

From Tyndale to Madison, published by Broadman & Holman, expands the understanding of America’s founding, reveals the God who rules all countries and gives an honest accounting of the fallen men who have served as His agents.

For press members who would like to receive an advance copy or to schedule an interview with Michael Farris, contact the PHC Communications Department at 540-338-8727, or dwhalbrook@phc.edu.