Baptist Faith & Message Statement on Religious Liberty

Genesis is part of a network or family of churches called Great Commission Baptists or Southern Baptists.  This family of churches is united around a set of core belief called the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M), a document that was updated in the year 2000 which articulates the doctrinal and cultural convictions of the churches of the SBC.  Baptist churches in America have long been on the forefront of the struggle for religious liberty in our culture, and this can be traced back to the founder of the first Baptist church in our nation’s history, Roger Williams. Religious liberty continues to be a key aspect of political engagement by leaders in this family of churches, with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission taking the lead in the fight.

The BF&M 2000 has a doctrinal statement on religious liberty, which I quoted from this morning. I wanted to share the entire statement here in this post for you.

XVII. Religious Liberty

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.

Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.

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