Baptists and the American Civil War: January 4, 1863

bible02Against the backdrop of the recent Emancipation Proclamation and the angst of the ongoing war, Baptists of the North have not abandoned doctrinal concerns, as illustrated by a series of weekly meetings beginning tonight at the South Baptist Church of New York City.

A course of important doctrinal sermons is to be delivered at the South Baptist Church (Rev. A.H. BURLINGHAM, Pastor) in Twenty-fifth-street, commencing to-night, and continuing through the successive Sabbath evenings of the Winter. The object of these sermons is to meet the aggressions of latitudinarianism, which have of late grown so powerful, by the clear and cogent presentation of evangelical doctrine. The course will be sustained by the leading preachers of the different denominations in this City, the opening discourse to be delivered next Sunday evening, by Rev. Dr. ADAMS, of the Madison-square Presbyterian Church, and the remainder on the succeeding Sabbaths, by Rev. Drs. RICE, Presbyterian; WILLIAMS, Baptist; HITCHCOCK, Presbyterian; STORRS, Congregationalist; STEVENS, Methodist; WESTON, Baptist; TYNG, Episcopalian; GANSE, Dutch Reformed; SHEDD, Presbyterian; THOMPSON, Congregationalist; VINTON, Episcopalian, and DE WITT, Dutch Reformed. The sermons are to relate to those great doctrinal subjects upon which all evangelical Christians agree, and from the character of the men from whom they are to come we anticipate one of the most able and valuable series ever delivered in this City.

Latitudinarianism, originating among 17th century English theologians, is a belief that doctrine, liturgy and ecclesiastical practices are of little importance. Advocates also appeal to reason, rather than church tradition, to validate Christian doctrine. In recent years the movement has been on the ascendancy again, and often is referred to as “Broad Church.” From these movements the liberal Anglican tradition is emerging, while other denominations are also being affected. Hence, evangelical proponents of various Northern denominations are now concerned enough to address the movement publicly and confrontationally.

Sources: “Sabbath Evening Instruction,” New York Times, January 4, 1863 (link); Latitudinarianism (link); Broad Church (link)