The Bible and the Constitution

By Luther Blackmon

When Colonel David Crockett was making the race for a second term in the congress, he stopped one day to speak with a man who was plowing. When he introduced himself the man said, “Yes, I know you Mr. Crockett. I voted for, you last time, but I won’t do it this time.” Crockett asked the man why he had changed his mind about him. “Well,” said the farmer, “you either do not understand the meaning of the constitution, or you don’t respect it. In either case you are not a good man to send to congress.”

Crockett was dumfounded. He knew that he respected the constitution and thought he understood it. He asked the man to explain himself. “Gladly,” said the farmer, “You voted to appropriate $20,000.00 for those people in Georgia who lost their homes in the big fire.” Crockett was further puzzled and said, “Surely you don’t object to helping those unfortunate citizens.” “No,” replied the man, “I am not opposed to helping people in distress. But there is nothing in the constitution that allows appropriations for charity, Mr. Crockett. If so, where is it?” Crockett spent the night with this man, and they talked far into the night. The farmer said, “The money you fellows handle was paid into the treasury by the people who elected you. The people expect you to appropriate that money according to the rules laid down in the constitution. The constitution is their only safeguard. Twenty thousand is not a lot of money, and the cause for which you spent it is a noble one. But it was a violation of our constitution. And when congressmen take such liberty with the constitution, no matter how small the amount or worthy the cause, they set a precedent that will ultimately destroy the meaning and power of the constitution. Once that is done, there will be no safeguard. The amount could just as easily have been twenty million and the cause not so worthy. We can find a way to help our distressed citizens without violating the rules of the constitution.”

Crockett said the man convinced him that he had done wrong in doing what he thought was a good thing. He promised the farmer and his friends that never again would he be guilty of such.

The Bible is the constitution of God’s Church. Wouldn’t it be fine if all the preachers were as honest as Davey Crockett, and all the brethren knew the Bible as well as that man of the soil knew the constitution? And wouldn’t it save all of us a lot of grief and perhaps our souls if we had as much respect for the Bible as the farmer had for the constitution? If people would start making the preachers produce Bible authority for all their teaching and practice, there would be a religious revolution. The sincere ones would have to change some of their preaching and practice and the others would be eliminated.

Truth Magazine, XVIII:38, p. 2
August 1, 1974