What the Black Robe Regiment Misses About Revolutionary Pastors

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Christians calling for clergy to rise up against the government should take a closer look at the complex approaches by America’s early preachers.

At last month’s Jericho March on Washington, the head of a group called America’s Black Robe Regiment recounted stories about clergy who trained their men to fight in the Revolution and likened their situation to efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“Where are our pastors today in this battle?” asked Bill Cook, a Virginia minister who was introduced at the event by Eric Metaxas.

Other ministers—including Greg Locke, who prayed at a January 5 rally in Washington—have recently evoked the black robe regiment term and history when calling on pastors to take bolder stances in defense of liberty. A quick Google search reveals several smaller organizations that have also taken up the mantle.

It’s become a rallying cry among a small subset of Christians, some of whom have even used it as a defense for storming the Capitol and some of whom anticipate a literal call to arms during the current unrest.

The main sources for initially popularizing the term seem to be the media personalities Glenn Beck and David Barton. Both have connected their political appeals back to the American founding. In a 2010 rally, Beck called on ministers to form a new “black robe regiment” to proclaim American principles from the pulpits.

Beck appears to have gotten the phrase from Barton, whose WallBuilders Ministry emphasizes the Christian foundation beneath “America’s forgotten history and heroes.” In this approach, patriotism should shape sermons’ content.

A Time for War and a Time for Peace

Many readers may have never heard of the black robe regiment, whether current or historical. Metaxas admitted he wasn’t very familiar with the phrase when he handed the mic …

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