Letter to the Government of Rumania

Letter to the Government of Rumania

BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1937-06.2

To give effect to the foregoing resolution (I), the Committee unanimously approved (after similar scrutiny by the Sub-Committee) the following letter to the Minister-President of the Government of Rumania: —

With the utmost respect we approach you on behalf of the Baptist communion, which is the largest Protestant and Free Church communion in the world, and whose members everywhere cherish sincere goodwill to Rumania, its people, and its government.

The religious tenets of our people are well known. They abhor all that is subversive of Christian morals and public order, and their doctrines and practice tend to promote the strength and wellbeing of every nation. There is nothing in the belief and life of the Baptist people to which any State may rightly raise objection. In view of unfounded assertions, which we are informed have been made concerning Baptists in Rumania, we specifically assert that opposition in military service required by the State has never formed an element of Baptist dogma. Our people yield precedence to none in readiness to render to the State every form of service consistent with loyalty to God. To them the teachings of the New Testament as set forth (for example) in Matt. 22, 21 and Rom. 13, 1-8 are authoritative.

Our approach to Your Excellency is on purely religious grounds. It has no concern with special political or national interests in any form, and in making it we do not speak for any State or political party. Nevertheless, since the prevalence of freedom and justice makes for the strength of a people, we may fairly claim that your favourable response to our petition would serve the deepest and most enduring interests of Rumania itself; and we may also claim that the establishment of conditions in Rumania which command the approval of public opinion in free democratic countries would further the good understanding between peoples which is the chief factor in the maintenance of general wellbeing and peace.

In approaching Your Excellency, we would lay stress upon the fact that Baptists seek no exceptional favour to members of their communion. To them religious freedom is not a privilege to be granted to any group or groups, but is the common right of all loyal and peaceable citizens. They claim liberty for the full exercise of that right in all its implications.

In the name of the Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance, which is the ecumenical organisation representing the entire Baptist communion, we desire to express our profound regret that, after careful consideration of the “Decision” No. 4,781, dated 17th April 1937, and bearing the signature of the Minister of Cults and Arts in your Government, we are compelled to regard that “derision” as in its principle subversive of religions liberty as acknowledged in free and selfgoverning States and in the constitution of Rumania itself. Moreover, its detailed provisions involve a systematic repression which destroys for Baptists and. others freedom of worship, of preaching, and of organisation in accordance with the teachings of the New Testament.

The Executive Committee has considered the letter of protest and appeal dated 31st May 1937, forwarded to His Excellency the Minister of Cults and Arts, and of which a copy was transmitted to yourself. The members unanimously endorse the contents of the letter, and earnestly ask that it may receive the consideration of Your Excellency and Your Government, and that the decision No. 4781 may be withdrawn. They cannot conceive that it is the deliberate purpose of Your Government to forbid assemblies for purely religious objects, and to place upon liberty of preaching such restrictions as in spirit and in form are characteristic of the seventeenth rather than of the twentieth century.

To this Committee it would seem incredible that the suppression and even the extinction of a Christian Communion represented in every part of the earth is seriously proposed in Rumania. The attempt to enforce a decision involving such consequences would, indeed, shock the conscience and public opinion of the world.

We, therefore, on behalf of our communion of over 12,000,000 communicant members, representing a constituency of over forty millions, submit to Your Excellency our solemn and deliberate judgment that the decision which has aroused such deep concern should be withdrawn, and that our brethren in faith, loyal citizens of your country, should be granted the full liberty which elsewhere they enjoy, and which they have never abused to the hurt of their fellow citizens or of the State.

We would close this appeal by the renewed assurance that the prayers of our people are offered, not only for our fellow Baptists of Your Excellency’s country, but for the prosperity of the State and all its people; and we and the world-fellowship of Baptists which we represent would rejoice to add to our prayer a thanksgiving for the recognition by Your Government of the status as a Christian community of Baptist people in Rumania, and their unfettered liberty of assembly, of worship, and of preaching.

It was further resolved that the letter signed by the President and General Secretary be presented by a deputation, whose members should be selected by the General Secretary, to the Rumanian Minister in London, for transmission to his Government.

Keywords

BWA; Justice; Persecution; Religious Liberty; Rumania.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of Executive Committee Held at The Offices of the Alliance, London, on Tuesday, June 29th, 1937. London: Baptist World Alliance, 1937.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of Executive Committee Held at The Offices of the Alliance, London, on Tuesday, June 29th, 1937 (London: Baptist World Alliance, 1937), pp.7-8.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1937-06.2 Letter to the Government of Rumania; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1937-06.2).

Letter to the Government of Rumania

The Situation of the Baptist Union in Spain

BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1964-08.1

The first resolution concerned the situation of the Baptist Union in Spain:

The Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance meeting in Hamburg, Germany, August 17-21, 1964, has received with rejoicing and thanksgiving to God the report that our Baptist brethren in Spain now enjoy a greater degree of freedom than heretofore. The reopening of Evangelical churches, and other evidences, indicate considerable improvement in the situation in that nation. The authorities there are due our commendation for these progressive steps.

We commend our Spanish brethren for their wise use of the new opportunities afforded them. They are enthusiastically opening new preaching centers, forming new churches, and emphasizing stewardship in such a way that these churches may soon become self-supporting. We join our Spanish brethren in hoping that by God’s grace they shall be enabled to use to the fullest the opportunities afforded them by their new situation.

Furthermore, we express to our Spanish Baptist brethren our deep and abiding Christian affection. We also join them in fervent prayer to our Heavenly Father that this present period of religious tolerance will be followed by legislation which recognizes religious liberty for all.

Grey moved that this resolution be approved and copies sent to the Baptist Union of Spain and to the Baptist press. The MOTION was duly seconded and carried.

Keywords

BWA; Baptist Union in Spain; Religious Liberty.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Nordenhaug, Josef, editor. Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held at Baptist Theological Seminary, Hamburg, Germany August 17-21, 1964. Washington, D.C.: Baptist World Alliance, 1964.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Josef Nordenhaug, ed., Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held at Baptist Theological Seminary, Hamburg, Germany August 17-21, 1964 (Washington, D.C.: Baptist World Alliance, 1964), pp. 33-34.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1964-08.1 The Situation of the Baptist Union in Spain; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1964-08.1).

Letter to the Government of Rumania

Religious Liberty and Soul Freedom

BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1920-07.3

A resolution on Religious Liberty, drawn up by Dr. Clifford, President Mullins and Dr. Truett, was passed in the following form:—

“It is the sense of this body that in this period of reconstruction and readjustment in the civil and religious life of the nations of the world, following the world-war, it is of the highest importance that full religious liberty should be granted to all peoples who do not now enjoy it. We urge this in view of the long and tragic struggles of many people of the earth for the privilege of worshipping God according to the dictates of their own consciences; in view of the present opportunity in the enactment of new constitutions and new laws in various nations; and most of all in view of the inalienable and God-given right of every human being to the free exercise of his mind and conscience in all matters of religion.

“Baptists throughout the ages contended for soul freedom. This is to be sharply distinguished from religious toleration, which is merely a concession by one group of men to others. Religious liberty places all men on exactly the same basis before God and in relation to human governments. We therefore call upon the governments of the world to delay no longer in enacting into law this priceless human right.”

Keywords

BWA; Conscience; Religious Liberty; Soul Freedom.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of Executive Committee, and Other Representative Baptists, Held at the Baptist Church House, Southampton Row, London, W.C. 1., From 19th to 23rd July, 1920. London: Baptist World Alliance, 1920.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of Executive Committee, and Other Representative Baptists, Held at the Baptist Church House, Southampton Row, London, W.C. 1., From 19th to 23rd July, 1920 (London: Baptist World Alliance, 1920), pp. 10-11.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1920-07.3 Religious Liberty and Soul Freedom; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1920-07.3).

Letter to the Government of Rumania

Religious Liberty in Spain

BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1967-08.3

Gerhard Claas presented this resolution. Considerable discussing arose regarding the use of various words and phrases. However, MOTION was made, seconded, and carried, that the resolution on religious liberty in Spain be approved as presented by the Resolutions Committee:

The Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A., July 31-August 3, 1967 heard of the new “law concerning religious liberty” which was passed by the Spanish Cortes in late June this year and would make the following observations.

  1. The Baptist World Alliance has heard with pleasure that the Spanish government in the preamble of the new law recognizes that the right of religious liberty is founded on the dignity of the human person and ensures the necessary protection and immunity against any coersion [sic] in the legitimate exercise of this right.
  2. The Baptist World Alliance has read the further regulations of the law with great concern, for it places several restrictions on the actual exercise of the right set forth in the first paragraph. The Baptist World Alliance earnestly expresses the hope that nothing in the application of the law will restrict or prevent the worship and witness of any people in Spain in the expression of their religious faith. It further sincerely hopes that non-Catholics in Spain will continue to enjoy freedom to hold and express their religious convictions.

Keywords

BWA; Religious Liberty; Spain.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Nordenhaug, Josef, editor. Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held at Nashville, Tennessee July 31-August 3, 1967. Washington, D.C.: Baptist World Alliance, 1967.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Josef Nordenhaug, ed., Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held at Nashville, Tennessee July 31-August 3, 1967 (Washington, D.C.: Baptist World Alliance, 1967), p. 56.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1967-08.3 Religious Liberty in Spain; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1967-08.3).

Letter to the Government of Rumania

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1967-08.5

Clement presented the proposed message, commenting on the difficulty the committee had in drawing up a statement on which all members could agree. MOTION was made, seconded, and carried, that the following Message be adopted:

A Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World From The Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance

The Baptist World Alliance is a fellowship of twenty-six million Baptists of many nations and widely differing cultures and ways of life and thought. It is neither within its power nor its function to direct, admonish, or rule on the internal affairs or the political or economic procedures of its constituent bodies or of their countries.

However, it is the duty as well as the privilege of its total membership to speak out on religious liberty and other matters of common spiritual and moral concern. Our primary purpose is to bring men everywhere into a redemptive and transforming relationship with Christ, but we believe also that we are to seek to involve all Christians, individually and collectively, in bringing the Christian gospel in all its fullness to bear on every aspect of human society. We are not only to give the Gospel to all the world, but we are to relate it to all of life.

We reaffirm that war is an unchristian way of seeking to settle international problems and disputes. The war in Vietnam causes us deep concern, as do the continuing tension in the Middle East and the internal strife in other lands. We grieve for all who suffer as a result.

We hold that prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination on the ground of race or color are inconsistent with the Gospel and wrong in the sight of God.

We deplore and condemn violence, looting, rioting and the unlawful use of force, and voice our sympathy with all victims of these disorders.

We believe that it is not God’s will that people should live in poverty and wretched conditions and die of hunger or neglect.

We are perturbed that in countries where Christian communities have been strong and influential there are signs of moral decay which erodes the foundations of our civilization.

But it is not sufficient for Christians to deplore and condemn.

In our churches we must give sound instruction in Christian faith and practice, encouraging self-discipline and responsible conduct. We must foster also the patient study of the complex causes of disorder in society and conflict between communities and nations.

By spiritual, dynamic, and earnest effort, we must strive for peace and the binding up and healing of wounds. We, therefore, urge all Baptists to work toward the elimination of sinful inequalities and injustices in society, seeking in their common service for Christ to secure for every person the opportunity to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and to enjoy the spiritual and material blessings our Heavenly Father has made possible.

To this end we would commend the various agencies and means of relief of hunger and want, especially those of our constituent bodies and of the Alliance.

We appeal to our people in every nation to seek through their own governments and through the United Nations to give effective expression to their concern, and to take through proper channels all possible steps for achieving just and lasting peace. We call upon them, and indeed upon all men of goodwill, to work and pray individually and collectively for justice, freedom, stability and peace, realizing that over us all hangs the awesome threat of nuclear war.

In that it is our firm conviction that in our Lord Jesus Christ alone is there hope of justice, reconciliation, and peace, we welcome and commend all efforts to make the Gospel known to all men.

Christians cannot and should not try to constitute themselves a power bloc, using the world’s methods of pressure and coercion. The Christian way may be slow, hard, and costly, but it is the way of the Cross and of Christian love. We urge our Baptist people to be on guard against cynical despair and to give themselves to earnest prayer, honest thought, and effective work and witness in the conviction that God can overrule the folly of men and reconcile them to each other as He has reconciled us to Himself in Christ. No man can set limits to what God may do through the sincere prayer, dedicated witness, and earnest work of millions of Baptists throughout the world.

The Resolutions Committee

J. T. Ayorinde, Mrs. Edgar Bates, H. H. Hobbs, Chester Jump, Gerhard Claas, A. S. Clement, Theodore F. Adams, Chairman

MOTION was made, seconded, and carried that the report of the Committee on Resolutions be adopted as a whole, with appreciation for the work and farsightedness of the committee.

Keywords

BWA; Freedom; Hunger; Justice; Middle East; Nuclear War; Peace; Poverty; Prejudice; Racism; Religious Liberty; United Nations; Vietnam.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Nordenhaug, Josef, editor. Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held at Nashville, Tennessee July 31-August 3, 1967. Washington, D.C.: Baptist World Alliance, 1967.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Josef Nordenhaug, ed., Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held at Nashville, Tennessee July 31-August 3, 1967 (Washington, D.C.: Baptist World Alliance, 1967), pp. 57-58.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1967-08.5 Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1967-08.5).