3. Dr. Dawne Burke: Benjamin Randal(l) and The Free Will Baptists’ Impact on Civil War in Virginia

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VIDEO: Dr. Dawne Burke – Benjamin Randall and The Free Will Baptists’ Impact on Civil War in Virginia TRT: TRT: 4:44

Dr. Dawne Burke author of “American Phoenix”

After Benjamin Randall hears Whitefield – Randall has been a part of this New Light Separatist development, he has a difference with the concepts of infant baptism and predestination. Benjamin Randall, because of this new enlightenment, this idea of asking empirical intellectual and rational questions – Benjamin Randall goes on to make the following statement. I’d like to read it in its entirety.

Randall says: “Yet good men of different persuasions, have different views of the meaning of the scriptures, and are naturally apt to put such construction on them as will best serve their favorite systems, and promote their favorite objects. The partisans of all denominations proclaim that the scriptures are in unison with their doctrines and go so far as to convince the general public by any mode of allegation without any regard to their connections, put them in such order as to make them appear to prove some daring doctrine which they may affect to hold under any pretext whatever, they will even dare to affirm that all the bible goes to prove their system.”

So, we see where Benjamin Randall, the founder of what now I’m going to refer to in this segment – the remainder of this segment and the next segment – the Free Will Baptists, he has issues with infant baptism and predestination.  Randall’s critical questioning prompts him to think of salvation as an artificial cycle. At that time, there was penitence; there was confession, atonement, redemption, and salvation. In Randall’s mind, “if we are predestined to heaven or hell, why affect the effort to move through the five stations of salvation?”

So, Randall – it’s at this point in time that Randall and the Free Will Baptists understand that choice and free will are concepts to be understood from a deeper dimension, meaning that a God consciousness would have provided the idea of choice and free will. So, that we as Christians can actually affect our potentiality while also realizing its utility.

So, the Free Will Baptists arrived with the American Missionary Association at Fortress Monroe, and they helped General Butler. It’s this humanitarian denomination that is predisposed in toward these universal values of choice and free will. In the next segment, I discuss how it is that the Free Will Baptists’ influence these concepts of choice and free will. They influence the social trends here in the lower Shenandoah valley. As one Free Will Baptist wrote, particularly after General Butler’s quote happy “application” of the word “contraband” unquote. 417 words

Benjamin Randall portrait- Internet Archive- from Life and Influence of the Rev. Benjamin Randall by Frederick L. Wiley


Buzzell, John, (1827).”The Life of Elder Benjamin Randal: principally taken from documents written by himself
Limerick [Me.] : Hobbs, Woodman & Cco.
pp. 90-91