Thorner and O’Neil: Church must reclaim its civic responsibility

September 15, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Religious Freedom

By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil – 

Our nation’s forefathers were Christians, and they wrote often they believed the battle to attain their liberty was won due to their reliance on God and the Holy Bible. Through the years, Americans and their leaders enacted laws that reflected biblical values and principles. We remained a highly moral country for almost two centuries, largely because our people wove their Christian beliefs into all parts of their lives, including the public arena.

What happened to America from 1776 to the present? How can we explain the immorality that exists today? Where was the church in this unfortunate battle that ignored historical precedents and an established culture based on moral values, in order to introduce anti-biblical, moral defying laws? How did we slip so far away from the godly standards America once valued?

If there could be one time in history that stands out as indicating a change of direction, it would be the Supreme Court decision to remove prayer from our schools. Some argue that ruling was just a consequence of a society that had slowly morphed into one less religious and more secular. But there is little evidence to prove that is true.

However, It is rather astonishing that not a single legal brief from a Christian church or organization officially opposed that Supreme Court case; a decision that most see as the “beginning of an escalating downward trend.” That fact indicates the true cause for America’s moral decline may be due to a change of attitude within church leadership, that had begun to intentionally ignore all things political and/or controversial. That trend continued and exists today.

There may be many good reasons and excuses for that major change, but the results for both the church and society have been devastating. Church membership has drastically fallen, immoral laws and thus immorality abounds, and our nation and people no longer resemble that of our of our amazing forefathers.

Christians must fight back

So, should we just give up and admit America has declined so much that we can never restore those days and all we have lost?  Absolutely not!  The Church can survive this lapse, but it likely will require our spiritual leaders to become involved in the battle, rather than remain casual observers who rationalize they have no responsibility in what is happening to our culture. They are the one who have the platform and trust of those who want morality to regain its former place in our lives, but need instructions and information to do so.

Church leaders in 1776  led their people into a war for altruistic purposes. Today they just need to lead their people into voting booths armed with facts that enable them to make the right choices.

That is how Christians can fight to regain our lost freedoms and principles, without the traditional weapons of war. This victory can be won through the power of  prayer, words, and inspiration from God.

Our ancestors tasted the bitterness of subjection to a tyrannical King who cared little for them. Today we are experiencing an overbearing, power hungry government that is largely secular, with a largely anti-Christian agenda. Our ancestors could not live with tyranny, but sadly Christians and their church leaders today do not seem as concerned about the issues, direction, and spiritual health of our county, at least not enough to take any action that would help reverse the trend.

Church leaders claim that it is not their duty to educate their congregation about anti-Christian laws or to provide enlightening information at election time, but, if not them, who then? Most people are so busy with their lives, they do not have time to keep up with the myriad of political issues and laws. The majority are likewise completely unaware of what is happening to our society due to new laws that invite immorality. Who better to give them facts than the entity they can most trust with the truth: Their Church leaders.

The Black Robed Pastors were willing to die by the sword for freedom; Church leaders today are not asked to die, just to speak out against morality and to thwart the efforts of those enacting anti-Christian laws that are incrementally destroying America. Will they enlighten their parishioners; equip them with truths and allow their congregations to become informed “points of light” in their neighborhoods, at their jobs, and possibly even at town hall meetings?

Heed these words in a 1944 speech by Norman Thomas, an American socialist and a six-time Presidential candidate of the Socialist Party of America, then consider how close they are to our current condition:

The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.

One hundred sixty eight years earlier, Samuel Adams, as a Founding Father, an architect of the principles of American republicanism that shaped the political culture of the United States, and second cousin to later U.S. President John Adams, expressed this prophetic warning:

If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.

There is a glimmer of hope in that some Church leaders are awakening to the reality that they must begin providing facts about bad bills, laws, and procedures that negatively affect and impact Christian families. That indeed would be exceedingly helpful to families, and has the potential to change the direction of our Country.  However, they are few and far between.

Everyone needs a source whose opinion they greatly value to provide critical information about controversial issues; not just any source, but one they can trust. Christians can combine their voices, and thus have a positive impact on the culture.  We applaud the pastors who have awakened to become beacons of light to the body of Christ.  Meet the new “Black Robed Regiment” who are stepping forward to protect the church and our country. May many more follow.

Black Robed Regiment message needs to be heard today!

During the week of August 24 through the 28th, The Illinois Family Institute, David E. Smith, Executive Director, held ten special events in different areas of the state featuring Pastor Dan Fisher and his presentation titled, “Bringing Back The Black Robed Regiment.” Pastor Fisher is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Yukon, Oklahoma, and also serves in the Oklahoma state legislature. As one of the first original Pulpit Freedom Pastors, Fisher is on the boards of Bott Christian Radio Network, Reclaiming America for Christ, and Vision America.

One presentation was held in the Bensenville church of Pastor John Kirkwood, who is Associate Director of the Christian Emergency League (CEL). To learn more visit christianleague.org.  A core strategy of the CEL is to is to partner with like-minded believers in prayer and finances to advance Christ and the morals set forth in the Holy Word of God. Its goal is to partner with like-minded Christians to form a chapter in all 50 states and territories, although the core of the CEL will most likely be drawn from pastors.  Never to be dismissed by church leaders are these words of warning by German patriot and Lutheran minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer during WW II which ultimately cost him his life:

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

Such powerful words. They should be put in cement for future centuries to observe, consider, and embrace. Pastor Kirkwood, Associate Director of CEL, can be contacted at (309) 863-5196 or P.O. Box 300, Bensenville, IL, 60106.

This video shows Pastor Fisher recounting the story in a Black Robed Regiment presentation through the eyes of Rev. Peter Muhlenberg, the minister who spearheaded the Black Robed Regiment movement. In his impersonation of Rev. Muhlenberg, Dan Fisher, appearing on stage initially wearing a black robe, unrobed to reveal a military uniform underneath, as did Rev. Muhlenberg, when at the conclusion of his Sunday sermon on January 21,1776 he declared:

In the language of the Holy Writ, there was a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away.  There is a time to fight, and that time is now coming!

Marching to the rear of his church, the Emanuel Lutheran Church in Woodstock, Virginia, in his full military uniform, Muhlenberg declared, “Who among you is with me?”  On that day one-by-one men from his congregation stood up and joined Muhlenberg in the fight for liberty. They embraced their families and walked down the aisle to add their names to their pastor’s, as others from the community heeded the call.

Shortly afterwards the Woodstock congregation and community watched their men ride off to war with pastor Muhlenberg riding in the lead as part of the 8th Virginia Regiment, singing “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

It’s now or never for church leaders to take a stand to become the Black Robed Regiment of todayin order to preserve religious freedom for generations of Americans to come, remembering that freedom is a Gift from God.  It is time for pastors to speak boldly and their civic duty to do so.  Step up to the challenge today and become among the ranks of The Black Robed Regiment of the 21th century.

Part 1: Thorner & O’Neil:  Calling all Christians  

Part 2:  Thorner & O’Neil: Calling all Church Leaders 

Part 3:  Thorner & O’Neil:  Church falls short if evangelizing is sole purpose 

Part 4:  Thorner & O’Neil: Patriot preachers of the 18th century 

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