Soul competency

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Soul competency is a Christian theological perspective on the accountability of each person before God. According to this view, neither one's family relationships, church membership, or ecclesiastical or religious authorities can affect salvation of one's soul from damnation. Instead, under this view, each person is responsible to God for his or her own personal faith in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection.

Baptist view[edit]

The basic concept of individual soul liberty, is that, in matters of religion, each person has the liberty to choose what his/her conscience or soul dictates is right, and is responsible to no one but God for the decision that is made.

A person may then choose to be a Baptist, a member of another Christian denomination, an adherent to another world religion, or to choose no religious belief system, and neither the church, nor the government, nor family or friends may either make the decision or compel the person to choose otherwise. In addition, a person may change his/her mind over time.

According to Francis Wayland, president of Brown University (1827–1855), Roger Williams, established the commonwealth of Rhode Island on the fundamental principle of "perfect freedom in religious concerns; or, as he so well designated it, 'SOUL LIBERTY.' No man of his age had so clear conceptions of the rights of conscience as the founder of Rhode Island, and no one had ever carried them so honestly to their legitimate conclusions. I go further: no one has yet been able either to take from or add to the principles of religious liberty which he so simply and powerfully set forth. They stand as imperishable monuments to his fame, like the obelisks of Luxor, on which the chiseling of every figure is now just as sharply defined as when, three thousand years since, they were left by the hand of their designer." [1]

Lack of creeds[edit]

In line with soul competency, the Southern Baptist Convention has no official creeds. They do, however, have the Baptist Faith and Message, a statement of the consensus of participating conventions.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Francis Wayland, Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches (New York: Sheldon, 1857), 135.