In declaring that "modern Christianity has to get back to playing the long game," we particularly have in mind the likes of Johann Conrad Weiser Sr. (1662-1746), Conrad Weiser Jr. (1696-1760), Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (1711-1787), his wife, Anna Maria (Weise) Muhlenberg (1727-1802) and their sons Frederick, Peter and Henry Ernest, all pastors.
Born in Einbeck, Germany, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (an Anglicanization of Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg) was a Lutheran pastor sent to North America as a missionary, requested by "three forlorn Lutheran congregations in Pennsylvania (German-speaking Pennsylvania colonists), with neither church buildings nor pastors." Now considered by historians as the patriarch of American Lutheranism, Muhlenberg was to be the answer to their prayers.
Arriving in Philadelphia at age 31, Pastor Muhlenberg took very active steps to plant the Lutheran church on solid ground. Working tirelessly to cultivate what he referred to as "practical, active Christianity," he was described as a man with "incredible tact, patient firmness, spiritual power and [an] indefatigable" capacity to travel. Throughout his ministry, he made extensive mission journeys in the colonies and states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, South Carolina and Georgia. Most of these journeys were by horseback or wooden sailboat or canoe.
Knowing as many as five languages, he also established a rapport with other European Lutherans in the New World, according to dailykos.com and elcm.org. He conversed with Germans, Dutch and Swedes in New York and New Jersey in the 1750s, preaching to congregants and establishing a dialogue with other Lutheran preachers. He organized new congregations and actively worked to keep all the Lutheran churches with whom he had contact closely in association with one another as well as establishing the training of new pastors in America.
Muhlenberg is a prime example of the 17th- and 18th-century spiritual founders of America. Manifesting both a close relationship with Jesus Christ and a thorough knowledge of His Word, their fortitude and skills were fundamental to the emergence of a divinely inspired exceptional culture, for several centuries distinguished by moral excellence in the lives of its Christian people. Culture, after all, is purely the public manifestation of religion.
In 1745, Henry Muhlenberg married Anna Maria Weiser, the daughter of colonial leader Conrad Weiser Jr., a key interpreter and diplomat between the Pennsylvania Colony and Native Americans. As an aside, back in Germany, Weiser Jr.'s mother, Anna Magdalena Uebele Weiser, had died of fever when he was 13. His father, Johann Conrad Weiser Sr., wrote of her faith: "Buried beside her ancestors, she was a God-fearing woman and much loved by her neighbors. Her motto was, 'Jesus I live for thee, I die for thee, thine am I in life and death.'"
Henry and Anna Maria Muhlenberg had 11 children, with legendary pastors, military officers and politicians among their descendants.
To mention three of them, Pastor Frederick Muhlenberg [1750-1801] became the first speaker of the United States House of Representatives. His older brother, Pastor Peter Muhlenberg (1746-1807) served under George Washington as a major general in the Continental Army and went on to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. The younger brother, Pastor Henry Ernest Muhlenberg (1753-1815) co-founded Franklin College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and served as its first president.
Producing godly descendants and legacy takes effort, with Anna Maria Muhlenberg as a shining example:
"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband," Solomon declares in Proverbs 12:4, NKJV. The Hebrew word "excellent" stands for "virtuous and noble." A man's most notable social appraisement is his godly wife. With Anna Marie, it wasn't just her physical beauty that attracted Henry Muhlenberg, but her steadfast, devoted character.
In his imperative two-volume classic, The Book of Proverbs, Bruce K. Waltke, preeminent scholar in Old Testament studies, contends: "The noble wife strengthens her husband's very being by giving him social honor and empowering him to rule the community. The proverb assumes that her husband is himself pious and prayerful, wise and righteous, kind and generous, sacrificing himself for her good and not self-serving."
Waltke concludes that "marriage is no light matter; the wife either makes or breaks a man in his home and in the community."
With that said, we fast forward to current-day America, where the radicalized liberal Warren Court [1953-1969] established its own brand of religion in the 1963 Abington School District v. Schempp Supreme Court case. The ruling repudiated in one fell swoop 350 years of Judeo-Christian heritage and biblically based foundation laid down by America's founders.
In his thought-provoking America's Real War, Orthodox Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who heads the American Alliance of Jews and Christians, writes: "Our nation is in an internal war between those who seek a secular future and those who call for a return to America's Judeo-Christian roots."
Spiritual transformation holds no value in the minds or hands of secularists.
By having rejected God, America finds itself in today's woeful cultural quandary.
We are once again mindful of the words of Archie P. Jones in the new Foreword to Benjamin F. Morris' greatest single work, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States (1864): "[America's Christian founders] did not retreat from involvement in society and politics. They did not turn civil government, the making, enforcement and adjudication of laws, over to Satan and those who serve him. They did not surrender the ministry of civil government to those who are in rebellion against God."
Though this should bring to mind Jesus' kingdom assignment in Matthew 16:18, nothing could be more disparate than what's happening to our children in pornographic-themed, government-run secular incubators known as public schools in America.
The only chance for America's survival is a prompt mass exodus from secular public education. Otherwise, Jewish Hebrew scholar Michael V. Fox's commentary on Proverbs 26:3 will come into play: "'Beasts have means of discipline and control that best suit them. The harsh images here lump dolts (k'silim), who are brutish and desire-driven, with dumb beasts who (it is assumed) can learn only by pain."
We are about to learn something that can be learned in no other way than by pain and agony.
"There is no safety in distance from God," as Reverend Adolph Saphir (1831-1891) put it in his The Hidden Life: Thoughts on Communion with God.
Though the hour is late, there is hope, given that Gideons and Rahabs are beginning to stand across America.
David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.
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