Baptists have long been noted as people of conscience. From the days of Roger Williams to the work of E.Y. Mullins to the witness to Martin Luther King, Jr., conscience is one of the hallmarks of Baptist thought, witness, and work. But historical explorations of Baptists and conscience have focused on two primary themes: individual freedom of conscience, and dissent from authority.
This focus has largely neglected the relationship between the Christian conscience and public debates. What contributions have Baptists made with regards to how to approach public issues of religious liberty and ethics? And in what ways have Baptists accounts of conscience offered something distinctive? In an age when issues of religious liberty, the common good, protection of minority interests, and surveillance, recovering what Baptists have to offer with regards to conscience is of prime importance.
This issue of the American Baptist Quarterly explicitly solicits articles on this issue: investigating the nature, role, and legacy of Baptist thought on conscience. Articles should be historical explorations of seminal figures, events, and movements in which Baptist appeals to conscience have shaped Baptist life and thought. Possible historical explorations include, but are not limited to:
- Conscience and objection to war
- Religious liberty in the 20th century
- The relationship between Baptist polity and civic law
- Liturgical freedom and legal forms of liberty
- Gender, conscience, and public reason
- Conscience and the limits of religious liberty
- The relationship between individual, ecclesial, and civic conscience
- Baptists and the prophetic national conscience
- Church, state, and conscience in the 19th and 20th century
- Conscience, equality, and the public square
- Global Christianity, Baptists, and unity
- Western Christianity and Baptist advocacy
- Baptists and the conscience of marginalized groups