Baptist Political Theology (re. The United Nations) Vindicated?

C. Gregg Singer, in A Theological Interpretation of American History, details the response among Christians to the founding of The United Nations. While theological liberals praised the efforts, almost to the point of giddiness that this was a faithful outworking of a Christian vision for peace among the nations, and some conservative Presbyterians reserved judgement with more moderate analysis, it was the conservative Baptists who sounded the alarm about potential abuses from such a consolidation of power:

Many conservatives felt that an international organization which was acceptable to communists in its aims and purposes could hardly command the respect and support of those who held to biblical Christianity…This issue was so pressing that a considerable segment of evangelical strength in this country, largely among those who held to a dispensational and premillennial theology, strongly opposed American entry into such an organization (205-206).

The Watchman-Examiner, a conservative Baptist publication, also saw the potential for oppression from such an organization:

Either the charter of the United Nations is a progressive historical step leading in the direction of international fellowship, economic adjustment and humanistic enterprise or it is the framework of world organization for the subjugation of people’s hitherto unequaled in human history (August 23, 1945, p. 817).

What’s surprising to me is the political output of the Baptist tradition, often accused of buried-head withdrawal from the civil sphere. Their faith informed their politics in ways that contrasted that of their liberal counterparts. Perhaps the stereotypical caricatures of our dispensational Baptist friends needs some reassessment in light of their stalwart opposition to the liberalizing effects of theological liberalism in the sphere of political/public theology.

© 2013, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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One comment on “Baptist Political Theology (re. The United Nations) Vindicated?
  1. Thanks for this post , Pastor Hogaboam. The Voice of the Martyrs recently published a story about how the Syrian church is discovering the the benefits of establishing a fellowship of believers among denominations which had previously questioned one another’s salvation. The non-essentials have become truly trivial to that beleaguered church. Perhaps if the church in America could focus less on non-essential doctrinal differences, it could provide a united front to burgeoning problems facing it.

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