Bringing Back the Black-Robed Regiment

Bringing Back the Black-Robed Regiment

2014 | Week of October 20 – #1068

On Sunday morning January 21,1776, Pastor Peter Muhlenberg was, as usual, in the pulpit of his Lutheran church in Virginia. His sermon that day was from Ecclesiastes 3, that well-known portion of Scripture that tells us that “to everything thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

Pastor Muhlenberg worked his way through the early verses, explaining what God through Solomon was saying about a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest. He came to verse eight and read to the congregation, the last set of contrasts, “a time of war and a time of peace.”  Instead of bringing the sermon and the service to a close as usual, Pastor Muhlenberg, said to those gathered, “And this is the time for war.”  Standing before his rapt people, the pastor removed his black clerical robe revealing the uniform of a colonel in the Revolutionary War.

Those telling this story relate that within a half-hour over 160 men followed their pastor’s example and headed off to fight the British to gain America’s independence and that by the next day 300 men had joined Pastor Muhlenberg and thereby formed the nucleus of the 8th Virginia Regiment.

While Peter Muhlenberg’s story is perhaps the best known of the role of the clergy in the Revolutionary War, there were other notable clergy involved in America’s founding and in the War for Independence.

History tells us that the British referred to the clergy of that era as the “black-robed regiment.” They knew very well the influence that these members of the clergy, many of whom wore black robes when they were in their pulpits, had in their communities. They feared this “black-robed regiment.”

I thought deeply about Peter Muhlenberg and the black-robed regiment as I heard the news last week from Houston about the mayor of that city issuing subpoenas to pastors requiring that all communication, including sermons, that included any reference to the so-called “bathroom policy” that city had recently implemented be turned over to the city’s attorneys.

Ironically, that news broke within days of a similar policy being defeated in Sparta Area School District right here in Wisconsin. At the school board committee meeting last week three courageous pastors spoke against this policy that lets boys use the girls’ restrooms and locker rooms and girls use the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms. I prayed that these dear pastors would not suffer a similar fate as their Houston peers. I prayed, too, and continue to pray, that God will use this type of situation, as horrifying as it is, to wake up our churches and pastors so that they realize there is no more middle ground, no more fence straddling, no more middle of the road. It is truly time for a resurgence in America of the “black-robed regiment.”

God’s timing is always right. Before Houston happened, we had already scheduled Mr. Dan Fisher, who is a pastor in Oklahoma as well as a member of that state’s House of Representatives, and his “Bringing Back the Black-Robed Regiment” presentation for two events in our state. Mr. Fisher makes these multimedia presentations in full Revolutionary War costume. These free events will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 27 at the Holiday Inn in Cedar Creek just south of Wausau and then again on Tuesday, October 28 at Fox Banquets in downtown Appleton. Both of these events are open to the public. Call 888-378-7395 for more information.

If there was ever a time that Christian citizens and clergy alike need to be awake, alert, and armed for battle it is now. So many of the issues of our day, issues such as life, marriage, family, sexuality, parental rights and religious liberty, are not political issues; they are inherently biblical issues that have been turned into high-profile political issues. When the clergy are silent, those advancing a very dangerous and very aggressive unbiblical liberal agenda think they have free passage to do whatever they want in our schools, our communities, our state and our nation.

Our prayer and our hope is that many will join us for these events and leave challenged to be part of a modern-day “black-robed regiment,” that is respected and even feared by those who seek to destroy the very foundation of our nation. May God grant us yet more Peter Muhlenbergs.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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