Baptist Distinctives Part 6 “Separation of Church and State”

Southern Baptists Great Commission Baptists detail our understanding of biblical doctrine in Baptist Faith & Message. However, 7 “distinctives” put Baptists in a unique place:

Biblical authority, Autonomy of the local church, Priesthood of all believers, Two ordinances (believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper), Individual soul liberty, Separation of Church and State, and Two offices of the church (pastor and deacon)

#6 Separation of Church and State

Ever since the Danville Baptists lobbied Thomas Jefferson to put it in the constitution, separation of church and state has been a Baptist distinctive. We, as Americans, take this right, enumerated in the first amendment, for granted. Without Baptists, religious liberty would probably have been assumed and would not have been specified in the US constitution. We believe that it is the duty of every believer to give their government what they are due based on their own laws as a citizen, but in return, that government should not interfere in the free exercise of any believer’s faith.

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marvelled. And they left him and went away.

-Matt 22:15-22

This is why Southern Baptists are so up-in-arms about the recent compulsion by the US government for religious organizations/institutions to provide things they find morally objectionable. See my former post about Craig V. Mitchell’s testimony before congress.

About John Harris

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
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