Baptists and freedom

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by nodak, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. nodak

    nodak
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    Don't want to hijack the thread re the founding fathers.

    I am reading up on history and find it fascinating that much that we take for granted governmentally was given to us by the early Baptists in this country.

    Soul freedom under the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ makes for free, responsible citizens.

    It is interesting to see that without our early Baptists, especially those of Virginia, we might not be a democracy today.

    And I wonder, now that some Baptists substitute pastoral authority and elder rule for soul freedom and pure congregationalism, what the effect will be on the nation at large.

    What think ye?
     
  2. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    Sad to say, but most modern day Baptist have no idea of their history. As a kid growing up Baptist in Virginia we were taught and reminded and taught and reminded how important our freedoms are and how we probably would not have had them without those early VA Baptists fighting and sacrificing and being persecuted to obtain them.


    I have become convinced that many who call themselves Baptist are Baptist in name only. To me this included much of the SBC. I am not sure about independent Baptists as I have not had much contact with them personally. However, from what I have seen on this BB, if it is representative of independents as a whole, they also are much like the SBC as far as being Baptist.

    I believe we all should know more about our Baptist history ... and, yes, that includes me.



     
  3. HAMel

    HAMel
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    Most modern folks in our society today have been completely convinced that Freedom evolved much like the fish what came out of the water and continually evolved until one day he drove his Escalade to Hardee's for a hamburger. Much like Websters Unabridged Dictionary came together after an explosion in a printers shop.

    Baptist history is a topic I know very little of myself.

    Would you recommend a good source? I'm interested.
     
  4. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    I am sure there are others on the BB that can provide you with better information than I. But here is a start of places online you can gain knowledge on Baptist History:

    http://www.baptisthistory.org/bhhs/

    http://www.civilwarbaptists.com/

    http://www.baptisthistory.org.uk/basicpage.php?contents=quarterly&page_title=Baptist Quarterly
     
  5. Ruiz

    Ruiz
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    I am mixed on the early Baptists during the Revolutionary War.

    First, I was a Pastor of a Church in Virginia founded by one of the men you guys are praising. Yes, there is much to praise and i respect them in many ways. The founding pastor where I served was beaten, imprisoned, and was defended in the court of law by the famous Patrick Henry. They truly did live what they preached.

    As well, the history of the agreement in Orange Virginia between John Leland and James Madison was remarkable in itself. I think it is an overstatement to say that Baptists made us democratic (first, we are not a democracy and second we didn't make that happen). The freedom of religion was the greatest contribution they brought to our table. However, the theological implications which they left us were horrendous.

    Leland, for instance, bashed previous Baptists for their view on confessions. He seemed to know that he was going against the grain.

    They also fell for the re-interpretation of liberty, virtue, freedom and other phrases and implanted the political reinterpretation into theology. This was a tragic mistake. This implanting of those terms into a theological context is what I believe have destroyed Baptist theology in the last 200 years. Our reversal to embracing these terms in an enlightenment sort of way while rejecting Scottish Common Sense as outlined by several Christian groups forced us into a soul competency (and other theologies) that is a dramatic uprooting of Christian doctrine and an embracing of the enlightenment principle not found in the Bible. This has resulted in a liberalism/modertism that is anti-Christian and a conservativism that is purely american.

    Generally speaking, while I respect some of the stands of these people and believe them to be Godly men, the results of their theology had a horrible impact on Baptist life. They were careless in their theology, and irrational in their theological framework. Leaving behind the previous centuries of Baptist life, they embarked into a framework that is modernistic and distinctly American, not Christian.
     
  6. nodak

    nodak
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    Ruiz--suffice it to say you and I have to agree to disagree completely.

    That said, early Baptists did for good or ill influence society in ways that led to greater independence of the individual and greater freedom.

    I'm wondering what effect Baptists pulling back from that freedom will have on society as a whole.
     
  7. Timsings

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    If you are interested in some books, here are a few good ones:

    Charles W. Deweese, ed. Defining Baptist Convictions: Guidelines for the Twenty-first Century. Providence House Publishers, 1996. Collection of essays.

    Curtis W. Freeman, James Wm. McClendon, Jr., and C. Rosalee Velloso da Silva. Baptist Roots: A Reader in the Theology of a Christian People. Judson Press, 1999. A collection of original sources from the 15th century to the end of the 20th century.

    Bill J. Leonard. Baptist Ways: a History. Judson Press, 2003. Along with McBeth these are the most thorough treatments.

    Bill J. Leonard. The Challenge of Being Baptist: Owning a Scandalous Past and an Uncertain Future. Baylor University Press, 2010.

    H. Leon McBeth. The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness. Broadman Press, 1987.

    Alan Neely, ed. Being Baptist Means Freedom. Southern Baptist Alliance, 1988. Collection of essays.

    Walter B. Shurden. The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms. Smyth & Helwys, 1993.


    Tim Reynolds
     

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