I just had breakfast with the Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg. Well, not the real Peter Muhlenberg, but a preacher friend of mine named Travis Witt. Travis does a powerful impersonation of the Revolutionary War-time pastor-patriot at churches and other venues around the country.
Travis will be in his full Muhlenberg character at The Awakening 2013 on April 19-20 in Orlando, Fla. The Awakening is a life-changing, spiritual-political revival.
But more on that later.
At breakfast, Travis and I were discussing the man Muhlenberg and what he stood for.
One early Sunday morning in January 1776, Rev. Muhlenberg was preaching what seemed his normal weekly sermon. His Scripture for the day focused on Ecclesiastics 3, which observes, in part, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Muhlenberg continued: “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.”
With his voice reaching a dramatic crescendo and his congregation now captivated, a fiery Pastor Muhlenberg then declared: “There is a time to fight, and that time has now come!” He then tore away his clerical robes, revealing, underneath, the crisply pressed uniform of a Colonial Army officer.
His congregation gasped.
Pastor Muhlenberg then marched to the rear of the church building, turned and shook the walls, declaring, “Who among you is with me?” That very day, 300 brave men from his relatively small church stood with Peter Muhlenberg to become the 8th Virginia Regiment.
Frederick Muhlenberg, the good pastor’s brother, questioned, in a letter, whether it was Peter’s place to fight.
Peter wrote back with words as true today as they were then. “I am a Clergyman, it is true,” he wrote, “but I am a member of the Society as well as the poorest Layman, and my Liberty is as dear to me as any man, shall I then sit still and enjoy myself at Home when the best Blood of the Continent is spilling? … so far am I from thinking that I act wrong, I am convinced it is my duty to do so and duty I owe to God and my country.”
I think Peter Muhlenberg set an example for each of us to follow. I think we all owe a duty to God, country and one another to stand up and fight for liberty, regardless of our station in life.
Like then, we find ourselves today in the midst of a revolutionary war. Not a war with guns, but a war of ideals. We battle not against a foreign king, but a man among us who thinks he’s king. We struggle not against a tyrannical foreign government, but a government of our own making – a government that tilts toward tyranny.
We desperately need revival in this country – spiritual, cultural and political revival. It’s time for the next Great Awakening.