“We have thought God was for us, and had given many and signal instances of his power and mercy in our favor, and had greatly frowned upon and disappointed our enemies; and verily it has been so. But have we repented and given him the glory? Verily no. His hand seems to be turned and stretched out against us—and strong is his hand.”
Written by a chaplain in the Continental Army after a defeat by the British at New York. I have been reading much about the lead up to and prosecution if the Revolutionary War. Received wisdom is that it was the result of Enlightenment thinking and rationalism. New scholarship posits that it was driven by a religious conviction of individual freedom and rights coming from the Refomation. There is a hodge podge of Congregational independence, Presbyterian predestination, Quaker quietism, the fear of Anglicanism, and no hint of a Lutheran theology of the Cross or Two Kingdom concerns.
The idea of a religious impetus behind the Revolution is frustrating for the anti-religious and disconcerting for those who have seen the importance of the church wane in recent years. We’ll mention the importance of the Colonial churches soon.