"He is the best friend to American liberty who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down on profanity and immorality of every kind. Whover is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country," spoke the Reverend John Witherspoon in a sermon for the second national day of prayer, fasting and humiliation in 1775. He was the President of Princeton, a university founded on Biblical Christianity whose motto was, "Cursed is all learning which is contrary to the cross of Jesus Christ." Reverend Witherspoon, along with fifty five others, boldly signed his name to our glorious Declaration of Independence, bravely facing death by hanging, if apprehended, for treason against England. The Bible says that "the righteous are as bold as a lion!" The Reverend Witherspoon was a true patriot preacher who models the courage needed today in our pulpits. May God bless all our pastors with holy boldness to lead the way back to American liberty!
The Reverend John Witherspoon is a noteworthy example of a patriotic pastor who accomplished great good for our country. He entered the University of Edinburgh in Scotland at age fourteen, graduated from a theological course of study and was licensed to preach at age twenty-two. Reverend Witherspoon accepted an appointment as president of Princeton (College of New Jersey) in 1768. His extensive knowledge, patriotic sentiments, and sound judgment were needed to form a new state constitution for New Jersey when the British invaded in 1776. Who better understood the proper role of government and rulers than God's ministers in the pulpit? Governments are instituted among men to secure our God-given rights to life, liberty, and property. Evil-doers must be punished by "just men who rule in the fear of God." 2 Samuel 23:3 "A ruler is a minister of God to you for good...a minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil." Romans 13:4 Who better understood the principles of freedom under the rule of law than those with a strong Biblical world view? The Reverend John Witherspoon's contributions to establish good government in New Jersey led to his election as a delegate to the 2nd Continental Congress, where he voted for independence from England and dependence upon God. He was a member of congress until 1782. Throughout this time of honorable service, he had been placed on the most important committees, playing a large role in military and financial matters. He astounded his colleagues with the versatility of his knowledge.
Pastors with extensive knowledge, patriotic sentiments and sound judgment are needed today to be actively involved in the public life of our country. Who better than God's men with God's counsel and God's heart for His people? The patriotic Reverend John Witherspoon is such an inspiring role model for our pastors today.