Almost a year ago I wrote an article called "The Forgotten Holiday" (see LINK
below), which described the key role that Colonial churches and ministers
played in the American Revolution. My research led me to make this bold
statement: "I do not consider it a stretch at all to say that were it not for
the pastors and churches of colonial America, our land would be a British
That article came to the attention of Wendy Griffith, a producer for the
Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). CBN was planning a series on the
Christian foundations of America, and one of her researchers brought it to her
attention. This led to an invitation to me to be interviewed for the series.
The segment in which my interview will appear will air on The 700 Club on
Monday, April 23. The 700 Club is on at 9AM in most areas, but check your local
listings. It is also repeated in the evening.
But don't wait until the 23rd to tune in. This great series is being played in
installments every day on The 700 Club. Check out tomorrow's show, and make
sure you tape it for your children. They need to know the truth about the
foundations of this great nation to counteract the lies they hear every day.
Because my interview took place just two days ago, my heart and mind are on
this subject. So I thought I would take some of the questions I was asked and
give you a rough idea of some of my answers~
Q. What role did the churches and Christians play in defending and founding
what was to become the United States of America?
A. First, the pastors preached against the tyranny and injustice of the
British. They laid the moral foundation, based on the Word of God, for
rebellion against ungodly authority.
Second, the pastors, elders and deacons of the protestant churches organized
church members as "Minutemen". The Minutemen were farmers and workmen who were
ready at a minute's notice, when they heard the church bells toll, to lay down
their tools and take up their muskets.
Q. What was the Black Regiment? Why did the English, and those loyal to
England, fear them and their supporters?
A. The black regiment was not a military unit at all, but it had more effect on
the revolutionary war than any actual regiment. It was a disparaging name first
given by a British loyalist named Peter Oliver to the ministers who were the
moral force behind the Revolution. They were called the black regiment because
of the black robes they wore when they preached. Oliver complained that the
preachers were always at the heart of revolutionary disturbances.
This term was later used by the king of England to refer to these ministers who
led their congregations against the redcoats. The king feared the ministers
because they refused to acknowledge the divine authority of the king. Their cry
was, "No king but King Jesus!!" Many of them wrote passionate pleas for
freedom, which spread throughout the colonies.
Q. Why was Reverend Jonas Clarke significant to the Battle at Lexington?
A. Lexington, Massachusetts, was where what Ralph Waldo Emerson called "the
shot heard 'round the world" was fired. John Hancock and Samuel Adams were
staying at the home of Reverend Clarke just before the British first attacked
our forefathers. Most Americans don't know this, but three days before his
famous ride of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere made another ride to Lexington. This
was to warn Hancock and Adams that the British were coming to capture and
Clarke was the founder, organizer, and one of the leaders of the company of
brave men who had the honor of being the first to defend their fledgling nation
in front of his church in Lexington, Massachusetts. He swore he would never run
from the British guns. "Old Jonas", as his parishioners called him, was felled
by a musket ball, but continued to shoot at the British from the ground until
he was run through by a British soldier's bayonet.
Q. The monument that honors the Minutemen who died on the Lexington Green that
day says, "The blood of these martyrs was the cement of the Union of these
states, then colonies~and that the peace, liberty and independence of the
United States of America was their glorious reward." These Minutemen really
were martyrs for the cause of freedom and were obviously willing to give their
lives. What should people know about these men?
A. Almost all of the Minutemen were Christians. They believed that all
authority is subject to the authority of God and the Bible. They knew that they
were doing the will of God by fighting oppression. They realized that the
British had abused their authority and virtually enslaved the colonists. And
they knew that if they did not fight their oppressors, no one else would.
Q. Sometimes, the ministers themselves left their pulpits to join in the
fighting. There's quite a dramatic story about Pastor John Muhlenberg joining
the Continental Army. Tell me about that.
A. I love this story. General George Washington asked john Muhlenberg, a
Lutheran pastor, to raise a regiment of volunteers to fight the redcoats.
Muhlenberg did so, but before he led them into battle he preached a powerful
sermon from Ecclesiasts 3:1-8 that ended 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. The time for me to preach has passed away, and there
is a time to fight~now is the time to fight!"
With that, he took off his robe to reveal the uniform of a Virginia colonel. He
took his musket from behind the pulpit, put on his colonel's hat, and marched
off to lead his men to war.
Q. You wrote that you did not consider it a stretch at all to say that if it
were not for the pastors and clergy of Colonial America - this land would be a
British colony today?
A. Wayne Sedlack, an expert on the Christian heritage of our nation, once
"Without the outspoken, tenacious and courageous leadership exhibited by the
pastors of the 'Black Regiment', it is doubtful whether American independence
could ever have been achieved."
My research confirmed this, which is why I wrote the article that brought me to
your network's attention. Most of the colonists were angry at the brutality of
the British, which included burning the town of Falmouth, Maine, starving
Boston by closing its port, and leaving an executed man's body on public
display for years as a warning to revolutionists. (All of this occurred before
the American Revolution began.) The colonists were angry, but they were
unorganized, unfocused and undisciplined. The pastors and church leaders
organized them into a fighting force that defeated a well-trained, seasoned
army 10 times its size.
According to historian J.R. Sizzo, at the time of the ultimate surrender of the
British at Yorktown, all of the colonels of the colonial army except one were
church elders. More than half of all the soldiers and officers of the American
army were Presbyterians, and most of the rest were members of other Christian
Q. Why is the role of the churches and Christians in our nation's beginning
downplayed so much today?
A. It's not just in this area that America-haters are rewriting history. Middle
school children are being taught in our public schools that America was the
aggressor in World War II. Pearl Harbor, the reason why we were forced to go to
war, is not even mentioned in many of their textbooks.
As I said in the article "The Forgotten Holiday" on www.ConservativeTruth.org,
there are powerful people in this nation trying to rewrite the history of our
nation's founding. If we allow these historical revisionists to succeed, it
won't be long before we start "learning" that Muslims founded our nation. We
will be surprised to "discover" that the pilgrims actually came here to gain
freedom to practice homosexuality. And the truth about how Christians came to
this land to form a Christian nation will be written out of our history.
Q. What would you like Americans to know about the role Christians played in
the birthing of our nation?
A. The truth is that there was no freedom of religion in England. The king of
England tried to force preachers to be licensed by the crown. There was a State
church which many wanted no part of. So thousands came to America with the
specific purpose of founding a Christian nation.
This people who founded this nation left their homes to gain freedom to worship
according to the dictates of their consciences. They were not about to allow
their freedom to be taken from them again.
Those same preachers who refused to be licensed by England led the fight to
throw off the chains of oppression. If it were not for those ministers and
their congregations, there would be no United States of America today.
Dr. Tom Barrett has been an ordained minister for 30 years. He has written for local and national publications for most of his life, and has authored several non-fiction books. He has been interviewed on many TV and radio programs, and speaks at seminars nationwide. Tom is the editor and publisher of Conservative Truth, an email newsletter read by over fifty thousand weekly which focuses on moral and political issues from a Biblical viewpoint.