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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Baptist Studies Bulletin

The July issue of The Baptist Studies Bulletin is now available courtesy of Mercer University's Center For Baptist Studies.

The Table of Contents is as follows:

"The Divine Gift"
- by Walter Shurden
"Why I Am Excited About The New Baptist Covenant" - by David Emmanuel Goatley
"The Spirituality of Roger Williams" - by Doug Weaver
"My Favorite Books on Southern Religion" - by Wayne Flint
"The World's Greatest Preachers" - by Thomas McKibbens
The Decline of Separation of Church and State - by Bruce Gourley

Each and every month the Baptist Studies Bulletin offers a healthy dose of support for soul freedom and religious liberty. Let's enjoy together a few snippets...

From The Spirituality of Roger Williams by Dr. Doug Weaver....
According to Williams, personal heart-centered religious experience must be voluntary to be genuine. In other words, soul liberty was central to genuine spirituality. Coerced faith was an oxymoron. “Knowing” God’s presence via soul liberty provided the foundation for Williams’ clarion call for his spiritual “doing” – his public rebuke of state established conformist religion in favor of complete religious liberty for all....

State religion gutted genuine spirituality because it denied persons the freedom to read the Scriptures. Williams noted the tragic irony of the English Parliament which worked to make Bibles accessible to “the poorest English houses” and urged the “simplest man or woman” to study the Scriptures, yet these readers were forced to conform to the official interpretations of the state church. The only way to have conformity of belief was to commit “spiritual rape” against the conscience.

Real spirituality? Roger Williams knew that for faith to be genuine, it had to be completely voluntary. A person must be free to worship according to the dictates of his or her conscience.
And from "The Divine Gift" by Dr. Walter Shurden....
I believe . . .

that Congressman Chet Edwards of Texas spoke precious truth. He spoke it at the Fountain Plaza of Upper Senate Park in Washington, D. C. on June 29, 2007. The occasion was a Baptist Unity Rally for Religious Liberty and a partial reenactment of George W. Truett's historic 1920 speech from the steps of the U. S. Capitol. The sponsor was one of the most important religious organizations in this Republic―the Baptist Joint Committee For Religious Liberty (BJC).

Congressman Edwards called religious liberty "The Divine Gift." It really is!! Religious Liberty is God's gift to creation. And how we take it for granted! The political expression of "The Divine Gift" is the separation of church and state. And how that needs to be so desperately guarded in our time.
So, check it out!

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