July 4: Happy “Presbyterian Rebellion” Day

We digress today to present the following post by our co-author, Rev. David Myers, and will return to our current Saturday schedule of posts by the Rev. Robert P. Kerr, from his work, Presbyterianism for the People. Next week’s Saturday installment is Chapter 3 from that work and is titled “The Bible Origin of Presbyterianism.”

Happy “Presbyterian Rebellion” Day

If you are reading this July 4, 2015 post as an ordained minister, you can simply turn to Loraine Boettner’s book “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination,” Chapter 28, Section 7, on page 383 for what I am about to write. Don’t have the book in your pastoral library! Go out and buy the book immediately, and let the following quotations be a incentive to do so.

Or if you are reading this national holiday post as a member in a Presbyterian church, borrow the book by Boettner on “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” from your pastor, turn to Chapter 28, Section 7 entitled “Calvinism in America,” and read the rich history of the beginning of your country which past and current school books have left out of the beginnings of our country. Then go out and buy one for your home and office!

The Reformer theologian Loraine Boettner writes “It is estimated that of the three million Americans at the time of the American Revolution, nine hundred thousand were Scotch or Scotch-Irish origin,” or Presbyterians.

Further Boettner writes on page 383 that “Presbyterians took a very prominent part in the American Revolution.” Quoting Bancroft, he writes “The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure.” Further, Boettner states “So intense, universal, and aggressive were the Presbyterians in their zeal for liberty that the war was spoken of in England as ‘The Presbyterian Rebellion.’ An ardent supporter of King George III wrote home that he fixed all the blame for these extraordinary proceedings upon the Presbyterians. The prime minister of England, Horace Walpole said in Parliament that ‘Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson,’ referring to John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration of Independence.”

Last, Boettner quotes a J.R. Sizoo who tells us that “when Cornwallis was driven back to ultimate defeat and surrender at Yorktown, all of the colonels of the Colonial army but one were Presbyterians elders. More than one-half of all the soldiers and officers of the American Army during the Revolution were Presbyterians.”

Loraine Boettner concludes on page 386 by simply stating “The United States of America owes much to that oldest of American Republics, the Presbyterian Church.”

Words to Live By:
How many of our readers were instructed with these truths in their schooling in either the public school or colleges and universities when they studied American History? I dare say not many would assent to the question. But it is time that we re-study the question, and rejoice in God-glorifying Presbyterian elders and people who sought at the expense of their own lives and liberties to proclaim liberty throughout the land. Let us be knowledgeable descendants of them this Happy “Presbyterian Rebellion” Day, July 4, 2015.

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  1. Vaughn Hathaway’s avatar

    The American rebellion may have been a rebellion drive by Scot Presbyterians; but in fewer than 100 years, Presbyterians in the south would take a totally absolute view of the spirituality of the church. While northern Presbyterians were influenced by New School Presbyterians to speak out against slavery, those southern Presbyterians chose to be silent about slavery — and I think the nation has suffered by the birth of church disengagement from society. I agree with the Southern Presbyterian view that the church is a force for spiritual change. But, I diagree with their view that the church does not have a prophetic voice to the ills of society.

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