A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Where Have All The Baptists Gone?

And now some BJC news...

WASHINGTON — One of the most prominent historians of American evangelicalism called on "true Baptists" June 29 to re-assert their prophetic role "as watchmen on the wall of separation between church and state."

Randall Balmer, a history professor at Columbia University, told more than 550 supporters of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty that many of America's Baptists, in recent decades, have "lost their way."

Now, let's revisit a few of Balmer's most memorable one-liners.

"They have been seduced by leaders of the Religious Right into thinking that the way to advance the gospel in this country is to abandon Baptist principles,"
"Why not post the Decalogue in public places? Because, quite simply, it trivializes the faith and makes the Ten Commandments into a fetish....What Roy Moore was peddling was idolatry, pure and simple — a conflation of the gospel with the American political order."

"The identification of the Religious Right with the Republican Party has deprived the faith of its prophetic voice. Where are the Baptist voices of conscience decrying this administration's immoral war in Iraq, the relentless assault on civil liberties and the abomination of torture?"

"It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Religious Right has abandoned the faith for a conference call with Karl Rove in return."

"Every true Baptist understands that any attempt to baptize the faith with the imprimatur of the state … ultimately diminishes the integrity of the faith...I'm asking Baptists to reaffirm their heritage. I'm asking them to rededicate themselves to the importance of liberty of conscience. Baptists were once a minority themselves, so they should know better than most the importance of protecting the rights of minorities, religious and otherwise."
Let's heed the advice of Dr. Balmer. To reclaim that authentic and genuine Baptist voice in North America, we must recommit ourselves to soul freedom, complete religious liberty and the separation of church and state. The upcoming Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant will be a great opportunity to reaffirm our heritage - a heritage that values liberty of the individual conscience.
As religion must always be a matter between God and individuals, no man can be made a member of a truly religious society by force or without his own consent, neither can any corporation that is not a religious society have a just right to govern in religious affairs.
-Isaac Backus, 1781

It is the consistent and insistent contention of our Baptist people, always and everywhere, that religion must be forever voluntary and uncoerced, and that it is not the prerogative of any power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, to compel men to conform to any religious creed or form of worship....A Baptist would rise at midnight to plead for absolute religious liberty, for his Catholic neighbor, and for his Jewish neighbor, and for everybody else."
-George W. Truett, 1920

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Blogger peter lumpkins said...


Good morning. And a great 4th to you. The last I heard, Richard Land got in hot water with some of our more jealous Brothers for criticizing Moore. Thus all of us SBs have not succumbed to idolatry.

Grace. With that, I am...


6:13 AM


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