Baptists and Pacifism.

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Ben W, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    I have been having a look at the history of the idea of Pacifism, I have discovered that as well as the early Seventh Day Baptists, the Brethren, Quakers and Adventists all had ideas about Pacifism. What I wondered is what other Baptist Churches had a belief in Pacifism when they were founded, even if it may have gone by the wayside these days?
     
  2. rsr

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    Pacifism was not a defining tradition of the Baptists, a major departure from the Anabaptist tradition. Baptists also did not renounce civil office (although in the early days it was rather pointless because, as Dissenters, they couldn't serve anyway.)

    Baptists were among the strongest supporters of Cromwell, going to battle with a musket in one hand and a Geneva Bible in the other — until they realized what the Presbyterians had in mind by their own interpretation of "religious liberty."

    In America, many Baptists were ardent supporters of the Revolutionary War.

    By and large, pacifism has played a small role in Baptist life.
     
  3. ktn4eg

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    To elaborate a bit on what rsr posted, one needs to put oneself back in the context of WHY several anabaptist groups were what we'd call "pacifist" (although these groups may use other terms such as "non resistant," etc.).

    Back in those days the "church and state" in most every region was tied together so closely that, for the casual observer, it'd be hard to differentiate between them. Oh, you'll read statements such as, "The church NEVER put anyone in prison, fined no one, and never executed a soul....those dastardly deeds were committed by the CIVIL authorities!"

    But (and this would include the bulk of Protestant reformers) who controlled civil authorities?

    Anabaptists as a whole got it from both the Catholics and the Reformers. So, naturally, there'd be a reluctance to "rally the troops."

    That being said, one would have to examine each person or group by itself as to what the motives REALLY were behind the pacifism they advocated.

    RSR is correct as far as the majority of English-based Baptists (as well as a few others on the European continent).

    One reads very little about the Baptist role in the forming of our Republic probably because on a "national" level few leaders were Baptists. Most were the "grunts," possibly first level officers, etc., but seldom more than that. Few farmers, laborers, etc., had the time or luxury to sit down with "their agents and editors" to write historical narrative.

    Not only were American Baptists as a rule on the side of independence, but so were the bulk of their British brethren.

    If you were of the age when history was actually attempted to be taught in the public school venue, you may recall being taught that one of the main reasons why Hessian mercenaries had to be employed by the English was because they had so few volunteers at home (Guess they never had a GIII Bill.......had to inject that!).

    Now, where would most of the English volunteers have come from? You guessed it, just like (at least to a large degree, although that, too, is changing) in our country today.

    NB--Most of the above statements are GENERALITIES. For my non-Baptist friends, yes, you'll be able to cite some exceptions to these statements, but that ISN'T my purpose for this posting.
     
  4. Preacher's Boy

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    There's a fair number of Baptist pacificists and participants in peace and justice movements....we tend to not to be public acitivists or strident about it...more witnessing in our own families and churches and neighborhoods.

    You might look at the web site for the Baptist Peace Fellowship for example...thanks.
     
  5. zane 446

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  6. rsr

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    We've had two links to that site; there is no article there. From what I gather the Holiness Baptist Association (if it's still in existence) is a small, regional group.

    Can anyone enlighten us?
     
  7. gb93433

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    The article came up for me but it took awhile.

    The following is the article.

    Holiness Baptist Association
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    The Holiness Baptist Association is a holiness body of Christians with Baptist historical roots.
    Contents [showhide]
    1 Holiness movement
    2 Holiness Baptists in Georgia
    3 Other Holiness Baptists
    4 External links
    5 References
    6 Footnotes


    Holiness movement

    In 19th century America, the Holiness movement developed out the "new measures" and teachings of revivalist Charles Grandison Finney, and the Methodist emphasis of the Wesleyan teachings of holiness. John Wesley taught that holiness, or Christian perfection, was a definite and instantaneous second work of grace received by faith, and followed by gradual sanctification. Early in the 20th century, many in the Holiness movement also embraced Pentecostalism, which equated the second work of grace with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, whose outward sign was speaking in tongues. The following bodies have primary roots in the Holiness movement and secondary roots in Pentecostalism.


    Holiness Baptists in Georgia

    The holiness movement among Baptists in south Georgia began late in the 19th century in Wilcox County among ministers in the Little River Baptist Association. At the annual session of the association in 1893, fellowship was withdrawn from two churches "because of their doctrine of holiness or carnal perfection".¹ The two excluded churches and two newly formed churches met in 1894 to organize the Holiness Baptist Association. The association was organized upon the same articles of faith and rules of decorum as the Little River Associaton. In 1905, the association adopted new articles of faith and decorum, bringing their statements in line with their holiness beliefs. More changes were made to the articles and decorum in 1916. They have since remained relatively the same. In 1916, the Holiness Baptists agreed to form two separate associations, and continued in that manner until they consolidated in 1925. A periodical called The Gospel Standard was started in 1918 by J. N. Salter, and has continued as the Holiness Baptist Association publication to the present. Over the years the Holiness Baptists of Georgia moved away from Baptist polity, proceeding through a Presbyterian form to a Methodist form of government. They gradually included a pentecostal emphasis. Their greatest period of growth was from 1905 to 1945, after which they began to decline. In 1949, the association built a camp ground and tabernacle in Coffee County near Douglas, Georgia. Annual meetings of the association are held at the tabernacle. There is one member church in Florida.

    In 1934, the Baptist Purity Association was formed by members excluded from the Holiness Baptist Association for teaching and practicing the substitution of water for grape juice in the Lord's supper.

    In 1977, discontented members withdrew and formed the Calvary Holiness Association.

    According to historian Robert G. Gardner of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, these three Holiness Baptist bodies currently have about 50 churches with about 1,582 members. Like many other Holiness groups, they maintain strict standards of dress, require long hair for women and short hair for men, abstain from tobacco, intoxicating beverages, caffeinated drinks, dancing, gambling, television, etc.. Some members are pacifists; the association only addressed the issue during World War I with the simple statement, "We oppose war."² Some members hold speaking in tongues.


    Other Holiness Baptists

    * Arkansas

    William Jethro Walthall (1858-1931) was ordained as a Missionary Baptist preacher on May 29, 1887. In 1895 he became familiar with the holiness revival, and felt it spoke to what he believed he had already experienced. These teachings were at odds with the local Baptist teachigns. Walthall was excluded from his church in 1896 and ostracized by the Red River Baptist Association. In 1899, minister J. C. Kelly and his church were excluded from the Red River Association. Walthall and Kelly continued to preach and formed new churches, mostly in southwestern Arkansas, but a few in Oklahoma Territory and Texas. By 1903 these churches had founded the Holiness Baptist Churches of Southwestern Arkansas. The first annual session was held November 6-8, 1903 at Sutton, Arkansas. This Holiness Baptist group continued until 1917. In that year, Walthall joined the Assemblies of God and brought all 36 congregations of the Holiness Baptist Churches of Southwestern Arkansas into the Assemblies of God.

    * North Carolina and South Carolina

    Early in 19th century, Holiness Baptist churches at Greenville, South Carolina and Hendersonville, North Carolina corresponded with the Holiness Baptist Association of Georgia. A church at Burlington, North Carolina was a member of the Georgia association for a few years. The status of these churches is unknown, though they likely were absorbed into other holiness or pentecostal bodies.

    * Kentucky and Tennessee

    The Church of God Mountain Assembly, though not named Holiness Baptist, began as a holiness movement among Baptists. It was formed in 1906 by ministers and churches excluded from the South Union Association of United Baptists for preaching holiness and the danger of apostasy. The Church of God Mountain Assembly corresponded with the Holiness Baptist Association of Georgia early in the 20th century.


    External links

    * Baptists in Georgia, 1733-Present (http://www.gabaptist.org/common/content.asp?PAGE=168) - contains a section on Holiness Baptists
    * History of the Piney Grove (Holiness Baptist) Church (http://www.pcfa.org/genealogy/PineyGrove.html)
    * Holiness Baptists on Adherents.com (http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_307.html#1885)


    References

    * A History of the Holiness Baptist Association of Georgia, by Charles Orville Walker
    * The Encyclopedia of American Religions: Vol. I, J. Gordon Melton, editor
    * Glenn Gohr, "William Jethro Walthall and the Holiness Baptist Churches of Southwestern Arkansas", A/G Heritage (Fall 1992, Winter 1992-93)


    Footnotes

    * 1. Minutes, Little River Baptist Association, 1893
    * 2. Minutes, Holiness Baptist Association, 1919
     
  8. zane 446

    zane 446
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    rsr

    When I first put the link up, I accidentally put a period at the end of it, and that was probably what the problem was. It should connect now. Thanks, gb, for posting the article!

    Zane
     
  9. old regular

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    The Sovereign Grace Association of old Regular Baptist of Jesus Christ are pacifist and have statements declaring such in their church bylaws.Mud River practiced pacifism also,The Pilgrim Baptist are and some of the old baptist forefathers wrote upon the subject.My home church allows for medical positions only during war time but this is for only those of a more moderate position,the church rejects the idea of members serving in a combant positions as this would violate Christ's teaching.They do not participate in public demostrations however. Bro.Slone
     
  10. rsr

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    From a more pacific past, from Baptist History and Heritage, Winter 2004::

    Baptist attitudes toward war and peace since 1914
     
  11. mioque

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    rsr
    Good article [​IMG]
     
  12. gb93433

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    Very good article
     
  13. Brother J.B.

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    Historically, The old separate baptists of Sandy Creek association with Elder Shubael Stearns in North Carolina were pacifist.
     

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