Am I Getting Soul Liberty Wrong?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Steven Yeadon, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    I have had doubts about soul liberty for weeks now and I know that I shouldn't embrace something I have doubts in. The reason for these doubts is simple: does soul liberty allow wayward people to to go undisciplined?

    As I have researched soul liberty it is usually allowed that churches be allowed to discipline members who break from sound doctrine. However, for some reason I very rarely ever see this except in regards to a church leader who has viewpoints that are squarely against the bible. The problem is it seems that the idea of liberty of conscience can get abused in most actual churches.

    For instance, I know of people who mix the Baptist Faith and Message with Eastern religion who call themselves southern baptists and go to a southern baptist church. I also know of someone who mixed Roman Catholicism and the Baptist Faith and Message to call themselves both a southern baptist and Roman Catholic, a "Batholic." They attend both types of church on Sunday. There are a lot of examples beyond these though taking place in Baptist churches.

    It just seems against the spirit of the church discipline to let people join a communion of believers and then believe things that are completely unbiblical without correcting them.

    I'm beginning to think that the best way forward may just be to allow churches to define their theology and expect members to be "in the fold" so to speak, especially if they want leadership positions. The problem being that this could result in a great fracturing of baptist churches, all believing their doctrine is sound while rejecting all others.

    The key question is: Do I have soul liberty wrong?
     
  2. JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Yes. Soul liberty applies within the confines of a local church and is determined by what that body deems matters of liberty regarding issues not prescribed in Scripture. Many of these issues may (or may not) be expressions of principles the church has applied to the Christian life. For example, fornication is not an issue of soul liberty. Dancing may be an issue of soul liberty, or it may be simply forbidden as the assembly has determined it sinful via interpretation.

    I think that you are making a mistake when you take the doctrine from within or under a local church. It does not mean we have the liberty to choose whatever we deem right, for God speaks through the congregation and we are subject to an "overseer" (who is also subject to Christ). I can't, for example, belong to my church and be assured of the "soul liberty" to practice infant baptism even if such is my genuine conviction.
     
  3. Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for the reply. I agree.

    It seems to be a problem of spotty church discipline I am running into more than a problem with the doctrine of soul liberty.
     
  4. HankD Well-Known Member
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    For those who don't know:

    http://www.garbc.org/about-us/beliefs-constitution/baptist-distinctives/

    HankD
     
  5. Jerome Well-Known Member
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    Yes, I also have an entire book on the topic published by the SBC, Soul Liberty - Doctrinal Emphasis Week Study Course, that begins by explaining:

    "soul liberty means the freedom of every human being, whether as an individual or in a group, from social coercion in religious matters."
     
  6. Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Soul liberty is allowing us to have the freedom in Christ to decide for ourselves on non essential things, such as can I drink any alcohol, see a movie, use other versions of bible, have a different worship style etc!
     
  7. JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    This is not outside of the bounds of the local church. A church does not have to view such things as drinking alcohol as a "non-essential thing". Looking at the OP, soul liberty is not something that excuses a member from church discipline. For example, if my church decides that drinking is wrong (either for the witness it may provide to the lost, causing a brother to stumble, or that it is simply a sin in and of itself) then the member does not have the liberty to drink. The church shouldn't force compliance, but it should enforce discipline (the member could be removed from the congregation).

    Soul liberty doesn't diminish the authority of the local church, and it does not exist apart from the local church. So I disagree that worship style would fall into this category as it would make "soul liberty" an issue of individual congregations or churches under an overseeing and governing ecclesiastical body.
     
  8. Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    You make some good points here, as I think that we are seeing this from a different base line, as mine would be more that a Christian can and does have freedom in Christ to not have to have any church regulate and classify as outright sin areas such as i mentioned. Now if the person starts denying Jesus is God, that he resurrected, that he alone can save, can have affairs no problem, than definite time for church discipline! Also, if they agree to accept the held standards in that church that does express no drinking. movies for example, as long as there, bound to obey that., as they agree dto those conditions as part of church membership.
     
  9. JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I think one important aspect is also that Scripture never conceives of a Christian who is not a member of a church. We function as a member of a whole, and we are all subject to that whole. This seems an issue in our generation as thoughts seem to move from the church to the individual, but we (individually) are not the Bride of Christ.

    In other words, the last thing a Christian needs to be concerned about if he or she is not a member of a local church is the doctrine of soul liberty as they have greater issues that should occupy their minds.
     
  10. Jerome Well-Known Member
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    That is trivializing the real idea! It has to do with rejection of persecution and coercion, such as that done to Baptists by the RCC and the Reformers.
     
  11. Jerome Well-Known Member
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    This is Baptist 101 stuff.

     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire Well-Known Member
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    However if you find them too restrictive then you have the liberty to bail and find a more lenient church
     
  13. Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    It is not either.or but both what you and I said!
     
  14. JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    This brings up another issue. While I agree that no one can be pressed into Christian belief, does this then also mean that a Christianity includes the idea other beliefs should be given the same right of expression? Is the idea of religious freedom (in the secular sense) a Christian idea?
     
  15. Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    A Christian based culture would allow for freedom of religion, but many non Christian ones do not allow for much variety, see islamic nations!
     
  16. JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Why is the freedom to worship Satan (with the same secular acceptance) a Christian doctrine?

    Should Christians fight for the Muslim religion within our nation? What about neo-nazism?
     
  17. Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    We should allow for freedom of religion, but not freedom to do illegal;/unlawful acts!
     
  18. JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    What biblical principles would you use to support the Wicca faith?

    For example, would you protest for a Mosque to be built in our city if it would facilitate the freedom to worship Allah? Would you attend a LGBT rights parade in support of their freedoms to exercise what is their true religion?

    In other words, the freedom of religion we enjoy here is a matter of rights of citizenship protected by our government. I understand Christians not preventing others from worshiping as they please, and I understand not mandating others worship God. But it is not up to the Christian to allow freedom of religion in this country (it is a matter of rights given by law, not God). Are you saying that Christians should defend pagan religions?
     
  19. Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    There would be none in either ancient israel or when Jesus reigns here, but before that time....
     
  20. JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Do you think that the early church should have been concerned with assuring the worship of Zeus remained unimpeded?

    (I'm just trying to understand how biblical principles apply in this instance)