Book Sale

Monday 18 July 2022

My Co-Written Book Is Out

My first book, co-written by fellow Baptist pastor Tim Grant, is now available on kindle. It is our hope that this book inspires many about the importance of liberty of conscience on morally neutral issues, and also of the incredible impact the Church as a whole can have when they advocate for this principle. Here is a short excerpt from the book:

 Chapter 13
The Corruption Of The Rule of Law

"What Mr Costello calls an “individualist libertarian ethic” I would argue is an inalienable right of every man, woman, and child on this planet, protected by various international human rights charters and the Nuremberg Code."
– Tony Couper[1]

Prohibition and Covid

The Covid years share many similarities with the Prohibition years. Prohibition and medical mandates are different sides of the same coin; one says “you can’t,” the other says “you must.” Both actions constrain and coerce conscience by moralistic busybodies that desire to shape society into their own image. During Prohibition, partly because of the influence of the Baptist Church, ordinary people became criminals by continuing to brew and sell alcohol, an action that Scripture does not explicitly forbid. In fact, the concept of Prohibition for Christians is quite embarrassing considering passages such as Deuteronomy 14:22-26 which states, “… bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves.”

Even though Scripture here is clearly supporting the fermentation, sale and consumption of alcohol products, indeed encouraging it, this did not stop the Church from making a monumental mistake. Baptists openly lobbied for Prohibition, despite the fundamental Baptist distinctive of liberty of conscience, and despite the clear teachings of Scripture on alcohol. This was a mistake of sizable proportions. To advocate for Prohibition, Baptists had to deny their unique identity and the clear teachings of Scripture, thus rejecting the very things baptists had historically prided themselves in upholding.

Likewise, during the Covid years, Baptists have failed to advocate for liberty of conscience on matters that would have compelled their forebears to act, both in matters of medical mandates and the segregation caused by vaccine passports. It is the conviction of the authors that during the Covid years, the Baptist Church is repeating the same mistakes of Prohibition. In its silence, it has failed to speak to the issue of coercion, and in some respects, lent credibility to mandates and societal segregation.

As authors and pastors, we understand that there are incredibly strong opinions regarding vaccines across the spectrum of society. We understand that the Australian population is largely very positive towards vaccination and very critical of vaccination being questioned. We, therefore, understand that this creates a climate in which it is near impossible to condemn the mandates and the segregation without being slandered with the charge of being an anti-vaxxer, even though the issue of vaccination in itself is not the issue. But it remains true that a climate of censorship also existed during Prohibition.

A Baptist pastor who condemned the Anti-Saloon League, or the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and spoke of the moral neutrality of alcohol might have been hounded out of his pulpit by his own congregation. It quickly became the ‘done thing’ to condemn alcohol as the ‘demon drink.’ Indeed, many Baptists in our ranks today still hold such views strongly. In a time of national hysteria when significant pressure is being placed on people to have a certain opinion, it is hard to not only speak out against the matter but also difficult to speak in defence of liberty of conscience on the matter. It is in such moments where voices of reason are most needed. It is in times of national hysteria when reminding ourselves of long-held values is most important.

If Prohibition could be described as Alcohol-0%, the vaccination mandates could be described as Vaccine-100%. Another way to articulate this is that Baptists lent their voice and their silence in support of the insanity of both alcohol zero and covid zero - two absolutist policies that disregard the individual’s conscience. However, in the end, legislating on matters of moral neutrality results in the same consequences. 
[1] (Couper, 2021)

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