When was the last time you heard an evangelical pastor teach about the command that Jesus gave to His disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword?
“But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” – Luke 22:36 NLT
(Pastor Dale has written over 50 teaching articles on daleebel.org The articles from March 15 and April 1, 2013 – All This Talk About Gun Control Parts 1-2
An ethos is a characteristic spirit of a particular person, organization or society. Patrick Henry (1736-1799) had a strong, assertive ethos.
Patrick Henry was born in 1736 in Virginia. His power of persuasion was shown early on when, at 10 years old, he convinced his family he was not following his father as a farmer, but his future was in getting an education.
After schooling, Patrick’s first business failed forcing him to file bankruptcy. Assessing his skills, Henry got a law degree and opened a practice in Virginia. His courtroom prowess quickly spread and often led to packed courtrooms of admirers just wanting to hear him speak.
Many historians have compared Patrick Henry to an Old Testament prophet, and for good reason. His bold denunciation of corruption in government officials and his articulate defense of the colonists’ right to declare independence from England are legendary. During the critical years of 1765-1776, the American colonies were forced to endure a long list of abuses—taxation without representation, search and seizures without probable cause, the confiscation of firearms, and on and on. Despite the fact that most of the colonists and their representatives still favored seeking reconciliation over independence, Patrick Henry was one of the most passionate and fiery advocates of the American Revolution and republicanism. It was his influence that roused Virginia, the largest of the thirteen colonies, into military preparedness.
On March 23, 1775, with the British troops posted throughout the colonies and warships in America’s harbors, Patrick Henry rose up during the Second Virginia Convention’s debates on whether to declare independence or negotiate with the British. He declared: “Should I keep back my opinions at such a time… I should consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthy kings.”
Then he called upon his fellow colonists to trust God and use the entire means that He had placed in their power: “The three million of people, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send us. Besides, sires, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”
Patrick concluded his argument with a passionate call:
“Gentlemen may cry, ‘Peace, Peace’—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Other Founding Fathers understood the importance of bearing the sword and demonstrated a strong ethos in regard to protecting what was right and just:
Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration and a framer of the Bill of Rights said:
“It is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
Thomas Jefferson similarly advised,
“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. … Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”
“A well regulated militia, composed of the whole body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country.” – James Madison
Even Jesus Christ had a strong ethos about the role He played in confronting and protecting oneself from evil. So much of our Christianity defines Jesus in this tender, sensitive, loving demeanor.
But Jesus words are almost shocking for our feminized version of Christianity today:
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” – Matthew 10:34 NLT
(See Dale’s teaching article, A Strange Jesus from 1-17-2013, and you will see a different side to Jesus!)
In one of Henry’s early law cases he took up a battle of ecclesiastical arrogance supported by British power that supported it, against the injustice to the common folk. Henry’s victory led to him being carried from the courtroom and forever impressing on his heart the cause of common people.
Fighting against the Stamp Act in 1765, he was one of the first people who helped form the battle cry of, “No taxation without representation!”
Henry was one of the Founding Fathers that confronted Thomas Paine when he published Age of Reason, a work not only revealing his (Paine’s) deistic religious beliefs but also attacking the Bible and Christianity.
Patrick Henry was a strong critic against the Constitution because of his fear of yet another tyrannical government. Because of his strong argument, after the Constitution was passed, Henry was one of the key people writing the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights safeguards our individual rights and freedoms against an over reaching centralized government.
Patrick Henry will forever be remembered with the Bill of Rights and his willingness to fight for the rights of the little guy against an oppressive government.
Henry was no summer soldier or some sunshine patriot. Proverbs 28:1 tells us: “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
At a time when others were shrinking back or vacillating between two opinions, Patrick Henry, with the boldness of an Elijah, the fearlessness of an Amos, and the voice of one crying in the wilderness, like John the Baptist, had developed a decisive roar and emerged as a firebrand; a blazing torch for the battle of liberty!
Don’t you want to have this type of ethos: strong, assertive, and courageous?
Don’t you want your community group, your Bible study or your church to have this type of ethos? Be a CULTURE CREATOR!
An Action To Take: Ask several people in your webs of relationships what they think Jesus meant by “sell your cloak, and buy a sword.” Ask their opinion about gun control and explain what the Bible says about it. You will need to reference the two teaching articles: All this talk about Gun Control
Also Exodus 22:2-3 is quite clarifying!
Rick Hunt and Dale Ebel