Baptists and the American Civil War: November 16, 1865

Civil War States MapToday’s Virginia Baptist Religious Herald examines the prospects of denominational reunions in the aftermath of the war.

Most will probably remain separate, the editorial suggests. Baptists, however, are the main focus of the author.

“The Baptists, with as many discordant elements among them as any other denomination, but having no general ecclesiastical government, are left free, as individual churches may elect, to follow the leadings of Providence and the dictates of wisdom, or the promptings of passion and the counsels of folly.”

Left unstated is the white Southern Baptists’ self-proclaimed and passionate commitment to Providence and wisdom during the war did not work out very well.

The Herald also reports that Richmond College, having lost most of its endowment due to the war, has yet to reopen. Instead, the trustees have instructed president Robert Ryland to open a high school for boys on the campus.

Another article speaks fondly of African slavery, declaring that “the black man was borne forward by it — prepared, let us hope, for still further progress in the new era of freedom which has broken on him.”

Sources: “The Union of Christian South and North,” “Our Institutions of Higher Learning” and “African Character,” Religious Herald, November 16, 1865