The Full Title being:
An Address To Christians Throughout the World
By a Convention of Ministers
Assembled at Richmond, Virginia, April 1863
The prominent Protestant ministers of the nation of the Confederate States of America met in Richmond, Virginia to subscribe. Close to one hundred men appended their names in its support. Among these are prominent ministers, theologians and educators. Stonewall Jackson’s father-in-law, pastor and Chief-of-staff were among them. The purpose of the document was given,
“In publishing the foregoing Address, it is proper to declare explicitly, that its origin was from no political source whatever, but from a conference of Ministers of the Gospel in the City of Richmond, the signatures are confined to this class because it was believed that, on the points presented, the testimony of men holding this office might be received with less prejudice than that of any other. These signatures might have been indefinitely increased.”
These Ministers were not trying to make a political statement, but they were desirous of presenting their prayerfully presented case to the world. One thing, indeed, the world must understand, that while the Christian people of the Southern States engaged in the war, they did so under the full sense of what behooved them as members of the Church of Christ. A primary point made in the Address was that the war was forced upon the South when it desired peace. In other words, the South was forced to defend itself, on the Southern side it was a Biblical war of self-defense. Northern troops were sent to force the South to submit. Where had freedom gone?
These Assembled Ministers of Christ asked the following question,
“Christian brethren, could the hand of violence win you to desire fellowship with a people while it destroyed your peace, polluted your sanctuaries, invaded the sacred precincts of your homes, robbed you of your property, slaughtered your noble sons, clothed your daughters in grief, filled your land with sorrow, and employed its utmost strength to reduce your country to the degradation of a subjugated province? Would it rather animate you to prefer death – honorable death – the patriot’s alternative, the Christian’s martyrdom?
The address was published in London and was circulated widely. It was picked up by every respectable Christian publication in England as well as the Quarterly Review and Edinburgh Review.
Only eternity will tell the impact that this Address had on the readers of that era. The quality of the writing and truth of the contents are without parallel for that type of writing. The appeal is sobering and left where it should be in God’s hand, “But if we speak to you in vain, nevertheless we have not spoken in vain in the sight of God…”