VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/21/15)—“Liberties for All” will be the theme of an American Baptist Historical Society workshop led by Dr. Deborah Van Broekhoven on November 6 in Los Angeles, CA. Part of the upcoming Space for Grace gathering held by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, the workshop will provide historical examples of Baptists who stressed the importance of liberty for minority groups, including African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos. “Baptists were not always consistent,” Van Broekhoven notes, “but more frequently than other denominations, American Baptists pressed for equal treatment of groups on the margin.”
Whether it was colonial leader Isaac Backus, arguing that “godliness excludes slavery,” or Jitsuo Morikowa arguing that Christian redemption entailed both personal and social liberation, American Baptists have stood up as advocates for liberty and equal rights. One interesting corollary to this valuing of liberty is an early Baptist movement to provide education for minority groups. As Baptist leader Jonathan Going argued in 1839, providing education for all was essential, or “the days of the Republic will be numbered, and our liberties will be sold for a mess of pottage.” For similar reasons, American Baptists during WWII protested the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans as a “violation of Christian principles.”
This workshop on “Liberties for All” is part of Space For Grace, an event organized to encourage conversations about Baptist (and American) diversity and how best to ministry in a culture and a denomination that encompasses diverse constituencies. Those attending the conference will be able to select this “Liberties” workshop from a range of offerings. For more information about the conference call 1-800-222-3872, x2044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A link to the Space For Grace conference program is also available at www.abhms.org.
Founded in 1853, the American Baptist Historical Society cares for the largest and most diverse collection of Baptist materials in the world and publishes the oldest Baptist historical journal, the American Baptist Quarterly. Researchers come from around the globe to research the contributions Baptists have made to church and society. For more information visit our web site: www.absharchives.org.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.