The LORD reigns! Let the peoples tremble. He is enthroned between the cherubim. Let the earth quake.

-Psalm 99:1

Political drama is not new to the planet. My friend John Newton dealt with his fair share of it, and I have often found encourage in times of political turmoil from a letter he wrote to a fellow pastor in England in 1769.

This letter was written during the John Wilkes drama which ultimately centered on how the people should be represented in the British House of Commons. In 1768, not even a year prior to this letter, six or seven pro-Wilkes protestors were killed in a demonstration at St. George’s Fields in south London.

These events created a fever pitch of political discussion and arguing. Had social media been a thing in the late 1700s it would have been on fire. Pastors were corresponding regularly about current events and how to lead the church in light of them. No doubt they faced pressure to take sides and push political agendas. In this context I find Newton’s response here to be wise and timely:

But, whatever storms may arise, there is an infallible and almighty Pilot, who will be a Sun and a Shield to those who love him. I endeavour to answer all fears respecting political matters with the sure declarations of the word of God. Such as Psalm 99:1, and 29:10, 11. Isaiah, 8:12–14, and 51:12, 13. John, 3:35, etc.

Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords; King of the church, and King in the nations; who doth his pleasure in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth. Therefore by faith in him, we may adopt the triumphant language of Psalms 2, 27, 46, and 118, for the Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble, and knoweth how to deliver them that trust in him.

-John Newton, March, 1769

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