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First Freedom: The Baptist Perspective on Religious Liberty [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.33" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.55"
Weight:   0.52 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2007
Publisher   Broadman And Holman
ISBN  0805443878  
EAN  9780805443875  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
An important gathering of messages from a recent conference on religious liberty held at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Publishers Description

First Freedom "is an important gathering of messages from a recent conference on religious liberty held at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Editor Jason B. Duesing explains:

"The purpose of this collection is, first, to provide an introductory look into the biblical and historical foundations of religious liberty combined with several instances of contemporary expression and defense for the purpose of instruction, edification, and encouragement to all who take the time to read this volume. Second, however, we wish to remind Baptists in the twenty-first century of the price that was paid by their forefathers for the establishment and defense of religious liberty. To be sure, there were people of various religious and denominational preferences that providence used to implement the religious freedoms now enjoyed by all, but for Baptists to overlook the contribution of their own would be a travesty."

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Thomas White is director of the Smith Center for Leadership Development and a faculty member at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas.

Jason G. Duesing is chief of staff in the office of the president, at SWBTS.

Malcolm B. Yarnell III is assistant dean for theological studies, director of the Center for Theological Research, director of the Oxford Study Program, and associate professor of systematic theology at SWBTS.

Thomas White was born in 1956.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Baptist   [462  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The first steps for religous freedom  Apr 20, 2009
Bottom Line: A good resource for those new to the field of religious liberty and church-state relations but don't expect this to educate you. This is a very brief foundational work which lays the groundwork for study. Chapters 7 - 9 make the work worth your time and money alone and even of benefit to the more knowledgeable individual. If you will "follow the footnotes" then you can gain a number of good resources to follow up your own studies. Most notable is a chapter on Natural Law from a Protestant perspective.

This book is not an in-depth work, at 183 pages of text that leaves less than 20 pages per contributor to get their message across. Also standard for an edited work of this type you have a large number of topics covered but with little depth to each topic. What the book does give is an introduction to religious liberty, particularly in the American tradition, but also in its religious roots in the Protestant Reformation. As the title tells the reader, the book's focus is on religious liberty from a Baptist viewpoint. (To be clear this work is not an argument of what Baptist tradition holds rather it is primarily an argument of what the Bible holds and how the church and society has interacted with that.)

Chapters 1 and 2 - These are primarily overviews of what a Baptist view of religious freedom looks like with a foundation based in the Bible. These chapters give the context in which the rest of the chapters then interact.

Chapters 3 through 5 - Are primarily historical essays. Chapter three traces the beginnings of religious freedom in the Reformation with six key beliefs the author believes led the Anabaptist and later English Baptist to embrace complete religious freedom. Chapter four gives a brief history of the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention and two views of church and state relations within the Convention. Chapter five does little more than give some history of how religion was impactful on the formation of the First Amendment and American government.

Chapter 6 - Anyone familiar with natural law thinking knows of the almost complete absence of Protestant thought from the field since about WWII. That is why chapter six is such a refreshing chapter. It, along with a few other works published in the past few years, marks a reintroduction of Protestant thought in natural law philosophy. (Natural law, to attempt a definition familiar to many fellow Protestants, is the "law written on the heart" Romans 2:14-15. That is to say, knowledge of right and wrong inherent in all humans, most commonly expressed through the Ten Commandments.) This chapter is only 14 pages long so don't expect a treatise on the topic but it is nice to see natural law being embraced once again.

Chapter 7 - In the classic book Christ and Culture (Torchbooks), Richard Niebuhr explained five levels/degrees of Christian interaction with society. Niebuhr's categorizing has help many to identified, better understood, and interacted with the Christian's role in society. In this chapter, Daniel Heimbach has done something similar with religious freedom. Heimbach has created, or rather modified, a helpful grid to aid the reader in fully understanding the harms and benefits of religious freedom versus religious autonomy and how each has a differing effect when we are talking about the individual or institutions.

Chapter 8 - This essay is a call to conservative Christians to come back to their first love, the church. This essay will call into question many of the assumed stances and actions of Christians looking to engage the culture; a needed message in an age of Christian politics.

Chapter 9 - Emir Caner, a convert out of Islam, gives an insightful and important look at the viability of religious freedom in the Muslim faith. The sources he sights in the footnotes are a gold mine of further materials to study and educate yourself on Islam.

Chapter 10 - A lawyer's view on separation of church and state and the secularization of America by government. It is primarily a first hand account of government religious entanglement in Texas and the threat of secular humanism that faces the U.S.
Baptist contribution to religious liberty  May 8, 2008
I picked up this volume last fall and have worked through it slowly, learning many new things. It is a compilation of authors - Richard Land, Paige Patterson, Emir Caner, etc. - each providing an introductory lesson on biblical and historical foundations of religious liberty. Baptists throughout history have been at the forefront of religious liberty issues. Given the recent attention given to the "Evangelical Manifesto," I appreciate Russell Moore's chapter, "Conservative Christians in an Era of Christian Conservatives: Reclaiming the Struggle for Religious Liberty from Cultural Captivity."

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