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Ignite the Pulpit

Where are they now?



By Nicholas E. Purpura

The Bible tells us, “My people perish from a lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) Unfortunately, the spirit of the American Revolution has found its way into the dust bins of history, along with the flames that were kindled from the pulpits throughout the thirteen colonies by the clergy who set their congregations on fire with their blazing visions of liberty and freedom.

Lost in the pages of history textbooks is that freedom will always burn in the heart’s of men, and that we have a sacred duty to resist tyranny and obey God – not man. “Who the Lord has set free is free indeed.” (Acts 5:29)—that is if you want to remain free.

The British knew their worst nightmare was America’s clergy, which they gave a special title: The Black Regiment. These men not only kindled the flames of the revolution; they were at the forefront in many battles, wearing their pulpit black robes and armed with musket in hand—all to signify that freedom was a righteousness cause.

The Rev. Jonathan Mayhew, who is referred to as the “Father of Civil Liberties,” was one of the early pastors to preach resistance to tyranny and the need for unity among Christian churches. It was Mayhew who conceived of the idea of the Christian Committees of Correspondence, which circulated letters throughout the colonies to unite and inform the churches.

And it was The Rev. Samuel Langdon, who led his men to the heights of Bunker Hill. He thereafter took leave of his pastoral duties and became a Chaplain in the Revolutionary Army.

At the Battle of Lexington where the “shot heard around the world” was fired, The Rev. Jonas Clark uttered the famous words, “From this day will be dated the liberty of the world.”

Pastor Peter Muhlenberg, rose to the rank of Brigadier General. His most memorable sermon was inspired from the book of Ecclesiastes, wherein he stated: “There is a time for all things—a time to preach and a time to pray; but those times have passed away.” Then he exclaimed, “There is a time to fight, and that time has come!” Tearing off his sacred gown, he stood before his flock in the full uniform of a Virginia colonel. Nearly the entire male audience of three hundred joined his standard when he ordered the drums to be beaten at the church door for new recruits.

The Rev. John Witherspoon was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the President of Princeton College. He taught theology as well as the biblical principles of law and civics. Many future leaders passed through his classroom. His students included 1 President, 1 Vice President, 3 Supreme Court Justices, 10 cabinet members, 12 Governors, 21 Senators, and 39 Congressmen plus too many more to mention.

In addition to preaching sermons on liberty, a copy of the Declaration of Independence was forwarded to each church following its signing to be read by Pastors of every denomination. But today our pulpits are sadly silent. The clergy often do not speak out against the wrongs taking place for fear of the government and the IRS. The voice of the pulpit has been replaced by secular humanists who now tell the people what they are allowed to do, where they can pray, and what religious expression will be tolerated. In short, the First Amendment’s objective to protect the free exercise of religion has now been perverted to the government’s protection from religion.

Our clergy have forgotten that the entire foundation of the Republic was based upon the biblical principles of freedom and justice, which is rooted in Judeo-Christian philosophies and doctrines. Apathy and irresponsible complacency have replaced the pulpits fire of the 1700’s.

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The words of Alex de Tocqueville echo through time. He said,

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies; and it was not there; in her rich mines and vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

America can rekindle the greatness she once knew, but not before the fire the pulpits once knew is re-ignited. Perhaps it is time for every member of the clergy to ask themselves if they intend to share and defend the vision of a righteous Christian nation. It is the duty of the watchmen to sound the alarm when they see the enemy approaching. If they fail to do so, then the following massacre of liberty is on their hands.

The Rev. Charles G. Finney once said:

The church must take the right ground in regard to politics. The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics, or the Lord will curse them. God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God. He [God] will bless or curse this nation, according to the course they [Christians] take in politics.

If America is to restore the greatness that came from her Christian heritage, every pastor, minister, chaplain, and priest must speak up against every political action that violates the principles of God. All Christians must resist tyranny that elevates itself above Gods laws and precepts. Since Christian principles were removed from American public life in the early 1960’s, divorce has increased approximately 400-percent, millions of children have been aborted, criminal arrest of teens is through the roof, child abuse is up 2500-percent, use of illegal drugs is up 6000 percent, teen suicide has escalated, unmarried births is common place—all as we are rapidly becoming a functionally illiterate nation.

If this is not the time for the clergy to step up to the plate and reclaim “the ancient paths,” that the prophet Jeremiah spoke about, then perhaps we may never see that time. To be sure, our country is at a crossroads that will determine whether or not this nation survives as the land of the free and the home of the brave. However, national survival will not be the result of feel-good Sunday services. Every patriot should be asking themselves if they feel entertained after service, or do they feel inspired. Sunday get-togethers didn’t form this nation and they won’t save this nation either. If the fire to ignite change must come from an inspired clergy as we were blessed with at the time of the Revolutionary War, then we should be asking, “Where are they now?”

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RoseAnn Salanitri is a published author and Acquisition Editor for the New Jersey Family Policy Council. She is a community activist who has founded the Sussex County Tea Party in her home state and launched a recall movement against Senator Robert Menendez. RoseAnn is also the founder of Veritas Christian Academy, as well as co-founder of Creation Science Alive, and a national creation science speaker.

CATEGORY:Ignite the Pulpit


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