What exactly is 'Soul Liberty'?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by natters, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. natters

    natters
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Messages:
    2,496
    Likes Received:
    0
    What exactly is the Baptist distinctive "Soul Liberty"? Does it have limitations or restrictions? What if one's "Soul Liberty" leads one to disagree with one of the other Baptist distinctives (or even "Soul Liberty" itself!) - is that possible? If so, is that person still "Baptist"?
     
  2. mountainrun

    mountainrun
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not sure this is exclusively a Baptist distinctive. I have heard it more often called Christian Liberty.

    Paul calls it freedom.

    I believe that what you are referring is found in 1 Cor. ch.'s 8 and 10.
    Also Galatians 2 and 5.

    The limitation is to not use it to indulge the sinful nature. Gal. 5:13.

    Or to exercise it if it is a stumbling block to those whose faith is weak. 1 Cor. 8:9.

    MR
     
  3. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Soul Liberty may lead a person to reject one or more of the other Baptist distinctives.

    That makes the person a non-Baptist who believes in Soul Liberty.
     
  4. James_Newman

    James_Newman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Messages:
    5,013
    Likes Received:
    0
    It must be the liberty to choose between serving your flesh in this life and losing your soul at the judgment seat of Christ, or serving Christ and gaining the kingdom AND your soul in the millennium!

    Matthew 16:24-27
    [24] Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    [25] For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
    [26] For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
    [27] For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
     
  5. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,165
    Likes Received:
    322
    "Indeed", says Spock as he scratches his head.

    HankD
     
  6. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Theological anarchy?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  7. Broadus

    Broadus
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    0
    Among Southern Baptists, the concept of soul liberty was popularized by E. Y. Mullins in his Axioms of the Christian Religion. Mullins used the term "soul competency." While Mullins did not go as far as later Baptist liberals did with the concept, he helped open the door to the priority of subjective experience as the determining factor in biblical interpretation. As presented by Mullins, it is not a Baptist identity, though liberals like to make it so.

    With such liberty, Baptists, as well as others, justify such things as homosexual relationships, women pastors, universalism, etc. Yes, it does give way to theological anarchy. After all, each individual is autonomous.

    Blessings,
    Bill

    [ February 08, 2005, 07:37 AM: Message edited by: Broadus ]
     
  8. StraightAndNarrow

    StraightAndNarrow
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2003
    Messages:
    2,508
    Likes Received:
    3
    Historically, Baptists have believed in soul liberty and in a closely related concept, priesthood of the believer. Both of these mean that the individual believer's right and responsibility is to work out their own beliefs based on Bible study, prayer, and input from pastors and other christians. We don't (or maybe I should say haven't) had a Baptist creed or doctrinal statement for that reason. Developments in the SBC seem to be moving in the direction however. We also don't believe in the need to access God through an intermediary like a priest as the Catholics do.
     
  9. Broadus

    Broadus
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would partially disagree with your assessment. As Greg Wills has shown in his Democratic Religion, 19th century Baptist associations in the South would expel churches who changed their confession so that it materially differed with that adopted by the association of churches. Baptists, of course, have no Pope and no "top down" credal committee, but churches historically have adopted confessions and members were disciplined even to the point of being disfellowshipped when they taught doctrine which contradicted the confession.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  10. mountainrun

    mountainrun
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bill, 19th century Baptist churches in the south also supported slavery.

    This being the 21st century, I would refer to the Baptist Faith and Message...{SBC} Preamble

    =============
    (2) That we do not regard them as complete statements of our faith, having any quality of finality or infallibility. As in the past so in the future Baptists should hold themselves free to revise their statements of faith as may seem to them wise and expedient at any time.

    (3) That any group of Baptists, large or small have the inherent right to draw up for themselves and publish to the world a confession of their faith whenever they may think it advisable to do so.

    A paragraph on the following page states...

    " Baptists emphasize the soul's competency before God, freedom in religion and the priesthood of the believer. However, this emphasis should not be interpreted to mean that there is an absence of certin definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified."

    Now if I just knew if Christian liberty, soul liberty, and the soul's competency all referred to the same thing in everyone's opinion.

    Anyhow, above is the Baptist belief about soul competency.

    MR
     
  11. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    I had asked views on this a few months back and there was quite a discussion. You can do a search under my member number and Soul Liberty to find that old thread, if you're interested. [​IMG]
     
  12. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,079
    Likes Received:
    103
    The concept of soul liberty really goes back to Luther, though he shrank from the practical applications of the belief.

    Soul competence means that every person is responsible for his relationship to God. It cannot be accomplished through any human intermediary or rite.

    This belief is integral to the Baptist distinctive of liberty of conscience; true faith cannot be coerced — by either the state or the church — and is an area man-made tradition and strictures should not tread.

    Soul competence is the flip side of the priesthood of the believer; as believers, each of us can approach God directly, through no human intermediary — and must do so. Indeed, ecclesiastical authorities that try to impose man-made doctrine, strictures that are not clearly derived from God Word, also are to be resisted.

    To view "soul liberty" as meaning "I can believe anything I want" is exchanging liberty for license. As Mullins said:


    London Baptist Confession, 1689

    To quote Mullins:

    Or George Truett:

     
  13. Broadus

    Broadus
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    0
    And your point being?

    Thanks for enlightening me about 19th-century Baptist churches and slavery. Unfortunately, you missed the point of my response to a previous post which stated that, historically, Baptists have viewed the doctrine of soul liberty or soul competency as the individual's right and duty to work out his own understanding of doctrine and that the current SBC is attempting to enforce a creed from the top down. That simply is not correct. Confessions have historically been important among Baptists and were agreed upon by local congregations of believers and associations of churches. It was never used to imply the autonomy of the individual without concern for the rest of the congregation or the autonomy of the local church over the association. An individual is free to believe and practice as he chooses, but the local church is free to set the parameters of belief for their body. If that individual believes or practices contrary to those beliefs, he doesn't and, historically, hasn't had the right to remain a member of the congregation in good standing.

    BTW, was your point that, because 19th-century Baptists in the South generally supported slavery, then all they believed is wrong? Besides being illogical, isn't that a bit arrogant?

    Our problem today is that we live in a culture in which the idea of soul liberty is abused. The right of the individual to believe and practice as he pleases is supreme. Consequently, if a man or women claims that God has called him or her to the gospel ministry and seeks to be ordained that they may serve as a pastor, then who are we to refuse to ordain them, regardless of their beliefs or practices? If a homosexual proudly living with a partner desires to be a deacon, who are we to say that he or she is living in sin? How can an association withdraw fellowship from a church which embraces practicing homosexuals and condones instead of condemns their practice? The cry of soul liberty is sounded, and anyone who disagrees is charged with the practice of credalism. As someone posted above, theological chaos is the result.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  14. Alcott

    Alcott
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2002
    Messages:
    7,457
    Likes Received:
    93
    Soul liberty:: the freedom for me to carry out my own beliefs my own way, and for you to carry out my beliefs my way, too.
     
  15. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,145
    Likes Received:
    25
    This quote posted by rsr is a good example of the Baptist concept of soul liberty or freedom of conscience. Historically, Baptists have always supported the freedom of the individual to approach God and religious faith free from coercion. History will also show that they never found it inconsistent to deny that a person could believe and do whatever they wanted and still continue to be recognized as a Baptist. That's why Baptist churches excluded people for "departing from the faith", and why some associations withdrew from member churches, refused to let some churches in as members, and even ultimately split over matters of doctrine.
     
  16. mountainrun

    mountainrun
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bill, my point about Southern Baptists and slavery is not that they were wrong about everything, but that they were not right about everything.

    I did, however, misread your post.
    I thought you were advocating the view that you were actually refuting.

    Comes from reading and posting with too little sleep.

    Apologies.

    MR
     
  17. Broadus

    Broadus
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    0
    MR,

    Thanks---apology accepted and understood. I've done the same thing.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  18. Gregory Perry Sr.

    Gregory Perry Sr.
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    Messages:
    1,993
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ladies and Gentleman....What Soul Liberty IS NOT is any occasion to JUSTIFY SIN or indulge in the lusts of the flesh.It seems that many of the arguments I see in here to refute the concept of "soul liberty" are the same one's used by those who would reject the eternal "security" of the believer as being a liscense to sin without consequense.God ALWAYS calls us to obey His Word but allows us liberty within ourselves in that which we allow under the leadership and direction of the Holy Spirit.BUT...the leadership of the Holy Spirit will NEVER go contrary to the revealed Truths of the Word of God.As an example,God may allow me(with no pangs of conscience) to go to a NASCAR race and enjoy it(GO Michael Waltrip!#15)while another believer may have a problem with the apparent "worldliness" of the event.That other brother(or sister)may have a weaker conscience and if I FLAUNT my own liberty in front of them they may be hurt or offended.If I follow the Biblical model given under Inspiration by Paul then the proper response would be that "I will eat no flesh while the world standeth"(1 Cor.8:13)The context of that chapter was about meat offered to idols but the concept of "soul liberty" and the love of the brethren was tied closely together for all to see.Soul Liberty is fine and GOOD...as long as it doesn't violate the plain truth of scripture OR the law of LOVE.(see vs.1,same chapter..."charity edifieth")JMO

    Greg Sr.
     
  19. mountainrun

    mountainrun
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    0
    Both those exceptions have already been brought up, but I have sometimes wondered how it would be possible to exercise ANY Christian liberty at all if we were afraid that everything we did might offend those who are weak in their faith.

    I never thought that anyone would be offended by NASCAR but someone somewhere probably is.


    Paul does not tell us to abrogate our freedom, though.
    He simply tells us to be careful in the exercising of it in 1 Cor. 8:9.

    I feel this meat thing has been hugely overstated and applied to way too many things.

    Paul was speaking in regard to those who came out of the pagan religions who now felt that eating the meat sacrificed to idols was a sin.

    Theoretically, we could be forbidden from doing almost everything.

    Maybe we should make a list of things that might possibly offend people and vow not to do them.

    If we all contributed, I'm sure we could forbid almost everything.

    {I have noticed that those who always bring up the "never again eat meat" passage are all still eating meat.}

    If we know for a fact someone may stumble, then we should refrain. If not, then be free in Christ.


    MR




    ;) ;)
     
  20. James_Newman

    James_Newman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Messages:
    5,013
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's easy to give up your wrongs - but much harder to give up your rights.

    - Keith Green

    God wants us to present ourselves a living sacrifice. A sacrifice doesn't have any rights, a sacrifice gets put on an altar and burned. But a lot of what we consider to be our rights are probably little more than cleverly disguised bondage.

    2Peter 2
    19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
    20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
     

Share This Page

Loading...