Most Christian pastors today appear to have little in common with the preachers of yesteryear. For example, many modern clerics would probably be surprised to learn of the active role colonial preachers had in America's fight for independence. It is no hyperbole to say that had it not been for the activism of America's pulpits, our independence would never have been won and this nation would not even exist.
Until at least the Twentieth Century, it was well known that the Black Regiment was an intricate, even crucial, part of America's successful break with the Crown. However, only a handful of clergymen nowadays has any knowledge whatsoever of the Black Regiment. This is tragic!
The moniker "Black Regiment" is due to the habit of these patriot-preachers wearing distinguishing black robes in the pulpits. However, more than attire sets these preachers apart.
The Black Regiment was composed of men of various Christian denominations who courageously championed the cause of liberty and independence and who preached fervently and faithfully the message of redemption and Biblical authority. They were untouchable and indefatigable!
In the thinking and preaching of the Black Regiment, freedom and independence were precious gifts of God not to be trampled under foot by men, human authority was limited and particular and subject to proper divine parameters, and the soul and mind of man were never to be enslaved by any master save Christ Himself.
Membership in the Black Regiment was unofficial and without human oversight. Preachers of the black robes were found among Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, German Reformed, Lutherans, Congregationalists, and others. They were young and old, loud and soft-spoken, rough and gentle, and urban and rural. They differed on secondary doctrines and never surrendered their theological distinctives. Yet, they formed an irresistible and unstoppable army that neither King George nor the demons of hell could match!
As one reads the colonial history of the United States, he or she must be struck with the observation that the American people, on the whole, seemed to appreciate the courage and independence of their preachers. Even America's early political leaders shared in this appreciation.
For instance, John Adams once remarked, "It is the duty of the clergy to accommodate their discourses to the times, to preach against such sins as are most prevalent, and recommend such virtues as are most wanted. For example, if exorbitant ambition and venality are predominant, ought they not to warn their hearers against those vices? If public spirit is much wanted, should they not inculcate this great virtue? If the rights and duties of Christian magistrates and subjects are disputed, should they not explain them, show their nature, ends, limitations, and restrictions, how muchsoever it may move the gall of Massachusetts?"
The problem today is that America's preachers have taken off the black robes and put on yellow ones! Where is the preaching against prevalent sins? Where is the spiritual, scriptural explanation concerning the rights and duties, limitations and restrictions of Christian magistrates from America's pulpits today?
The famed Nineteenth Century revivalist Charles G. Finney had some trenchant words on this subject. He said, "If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it."
Both John Adams and Charles Finney were right on target! When is the last time you heard a nationally renowned (or even locally renowned) Christian pastor speak out against the One World Order that President Bush and so many others are currently constructing? When have you heard them speak against the demise of our constitutionally protected liberties with the implementation of the Patriot Act and similar encroachments? When did you hear them renouncing the way the White House and Congress are facilitating the invasion of our country by illegal aliens? The answer is you haven't and you won't.
In this regard, the words of the great German reformer, Martin Luther, come to mind: "If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."
It appears obvious that a majority of our pastors are absent from the battlefield, and that is precisely the reason our country is in its current state of disarray. What America needs more than anything else is a resurrected Black Regiment!
© Chuck Baldwin
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