Well these three rambling diatribes against Holy God, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, The Bible and Christianity led Harvard and other American colleges and those in the northeastern upper crust into full blown atheism! From there, America began its rapid descent into all kinds of cults and christian-themed "religions" in the 1800's, to the point where we are today, where some people boo God at a political convention! This Trifecta of books, by the THEN three top literary minds of atheism, is the Trio from Hell! These trailblazing books provided the unholy scriptures for the new crop of followers of the god of this world, who had unbridled freedom now that the Continental Army and American Independence gave everyone in America, the freedom to be whatever you wished to be!
As mentioned before, Charles Chauncy, the man who hated the First Great Awakening which led to millions being saved in America and the Gospel spreading across the land, moved Unitarianism into the fore. Harvard, where he was in the leadership, later became one of those institutions influenced by Chancy. Unitarianism, by the way, according to Webster's Dictionary, is a denomination that stresses individual freedom of belief, the free use of reason in religion, a united world community, and liberal social action.
In case you think I am overreacting and blaming these men for the people who booed the Name of God at a convention, the point has been missed. Once these men departed from the Gospel and started thinking what men like George Whitefield and Wesley and Edwards were doing, was uncouth and not done in "polite society"....and once they had the power to do something about it, the die was cast! What Chauncy did was despicable. He ditched the Bible for his Unitarian sermons and started preaching out of Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason"! It took a long time to get where we are today, but it had to start somewhere - and it started with Chauncy and Unitarianism, period.
Next to Paine's book, the great American Revolutionary War Hero Ethan Allen was the next most virulent anti-Christ. This is the same Ethan Allen that they named furniture stores after. His "Reason, the Only Oracle of Man" was an incoherent tome to paganism, yet the young men of New England lapped it up. The most outrageous statements by Allen were his writings blaspheming the Holy Spirit - the unforgiveable sin. Allen said "the doctrine of the Trinity is destitute of foundation and tends manifestly to superstition and idolatry"1. He was no different than the pharisees who stupidly (for their eternal souls) attacked Jesus and called Him all kinds of demonic names.
The third and final book of this Terrible Trio of Tomes, which has led so many into eternal torment, was actually written by a former Baptist pastor who was chased out of the ministry by the congregation, named Elihu Palmer! The ex-pastor once said of his fellow pagan Tom Paine that he "was.....the most useful man that ever existed on the face of the earth"2!!! Apparently, Palmer did not care or remember a thing about Jesus Christ! His book is called again ".
Palmer's book "Principles of Nature" contained even more heresy and blasphemy than Ethan Allen's book, this man was so lost. He said of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ "....the simple truth is that their pretended Savior is nothing more than an illegitimate Jew, and their hopes of salvation through Him rest on no better foundation than that of fornication and adultery" 3,4! Elihu Palmer now has an eternity to regret writing, saying and believing those things....just like all the others who "loved and admired" his "enlightened and reasoned" work! These men, others like them and their young admirers were the ones who rallied around Jefferson. This shocked the still involved and decent Founding Fathers John Adams and Patrick "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" Henry to no end. George Washington was horrified. Things were so bad, and especially between the Second US President John Adams and the pluralist/Deist Jefferson that a personal hatred developed between the two men. Adams was more concerned about the declining morals of the new country and finally called for a National Fast on April 25, 1799! This is something you will not see again in these days of anti-Christian bigotry in the media and politics.
While these three major books - most of them poorly written by all accounts - were the founding documents of American Atheism, God was (and always is) on the move! From the dawn of Time until now, He has His men in place everywhere. Even in ancient Israel, which had gone completely pagan worshipping idols and more, God told the great prophet Elijah that He had 7000 men in Israel who did NOT follow the majority of that extinct nation (until 1948). Right around the time of President John Adam's National Fast, preachers like Lyman Beecher; Ashbel Green and Jonathan Edwards grandson Timothy Dwight, were getting ready to launch the Second Great Awakening. God was moving to revive His elect and send preachers into the new Frontiers of the West!
New England has never recovered from those men we have discussed this past week - Chauncy, Paine, Allen, Palmer and their friends from the French Revolution....but the Gospel and the men of God like Asbury; Peter Cartwright; Sheffey; Moody and more brought hope to the new West that only folks, who are completely surrendered to Christ, can do.
Great is the Lord! Great is His Name! Great is He Who is Worthy to Be Praised! Amen.
RECOMMENDED BOOK: WHY REVIVAL TARRIES BY LEONARD RAVENHILL
1. Reason The Only Oracle of Man by Ethan Allen (Bennington Vt 1784) pp 352, 356
2. Principles of Nature by Elihu Palmer (London 1823) pg 112
3. Ibid pg 25
4. Ibid pg 23