Ethics professor Stassen speaks at Baptist World Alliance meeting
Richard Overton, “a member of the group of the very first Baptists" in the seventeenth century, was “the father of human rights,” claimed Fuller Christian ethics professor Glen H. Stassen
at the recent annual gathering of the Baptist World Alliance in Santiago, Chile.
According to a July 26 article
released by the Baptist World Alliance, Dr. Stassen, the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller, stated that Overton was “the first person writing in the English language to have advocated for religious liberty.”
Thomas Helwys and John Smyth are commonly regarded as pioneers of the Baptist movement and Helwys, in particular, is believed to have influenced the historical Baptist stance in support of religious liberty. Stassen contended, however, that Overton’s contributions preceded theirs.
Stassen also commented on the “fallacy” of many thinkers that the notion of human rights came out of the secular French Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. Human rights, he claimed, was "the product of Baptists in the seventeenth century."Read the complete Baptist World Alliance article