Monday, April 23, 2012

Religious Freedom

Again, this freedom may have less to do directly with the academy, but it does help emphasize what kind of people Baptists are.

Various Christians have had various views about the relationship between church and state throughout Christian history, but Baptists have always been a people who have called for separation. In fact, the Baptist founders John Smyth and Thomas Helwys may have been the first to ever call for complete religious liberty for all-- Christian or not. Although at times, we seem to have forgotten these roots as we climb the ladder of political power, we are a people who believe in freedom for all.

This stance, again, comes from the Baptist view of the individual. All people are made free before God and as such are free and responsible for their own religious convictions. It is no one's place to coerce that decision.

After all, for much of their heritage, Baptists were asking for religious freedom as a right they did not have. But they did not ask only for themselves. In 1791, John Leland wrote on the subject,

"Let every man speak freely without fear, maintain the principles that he believes, worship according to his own faith, either one God, three Gods, no God, or twenty Gods; and let government protect him in so doing."
Baptists have long been a people who empower other with rights and responsibilities, not simply tolerance. As we have long been people who know that Jesus is lord, and not Caesar,  faith is no matter for Caesar to decide, whether for us or against us.

Again, this may not be directly related to our situation at OBU. But it does continue to highlight what kind of people Baptists have been historically.

Baptists are the kind of people who believe that every person-- no matter what they look like, believe, act like, dress like, or think like, is made in the image of God. Every person is just as valuable in God's eyes as we ourselves are-- no matter how different they are from us. We have always petitioned not only for our own freedom, but also for the freedom of all people.

Baptists do not believe in toleration with preference towards some, but in equal rights for all. We need no government or any other body to defend our faith for us.

And above all, we are a people of radical freedom. We will not tolerate any person or institution trying to define for us what faith must mean.


  1. Replies
    1. Shame on you for your lack of respect and intelligence. This blog is committed to insightful understandings of the OBU/BGCO relationship, and the best thing you can come up with is jejune onomatopoeia. I'm embarrassed for you.

    2. Hahaha, it's actually kinda funny to see how easy it is to ruffle feathers if you don't agree with every single thing posted on this blog. So thank you for continuing to prove my thoughts Cami.

    3. This blog is sparking conversations between people across the spectrum of agreement. Agreeing or disagreeing is not the point. You are rude and immature; Christians and scholars welcome neither quality.

      Veronica or Jacob, feel free to delete any of my comments. This is absurd.

  2. So far, I haven't witnessed good conversation occurring between opposite sides of the issues discussed here. If you agree with things on here, you're right. If you dare to disagree with the supreme intellects that prowl this blog, you immediately get branded a fundamentalist (and sometimes a sexist or racist as well) and are inherently wrong. And before anyone asks or goes on the attack, I've been reading these posts since late February, and I am a different "anonymous" than the two idiots above here. I think their posts are rather pointless as well, but I disagree with the premise of the post preceding this one.

  3. I am a bit baffled at the dissenting opinions. I thought this was a great post! And I do believe that this ties in very well with the circumstances at OBU. I think it is critical for OBU to remember its roots and, more importantly, consider the "source" of those roots...the Holy Bible. You cannot pick and choose what to implement. If one is confused, just look at the person and example of Jesus Christ. Forget the "Baptist traditions", look at the One Who is claimed to be the leader of Christianity - Jesus Christ. He should be our guide, not politics. Not to mention the fact that a BLOG is simply a place to express things freely. The author of this blog has not been bestowed any title of "perfector of all viewpoints and statements related to OBU and/or the Baptist ideologies " (at least to my knowledge). One may or may not agree with the author, but that is their own prerogative, not the authors. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this post and the interesting comments from the above readers. Thanks for posting!


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