History is selectively taught and I can almost guarantee that nowhere in our children’s history books is written the truth of our nation’s founding.
The Black Robe Regiment was a name the British bestowed upon the clergy during the American Revolution. They saw the American Church pulpit as largely responsible for our independence and our government. John Adams said that “the pulpit had thundered” and specifically identified several ministers as among the “characters the most conspicuous, the most ardent, and influential” in the “awakening a revival of American principles and feelings” that led to our independence. These ministers, like their Puritan predecessors were bold and fearless in the cause of their country. According to F. G. Morris, historian, 1864, “no class of men contributed more to carry forward the Revolution and to achieve our Independence than did the ministers. . .by their prayers, patriotic sermons and services, [they] rendered the highest assistance to the civil government, the army, and the country.”
Alex Baldwin, 1918 historian said the “the Constitutional Convention and the written Constitution were the children of the pulpit.” In 1953, historian Clinton Rossiter wrote that “Had ministers been the only spokesman of the rebellion – had Jefferson, the Adamses, and [James] Otis never appeared in print – the political thought of the Revolution would have followed almost exactly the same line. . .In the sermons of the patriot ministers. . .we find expressed every possibly refinement of the reigning political faith.”
Early clergy were faithful to God’s word and applied its principles to every aspect of life, shaping our institutions and culture. They were also at the forefront in proclaiming liberty, resisting tyranny, and opposing any encroachment on our God given rights and freedoms. Noah Webster said “the learned clergy. . .had great influence in founding the first genuine republican governments ever formed and which, with all the faults and defects of the men and their laws, were the best republican governments on earth. At this moment, the people of this country are indebted chiefly to their institutions for the rights and privileges which are enjoyed.”
When British Governor Edmund Andros tried to seize the charters of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts and revoke their representative governments, ministers Samuel Willard, Increase Mather, and John Wise led the opposition. Wise was even imprisoned for his resistence. When Governor Berkley refused to recognize Virginia’s self-government, Quaker minister William Edmundson and Pastor Thomas Harrison led the opposition. When Governor William Burnet dissolved the New Hampshire legislature, or Governor Botetourt tried to dissolve the Virginia House of Burgesses, or Governor James Wright tried to disband the Georgia Assembly, it was the clergy who led the resistance.
Ministers George Whitefield and Timothy Dwight became some of the earliest leaders to advocate separation from Britain.
But, they did not just preach and teach the principles that led to our Independence, they also participated on the battlefield to secure that Independence. It was a minister, Jonas Clark, who led the first battle against the British in Lexington, accompanied by his parishioners. Historian J.T. Headley, 1964 wrote that “the teachings of the pulpit of Lexington caused the first blow to be struck for American Independence.” Historian James Adams wrote in 1864 that “the patriotic preachings of the Reverend Jonas Clark primed those guns.”
Other ministers, with their congregations joined in battles against the British – Phillip Payson of Boston, Benjamin Balch of Boston who would later become the first Continental Navy Chaplain, David Avery of Boston, Stephen Farrar of New Hampshire, David Grosvenor of Bunker Hill, Thomas Reed of Philadelphia, John Steele, Isaac Lewis of Connecticut, Joseph Willard, James Latta, William Graham, John Craighead, John Blair Smith, president of Hampden-Sidney College, James Hall, Naphtali Daggett, President of Yale, etc.
When the Revolution ended, ministers led the movement for a federal constitution. When the Constitution was finally completed and submitted to the states for ratification, nearly 4 dozen ministers were elected as ratifying delegates. Ministers were intimately involved in every aspect of introducing, defining, and securing America’s civil and religious liberties.
A 1789 D.C. paper reported that “Our truly patriotic clergy boldly and zealously stepped forth and bravely stood our distinguished sentinels to watch and warn us against approaching danger; they wisely saw that our religious and civil liberties were inseparably connected and therefore warmly excited and animated the people resolutely to oppose and repel every hostile invader. . .May the virtue, zeal and patriotism of our clergy be ever particularly remembered.”
“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” John Adams
America is in a state of decline. Government is financially insolvent, unemployment is skyrocketing, our president has made Congress irrelevant through the use of czars, appointees and executive orders, tradition family values are eroding, public education has failed and corruption is rampant in all levels of government.
Where are the Christian ministers in addressing the direction of our country? Is it no longer their responsibility to raise voices in opposition? Will you watch this great nation self-destruct and do nothing?
“The blessings and protections of Heaven are at all times necessary but essentially so in times of public distress and danger. . .man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of this country.” George Washington
You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the industrious out of existence. You can’t multiply wealth by dividing it. Government cannot give everything to everybody without taking it from someone.
“If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” Ronald Reagan