Note: Even though this was written in September 2008 before that election, it is even more relevant with the way our country is heading today.
As we face a pivotal election this fall, it is crucial for our future as a free people that we elect leaders who understand the key to America’s greatness: our Judeo-Christian common law tradition. More than 95% of people throughout history have been enslaved under tyrants’ law and have lived in misery, poverty and at the whim of an elite. We in the American tradition have been blessed with the only alternative to the tyrannical rulers’ law system. Tyrants’ law now governs Russia, China and much of the world today. America’s prosperity and entire societal structure and legal system were founded upon Scripture, as applied in our colonial charters, as summarized in the Magna Carta and as compiled in the Common Law of England in the 9th Century.
Most Christians today know that the earliest believers worked to evangelize the world in the centuries after Christ. But many people are unaware that early believers also developed and promoted God’s Law as the only foundation for a civilization, including civil government. These biblical foundations were especially cherished by the Celtic Christians in England, Scotland and Ireland from the 4th century. The common man enjoyed self-government and happiness as never before.
But by the 9th century, the supposed “Christian” kings of England had compromised the self-governing, liberating Christianity built upon obedience to God’s law. By 877 A.D. all of these kings with their petty fiefdoms had been killed or captured by the marauding, blood-thirsty Viking armies of King Guthrum. His chief god was Oden, the god of war. It seemed that England was destined to be overrun. Even London fell to the invaders.
One small Christian army with their young King Alfred stood against the brutal invaders. Alfred made a treaty of peace with Guthrum. But on Christmas Eve, Guthrum used the cover of the treaty to lead a surprise attack upon Alfred as he was celebrating the holiday. (Surprise attacks and broken treaties are to be expected by nations under tyrants’ law, whether then or now. Russia’s recent invasion of Georgia and the 9/11 terrorist attacks are modern examples.)
That Christmas night it appeared that the hopes of a Christian civilization, with a biblically based legal system, were dashed forever. The last Christian army was killed or scattered. King Alfred escaped into a swamp with about 200 of his bodyguards, and was presumed dead. But the young Alfred rose up a volunteer force from throughout his lands. By May of 878, he won a decisive victory against Guthrum and his Viking horde. The future of the world was transformed that day, not only because brutal paganism was turned back, but because Alfred created a thoroughly Christian civilization and government.
Alfred was as merciful in victory as he was fierce in defending his homeland. He offered to let the Vikings stay in England if they would convert to Christianity. Guthrum and his leaders agreed. Alfred baptized them and trained them in the doctrines of the faith. Then he sent them back to rule in northern England. Alfred’s boldness in battle and graciousness in victory was blessed of God. His descendants ruled England for over a century and confirmed that England would become a beacon of Christian faith. The story of King Alfred gives us great hope and answers for today. He did more than win battles. He and his people humbled themselves before God and His Word and laid the foundation for our blessed civilization as we know it.
Read more at World History Institute