To the Editor:
As the holidays are here, this is a good time to talk about Roger Williams. I have been studying Roger Williams for six years, and here are some of his ideas:
- There was no need for churches or congregations. Roger believed that all human groups were corrupt. The word “Church” to early Christians referred to small discussion groups, and not to organized and structured forms of worship.
- Attending a university was not necessary to preach, because the Apostles were fishers and carpenters.
- The Covenants of Faith and Works are just ways to seek salvation, so we do not need them.
- Roger was a member of a small group which has been called the first Baptist church in America in 1638. He stayed with this group for a few weeks, and left them to become a Seeker, having no denominational attachments.
- "...The enforcing of the nation to such a church (Church of England) is the greatest sole oppression in this nation….”
- “…It is the absolute duty of the civil state to set free the souls of all men from that so long oppressing yoke of such ministries and churches…’
- “…Ought the nation and every person in it, be permitted to see with his own eyes and to make free choice of what worship and ministry and maintenance they please…”
- The Apostolic Commission, “…has long since been interrupted and discontinued…” The incarnation ended it.
- Only adults can be baptized.
- Christenings Make Not Christians. By Roger Wiliams in 1645.
- There should be no use of the Book of Common Prayer
- Christianity started with equality between men and women. It should have no tribal influences such as Christmas, Easter, incense, stained glass windows, and more.
- Christians are required to work actively in improving their communities.
Marc Kohler is a 1969 graduate from Brown. For twenty five years, he ran The Puppet Workshop, a non-profit theater group. In 2017, he was writing a storytelling piece about the Burning of the Gaspee. During that project, he discovered Roger Williams. John McNiff, a ranger at the Roger Williams National Memorial, recommended he read Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty by John Barry. Mr. Barry has been advising Kohler since 2017. Kohler spent some years creating the Roger Williams Educational Foundation, and he has created a lengthy collection of essays, documents, and news paper articles rwefoundation.org.