Have you read the book yet? I received my copy of The Majesty of God's Law the same time most of you did and spent many hours reading it cover to cover. Because of its unique message, I am now engaged in a more detailed study which, of course, will take considerably longer.
What If You Were a World History Teacher?
Most of us have taken classes in World History, or as it called in some schools, the History of Western Civilization. These courses usually begin by discussing the theory of evolution of man and then proceed through the story of different nations in an endless procession down to modern times. One thing I have noticed about these courses and their accompanying texts is that they seem to tell of events but seldom do they itemize lessons learned or seek to portray any real direction in the story of mankind. Of course, this is what secular humanism is all about-that there is no God, no purpose for life, we are here as a result of forces of nature, that all things happen of themselves, and that once this life is over, it's all over.
Is it any wonder then, that most young people are finding history classes rather boring and dry? Students today seem to be looking for better answers almost by instinct. Dr. Skousen has made an immeasurable contribution with the publication of The Majesty of God's Law. For the first time outside Holy Writ , students of good government can now learn how God did not leave His children to grope around in this life with no pattern on how to govern their societies. He gave it to His prophets right from the beginning and later had Moses record it for a permanent record. (See the writings of the ancient historian Eusebius in The Majesty of God's Law, pp. 268-271).
I have had several opportunities this past month to introduce this study of God's Law for good government to several groups, including nearly 400 high school students (see story below). I was amazed at their receptiveness. The earnest student soon realizes, as Dr. Skousen writes:
"...that the justice and goodness of God is reflected in his righteous commandments. They convert the soul. Furthermore, these commandments are so direct, so understandable, and so pure that anyone who proclaims and practices them is immediately perceived as being exceedingly wise even though by nature, he or she may be 'simple' in both temperament and personal inclination.
"We are assured that experience will teach us that the statutes of the Lord are truly inspired. They are right. They give us a sense of belonging to an orderly world which rejoices the soul. These commandments are so clear and so pure that they give us a sense of direction. They enlighten the eyes.
In summary, these passages suggest that one need not be schooled in the sophistry of legal lore to understand God's law. But one does need to know the law. As the Lord told Moses:
'Thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.' (Exodus 18:20)
"Today, probably not even one person in many thousands has gone through God's law carefully and methodically as you are doing in this study course. Notice that doing this was a commandment of God." (The Majesty of God's Law, pp.47-48)
The Government of All Nations Can Be Measured In Terms Of God's Law
Once the student learns how perfect government should be, then the study of world history becomes one of comparison. When the student of history actually compares God's perfect revealed law to any government man has devised, the differences become so dramatic that any honest student must proclaim with the psalmist: "The law of the Lord is perfect..." (Psalm 19:7)
In The Majesty of God's Law, Dr. Skousen describes the attempts of some of the well-known governments of the ancient and medieval world to develop better systems for governing. Three chapters are devoted to the two great ancient civilizations whose governments are touted in most political science classes as being the examples America's Founders followed. These were the democracies of Greece and the republic of Rome. What is interesting to note is that these governments came about in the same part of the world and nearly a thousand years after Moses wrote down the "perfect law of liberty". There is even a hint of evidence that remnants of God's Law found their way into the thinking of some leaders in Greece and Rome, but certainly had no overwhelming influence.
What a magnificent approach to the study of world history. First, to learn how things should be and, secondly, to compare and contrast governments down through the ages with the ideal. Can any other teaching method prepare students better to have answers in our day when they are called upon in later years to help restore God's Law to America?
The Majesty of God's Law Ready for Classroom Use
History teachers will find another treasure in Dr. Skousen's newest book--over 800 questions designed to take the student right to the heart of the material. These questions for "reflection and discussion" help students mine nuggets of knowledge by directing them to the most important concepts woven throughout the text.
Serious history teachers will soon recognize this book as an invaluable resource to excite students to learn from world history.
400 High School Students Hear Founders' Story
During the early 1980's, Dr. Skousen or other NCCS instructors were invited annually by the Texas Farm Bureau to teach hundreds of older high school students about the Constitution during a week-long Citizenship Seminar. Due to a change of personnel and emphasis, we had not been invited for several years, but when Tad Duncan was assigned the responsibility for the annual seminar, he immediately saw the need to "return to the basics" and extended to NCCS another invitation for us to present portions of the Making of America to these young people.
Meeting on the campus of Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, each county farm bureau in Texas had carefully selected several older high school students to receive complimentary invitations to the week-long event. I was most impressed with the high quality and character of those young people as I observed and taught them for a few days. Most of these young people are from farming backgrounds, members of FFA and 4H, and are proven leaders in their respective schools. Not once did I see radical or faddish hair, dress, or jewelry. Their talent shows were clean and reflected the moral character of the whole group. I could tell most of these young people had strong religious roots and were not afraid to let their light shine to others. Several staff members remarked to me this was the best group of young people ever assembled in the years they had been supervising.
I had just finished my first reading of The Majesty of God's Law when I arrived in San Angelo, so I was ready to try out some of these concepts as I unfolded to them the story of the Founders. In his book Dr. Skousen refers to "the gift of revelatory diamond dust" (see pages 444-446). I think a little diamond dust settled in on that group of 400 youth during some of our sessions together. They were eager. They were ready for answers. They were teachable and receptive. Judging by the questions and comments afterwards, some of them seemed to feel a sense of excitement that they had finally heard some answers and that there really is a greater day for America ahead--a day in which they will play a major role. It was yet another witness to me that there indeed are great young people in the rising generation. Can you think of a better way to celebrate a 25th birthday?
NCCS is 25 Years Old!
June, 1996 marked 25 years since Dr. Skousen formally organized what is now the National Center for Constitutional Studies. His reasons for doing so can be found in the preface to this . Says he:
"In 1967 a great leader whom I admired and loved said that a crisis was coming to America and the legal minds of the nation were not getting ready to deal with it.
"He indicated to me that the Founding Fathers knew this would happen and they knew what to do about it. He suggested to me, as he had to many other lawyers of his acquaintance, that I take time to get acquainted with the things the Founders knew.
"This dear friend died in 1970 and by that time I had just begun to realize some profound and inspiring things about the Founders I had never known before. Much of it was in their letters and private communications with each other. I found they knew much more about the manifest destiny of America than was in the books I had studied or the commentaries I had read."
Like most young organizations NCCS has had its cycles of ups and downs. However, we feel we are in a better position now to respond to teaching opportunities than we have been in many years. Dr. Skousen, at 83, anxiously watched as the younger ones of us do the travel and teaching. He remains an invaluable advisor and continues to share with us the "diamond dust" he feels at his writing desk. It is significant that The Majesty of God's Law is published on the 25th anniversary of NCCS, for in it one sees the uniqueness of the NCCS message.
NCCS Uniqueness -- The Complete Story of America
There are many organizations attempting to awaken the American people by helping them become aware of what is Constitutional and what isn't. For the good they do we applaud and appreciate them. However, sometimes well meaning people couch their message in fear or gloomy predictions that tend to leave people feeling discouraged and hopeless. We have even noticed some are so forceful in their messages, that the spirit of the Founders is smothered by hard-sell tactics.
While it is true that America has serious problems, only speaking about problems does not always motivate people to do better. Yes, America is controlled by secret combinations of power. Yes, America has departed from the Founders' constitutional division of power designed to protect the people. Yes, people's rights are being violated continually. Yes, it is becoming less likely that just trying to elect better people to go back to Washington is going to solve the problems, even though we must never give up trying. However, the Founders believed America's story would not end in tragedy. They believed is has a bright, glorious destiny.
In a recent commencement address, Dr. Skousen referred to columnist George Will's new book wherein he says that a leveling wind must soon blow over America and taking with it all the graft and corruption and immorality we see so much of in our land today. At that point, says Dr. Skousen, God's Law will begin to be restored to America - the perfect law of liberty, and America will continue then to be a light to all the world. This is America's great destiny. This is the unique message of NCCS. It is the Founders' belief. It gives hope. It gives answers. It is positive.
If you want to thrill at what America will be like after the leveling wind cleanses it, read chapters 31, 33-36 in The Majesty of God's Law. This is the Founders' vision for America. It is the exciting, unique message of NCCS.
Thank you all for you continuing support.
Earl Taylor, Jr.