The Modern Missionary Movement Started in Colonial Times

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

America is well known for the modern missionary movement. The missionary movement is credited with starting in the mid 1800s during the Second Great Awakening, but it really began with a 100 year prayer movement in colonial times. The people who started this movement were called the Moravians.

In 1727, a group of Moravians in Saxony started a round the clock prayer meeting that lasted 110 years. By 1737, Moravians had settled in Savannah, Georgia to share the Gospel. At this time, they met John Wesley, from the first Great Awakening and had a profound impact on his ministry.

In 1741, the Moravians moved to an estate owned by John Whitfield, another preacher from the Great Awakening, and started ministering to the Delaware Indians in the region. They established the towns of Bethlehem and Nazareth in Pennsylvania and moved throughout the colonies sharing the Gospel wherever they went.

Schoenbrunn Village

By 1772, the Delaware were being pushed into Ohio, and the Moravians followed them. They set up two villages there, one in Schoenbrunn and one in Gnadenhutten. They risked great dangers, not only from the other tribes, but from the British forces once the Revolutionary War began. The British accused the Moravians of informing the colonialist about troop movements, a charge that was mostly true.

The Moravians finally abandoned their villages to move on to avoid clashes with the British. That fall, a group of converted Delaware returned to Gnadenhutten to harvest their crops. They were massacred by American soldiers who mistakenly thought they were raiders.

There aren’t that many Moravian in the United States today although there are clusters of congregations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia. There are also some areas in Canada with large Moravian populations. Moravians in America moved on to evangelize other parts of the world. The largest groups of Moravians now live in East Africa and the Caribbean. They left their mark on America though through their missionary endeavors and paved the way for other missionaries.

100 Steps to Freedom

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Before the Civil War, Ohio had the largest Underground Railroad of any state in the Union. It is believed that every county in Ohio had a route. Many slaves would escape over the Ohio River and through Ohio on their way to Canada. This was a dangerous undertaking because, even though Ohio was a free state, the Fugitive Slave Law made it so anyone helping escaped slaves could be fined and jailed.

John Parker’s Foundry

One small town, Ripley, Ohio, is believed to have helped more slaves escape than any town in Ohio. Ripley is located on the banks of the Ohio River across from Mason County, Kentucky.

One man who helped slaves escape was a freed black man named John Parker. Parker was educated by his master in Virginia and eventually bought his freedom. He traveled to Ohio and opened a foundry on Front Street facing the Ohio River. He was the first black man to earn a patent for one of the inventions he used in his foundry. At night, he would search the Ohio River looking for escaped slaves and helping them find their way to an Underground Railroad Station.

John Rankin’s House in Ripley, Ohio

Rev. John Rankin, a Presbyterian minister, owned a house on top of a hill in Ripley. He built one hundred steps to the house that could be seen on the other side of the river. At night, he would light a lantern and hang it from the porch to signal slaves that it was safe to cross. It is estimated that over 2,000 slaves escaped through the Rankin House. None of them were ever recaptured.

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her famous novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, about the escape of the slave, Eliza, after hearing the story from Rev. Rankin.

How Camp Meetings Ushered in the Second Great Awakening

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The year was 1800. Within the last 30 years, the United States had become a nation, adopted a Constitution.  Within the last year, it had elected its second president, John Adams. An unusual church service in Red River, Kentucky near the border of Tennessee ushered in a move of God called the Second Great Awakening that would sweep the nation for years to come.

A series of meetings was organized in June by Presbyterian minister James
McGready, and many Presbyterian and Methodists ministers took part. Because
many other congregations located along Muddy River and Gasper River planned to
attend, it was decided the meeting would be held outside near the Red River
Meeting House. This was the first “camp meeting” reportedly held in the United
States.

The services were well attending and were like many revival meetings of the time. On the last day of services, as William Hodge was preaching, a woman stood and started shouting praises to God. Soon others joined her. The service ended, but nobody was willing to leave. Mr. Hodge, according to an account by Methodist minister, John McGee, “felt such a power come on him that he quit his seat and sat down in the floor of the pulpit.” At that point McGee began to tremble, and the congregation started weeping. Revival broke out as people started shouting, and the floor was covered with those who had been slain in the Spirit (an occurrence where people are overwhelmed by God and can no longer stand).

A letter from McGready described the service.

“In June, the sacrament was administered at Red River. This was the greatest time we had ever seen before. On Monday multitudes were struck down under awful conviction; the cries of the distressed filled the whole house. There you might see profane swearers, and sabbath breakers pricked to the heart, and crying out, ‘what shall we do to be saved?’ There frolicers, and dancers crying for mercy. There you might see little children of ten, eleven and twelve years of age, praying and crying for redemption, in the blood of Jesus, in agonies of distress. During this sacrament, and until the Tuesday following, ten persons we believe, were savingly brought home to Christ.”

After the Red River Camp Meeting, other meetings were held where people would travel long distances and camp at the site. Camp Meetings spread throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Southern Ohio in what became known as the Revival of 1800. McGready travelled well into October where even bad weather didn’t keep people away.

Rankin House

John Rankin also started camp meetings into Tennessee and North Carolina with many of the same results. Later he settled in Ripley, Ohio where he conducted an underground railroad station from his house. He claimed over 1,000 escaped slaves that made their way to freedom went through his home.

In 1801, Methodist preacher Barton Stone attended one of the camp meetings near Red River. He decided to organize his own camp meeting in Cane Ridge, Kentucky in 1801. 20,000 people attended, and again, revival broke out. Over the next year, more than 10,000 people visited Cane Ridge services where unusual moves of God were reported.

One feature of these camp meeting revivals was the presence and conversion of blacks, many of whom were slaves. Women, children, and blacks were also allowed to participate as exhorters, lay people who preached impromptu sermons encouraging others.

Abolitionists in Colonial America

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Most people think abolitionism didn’t really come to be until the early 1800, but abolitionist views in America started almost as early as slavery in America.

The first Africans that came to America, according to some historians, were sold to Jamestown colonists in 1619 as indentured servants although some say there were already Africans there. The twenty men had been stolen from a Portuguese slave ship and were allowed land and freedom when there period of service was done, but by the 1630s, some colonists were keeping African servants for life. John Punch, in 1640, was the first documented indentured for life servant. In 1662, the law recognized slavery and instituted statutes that any children born would follow the status of their mother making it so children could be born slaves.

The first dispute against this practice was that Christians could not own their brothers in Christ. If a slave was baptized in the faith, he had to be freed. In 1667, the General Assembly outlawed freedom by baptism. By 1705, an array of slave codes were enacted, and half of the labor force in Virginia. In the 1620s, the Dutch West India Company introduced slavery to New England, and be 1700, slavery was established as an institution there as well.

Even though slavery was being established in the colonies, there was a movement growing to end the practice. Throughout the 17th century, many evangelicals and Quakers came out against slavery.  As early as 1688, four Quakers in Germantown signed a protest against the practice of slavery and made their case that the practice was not Christian and against Biblical precepts. In the 1730s and 1740s, during the Great Awakening, preachers decried owning slaves as sin.

During the American Revolution, Moravian and Quaker preachers convinced over a thousand slave owners to free their slaves. The newly formed states debated whether to allow slavery to continue. It was finally decided to outlaw the slave trade within twenty years and allow each state to decide for itself. The economy in the South was also encouraging freedom for slaves. Planters were shifting from labor-intensive tobacco to mixed-crop cultivation and needed fewer workers.

After the American Revolution, northern states gradually outlawed slavery. In 1808, the United States criminalized the slave trade and outlawed any new slaves being brought to America. If it hadn’t been for Eli Whitney’s cotton gin patent in 1794, slavery may have only been a footnote in history. The cotton gin overnight made the practice of slavery profitable. We’ll never know if the invention had been delayed twenty years, if that would have ended slavery. Either way, it didn’t end abolitionism. The abolitionist movement that started in Colonial times would continue to grow until a war forced the end of slavery in the United States.

The First Independence Day

by Tamera Lynn Kraft
On June 7th, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, representative from Virginia, made a resolution in the Continental Congress. He proposed, “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

The resolution was postponed until July 1st to give the delegates a chance to convince the colonies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina to vote yes on the resolution.

On June 11th, Congress commission five men to write a declaration listing grievances against the king of England and to declare the United States of America to be an independent nation. Those five men were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston. Thomas Jefferson was considered the most elegant writer of the five and was elected to write the document. He finished it on June 28th, and it was submitted for review.

On July 1st, debate on Lee’s resolution began. The Congress decided that any resolution for independence should be unanimous, and the vote was postponed a day. The next day, the resolution was passed with every state but New York voted yes. New York abstained from the vote.

John Adams was sure July 2nd would be known as Independence Day. He write to his wife, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

The Declaration of Independence was accepted on July 4th. Later that evening, the liberty bell rang out in celebration. 200 copies were ordered to be made called the Dunlap Broadsides. The first real Independence Day celebration that year took place on July 8th when the document was read in the square in Philadelphia. A few days later, it was read to General Washington’s troops.

The next year, the day was celebrated with picnics and fireworks, a tradition that continues to this day.

Congress established Independence Day as a holiday in 1870, but it didn’t become a legal federal holiday until 1941 when Congress passed the law. Even before the law was passed, Adam’s vision of Independence Day became a reality every year since our Independence was declared.

Read The Declaration of Independence

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

American history is no longer studying in school, so many people don’t understand what is so special about our founding document. For those who haven’t read it, here is the text of

The Declaration of Independence.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. —

Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

  • For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
  • For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
  • For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
  • For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
  • For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
  • For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
  • For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

JOHN HANCOCK, President

Attested, CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary

New Hampshire
JOSIAH BARTLETT
WILLIAM WHIPPLE
MATTHEW THORNTON
Massachusetts-Bay
SAMUEL ADAMS
JOHN ADAMS
ROBERT TREAT PAINE
ELBRIDGE GERRY
Rhode Island
STEPHEN HOPKINS
WILLIAM ELLERY
Connecticut
ROGER SHERMAN
SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
WILLIAM WILLIAMS
OLIVER WOLCOTT
Georgia
BUTTON GWINNETT
LYMAN HALL
GEO. WALTON
Maryland
SAMUEL CHASE
WILLIAM PACA
THOMAS STONE
CHARLES CARROLL OF CARROLLTON
Virginia
GEORGE WYTHE
RICHARD HENRY LEE
THOMAS JEFFERSON
BENJAMIN HARRISON
THOMAS NELSON, JR.
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE
CARTER BRAXTON.
New York
WILLIAM FLOYD
PHILIP LIVINGSTON
FRANCIS LEWIS
LEWIS MORRIS
Pennsylvania
ROBERT MORRIS
BENJAMIN RUSH
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
JOHN MORTON
GEORGE CLYMER
JAMES SMITH
GEORGE TAYLOR
JAMES WILSON
GEORGE ROSS
Delaware
CAESAR RODNEY
GEORGE READ
THOMAS M’KEAN
North Carolina
WILLIAM HOOPER
JOSEPH HEWES
JOHN PENN
South Carolina
EDWARD RUTLEDGE
THOMAS HEYWARD, JR.
THOMAS LYNCH, JR.
ARTHUR MIDDLETON
New Jersey
RICHARD STOCKTON
JOHN WITHERSPOON
FRANCIS HOPKINS
JOHN HART
ABRAHAM CLARK

 

 

10 Reasons the USA Should be Celebrated

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The United States of America has a unique history and heritage that most other nations haven’t shared. Whether you call it exceptionalism or something else, America is special and should be celebrated for its differences. At this time in history, we are divided as a nation in a way we haven’t been since the Civil War, yet I believe America will survive and thrive. Here are some of the things to be proud of this 4th of July.

The United States was birthed out of a revival. While other nations’ origins were born out of class warfare, overthrowing dictators, and bloody overthrows, America fought a civilized Revolutionary War in comparison. A few years earlier, men like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and the Wesley brothers had led the colonies into a untied nation under God during the First Great Awakening. Our founding fathers were affected by this revival and many were strong Christians. The day of the vote on Independence, the Continental Congress all got on their knees and prayed for God’s guidance.

The United States First Amendment guarantees the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, and freedom of assembly. This amendment has been assaulted in recent years, but it is the bedrock of why we remain a free society.

The United States has a peaceful transfer of power. Other nations also have this, but many don’t. We are guaranteed that every four years there will be an honest election and the leaders will abide by the will of the people whether they like it or not. It doesn’t matter if you like this president or the last one, you can rest easy that there will not be a coup. The Constitution put this in play, but it was initiated before that when our first president, George Washington, refused to become king.

The United States is a democratic republic. Many people don’t understand this or believe the USA is a democracy. We are a democracy, but we are also a republic. That means that although leaders are chosen by majority vote, we don’t have mob rule. Every person, every minority, is represented and protected.

The United States has a balance of powers. Our government moves slowly because of this, but it essential to our form of government and prevents dictatorship. When it works correctly, the Congress makes the laws, the President enforces the laws, and the Supreme Court interprets the laws. The US Constitution is above every branch of the government and has kept us from straying from our origins.

The United States is the strongest nation on Earth. When it comes to military power, financial power, and innovation, the US is the strongest nation. We could use that strength to conquer, but instead, we use that strength to protect and serve.

The United States has benefitted the quality of life everywhere. Because of the structure of freedom in our DNA, the US has been a leader in industry, medicine, innovation, creativity, and innovation. We gave the world electric lights, movies, computers, and airplanes. We were the only nation to put a human being on the moon. Our scientists are some of the best in the world.

The United States has the best medical treatment in the world. While debates are going on in Congress about medical insurance, remember how medical technology and innovation is stronger in the US than any other country. People who can afford it come to the US for medical treatment. We have shared that technology with other nations and have been instrumental in the fight against aides, ebola, and other epidemics.

The United States learns from its mistakes. America isn’t perfect, but no nation is. We have made mistakes. Slavery, prejudice, and our treatment of indigenous people are some of them. Yet with each generation, we strive to learn from the mistakes of the past and correct them.

The United States is great because it is good. In the 1800s, Alexis de Tocqueville toured America and said, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” While this statement is being worn thin, America is still good in many ways. America and Americans go overseas every year to help people in other nations. We give more money and man power to help in natural disasters than any other nation. Missionaries all over the world feed the hungry, cloth the poor, treat the sick, and care for orphans. In this country, when we become aware of a need, there is an outpouring to meet it. Not everyone in America is good, but there is a remnant that is still good.

For these reasons and more, America has been a beacon of hope drawing people from all over the world. We have reason to be proud to be Americans, so let’s celebrate.