Category Archives: Religion

Historical Seventh Day Baptist engagement against Slavery

Many of my American ancestors have been here since before the American Revolution, and most of them, including the later arrivals,  belonged to the Seventh Day Baptist (SDB) denomination.   Much of my childhood I attended the second SDB church in America (established 1708) not far from the first one, which is in Newport, RI (established 1672).  So in a very real sense the denomination is my family.

I am reading the first volume of a collection of historical papers, Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America.  The American portion of this volume includes the years between 1664 and 1902.  Of special interest to me right now is the General Conference reports, which began in 1802.  I decided to look though those documents for references to slavery. Each meeting lists resolutions that passed (but not the actual resolutions).  Some of them are not explicit but the wording often gives indication of their point of view.  Here is what I found:

1852  Passed a resolution regarding the inhuman “Fugitive Slave Law.”
1855  Resolution regarding the Case of Pardon Davis imprisoned in Louisiana on the
          charge of aiding slaves to escape.
          Prayer for the emancipation of the slaves in our beloved country.
1858  Resolution adopted relating to the late disgraceful attempt of our general
           government to force slavery on Kansas.
          Resolution regarding The American Tract Society as having forfeited its right to our
          support, because….it refused to publish anything against slavery.
1861  Eight resolutions were discussed and set forth slavery as the cause, and its  
           overthrow as the desired result of the Civil War; and pledged to the Union loyal  
          support, “whatever it may cost.”
1862  A Memorial, upon Emancipation was prepared and ordered sent to the President in  
          the name of the Conference.
1863  Resolution regarding the support of the government against “the slave-holders’ 
1864  Resolution regarding the protracted struggle for the Union, liberty and good
          government in connection with which there was a special prayer of
          thanksgiving and confession.
1865  Resolution regarding gratitude for the overthrow of the rebellion, and its great
          Resolution on the right to suffrage without regard to color.
1866  Resolutions adopted relating to the morally wrong and unpatriotic methods of the      
          nation’s chief executive and the so-called “Union” party.
1870  Resolution regarding the anti-slavery struggle and its results to freedom.
1891  Resolution declaring it to be un-politic and un-Christian for our government to
          make distinction among immigrants based on prejudice, race or color.



The Future of the Church: You

Directed to a group of Christian ministers by Alistair Begg  but a reminder to all Christians:

Don’t buy this notion that the future of the church is in the children. You are the future of the church. Your theological grasp, your experience of God’s faithfulness, your laying hold of God in prayer is undergirding the very framework into which another generation comes.



Who Are You?

From Alan Jacobs:

In one of my classes I have been teaching the book of Job, and finding myself (not for the first time) surprised that this strange and even shocking book made its way into the canon of the sacred books of the Jewish and the Christian people. It’s fascinating to read the Talmudic commentary on Job: the rabbis did not know who wrote it (some thought Moses), they did not know when it was written, they did not know whether it is a piece of historical writing or a fable. All they knew was that it is a holy book. And that is a remarkable thing.

The best thing I have ever read about Job is the brief Introduction to the book by G. K. Chesterton. Here’s a taste:When, at the end of the poem, God enters (somewhat abruptly), is struck the sudden and splendid note which makes the thing as great as it is. All the human beings through the story, and Job especially, have been asking questions of God. A more trivial poet would have made God enter in some sense or other in order to answer the questions. By a touch truly to be called inspired, when God enters, it is to ask a number of questions on His own account. In this drama of skepticism God Himself takes up the role of skeptic. He does what all the great voices defending religion have always done. He does, for instance, what Socrates did. He turns rationalism against itself. He seems to say that if it comes to asking questions, He can ask some question which will fling down and flatten out all conceivable human questioners. The poet by an exquisite intuition has made God ironically accept a kind of controversial equality with His accusers. He is willing to regard it as if it were a fair intellectual duel: “Gird up now thy loins like man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me” (38:3). The everlasting adopts an enormous and sardonic humility. He is quite willing to be prosecuted. He only asks for the right which every prosecuted person possesses; he asks to be allowed to cross-examine the witness for the prosecution. And He carries yet further the corrections of the legal parallel. For the first question, essentially speaking, which He asks of Job is the question that any criminal accused by Job would be most entitled to ask. He asks Job who he is. And Job, being a man of candid intellect, takes a little time to consider, and comes to the conclusion that he does not know.  

Read it all here.



Politics as religion


“In a garish instance of the Procrustean bed, we cut our religion to suit our preferences instead of working to conform ourselves to the teachings of our faith traditions, a problem equally evident in mainline and evangelical denominations. As a result, the Church has become corrupted by politics. In 1960, only 5 percent of Americans said they would be uncomfortable with their child marrying someone from the opposite political party. By 2010, the number was up to 40 percent, even as interfaith marriages continued to rise. Commenting on this trend, the Institute for Family Studies suggested that politics has “taken the place of religion as a way of expressing our most basic values.” Of course it has. In each individual life, religion must either rule or serve. As a ruler, it can challenge ideas on every side of the spectrum and defend us against becoming blindly ideological. As a servant, it quickly becomes a mewling, conniving sycophant, eager to please its ideological masters.”

Woke Progressivism’s Glaring Religion Gap