John Leland, a Baptist preacher, “emerged a leader among the Commonwealth’s Baptists. He was instrumental in allying the Baptists with Jefferson and Madison in the bitter Virginia struggle to disestablish the Anglican Church and to secure freedom for religious dissenters.”[i] According to L.H. Butterfield, Leland “was as courageous and resourceful a champion of the rights of conscience as America has produced.”[ii] Leland, who allied with the Baptists, supported Jefferson because of his commitment to “the rights of conscience.”[iii] This did not refer to separating religious beliefs from politics, but rather allowed one to believe according to his own conscience without government interference. For example, Leland celebrated Jefferson’s election from his pulpit.[iv] By conscience, they referred to the first table of the Ten Commandments as Roger Williams did. Conscience refers to ‘opinions’ so referred to by both Jefferson and the Danbury Baptists in their correspondence. Continue reading
Editors Note: This open letter was first sent to Baptist Press. It is a letter written in response to Russell Moore’s Twitter comment (Click HERE) and is used here by permission.
We have been involved in Southern Baptist life for most of our lives. We are grateful for the opportunities to serve and minister in our Convention. At the same time, we have also witnessed and been involved in America’s political life. Though we never endorsed political candidates, as pastors and Southern Baptist leaders, we have sought to share our perspectives as to how Southern Baptist believers should evaluate the moral and spiritual issues during presidential election cycles. Based on biblical principles we trusted those to whom we ministered to use their brains and their hearts as they voted for political candidates. Such political campaigns can be times of strong emotion, spirited debate, excessive rhetoric and sadly, broken relationships. Continue reading
**This article was previously posted by Leighton Flowers on his website www.soteriology101.com and is used by permission.
Leighton is: teaching pastor in his local church, an adjunct Professor of Theology, and the Youth Evangelism Director for Texas Baptists.
William, like Calvinists, seems to be presuming that mankind is born fully hostile/hardened/defiled based on the fact that they are born with a sin nature. The scriptures teach that mankind, while sinners, may “become hardened” or “grow calloused” (Acts 28:27-28) or “be given over to their desires so as to become defiled” (Rom. 1). This is something that mankind can become if they continue in their rebellion, as was the case with the Israelites of the New Testament, especially that of Saul prior to his own conversion. In my estimation, Calvinists and some Arminians misapply some of the teachings about the calloused condition of man once “given over” to their depraved and calloused wills as if it applies to an innate condition from birth. There must be a distinction drawn between the heart of a sinner and the heart of a hardened sinner. Continue reading