Where it is my hope that all people everywhere would be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ as defined by the Bible and I wish that all would hold to Biblical principles and precepts, I have no right to enforce or require doctrines by coercion. There is no authority among men who has the right to force any doctrine upon anyone by institutional statute. I hold that all are at liberty to exercise their religion, whether it is Judaism, Paganism, Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, or Islamic practice, so far as the civil law is concerned.

This is not a statement of equality of all religions, as some will charge, it is statement of the liberty of the conscience of humanity to worship as they desire within the reasonableness of mutual respect within the common human experience in this temporal day. Therefore, all persecution to force the conscience of any soul to maintain, convert, or agree with any other religion is radically wrong.

This is a consistent historical place that I stand in regard to this belief. I am in agreement with my Baptist heritage that we have never been oppressive upon the conscience of others in regard to liberty. Baptists have been unwavering in respect to religious and civil liberties. It has been, and must always be, the right of every human to worship God or not worship God.

Where I hold that the Bible is the only reliable source by which we can know God or know how to worship God, I must not behave outside of the practice of liberty of the conscience of my neighbor. This liberty does not forbid me from speaking of my belief, or attempting to persuade my neighbor to repent and turn to Christ our only Redeemer. It does however constrain me to behave, at times, as a defender of religious liberty for my neighbor who disagrees with me. This is not to be confused with tolerance.

I do not practice religious equality that is unitarian where all religions claim they are leading to the same God. Hear me clearly, I hold that there is only one God, there is only one way to God and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ as defined by the Bible only. I would not allow a Mormon teacher to teach the Bible in my church, I would not participate in any community event that requires my Muslim neighbor to leave our country, while at the same time I do not concede that we worship the same God at all. Tolerance is a concession that all beliefs are equal and would require me and my Roman Catholic neighbor to ignore our religious liberty to worship as we see without either one being forced against our conscience.

It is as George W. Truett once said (1920), “It is the consistent and insistent contention of our Baptist people, always and everywhere, that religion must be forever voluntary and uncoerced, and that it is not the prerogative of any power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, to compel men to conform to any religious creed or form of worship, or to pay taxes for the support of a religious organization to which they do not believe.”

Where I hold that there is only one Living, True God as defined by the Bible alone, it is biblically clear that God wants free worshipers and no other kind.

Dr. Bear Morton shepherds Christ’s flock at Magic Valley Bible Church. Feel free to check out and contact this church at www.mvbible.org.

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