Op-Ed

Opinion: America's Churches Must Take Action To Preserve Our Liberty

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For the past four weeks, I have been working on behalf of Ryan McAdams, a pastor and the leader of the Virginia Prayer Caucus, who has been called of God to run for Congress in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. My focus has been to encourage fellow pastors by showing the brief video, “What Difference Does [One Vote] Make?” to their congregations in one or more Sunday services remaining in September, display a PowerPoint slide containing a “text-to-register” number, and distribute a brochure on the moral duty of Christians’ to vote.

The video is compelling, scrupulously non-partisan, and at 1 minute and 40 seconds, hardly an imposition on a Sunday agenda. We are simply asking them to show the video, distribute the brochures, and facilitate Christians registering and turning out to vote on Nov. 6. The only part of the process that might be considered “partisan” is the legally required acknowledgment in tiny print at the bottom of the brochure, “Paid for by Ryan McAdams for Congress.”

The responses from some of the pastors I’ve approached might suggest that I had asked them to renounce the faith, teach false doctrine, or God forbid, spearhead a political campaign rally. In an age when popular church growth theory treats “political” speech as a pariah that threatens unity, fruitful ministry, and the evangelical mission of the Church, it is ironic that political sermons were standard fare in America for more than 300 years.

Natural rights, the social compact, and election sermons stressing the moral duty of Christians to vote, in a manner that promotes liberty and sustains the civil society were mainstream sermon topics. Moreover, notwithstanding the dampening effect of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (a.k.a. The 1954 Johnson Amendment), coupled with the specious notion that “separation” was meant as a prohibition on political preaching and Church involvement in civil government, political sermons are occasionally still preached, albeit rarely, in some churches today.

I have in my library a list compiled by the American Antiquarian Society, of more than 500 New England election sermons preached between 1634 and 1885. Titles include: “An Election Sermon” in 1715 by Joseph Moss, “Good Rulers A Choice Blessing” in 1725 by Azariah Mather, “The Origin and Ends of Civil Government” in 1795 by Andrew Lee, “The Political Advantages of Godliness” in 1797 by Isaac Lewis and “On the Evils of Weak Government” in 1800 by John Smalley.

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It is difficult to overstate the importance of the pulpit and political preaching to our nation’s founding and the preservation of liberty since. It was the “Pulpit of the Revolution” that supplied the ideological basis and motivation for the American War for Independence. In the preface to his book by the same title, historian John Wingate Thornton affirms the historical record about the central role of the pulpit in America’s founding:

“The true alliance between Politics and Religion is the lesson inculcated in this volume of Sermons, and apparent in its title, ‘The Pulpit of the Revolution.’ It is the voice of the Fathers of the Republic, enforced by their example. They invoked God in their civil assemblies, called upon their chosen teachers of religion for counsel from the Bible, and recognized its precepts as the law of their public conduct. The Fathers did not divorce politics and religion, but they denounced the separation as ungodly. They prepared for the struggle, and went into battle, not as soldiers of fortune, but, like Cromwell and the soldiers of the Commonwealth, with the Word of God in their hearts, and trusting in him. This was the secret of that moral energy which sustained the Republic in its material weakness against superior numbers, and discipline, and all the power of England. To these Sermons — the responses from the Pulpit — the State affixed its imprimatur, and thus they were handed down to future generations with a twofold claim to respect.”

It is fair to say that America would never have become a great nation had the political disposition of her pulpits matched that of her pulpits today. Nor will the liberty that’s taken for granted by the Church today survive if America’s pulpits continue to abandon the voting booth and the government it produces to the “sons of disobedience.” 

The Call to Repent and Rebuild

Do you think America's churches should encourage its congregation to vote?

Last Sunday around noon, God began to speak to my heart about the condition of the Church in America and the responses I was receiving from pastors, and it shook me. Those who know me can attest that I rarely claim to have heard from the Lord unless others report hearing the same thing, and leaders I am in fellowship with have affirmed what I feel I need to say. No one benefits from “Thus saith the Lord” if the Lord has not spoken, and God will not countenance presumption to accommodate an inflated ego.

Later Sunday afternoon at about 3:00 p.m. I called a friend in Texas who is a pastor and has relationships with pastors all over the country, to ask for his help in reaching out to pastors in Virginia. During our conversation, he mentioned that he would attend an invitation-only meeting at the White House with the president, along with several other faith leaders who were also being invited to attend. At that point, I asked if he would convey to meeting attendees, the urgent message God had given me to the Church earlier in the day and he agreed, so I sent the message God had given me to his email address. The following is the message I sent:

“Who will make America great again if not I? Can America achieve greatness on her own? Can greatness be achieved without righteousness? Is anything too hard for God? Is there not a faith that subdues kingdoms, works righteousness, and puts foreign armies to flight? (Hebrews 11:30-34) Am I not doing a work in your day that some will not believe, though it plays out before their very eyes? Why do some cry “blasphemy” when they hear that Donald Trump is my olive branch that I have extended to my Church, to prove my people and learn what is in their hearts? Why do so many of you feel compelled to apologize for my sovereign work on earth on your behalf? Is the President not my answer to your persistent cries for deliverance over the previous decade? Did I not raise up Cyrus and anoint him to execute my sovereign plan in the earth on behalf of my people? Is the current administration not a window of opportunity that I have opened to you to rebuild the foundations of Liberty and the Wall of Righteousness that was a bulwark against calamity, but has fallen and crumbled because of your apathy and neglect? Though you are not worthy, I have given you this season to set things right in your heart and your nation, that you might be the head and not the tail. Do not reject my olive branch, or I will take him from you and leave you neither root nor branch. I have given you this season, not to pass judgment on what I am doing, but to repent and put away evil from your midst so that you might be prepared for the great outpouring of my Spirit that will once more cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. If you are able to hear it, my final warning over Jerusalem was a warning to you and to America—Do not miss the hour of your visitation.”

On Thursday afternoon I stopped by Regent University to speak with a member of the faculty in the School of Divinity. When I walked into his office, he was watching Lance Wallnau’s most recent podcast, which was a sobering report on what the [resident had told attendees at Monday’s meeting. I was stunned because I had no foreknowledge of the agenda of the meeting and the president’s message confirmed what God had spoken to me the previous Sunday, albeit in greater detail, At the meeting, President Trump warned more than 100 Christian leaders that if we lose the House in the midterm election, anti-Christian persecution will ensue.

It is difficult to put into words the urgency I feel about Christians turning out to vote en mass on Nov. 6, for candidates whose lives and policy positions comport with biblical morality. If Democrats take back the House in November, an outcome I am convinced will signal the end of America, everything we believe or hope for will be put in immediate jeopardy.

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The prevailing reticence of pastors to say or do anything even remotely “political,” amounts to dereliction and considering the current ongoing national crisis, is the equivalent of reckless endangerment of the Flock of God. The Church cannot surrender the voting booth to the “sons of disobedience” and expect prayer alone to keep liberty alive. Apart from the Church, there is no body of people capable of “securing the Blessings of Liberty.”

Liberty lost is lost forever, and the Church will have only itself to blame. We have a Divine commission to safeguard Liberty, but if through apathy or ignorance we vacate our charge as sole Guardian thereof, the Chief Shepherd will require it of us.

Rev. William Cook is Founder and CEO of America’s Black Robe Regiment, an association of clergy actively engaged in restoring Liberty in America, and the Legacy of the American pulpit as Wellspring of the political ideology that ignited a Revolution and won Liberty. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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