POLITICAL SERMONS FROM PASTORS IN THE FOUNDING ERA
Pastor Roger Anghis
July 21, 2013
We have been told for so many years that the church should stay out of the political arena. Most of this talk today comes from the church itself. In all the research that I have done over the last ten years concerning America’s Christian heritage I have found no evidence that this was the mindset of the Founders nor of the pastors from the establishing of the Colonies in the early 1600’s.
When looking at our Founding documents, the Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights what we see is a culmination of what the pastors had been preaching in this nation from the time that they first set foot on the soil of North America. From that time until the beginning of the Revolution and through the Revolution they preached about how government should be run. I have received many emails from people who think I am calling for a theocracy in America. I never have. But I have called for a return to the values that made America the greatest nation the world has ever seen and those values just happen to be the precepts and directives given to us from the Scriptures. This is an undeniable fact.
In 1954 after a corrupt election in Texas where Lyndon Johnson won his Senate seat by rigging the votes, the word started to come out concerning this. Most of the opposition was coming from non-profits so he added an amendment to an IRS bill that removed non-profits from the political arena by not allowing them to endorse or oppose any political candidate. This was the first time in American history that the church was not allowed to be involved in the political arena. They are still allowed some input but an actual endorsement or opposition to a candidate has not been allowed.
A few years ago the Liberty Council began what they call Pulpit Initiative Sunday where the third Sunday in September of an election year a pastor will stand in the pulpit and endorse a candidate, record the whole thing and then send it to the IRS. This has been going on for about five years and the IRS has refused to sue any of them or try to take away their 501(c)3. Last year they admitted that they really didn’t have the authority to do so, they have just used it as a threat to keep the churches under their control for all these years. Remember that the First Amendment says that Congress shall make no law ‘prohibiting the free exercise thereof’. So the Amendment that took the church out in 1954 is actually unconstitutional and they knew it, but the church never challenged it until recently.
What we will study for the next couple of weeks are sermons before and during the Founding Era where the pastors would give the parishioners directives according to the Word of God as to how they should vote. By the way, these election sermons were the most popular of all the sermons with the Colonists. These sermons will show the true ideals of the Colonists concerning the commingling of their Christian doctrines and their political ideals. You will see that they firmly believed that there was a direct connection between God’s laws and the laws Supreme Ruler and the laws that man established to govern himself being derived from His laws. James Wilson, the Father of American Jurisprudence stated: “All [laws], however, may be arranged in two different classes. 1) Divine. 2) Human. . . But it should always be remembered that this law, natural or revealed, made for men or for nations, flows from the same Divine source: it is the law of God. . . Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of the law that which is Divine.” (Emphasis added) Our early students of law were not only required to attend law school but they also attended seminaries because Wilson believed how can man judge man unless man knows how God judges man. This is how Charles Finney was saved in 1821 doing his religious studies for his law degree.
One should also note that the first colony established in America, Jamestown, that came over on the Mayflower established the very reason why they had traversed virtually unknown territory to begin a new life in a new land that was completely foreign to the travelers from the European continent. This was called the Mayflower Compact and it forever defined for history the intent of establishing settlements in America.
The Mayflower Compact
"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith."
Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620." (Emphasis added)
Notice what their intent was - Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith – Revisionist historians simply ignore this document as well as all the history that confirms this statement.
The first sermon we will look at is one by Jonathan Mayhew. Mayhew graduated from Harvard in 1744 and received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the University of Aberdeen in 1749. He was one of the front runners in opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765. As a matter of fact virtually all of the opposition leaders of the Stamp Act were pastors. He was also one of the most influential pastors that keep the fire of revolution burning in the hearts of the Colonists. John Adams stated that there were two ministers in particular that were extremely ardent and influential in awakening a revival of American principles and feelings, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Mayhew and the Rev. Dr. Cooper.
Before we look at this particular sermon we should review the preface Mayhew wrote concerning this particular message and how it is biblically directed at the politics of the day.
" all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 'Why, then, should not those parts of Scripture which relate to civil government be examined and explained from the desk (pulpit), as well as others? Obedience to the civil magistrate is a Christian duty; and if so, why should not the nature, grounds, and extent of it be considered in a Christian assembly? Besides, if it be said that it is out of character for a Christian minister to meddle with such a subject, this censure will at last fall upon the holy apostles. They write upon it in their epistles to Christian churches ; and surely it cannot be deemed either criminal or impertinent to attempt an explanation of their doctrine.”
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‘Civil tyranny is usually small in its beginning, like "the drop of a bucket," 'till at length, like a mighty torrent, or the raging waves of the sea, it bears down all before it, and deluges whole countries and empires. Thus it is as to ecclesiastical tyranny also — the most cruel, intolerable, and impious of any. From small beginnings, "it exalts itself above all that is called God and that is worshipped." People have no security against being unmercifully priest-ridden but by keeping all imperious bishops, and other clergymen who love to "lord it over God's heritage," from getting their foot into the stirrup at all. Let them be once fairly mounted, and their "beasts, the laity," may prance and flounce about to no purpose; and they will at length be so jaded and hacked by these reverend jockeys, that they will not even have spirits enough to complain that their backs are galled, or, like Balaam's ass, to "rebuke the madness of the prophet."
Next week we will look at the body of this sermon learning just what the pastors preached concerning the politics of the day in 1749. For part two click below.
James Wilson, The Works of the Honorable James Wilson, Bird Wilson,
editor (Philadelphia: Lorenzo Press, 1804), Vol. I, pp. 103-105, “Of
the General Principles of Law and Obligation.”
2. Bring America Back To Her Religious Roots, Roger Anghis (Createspace 2010), p.30
3. Pulpit of the American Revolution, (The Federalist Papers Project), pp. 47-50
© 2013 Roger Anghis - All Rights Reserved
Pastor Roger Anghis is the Founder of RestoreFreeSpeech.org, an organization designed to draw attention to the need of returning free speech rights to churches that was restricted in 1954.
President of The Damascus Project, TheDamascusProject.org, which has a stated purpose of teaching pastors and lay people the need of the churches involvement in the political arena and to teach the historical role of Christianity in the politics of the United States. Married-37 years, 3 children, three grandchildren.
Web site: RestoreFreeSpeech.org