I. Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall, Congregationalists in Connecticut, Were Converted in the Whitefield Revival, and Become Separatists and then Baptists


A Publication of Separation of Church and State Law Ministry.



Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 1, 2018


By 1755, only a few Baptist churches had been constituted in the South. This was about to change. The change came partly as a result of the Great Awakening.

Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall, both members of Congregationalist churches in Connecticut, separated from the established churches, later became Baptists, as had Isaac Backus, and became chief instruments in carrying the Great Awakening to the South. The Separates were subject to persecution—fines, imprisonment, placing in stocks, and whipping—for their defiance of the laws of the commonwealth. They were subjected to a more intense persecution than the dissenters such as Baptists and Quakers, and many of them were imprisoned for practicing their beliefs.

Shubal Stearns was born in Boston on January 28, 1706. His family moved to Connecticut in his youth and joined the Congregational church in Tolland. He was converted to New Light views in 1745 because of the Whitefield revival. Mr. Stearns led others in his church to become a Separate church. After a thorough study of the Scriptures, he declared himself a Baptist and was baptized.[1]

Daniel Marshall was born in 1706 in Windsor. He became a prosperous farmer and a deacon in the established Congregational church. Deeply affected by George Whitefield, by 1747 he was a Separate; and by 1751, he, along with Shubal Sterns, was a radical Separate.[2]

George Whitefield’s preaching had a grand effect on his converts. A “twofold conviction was borne in and upon the hearts of the Separates around 1750.” Since all men can be saved, the urgency of missions and the need for men to hear the gospel now was impressed upon their hearts. “Love for [all] others, said Whitefield, stands alongside aversion to sin, a spirit of supplication, and a spirit of conquest over the world as a mark of having the Holy Spirit.”[3]


Endnotes

[1] William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Foundations in the South (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), p. 21.

[2] Ibid., pp. 21-23.

[3] Ibid., p. 24, citing Stuart C. Henry, George Whitefield, Wayfaring Witness (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1957), p. 124.

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