Sunday, April 26, 2020

Mark David Hall's Last Final Response

Round one of the great debate between Drs. Mark David Hall and Gregg Frazer is winding down. Dr. Hall writes the following below:


... saying that your “focus” was on “the late eighteenth century” is hardly an actual definition of “founding.”  That could mean the Declaration of Independence (1776).  It could mean the state constitutions before the Articles of Confederation.  It could mean the Articles of Confederation (1783), the beginning of the actual political state.  It could mean the Constitution (1789).  This is especially true when you use the geographical term “America” instead of the political term “United States.”

Just a few days ago I posted on AC: 
In the book's introduction, I consider three possible answers to the question "when was America founded?" and conclude: 
"If one is to understand American history, it is important to have a proper appreciation for the nation’s Christian colonial roots. Few serious scholars deny that the early colonists were committed Christians, whose constitutions, laws, and practices reflected the influence of their faith (especially in New England). But the historical debate becomes far more heated with respect to Christianity’s role in the War of Independence and the establishment of the constitutional order under which our nation still operates. For this reason, in this book, I focus almost exclusively on the late eighteenth century." (XXV) [emphasis added]

 This is a broad definition, but that is because I discuss the formation of America's constitutional order broadly, including at the colonial and state levels, in the Continental, Confederation, and Federal Congresses, and, of course, at the Constitutional Convention.  Any reader, careful or otherwise, will have little doubt as to what my book is about.  He or she may disagree with portions of it, and if someone offers an honest critique I will be thankful for it and, if I believe corrections are warranted, make them.  For all of his 12,000 words, Gregg has encouraged me only to drop the concept of "theistic rationalism" from the paperback edition.  I'll simply discuss "warm" or "soft" deism and leave it at that.


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