Tags: Dissidence | Dissent: | Protestantism's | Liberating | Hand

Dissidence of Dissent: Protestantism's Liberating Hand

Wednesday, 25 May 2005 12:00 AM

There was a time when thinking men were permitted to see, and discuss, and write, and teach the obvious – before the secular state stepped in and silenced the obvious, that is.

One of those front-and-center facts that every adult, every school child knew, was the vital role Protestantism played in unlocking the minds of men in favor of spiritual, intellectual and political independence, preparing the way, and literally opening the door for free and limited governments.

In 1834, U.S. historian George Bancroft wrote of the function of one of these faith's founders, Martin Luther, in this unraveling wonder. Said he:

The principle of justification by faith alone brought with it the freedom of individual thought and conscience against authority. "If fire;" said Luther, "is the right cure for heresy, then the fagot-burners are the most learned doctors on earth; nor need we study any more; he that has brute force on his side may burn his adversary at the stake." "I will preach, speak, write the truth, but will force it on no one, for faith must be accepted willingly, and without compulsion."

To the question whether the people may judge for themselves what to believe, Luther answers: "All bishops that take the right of judgment of doctrine from the sheep are certainly to be held as wolves; Christ gives the right of judgment to the scholars and to the sheep; St. Paul will have no proposition accepted till it has been proved and recognized as good by the congregation that hears it."

And should "the pastor," "the minister of the word," be called, inducted, and deposed by the congregation? "Princes and lords," said Luther, "Cannot with any color refuse them the right." This he enforced on "the emperor and Christian nobles of the German nation." This he upheld when it was put forward by the peasants of Suabia. (1)

Edmund Burke, the famous British statesmen, took the point farther. He believed American Protestantism picked up where European Protestantism left off, finished the job, and changed the political world forever.

In a speech, Bancroft would have fully concurred with, Burke declared:

Meanwhile, each faith filled a valuable niche in the rising tide of resistance against centralized power, and in the rising tide of persistence in favor of freedom. The hated Baptists were no exception. Bancroft explains:

But what of we Christians today, each of us in our individual faiths, capacities, and uniqueness? Will we, like our forefathers, find our niche, find our way to formidably and bravely dissent from the bully, the tyrant, the centrist of our day – the Secular State?

If we hope to move the Cause of Liberty along, and stand, at that great last day, before our forefathers and our Forefather's God with a clear conscience, we had better.

1. Bancroft, George. "History of the United States, Vol.1," p.178.

2. Grant, James. John Adams: Party of One, pgs. 152-153.

3. Bancroft, George. "History of the United States, Vol. 1," p. 608.

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There was a time when thinking men were permitted to see, and discuss, and write, and teach the obvious - before the secular state stepped in and silenced the obvious, that is. One of those front-and-center facts that every adult, every school child knew, was the vital...
Dissidence,Dissent:,Protestantism's,Liberating,Hand
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2005-00-25
Wednesday, 25 May 2005 12:00 AM
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