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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Golden Hour To Save Soul Freedom

This is the sixth post in the Recovering E.Y. Mullins and Saving Soul Freedom Summer Project. See all past posts here. As E.Y. Mullins, J.M. Dawson, G.W. Truett, and James Dunn said time and time again - the freedom of the individual conscience is the cornerstone that precedes and demands religion liberty and her essential corollary the separation of church and state.

The writings of Mullins, Hobbs, Gaustad, Dunn, and most recently Underwood have infected me with the "soul freedom bug." Instead of dabblin' in the latest warm & fuzzy theological trends, perhaps it's time for younger Baptists to recommit themselves to the most basic of our Baptist distinctives...now is the "golden hour" to Save Soul Freedom.

So, I leave you with excerpts from The Wit and Wisdom of James Dunn...
"Freedom is not absolute. No one is 'free as a bird.' Only a bird is free as a bird. We are not free to deny basic freedoms to others. When anyone's freedom is denied, everyone's freedom is endangered."

"We are not free without responsibility. Freedom and responsibility are like two sides of a coin, inseparable. No matter how thin it is slice, the coin of responsible freedom still has two sides. God made us able to respond, response able, responsible, and if responsible, free."

"The competence of the individual before God does not demand and in fact precludes Long Ranger religion. No matter what critics left and right may say, autonomous individualism...does not mean that everyone's church is one's own hat...The longing for community and social Christianity presupposes voluntarism. Without individual autonomy, there can be no authentic community, for folks to be herded together by some sort of semi-sacramentalism or joined in a crusade for social justice does not community make."

"This Baptist belief in religious liberty is not just 'doctrine,' or First Amendment or a political elective. It is, rather, THE baptist basic: soul freedom. Each individual comes immediately to God. All vital religion is voluntary. Even God will not trample the freedom to say 'yes' or 'no' to God."

"There is not such thing as 'required religion,' no such thing as 'forced fellowship' or 'coerced community.' All those phrases are oxymorons, and folks who force, coerce or require are ordinary morons.

"Believing in the separation of church and state doesn't make one a Baptist. But it is hard to believe that one could be a Baptist and not cling tenaciously to that baptistic doctrine. How else do we protect and defend those seminal beliefs in freedom of conscience, the priesthood of all believers, the right of private interpretation of Scripture, real religious liberty for all believers, as well as those who refuse to believe, a free church in a free state?"

"No pastor or priest, no doctrine or disciple, no book or belief, no church or creed comes between the individual and God."

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Blogger Rod said...

Praise God for soul freedom, and the baptist tradition! ;)

2:14 PM


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