Soul Liberty

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Michael Wrenn, Oct 30, 2001.

  1. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    I'd like to know everyone's definition of soul liberty, and do you think Baptists practice it more than others?
     
  2. rhoneycutt

    rhoneycutt
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    Quick and Dirty Michael
    I am free top communicate with God without boundaries. (Read Government, church leaders, pastors, confessions or creeds. Ecspecially including but not limited to the BF&M2K which I feel elevates the bible to the same level as my saviour) Nothing can bind me or my interpretation of what God may be revealing to me.
    Gotta run, will edit later for spelling etc.
    Russell
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    I think Honeycutt's definition is more along the priesthood of the believer than soul liberty.

    Soul liberty deals with my personal freedom to understand God, His Word, my relationship with Him and subsequent walk as an individual, free from coercement, confession or creed.

    I will answer to God alone, not to a tribunal, church or inquisition.

    If I opt to believe an "error", that is my freedom to be wrong!

    We have baptists on the BB who believe radically different than I do. I will fight their false doctrinal interpretations (pro-homo, anti-inerrancy, post-mil) adamantly, but will defend their right to soul liberty.

    Just wich some would not cover their duplicitous doctrines with a cloak of "baptist" and deceive many . . .

    So a group of Baptists in a church or convention may have a general doctrinal statement, covenant, etc, and VOLUNTARILY chose to agree to it for the unity of the body. But can't force anyone else to do so.
     
  4. Roadrunner

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    Soul Liberty: The freedom to believe/practice according to my conscience. Since it will be *me* who answers for my beliefs/practices, I shouldn't be forced to believe(obey) a certain doctrine.

    This really became prominent over the issue of infant baptism.
     
  5. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    I'd like to know everyone's definition of soul liberty, and do you think Baptists practice it more than others?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    A very thought provoking question from MW (as usual).

    I personally do not like the term "soul liberty" as a Baptist distinctive because it is not distinctive. In other words, there are nearly as many definitions as there are Baptists. Do a simple web search for "Soul Liberty" and you will find literally thousands of examples.

    My favorite so far was what looked like a doctoral dissertation entitled "Roger Williams and Soul Liberty". A brief scan of the document showed no definition (as though the term was understood by the reader).

    The most concise attempt at a definition of SL that I have found is:

    Every individual has the liberty to choose what his conscience or soul dictates is right, and is responsible to God alone for his choice.

    I have two problems with the term "soul liberty". First of all, it is such a broad term, and is defined in so many ways (your question is evidence of this) that it is rendered essentially meaningless. Secondly, as it is defined by many, it is a combination of two separate concepts: Soul Competency and The Priesthood of All Believers.

    I think that, in Southern Baptist circles, these last two terms better serve the conversation.

    Soul Competency refers the belief that, when it comes to our relationship with God, all are competent to make their own decisions without interference from someone else. Spiritual decisions cannot be delegated to someone else or passed on to someone else through the genes.

    The Priesthood of All Believers refers to the collective priesthood that is composed of all of the saints, generally, and the local gathered body of saints, in particular and that this priesthood answers directly to God, not man.

    It is a perversion of PHOAB to suggest that all beliefs are equally valid or that there are not still unique leadership rolls on earth.
     
  6. DocCas

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    Simply put, Soul Liberty, as practiced by Baptists, means I am free to believe whatever I want to believe, and you are free to believe whatever I want you to believe. :D
     
  7. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Thomas,

    In other words, "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you." [​IMG] :D
     
  8. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    This has been good so far! Thanks to all for your contributions.

    To Jonathan, one of my favorite conservative Calvinists [​IMG], and my friend, thanks for your words.
     
  9. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    When I was thinking about this issue before I made my post, I was wondering if soul liberty translates into diversity of doctrine, in theory and/or in practice. Baptists are a very diverse group, but I believe there are denominations more diverse than the Baptists. For instance, the Episcoal Church contains just about every strand of thought in Christianity: Evangelicalism; Anglo-Catholicism; some Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox ideas; Reformed-Calvinistic; Arminian; Lutheran; liberal; conservative; rationalistic; charismatic; Holiness. They and other paedobaptist churches of course allow and practice both infant baptism and believer's baptism.

    So, is there a direct correlation between soul liberty and religious diversity, or not? It seems that denominations who don't hold to soul liberty as a distinct religious principle actually contain and allow more diversity than Baptists do. I can't imagine any Baptist church, for instance, allowing infant baptism as well as believer's baptism.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  10. Jonathan

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    This has been good so far! Thanks to all for your contributions.

    To Jonathan, one of my favorite conservative Calvinists [​IMG], and my friend, thanks for your words.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    OK MW, we are going to have to stop this silliness and get back to feuding...or else both our reputations are going to be ruined!
    [​IMG]

    I love you bro and I haven't even met you.

    BTW, how are your parents doing?
     
  11. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Jonathan,

    Yeah, we wouldn't want to give the impression that two people who didn't agree on everything could actually get along. ;)

    You're my brother and my friend, and maybe someday I'll get to meet you.

    Heck, I think so highly of you that I probably won't be able to argue with you on-line. ;)

    My parents are doing reasonably well right now, considering their age and multiple ailments; thanks for asking.
     
  12. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    MW wrote:

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>So, is there a direct correlation between soul liberty and religious diversity, or not? It seems that denominations who don't hold to soul liberty as a distinct religious principle actually contain and allow more diversity than Baptists do. I can't imagine any Baptist church, for instance, allowing infant baptism as well as believer's baptism.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Dear Michael

    Now you know why there are so many varities of Baptists. [​IMG]

    The point you make in the above snippet does appear entirely true. But some of these theological fractures in some non-Baptist groups are getting to the point of breaks. (E.g., the current debate in PCUSA).

    Like Jonathan, I am not terribly fond of the term "soul liberty." Here is my take on it. -- We aren't really at liberty to believe anything we want. We are at liberty to study, pray, ponder, and otherwise come to a correct understanding of God's word. That journey of discovery takes everyone on a different path, and perhaps no one in this life comes to the end of the road. I, for one, would have serious doubts about the veracity/mental health of one who claimed to have worked out everything God would have him/her to know.

    I am going to run and hide now.

    Jeff
     
  13. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Jeff,

    Yep, I agree.

    "I've never been wrong; once I thought I was, but I was mistaken."--Howard Cosell [​IMG]

    Hope you're feeling better.
     
  14. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Michael

    You know that agreeing with two conservative Calvinists in a row is bad for your health. :D (I actually despise the terms liberal and conservative, but...for the lack of brain power, I can't think of a better word.)

    I am doing Ok, have gotten the hang of one handed typing pretty well. Just wish it had been the left hand instead of the right that got mangled. But it is healing up, no infections so far.

    J.
     
  15. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Jeff,

    Yeah, if I keep doing it, people might start mistaking me for a Calvinist. ;)
     

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