How Did Our Baptist Ancestors View Church and State?

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.”[1] According to L.H. Butterfield, Leland “was as courageous and resourceful a champion of the rights of conscience as America has produced.”[2] Continue reading →

Law and Morality

At Trinity, I lead a three-year men’s group called the Round Table. The first year focuses on Theology, the second on Ethics and the third year on Ideologies (Worldviews). Mike Tinney recently presented a paper on Law and Morality in The Roundtable in Ideology. Mike is an attorney by profession and has presented an excellent presentation of this subject that is well worth the read. Continue reading →

A Supportive Response to Peter Lumpkins’ Article About the ERLC & Trump Voters

Below is a brief supportive comment that I wrote in response to an article by Peter Lumpkins on SBC Today entitled, Joe Carter, the ERLC and Division over Donald Trump (Parts 1 and 2).[1] Peter’s article responds to some general statements from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) that continually positions those who may vote for Trump in a very dim light. In part two, he specifically analyzes the language of a particular article by Joe Carter (ERLC staffer) that juxtaposes the debate between the “Justice side” (those evangelicals who would vote for Trump) and the “Witness side” (those who would not). Unfortunately, the juxtaposition is unduly reductionistic and results in favoring the “Witness side” rather than equally presenting both. Lumpkins does a good job of pointing this out. Continue reading →

Homosexual Marriage: A Change in the Law of Marriage and Religious Freedom

“On Friday, June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 vote to impose so-called ‘gay marriage’ on all 50 states.” While this decision did not change the nature of true marriage, for only God can do that, it did change the nature of legal marriage, and, tragically, in many minds that is a change in the nature of marriage.

The court’s ruling did considerably degrade the institution of marriage in our culture. Moreover, the court’s decision demonstrated one of the most pronounced, unguarded, and hubristic acts of legislating from the bench and disregard for the Constitution to date (demonstrated in their moral reasoning in the article below). Finally, certainly they set in place a ruling that will perpetuate the dismantling of religious freedom in America. I believe this may prove to be, over the coming decades, the most devastating consequence of the ruling. I think that this moralizing decision will be the genesis of untold clashes between believers and the courts, and, as it stands, a portentous signal regarding the kind of decisions that we might expect from the court.

Dr. Jerry Johnson, Ph. D., President and CEO of National Religious Broadcasters, has written two excellent articles on this ruling, Supreme Shame and Supreme Sham (and one more to come), and reading them both will be well worth your time. Particularly important to note is the biblical guidance for Christians from article one, and the moral, rather than legal, musings of the majority opinion in the second.

We Need Christ’s Help NOT Self-Help

In the Los Angeles Times article “Self-Help’s Big Lie” Steve Salerno explains, “Self-esteem-based education presupposed that a healthy ego would help students achieve greatness, even if the mechanisms necessary to instill self-esteem undercut scholarship. Over time, it became clear that what such policies promote is not academic greatness but a bizarre disconnect between perceived self-worth and provable skill.” Continue reading →

Christianity Benefits Everyone

Obviously the most important benefit of following Christ is spiritual; salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). However, even those who do not accept Christ can benefit socially from the presence of authentic Christianity. This article seeks to highlight one area in which this is true. That is the area of keeping down healthcare costs. This is because today, as in the past, much of the cost of healthcare is related to behavior and is therefore preventable. Continue reading →

How Did Our Baptist Ancestors View Church and State?

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.”[1] (italics added) According to L.H. Butterfield, Leland “was as courageous and resourceful a champion of the rights of conscience as America has produced.”[2] (italics added) Leland, who allied with the Baptists, supported Jefferson because of his commitment to “the rights of conscience.”[3] (italics added) 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.[4] 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 →

A Letter to My Dear Baptist Ancestors

Thank you for your willing and unselfish sacrifice for my undeserved freedom of religion in America!

It seems to me that most Americans, including many Baptists, are either unaware or have forgotten the extraordinary role that Baptists played in securing religious liberty in America. Many Americans who are aware seek to minimize Christianity’s role in general and Baptist’s role in particular. Then there are those whose lack of acknowledgement and appreciation sometimes manifests itself in admonishments to pastors, particularly Baptist pastors, against speaking out or being involved in politics. Some of these chastisements come from Baptist pews and pulpits. Let me mention one historical example of Baptist influence. Continue reading →