Forced Worship Stinks: Roger Williams

Author: Jeff Oganga Katieno — Host: Emily TenterPosted on: January 24, 2021

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Forced Worship Stinks: Roger Williams

***Jesus came to earth to save us, dwelling with us even while we were His enemies in sin (John 1:1-14; Romans 5:8-10). As Christians, we remember this when we interact with those we disagree with. Today’s devotion shares the story of Roger Williams, a Christian who advocated for religious freedom—even for those he disagreed with.*** “Forced worship stinks in God’s nose.” Roger Williams wrote these words about four hundred years ago. He had sailed with his young family from England because the government was forcing them to worship in a way they didn’t believe was right. To worship God more freely, Roger sailed across the Atlantic with his family to America. But, even there, the government was punishing people for how they worshiped—including enforcing strict rules about what could be done on the Sabbath. Roger believed only God has authority to punish on matters of religious convictions, so he thought the government should not be involved. But many authorities thought Roger Williams’s teachings were dangerous and eventually kicked him out of the colony he lived in. So, Roger decided to found his own colony. At that time, people confiscated land from Native Americans without buying it, but Roger didn’t believe this was the right thing to do. Instead, he built a relationship with the Narragansett tribe and purchased land from them. He called this place “Providence.” Its government didn’t punish people for decisions related to worship, allowing many people who were being religiously persecuted to peacefully obey their consciences. • Jeff Oganga Katieno • Read Mark 12:13-17, Acts 5:26-29, and Romans 13. What questions do you have about our relationship to the government as Christians? Who are trusted Christians you could bring those questions to—such as pastors, parents, counselors, or teachers? • Many of the people who fled to Providence were Christians who had different convictions from the majority Christian denomination at the time. Why is it so important that Christians are gentle with each other when we disagree on nonessential issues (Romans 14)? Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God. Mark 12:17 (NLT)


Read Verses:

Ephesians 6:10-17