Classic Works of Apologetics - America's Christian Heritage Classic Works of Apologetics Online

America's Christian Heritage
The Case for Rebellion

Is there such thing as a "just" war? Were American colonists morally justified in rebelling against their mother country, England? When the public opposes their rulers, is this a violation of Scripture? These questions are answered in the following essays.

This collection also features artillery sermons.

See also Seeds of American Freedom.

Historical Overview

  • Barton, David, 1954-present. What is the Black Robe Regiment?

  • Barton, David, 1954-present. The American Revolution: Was it an Act of Biblical Rebellion? Posted May 2009. "The topic of civil disobedience and resistance to governing authorities had been a subject of serious theological inquiries for centuries before the Enlightenment. This was especially true during the Reformation, when the subject was directly addressed by theologians such as Frenchman John Calvin, German Martin Luther, Swiss Reformation leader Huldreich Zwingli, and numerous others."

    ... "The second Scriptural viewpoint overwhelmingly embraced by most Americans during the Revolutionary Era was that God would not honor an offensive war, but that He did permit civil self-defense (e.g., Nehemiah 4:13-14 & 20-21, Zechariah 9:8, 2 Samuel 10:12, etc.). The fact that the American Revolution was an act of self-defense and was not an offensive war undertaken by the Americans remained a point of frequent spiritual appeal for the Founding Fathers."

  • Sedlak, Wayne C., Fl. early 21st century. The Black Regiment Led the Fight in Our War for Independence.

  • Thornton, John Wingate, 1818-1878. The Pulpit of the American revolution: or, The Political Sermons of the period of 1776 , With a historical introduction, notes, and illustrations. Gould and Lincoln, 1860. 537 pp.
  • Trumbull, Benjamin, 1735-1820. A General History of the United States of America from the discovery in 1492, to 1792, or, Sketches of the divine agency, in their settlement, growth, and protection; and especially in the late memorable revolution. In three volumes. Volume I. Exhibiting a general view of the principal events, from the discovery of North America, to the year 1765. / by Benjamin Trumbull. Boston: Farrand, Mallory, and co., 1810 ([Boston]: Samuel T. Armstrong) 467 pp.; 23 cm. Note: No more published./ "This first volume ... was published nine months since, during the absence of the friend, to whom the author entrusted his manuscripts. By an unfortunate mistake, it was published without the preface and the concluding chapter. In this imperfect state a number of copies have been sold ... The only method of correcting this regretted mistake is adopted, and the concluding chapter, with the preface are published, and will be added to all the copies, which remain unsold ..."--Note, p. xii. The manuscript collections from which this history is compiled are in the Yale library.

  • Oliver, Peter, 1713-1791. Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Colony in the early 1770s and British Loyalist. Origin & progress of the American Rebellion: A Tory view. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1961. xx, 175 pp.: ports.; 24 cm. Also here. Oliver mentions "The Black Regiment," the clergymen who encouraged the rebellion.

    "Mr. Otis, ye. Son, understanding the Foibles of human Nature, although he did not always practise upon that Theory, advanced one shrewd Position, which seldom fails to promote popular Commotions, vizt. that it was necessary to secure the black Regiment, these were his Words, & his Meaning was to engage ye. dissenting Clergy on his Side. He had laid it down as a Maxim, in nomine Domini incipit omne malum; & where better could he fly for aid than to the Horns of the Altar? & this Order of Men might, in a literal Sense, be stiled such, for like their Predecessors of 1641 they have been unceasingly sounding the Yell of Rebellion in the Ears of an ignorant & deluded People."

    ... "It may not be amiss, now, to reconnoitre Mr. Otis's black Regiment, the dissenting Clergy, who took so active a Part in the Rebellion. 24

    24 The term "black regiment" was used in Oliver's article in the Boston Weekly News-Letter, Jan. 11, 1776. It was used earlier by "Israelite" in the Boston Gazette, Dec. 7, 1772. [Also in Newport Mercury, Dec. 14, 1772.]

    "The congregational persuasion of Religion might be properly termed the established Religion of the Massachusetts, as well as of some other of the New England Colonies; as the Laws were peculiarly adapted to secure ye Rights of this Sect; although all other Religions were tolerated, except the Romish. This Sect inherited from their Ancestors an Aversion to Episcopacy; & I much question, had it not been for the Supremacy of the British Government over them, which they dared not openly deny, whether Episcopacy itself would have been tolerated; at least it would have been more discountenanced than it was & here I can not but remark a great Mistake of the Governors of the Church of England, in proposing to the Colonies to have their consent to a Bishops residing among them for the purpose of Ordination."

    ... "The Town of Boston being the Metropolis, it was also the Metropolis of Sedition; and hence it was that their Clergy being dependent on the People for their daily Bread; by having frequent Intercourse with the People, imbibed their Principles. 25

    25"Freeman" in the Censor for Jan. 4, 1772, p. 25, observed that the Boston clergy 'have temporised, against their own judgments, in compliance with the prejudices of their people!'

    "In this Town was an annual Convention of the Clergy of the Province, the Day after the Election of his Majestys Charter Council; and at those Meetings were settled the religious Affairs of the Province; & as the Boston Clergy were esteemed by the others as an Order of Deities, so they were greatly influenced by them. There was also another annual Meeting of the Clergy at Cambridge, on the Commencement for graduating the Scholars of Harvard College, at these two Conventions, if much Good was effectuated, so there was much Evil. And some of the Boston Clergy, as they were capable of the Latter, so they missed no Opportunities of accomplishing their Purposes. Among those who were most distinguished of the Boston Clergy were Dr. Charles Chauncy, Dr. Jonathan Mayhew & Dr. Samuel Cooper. 26 & they distinguished theirselves in encouraging Seditions & Riots, untill those lesser Offences were absorbed in Rebellion. 27

    26 Other members of the "black regiment" were Jonas Clark, of Lexington, whose wife was Hancock's cousin; Andrew Eliot, who was a correspondent of Thomas Hollis; John Lathrop, of Old North Church; and Samuel Cooke, of Arlington, who was a good friend of Jonas Clark and John Cleaveland.

    27 Samuel Cooper and his successor were accused of "sowing sedition and conspiracy among parishioners" a practice that had gone on ever since the cornerstone of the church was laid. See Alice M. Baldwin, The New England Clergy and the American Revolution (Durham, N.C., 1928), p. 94, n. 34.

  • Van Dyke, Tom. Fl. 21st century. The Bible, Romans 13 and the American Revolution. March 3, 2015.

    16th Century

    Beza, Theodore / Bze, Thodore de

    French Protestant Christian theologian and scholar. Read about Beza at the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Volume 2.


    Goodman, Christopher

    English reforming clergyman and writer. Read about Goodman here.


    Languet, Hubert

    French Huguenot writer and diplomat. Read about Languet here.


    Ponet, John

    Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Rochester, and Protestant religious leader. Read about Ponet in Biographia evangelica by Erasmus Middleton.


    17th Century

    Ascham, Anthony
    (d. 1650)

    English diplomat and pamphleteer.


    Davenport, John

    English puritan clergyman and co-founder of the American colony of New Haven. Read about Davenport here.


    Grotius, Hugo

    Jurist. Read more about Grotius here and here.


    Hitchcock, Gad

    Minister. Disclaimer: Unitarian. Learn more about Hitchcock in Annals of the American Pulpit: Unitarian Congregational. 1865 by William Buell Sprague.


    Locke, John

    English philosopher. Learn more about Locke here and from his entry in this list of scientists of Christian faith.


    Mitchel, Jonathan

    New England reverend. Read about Mitchel here.


    Nowell, Samuel

    Chaplain. Tutor, Fellow and Treasurer at Harvard. Read about Nowell in the Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 41, p. 250.


    Palmer, Herbert

    English Puritan clergyman, member of the Westminster Assembly, and President of Queens' College, Cambridge. Read about Palmer in the Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 15.


    Rutherford, Samuel

    Scottish Presbyterian theologian and author. Read about Rutherford here and here.


    Sidney, Algernon

    Philosopher. Read about Sidney here.

    John Quincy Adams:


    18th Century

    Adams, John

    Second President of the United States. Read more about John Adams here. Note: Adams shifted from Congregationalist to Unitarian.


    Adams, Zabdiel

    Pastor. First cousin of John Adams, the second president of the United States.


    Carmichael, John

    Presbyterian minister. Read more about Carmichael here.


    Colman, Benjamin

    Boston clergyman. Read more about Colman here.


    Continental Congress


    Cooper, Robert
    (ca. 1732-1805)

    Patriotic preacher of Middle Spring Presbyterian Church, Middle Spring, PA. Read about Cooper here.


    Cooper, Samuel


    Currie, William
    (ca. 1709-1803)

    Preacher in New Castle, Delaware. Read about Currie here.


    Duch, Jacob

    Anglican clergyman of Christ Church, Philadelphia. Read more about Duch here.

  • The Duty of standing fast in our spiritual and temporal liberties: A Sermon, preached in Christ-Church, July 7th, 1775. Before the First Battalion of the city and liberties of Philadelphia; and now published at their request. Philadelphia: Printed and sold by James Humphreys, Junior, the corner of Black-Horse Alley, Front-Street, 1775.

    "Inasmuch as all rulers are in fact the servants of the public and appointed for no other purpose than to be 'a terror to evil-doers and a praise to them that do well' [c.f., Rom. 13:3], whenever this Divine order is inverted--whenever these rulers abuse their sacred trust by unrighteous attempts to injure, oppress, and enslave those very persons from whom alone, under God, their power is derived ? does not humanity, does not reason, does not Scripture, call upon the man, the citizen, the Christian of such a community to 'stand fast in that liberty wherewith Christ?hath made them free?!' [Galatians 5:1] The Apostle enjoins us to 'submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake,?but surely a submission to the unrighteous ordinances of unrighteous men, cannot be 'for the Lord's sake,'? for 'He loveth righteousness, and His countenance beholds the things that are just.'"??--pp. 13-14

    Ellis, Jonathan



    French, Jonathan

    Pastor at South Church, Andover, Massachusetts. Read about French here.


    Jay, John

    "Founding Father John Jay was appointed by President George Washington as the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Jay had a very distinguished history of public service. He was a member of the Continental Congress (1774-76, 1778-79) and served as President of Congress (1778-79); he helped write the New York State constitution (1777); he authored the first manual on military discipline (1777); he served as Chief-Justice of New York Supreme Court (1777-78); he was appointed minister to Spain (1779); he signed the final peace treaty with Great Britain (1783); and he was elected as Governor of New York (1795-1801). Jay is also famous as one of the three coauthors, along with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, of the Federalist Papers, which were instrumental in securing the ratification of the federal Constitution. John Jay was a strong Christian, serving both as vice-president of the American Bible Society (1816-21) and its president (1821-27), and he was a member of American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions."--David Barton.
    Read about Jay here.


    Lidenius, John Abraham
    (Fl. 18th century)



    Mayhew, Jonathan

    American Unitarian minister at Old West Church, Boston, Massachusetts, the first Unitarian Congregational Church in New England. He is erroneously credited with coining the phrase "no taxation without representation." See John Joachim Zubly. Read more about Mayhew here.


    Paley, William

    English divine and philosopher. Learn more about Paley here and here.


    Sharp, Granville

    British abolitionist and classicist. Read more about Sharp here and here.


    Smith, William


    Stillman, Samuel

    Reverend. Read more about Stillman here.


    Tennent, Gilbert

    Irish-born American Presbyterian clergyman and evangelist, contributed to the Great Awakening. Read about Tennent here.


    Thacher, Peter


    Warren, Joseph

    American doctor and patriot. Died at Battle of Bunker Hill. Read about Warren here and here.


    West, Samuel

    Clergyman. Read more about West here. Disclaimer: West taught doctrine that became Unitarianism.


    Wilson, James, M.A.

    Statesman. One of the six signers of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Read more about Wilson here and here.


    Witherspoon, John

    Reverend. Read more about Witherspoon here and here and here.

    Ellis Sandoz, editor: ... "Witherspoon eschewed politics in America until 1774, but after that he steadily participated, directly and indirectly, in the leading events of the day. In 1776 he was elected to the Continental Congress in time to urge adoption of the Declaration of Independence and to be the only clergyman to sign it. To the assertion that America was not ripe for independence he retorted: 'In my judgment, sir, we are not only ripe, but rotting.'

    "Witherspoon served intermittently in Congress until 1782 and was a member of over a hundred legislative committees, including two vital standing committees, the Board of War and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In the latter role, he took a leading part in drawing up the instructions for the American peace commissioners who concluded the Treaty of Paris, which ended the war in September 1783. He later served in the New Jersey legislature and was a member of that state's ratifying convention for the Constitution in 1787.

    "Witherspoon has been called the most influential professor in American history, not only because of his powerful writing and speaking style--and he was carefully attended to on all subjects, both here and abroad--but also because of his long tenure at Princeton. His teaching and the reforms he made there radiated his influence across the country. He trained not only a substantial segment of the leadership among Presbyterians but a number of political leaders as well. Nine of the fifty-five participants in the Federal Convention in 1787 were Princeton graduates, chief among them James Madison (who, among other things, spent an extra year studying Hebrew and philosophy with Witherspoon after his graduation in 1771). Moreover, his pupils included a president and a vice-president of the United States, twenty-one senators, twenty-nine representatives, fifty-six state legislators, and thirty-three judges, three of whom were appointed to the Supreme Court. During the Revolution, his pupils were everywhere in positions of command in the American forces.

    "Witherspoon's The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men caused a great stir when it was first preached in Princeton and published in Philadelphia in 1776, about a month before he was elected to the Continental Congress on June 22. He reminds his auditors that the sermon is his first address on political matters from the pulpit: ministers of the Gospel have more important business to attend to than secular crises, but, of course, liberty is more than a merely secular matter."

    --Political Sermons of the American Founding Era: 1730-1805, 2 vols, Foreword by Ellis Sandoz (2nd ed. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998). Vol. 1.


    Woodman, Joseph

    New Hampshire pastor. Read about Woodman here.


    19th Century

    Duncan, James
    (Fl. 19th Century)

    Reverend, Pittsburgh, PA.


    Dymond, Jonathan

    Quaker moralist and peace advocate.


    Evans, J.
    (Fl. 18th-19th Century)

    Reverend, Bristol, England.


    Foster, John

    Author and minister.


    Haynes, Sylvanus

    Pastor in Middletown, Vermont.


    20th Century

    Van Tyne, Claude Halstead

    American historian and a Pulitzer Prize winner. He taught history at the University of Michigan from 1903-1930, and wrote a number of books on the American Revolution. He won the Pulitzer Prize for History for The War of Independence in 1930.


    21st Century

    Bock, Darrell L.
    (Fl. 21st Century)

    Research Professor of NT Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary. Read about Bock here.


    Demy, Timothy J.
    (Fl. 21st Century)

    Associate Professor of Military Ethics U.S. Naval War College, Newport, R.I. Read about Demy here and here.


    Eidsmoe, John A.
    (1945- )

    Legal Counsel for the Foundation for Moral Law and teacher of Professional Responsibility for the Oak Brook College of Law. Ordained pastor with the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations; teacher of Apologetics and other subjects for the Free Lutheran Seminary. Colonel, Alabama State Defense Force. Read more about Eidsmoe here. Website here.

    "I am committed to the belief that the Bible is God's inspired and inerrant word, that the Bible is relevant to the issues of today, and that one of today's greatest needs is for the articulation of a comprehensive biblical view of current issues and a comprehensive biblical view of law. I am further committed to the belief that America's constitutional heritage is based on solid biblical principles and that an understanding of this constitutional heritage is essential to the preservation of American freedom. Christianity and the Constitution . . . [is] a detailed study of the religious beliefs of the founders of this nation and the role the United States of America plays in the plan of God. I urge writers in every field of academic discipline to think through their positions carefully, in the light of God's word, the Bible." --Contemporary Authors Online, Thomson Gale, 2007.


    Fortenberry, Bill
    (fl. 21st Century)

    Author from Birmingham, Alabama.


    Hall, Mark David

    Hall is Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Political Science at George Fox University. Read about Hall here.


    Geisler, Norman

    Apologist. Learn more about Geisler here.


    Kopel, Dave
    (Fl. 21st century)

    Research director, American Independence Institute. Read about Kopel here.


    Norris, Chuck
    (1940- )

    American martial artist, action star and television and film actor. Read about Norris here.


    Patterson, Eric
    (Fl. 21st century)

    Research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. He also serves as dean of the School of Government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. Read about Patterson here.


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