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Posts Tagged ‘The Church’

Patriot Pastors

July 31st, 2009 2 comments

My pastoral heroes do not come from the ranks of the current “politically correct, seeker sensitive, five-points- to- a- better-you, we all worship the same god, stop global warming, save the whales” genre. (Although, I do like whales). There was a day in American history where the pastors were on the front lines of revival and reformation in the culture. The declared God’s word with prophetic zeal and weren’t afraid to stand for truth even when it landed upon a few toes. They may not have won the popularity contests of their day, but they did win something more valuable: RESPECT.

I have a great deal of respect for the couragous “patriot pastors” who led the way during our fight for independence. Consider the leadership of Rev. James Caldwell. The Library of Congress features a painting by Henry Alexander Ogden entitled, “Rev. James Caldwell at the Battle of Springfield.” The painting portrays Rev. Caldwell on horseback handing out books to the soldiers, one of whom appears to be about to tear pages from the book.

Why is someone tearing pages out of a book? What book was it and why was this destructive act captured by the painter?

During the Revolutionary War, Rev. James Caldwell (1734-1781) was known as the “soldier parson” and the “rebel priest.” A presbyterian minister, Caldwell also served as chaplain of the Third New Jersey Brigade. In 1777 the British practically destroyed his hometown of Elizabethtown, including his church. Rev. Caldwell then began to hold services with loaded pistols on each side of the Bible and sentries in the belfry. During one battle near his church, the Americans ran out of paper stuffed into the muskets to keep the powder and ball from falling out. Rev. Caldwell ran to his church, gathered all the hymnbooks he could carry, and began distributing them to the soldiers. The hymns were written by Isaac Watts. As Pastor Caldwell passed out the books, he yelled, “Put Watts into’em boys! Give ‘em Watts!” Before the war was over, Rev. Caldwell would lose his wife and his own life as well.

Courageous patriot pastors, like Rev. Caldwell, led the way in standing against governmental tyranny and injustice. May God raise up more like him in our day!

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Myopic Ministers & Cowardly Clergy

July 30th, 2009 No comments

We’re are living in a strange time in history where it is in vogue to be a “myopic minister” and a “cowardly clergyman.” From where did this malady arise? My hunch is that we have been brainwashed. Our secularized culture has completely perverted and inverted the First Amendment, the one that supposedly contains the words “separation of church and state.” (If you have your pocket-sized copy of the Constitution handy, you won’t find this phrase anywhere in the First Amendment). Anytime we even think about addressing abortion, homosexuality, government corruption or a host of other extremely relevant subjects from our pulpits we get accused of preaching politics and we find ourselves threatened by some leftist organization with the loss of our tax-exempt status.

As a result, many pastors shrink back from preaching the whole gospel and settle for the much narrower version which tries to convince seekers of their need to ask  Jesus into their hearts. While I wholeheartedly concur that “all have sinned” and every person is in dire need of forgiveness and redemption, this is not the whole message of the gospel. It’s the starting place.

 We are called to transform every facet of our society. This means after we get Jesus into people’s hearts, we need to make sure we let Him out!  He will not allow His glory to be contained in the four walls of our church. Christ is Lord over all of life. He doesn’t believe in the modern version of the “separation of church and state” and neither should you. 

I close with one of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr., a pastor who boldly preached righteousness and fought for cultural transformation:

The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

 

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