In his book, “Excused Absence” Pastor Douglas Wilson mentions that “No King but King Jesus” was the battle cry of the Revolutionary War.
Having attended a reputable but fairly typical public school, I was pretty sure I had never heard this mentioned in American History class, so I resolved to do some research.
Lo and behold, it is indeed true!
In the course of my studies, I also stumbled across some other rather interesting quotes:
The First Charter of Virginia (written April 10, 1606) states that the purpose of establishing the colony was “the propagating of Christian Religion.”
The Second Charter of Virginia (May 23, 1609) again state the intended purpose was, “Conversion and reduction of the people in those parts unto the true worship of God and the Christian Religion.”
From the Mayflower Compact (Nov. 11, 1620): “In ye name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten,… having undertaken, for ye glorie of God, and advancemente of ye Christian faith…”
From the First Charter of Massachusetts (March 4, 1629) “ For the directing, ruling, and disposeing of all other Matters and Things, whereby our said People… maie be soe religiously, peaceable, and civilly governed, as their good life and orderlie Conversation, maie wynn and incite the Natives of the Country to the Knowledg and Obedience of the onlie true God and Savior of Mankinde, and the Christian Fayth, which, in our Royall Intention, and the Adventurers free profession, is the principall Ende of this Plantation…”
The Constitution of Connecticut (January 14, 1639) specifically states those involved “enter into Combination and Confederation together, to meinteine and presearve the libberty and purity of the Gospell of our Lord Jesus…”
The residents of Exeter, New Hampshire, (August 4, 1639) in forming a local government there, did so “…in the name of Christ and in the sight of God…”
The Constitution of the New England Confederation (May 19, 1643), as covenanted together by the colonists of New Plymouth, New Haven, Massachusetts & Connecticut, stated: “Whereas we all came to these parts of America with the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdome of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
The Charter of Rhode Island and Providence plantations (July 8, 1663) states: “We submit our persons, lives, and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His given us in His Holy Word.”
The Fundamental Constitutions of Pennsylvania (1682) speaks of a “new and Spiritual government” and “Christian Liberty.”
The Charter of Privileges of Pennsylvania (1701) states that “all persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, shall be capable to serve this government in any capacity, both legislatively or executively.”
So Christianity, and specifically the Lord Jesus Christ, were the foundations upon which the colonies were founded and the basis for the rejection of monarchy.
In 1773, shadow governments in all thirteen colonies were meeting to coordinate responses to England and share plans for a revolution. It was these Committees of Correspondence that, in 1774, began sounding the cry, “No King but King Jesus” across all the colonies.
It was a rallying cry. It was a banner which would lead men to willingly become traitors to the Crown of England. They were tortured, murdered, their property seized, their homes looted and burned, and their sons died fighting not just for freedom—but for Christian freedom.
And that is why, on July 2, 1776, these men who had given up everything to form a new country based on the Lordship of Jesus Christ would create a document called the Declaration of Independence proclaiming in no uncertain terms, that the unalienable rights of men to be free were self-evident, having been granted by God Himself, who is the Supreme Judge.
On August 2, 1776, the day when members of the Continental Congress were signing that declaration, Samuel Adams proclaimed: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”
We have come many years since that day and we seem to have forgotten how precious is that freedom for which so much blood was spilled.
And the cry of that blood shouts across the ages at the irony of John 19:15:
But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. (NIV)
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Revelation 19:16