Baptists and the American Civil War: August 28, 1861

SlaveryNot one to mince words or skirt around issues, Samuel Boykin of Macon, Georgia – editor of Georgia Baptists’ Christian Index and member of the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon – sums up, for his readers, the reason why the South is at war, and explains that the South will triumph because African slavery is a biblical and holy institution:

“It cannot be denied that the institution of slavery is the cause of the war. Because this institution has not been understood, either at the North, or in Europe; and because it has been judged by Philosophy, falsely so called, rather than by the word of God, it has been very generally condemned, outside of these States, at the bar of public opinion. It is denounced, by the leading nations of the earth, as standing out in direct antagonism to the moral sentiments of mankind. In opposition to this opinion, we of the South have affirmed it to be entirely compatible with the severest principles of religion and virtue. And for proof of our position, we have boldly appealed to the Bible, as the only authoritative standard of moral virtue. Our people are the only people on earth who are adequately qualified to judge this question. They know what slavery is. They know it in its details. They have diligently compared it with the teachings of God’s word, and have decided that these give to it a clear and triumphant sanction.

This is the secret of our unanimity. – This is the reason that we have fearlessly met the issues of the present crisis. With the world opposed to us, with the whole North in arms against us, with five hundred thousand bayonets bristling upon our borders, we have boldly seized the Bible in one hand, and the sword in the other, and plunged into this struggle resolved to maintain our cause, or die martyrs in the sincerity of our convictions.”

Source: “The Moral Effect of the Present War,” Christian Index, August 28, 1861