Our current society really doesn’t know what to do with freedom of conscience. We’ve had previous administrations and present judiciaries trample all over it, emphasizing their defense of freedom of worship. That is to say, they were prepared to defend the right of the people to worship in their churches and houses of worship in whatever manner they saw fit. But those who dare to take those same convictions into the public sphere—cake bakeries, for instance—have crossed the line. And why? Because we, as a nation, have traded free exercise for toleration.
There is a tendency in the human heart to limit the love of God to those we find acceptable—to those we deem worthy of love. Those who dismiss the practice of sharing the gospel with those one does not know necessarily, but rather contend that believers should share the gospel only in the context of a relationship reverse Pearce’s pattern, albeit unknowingly. We may preach of God’s love for all people, but if we only offer Christ to those with whom we’ve built relationships, perhaps our practice speaks of a different gospel.
Samuel Pearce participated alongside men such as Andrew Fuller, William Carey, and John Sutcliff in the inception of the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS), which launched the modern missions movement. Pearce's passion for and commitment to missions established him as a gifted spokesman and fundraiser for the cause. Carey was the first to go, but Pearce's … Continue reading Samuel Pearce’s Tract for the Lascars
Any discussion with someone from a paedobaptist faith tradition (infant baptism) concerning the meaning and proper recipients of baptism soon turns to the issue of household baptisms. In the book of Acts, Luke wrote in verse 15 that Lydia "and her household were baptized." Mere verses later, he recorded, the Philippian jailer "and all his … Continue reading Household Baptisms and the Danger of Inference
This is the third of several posts reflecting upon the Serampore Form of Agreement, signed in 1805. Click here to read the first reflection and here for the second. In addition to the Serampore missionaries' emphasis on the value of souls as well as their willingness to forsake all for the sake of the gospel, … Continue reading Serampore Reflections: Christ, the Grand Means of Conversion
This is the second of several posts reflecting upon the Serampore Form of Agreement, signed in 1805. Click here to read the first reflection. In addition to the infinite value of immortal souls, readers today can also take note of the Serampore missionaries' emphasis on cultural exploration and personal sacrifice. In much the same way … Continue reading Serampore Reflections: Cultural Exploration and Sacrifice
This is the first of several posts reflecting upon the Serampore Form of Agreement, signed in 1805. It is absolutely necessary that we set an infinite value upon immortal souls; that we often endeavour to affect our minds with the dreadful loss sustained by an unconverted soul launched into eternity. Two great concerns are foundational … Continue reading Serampore Reflections: The Infinite Value of Immortal Souls
I am often encouraged and inspired by the actions of the men who participated in the Baptist Missionary Society during the late-18th and early-19th centuries. Their commitment to the gospel serves as an example worthy of emulation. In 1805 (twelve years after William Carey had initially sailed to India), nine missionaries gathered and added their … Continue reading The Serampore Form of Agreement
It has been widely reported that Southern Baptist churches are on a downward trend. Many have voiced their opinions as to the solution to our decline, and yet, few are as poignant and direct as the 18th-century pastor-theologian, Andrew Fuller. In a diary entry, dated September 30, 1785, Fuller wrote of a meeting among ministers: … Continue reading Andrew Fuller’s Answer to the Decline of SBC Baptisms
In researching the 18th-century British Particular Baptists, I learned of a group known as the Baptist Board. The Baptist Board was a small group of London Baptist ministers who gathered each month at the Jamaican Coffee House—the first coffee house in London, established in 1652 in St Michael's churchyard. (In a humorous historical twist, the … Continue reading Why Caffeinated Theology?