To proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Christ in the context of relationship, to confront the Church to return to "true truth," and to disciple and encourage people to grow in faith and participate in influencing their culture.
In commemoration of the Boston Massacre John Lathrop of Old
North Church preached on the subject Innocent
Blood Crying to God from the streets of Boston. In the same year the Rev.
Samuel Cooke, with Governor Hutchinson present as well as the Massachusetts
House of Representatives preached on the text, “He that ruleth over men must be
just, ruling in the fear of God.”Alice
Baldwin in her book, The N. E. Clergy and
the American Revolution, said of the pastors, “With a vocabulary enriched
by the Bible, …(they) made resistance and at last independence and war a holy
cause,” and through their influence, gave the Revolution support.
On April 18, 1775 the new governor of Boston sent detachment
of soldiers first to secure the arms of the patriots at concord and second to
capture three rebel leaders who were stirring up most of the trouble. On the
morning of April 19, 1775 Jonas Clark, a preacher, John Hancock, his cousin,
and Sam Adams, his distributor of sermons were awakened to escape the British. Adams
and Hancock were visiting for the night, unaware that the British were sending
troops to Lexington. Clark was asked by one of his guest if his congregation would
fight if necessary. Clark, who had preached the duty of self-defense of inalienable
rights for years through his sermons, responded confidently, “I have trained
them for this very hour!” The
shot heard round the world providentially occurred on the lawn of his church.
“Throw down your arms, you damn rebels and disperse,” was
the command of the British officer.Some
started to disperse, but Captain John Parker, a deacon in Clark’s church yelled,
“Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they want war, let it begin here.” The
British fired first and 8 men fell and died on the spot. The Americans fired
back, and you know the rest of the story. Or do you? One bystander writes about
Jonas Clark who was watching from the church steps. He walked up and took in
his arms the head of one of the young men who had been killed. The man’s wife
walked up and said, “Jonas, Jonas, look what you have done.” His reply, “Ma’am,
I have no regrets, for from today the death knell of tyranny shall be heard
throughout the world and the bell of liberty shall ring into eternity.”
At the Galloping Hill Bridge, during the Battle of
Springfield, American artillery ran low on wadding to feed their cannons. Rev.
James Caldwell, an Army chaplain who had lost his wife during the Battle of
Connecticut Farms, carried a load of hymn books published by English clergyman,
Issac Watts. Caldwell was heard yelling to the artillery men, “Give ‘em Watts,
boys! Give ‘em Watts.”
When General George
Washington asked Lutheran pastor John Peter Muhlenberg to raise a regiment of
volunteers, Muhlenberg did more than agreed. After 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!” Muhlenberg then stripped off his clerical robe, revealing 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.
When the war began many ministers became known as “fighting parsons.” Ministers also exerted influence in raising volunteers to join the cause. At Windsor, VT, David Avery, on hearing the news of Lexington, preached a farewell sermon, then called the people to arms and marched away with 20 men, recruiting others as they went. John Cleaveland of Ipswich is said to have preached his whole parish into the army and then to have gone himself. These preachers were known as the Black Regiment—a term
describing the color of their clerical robes. Besides acting as recruiting agents,
chaplains, officers and fighters, many ministers supported the war with their
pens, and gave of their meager salaries to support the cause. This took
character – “O where, O where have the clergy gone.”
Proclaiming the truth of the Gospel of Christ in the context of relationship, to confront the Church to return to "truetruth,"andtodiscipleandencouragepeopletogrowinfaithandparticipateininfluencingtheirculture.