Out And About (2014-11-21)


  • A bill to reform the NSA has been defeated. As is usually the case, scare tactics were used by some of its opponents–emotional appeals to the threat of terrorism and ISIS. On the other hand, Rand Paul–who has been very critical of the NSA’s activities–voted against the bill because he believes it doesn’t go far enough and has some concerns about its provisions. Julian Sanchez of the CATO institute has some analysis and concludes that Rand is wrong and this was the best chance at reform.

Civil Rights


  • These videos uses 8 bit video game sequences to teach about philosophy



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How Republicans Used To Talk About Immigration

This is a Republican debate from 1980 between Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush. It’s amazing how things have changed!

G. H. Bush -> “I would like to see something done about the illegal alien problem that would be..sensitive…about human needs”
Ronald Reagan -> “Open the border [with Mexico] both ways”


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Early Canadian Baptists and Marriage

In the final couple years of the 18th century and the early 19th century, the right of Baptist ministers to solemnize marriage in Upper Canada was disputed.

A legislative act in 1798 during George III’s reign specified that marriages could be solemnized by “ministers of the Church of Scotland, Lutherans, and Calvinists.”

Even those ministers so included had to give three months notice of the application and then appear in court with seven members of their congregation to establish that he was indeed their minister.

At times Baptists were allowed to do this if they followed the guidelines carefully. However, at other times, their applications were rejected.

Some Baptists argued that even though they weren’t explicitly included by name, they were essentially included under “Calvinists” since they were truly Calvinistic in doctrine and polity. One Baptist who made this argument was John Upfold in 1821.

(see Stuart Ivison and Fred Rosser The Baptists in Upper and Lower Canada before 1820 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1956), 122-123.

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Baptist Missionary Tours in Upper Canada Before The War of 1812

Most of these men served on missionary tours in the Niagara Peninsula, though some served in other areas as well. You can see the American Baptist associations which sent them in this post.

I should mention that two of these men, Nathaniel Kendrick and Daniel Hascall, would later teach John Newton Brown at Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution in New York state.

  • Caleb Blood (1802)
  • Joseph Cornell (1803, 1804)
  • Lemuel Covell (1803, 1805-1806)
  • Hezekiah Gorton (1804)
  • Jesse Hartwell (1807)
  • Daniel Hascall (1810)
  • Elkanah Holmes (1801-1808)
  • David Irish (1806)
  • Clark Kendrick (1808)
  • Nathaniel Kendrick (1808-1809)
  • Asahel Morse (1807)
  • Phinehas Pillsbury (1807)
  • Valentine Rathbun (1807)
  • Peter P. Roots (1804,1805)
  • Obed Warren (1803)
  • George Witherell (1810)

from Stuart Ivison and Fred Rosser The Baptists in Upper and Lower Canada before 1820 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1956), 61.

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B. B. Warfield vs. J. Gresham Machen on Racial Integration

The great Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield stands as an example of a 19th/20th century Reformed theologian who stood firmly against racism. I’ve previously shared a poem he wrote on the matter, but we also see his firm stance in his actions.

J. Greshamachen_photom Machen, another Princeton theologian, though admirable in MANY different ways, sadly seems to have some quite racist views. He was a staunch opponent to the integration of the races in his context. It sh220px-BBWarfieldPhotoould be noted that his opposition to segregation was not merely limited to opposition to state intervention in the matter. Rather, at least to some extent, he opposed social integration more broadly.

“in 1913, while acting president of the seminary and against the protest of his younger colleague J. Gresham Machen, who argued that whites and blacks should remain socially separate, Warfield championed the institution’s recent decision to allow a black student to live in the student dormitory at Alexander Hall” (Fred Zaspel, The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary, 394)

Apparently, when Warfield let the black student take a dorm room, Machen was reduced “to a smouldering fury” against Warfield. (James H. Moorhead, Princeton Seminary in American Religion and Culture, 255)

This comparison is particularly interesting, because you have two men who were clearly brilliant, courageous, and committed to the Reformed faith. Both men are widely seen by Reformed Protestants as “heroes” Furthermore–their legacies are tied together, they fought for many of the same causes and seemed to have been on the same page theologically.  They were both Southerners. And yet, they were very different in how they handled racial issues.

Machen was wrong on this issue, and sadly Reformed Christians have far too often been wrong on this issue. While there is no need to discard J. Gresham Machen’s many contributions in other areas, the fact that he had some very troubling racial views should not be ‘swept under the rug’ either.

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The Myth of the Indispensable Nation

Micah Zenko has a fine article which addresses the myth that America is the “Indispensable Nation.” It’s actually quite amazing to see how this myth has pervaded political discourse. It is almost as though a presidential candidate has to say it to be taken seriously. It’s clearly a bi-partisan notion. And odious. I’ve mentioned before how it is not only a notion which is repugnant to other nations, but also clearly opposed to a Biblical worldview. Surely not all nations are equally endowed with strength and importance. However, part of true strength is also recognizing limitations. When standing before the Triune of the Scriptures, no nation is indispensable. Indeed, historically, many seemingly indispensable nations were shown to be quite dispensable.unclesamfighting

Here are some politicians  who’ve recently used this expression:

  • Barack Obama
  • Joe Biden
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Chris Christie
  • Jeb Bush
  • Bobby Jindal
  • Marco Rubio
  • Michelle Bachman

The article is very much worth reading for the way it exposes and deflates this myth. Zenko concludes: “there is no indispensable nation now, nor has there been in modern history. Indispensables may feel compelled to repeat this feel-good myth, but nobody should believe them.”

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An American Baptist Anti-Slavery Letter from 1835

A Concurring Response To A British Baptist Letter

In 1833 W. H. Murch, a British Baptist leader wrote a letter to American Baptists on the topic of slavery, denouncing the institution and calling upon American Baptists to fight it. Toward the end of May 1835, over 50 Baptist pastors and ministers gathered together in Boston, Massachusetts and signed a letter in response to Murch.  The full list of signers, which includes John Newton Brown, is provided at the end of this post. The signers heartily agreed with Murch, their response was cordial and fratneral. They regretted that they didn’t see Murch’s letter earlier. They regarded it as “excellent,” and a “sacred influence” on their hearts.

The signers agreed with Murch that “negro slavery” was a heinous sin, “a sin to be abandoned, and not an evil to be mitigated.” They accepted that America was blameworthy for upholding slavery, “a guilty nation before God.” In fact, they saw slave-holding as “the most heinous and prominent sin” which America was guilty of. They also said that America can not be exonerated from the sin as long as “the laws of the nation hold, or allow to be held in bondage, a single slave.” “Neither,” the letter continues “can the non-slave-holding states be exonerated from the charge of upholding slavery, so long as they aid in restoring to the their masters the slaves who escaped from them.”

Reciprocating Counsel Between Nations

The letter then continues to say that, while Christians certainly have a particular love for their own country, the gospel breaks down barriers with other nations as well. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour” is “as true of nations as of individuals.” The letter goes on to speak about relations between Great Britain and America. “We believe,” the letter continues, “that frequent intercourse between Christians of different nations, by literary correspondence and personal representation, is a wise and efficient means for accomplishing the prophesies of millennial peace. If Great Britain and America shall never again dash against each other in mortal conflict, it will be owing to the gospel being understood, felt, and obeyed alike by both nations.” One duty of this relationship, it observes, is “reciprocating counsel.”

It is within this framework, that the letter acknowledges Murch’s letter as such a “reciprocating counsel,” a “strictly proper and benevolent exercise of moral power.” And, as such, the signers accepted Murch’s (and, by connection, Great Britain’s) rebuke on the subject of slavery.

The Mandate To End Slavery

The signers shared with Murch an insistence that there was a sacred duty to denounce “negro slavery,” an institution opposed to the law of God. Even for the individual believer, there was a mandate. They agreed with Murch that it was “a high crime against the Majesty of heaven, for the suppression of which, every believer in Christ is bound strenuously and prayerfully to labour.” “The broad plough-share of gospel truth and moral influence ought to be thrust deep beneath the foundations of all unsound principle and all wrong practices.”

The letter exhibits an optimism that America will “not long persist” in the course of slavery, which could lead to America’s “disaster and ruin.” And the signers saw Murch’s letter as an important tool in opening the eyes of Baptists on the issue and turning them towards the “holy cause of emancipation.”  The signers did, however, balance optimism with realism, and acknowledged the presence of a great deal of ignorance and apathy among Baptists.

The signers then asked for sympathy, co-operation, and prayer from the British Baptists. The letter concludes: “And now, dear brethren, we commend you to God, and to the word of his grace; and pray that the Father of lights will pour his light on your future path–and that he will bless your country, and our country, and every nation, and all people, with the special influences of his Holy Spirit; that his way may be known in all the earth.”

A Full List of the Signers (by state)

MA: Samuel Adlam, John Allen, Henry Archibald, Francis Baker, James Barnaby, Avery Briggs, Isaac Briggs, Asa Bronson, Jeremiah F. Bridges, Jeremiah Chaplin, Daniel Chessman, Isaac Child, John O. Choules, Henry Clark, James M. Coby, Thomas Conant, Daniel M. Crane, Otis Convers, Simeon Crowell, Elisha Cusman, W. H. Dalrymple, Ambrose Day, Robert B. Dickey, Thomas Driver, Joseph M. Driver, Seth Ewer, Lysander Fay, Hervey Fittz, P. B. Fisk, Jonathan E. Forbush, Joseph Glazier, John Greene, Richard Griffin, Cyrus Pitt Grosvenor, Silas Hall, William Heath, Nathaniel Hervey, Alonzo King, Silas Kingsley, Stephen Lovell, E. C. Messenger, Charles Miller, Winthrop Morse, David Pease, Silas Ripley, Silas Root, Amasa Sanderson, Conant Sawyer, Isaac Sawyer, Edward Seagrave, Baron Stow, TImothy C. Tingley, William G. Trask, Henry Tonkin, John Walker, George Waters

ME: Joseph Ballard, Benjamin Buck, Arthur Drinkwater, Edwin W. Garrison,, James Gillpatrick, Benjamin Lord, Wilson C. Rider, Richard Y. Watson

NH: George W. Ashby, John Atwood, Oliver Barron, James A. Boswell, J. Newton Brown, Lewis E. Caswell, Moses Cheney, Samuel Cooke, Charles Cummings, Ebenezer E. Cummings, George Daland, Joseph Davis, George Evans, Samuel Everett, Charles Farrar, Andrew T. Foss, Abner Goodell, Elias McGregory, Noah Hooper, Benjamin Knight, Asaph Merriam, John Peacock, Edmund Petterson, Stephen Pillsbury, John Richardson, Phineas Richardson, Jairus E. Strong, Lenoard Tracy, Oren Tracy, Lewis Walker, Bela Wilcox, Gibbon Williams, Enoch T. Winter, Edmund Worth

VT: Nathan Ames, Alison Angier, Mansfield Bruce, James Ten Brocke, Anthony Case, Samuel Fish, Simon Fletcher, Martin Luther Fuller, J. M. Graves, Amzi Jones Jr., Zebulon Jones, Amherst Lamb, O.S. Murray, William W. Moore, Frederick Page, Joshua Vincent, Samuel B. Willis

RI: John Blain, Benjamin F. Fainsworth, Abial Fisher, Peter Simonson, Silas Spalding

CT: Augustus Bolles, William Bowen, Gustavus F. Davis, Isaac Dwinnell, Jonathan Goodwin, Thomas Huntington, Russell Jennings, George Phippen, Gordon Robins, Orson Spencer, Henry Stanwood, Levi Walker, Henry Wooster

NY: William Arthur, William Barret, Ira Bennet, Isaac T. Brown, Bartimeus Bramin, E. W. Clark, Ichabod Clark, C. W. Crane, Emory Curtis, Charles W. Denison, Daniel Elridge, S. A. Estee, Joseph Elliot, Abraham Ennis, Jesse Elliot, Henry B. Ewell, Samuel W. Ford, John T. Fulton, Solomon Goodale, Francis Greene, Elon Galusha, Horace Griswold, Ebenezer Hall, George B. Ide, Henry V. Jones, Samuel Jones, Philemon Kelsey, B. N. Leach, Warner Lake, Jonathan Middleton, Harley Miner, A. J. Mosher, Simon G. Miner, Absalom Miner, H. Monger, Joel W. Ney, Calvin Phileo, John B. Potter, Joshua Packer, Rufus D. Pierce, L. I. Reynolds, Hiram K. Stimpson, John Southwick, John W. Smith, George W. Warren, Elijah Weaver, William Wisner

PA:  C. Sacket, S. Williams

OH: J. Morris, M. Phillps, J. Williams

Source: The Baptist Magazine (1836), 28:289

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J. Newton Brown’s Co-Labourers in the Portsmouth Association in 1835

In 1835, J. Newton Brown was pastor of the Baptist church in Exeter, New Hampshire, which was part of the Portsmouth Association.

Here are the other pastors in the Portsmouth Association at the time:

Bela Wilcox was serving at First Baptist Church in Deerfield, New Hampshire. The church there had 148 members. He took on the charge in 1832 and would leave in 1837.

William Norris was in Newton, New Hampshire. The church there had 78 members.

John Burden was in Chester, New Hampshire, and his church had 102 members.

George Washington Ashby was in Northwood, New Hampshire, which had 65 members. He took up the pastorate in 1833 and left by 1840.

C. C. Hayes was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which had 65 members

Benjamin Brierly (1811-1863) was at Franklin Street Baptist Church in Dover, New Hampshire. The church had 70 members.  Benjamin was born in England, and only came to America when his mother died. He was baptized in Cummington, Massachusetts and studied at New Hampton Literary and Theological Institution, where Brown would later teach. Benjamin’s reading was “varied and extensive, and he held not only the pen of a ready but of a vigorous writer.” After pastoring churches in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts, he moved to California. There he was active in places such as San Jose and Sacramento and became the moderator of the San Fransisco Baptist Association. He “was a most devoted husband and father…he carried again and again the cup of affliction. The wife of his youth and two of his children passed before him [and he left] a wife and four children…to mourn his loss” when he died.

Samuel Cooke was at Seabrook and Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, where there were 50 members.

Oliver Ayer (1810-1899) was also at Seabrook and Hampton Falls. He would serve at Franklin Street Baptist Church in Dover in the 1840s as well as the church in Deerfield.  Besides the New Hampshire churches, he served three Massachusetts churches and a church in New York City. His New York Times obituary says he graduated from Brown University and was a pastor for sixty three years.

Joel Wheeler (b. 1808) was at South Hampton, New Hampshire, which reported 44 members. Joel was a descendent of Roger Williams and a recent graduate from New Hampton Literary and Theological Theological Institution, which Brown later taught at. Joel went on to pastor churches in Illinois.

(The churches in Brentwood, New Hampshire and Stratham, New Hampshire did not have pastors at the time)

This is all the information I have about these men at the time. I would be would greatly appreciate it if anyone could supply me with more information, especially any correspondence/anecdotes which would shed light on their relationship with J. Newton Brown.

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