Southern Baptists champion religious liberty
KELLER, Texas (BP) – Growing up Baptist, Bob Roberts Jr., understood the importance of religious freedom. He’d heard the stories about Baptists who had played seminal roles in the development of religious freedom in America.
But it wasn’t until his church partnered with a country in Southeast Asia with a long history of struggles with religious freedom, that he truly understood its importance.
Invited by the country’s leadership to visit both Christian churches and religious services of other religions, Roberts saw firsthand the impact on people when they don’t have religious freedom.
“I began to meet many of the leading pastors in [the country]. This was in the early 2000s,” said Roberts, the global senior pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. “Many that I heard about had been in and out of jail. But sitting at a table with them, hearing their stories had a profound impact on me, how they were persecuted, went to prison. Some of them knew people who even died for the Gospel.”
Roberts was so moved by what he saw that, at one point, he went to another room and wept.