Faith and Liberty Rediscovered

Faith and Liberty Discovery Center

In each episode, we investigate the people behind historically significant events in American history while also exploring the direct connection between faith and liberty in America from its founding to today. All from the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center located in the heart of our nation’s birthplace: On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Together, We’ll bring history to life in a fun and accessible way by leveraging relevant segments, guests, and exploring topics that allow us to discuss our Nation’s history and a fresh and new format.

Welcome to Faith & Liberty Rediscovered
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Hear how the greatest sermon of the millennium inspired one of America’s greatest presidents on this special episode of Faith and Liberty Rediscovered with Alan Crippen.Ronald Reagan, for nearly two decades, had spoken about a "shining city on a hill", an allusion to the gospel of Matthew chapter 5 and verse 14. Historians would later recognize this biblical image to signify the president’s political vision in moral and economic terms. In his parting words to the nation, Reagan revisited this image and explained its meaning. "In my mind [that shining city] built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here," Reagan said. "That's how I saw it and see it still.” The conviction, clarity, and eloquence with which Reagan spoke is remarkable. There’s a reason this speech is famous and still rings true today. But, what inspired Reagan’s words? What gripped his heart with such conviction? The great President was inspired by a great sermon. In fact, it was called the greatest sermon of the millennium by Harvard University’s Peter Gomes. The sermon was entitled, “A Model of Christian Charity” and was written and delivered by a Puritan named John Winthrop. John Winthrop was a statesman who sought to bring all British institutions under the kingship of Christ. As a Suffolk County squire and magistrate, he tried to reform the British justice system and the Church of England, but King Charles I and his regime thwarted those efforts. The King dissolved Parliament (a bastion of Puritan influence) in 1628, and arrested and imprisoned nine of its leading Puritan members. That's when Winthrop and others decided to set sail for the English colonies in America, where they hoped to create a culture of Christian faith and discipline.Among Winthrop's most influential actions for the future of America was his investment in a faith-based venture capital company, the Governor & Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, where he quickly rose to prominence as its CEO.  The company would help make a new England in the wilds of America. It was to be a model society for a watching world. Winthrop said that this could not be “a better or more honorable work” to undertake.Winthrop applied manpower to his vision by assembling in Southampton’s port a fleet of ships—the Arbella, Talbot, Ambrose, and Jewel—that transported more than 1,000 colonists to Salem, Mass. It was in this pivotal moment that Winthrop gave his "Christian Charity" sermon, in which he offered no certainty of success. In fact, borrowing from nautical imagery that certainly could not have been lost on his hearers, who were about to hazard their lives at sea, Winthrop posits the possibility of a political shipwreck. Then he says, “Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck and to provide for our posterity is to follow the counsel of Micah: to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.” Winthrop closed his sermon: “We are entered into a covenant with Him for this work…. For we must consider that we shall be like a City upon a Hill; the eyes of all people are upon us.” One of the most important features of this story is Winthrop’s integrative vision for faith-inspired economics and politics – that the Massachusetts Bay Colony was as much a Biblical economic vision as it was a political vision. In other words, Winthrop understood the virtue of love was the basis for economic and political prosperity. Reagan understood this as well.  The late president remains a conservative icon because, like Winthrop, he was a “fusionist” who melded religiously motivated social ideals and values with economic principles. For a nation revisiting its own first principles, perhaps a closer look at Winthrop is in order. His story offers an example for the integration of economic and social concerns under a compelling biblical vision of love for society. When faith guides liberty toward justice the shining city is in Reagan’s words, “built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace. That was the vision of Winthrop and Reagan…and I hope by God’s grace, ours as well. Faith guides Liberty toward Justice.Faith and Liberty Rediscovered features conversations that investigate the people behind historically significant events in American history while also exploring the direct connection between faith and liberty in America from its founding to today. All from the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center which is located in the heart of our nation’s birthplace: On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Together, We’ll bring history to life in a fun and accessible way by leveraging relevant segments, guests, and exploring topics that allow us to discover our Nation’s history in a fresh and new format. Be sure to subscribe in the podcast platform of your choice.

Aug 16

6 min 18 sec

By 1914 the world’s European colonial powers were so entangled in complicated treaty alliances that if triggered by a single political incident, they might invariably ignite a powder keg leading to a multinational war. On the stage of international affairs, saber-rattling had become the diplomatic norm, and with the expansion of colonial powers around the globe, these tensions created a very unstable world. Such instability and fear-fueled an arms race with technological innovations to develop the first weapons of mass destruction in history. Was a Great War -- a world war -- to be inevitable?  There was certainly a clear and present danger to world peace heretofore unseen. In the United States, however, a man who refused to accept the inevitability of war served as America’s senior diplomat. He believed in peace and in the effectiveness of mediation for international disputes. While the world went into full-scale production of combat weaponry, this man was literally melting them down.“They shall beat their swords into plowshares.” This ancient biblical prospect of peace envisioned by the prophet Isaiah was the inspiration for William Jennings Bryan, the U.S. Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson. Byran, a devout Presbyterian was gifted with the art of persuasion and guided by biblical principles of human dignity, peace, and hope. Bryan traveled the world in pursuit of treaty agreements. The Bryan Treaties were a bilateral agreement for the “advancement of peace” and stipulated a conciliation process between signatories.  Remarkably, he was able to negotiate at least 30 treaties with world nations that bound them to pursue honest arbitration before descending into war. With a pearl of salt-of-the-earth wisdom that is so often lacking on the political stage, Bryan simply believed that cooler heads would prevail. Thirty countries agreed. In a day that was rapidly darkening under the encroaching clouds of a world war, to get thirty nations to slow down to leave room for settlement was no small feat. William Jennings Bryan was no small man. A moment ago, I mentioned that while the world went into full-scale production of combat weaponry, one man was melting them down. That’s because ahead of his diplomatic efforts in 1913 and ‘14, Bryan asked the U.S. War Department to meltdown decommissioned swords in order to literally turn them into plowshares. Well, mini-ones at least. Bryan, you see, had prepared to give each of the treaty signatories a commemorative paperweight in the shape of a plowshare. It was a gift that would serve as a symbol of biblical peace and a tangible token of hope for the nations. Each paperweight was inscribed with Isaiah 2:4, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares.” Additionally,  on one side of the paperweight was inscribed, “Nothing is final between friends”, and on the other, “Diplomacy is the art of keeping cool.” In retrospect, the infamous Guns of August 1914 prevailed, and a second World War followed after that. Yet Bryan’s efforts for peace were motivated by a faith that guides liberty toward justice. His ideals appealed to what Lincoln famously described as “our better angels.” In calling nations to the biblical prospect of world peace, he raised the sights of the possible. Was his idealism an illusion? Or is it possible for nations to embrace a biblical ideal for peace without illusions? In this fallen world, perhaps, as it has been said, there are times when peace can only be found on the other side of war. Regardless, Bryan was right believing that only the cool heads can know when those inevitable moments are. Bryan’s opposition to America’s entry into World War One led to his resignation as Secretary of State in 1915. But, his influence carried on. Not the least of which was in the form of thirty paperweights that sat on desks of nations -- reminders of the prophet’s promise of a better world to come. They were an act of faith guiding liberty toward justice.

Aug 2

5 min 56 sec

The famous names of James Fenimore Cooper and Daniel Day-Lewis are now linked by a classic novel turned blockbuster movie. The author and actor are each best known for bringing the epic romance, The Last of the Mohicans, to life. But, you may be interested to discover that these famous three-name personalities are connected to another man…with a simple name. The work that made James Fenimore Cooper and Daniel Day-Lewis famous may have never come to be without the contribution of the American founder John Jay. John Jay was a leader whose knowledge of the Bible and expertise in law along with his love for liberty made him an American patriot and central actor in the First and Second Continental Congresses. In fact, during the First Congress Jay’s appeal to the British people for liberty and justice on behalf of the American colonies would later be referenced by Thomas Jefferson. The sage of Monitcello described Jay’s “Address to the People of Great Britain”  as “a production certainly of the finest pen in America”. Although attempts at peaceful diplomatic conciliation were ultimately rejected by the Parliament and the Crown, Jay’s efforts to avoid the bloodshed of war are legendary. Jay’s overt contributions to the cause of Independence were in leadership, statecraft, and diplomacy. But, make no mistake about the power of his pen. For example, late in 1776 and just months after independence was declared, the Continental Army had suffered multiple defeats including the loss and evacuation of New York City. Washington’s leadership was challenged and his rag-tag army was on the run across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. Things looked bleak for the cause. Yet in these dire circumstances Jay’s faith in the cause was unwavering. He delivered a sermon-like message to the legislature of New York to bolster their spirits and rally their resolve with reference to a story from the Hebrew Bible saying, “If then, God hath given us freedom, are we responsible to him for that, as well as other talents? If it be our birthright, let us not sell it for a mess of pottage, nor suffer it to be torn from us by the hand of violence! If the means of defence are in our power and we do not make use of them, what excuse shall we make to our children and our Creator?” Jay’s words were like shots of adrenaline to the beleaguered patriots. Washington rallied his army to a counterattack by crossing the Delaware River and making the famed victory at the Battle of Trenton.Such were his public leadership efforts. But, there were covert and clandestine actions too. Things got even more interesting. You see, John Jay was also a spymaster and coordinated both espionage and counterespionage activities in New York.  That’s right, the future Chief Justice of the United States, Governor of New York, and later president of American Bible Society…ran a spy ring during the Revolutionary War. And this brings us back to James Fenimore Cooper. You see, five years before he wrote his renowned book, “The Last of the Mohicans”, Cooper published his breakthrough best-selling novel, “The Spy”. The storyline of this novel was based on declassified information obtained from Jay in a personal interview with Cooper. As it turns out, Jay’s son Judge William Jay was a personal friend of Cooper’s and arranged an interview for the budding author at the Jay homestead in Bedford, NY. “The Spy” was a hit, Cooper’s career was launched, and as they say, the rest is history. Faith and Liberty Rediscovered features conversations that investigate the people behind historically significant events in American history while also exploring the direct connection between faith and liberty in America from its founding to today. All from the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center which is located in the heart of our nation’s birthplace: On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Together, We’ll bring history to life in a fun and accessible way by leveraging relevant segments, guests, and exploring topics that allow us to discover our Nation’s history in a fresh and new format. Be sure to subscribe in the podcast platform of your choice.

Jul 19

5 min 16 sec

Long before he was the face of a popular American beer, Samuel Adams was a leading star in the cause of freedom. In fact, though the family business did supply local breweries with malted barley, the drink with which Sam Adams was associated in the 1770s, was tea. The Boston Tea Party was just one of several moments that positioned Adams as one of the earliest and most powerful voices sounding the alarm in Boston against British tyranny. On April 18th, 1775 British General Thomas Gage dispatched a unit of Red Coats to Concord, Massachusetts. Numerous accounts reflect that one of Gage’s goals was the capture and arrest of the firebrand Sam Adams and his friend, John Hancock. Amazingly, this British engagement is what prompted Paul Revere’s famous ride and led to the opening skirmishes at Lexington and Concord. As word spread of Adams’ role as a target of Gage, so too did his popularity among the people. As a delegate to the 2nd Continental Congress, he took his advocacy to Philadelphia and prevailed. So impactful was his presence in the room, Thomas Jefferson would be quoted as saying, “If there was any Palinurus to the Revolution, Samuel Adams was the man.” And on the 4th of July, 1776 Adams joined his fellow patriots in putting pen to parchment in the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. But, Adams’ work wasn’t done. One might argue that his greatest contributions to the revolutionary cause of freedom were still to come. You see, in order for liberty’s cause to succeed, it couldn’t have merely been the vision of delegates and statesmen. It needed to be the people’s vision…the people’s cause. The war needed to be seen as of the people, by the people, and for the people. Without the spirit, grit, and determination of the common man, the fight for freedom would surely have failed. Samuel Adams was a man of the people and a voice that inspired a nation. One month after the Declaration was signed, Adams stood on the steps of the State House in Philadelphia (later Independence Hall) to deliver one of his many messages to the people. He sought to remind them that they were no less precious to God than the British king. “Were the talents and virtues which Heaven has bestowed upon men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambitions of the few? … What an affront to the King of the universe, to maintain that the happiness of a monster sunk in debauchery and spreading desolation and murder among men, of a Caligula, a Nero, or a Charles [King Charles I of England], is more precious in His sight than that of millions of His supplicant creatures, who do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God [Micah 6:8]! No! In the judgment of Heaven, there is no other superiority among men than a superiority in wisdom and virtue. And can we have a safer model in forming ours? The Deity, then, has not given any order or family of men authority over others, and if any men have given it, they only could give it for themselves.” Speeches like these from Adams and others galvanized the people’s faith in the biblical truth that individuals are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. The people would fight against the chains of tyranny and by God’s grace, they would win.  I speak to you today just steps away from Independence Hall and the very steps where Samuel Adams stood 245 years ago to deliver his message of freedom. It’s the 4th of July and the buzz of patriotism still fills the air. Moreover,  gratitude still fills my heart for the freedom we continue to enjoy thanks in part to men like Samuel Adams, whose faith guided liberty toward justice.Faith and Liberty Rediscovered features conversations that investigate the people behind historically significant events in American history while also exploring the direct connection between faith and liberty in America from its founding to today. All from the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center which is located in the heart of our nation’s birthplace: On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Together, We’ll bring history to life in a fun and accessible way by leveraging relevant segments, guests, and exploring topics that allow us to discover our Nation’s history in a fresh and new format. Be sure to subscribe in the podcast platform of your choice.

Jul 5

5 min 46 sec

When titles like Prophet and Apostle are frequently ascribed, the person in view is someone of great stature and influence. Such is the case with the 18th-century minister and Civil Rights leader, Richard Allen. Born into bondage as a slave, Allen came to know Christ and found ultimate freedom in the gospel. Remarkably, his faith-filled life made such a profound impact on his “master” that he allowed Allen to purchase his freedom and live as a doubly free man. Allen used his newfound liberty to minister the gospel and fight for racial equality. His voice for Christ and for change still speaks volumes today. In this way, ascriptions like Prophet and Apostle are perhaps apropos, after all. The eminence of Richard Allen and his story is nearly impossible to overstate. Join us as we explore the life and influence of this Black founding prophet of Faith and Liberty on this episode of Faith and Liberty Rediscovered! Our guest experts provide a brief summary of Richard Allen’s life (3:28)“Freedom’s Prophet”: Why this Old Testament title is descriptive of Allen (7:34)A Portrait worthy of a Prophet (10:27)Another biblical title is also fitting for this principle figure of vision and truth (16:16)“Do not make us blacker than we are” (18:49)Allen’s remarkable relationship with his “master”, Stokley Sturgis (22:02)“No heaven, but yet a haven for people of color” - Philadelphia in the 1780s (31:15)Allen sparks the first Civil Rights act at St. George’s Methodist Church (39:15)The Free African Society is founded (44:27)Allen’s compatriot, mentor, and friend, Absalom Jones (47:24)How a Pandemic revealed Allen’s merciful heart and indomitable will (55:30)Sowing the seeds of Abolition that were watered and harvested by Fredrick Douglas and others (1:04:12)The immigration option: Allen’s frustration with America’s lack of change led him to dream of equality elsewhere (1:08:17)Richard Allen’s incredible spirit and message still echoes today (1:10:34)Special thanks to Dr. Richard Newman and Leonard Dozier for their incredible insights today. Faith and Liberty Rediscovered features conversations that investigate the people behind historically significant events in American history while also exploring the direct connection between faith and liberty in America from its founding to today. All from the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center which is located in the heart of our nation’s birthplace: On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Together, We’ll bring history to life in a fun and accessible way by leveraging relevant segments, guests, and exploring topics that allow us to discover our Nation’s history in a fresh and new format. Be sure to subscribe to the platform of your choice or visit podcast.faithandliberty.org for more information.

Apr 30

1 hr 16 min

In just the 72 short years between the Presidential inaugurations of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the landscape of America had shifted dramatically. In 1789, citizens lined the streets to catch a celebratory glimpse of the esteemed General as he made his journey to take the oath of office. Lincoln, on the other hand, had to be disguised and smuggled to the capitol due to riots and the potential for violence. The first inauguration served to commemorate a nation coming together as one, in pursuit of the dream for a more perfect Union. By 1861, the fabric of that Union was tearing at the seams as the nation spiraled toward civil war. By the time Lincoln stood to deliver his inaugural address, seven states had already seceded the Union, and cries of “not my president” were in the wind. The nation was divided and the fate of the American project hung in the balance. What would Lincoln say as he stepped to the podium? How would he lead this nation in crisis and what could we learn in a day that seems all too familiar to his? Let’s dive in!The national and political climate around the Presidential election of 1860 (4:30)The emergence and election of the Illinois lawyer, Abraham Lincoln (9:15)“Not my President” - The contentious context ahead of Lincoln’s Inauguration (22:42)Lincoln channels Washington as he bids farewell to Springfield and makes an eventful journey to the nation’s capital (29:56)Breaking down Lincoln’s speech (33:15)Confronting the Southern secession (34:58)The Bible’s presence and influence in the oath (36:16)An Exposition of the Constitution in refutation of the Confederate secession (37:42)Acknowledging the active presence of God and the nation’s need of His mercy (49:01)Collective faith will lead a nation toward true justice (55:26)Lincoln concludes his speech with a powerful and tender woo toward Union (1:02:19) In light of Lincoln’s speech, what advice would you give President Biden ahead of his inauguration address this week? (1:10:55)Special thanks to Dr. Morrison and Dr. Den Hartog for their incredible insights today. Faith and Liberty Rediscovered features conversations that investigate the people behind historically significant events in American history while also exploring the direct connection between faith and liberty in America from its founding to today. All from the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center which is located in the heart of our nation’s birthplace: On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Together, We’ll bring history to life in a fun and accessible way by leveraging relevant segments, guests, and exploring topics that allow us to discover our Nation’s history in a fresh and new format. Be sure to subscribe in the podcast platform of your choice.

Jan 18

1 hr 13 min

Stirred by duty and endowed with humility, our nation’s first President stepped to the podium on April 30th, 1789 to deliver the first inaugural address. The timeless speech that followed reveals the nobility of George Washington’s character and motivations that stand in sharp contrast with much of what passes in the political realm today. The precedence he set was one of patriotism, not partisanship; constitutionality, not re-electability; dependence not arrogance. There is so much to learn from our nation’s 1st President and his 1st Inauguration on this, the inaugural episode of Faith and Liberty Rediscovered!Can you imagine a Presidential inauguration devoid of any reference to a political party? Can you conceive of a day where an entire nation celebrated a first-term President who had no interest in a second? What about a Presidential cabinet that was intentionally inclusive of competing coalitions of thought? Can you fathom an inauguration day that ended with the entire executive branch together, in church? What may seem like dreams were realities in April of 1789. The incredibly divisive climate surrounding the 46th Presidential inauguration compels us to look back at our nation’s 1st and see what we might learn.Stirred by duty and endowed with humility, our nation’s first President stepped to the podium on April 30th, 1789 to deliver the first inauguration address. The timeless speech that followed reveals the nobility of George Washington’s character and motivations that stand in sharp contrast with much of what passes in the political realm today. The precedence he set was one of patriotism, not partisanship; constitutionality, not re-electability; dependence not arrogance. There is so much to learn from our nation’s 1st President and his 1st Inauguration on this, the inaugural episode of Faith and Liberty Rediscovered! Let’s dive in!The Context surrounding the inauguration of our nation’s 1st President (5:47)The Unique and Unanimous Election of George Washington (10:04)The Precedent-setting Events of Inauguration Day, 1789 (17:37)The President’s Attire (20:10)The use of the Bible in Taking the Oath of Office (23:00)The Executive Branch goes to Church (28:09)The great General trembled at the gravity of the moment and the office (33:40)Breaking down Washington’s Timeless Speech (44:30)Robust Theological Moorings (45:00)Constitutional Vision (1:01:29)In light of the 1st Inaugural, what advice would you give President-Elect Biden ahead of his inaugural address? (1:10:50)Special thanks to Dr. Morrison and Dr. Den Hartog for their incredible insights today. Faith and Liberty Rediscovered features conversations that investigate the people behind historically significant events in American history while also exploring the direct connection between faith and liberty in America from its founding to today. All from the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center which is located in the heart of our nation’s birthplace: On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Together, We’ll bring history to life in a fun and accessible way by leveraging relevant segments, guests, and exploring topics that allow us to discover our Nation’s history in a fresh and new format.

Jan 18

1 hr 14 min

In each episode, we investigate the people behind historically significant events in American history while also exploring the direct connection between faith and liberty in America from its founding to today. All from the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center located in the heart of our nation’s birthplace: On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jan 8

1 min 45 sec