We Owe Our Religious Freedoms in the USA to The Baptists
TIP YOUR HAT TO THE BAPTISTS
By: Pastor Dan Sherwood
“Dr. Neighbors, a professor at Midwestern University (and a Methodist, by the way!), while teaching a class in American History stated, “When you pass a Baptist Church or you see a Baptist, you should tip your hat!”
“Why?” someone questioned.
“Because we owe our freedom of religion in America to the Baptists!”
“More than one hundred years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Baptists were banished from Massachusetts, beaten publicly in Boston, and vilified in Virginia because of their stand for freedom of religious worship and separation of church and state.
Our forefathers came to America to flee persecution in England, Ireland and Europe. A decayed state church religion sorely persecuted any who dare worship differently or dared speak out against the state church. People were beaten, whipped, had their ears cut off or their tongues cut out, or were otherwise maimed in the name of “Christianity!”
In Ireland in 1641, the Roman Catholic Church launched a surprise attack designed to obliterate every other religion. That year, the Protestants earned their title! Under England and Ireland’s persecution, Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Puritans suffered alike. Baptists, not being Protestants, refused to have their babies sprinkled and suffered at the hands of Catholics and Protestants alike!
Puritans wanted freedom from Episcopalians and Catholics. Later, the Episcopalians and Catholics wanted freedom from the Puritan dictator, Cromwell. The Presbyterians wanted freedom from all three. The Quakers wanted freedom from all four. The Baptists just wanted freedom – not freedom from anyone, but freedom for everyone!
When the Baptists landed in America, they found that this New World was Puritan country! They found no more freedom than in the Old Country.
In the founding of the original thirteen colonies, the Baptists soon found that ten of the thirteen colonies had some type of state-established and state-enforced church. Again, these people called the Baptists found that their churches were closed, were forbidden to worship and were often beaten publicly. This is America – “the land of the free, and the home of the brave!”
John Clark and Roger Williams founded a colony in 1638, known as Rhode Island. Against much opposition and with great difficulty, they established a colony where absolute religious freedom was permitted! Led by the Baptists, it took many years of persecution, suffering, preaching, praying, and legislation before the young government of the United States formed its Constitution, guaranteeing absolute religious freedom for one and all.
Baptists can stand tall and be thankful of the heritage that they have always led in the fight, and sometimes fought alone for the freedoms that we have today!
The accusations often brought against them, “You Baptists are always fighting! If you are not fighting for some cause, then you are fighting against some cause! You fight against sin of every kind and you fight for truth and right. You fight against apostasy and you fight for pure doctrine. You fight against false religion, and on the other hand, you fight for freedom of religion. You enlist in the armed forces of the United States of America and fight for your country during times of war, and then you fight against your country when your liberties are threatened by law and legislation. When you are not fighting others, then you are fighting against one another! Why are you Baptists always fighting?”
The answer is simple. Baptists fight because they believe something! Their convictions are strong and they run deep. They know what they believe. Their faith is based on God’s Word – the Old King James Bible of 1611 in English. They believe strongly; therefore, they are willing to fight and even to die for what they believe! They are dogmatic in what they believe, and they take a dogmatic stand for “the faith once delivered to them”.
The Baptists heritage is great. The Baptists heritage is glorious. The Baptists distinctives will continue to shine as brightly in the future as on any day in history. The Baptists have a glorious, victorious past; and they are assured of a bright, glorious and victorious future. I am convinced that if salvation is going to come to America, it will come through the preaching of Baptist preachers and the ministry of Baptist Churches.
Jesus asked this question in Luke 18:8 “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” If apostasy continues to sweep our land in America and in the world, you will still find Baptists standing and declaring Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”
When He returns, He will ‘find faith on the earth’. Somewhere, a Baptist congregation will be meeting, and a Baptist preacher will be holding forth the Word of Life, preaching and shouting, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! Get saved while the Holy Ghost of God is dealing with you! Ye must be born again! Get right with God before it is too late! Prepare to meet thy God!
Therefore, the next time that you pass by a Baptist Church or you see a Baptist Preacher…
…Thank A Baptist…
For more information about us, click on any of the following links: