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PATRIOT PREACHERS


These patriot-preachers were   staunchly patriotic, seriously independent, and steadfastly courageous. They   were found in almost all of the various Protestant denominations at the time:   Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Anglican, Lutheran, German Reformed,   etc. Their Sunday sermons — more than Patrick Henry’s oratory, Sam Adams’ and   James Warren’s “Committees of Correspondence,” or Thomas Paine’s “Summer   Soldiers and Sunshine Patriots” — inspired, educated, and motivated the   colonists to resist the tyranny of the British Crown, and fight for their   freedom and independence. Without the Black Regiment, there is absolutely no   doubt that we would still be a Crown colony, with no Declaration of   Independence, no U.S. Constitution, no Bill of Rights, and little liberty.
The exploits of the Black Regiment are legendary. When General George   Washington asked Lutheran pastor John Peter Muhlenberg to raise a regiment of   volunteers, Muhlenberg gladly agreed. Before marching off to join   Washington’s army, he delivered a powerful sermon from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   that concluded with these words: “The Bible tells us there is a time for all   things and there is a time to preach and a time to pray, but the time for me   to preach has passed away, and there is a time to fight, and that time has   come now. Now is the time to fight! Call for recruits! Sound the drums!”
Then Muhlenberg took off his clerical robe to reveal the uniform of a   Virginia colonel. Grabbing his musket from behind the pulpit, he donned his   colonel’s hat and marched off to war. And as he did, more than 300 of his   male congregants followed him.
Muhlenberg’s brother quotes John Peter as saying, “You may say that as a   clergyman nothing can excuse my conduct. I am a clergyman, it is true, but I   am a member of society as well as the poorest layman, and my liberty is as   dear to me as any man. I am called by my country to its defense. The cause is   just and noble. Were I a Bishop … I should obey without hesitation; and as   far am I from thinking that I am wrong, I am convinced it is my duty so to do   — a duty I owe to my God and my Country.”
Remember, too, it was Pastor Jonas Clark and his congregants at the Church of   Lexington who comprised that initial body of brave colonists called   Minutemen. These were the men, you will recall, who withstood British troops   advancing on Concord to confiscate the colonists’ firearms and arrest Sam   Adams and John Hancock, and fired “the shot heard round the world.”
The “Supreme Knight” and great martyr of Presbyterianism was Pastor James   Caldwell of the Presbyterian church of         Elizabethtown   (present-day Elizabeth), New Jersey. He was called the “Rebel High Priest”   and the “Fighting Chaplain.” He is most famous for the story “Give ’em   Watts!” It is said that at the Springfield engagement, when the militia ran   out of wadding for their muskets, Parson Caldwell galloped to the   Presbyterian church and returned with an armload of hymnbooks, threw them to   the ground, and exclaimed, “Now, boys, give ’em Watts! Give ’em Watts!” — a   reference to the famous hymn writer, Isaac Watts.
Not an easy path: Presbyterian   minister James Caldwell, who gained fame during the battle of Springfield,   New Jersey, when he gathered Watts hymnals from a church for use as rifle   wadding and shouted to the troops as he handed them out, “put Watts into   them,” was killed in the war, as was his wife.
 Then   there was the Baptist, Joab Houghton, of New Jersey. Houghton was in the   Hopewell Baptist Meeting-house at worship when he received the first   information of Concord and Lexington, and of the retreat of the British to   Boston with heavy losses. His great-grandson gave the following eloquent   description of the way he treated the tidings:
Stilling   the breathless messenger, he sat quietly through the services, and when they   were ended, he passed out, and mounting the great stone block in front of the   meeting-house, he beckoned to the people to stop. Men and women paused to   hear, curious to know what so unusual a sequel to the service of the day   could mean. At the first words a silence, stern as death, fell over all. The   Sabbath quiet of the hour and of the place was deepened into a terrible   solemnity. He told them all the story of the cowardly murder at Lexington by   the royal troops; the heroic vengeance following hard upon it; the retreat of   Percy; the gathering of the children of the Pilgrims round the beleaguered   hills of Boston. Then pausing, and looking over the silent throng, he said   slowly: “Men of New Jersey, the red coats are murdering our brethren of New   England! Who follows me to Boston?” And every man of that audience stepped   out into line, and answered, “I!” There was not a coward nor a traitor in old   Hopewell Baptist Meeting-house that day. [Source: Cathcart, The Baptists and the American   Revolution, 1876]
Consider,   too, Pastor M’Clanahan, of Culpepper County, Virginia, who raised a military   company of Baptists and served in the field, both as a captain and chaplain.   Reverend David Barrow “shouldered his musket and showed how fields were won.”   Another Baptist, General Scriven, when ordered by a British officer to give   up Sunbury, near Savannah, sent back the answer, “Come and get it.” Deacon   Mills, of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, “commanded skillfully”   1,000 riflemen at the Battle of Long Island, and for his valor was made a   brigadier general. Deacon Loxley of the same church commanded the artillery   at the Battle of Germantown with the rank of colonel. (Source: McDaniel, The People Called Baptists,   1925)
A list drawn up by Judge Curwen, an ardent Tory, contained 926 names of   British sympathizers living in America — colonial law had already exiled a   larger number — but there was “not the name of one Baptist on the list.”   Maybe this is why President George Washington, in his letter to the Baptists,   paid the following tribute: “I recollect with satisfaction that the religious   society of which you are members has been, throughout America, uniformly and   almost unanimously, the firm friend to civil liberty, and the persevering   promoters of our glorious Revolution.” Maybe it explains why Thomas Jefferson   could write to a Baptist church, saying, “We have acted together from the   origin to the end of a memorable Revolution.”
(Source:   Ibid.)

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WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT CHURCH INDEPENDENCY


EPHESIANS 3:21; 5:23,24

By independency is meant that the New Testament church is independent of all other churches , and would exist as an entity if all other churches should go out of existence. Only God is sovereign and the church is independent under God, subject only to Him, free from all earthly headquarters, answerable to God only. It is true that churches fellowship one another but only in that sense are they interdependent.

I. THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH HAS CHRIST ONLY AS HER HEAD.
   “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22).

II. THE CHURCH IS TO BE SUBJECT TO NONE BUT HER HEAD.
   No one has the right to exercise authority over others in the church, and surely no outside body of men has the right (Matt. 20:24-28).

III. BIBLE EXAMPLES OF CHURCHES ACTING INDEPENDENTLY — OUR PATTERN.
   1. The church acted independently in electing one to take Judas Iscariot’s place (Acts 1:15-24).
   2. The church acted independently in selecting seven men for the office of deacon (Acts 6:1-6).
   3. The church acted independently in sending Barnabas on a special mission to Antioch (Acts 11:22).
   4. The church acted independently in sending missionaries (Acts 13:1-4
      a. Holy Spirit called them;
      b. The church sent them out; and
      c. The Holy Spirit sent them forth.
   5. The Antioch church acted independently in sending out missionaries, and other churches acted independently in helping to support them (II Cor. 8:1-4; 11:8,9; Phil. 4:15,16).
   6. The church acted independently in determining to send relief to the poor saints at Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30).
   7. The church in Antioch acted independently in choosing whom they wanted to carry their gift to Jerusalem (Acts 11:30).
   8. The church is instructed to act independently in using the keys of the kingdom (Matt. 16:19; 18:18).

IV. THE CHURCH’S INDEPENDENCY IS LIMITED UNDER GOD.
   1. A church is limited to the laws of Christ (Matt. 28:20).
      An inherent right means a natural right in one’s self to do a thing. A commissioned right is a right received from another who has the power to bestow that right. The one commissioned has only the right to do that for which he is commissioned. Therefore the church cannot legislate nor turn her work over to others.
   2. A church’s independency is limited to that which is scriptural” Scriptural baptism, Lord’s Supper, no other instructions than the Word of God (II Tim. 3:15-17).
   3. A church is limited to preaching the gospel to lost souls, but God must do the saving. A church is not at liberty to change the gospel message.
   4. Jesus said that His church was not of the world (John 17:16). The church is independent from world organizations and should remain so that her testimony may not be hindered.

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