I have been reading some of the messages that Patrick Henry gave in his lifetime. He is famous for “Give me liberty or give me death.” However, he has many other messages that we just don’t read much. What were they?
Samuel Adams (not the beer guy) and Henry took up to fear mongering liberals in the 1770’s and led what would become known as the United States of America. The guy singlehandedly stopped the Stamp Act that would have required all printed materials to be printed in London and shipped to North America.
One other interesting fact is that Patrick Henry was considered the father of Republicanism in the United States. This is not the Republican party but a system that places supreme importance of personal liberty and unalienable rights. Does those terms sound familiar? Yes, they are all over the United States Constitution.
Patrick Henry was to politics in America what George Whitefield was to the Church. He was a prophetic lightning rod that became a harbinger for change and transformation. He was a prophetic voice to a group of fear mongering politicians.
One of his main concerns was that the United States Presidency would become an American version of monarchy. A prophetic concern if you ask me.
Patrick HENRY said what?
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
While we let these words sit in our spirits, I want to think about one nugget of truth here. It is natural to use to have the illusion of hope. What does that exactly mean to us today in 2015? Was Henry speaking of what Obama called the Audacity of hope? Not at all.
Hope really is a illusion for many. It is only a dream because they do not want to find their hope in the Holy Spirit. They want to find it in their own ideas, the political systems and even church. None of them, including churches can give you hope. Only the power and presence of the Holy Spirit can give you that hope.
With that said, many do have the illusion of hope that Patrick Henry was speaking of. We do not want to know what is happening in the world around us and we do not care to see what is in front of us. We have eyes but we choose to not see. We have ears but we choose to not hear. We know that if we pretend to be naive, we won’t feel guilty.
The problem with this mentality is that it is not biblical. Christ told us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are the city on a hill with the lighthouse. Darkness only is successful when the people of God are a failure.
Was Patrick HENRY a model citizen?
Actually he was just like you and me: a weak and broken product of the culture he lived in and the society that raised him. It is known that he was given six slaves as a wedding gift from his father. He would at one time have another seventy slaves. Just because he has a call of God did not make him completely renewed.
Being prophetic does not mean you are perfect and you are still a product of the culture around you. The New Testament was written through the eyes of a culture that was being transformed by the gospel. However, it did not change the fact that there was major emphasis placed on being the product of the culture.
We see in part and we know in part. Prophetic people will still have challenges and we will see things by what we know in the nature. You might not like it, but it is what it is. Americans that are prophets are still Americans. That does not change and that does play into how we hear from God. This is why very few prophets can operate internationally with precision.
Patrick HENRY believed in missional Christianity
James Maury, a pastor of the Anglican Church in Fredericksville, VA, demanded to get back wages from the government for his services. Patrick Henry, a young lawyer completely disagreed with him and went as far as call him “an enemy of the community.” Henry seems to have believed that pastors should not be paid for their service to people who they are called to serve.
What he seems to believe is that ministry is a passion, not a profession. People in ministry should be concerned about loving people and doing it missionally; not getting paid for every service they do. This discussion from 1769 is still going on some 250 years later. Little has changed in this regard.
We need more than anything to get back to the passion of ministry and the prophetic; not the profession of it. Many people see ministry as the cash cow and a “good job security.” That is what Patrick Henry seem to be railing against. Btw, Jesus did not have too many nice things to say about the trend either.
Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. He quoted this text: My house was designated a house of prayer;You have made it a hangout for thieves.
Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.