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BAPTIST HISTORY LESSON 23 Religious Liberty: The Gift of the Baptist Church.

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Presentation on theme: "BAPTIST HISTORY LESSON 23 Religious Liberty: The Gift of the Baptist Church."— Presentation transcript:

1 BAPTIST HISTORY LESSON 23 Religious Liberty: The Gift of the Baptist Church

2 New England: Never legal Middle Colonies: Freedom to meet/organize 1707 Philadelphia Assoc. Southern Colonies: SC-Charleston (1696) Charleston Assoc (1751) Virginia/NC General Baptists Regular by 1750’s Kehukee Assoc 1769 Separate Baptist Products of the Great Awakening

3 Separate Baptists New England: Issac Backus Daniel Marshall & Shubal Stearns Southern Colonies 1755 Sandy Creek, NC 1758 Sandy Creek Association Sandy Creek tradition vs. Charleston Tradition ‘a matter of ardor rather than order’ Walter Shurden “The followers of Stearns helped bring into practice the evangelistic convictions of the Regulars; the confessional detail of the Regulars helped give expression to the theological convictions of the Separates.” Thomas J. Nettles The Baptists, Vol. 2, pg 172

4 Persecution not unknown to our Baptist forefathers England New England Virginia: Anglican to the core! 1619: parishes; glebe lands; ministerial support 1699: punishment for non-church attendance 1705: could not deny monotheism, Trinity, existence of God or the Bible’s authority Act of Toleration: now ‘disturbers of the peace’ Baptists: From lower socio economic class Ministered to slaves Worship style-’free’ Aggressive evangelism Exposed/opposed Anglican clergy Undermined civil authority

5 John Waller ( ) ‘Swearing Jack’‘Devil’s Adjutant’ 1766 Conversion June 4, 1768 arrested with 4 others Waller ‘answered that the Lord stood by him as a truth and poured his love into his soul without measure…he could scarcely feel the stripes for the love of God…’ Spent total of 113 days in jail!

6 Three stages in the fight of the Baptists for full religious liberty I. Petitions to the House of Burgesses for relief from harassment 1770‘to bear arms, attend muster 1772Asked for special indulgencies 1773Ketoton Association asked for “liberty to preach…without restraint”

7 II Demands for complete Religious Liberty A Relative freedom asked for 1. Permission to preach to the troops 2. Request to disestablish the Anglican Church 1) Repeal of laws for maintenance of religious opinion 2) Repeal of laws against dissenting worship 3) Repeal of taxation for support of Anglican Church 4) Levies to support Baptist pastors repealed

8 B. Formation of General Committee of Baptist Churches (1784) 1. Remove limits of clergy who could perform marriages 2. The Act of General Assessment to establish the Christian religion 3. Act of Incorporation repealed 4. Glebe lands released

9 III. Ratification of the Constitution Against: Patrick Henry & most Baptists including John Leland In favor: James Madison The Rights of Conscience Inalienable “Every man must give an account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free.” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances. Article 1, Bill of Rights John Leland

10 "the credit of adopting the Constitution of the United States properly belonged to a Baptist clergyman, formerly of Virginia, by the name of Leland; and he reached his conclusion in this way — he said that if Madison had not been in the. Virginia Convention, the Constitution would not have been ratified by that State; ….(and) if it had been rejected by her, the Constitution would have failed; and that it was by Elder Leland's influence that Madison was elected to the Convention." Lawyer J.S. Barbour, eulogy of James Madison found in The Baptists and the American Constitution, James T. Christian, accessed on Baptist History Homepage To Whom is credit due?

11 “It was the universal opinion of the century preceding the last that civil government could not stand without the prop of a religious establishment, and that the Christian religion itself would perish, if not supported by a legal provision for its clergy. The experience of Virginia conspicuously corroborates the disproof of both opinions. The civil government, though bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success; whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State” Letter from James Madison to Robert Walsh, March 2, 1819


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