By Tom Niewulis:
If your Pastor, Elders and Deacons are not producing active Citizens then they have no understanding of Foundational Intent and have been or are presently contributors to your own persecution and that of Christianity in the United States…
Over the last forty plus years I have been in a number of Evangelical churches across the US. In almost all of them, they preach of the ‘coming’ or ‘present’ Christian Persecution in the United States. I always look sideways at those that take the position of an imminent persecution for the Christians in the United States. I say “Really”? That is not what I understand from studying Founders Intent but sadly it is where we are because the Christians in the U.S. do not understand their heritage.
In reading and listening to sermons, I have taken notice that many pastors and renowned theologians will even quote the words of James Madison and John Adams as they refer to the U.S. Constitution as ‘Only’ being for a ‘moral and virtuous’ people. Yet I like to take the quoting of this phrase one step further with George Washington. Here it is from 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 tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness — these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. . . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”
How is it that these Founding Fathers of the Constitutional Republic of the United States can speak of theological principles? The assumption of modern educators, including seminaries and Bible Colleges, is that the political leaders of the Founding Era did not really understand that which they were espousing relating to morals and virtue. Why would they when, again in 20th and 21st Century assumed thought is that ministers and theologians need not know anything about Reformation history let alone Foundational history of the United States. Therefore, those institutions preparing men for ministry are producing ignorant humanistic and covenant free teachers and preachers.
I have been pondering for well over thirty years that if a simple follower as myself can find and read the likes of John Knox ‘Defense of Biblical Resistance‘, Rutherford’s ‘Lex Rex‘, the Three Volumes of William Sprague ‘Annals of the American Pulpit; or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of Various Denomination, From the Early Settlement of the Country to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-five’[i], and all the various Fathers of Christendom…. just a simple believer in Jesus; then why can’t pastoral, missionary and theological students read these same documents?
Pastors, Bible teachers and missionaries should want to know about those early Founding ministers! If they did, they could capture the full extent of Biblical living in the revelations of the preaching and exploits of ‘The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution‘! Mr. Headley states in his preface of this book:
“…I feel I have done something towards giving the clergy and the pulpit the place which they ought to have in the history of the Revolution, and furnished a book which will benefit the generation now rising into manhood, by directing the mind not only to religious influences, but to the great source of all national blessings, as well as to battle fields and the strong legions.”
Yet, today we have pastors chasing the sin with ‘tolerance’, not dealing with the sinners as did the Prophets and preachers of old. They have become the ilk spoken of in Jeremiah, their purpose is to not offend but to offer tolerance. Just think about the Osteen’s going to participate in the LGB-what ever in NYC. Instead, we need Knox, Rutherford, Baxter, Beza, Bullinger, Calvin and so many more Reformers that stood against evil.
Thinking of our Revolution, I love the way Dr. Dagget, President and Professor of Divinity in Yale College, was tolerant of the invading British: he set up a sniper position and fought until captured so that others could retreat. Or what about John Witherspoon, a Signer of The Declaration of Independence. He raised an army as a pastor when in Scotland, was captured and imprisoned, released, returned to the pulpit and came to America. Became the President of Princeton, elected to office in New Jersey then to the Continental Congress and was one of the few who stayed in Congress no matter the circumstances. He was a close friend of Samuel Adams. Oh, while in Congress (at war) he kept up his ministerial duties every Sunday.
Where are the present day pastors or theologians that will stand against abortion, infanticide and all the sexual perversions articulated in the whole Bible?
I’ve spoken of this on my Podcast. I’ll only take a moment here to reference the 2014 Barna report that was a two year study regarding pastors speaking on political or cultural issues. Here is a snippet of the discussion American Family Radio’s “Today’s Issues”[ii]:
“”What we’re finding is that when we ask them (pastors) about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues. Then we ask them: Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues? – and the numbers drop … to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it.”
When researchers ask those pastors what else they are willing to do to get their people active in the political process, Barna said “it’s almost nothing.”
“So the thing that struck me has been that when we talk about the separation of church and state, it’s that churches have separated themselves from the activities of the state – and that’s to the detriment of the state and its people,” stated the researcher.
So instead of following with the Reformation and America’s Founding Clergy conditions of successful congregations engaged in every aspect of life – including social and political issues; the Barna Report continues:
“There are five factors that the vast majority of pastors turn to [when asked that question],” he explained. “Attendance, giving, number of programs, number of staff, and square footage.
“Now all of those things are good measures, except for one tiny fact: Jesus didn’t die for any of them,” Barna continued. “What I’m suggesting is [those pastors] won’t probably get involved in politics because it’s very controversial. Controversy keeps people from being in the seats, controversy keeps people from giving money, from attending programs.
“As they look at things, their tendency is to say, Well, that’s not part of my mission; my mission is to bring in more people and to get them to understand certain things that I feel they should know.”
Barna also thinks it has something to do with the training of pastors.
“When you look at what they get in Bible school or in the seminary, they are not taught to get people engaged in these particular issues,” he shared. “They are taught just to exegete scriptures; they are taught something about the history of where those scriptures came from – but they are not prepared.”
Here are the top reasons pastors become corporate managers and yes: Uneducated to truth and/or Cowards:
From the Barna Report:
|Distaste for politics||9.03%||265 votes|
|Threat of punishment by ACLU or IRS||31.86%||935 votes|
|Unfamiliar with those issues||7.53%||221 votes|
|Told to do so by elders/deacons||15.78%||463 votes|
|Denominational constraints||13.15%||386 votes|
|Believes politics, church are separate||23.00%||665 votes|
Those were strong words, sorry but in my mind these reasons answer our modern condition. I know a number of pastors and Christian educators that are 100% engaged in the Foundational reality of the entire Gospel.
With this report I have to do more than recommend, I have to be forceful in that if you want to know what a courageous pastor looks like, read about the Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution! There is courage under fire and persecution as well.
Attacks on Christianity and Persecution in the United States?
Never should be nor happen in our Constitutional Republic!
Honestly, I do not have time nor will I take the time in this article to look at American Constitutionalism in the context of the development of the ‘continental compact’ which instantiated the necessity of the pulpits to be the ‘Agents of Good Governance’. It is critical to understand that our State Republics allowed for the establishment of one Protestantism denomination or another to be allowed in any of the States. The National or Federal Constitution was the only place where there is to be NO government religious institution. It has always been aloud that each State, as an independent Republic, can have a State sponsored denomination. To this point – all of that is part of the ignorance factor of pastors and modern church leaders noted in the Barna Report. We do not have time to get to that today.
Therefore, I am jumping to the simple facts as to why there should be no such thing as persecution of Christianity in the United States. The point is to look to a Founding Document that was actually put into effect during the ‘Articles of Confederation’. That being the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. That is the year that the Constitutional Convention met. Now, Article 3 is critical because it establishes the factual reality of intent imbued in those who would be in that 1787 Convention:
“Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. ..”
Where did this idea of religion and morality come together such that establishing new governance required it? From the pulpits! Let me take you to the Preface of ‘The Pulpit of the Revolution’:
“THE true alliance between Politics and Religion is the lesson inculcated in this volume of Sermons, and apparent in its title, ” THE PULPIT OF THE REVOLUTION.” It is the voice of the Fathers of the Republic, enforced by their example. They invoked God in their civil assemblies, called upon their chosen teachers of religion for counsel from the Bible, and recognized its precepts as the law of their public conduct. The Fathers did not divorce politics and religion, but they denounced the separation as ungodly. They prepared for the struggle, and went into battle, not as soldiers of fortune, but, like Cromwell and the soldiers of the Commonwealth, with the Word of God in their hearts, and trusting in him. This was the secret of that moral energy which sustained the Republic in its material weakness against superior numbers, and discipline, and all the power of England. To these Sermons the responses from the Pulpit the State affixed its imprimatur, and thus they were handed down to future generations with a two-fold claim to respect.
“The Union of the colonies was a condition precedent to American Nationality. One nationality, and that of a Protestant people, was essential to constitutional liberty in America. If the colonies had become separate independencies at different times, America would have but repeated the history of European divisions and wars…”
A very clear second point that is in this Preface and not hardly thought about, let alone understood in modern evangelical America, which is regarding oppressive governance such as seen in the Stamp Act:
“In his Sermon of 1750, Jonathan Mayhew declared the Christian principles of government in the faith of which Washington, ordained of God, won liberty for America, not less for England, and ultimately for the world ; so that the engraving of Mayhew and that of the Stamp fitly introduce these Sermons of the Revolution. By the conflict with her children, England herself was rescued from the slough of unlimited power into which she was fast drifting under George III.”[iii]
What is so clear to me in reading the sermons of our Founding Era and studying the lives of these ‘direct societal and politically influencing’ Pastors is that the desire for modern academic excellence excludes any knowledge of Foundational Truth, especially Foundational Biblical Reformation Truth.
I recognize that I am starting to write more than most are willing to consume in a single setting. Let me put this to you as simple as I can before I move on to the hard hitting point: The United States is a Constitutional Republic where the Federal and State Constitutions are for Moral and Virtuous Citizens Only (period)!
So if your Pastor, Elders and Deacons are not producing such active Citizens then they have no understanding of Foundational Intent and have been or are presently contributors to your own persecution and that of Christianity in the United States. Do not let feeble minded eschatology make the excuse that persecution must happen. That was the fallacy of ‘The Late Great Planet Earth’[iv] thinking and teaching.
Consider these words on a very hot and humid August day in 1776. Here is what Samuel Adams spoke in the speech that he was asked to give regarding the Declaration of Independence:
“Our forefathers threw off the yoke of popery in religion: for you is reserved the honor of levelling the popery of politics. They opened the Bible to all, and maintained the capacity of every man to judge for himself in religion. Are we sufficient for the comprehension of the sublimest spiritual truths, and unequal to material and temporal ones? Heaven hath trusted us with the management of things for eternity, and man denies us ability to judge of the present, or to know from our feelings the experience that will make us happy. “You can discern,” say they, “objects distant and remote, but cannot perceive those within your grasp. Let us have the distribution of present goods, and cut out and manage as you please the interests of futurity.” This day, I trust the reign of political protestantism will commence. We have explored the temple of royalty, and found that the idol we have bowed down to, has eyes which see not, ears that hear not our prayers, and a heart like the nether millstone. We have this day restored the Sovereign, to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought, and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.“
Mr. Adams continues with many similar remarks in this speech let alone his other writing which clearly intertwined Biblical truths in every aspect of life – including governance (politics). In our present age, the many pastors who do not speak out are in fact the ones dictating what is discernible or not. What to be involved in or not. What is ‘heavenly’ or not!
I can give hundreds of other examples of text from sermons and documents that prove that the Christian church in America should be developing ‘moral and virtuous’ citizens, such that we would have ‘moral and virtuous’ elected officials, judges, bureaucrats and educators. It is time Christian leaders, especially pastors, learn from the source documents that many Founding Pastors preached from.
The Jeremiah Challenge
As one reads the various sermons during the first two-hundred years of America, Jeremiah will often be a quoted text when it comes to challenge the authorities that lead the nation astray. I’ve studied Jeremiah often and closely over the last forty years. The Jeremiah Challenge is right in the first couple of chapters and then is expounded upon throughout.
The heart of it is:
“Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.” Jeremiah 2:18
Now, look who the plotters are: priests, counsel from the wise (political leaders)and the local prophets. Oh and see, that those in our present age, who established the possibility of attacks and persecution of Christianity, are none other than the pastor, seminary luminaries and leaders in modern evangelicalism. Their refusal to understand the history of the completed Bible, the Reformation and the founding of the United States; has brought about the cultural, ideological and political crisis that became not just the cyclical problem of Israel during the Judges but also the root issues of the ministry of Jeremiah.
The challenge here is obvious: Who are the Jeremiah’s that will speak the complete historical Biblical and Reformation truth to the church leaders, political leaders, educators and all the people? Oh but the challenge has its cost! That being real persecution from those within the churches of the Republic that adhere to the destructive elements of Jeremiah 3:5 – 37. Yes, even though we live in the New Covenant of the Blood and Resurrection of Jesus, the human elements of Jeremiah 3 are applicable to the evangelicals of this Republic.
We were given a land through our Puritan, Presbyterian and other Reformation Forefathers. Their blood was laid into the ground to foster the growth of their posterity. Yet, for not adhering to the fundamentals of their Foundational Truths; we now are poised to suffer the penalties of Israel as spoke of in Jeremiah.
Oh for those modern Jeremiahs in these United States of America!
- The Pulpit of the American Revolution, OR, The Sermons of the Period of 1776, With A Historical Introduction, Notes, And Illustrations. By John Wingate Thornton, A.M., Second Edition, Copyright, 1876, by D. LOTHROP & Co.
- The Patriot Preachers Of The American Revolution. With Biographical Sketches. 1766—1783.
- Turner’s Election-Sermon May 26, 1773
- Sherwood’s Fast Sermon, With Mr. Baldwin’s Appendix. A SERMON, CONTAINING, Scriptural Instructions to Civil Rulers, and all Free-born Subjects. In which the Principles of sound Policy and good Government are established and vindicated; and some Doctrines advanced and zealously propagated by NEW-ENGLAND TORIES, are considered and refuted. Delivered on the public Fast, AUGUST 31, 1774. With an Address to the FREEMEN of the Colony. By Samuel Sherwood, A. M. Pastor of a Church of Christ in FAIRFIELD.
- A Sermon Preached Before The Honorable Council, And The Honorable House Of Representatives Of The Colony Of The Massachusetts-Bay, In New England, May 29th, 1776.
Being The Anniversary For The Election Of The Honorable Council For The Colony. By Samuel West, A.M. Pastor Of A Church In Dartmouth.
- Algernon Sydney – Discourse on Government
- Jonathan Mayhew Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers
- Samuel Adams Returns Radio Program 7-6-19, Attack On Christianity: It’s Your Fault!
- When Evangelicals Become Useful Idiots for Islamism
[ii] Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com) Friday, August 01, 2014
[iii] Page V of The Pulpit of the American Revolution, John Wingate Thornton, A.M., 1876
[iv] The Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey and Carole C. Carlson, Zondervan, 1970 topic: Eschatology
© Copyright by Tom Niewulis, 2019. All rights reserved.
Email Tom: firstname.lastname@example.org