Baptists and the American Civil War: November 17, 1863

Civil War States MapAn editorial in this week’s Virginia Baptist Religious Herald posits that if everyone in the Confederate States would simply believe the biblical gospel, then Southern troubles would “vanish into air.” Lamenting the lack of gospel belief in the North, the writer makes no bones about the true gospel being that of racial purity–white supremacy and black bondage. Loving God is equated with loving white supremacy. If God’s white nation will remain faithful to this racial doctrine, salvation over the evil North will be theirs.

The secular papers teem with plans for the relief of our country from financial embarrassment. The remedies proposed are of great variety; and one might suppose that the subject has been exhausted–that no new scheme remains to be struck out. And yet, wide as the question seems to lie from the proper sphere of this paper, we have a plan to suggest–a plan recommended by the following excellencies. 1. It embraces no untried novelty. 2, It will work harmoniously with every other wise and just plan. 3, It cannot fail to accomplish the object. 4, It requires nothing, except that which no man can refuse without a sense of condemnation at present, and grievous loss in time to come. 5, It will enrich all who act on it, and enrich them beyond the possibility of future impoverishment. Can as much be said for any other scheme which has been laid before the public!

What, then, is the remedy we propose? It is the sincere, practical reception of the gospel by the people at large. If this suggestion were universally carried out, there would be, among us, no inordinate thirst of gain,–no disposition, for filthy lucre’s sake, to take advantage of the necessities of the Government or of the public–no interested disparagement of a currency which is just as good as the prospect of the “community-independence” of the South,–no breach of the great foundation-principle of true political economy, “All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,”–no fraudulent transactions, or violations of official trust, or factitious scarcity in the markets, or cunning monopoly of articles of indispensable use, or disregard for the sufferings and losses of others. And surely it needs not a prophet to tell us in how short a time, if those things were at an end, the burden of financial embarrassment which oppresses the spirit and endangers the cause of the country would be lifted from our shoulders.

Times like the present make the gospel more than ever precious to the thoughtful mind. Who can fail to see that, if believed, loved, obeyed, it would prove a perfect remedy for all the evils we suffer, or fear? If it ruled our enemies, the war would cease. If it ruled us, all the troubles springing, in the midst of war, would “vanish into air.” Glorious gospel! Blessed gospel! Who that does not love thee can truly love his country or his race? Who can truly serve his country or his race that does not also serve thee?

Source: “The Great Financial Remedy,” Religious Herald, November 19, 1863