Dr. John Witherspoon (1723-1794), Scottish pastor and theologian, was persuaded by American patriots to leave Scotland in 1768 and to accept the Presidency of Princeton College. There he trained over 140 Presbyterian ministers, and a greater number of Founding Era political leaders. Among his students were 9 of 55 framers of the U.S. Constitution, a president (James Madison), a vice-president, 21 U.S. Senators, 29 U.S. Congressmen, 56 state legislators, and 33 judges, three of whom ascended to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the War for Independence his students held commands throughout the American forces. On May 17, 1775, the Continental Congress called the 13 colonies to unite, repent, pray and fast for America. That very day Witherspoon preached:
I would… press every hearer to a sincere concern for his own soul’s salvation. There are times when the mind [is] more awake to divine truth… to the arrows of conviction [e.g., a season of public judgment]… Can you have a clearer view of the sinfulness of your nature, than when the rod of the oppressor is lifted up, and when you see men putting on [uniforms for war], and collecting on every hand the weapons of hostility and instruments of death? I do not blame your ardor in preparing for the resolute defense of your temporal rights; but consider, I beseech you, the truly infinite importance of the salvation of your souls…
This is the first time of my introducing any political subject into the pulpit. At this season, however, it is not only lawful but necessary, and I willingly embrace the opportunity… the cause in which America is now in arms, is the cause of justice, of liberty, and of human nature… the confederacy of the colonies has not been the effect of pride, resentment, or sedition, but of a deep and general conviction that our civil and religious liberties, and consequently… the temporal and eternal happiness of us and our posterity, depend on the issue. The knowledge of God and his truths have from the beginning of the world been chiefly, if not entirely confined to those parts of the earth where some degree of liberty and political justice were… There is not a single instance in history, in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved… If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage.
You shall not, my brethren, hear from me in the pulpit… railing at the king personally… his ministers… the parliament, [or the] people of Britain [calling them] barbarous savages. Many of their actions have probably been worse than their intentions. That they should desire unlimited dominion, if they can obtain or preserve it, is neither new nor [strange in world history]. I do not refuse submission to their unjust claims because they are corrupt or profligate, although probably many of them are so, but because they are [but] men, and therefore liable to all the selfish bias [that is] inseparable from human nature. I call this claim unjust… making laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever… Would any man who could prevent it, [yield] up his estate, person, and family, to the disposal of his neighbor, [even if he could choose] the wisest and the best master? Surely not. This is the true… hinge of the controversy between Great-Britain and America… [Their] claim of authority is unjust. Such is and must be their ignorance of the state of things here… that for these colonies to depend wholly upon the legislature of Great-Britain, would be like many other oppressive connections, injury to the master, and ruin to the slave (see John Witherspoon, “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men,” May, 1776, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era: 1730-1805, Vol. 1, Ellis Sandoz; p. 529; see also Dr. Kenyn Cureton’s Lost Episode in American History).
Witherspoon firmly believed that sin is ingrained in human nature. Unchecked, the Supreme Court, the White House, even Congress, can be spiritually dull, morally hardened, and make bad, even evil decisions because these governing entities are composed of humans. Too many American officials are willing to usurp the Constitutional religious liberties Americans have enjoyed for over 225 years. The Obama administration certainly has. Will the Supreme Court do likewise? Do they not know that true Christians will choose to suffer than compromise their liberty of conscience and comply with government demands to act contrary to their deeply held biblical beliefs? (Acts; 5:29; Rev 12:11)
National Day of Prayer – Last Thursday was the National Day of Prayer (NDP). Some 43,000 events took place across America. Nearly a million people watched the NDP Task Force event in Washington, live, via God TV, or the NDP’s Website. You can still see the video of NDP’s private Men’s Study and Prayer Meeting at FRC HERE. Noticeably different from last year was a heightened sense of desperation. Church leaders and lay people alike are painfully concerned for our nation and are turning to God in prayer. The growing cry from God’s people is our own greatest cause for hope (Ps 50:14-15; Ex 2:23; Eze 9:4).
Thank God for the National Day of Prayer! May we support this worthy prayer event and give our time to make it even more successful each first Thursday in May!
Religious Liberty & the Supreme Court – At NDP, Dr. James Dobson warned of the consequences of a bad Supreme Court ruling on marriage. FRC, too, has repeatedly warned that such would signal the end of religious liberty in America. Faithful Christians will be targeted for punishment by homosexual activists in and outside government, as they were in Indiana. Ministries that take a public stand for biblical and scientific truth about marriage and human sexuality will be priority targets. Christian photographers, bakers, florists, wedding planners, wedding chapels, Knights of Columbus Halls, private wedding vendors and churches that rent out their facilities for weddings will face demands to facilitate homosexual weddings. If they refuse, they will face not just pressure, but government investigations and discrimination lawsuits. States need quickly to pass bills like one now being considered in Louisiana, which specifically protects business people from activists who seek to punish believers with discrimination charges. But the problems do not end there (see Dr. Dobson; Dr. Robby George, Dr. Mike Farris).
If the Court Rules Wrongly – Christian organizations that refuse to comply with the new public policy will pay a high price. Christian adoption agencies that believe children deserve a mother and a father could have their grant money pulled, as has already happened in states that have legalized same-sex “marriage.”
Christian ministries and non-profit organizations may lose their tax exempt status, as U.S. Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli’s admitted under questioning from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. The variety of such social service organizations is too long to list: church schools, missions’ agencies, seminaries, Christian colleges, pregnancy care centers, relief agencies, street missions, shelters for needy and battered women, men and children. Millions of needy Americans, Christian and non-Christian, could suffer or be forced to turn to an ever growing government for help.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, HRC, GLAAD, the ACLU, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Freedom from Religion Foundation, the SPLC, and George Soros’ network of non-profits would remain tax exempt – despite their anti-Christian agendas. Christian ministries that survive as taxable organizations will likely be supervised, controlled, harassed and ultimately destroyed by activists and various government agencies. In his 1819 ruling in McCulloch v.Maryland, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, it is “too obvious to be denied…the power to tax involves the power to destroy.”
May God have mercy on His own dear people and intervene to preserve religious liberty in America! May God reawaken Americans to understand that the First Amendment forever protects churches and church ministries from taxation and control by the federal government!
Call2Fall is Partnering with PrayUSA – FRC and the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF), long partners in prayer here in Washington, DC, is now partnering both to promote Call2Fall and PrayUSA, a national call to pray from the Congressional Prayer Caucus and State Legislative Prayer Caucuses across America, facilitated by the CPCF. Also, FRC is urging pastors to host Call2Fall during their Sunday services on the last Sunday before Independence Day, June 28th, and to lead their people in at least 5 minutes on their knees, crying out to God in prayer for our nation. This year, we are also inviting them to close their prayer service with ceremonial reading of both the Call2Fall Pledge and signing the PrayUSA pledge: affirming the “need to call America back to prayer, not for a single day or a single month, but to pray “without ceasing.” The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce its marriage decision by Tuesday, June 30th and Independence Day will take place July 4th. Visit Call2Fall.com and click “I’m in.” Like us on Facebook. See a brief video about PrayUSA HERE!
Finally, pray that the resolution passed by the House to secure the release of Saeed Abedini will hit its mark! Please continue to pray for the U.S. Supreme Court. You can easily adapt our daily prayer guides published before the hearings for use between now and the end of June. Thank you for praying!