John Witherspoon: Christ is my only King
John Witherspoon was born in Gifford, Scotland on February 15, 1723 to the Reverend James Alexander Witherspoon and Miss Anne Walker. As John grew into a young man, he followed in his father’s footsteps attending the University of Edinburgh where he earned a Master of Arts degree and studied to master the field of divinity.
While Witherspoon wasn’t away at school he wrote three prominent works on theology entitled the “Ecclesiastical Characteristics” and also practiced as an evangelical minister for the Church of Scotland.This is also where he married the love of his life, Miss Elizabeth Montgomery. During their long lives together the couple brought forth ten children with only five surviving unto the age of adulthood.
During his student career Witherspoon was bestowed the titles of Master of Arts, Bachelor of Divinity and the Doctorate of Divinity by the University of St. Andrews. While his life thus far was riddled with academic excellence, every life has a defining moment . . . and for John Witherspoonthis moment is often summed up into four words . . . “the Declaration of Independence.”
Witherspoon is noted as one of the founding fathers of the United States of America and played a major role in not only creating our country’s by laws but also in constructing its moral code. To think that from a nation full of people, full of thoughts and ideas John was given the grace to draw the very lines of a country and to change the face of what it meant to be free inspires many still today.
While this HUGE moment defined American history, John’s role in bringing Christianity to America and the role Christianity played in the molding of our early nation is much larger than many people know or realize. Witherspoon went on to compose and edit the first King James Bible, the very first Bible distributed in the United States of America. This version of the Holy Bible is said to be the most used in the world.
However, at the time of editing, due to his strong moral convictions and strong rooted Christian faith Witherspoon was said to have had a difficult time printing the name “King James” on the Bibles. He said that Christ was the “only king.”
John Witherspoon passed away November 15, 1794 on his family farm in Tusculum. His life served as a living testament to the simple truth that when you place your faith and knowledge into creating something grand the finished product will be nothing short of spectacular. At the time of his passing John had lived his own words stating “To promote true religion is the best and most effectual way of making a virtuous and regular people. Love to God and love to man is the substance of religion.”