The Conservative Baptist and Roger Williams (A Church and State Issue)

In American Church history, there is a man named Roger Williams. Many today seem to not know about his existence, but he is very crucial.

Roger Williams started as an Anglican in England, but eventually was disillusioned by that church body and went to live with the Puritans in Massachusetts. After a certain time there, he felt convictions that led his interpretations of Scripture away from the Puritans. He was evicted from the settlement and took his followers elsewhere. There he established the first church which birthed the tradition known as Baptist.

Roger Williams was a major proponent of the separation of church and state. He saw what had happened in Europe ever since Constantine named Christianity an acceptable religion and eventually made it the official religion. Too much invested power from one to the other led to corruption, murder, stealing, and condemnation of innocent brothers in the faith (this could lead to a paragraph about Martin Luther and the Anabaptists, but I digress).

The point of this post is to point to the Southern Baptist Convention and other Baptist denominations and say that something is not matching up. Are Baptists to give in to the state or be something separate. Williams never outright took up blind violence against the state, but he did want to make it clear that the Church just seems to work better when it does not try to seek a pseudo-matrimonial union with the state. I think the SBC needs to consider their founder’s history and words and apply them better.

This is in light of the recent vote for the NC marriage amendment. Many Baptists and other traditions came out to proclaim that the church and state serve the same purpose and should work as one. Is this our purpose? I have posted elsewhere on this vote more directly, but the point is to call out a bigger problem, the Church in America wants to be primarily American and not first and foremost Christian. This will cause problems with us and the state, but mostly with us. (As a side note, this action sounds much like the Catholics and the Anglicans 200+ years ago, something that a SBC person usually will not like.)

PS – My own denomination, which has no lineage crossing lines with Baptists but is a Wesleyan tradition, has made this same mistake.

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2 thoughts on “The Conservative Baptist and Roger Williams (A Church and State Issue)

  1. I never saw your post on whether you were for or against the amendment. Personally I choose spiritual convictions over political convictions. Thats why I chose to vote for the amendment, God’s law is always above man’s laws. When the amendment says that marriage is between a man and a woman, in good conscience I cannot disagree with that statement. As I have gotten older I have seen where tolerance is not always the correct answer for me, especially when it comes to moral issues.

    • I appreciate your answer on this one. I’ve had a tough decisions because I cannot see how the amendment was that simple, there were legal matters and spiritual matters. Plus, even if the amendment were one to vote for, since it did include things such as divorce, marital violence, extramarital and premarital sex, it might be incomplete. All of these are things that speak to the sanctity of marriage in the Christian religious context and are more important than just a state sanctioned institution. One thing is for sure though, I hope that those who are not acting in agreement with God’s will for human sexuality will come to see what God has revealed about sexuality. No law can trump the revelation brought to us by the Spirit of God.

      Salvation first, then follow God’s law and will. Anything else is getting the cart before the horse.

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