Baptists and the American Civil War: April 28, 1862

Cotton Picking in GeorgiaThe annual meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention continues in LaGrange. The Baptists present, mostly elites, many of whom are large slaveowners, on this last day of the annual gathering pass a series of “Resolutions on the State of the Country.”

Resolved, That the Convention heartily, solemnly, and unanimously re-asserts the sentiments, so far as applicable to the present circumstances, of the resolutions on the state of the country, passed at the last session of this body.

Resolved, That while profoundly feeling that our cause is just, we nevertheless have great reason to humble ourselves before Almighty God, and to acknowledge his chastening hand in our late reverses.

Resolved, That we find in the present circumstances of the country no cause for discouragement; that God, our heavenly Father, often chastens most promptly those whom he most loves; and that, trusting in Him with the whole heart, we are more and more determined, by His blessing, to oppose the invader of our soil by every means present in our power and to the last extremity.

Many white Baptists of the South in general are convinced that the Confederacy is God’s chosen nation, called of God to perpetuate African slavery in the South and worldwide. Many white commoners have some reservations, but slaveowners control the political and economic machinery of the Confederate nation, their power and wealth dependent upon African slavery.

The Christian nationalism of these Confederate Baptists assembled in Georgia, however, does not blind them to problems among the South’s soldiery. Before departing, they make a statement regarding Confederate military camp life.

Resolved, That our brethren, Brantly and DeVotie [ministers involved in ministering to soldiers], be requested to prepare two tracts, the former on the Evils of Intemperance, and the latter on Profanity, adapted to camp circulation, and they be recommended to the fostering care of the Bible and Colporteur Society.

Source: Minutes, Georgia Baptist Convention, 1862 (link)