Friday, December 18, 2009

Baron Von Steuben and Timothy Pickering, Non-Key Founding Fathers who were Unitarian Or Theistic Rationalists

[BVS was probably homosexual as well. Make of that whatever you will.]

We've already demonstrated that the "key" Founding Fathers (first four Presidents, Ben Franklin and some others) either outright denied the Trinity and cognate orthodox doctrines, or, like Washington and Madison offered no compelling evidence of belief in orthodox Trinitarian doctrine (hence probably believed in what Franklin, J. Adams, and Jefferson did).

One common criticism directed against this thesis is "you have 3, 4 or 5, FFs, but many more important FFs existed beyond that." And that's certainly true. The FFs were a mixed bag, religiously. No doubt, Sam Adams, Roger Sherman, Patrick Henry and many other important second tier FFs were orthodox Trinitarian Christians. However, it's IMPROPER to presume anyone not on the list of those who provide smoking gun quotations denying the Trinity, etc. were orthodox Trinitarian Christians. Almost all FFs invoked Providence and were formally/nominally connected to an orthodox Christian Church. And this is exactly the case with Jefferson, J. Adams, Franklin, Madison, etc. There is a provable deistic/theistic minimum that connects Jefferson with Henry, J. Adams with S. Adams, Franklin with Sherman, etc.

There is NO provable orthodox Trinitarian minimum that connects almost all of the FFs, save the few exceptions. That's what the orthodox of the "Christian America" thesis argue for. That's one of many reasons why their "Christian America" thesis is false.

Again, many Christians sincerely believe if you aren't "orthodox" (that is a believer in the Trinity, Atonement), you aren't a "Bible believing Christian." I'm open to the question -- and I think it's an issue that needs to be continually discussed for the sake of clarity -- of whether those who deny original sin, trinity, incarnation, atonement, regeneration, eternal damnation, the infalliblity of the biblical canon etc., qualify as "Christians." It's only by answering that question affirmatively that any kind of meaningful, Founding era Christian American political theology can be proven.

What that, Bon Von Steuben played an instrumental role in delivering the American military victory over the British during the revolution. And it may have been during that time that Von Steuben converted Timothy Pickering to theological unitarianism.

One quote that I see in many content restricted books informs:

Timothy Pickering, began to doubt his Puritan theology when he heard General von Steuben say that he would sooner believe in an absurdity than in the Trinity.

Timothy Pickering

served in the American Revolution under George Washington, becoming adjutant general (1777 – 78) and quartermaster general (1780 – 85). He later served as U.S. postmaster general (1791 – 95), secretary of war (1795), and secretary of state (1795 – 1800). He served in the U.S. Senate from 1803 to 1811 and in the House of Representatives from 1813 to 1817.

Pickering may not have been a "key Founding Father" like the first four Presidents, but he certainly was an important 2nd or 3rd tier FF, representative of the 200 or so "other" Founders we have largely forgotten.

The following quote from Timothy Pickering to James McHenry in 1816 sheds further light on his unitarianism:

It is more than forty years, since, with strong conviction, I renounced the Calvinistic Scheme, in which I had been educated, as utterly incompatible with the perfections of the Deity. But it was not till a later period that the doctrine of the Trinity (which I had never heard controverted in the pulpit) employed my thoughts... and induced reject this dogma, liberalise the creed of Calvin. It has since been the essential article of my faith and practice, to worship only One God, who sent his son to be Savior of the World.

1 comment:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I do not believe in 'spiritual salvation". I used to, but am persuaded by many factors that any type of spritual "conversion" is only an emotional need, that can be met within any other social structure, not only the Church...