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Posts Tagged ‘Christian Liberty’

Thoughts on Christian Liberty

September 29, 2016 Leave a comment

by Tom Ascol

With the resurgence of reformed theology has come a rediscovery of the doctrine of Christian liberty. This doctrine is important for spiritual growth and health because, as Paul succinctly put it in Galatians 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

There are many such yokes that well-intentioned people try to place on believers—telling us what we must do and not do or how we must live if we want to be pleasing to the Lord: “Don’t groom like that.” “Dress like this.” “Don’t drink that.” “Don’t drive (or ride) that,” etc.

The same type of pressure was placed on first-century Christians. They were admonished to be circumcised, to keep certain Jewish customs and to maintain certain dietary restrictions in order to be holy. The questions raised by these pressures are what led to the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15.

 

 

 

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Obadiah Holmes Whipped for Baptist Beliefs

September 7, 2015 Leave a comment

Obadiah HolmesThud. The whip’s three cords slammed onto the bare back of Obadiah Holmes, who stood tied to the post. Thud… Thud… Thud. Thirty times the executioner struck with all his force. It was on this day, September 5, 1651 in Boston, Massachusetts.

According to witnesses, Obadiah did not groan or scream. Instead, he preached to the crowd. When the whipping was over, he said, “You have struck me as with roses.” To observers, it was obvious that he was badly wounded. As a matter of fact, he was so hurt that he had to stay in Boston for several weeks while he recovered, and could only eat while kneeling on his elbows and knees.

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When America Put Pastors in Prison: The Baptist Battle for Religious Liberty

In 1774, James Madison wrote to a friend in Pennsylvania about troubling developments in Virginia. There were reasons to worry about oppressive British taxes, of course, but that was not Madison’s primary concern in this letter. The “worst” news he had to deliver was that the “diabolical Hell conceived principle of persecution” was raging in the colony. “There are at this [time] . . . not less than 5 or 6 well meaning men in [jail] for publishing their religious sentiments. . . . Pray for liberty of conscience to revive among us.” While today we tend to think of early America as a bastion of religious liberty, many in the colonial era lamented its absence.

 

 

 

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Many argue from Christian liberty

July 26, 2013 1 comment

broadusChapter 5. The Plea of Christian Liberty.

Christian liberty is the ground on which others proceed.

They say Christians may choose for themselves about mere outward forms; these make no difference if you have the essence of the thing. Yes, and so says the Quaker, more strongly still. What would you say to the Quaker? I asked this question of an esteemed friend, who is an Episcopal clergyman. The Quaker tells us the mere outward form of baptism is unnecessary; the essential thing is to have the baptism of the Spirit, and water baptism need not be observed at all. What would you say to him? “I would tell him the Scripture teaches us to baptize in water.” Very well, I replied, and so it teaches us to baptize in water. If you have an outward ceremony at all, you have a form, and can you say that the form of a ceremony is of no importance? How will such an one answer the Quaker, except upon the Baptist principle?

The state of mind represented, the baptism of the Spirit, is of course the essential thing; without it, the outward ceremony is an empty form. But our Lord has appointed a form, a ceremony. We ought to observe this because he has appointed it; and plainly, therefore, ought to observe it as he appointed it. Either the Baptist ground or the Quaker ground.

“But suppose,” one says, that immersion is impracticable or excessively inconvenient; there is not enough water, or it is too cold; why not substitute another use of water and attach the same meaning to it?”

Well, suppose you want to observe the Lord’s Supper and there is no wine to be had – a thing much more likely to happen than that there should be no water, and which I once knew to happen in a country neighborhood – why not take some other beverage, and let that represent to us the same thing as wine? We should all unite in raising two objections. First, our Lord told us to eat bread and drink wine; if circumstances really prevent our doing that, let us do nothing, feeling that we are providentially hindered. Second, while any liquid, as water, might in some sort represent the blood of our dear Lord, yet it is obvious that wine much more clearly and strikingly represents it. Even if we did not perceive this, we ought to do just what he said; and much more when we do perceive it.

And so, if immersion be really impracticable, we should make the same two points. First, we must do what he told us or do nothing. What is really impracticable is not our duty. Second, while sprinkling with water may represent purification, yet even this part of the meaning of baptism is much more strikingly represented by immersion; while the other part, the idea of burial and resurrection, which the apostle twice connects with baptism, sprinkling does not represent at all. Even if we did not perceive that what he appointed is more expressive, we ought to do just what he said, and much more when we do perceive it. Either, then, what he told us to do, or nothing.

But someone is dying – shall we deny him the satisfaction of being baptized? Why not? How was it with the thief on the cross? Suppose the same dying man wants the Lord’s Supper, and you have no wine?

Nay, my, friends, such pleas look like making too much of baptism. In this, as I said, began clinic baptism; and pray notice how the argument we are discussing – a favorite argument with some – just comes back to the same thing, attaching an unwarranted importance to baptism. If baptism or the Lord’s Supper be providentially impracticable, as under certain circumstances may well be the case, surely there is nothing lost, and no guilt incurred, by failing to observe it.

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

Chapter XXI : Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

1. The Liberty which Christ hath purchased for Believers under the Gospel, consists in their freedom from the guilt of Sin, the condemning wrath of God, the Rigour and (a) Curse of the Law; and in their being delivered from this present evil (b) World, Bondage to (c) Satan, and Dominion (d) of Sin; from the (e) Evil of Afflictions; the Fear, and Sting (f) of Death, the Victory of the Grave, and (g) Everlasting Damnation; as also in their (h) free access to God; and their yielding Obedience unto him not out of a slavish fear, (i) but a Child-like love, and willing mind. All which were common also to Believers under the Law (k) for the substance of them; but under the new Testament, the Liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the Ceremonial Law, to which the Jewish Church was subjected; and in greater boldness of access to the Throne of Grace; and in fuller Communications of the (l) Free Spirit of God, then Believers under the Law did ordinarily partake of.

a Gal. 3.13.

b Gal. 1.4.

c Act. 26.18.

d Rom. 8.3.

e Rom. 8.28.

f 1 Cor. 15.54,55,56.57.

g 2 Thes. 1.10.

h Rom. 8.15.

i Luk. 1.74,75. 1 Joh. 4 18.

k Gal 3:9,14

l Joh. 7.38,39. Heb. 10, 19,20,21.

2. God alone is (m) Lord of the Conscience, and hath left it free from the Doctrines and Commandments of men, (n) which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or not contained in it. So that to Believe such Doctrines, or obey such Commands out of Conscience, (o) is to betray true liberty of Conscience; and the requiring of an (p) implicit Faith, and absolute and blind Obedience, is to destroy Liberty of Conscience, and Reason also.

m Jam. 4.12, Rom. 14.4.

n Act. 4.19 & 5.29. 1 Cor. 7.23. Mat. 15.9

o Col: 2.20 22,23

p 1 Cor. 3.5: 2 Cor. 1.24.

3. They who upon pretence of Christian Liberty do practice any sin, or cherish any sinfull lust; as they do thereby pervert the main design of the Grace of the Gospel, (q) to their own Destruction; so they wholy destroy (r) the end of Christian Liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of all our Enemies we might serve the Lord without fear in Holiness, and Righteousness before him, all the days of our Life.

q Rom. 6.1,2.

r Gal. 5.13. 2 Pet. 2.18.-21.

The 1677/89 Baptist London Confession of Faith