The Pulpit and the American Revolution: Jonas Clark

Reverend Clark's Minutemen

Leonard O. Goenaga

Article Series: The Pulpit and the Patriots

WEEK 4: The Pulpit and the American Revolution: Jonas Clark (1730-1805)

Another Patriot Preacher of interest is Jonas Clark of Lexington. A graduate of Harvard College in 1752, Clark took on a pastorate for fifty years.[i] Clark’s influence may be seen in the role he played within his town. As Franklin P. Cole details, Clark “instructed the Lexington delegates to the Stamp Act Congress. Throughout that stormy period he was the most influential politician as well as churchman in the Lexington-Concord area.”[ii] In addition, Clark adheres to a pattern that is beginning to become visible: influence and interaction with key patriot leaders. “On the very night of April 18 1775, John Hancock and Samuel Adams were being entertained by Jonas Clark.”[iii] An interesting note of history was Paul Revere’s arrival to warn them of Gage’s expedition, which sought to capture the Boston patriots. When asked if Clark’s Lexington men were prepared to fight, he responded by telling them “I have trained them for this very hour”.[iv]

As for influential sermons, Clark provided an important historical contribution with The Fate of Blood-thirsty Oppressors. This sermon, delivered on the anniversary of the battle of Lexington, described in detail stages of the battle, and remains a treasure to Civil War historians.[v] One final fact worth mentioning regarding Clark’s role in the Nation’s beginnings is his appointment in 1799 as the Lexington delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, where he actively participated in several keen committees, showing that not only were these preachers engaged with the public at the Pulpit, but also directly in governmental affairs.[vi]

The Pulpit and the American Revolution: Jonas Clark Political Sermon

Jonas Clark,The Fate of Blood-thirsty Oppressors, and GOD’s tender Care of His distressed People (April 19, 1776)

Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, Leonard O. Goenaga, is a Baptist Associate Pastor (assigned to the Youth) at Glory of God Christian Fellowship, Raleigh, North Carolina; a Mentor (Computer Lab/Technology) at the Wake Forest Boys & Girls Club; a husband (to Katrina); and rugby coach. He holds a B.A. in Political Science (with a specific concentration in Political Theory, Social Contract, and Constitutionalism), a second B.A. in Religious Studies (with a concentration in World Religions and Early Christianity), a Master of Divinity in Christian Ethics, and an A.A. in Entrepreneurship. He has begun Ph.D with a concentration likely centered on an analysis of Locke’s Social Contract, H.L.A. Hart’s Legal System, American Constitutionalism, and Baptist Ecclesiology of Covenant. Visit his website at

[i] Ibid. 29: An interesting note regarding Clark: He had worked also as a farmer. Such a second job was perhaps necessary given the size of his family. Every morning Clark would stand at the staircase and call the family role: “Polly, Betsey, Lucy, Liddy, Patty, Sally, Thomas, Jonas, William, Peter, Bowen, Harry — Get up! Woe to the delinquent!”

[ii] Ibid. 39

[iii] Ibid. 39

[iv] Ibid. 39

[v] Ibid. 40

[vi] Ibid. 40