Perhaps the most famous of Patriot Pastors was the Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg.
In January of 1776 after completing a message from the text, Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” Pastor Muhlenberg stepped down from his pulpit and said, “In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight.” He then removed his clerical robe to reveal the uniform of a Colonial Army officer. That afternoon, he rode off leading 300 men from his congregation to join General George Washington as the Eighth Virginia Cavalry. Pastor Muhlenberg rose to the rank of Major General before the war ended.
It seems that we have been duped as pastors. Over the past 50 years, the job of pastor has changed. We have been told that we are to stay within the four walls of our church, but keep Christ out of the culture. Consequently, our culture is rotting. Pastors have been fed the lie about “the separation of church and state” for so long that they now operate under the ACLU approved guidelines. Fortunately, our founding father pastors did not operate under that delusion.
John Adams, our second President, said that pastors were the primary cause that resulted in America’s independence. In fact, the British Parliament derogatorily called the Baptist, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist pastors in America the “Black Regiment” because they ascended to their pulpits each week in their black, clerical robes and stirred the people’s hearts to liberty.
Consider the roles that pastor’s have played in our nation’s founding.
In 1729, a preacher from Northampton, Massachusetts named Jonathon Edwards began preaching a very unpopular message, “you must be born again.” America was full of churches and lost church members belonging to state sanctioned denominations. Edwards message was that church membership and baptism are irrelevant without with out first having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord. His persistence in New England was infectious and laid the groundwork for the arrival of a young British evangelist named George Whitefield. Whitefield took America by storm. Over the next 30 years ending with his death in 1770, more than 300,000 gave their hearts to Christ in New England alone.
It was this Great Awakening that led to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence which proclaimed that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that the purpose of government was to protect those God given rights. Our Founding Fathers claimed the authority to separate from English rule was granted to them by “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” Most today believe that expression is simply flowery prose written by an Eighteenth Century author. On the contrary, the term “laws of nature” is actually a defined legal term. The Blackstone Commentary on Law was the standard for English Law in England and in America. From this legal textbook, Volume One, Section Two, the “laws of nature” are defined as the will of God for his creation as revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures. In other words, our founding Fathers claimed the authority and foundation of the United States of America rested on the Bible.
Pastoral involvement in America did not end there. The Great Awakening was only the beginning.
When Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride, the British were marching on Lexington to arrest the rebels John Hancock and Sam Adams. It just so happened that Hancock and Adams were staying in the home of Pastor Jonas Clark. As the British approached Lexington his houseguests asked Pastor Clark if his men would fight, to which the pastor replied, “I have trained them for this very hour; they would fight, and, if need be, die, too, under the shadow of the house of God.”
You see that generation of pastor had a Bible in one hand and a musket in the other. They not only preached liberty, but also practiced it by preaching on Sunday morning, having lunch and then drilling with the militia in the afternoon. Their sermons were printed in newspapers and made into tracts and spread throughout the colonies. As elections drew near, the pastor would preach “Election Sermons” to remind his congregation of the Biblical standards they were to maintain as they cast their ballots.
Take for example the influence pastors had on Sam Adams who is called the Father of the American Revolution. Adams wrote the following in an article titled The Rights of the Colonist as Christians, “The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, the rights of the Colonists as Christians may best be understood by reading and carefully studying the institutions of The Great Law Giver and the Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”
Consider Pastor James Caldwell, whose unit ran out of musket wadding during the Battle for Springfield. Pastor Caldwell ran into the church, grabbed stacks of Sir Isaac Watts hymnals instructing his men to use the pages as wadding. The famous expression “give ‘em what for” came from this incident as Pastor Caldwell cried out, “Give ‘em Watts, boys!”
Perhaps the most famous of Patriot Pastors was the Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg. In January of 1776 after completing a message from the text, Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” Pastor Muhlenberg stepped down from his pulpit and said, “In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight.” He then removed his clerical robe to reveal the uniform of a Colonial Army officer. That afternoon, he rode off leading 300 men from his congregation to join General George Washington as the Eighth Virginia Cavalry. Pastor Muhlenberg rose to the rank of Major General before the war ended.
Pastors have served proudly in every capacity of American government including signing the Declaration of Independence, Senators, Representatives even Speaker of the House of Representatives, Major Generals in the Military; a pastor has even sat in the office of President.
The separation of church and state was intended to keep the state out of the church’s business, however the church was still to have great influence of the state’s business.
Consider this quotation from President George Washington during his farewell address: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness…And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”
Noah Webster wrote in the preface of his 1828 Dictionary: “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed…. No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
Webster added in the first public school history book titled “Republican Government”: “It is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian Religion.”
America was not to be ruled by the iron fist of a monarchy. The American Republic was of the people, by the people and for the people. Our Founding Fathers knew that in order for this experiment in government to work a man had to be governed from within. Consequently the Bible was not only the cornerstone of the church, but also the classroom and the government.
France had a revolution of her own within a decade of the conclusion of America’s War of Independence. However instead of building a republic based on the authority of Almighty God and the Holy Scriptures, France sought to deny the very existence of God and build a government on enlightened humanity. France began their calendar over again with year one, choosing to no longer recognizing the birth of Christ. France implemented three, ten-day weeks instead of the Biblically mandated seven-day weeks. Yet by 1830, France was already on her ninth Constitution while America was still on her first. The French statesman Alexis de Tocqueville came to tour America in hopes of finding out why America worked while France failed. He made the following observations:
Ø Religion in America…must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion – for who can search the human heart? – But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.
Ø In the United States the sovereign authority is religious…There is no country in the whole world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.
Ø The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.
We have been lied to for so long, that even Christians have accepted it as the truth. It’s funny, growing up in a pastor’s home I was always taught that it was God who established the three great institutions on the earth.
I was taught that God established the home with Adam and Eve and that a home must be built on the Holy Bible with Christ as the center. To that, every preacher that I have ever met says “Amen.”
I was taught that Christ established the church. Of course every local church must be built on the Word of God and centered on Jesus Christ. To that, every preacher that I have ever met says “Amen.”
I was also taught that God Himself established human government after Noah came out of the ark. It stands to reason that human government must be built on the Word of God and centered on Jesus Christ. Yet to that, every preacher chooses to remain silent.
Our Founding Fathers believed it. The Patriot Pastors believed it. I believe it. We had better understand as America Christians that we are living in the only time in history where true Christianity was not openly persecuted. Beginning at the first church in Jerusalem, true Christians have face torture and martyrdom from the Sanhedrin, the Pagan Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Empire, Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany and even today in every Communistic, Atheistic, or Islamic nation on earth. Only by the grace of God as He worked through the lives of our Patriot Pastors and Faithful Founding Fathers do we have the blessing of the liberty, which we take for granted.
Most certainly Jesus Christ is coming again. He could come today. As I look at the events surrounding Jerusalem today, I can see evidence of His imminent return. But what if He tarries for ten years? What if He tarries for fifty years? Will our children and grandchildren face martyrdom for their faith here in Atheist America or Socialist America or an America under the authority of Sharia Law?
Just as God warned Israel in Deuteronomy 6 and 8, don’t forget who you are as a people and who I am as your God. If you do, I’ll take you out of the land. We are guilty of the same ignorance; we have forgotten who God is and who we are.
Our only hope is for another Great Awakening, but there will not be a revival in the church until there first is a revival in the pulpit. I pray that the Holy Spirit will stir the hearts of my pastor brethren and that God would raise up another generation of the Black Regiment.