A tale of two pastors:
The first is John. John was a circuit Pastor in Virginia in 1776, one Sunday morning he preached to his Virginia congregation concerning the crisis then facing America. He recounted to them the history of how America had been founded in pursuit of religious and civil liberties and that they were now in danger of losing them. He then concluded with these words: In the language of holy writ (Ecclesiastes 3) there is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. Then he quoted from verse 8 : There is a time to fight – and that time has now come! He closes his Bible and takes off his robe to reveal the uniform of a military officer, he marches to the back of the church and has the drum to beat for recruits. Three hundred men joined him and they became the Eighth Virginia Regiment.
The second pastor is John’s brother Fred. Fred pastors a church in New York and upon hearing of his brother’s actions sent him a letter of correction. Fred strongly opposed what John had done. In his letter he wrote: “You would have acted for the best if you had kept out of this business from the beginning….. I now give you my thoughts in brief – I think you are wrong trying to be both soldier and preacher together.” However, John had some strong thoughts of his own, he wrote: “I am a clergyman, it is true. I am a member of society, as well as, the poorest layman. My liberty is as dear to me as to any man, shall I then sit still…? Heaven forbid it… I am called by my country in its defense – the cause is just and noble… and so far I am from thinking that I act wrong. I am convinced it is my duty so to do and duty I owe to God and my country.” John Peter Mullenburg went on to become a Major General in Washington’s Army.
And what of Fred? Well Fred also left his pulpit to get involved but only after the British burned his Church to the ground. He learned that if he did not get involved then he could not protect what was important to him. The founders made every effort to help us understand that government will always reflect the values of those who are involved in it. The Reverend Matthias Burnett charged: Finally, you whose high prerogative it is to invest with office and authority, or to withhold them, and in whose power it is to save or destroy your country, consider well the important trust… which God… put into your hands. To God and posterity you are accountable for them. Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights, and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you.
There were 56 signers of the Declarations of Independence, 57 framers of the constitution of which only 39 signed, 18 refused to sign without a Bill of Rights and went on to lobby and get them. At the bottom of the Bill of Rights there are only two signatures one being Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg. Edmund Burk said: “The only thing necessary for evil to Triumph is for good men to do nothing.” It’s time for good men to look up at the scoreboard, leave their pew, and come down from their pulpit and enter the fray. Our Freedom still depends on it…. Lock n’ Load