“The Kingdom of God is going to be built or comprised of all the nations. And I think that those nations can be blessed and experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit when we line our principals up. There’s lots to say in the Scriptures about government and about the economy and about family and church and marriage. Our forefathers understood that. They don’t get into the “D” and the “R,” they don’t get into the “liberal,” “conservative.” They get into principles that all of us can understand. They’re universal and they’re rooted in the Bible. And that helps me to understand where I sit on these kinds of issues and policies.”Kirk Cameron
There are few people who are better encouragers than Kirk Cameron. In March, Kirk joined us for a live discussion on Biblical Principles for a Healthy Nation. As we have seen so many things change in our nation since then, we wanted to bring you that discussion. We hope that it will be a great encouragement to you in these uncertain times.
I want to talk about Monumental, not so much about the movie. I mean the movie is fantastic for those who have seen it, it’s just a fantastic movie, Kirk, where you kind of take us on this journey along with you as you kind of bring us back to the founding of our country. And eventually in the movie you end up at this monument called The Matrix of Liberty. And it’s funny because I’ve asked a few people who have not yet seen the movie. “Have you heard of The Matrix of Liberty.” And they are like, “The what, the matrix of what?” And people have not heard of this monument and it’s so important to our nation.
Yeah. They’re probably thinking it’s the sequel to the matrix and it’s some sort of freedom fighter who’s trying to figure out which world he’s in.
So the monument is actually referred to as The Matrix of Liberty. It’s sort of the recipe, the matrix, the code that unlocks freedom. But the official name for it is The National Monument to the Forefathers. And there’s actually quite a few monuments to the pilgrims throughout the country, but that’s the one that really impressed me and that’s why we made that the centerpiece hero of the documentary.
Yeah. How did you find out about it?
So I had never heard of it. I mean, has anybody ever heard of this thing before? I’ve talked with politicians, congressmen, congresswomen, I’ve talked with people like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and others who you’d think would know about such a monument because of what it says, and most people have never heard of it.
In fact, if you try to find it you’ll have a hard time. I know people who live in Massachusetts and have never heard of it, even though it’s maybe a mile away from Plymouth Rock, and it is the largest solid granite monument in America. But the problem is it was built on top of a hill. So imagine if my head is a hill in your neighborhood and there’s a little monument that’s sitting on top. But the problem is there were trees that grew up all around it and are now taller than the monument. So you can’t see, especially if you’re down here below looking up and it’s concealed and hidden within this residential neighborhood.
And honestly, most people don’t go see it. Since the documentary (Monumental), they’ve had more traffic, which I’m thankful for. But I think it’s the most important monument in the nation because of what it says. And it spells out the biblical worldview and the recipe that our fore-fathers and fore-mothers used to launch a nation that would later become the freest, the most prosperous, the strongest, healthiest and generous nation sending the Gospel out to more countries than any other. And it’s all wrapped up in this matrix of liberty, like you called it.
I happen to know that you have a replica of it sitting right next to you. So I would love for you to take it and just kind of take us for a tour of it.
Sure. I would love to. Before I show it to you let me just speak directly to some of our viewers who are watching right now. As you watch the news, as you’re having conversations with your kids or your spouse or your friends, you’re texting, you’re emailing, and you’re just wondering what in the world is going on in our country, even beyond the coronavirus. Just look at politics in the way that they’re being handled. It’s amazing. I mean, it seems like gone are the days where we’re able to have respectful disagreements with each other. If you’re on the right and your friends are on the left or if you’re a conservative or if you’re a liberal or you’re a libertarian or you’re an atheist or a Christian, it seems like fighting is the name of the game. And just smashing and crushing anyone who disagrees with you is sort of the way things work now. And with social media, all of that just sort of gets applauded and people are just trying to slam each other. And we look at our economy and we wonder what’s the right way to do that? We’re talking about “democratic socialism” with Bernie Sanders. We’re talking about more of a moderate type of socialism. Is that better? I mean, after all, shouldn’t the government be generous and helping the poor? And shouldn’t the government be taking care of education all the way through to college? Is there financial inequality that should not exist in the country? Or is capitalism a good thing or a bad thing? All of these things have to be answered somehow in the scriptures. And I believe that the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus came to solve the sin problem couples with the Word of God and the Law of God to help not just make healthy individuals and healthy marriages and families, but healthy nations. And the Kingdom of God is going to be built or comprised of all the nations. And I think that those nations can be blessed and experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit when we line our principals up. And there’s lots to say in the scriptures about government and about the economy and about family and church and marriage and all of that stuff.
Our forefathers understood that. And so what I love about this monument is that they don’t get into the “D” and the “R,” they don’t get into the “liberal,” “conservative.” They get into principles that all of us can understand. They’re universal and they’re rooted in the Bible. And that helps me to understand where I sit on these kinds of issues and policies. So let’s jump in.
For those who are seeing this for the very first time, this might remind you a little bit of the Statue of Liberty, but it’s not, in fact, many people think that this was actually the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty because they were raising funds for this in France before the Statue of Liberty was built with little models of what it was going to be.
In fact, this was before the Civil War that this was made. And Abraham Lincoln was one of the very first financial contributors to the building of this monument. So here it is. It’s called The National Monument to the Forefathers.
It says, “The National Monument to the Forefathers erected by a grateful people in remembrance of their labors sacrifices and sufferings for the cause of civil and religious liberty.” So this is a monument that is all about liberty or freedom, but two kinds. It’s in remembrance of both civil and religious liberty. Civil liberty is a government liberty, right? This is our religious freedom. This is our freedom of speech. This is our freedom to assemble all these things.
And then there’s internal religious liberty. And that is the freedom to worship God, to be able to have the Word of God and to practice our faith without government interference. And this is what they were all about.
So first of all, this monument is the largest granite monument in America. It is 88 feet tall. It’s in Plymouth, Massachusetts. And this was established in 1889. It took them 50 years to build it because the project got interrupted by this little thing we like to call the Civil War. And it was going to be twice this height, but the budget got cut in half due to the war. And that’s why actually the reason why the
“Faith” figure is twice as tall as any of these smaller statues.
So Faith was going to be as big as everything else, but it got cut in half. But it’s still, today, the largest granite monument in America. So it’s pretty important.
So let’s go through these. The tallest statue, her name is Faith. Below Faith are other figures. There are Morality, Law, Education, and finally Liberty. Each one of them have smaller reliefs on the sides, which are all really significant.
On the front is the names of the passengers of the Mayflower. And then you also have a quote from the governor of the pilgrims, Governor William Bradford.
You can see that faith is at the top, not morality, not education, not liberty. Faith is really the capstone. This is the key. This is the core that holds everything else together, faith. And if you notice she’s pointing to heaven. She’s got one finger pointed to heaven, and she has a star on her forehead and she’s holding a book in her hand, and the pages of that book are being blown open.
It’s not a closed book. It’s open. And she’s standing on this rock. And all those things are pretty significant. The book is the Bible. In fact, it’s not just any Bible, it’s the Geneva Bible. Now, the Geneva Bible was a very unique Bible. In fact, it was a hated by King James. It came out after the King James Bible. Now we all love the King James Bible. It’s a beautiful Bible, and it was the authorized Bible and it’s written so poetically and many, many people quote from the King James Bible. So King James made a great Bible, but he made a terrible King. He was like a tyrant on steroids. And so he hated the Geneva Bible because it was not authorized.
“So this was something that the parents would teach their kids, just like the Bible says. The book in faith’s hand says that, that parents are to train up their children in the way they should go.”
“So if you educate your kids to the second and third generations, as the Jewish people believed, then you can pass on your faith. You could pass on your values, your worldview, and it would result in what everybody wants, right? And what does everybody want? They want freedom. They want liberty. And that’s what the world has never had outside of this strategy, outside of this recipe. Because freedom has to start internally with the heart.”Kirk Cameron
What made the Geneva Bible so unique was that it had study notes from theologians of the day, and inside the study notes of this Bible, they used phrases and words like tyrants. Now, tyrants referred to government authorities that were bad authorities. But see, King James considered himself to be practically God’s representative on earth. And so there was the mixture of the church and the government together, and he coined the phrase, “the divine right of Kings.” “In essence if God made me King, well, then I’m in charge of you. I’m God’s representative here and you need to do what I say.” Well, that’s a great recipe for becoming a really great tyrant. And so when they use the word tyrant in this Bible and that tyrants need to be opposed, well, of course that’s was against the King.
And this Geneva Bible was also the first English translated Bible that had chapters and verses in the text. So the first time for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son was John 3:16 was in this Bible, the Geneva Bible. And it was translated and small enough for a family to have one in their house and study it for themselves, rather than having it locked up in a church in a language they couldn’t understand. They were able to read it for themselves rather than having it read to them and explained to them. And that really changed the game in the whole world. And you get to the effects of the reformation and everything else, which is really what launched the pilgrims out of England to the New World.
Isn’t it amazing to think of how we just take it for granted? Of course we have a Bible, we’ve got 20 of them. Which color would you like and or which version would you like? We’ve got so many in our homes and that we just take for granted what we have. We haven’t always had that.
You’re absolutely right. It’s amazing. One of the features of this Bible is you’ll see the pages are being blown open there. It’s not shut. And most that I have talked to, the historians in the area, people who understand that and knew who the architect was, say that that is blown open as if by the wind of the Holy Spirit. It’s being opened and God is opening the scriptures the way that Jesus would open the scriptures to his disciples.
Also on her forehead, you’ll see there is a little star and that star represented wisdom. Our forefathers believed that faith was not just this goosebumps feeling that you had, it wasn’t just this hopeful, trusting in God that you didn’t ask questions. They believed that wisdom was something that you received from God. They also knew we should worship him with our mind, not just with our heart and soul, and that they would reason from the scriptures to all areas of life. So these were thinkers. These were people who really reasoned from the scriptures.
And then of course, she’s pointing to the one true God of heaven. This is not just any deity. This isn’t just some random God that it was okay to have faith in. This was a Christian worldview. This wasn’t just a bunch of agnostics and deists or people of other faiths. It was the Christian faith that they believed was absolutely essential, because that was the true and living faith that could transform the heart of man. And without faith in God and faith in God’s word, none of these principles work.
Right, that is still true today.
And she’s got her foot on a rock, which is Plymouth rock. The real Plymouth Rock is just a short distance away from where this statute sits in Plymouth. So that’s faith. She’s the center and core and capstone of it all.
So we start with Faith. Where do we move from there?
So they would believe that faith would then be expressed through these four different aspects in your society. And first we can go to Morality and she’s seated on her chair. And if you look closely, you’ll see that Morality’s eyes are closed. Some of the other statues have their eyes open, but morality’s is closed. She’s looking inward. It’s suggesting that morality is an inner quality. Morality is not just an external standard that is forced on you by the government. It’s an internal virtue or set of virtues. And if you look in her hands, she’s holding the 10 Commandments in her left hand and the scroll of Revelation in her right hand. On the Ten Commandments, on that touchstone tablet, it says Exodus 20. These are the words that God spoke to Moses.
If you look below Morality, she’s got another little carving here and it says “Prophet.” and on the other side it says “Evangelist.” There’s an evangelist who’s actually preaching the Gospel to lost souls. How’s all that tied into morality? Well, they believe that morality must first start with a transformation of the heart, which is coming from the power of God when the Gospel is preached. So once the heart is transformed, you then begin to love what God loves and hate what God hates by the power of his Spirit. And now you need a standard, which was given to us by the prophet Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai with those Ten Commandments, those two tablets. And there she’s holding it as well as the scroll of Revelation indicating that our morality is founded on both the morality found in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.
I look around in our culture today and our morality has shifted a little bit from this standard. Right?
It’s so interesting that she’s holding the 10 Commandments, which is also known as the moral law.
When we look at the moral law and how we as humans have broken God’s moral law, it has separated us from him.
That’s right. That’s how we know that we’ve sinned. When we look at the Ten Commandments it’s just like a mirror. In fact, Scripture calls God’s moral law a mirror. And if we look into it, we can see what we look like from God’s perfect perspective, and that we’re broken and dirty and that we need his healing and his cleansing.
So the reason that this morality is so important is that not only do we please God personally when we are moral people, but it allows us to make good laws in our nation. And that’s the next figure, “Law” and laws are morals.
Now, some people will say, “Well, you can’t legislate morality. You just can’t be imposing your morals on other people.” Well, if you think about it all laws are legislating somebody’s morality. I mean, if someone says, “Well, you need to go 55 miles an hour because you’re going to be endangering other people’s lives and you shouldn’t be doing that.” That’s legislating morals. That’s what laws are. They’re there to protect the people and to minimize evil. And that’s the government’s job. Government exists to restrain evil. So good laws are portrayed by the man of law who’s seated in his judge’s chair.
And he’s holding the Book of Law in his hand. His other hand is outstretched in mercy. And if you notice the book in his hand, of law, is directly beneath the book in Faith’s hand. And this is indicating that the laws of man must always line up under God’s laws. And so God’s laws are always superior. If they don’t line up and agree with God’s laws in the Bible, they’re not good laws. And those good laws are characterized on the right side by Justice.
Lady Justice is holding the scales of justice in one hand and a sword in her other hand. There’s an inference there that laws must be just, and that justice is always to be served and dealt out when laws are broken. That’s why the government does not bear the sword in vain.
On the other side is Mercy, and Mercy is there to balance out injustice. And that’s what we see in the scriptures. We see justice and mercy, justice and mercy. And the judge is able to either sentence someone to a just punishment or to extend mercy because he’s a man of morality and faith himself.
What a beautiful representation of God, our savior who is just, but he also is merciful at the same time. I mean, it’s hard to combine those two things. But wow, what a beautiful picture of our savior that is!
That’s right. Our kids try to catch us on that, right? “You’re always going with justice, where’s the mercy? Give me mercy.”
All the time. My daughter asks for grace all the time. “Mom can you please do show me grace just this one time.”
So that’s law. You must have good laws in your nation, in your society, in your culture. I think it’s important to remember too, that this idea that government can solve our problems if we just elect the right person or we just have the right laws in place is incorrect. Our forefathers understood that a big powerful government that took care of everything was really a bad idea. That’s why they came out of England, right? I mean, King James, he did everything. He owned everything. He had all the power. You lived and died based on what the good King said was best for you. That wasn’t their idea of a good way to live.
So they understood that the first kind of law that needs to be adopted are personal laws. – that I’m going to love God with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength, and I’m going to love my neighbor as myself. So the government, in their mind started, with self-government, without self-government and people running around and taking advantage of each other you’re going to need to find a police officer. Now, you’re going to need to find somebody to help you protect yourself against all these thieves and people killing each other and doing all this stuff because they’re not self-governing under God’s laws.
But if you do self-govern, then you don’t need… Look, if kids would govern themselves, they wouldn’t need parents to discipline them, right? And if parents would govern themselves, we wouldn’t need police officers to come and take care of domestic problems. And if the police could take care of local problems, we wouldn’t need the national guard to show up in a city because locally we’re taking care of things and that’s what they understood. So personal self-government, obeying God’s laws on a personal level takes care of so much that there should not be much need for big authoritarian government from the top down.
Right. It’s interesting, the Bible says “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” And I would say it’s not just bound up in the heart of a child, it’s bound up in the heart of man. We, as humans, are foolish, rebellious people, which is why we need God’s law. We need God’s moral law to tell us how to live. It’s why we need God’s Word to direct us and guide us in the ways of the Lord.
So once you have some good laws in your nation and people are governing themselves with good morality, and that morality is built on a transformation of the heart by the Word of God, and you’re trusting in the true God of heaven, our provider, our protector. Then you can begin to do the… I want to say the finer things in life, but it’s not just the finer things. These are essential things in life. But if you’re constantly fighting and just trying to survive and protect against internal strife in your society, you’re not going to have the opportunity to teach your kids math and to teach them history and to teach them all these other things. But if you have good laws and good morality and trusting in the Lord, and you’re receiving his blessing, now you can teach your kids about architecture. You can teach them about warfare. You can teach them all about charity and all of the things that make life worth living.
So here we have Education and Education is a woman seated in a chair. This woman is representing a parent figure. And I know that the pilgrims did not see education as any less than a parent-led privilege and responsibility. They would never go along with the idea of a government funded, government run school. Why? Well, think of it. They just came out of England and if King James or queen Elizabeth was funding a school system, the first thing that would be out of the school, it’d be the Bible. And it would be, “Do whatever the King or the queen says.” And so this was something that the parents would teach their kids, just like the Bible says. The book in Faith’s hand says that parents are to “train up their children in the way they should go.” And so she’s holding the books of knowledge.
She has a wreath of victory around her head. She can do this this, this woman, this mom has gotten what is required for her to educate her children. On her right it says “youth” and there’s a picture of a mom training her child in the way they should go so that when they become old, and there’s an old man right here, his name is Wisdom and he’s holding a globe and he’s holding a Bible indicating that he has a Biblical worldview.
So if you educate your kids to the second and third generations, as the Jewish people believed, then you can pass on your faith. You could pass on your values, your worldview, and it would result in what everybody wants, right? And what does everybody want? They want freedom. They want liberty. And that’s what the world has never had outside of this strategy, outside of this recipe. Because freedom has to start internally with the heart.
And that’s what we read in the very beginning for both civil and religious liberty. As we continue, we see liberty man. He’s strong. He’s ready to fight. He’s got a sword in his hand, he’s got a helmet on his head, and he has a breast plate. He’s got all of the things that he needs for battle.
In fact, you can see the entire armor of God that we see in Ephesians 6 represented right here, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sandals of the Gospel of peace, the sword of the Spirit.
The chains on his wrists and on his ankles are broken. He has been liberated and set free. He’s been set free internally from the power of sin by the Gospel. And he’s been set free externally from the power of tyrants. And if you look on his shoulder, you’ll see there’s a lion’s claw. There is a lion draped over his back. That lion represents tyranny. Tyranny has been overthrown, the lion represented England. And he Liberty has overthrown the tyrant.
And on his side is a picture of his wife and her name is Peace. She’s holding a basket full of gifts for her family and for her friends.
Liberty is ready to defend his faith. He’s ready to defend his morals, the laws of his country. And also the ability to educate his children in a biblical worldview. This is the liberty man. And this is the result of The Matrix of Liberty. You don’t start with that guy. You finish with that guy after you have Faith, Morality, Law, Education, and generations of those virtues produce men and women of liberty.