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Course offers biblical view on law, history

Madison Mathews • Jan 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM

A 12-week series focusing on a biblical view of law, government and American history will enter its second week on Wednesday.

The class at Westminster Presbyterian Church is being taught by Greeneville lawyer Jeffrey A. Cobble over the course of the next several months.

Cobble is a graduate of the Regent University School of Law and has served as an affiliate attorney with The Rutherford Institute, the National Legal Foundation and the American Center for Law and Justice. He is a member of the Federalist Society and the Christian Legal Society, as well as a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association.

Using video presentations from Dr. John Eidsmoe, a constitutional attorney who has successfully litigated court cases involving First Amendment religious freedom, Cobble will facilitate the discussion on that particular session and how each lesson relates to current events.

The class will cover a wide variety of topics, beginning with the discovery and early evangelization of America before focusing on the creation of the Declaration of Independence. From that point, the class will devote the following sessions to the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the changes in how society has viewed our constitutional heritage since its inception.

One of the goals of the class, according to Cobble, is to “set the record straight” in terms of how American history has often been treated in history books.

While the class is taught from a biblical perspective, Cobble said it’s a class that is open to all schools of thought. In addition to covering much of the history behind the creation of the Constitution, Cobble also will address how society has treated religion in terms of its relation to law and government.

“The thing is we think we can discuss history and we think we can live today in a religiously neutral environment. I believe that once a person fully understands the principles of logic, the principles of law, the principles of morality, a person will be persuaded that no one can live in an environment free of religious influence,” he said.

Cobble added that this is a viewpoint that is very much a part of today’s society and that trying to create an atmosphere that is “religiously neutral” is something that can be seen in the country’s school system and courthouses.

Cobble said a person’s belief will ultimately dictate how they live, whether they be Christian, atheist or Buddhist, which is why it’s impossible to have a society built on religious neutrality.

“We believe that to properly understand the role of government, the role of law, that we must understand the philosophical basis and the moral and religious basis upon which our entire culture rests and our culture must choose which we are going to be. We cannot be everything to all people,” he said.

Cobble said he wants people who take the class — no matter what they believe — to walk away knowing that they should become more proactive when it comes to getting involved with the process of government and not to be so apathetic toward important issues that do shape society.

“It’s time for us to awaken and understand that our founders gave us a country — a republic, not a democracy — and said it was our gift if we could keep it,” he said.

The class is free to the public. For those who want credit for the course, a book of course materials is available for $50. A certificate of completion is available for those who complete the coursework, tests and other assignments. No credit is given for those who join after the third session.

Westminster Presbyterian Church is located at 2343 Knob Creek Road in north Johnson City.

For more information about the church or the class, visit www.westminster-jc.org or call 283-4643.

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