Peter Muhlenberg



Frederick Muhlenberg



Photo of Peter Muhlenberg Many ministers of the gospel were influential in the founding of America. Two such men were brothers Peter and Frederick Muhlenberg. They were sons of the illustrious Henry Muhlenberg, founder of the Lutheran Church in America.

Peter served as minister in both the Lutheran and Episcopalian denominations. Unlike many pastors today, ministers in our founding era spoke out strongly on political matters. Peter was a great supporter of American independence and worked to widen the breach between the colonies and the king. With hostilities about to break out in 1776, he summoned his congregation for his last sermon. The sermon was on Ecclesiastes 3 (a time for everything under heaven). Reaching the climax of his sermon, he shouted, "There is a time for all things—a time to preach and a time to fight. Now is the time to fight!"

With those immortal words, he cast aside his clerical robes revealing his dazzling uniform as an officer in the Revolutionary Army. That day he enlisted men in his congregation to join the cause. Peter went on to win glory as a Major General, serving in numerous engagements. He proved himself a courageous, level-headed officer, strict in discipline, but vigilant for the welfare and comfort of his men, and was possessed of marked executive ability. Among the Germans of his native state of Pennsylvania, he was a hero second only to George Washington. He was elected to the first, third, and sixth Congresses and later served in the Senate. His statue stands in the famous Statuary Hall in the nation's capital.


 Frederick Muhlenberg Photo

Brother Frederick, also a pastor, initially disagreed with Peter's decision to be involved in politics and the war. But during the war, he was in New York when the British marched on the city, forcing him and his family to flee to his parents' home in Pennsylvania. Frederick changed his mind and became involved. He became active in Pennsylvania politics. He was elected to the US Congress and became the first Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was also the first signer of the Bill of Rights. While serving in Congress, he cast the deciding vote on a controversial bill, and was stabbed by his brother-in-law. He survived the attack, but apparently his vote did cost him his political career, proving that taking a stand on political issues is dangerous, even among close relatives.

Now, check out the Faith Facts article about the Bible and Government. Then come back and write a comment below!

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