who died in
London's Newgate Prison
, who wrote in 1612:
"The King is a mortal man, and not God, therefore he hath no power over the mortal soul of his subjects to make laws and ordinances for them and to set spiritual Lords over them."
founded the Baptist faith in England with
A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity
"If the King's people be obedient and true subjects, obeying all humane laws made by the King, our lord the King can require no more: for men's religion to God is betwixt God and themselves; the King shall not answer for it, neither may the King be judge between God and man."
Baptist John Murton
was thrown in the
where his opinions were censored for being against the government agenda.
referred to him in
The Bloody Tenet of Persecution For Conscience Sake
"The author of these arguments against persecution ... being committed (a) prisoner to
for the witness of some truths of Jesus ...
... and having not use of pen and ink, wrote these arguments in milk, in sheets of paper brought to him by the woman, his keeper, from a friend in London as the stopples (corks) of his milk bottle ...
In such paper, written with milk, nothing will appear; but the way of reading by fire being known to this friend who received the papers, he transcribed and kept together the papers, although the author himself could not correct nor view what himself had written ...
... It was in milk, tending to soul nourishment, even for babes and sucklings in Christ ... the word of truth ... testify against ... slaughtering each other for their several respective religions and consciences."
himself was found guilty of preaching religious liberty in England. When the government sought to arrest him, he fled to Boston on FEBRUARY 5, 1631.
He pastored briefly before being banished in 1636 by the Puritan leader John Cotton, who himself had been persecuted by Anglicans in England.
Befriended by the Indians of Narragansett,
Providence Plantation, Rhode Island
-- the first place
where church government was not controlled by state government.
In 1639, Roger Williams, with
Dr. John Clarke
, organized the
first Baptist Church in America.
Soon other dissenters arrived in the colony, such as
Rev. John Wheelwright
fled Massachusetts and founded Exeter, New Hampshire.
"Notorious disagreements" with
Puritan leader John Cotton
over the Massachusetts General Court censoring his religious speech led
The Bloody Tenet of Persecution for Conscience Sake
Mr. Cotton's Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered in 1644
first mentioned his now famous phrase, "WALL OF SEPARATION":
"Mr. Cotton ... hath not duly considered these following particulars.
First, the faithful labors of many witnesses of Jesus Christ, existing in the world, abundantly proving,
Church of the Jews under the Old Testament
in the type and the
Church of the Christians under the New Testament
in the anti-type, were both SEPARATE from the world;
when they have opened a gap in the HEDGE, or WALL OF SEPARATION, between the garden of the Church and the wilderness of the world
, God hath ever broken down the
removed the candlestick,
&c. and made his garden a wilderness, as at this day.
And that therefore if He will ever please to
restore His garden
and paradise again, it must of necessity be
peculiarly unto Himself
from the world
and that all that shall be saved out of the world are to be transplanted out of
the wilderness of the world
unto His Church or garden
a SEPARATION of Holy from unHoly, penitent from impenitent, Godly from unGodly
Rev. Roger Williams was alluding to Isaiah 5:1-7, that when God's people sin, He judges them by allowing his vineyard to be trampled by an ungodly government:
"My well-beloved hath a vineyard ... And he
it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine ... and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem ... judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard ...When I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? ...
... I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I WILL TAKE AWAY
thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and BREAK DOWN
thereof, and it shall be trodden down ...
For the vineyard ... is house of Israel ... and he looked for judgment, but found oppression."
understanding was that if God's people sin, God will let the government trample the religious rights of the church, in the same way that when Israel sinned, God let the surrounding nations invade and trample them.
This is seen in the Book of Revelations' warning to the Church at Ephesus, "
and do the first works;
or else I
will come unto thee quickly, and
will remove thy candlestick
out of his place, except thou repent."
But Roger Williams stated that if God's people do repent, "He will restore His garden" protecting it as "walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world."
This became a foundational Baptist tenet that government should be kept out of the church.
Baptist churches began in other colonies.
wrote to Robert Walsh, March 2, 1
"The English church was originally the established religion ...
Of other sects there were but few adherents, except the Presbyterians who predominated on the west side of the Blue Mountains.
A little time previous to the Revolutionary struggle,
the Baptists sprang up, and made very rapid progress ...
At present the population is divided ... among the Protestant Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, the Baptists and the Methodists."
Baptist minister John Leland,
who helped start Baptist Churches in Connecticut, was instrumental in getting Baptists to support the election of James Madison to the first session of Congress.
John Leland wrote in
Rights of Conscience Inalienable
"Every man must give account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile to his conscience.
If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free."
The theological understanding was that the more you love someone, the more you want that someone to love you back.
God is love and He loves us infinitely, and He has an infinite desire for us to love Him back. Deuteronomy 6:5 "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."
God does NOT
our love, as He is not incomplete in any way, but He
In the same way parents do not need to have children, but when they do, they do not expect their children to pay them back, but they do desire time with them, appreciation, affection, and fellowship.
Throughout scripture, Israel and the church are referred to as the Lord's "bride."
Hosea 2:19-20 "And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea ... I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD."
II Corinthians 11:2 "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."
God loves us with a
love. (Exodus 34:14 "the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.")
The dilemma is this, that love, by definition, must be voluntary. The moment it is forced, it is no longer love. God uses positive and negative motivations, blessings and withholding blessings, but He will not force one's will.
He put the tree in the garden and told Adam and Eve not to eat from it, but He gave them the choice. He gave the Children of Israel the Law, explaining the blessings and the curses, and told them to "choose life," but He gave them the choice.
All of creation obeys God, but only man can choose to love God.
To illustrate this, if a man twists his wife's arm and says, "tell me you love me," no matter what she says, she does not love him.
But if he courts and woos her with flowers, chocolate, dinner, and with self-sacrifice provides for, defends and rescues her, then if out of the abundance of her heart she says "I love you," it means something.
God is not interested in submit or I will chop your head off, instead His desire is for us, by His grace, to voluntarily choose to surrender our will.
This was the understanding James Madison expressed in his National Proclamation of Public Humiliation and Prayer, July 23, 1813:
"If the public homage of a people can ever be worthy of the favorable regard of the Holy and Omniscient Being to whom it is addressed,
it must be ... guided
only by their free choice, by the impulse of their hearts and the dictates of their consciences ...
proving that religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man, is
freed from all coercive edicts."
Get the book THE ORIGINAL 13-A Documentary History of Religion in America's First Thirteen States
Prior to the 1947
case, religion was under each individual States' jurisdiction.
Connecticut had established the Congregational Christian denomination
from its founding in
Rev. Thomas Hooker
till its first state constitution in
When Baptists moved into
Danbury Baptist Association
complained to President Jefferson, October 7, 1801, of their second-class status:
Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty
is at all times and places a matter
between God and Individuals
no man ought to suffer
in name, person or effects
on account of his religious opinions
-That the legitimate
power of civil Government
extends no further than
to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor:
But Sir ... our ancient charter (in Connecticut), together with the Laws made coincident therewith ... are; that ...
what religious privileges we enjoy
(as Baptists) ... we enjoy
not as inalienable rights ..."
The Danbury Baptists continued:
"Sir, we are sensible that the President of the united States is not the national Legislator & also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the Laws of each State;
but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President, which have had such genial Effect already, like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine & prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and Tyranny be destroyed from the Earth.
Sir ... we have reason to believe that America's God has raised you up to fill the chair of State ... May God strengthen you for the arduous task which Providence & the voice of the people have called you ...
And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator."
On January 1, 1802, Jefferson wrote back agreeing with the Baptists:
Believing with you
is a matter which lies solely
between man and his God
he owes account to none
faith or his worship
-that the legislative
powers of government reach actions only
, and not opinions,
I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that
their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion
prohibiting the free exercise thereof
,' thus building
a wall of separation between Church and State.
Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all his natural rights ...
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man."
In his 2nd Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805, President
"In matters of religion I have considered that
its free exercise
is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General Government.
I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercise suited to it; but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of state and church authorities by the several religious societies."
BACKFIRED-A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance No Longer Tolerates Its Founders' Religion
wrote to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808:
the government of the United States as interdicted
by the Constitution from inter-meddling with religious institutions
, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises.
This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States ..."
"Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General government. It must then rest with the States as far as it can be in any human authority ...
I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines ...
Every religious society has a right to determine for itself
the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets."
THREE SECULAR REASONS Why America Should Be Under God