Released: Monday, June 11, 2018

If you were taught history regarding the founding of America’s colonies, you may recall that Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams. As a Baptist, he instituted in the laws of the colony that …”all men may walk as their consciences persuade them, every one in the name of his God. And let the lambs of the Most High walk in this colony without molestation in the name of Jehovah their God forever.” This quote and other material is from This Day in Baptist History (1993), pages 279-280, and the article was written by E. Wayne Thompson. It was of such importance to Roger Williams that he sent Elder John Clarke to England who spent twelve years to secure an amended charter to that effect. And then Roger Williams spent five years in England as well on the matter.

Liberty of conscience is deserving to all. But may it never be used as an excuse by those who seek to suppress our religious liberty so that they may force us to endure their wicked lifestyles. For those who understand the distinctives of Baptists, this is one of those areas of conviction. Baptists have been and will continue to be attacked by those who think otherwise. Rhode Island suffered severe persecution by neighboring colonies to pressure it into giving up this notion of religious freedom. I am so thankful that those early Baptists stood on conviction, and hope those of this generation will do the same.

By Eddy Aliff, Executive Director VAIB