Book Monitor

Self-Evident Truths:
Foundations of American Political Thought 

Bill Burtness

The principles upon which the U.S. government was based must be understood and followed in order for liberty to prevail. Self-Evident Truths is an excellent introduction to civics or a refresher course for anyone seeking the truth about America's government.

The author explains that the Founding Fathers were motivated and influenced by the Bible. This book shows "how Biblical principles were implemented as the moral and then structural basis of society."

The Founding Fathers devised a new form of government that works when those who are governed are educated and self-controlled. The author says the objective of "American civil government is to serve the individual with protection." He explains the purpose of and protections offered by each of the three branches of government in our constitutional republic.

According to Prof. Burtness: The Biblical view of man's relationship to the state is that God is sovereign, the individual is the servant of God, and the state is the servant of the individual. But the pagan view of man and the state is that the State is sovereign and the individual is the servant of the state.

Burtness explains that there is a vast difference between freedom and liberty. Freedom can mean doing anything one wishes, which eventually ends in anarchy. Liberty means having the freedom to do what is right, according to the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. A civil government is meant to serve the people, not to control them. Liberty is the voluntary choice of the people to control themselves. People who don't control themselves and fail to live a well-ordered life succumb to dependence, which is followed by government interference and eventual control.

America's form of government requires individuals of character over which a corresponding civil structure is implemented. When people of good character are missing, the government will fail. Those who believe in something bigger than themselves behave well because of internal motivation. This is one reason teaching right from wrong in school settings is critical to our future.

Burtness writes, "We must be careful that in our homes, schools, and churches we are building self-governing character in the next generation that can create and sustain liberty rather than dependent character." He says, "Individually we must not forget God if our civilization is to continue to prosper in liberty."

(Xulon Press, 2012, 232 pp., $15.99)