13 Propositions by Edward T. Hiscox
Edward T. Hiscox
PROP. I. The Bible is a Divine Revelation given of God to men, and is a complete and infallible guide and standard of authority in all matters of religion and morals; whatever it teaches is to be Delivered, and whatever it commands is to be obeyed; whatever it commends is to be accepted as both right and useful; whatever it condemns is to be avoided as both wrong and hurtful; but what it neither commands nor teaches is not to be imposed on the conscience as of religious obligation.
PROP II. The New Testament is the constitution of Christianity, the charter of the Christian Church, the only authoritative code of ecclesiastical law, and the warrant and justification of all Christian institutions. In it alone is life and immortality brought to light, the way of escape from wrath revealed, and all things necessary to salvation made plain; while its messages are a gospel of peace on earth and of hope to a lost world.
PROP. III. Every man by nature possesses the right of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures, and in all religious concerns; it is his privilege to read and explain the Bible for himself, without dictation from, or dependence on, any one, being responsible to God alone for his use of the sacred truth.
PROP. IV. Every man has the right to hold such religious opinions as he believes the Bible teaches. Without harm or hindrance from any one on that account, so long as he does not intrude upon, or interfere with, the rights of others by so doing.
PROP. V. All men have the right, not only to believe, but also to profess and openly declare, whatever religious opinions they may entertain, providing they be not contrary to common morality, and do no injustice to others.
PROP. VI. All men possess the common right to worship God according to the teachings of the Scriptures, as they understand them, without hindrance or molestation, so long as they do not injure or interfere with the rights of others by so doing.
PROP. VII. Civil governments, rulers and magistrates are to be respected, and in all temporal matters, not contrary to conscience and the word of God, to be obeyed; but they have no jurisdiction in spiritual concerns, and have no right of dictation to, of control over, or of interference with, matters of religion; but are bound to protect all good citizens in the peaceable enjoyment of their religious rights and privileges.
PROP. VIII. No organic union of Church and State should be tolerated, but entire separation maintained: The Church should neither ask for, nor accept of, support from civil authority, since to do so would imply the right of civil dictation and control. The support of religion belongs to those who profess it.
PROP. IX. Christian men are to be good and law-abiding citizens, sustaining and defending the government under which they live, in all things not contrary to conscience and the word of God; while such government is bound to protect them in the full enjoyment of all their rights and privileges, both civil and religious.
PROP. X. Religion is to be free and voluntary, both as to faith, worship and service; neither conformity to, nor support of; religion in any form, should be compulsory. Christian faith and practice are matters of conscience and personal choice, and not subject to official dictation; and for either civil or ecclesiastical authority to enforce conformity, punish dissent, or compel the support of any form of worship, is a crime against the rights of man, an assumption of divine prerogatives, and treason against Christ, the only Lord of the conscience and sovereign of the soul.
PROP. XI. None but regenerated persons ought to be, or properly can be, members of a Christian Church, which is a spiritual body separate from the world and distinct from the state, and to be composed of spiritual members only.
PROP. XII. Pastors are not to be imposed on churches nor taken from them without their consent; but are to be chosen by them, each for itself, at its own option, as by free men in Christ, who have a right to the choice and election of their religious teachers.
PROP. XIII. Christ is the only Head over, and Lawgiver to, His churches. Consequently the churches cannot make laws, but only execute those which He has given. Nor can any man, or body of men legislate for the churches. The New Testament alone is their statute book, by which, without change, the body of Christ is to govern itself.
(Copied from „Principles and Practices for Baptist Churches” Edward T. Hiscox)