Tag Archives: Baptist Foundations in the South

VII. The Revival Dies; Separate Churches Die; Baptist Denomination Grows; Formation of the Warren Association in 1770 To Obtain Religious Liberty; Isaac Backus’s Efforts; An Appeal to the Public

 


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry



Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 28, 2018


The revival died out almost as fast as it had appeared. Conversions became rare. People turned their attention to politics and controversy. The Separate churches and groups either died, or found their way into the Baptist camp. The Baptist denomination experienced an unprecedented growth. In 1740 no more than six Calvinistic Baptist churches existed in New England; but by 1800 there were more than 325 Baptist churches, most of them Calvinistic.[1]

The Warren Association, an association of Baptist churches, was formed in 1770. The main goal was to obtain religious liberty. This marked an important movement in the history of New England. An advertisement to all Baptists in New England was published requesting them to bring in exact accounts of their cases of persecution to the first annual meeting on September 11, 1770. The establishment feared the association and countered by dealing deceitfully with it and spreading lies about the association.[2]

Isaac Backus was the key member of the grievance committee of the Warren Association in September 1771. “[He soon] became the principal spokesman for the Baptists in their efforts to disestablish the Puritan churches. As such he did more than any other man to formulate and publicize the evangelical position on Church and State which was ultimately to prevail throughout America.”[3]

“An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty Against the Oppression of the Present Day” was the most important of the 37 tracts which Backus published during his lifetime and was central to the whole movement for separation of church and state in America. “It remains the best exposition of the 18th century pietistic concept of separation.”[4] In that tract, Backus argued, among other things:

  • “Basic to the Baptist position was the belief that all direct connections between the state and institutionalized religion must be broken in order that America might become a truly Christian country. Backus, like Jefferson and Madison, believed that ‘Truth is great and will prevail’—but by ‘Truth’ he meant the revealed doctrines of grace. His fundamental assumption was that ‘God has appointed two different kinds of government in the world which are different in their nature and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.’ The two had been ‘confounded together’ by the Emperor Constantine and the Papacy and had ultimately been brought to New England by the Puritans ‘who had not taken up the cross so as to separate from the national church before they came away.’ A ‘Brief view of how civil and ecclesiastical affairs are blended together among us [in 1773] to the depriving of many of God’s people of that liberty of conscience which he [God] has given us’ utilized also the long–forgotten arguments of Roger Williams to defend the doctrines of separation.”[5]

Amidst persecutions of Baptists for failing to pay ministerial taxes, the association met on September 1773 and voted to refrain from giving any more certificates for tax exemption to pay the established minister. Backus listed the reasons why they would no longer obey “a law requiring annual certificates to the other denomination.” “Jefferson in his preamble to the Religious Liberty Act of Virginia and Madison in his famous Remonstrance of 1785 utilized essentially deistic arguments based upon reason and natural law. Backus’s arguments were pure pietism[:]”[6]

  • [To get a certificate] “implies an acknowledgement that religious rulers had a right to set one sect over another, which they did not have.” 2. Civil rulers have no right to impose religious taxes. 3. Such practice emboldens the “actors to assume God’s prerogative.” 4. For the church, which is presented as a chaste virgin to Christ, to place her trust and love upon others for temporal support is playing the harlot. 5. “[B]y the law of Christ every man is not only allowed but also required to judge for himself concerning the circumstantials as well as the essentials of religion, and to act according to the full persuasion of his own mind.” The practice tends to envy, hypocrisy, and confusion, and the ruin of civil society.[7]

An Appeal to the Public was pietistic America’s declaration of spiritual independence. Like Jefferson’s Declaration three years later, it contained a legal brief against a long train of abuses, a theoretical defense of principle, and a moral argument for civil disobedience.”[8] No answer was ever given to “An Appeal to the Public” which was published in Boston. The collection of taxes for support of the established religion continued with confiscation of property and imprisonments occurring.[9]


Endnotes

[1] William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Foundations in the South (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), p. 20.

[2] Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 2 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), pp. 154-156; pp. 408-409 of A History of New England… gives more on the formation of the Warren Association.

[3] William G. McLoughlin, Isaac Backus and the American Piestic Tradition (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1967), p. 109.

[4] Ibid., p. 123. The entire contents of the tract are in Isaac Backus on Church, State, and Calvinism, Pamphlets, 1754-1789, Edited by William G. McLoughlin (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1968), pp. 303-343.

[5] Ibid., pp. 123-124.

[6] Ibid., p. 126.

[7] Backus, Volume 2, p. 178, citing “An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty.”

[8] McLoughlin, Isaac Backus and the American Piestic Tradition, p. 127.

[9] Backus, Volume 2, pp. 178-182. Christian, Volume I, p. 388.

V. Virginia Persecution of Baptists from 1768-1774; Baptist Petitions; James Madison on Religious Establishment and Persecution


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry



Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 2, 2018


From 1768 through 1774, the Baptists were persecuted severely. “Baptist preachers were whipped, arrested, fined, imprisoned on bread and water, although the authorities sanctimoniously denied that punishment was for ‘preaching’; the crime they said, was ‘breach of the peace.’”[1] The first instance of actual imprisonment was on June 4, 1768, when John Waller, Lewis Craig, James Childs, James Reed, and William Marsh were arrested at Craig’s meetinghouse in Spotsylvania and charged with disturbing the peace. The magistrates offered to release them if they would promise to preach no more for a year and a day. They refused and were jailed. Many more were jailed and otherwise persecuted until 1774.[2]

  • “[The persecutors] seemed sometimes to strive to treat the Baptists and their worship with as much rudeness and indecency as was possible. They often insulted the preacher in time of service, and would ride into the water and make sport when they administered baptism. They frequently fabricated and spread the most groundless reports, which were injurious to the characters of the Baptists. When any Baptist fell into any improper conduct, it was always exaggerated to the utmost extent.”[3]
  • “The enemy, not contented with ridicule and defamation, manifested their abhorrence to the Baptists in another way. By a law then in force in Virginia, all were under obligation to go to church several times a year; the failure subjected them to fine. [Little action against members of the Established church was taken under this law, but] as soon as the ‘New Lights’ were absent, they were presented by grand jury, and fined…. [Others were imprisoned for preaching without a license.] ‘When persecutors found religion could not be stopped … by ridicule, defamation, and abusive language, the resolution was to take a different step and see what they could do; and the preachers in different places were apprehended by magisterial authority, some of whom were imprisoned and some escaped. Before this step was taken, the parson of the parish was consulted [and he advised that] the ‘New Lights’ ought to be taken up and imprisoned, as necessary for the peace and harmony of the old church….’”[4]
  • “[An Episcopalian wrote,] No dissenters in Virginia experienced, for a time, harsher treatment than did the Baptists. They were beaten and imprisoned, and cruelty taxed its ingenuity to devise new modes of punishment and annoyance.”[5]

Because of the persecutions and oppressions, Baptists began to petition the House of Burgesses for relief. Their first petition in 1770 requesting that Baptist ministers “not be compelled to bear arms or attend musters” was rejected. Other petitions from Baptists in several counties were submitted in 1772 requesting that they “be treated with the same indulgence, in religious matters, as Quakers, Presbyterians, and other Protestant dissenters enjoy.” The petitions continued until 1775.[6] The Presbyterians petitioned also, but for the right to incorporate so that they could receive and hold gifts of land and slaves for the support of their ministers. One of the Presbyterian petitions was improperly hailed as proof “that the Presbyterians anticipated the Baptists in their memorials asking for religious liberty.” An examination of that petition reveals that it “contemplate[d] nothing more than securing for Presbyterians and others in Virginia the same privileges and liberties which they enjoyed in England under the Act of Toleration,” and contained no “attack upon the Establishment, or any sign of hostility to it.”[7]

During this time, James Madison wrote to his old college friend, Bradford of Philadelphia, in a letter dated January 24, 1774. He expressed his belief that if

  • “uninterrupted harmony had prevailed throughout the continent [in matters of established religion as practiced in Virginia] it is clear to me that slavery and subjection might and would have been gradually insinuated among us. Union of religious sentiments begets a surprising confidence, and ecclesiastical establishments tend to greatly ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitates the execution of mischievous projects…. Poverty and luxury prevail among all sorts; pride, ignorance, and knavery among the priesthood, and vice and wickedness among the laity. This is bad enough; but it is not the worst I have to tell you. That diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution rages among some, and to their eternal infamy, the clergy can furnish their quota of imps for such purposes. There are at this time in the adjacent country not less than five or six well-meaning men in close jail for publishing their religious sentiments, which in the main are very orthodox. I have neither patience to hear, talk, or think of anything relative to this matter; for I have squabbled and scolded, abused and ridiculed, so long about it to little purpose, that I am without common patience…. So I must beg you to pity me, and pray for liberty of conscience to all.”[8]
  • [In another letter to Bradford dated April 1, 1774, Madison wrote that he doubted that anything would be done to help the dissenters in the Assembly meeting beginning May 1, 1774.] He spoke of “the incredible and extravagant stories [which were] told in the House of the monstrous effects of the enthusiasm prevalent among the sectaries, and so greedily swallowed by their enemies…. And the bad name they still have with those who pretend too much contempt to examine into their principles and conduct, and are too much devoted to ecclesiastical establishment to hear of the toleration of the dissentients…. The liberal, catholic, and equitable way of thinking, as to the rights of conscience, which is one of the characteristics of a free people, and so strongly marks the people of your province, is little known among the zealous adherents to our hierarchy…. [Although we have some persons of generous principles in the legislature] the clergy are a numerous and powerful body, have great influence at home by reason of their connection with and dependence on the bishops and crown, and will naturally employ all their arts and interest to depress their rising adversaries; for such they must consider dissentients, who rob them of the good will of the people, and may in time endanger their livings and security.
  • “… Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind, and unfits if for every enterprise, every expanded prospect.”[9]

Endnotes

[1] Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1953), p. 95 citing Edward F. Humphrey, Nationalism and Religion in America (Boston: Chipman Law Publishing Co., 1924), p. 370.

[2] Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, VA.: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; First Published Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), pp. 29-30. Included is a listing of some of those jailed and otherwise persecuted. See also James R. Beller, America in Crimson Red: The Baptist History of America (Arnold, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2004), pp. 230-250; William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Foundations in the South (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), pp. 105-120; William P. Grady, What Hath God Wrought: A Biblical Interpretation of American History (Knoxville, Tennessee: Grady Publications, Inc., 1999), Appendix A, pp. 593-598 citing Lewis Peyton Little, Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia, (Galatin, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1987), pp. 516-520 (lists many Baptists and the persecutions they endured in Virginia; persecutions such as being jailed for preaching, civil suit, being annoyed by men drinking and playing cards, being jerked off stage and head beaten against the ground, hands being slashed, beaten with bludgeons, being shot with a shotgun, ousted as a justice for preaching, being brutally beaten by a mob, severely beaten with a stick, etc.).

[3] James, p. 30, citing Semple, p. 19.

[4] Ibid., pp. 30-31, citing William Fristoe, “History of the Ketocton Baptist Association,” p. 69.

[5] Ibid., citing Dr. Hawks, “History of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Virginia,” p. 121.

[6] Ibid., pp. 31-35.

[7] Ibid., pp. 42-47.

[8] Lenni Brenner, editor, Jefferson and Madison on Separation of Church and State (Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, Inc, 2004), pp. 11-12; James, p. 36.

[9] Brenner, pp. 12-13; James, pp. 35-38, citing Rives Life and Times of Madison, Vol. I, pp. 43, 53; Norman Cousins, In God We Trust (Kingsport, Tennessee: Kingsport Press, Inc., 1958), pp. 299-301.

II. Only the Church of England Was Tolerated in Virginia Colony


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry



Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 2, 2018


Virginia “was founded by members of the Church of England and none others were tolerated in its jurisdiction.”[1] The Episcopal church, the Church of England, in Virginia was established from the founding of Jamestown in 1607.

  • “It was known, also, as the ‘Established Church,’ because it was made, by legal enactment, the church of the State and was supported by taxation. Not only so, but it was designed to be the established church, to the exclusion of all others. Rigid laws, with severe penalties affixed, were passed, having for their object the exclusion of all Dissenters from the colony, and the compelling of conformity to the established, or State, religion. Even after the Revolution of 1688, which placed William and Mary upon the throne of England and secured the passage of the ‘Act of Toleration’ the following year, the ‘General Court of the Colony’ of Virginia construed that act to suit themselves, and withheld its benefits from Dissenters … until they were compelled to yield to the force of circumstances.”[2]

The Church of England was stronger in Virginia than in any colony.

1612 Virginia Charter

In Virginia, the established Anglican church was controlled by the state, unlike in New England where the established church controlled the state. From the beginning of the colony, the “company knew not how to control the members composing the colony but by religion and law.”[3] The original “Lawes Divine, Moral and Martial” which were decreed in 1612, were severe. Speaking impiously of the Trinity or of God the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, blaspheming God, incorrigibly cursing, a third failure to attend religious services, and a third “Sabbath-breaking,” were punishable by death. Other spiritual offenses were punished by whipping and other penalties.[4]

Upon appeal to England, these laws were repealed. The laws enacted in support of the Anglican establishment were less severe. Still, the Anglican church was established (and this establishment continued until the revolution with one short interruption), nonattendance at church services was the subject of fines, the payment of tithes were mandatory, every parson was entitled to the glebe—a piece of land—parish churches were built by taxes, and ministers were required to “conform themselves in all things according to the canons of the Church of England.”

“Puritan clergy were banished for failing to conform to Anglican services; Quakers [and Baptists] were fined, imprisoned, and banished. Catholics were disqualified from public office, and any priest who ventured to enter the colony was subject to instant expulsion. Penalties were imposed on those who having scruples against infant baptism, neglected to present their children for that purpose.”[5]

A 1643 law forbade anyone to teach or preach religion, publicly or privately, who was not a minister of the Church of England, and instructed governor and council to expel all nonconformists from the colony.[6] In 1643, three Congregationalist ministers from Boston were forced to leave the colony. Also in 1643, “Sir William Berkeley, Royal Governor of Virginia, strove, by whippings and brandings, to make the inhabitants of that colony conform to the Established church, and thus drove out the Baptists and Quakers, who found a refuge in … North Carolina.” Quakers first came to Virginia in “1659-60, and … the utmost degree of persecution was exercised towards them.” “During the period of the Commonwealth in England, there had been a kind of interregnum as to both Church and State in Virginia; but in 1661, the supremacy of the Church of England was again fully established.” Only ministers of the Church of England were permitted to preach, and only ministers of that church could “celebrate the rites of matrimony,” and only “according to the ceremony prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer.”[7]


Endnotes

[1] John T. Christian, A History of the Baptists, Volume I, (Texarkana, Ark.-Tex.: Bogard Press, 1922), p, 381.

[2] Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, VA.: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; First Published Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), pp. 10-11.

[3] Ibid., p. 17.

[4] See Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1953), p. 69 for the text of this law.

[5] Ibid.; see also James, pp. 17-20 for a more comprehensive overview of the laws of Virginia which provided for religious persecution and the established church.

[6] William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Foundations in the South (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), p. 105.

[7] James, pp. 17-20.

III. Religious Injustice in Anglican North Carolina; Governor Tryon Moves to Strengthen the Anglican Church in North Carolina; The War of the Regulation Spread the Separate Baptists throughout the South and Started a Fire that Could Not Be Put Out


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry



Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 1, 2018


Before 1765 the western counties, made up of frontiersman, a large percentage of whom had become Baptists, were disproportionately taxed and represented in the Assembly. “Sheriffs, judges, and other officials of county government, were notorious for their injustice, and in the western counties they were, as a rule, dishonest, haughty, and overbearing.”[1] A license was required for teachers, and no place of higher education could be administered, except by ministers of the Church of England. The Church of England was given exclusive rights to perform marriages. In 1755, poll and vestry taxes were imposed upon North Carolinians.[2] The settlers mounted protests against these injustices.

Governor William Tryon

When William Tryon became governor of North Carolina in 1765, the troubles moved quickly to a crisis. Governor Tryon set out to strengthen the position of the Church of England. He called for twenty-seven more Anglican clergymen, increased taxes, and raised a military force. By 1770, Governor Tryon had established eighteen Anglican priests in thirty-two parishes in North Carolina. Property was seized for back taxes, people accused of rioting were arrested and set for trial, and others were fined and imprisoned. “In several places the Regulators yielded to mob spirit, broke up courts, and whipped the officers” and “some court records were destroyed.”[3] Armed conflict finally broke out.

Battle of Alamac, War of the Regulation

In 1771, the so-called War of the Regulation broke out. The government of North Carolina tried to suppress the Separate Baptists, but succeeded only in spreading their movement all along the southern frontier. Before the suppression began, the established church, the Anglican Church, was ineffectual in North Carolina and only had five ministers in the state in 1765. On May 16, 1771, the state militiamen routed a poorly trained and supplied force of two thousand regulators. Although Shubal Stearns and the Sandy Creek Association forbade Baptists to take up arms against the government, many did.

After the defeat of the regulators, Tryon “laid waste to plantations, burned homes, and sent numbers of men in chains to Hillsboro. The countryside was terrorized.”[4] Tryon seized Benjamin Merrill, who appears to have been a church leader. Merrill was convicted as a traitor, hung publicly, cut into pieces—quartered—and his body scattered.[5]

The Baptists had a mass exodus from North Carolina. By 1772, Sandy Creek Church had only fourteen members, down from six hundred and six. Little River Church went from five hundred to a dozen members. Nevertheless, as with the persecution of the first Christians in Jerusalem, the persecuted spread to other parts and carried out the Great Commission. The departing Baptists went into South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, spreading the Gospel and reaping the harvest. What Satan meant for evil, God used for His glory.

Shubal Stearns, the chief light and the guiding genius behind the Separate Baptist movement, died on November 20, 1771, at the age of sixty-five. Forty-two churches and one hundred and twenty-five ministers had sprung from the Sandy Creek Church by 1772. Fires, which could not be quenched, had been started in North Carolina and in other states.[6]


Endnotes

[1] William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Foundations in the South (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), pp. 72-74.

[2] James R. Beller, America in Crimson Red: The Baptist History of America (Arnold, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2004), pp. 181-182.

[3] Lumpkin, pp. 78-79.

[4] Ibid., p. 83.

[5] Beller, p. 197.

[6] Lumpkin, p. 59.

II. Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall Go To Virginia, then to Sandy Creek North Carolina, an Anglican Colony; The Work at Sandy Creek Explodes


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry



Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 1, 2018


In 1751 or 1752, as had others before him, Mr. Marshall set out with his wife and three children and possibly with one other couple, with no prospect of material reward, to minister to the Indians in New York. They settled at the Indian town of Onnaquaggy. They had to leave after eighteen months because strife among the Indians caused by the French and English struggle and attempts to gain the support of various tribes disrupted his work and threatened his family. He went to Connogogig, Pennsylvania for a short stay, then moved to Opekon, Virginia. The pastor of Mill Creek Baptist Church baptized him. His powerful preaching ability was recognized and a revival ensued.[1]

Shubal Stearns and his wife, along with five other families, possessed with missionary zeal, left Tolland, Connecticut in August 1754. They moved to Virginia. Daniel Marshall greeted them there. They settled in Cacapon Creek, Virginia, but did not stay there long. Members of some neighboring churches (later called “Regular” Baptist churches), which upheld dignity and orderliness in worship, were upset with the “noisy and emotional preaching of the Separates,” by some of the preaching, which “may have suggested Armenianism to them,” and by “the prominent place occupied by women in some Separate meetings which hinted at disorder.” The Indians broke into open hostility in 1755. Consequently, Mr. Stearns and his party moved to Sandy Creek, North Carolina, “a strategic center from which he could itinerate to a growing and spiritually destitute population.”[2] There they constituted the Sandy Creek Church with Mr. Stearns as minister and Daniel Marshall and Joseph Breed as assistant ministers.

Shubal Stearns preaching at Sandy Creek

Mr. Stearns immediately began to preach. People from neighboring farms began to attend, for the first time hearing the doctrine of the new birth.

  • “The enthusiastic manner of preaching, too, was unprecedented. Stearns’ delivery was warm and appealing, full of persuasive zeal, not at all the commonplace, lecture-type discourses which the people had formerly heard. Strong gestures and a fervent plea told the people that the preacher was intensely involved in his message. It was obvious he wanted a verdict.
  • “The preachers deep feeling and personality passed to the members of the church and from them to the visitors. The music in the little pastor’s voice soon penetrated every heart, and his piercing, discursive eye seemed to peer into every soul. The tears, tremblings, and shouts of the members quickly affected the visitors, and from the little meetinghouse a tumult of grief at sin and joy at salvation ascended to heaven. Men who came to the meetings to mock returned home praising and glorifying God. The church began to grow!
  • “Then the Separates knew that they had found their home and that God’s will was being perfected in them. The heart of their little community held a plan worthy of the heart of an empire.” [3]

The population of North Carolina was growing rapidly. People were coming from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania; and large families were common. Although law established the Church of England in 1701 in North Carolina, it had a feeble career there, and the colony gained a reputation as an asylum for the religiously persecuted. By 1755, the population of North Carolina was nearly a hundred thousand.[4]

The Quakers preached the first sermon in North Carolina in 1672 and were the earliest dissenters. The Moravians also flourished there. The Anglicans were few in number, had only one or two ministers in the colony at any given time, and were looked upon with indifference and hostility by the people of North Carolina. Except for the Quakers and Moravians, until the middle of the eighteenth century, “[r]eligious concerns among the early dissenters were doomed to steady decline because of the shortage of churches, religious instruction, and pastors.”[5]

The work at Sandy Creek soon began to produce much fruit. Mr. Stearns and the other preachers in his church were in great demand to go preach at other settlements. He and Daniel Marshall decided, before having been at Sandy Creek a year, to go on a preaching mission all the way to the coast. Converts were being called into ministry, and the Separate Baptist movement was seeing the birth of new churches. Within three years, there were three churches with a combined membership of over nine hundred, and these churches had numerous branches. Young evangelists were “beginning to occupy the land of promise.” In 1758, the Sandy Creek Association was organized. The plan for the association “required careful planning, for the associational movement would usher in a grand new chapter in Separate Baptist expansion.”[6]

The movement exploded. Ministers and converts went all over North Carolina, then into South Carolina and Georgia. The power of God was with these Separate Baptist preachers. Churches were planted and many were converted. In North Carolina, the Baptists displaced the Anglicans and the Presbyterians. Daniel Marshall went to South Carolina with some others in his church and started a church there. From there, he went on preaching trips into Georgia. He was so successful in some of his forays there that he was arrested, convicted, and commanded to preach no more in Georgia. “The arresting constable and even the magistrate who tried Marshall were soon converted and baptized.” In 1771, Mr. Marshall moved to Kiokee Creek, Georgia and formed the first Baptist church in Georgia at Appling in 1772. [7]


Endnotes

[1] William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Foundations in the South (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), p p. 25-28 citing Stewart Pearce, Annals of Luzerne County (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1960), pp. 34-35; J. B. Taylor, Virginia Baptist Ministers (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1859), I, 19; R. B. Stemple, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists of Virginia, revised and extended by G. W. Beale (Richmond: Pitt & Dickinson, 1894), p. 370.

[2] Ibid., pp. 28-30.

[3] Ibid., pp. 31-32.

[4] Ibid., pp. 33-34, citing G. W. Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists (Raleigh: General Board of North Carolina Baptist State Convention, 1930), I, pp. 252-254.

[5] Ibid., pp. 34-36.

[6] William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Foundations in the South (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), pp. 41-45.

[7] Ibid., p. 55, citing J. H. Kilpatrick, The Baptists, (Atlanta: Georgia Baptist Convention, 1911), pp. 37-38.

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


A Publication of Churches Under Christ 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.

VI. Separates and Baptists Desire To Meet Together; This Proves Untenable; Backus Leads Brethren to Start a Baptist Church at Titicut


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry



Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 28, 2018


At first the Separatists and Baptists desired to meet together. This proved untenable.

  • “[They] were bound together by the closest ties. The [Baptists] left the [Separate Congregational churches] with no ill feeling but with heartiest love, and this love continued, on both sides, after their separation. Their members had been converted together in the Great Awakening; together they had come out from the Standing Order; together they had suffered and were still suffering for the truth; they had the same enemies and oppressors; they felt the force of the same unjust and cruel laws; their plundered goods were sold at the same auctions, and their bodies confined in the same prisons; they had many kindred views and feelings, by which they sympathized most closely, and in which there were no others to sympathize with them. Moreover, they mutually desired inter-communion. Council after council and conference after conference recommended it, and there seemed to be no voice against it. And yet it failed. Practical difficulties arose…. The truth could not be escaped that Baptist churches, by renouncing infant baptism and sprinkling, and then practically recognizing them again as a proper declaration of discipleship and initiation to membership in the visible church, placed themselves in a position of direct inconsistency. One by one, reluctantly, but at last universally, they abandoned the untenable ground.—ED.”[1]

By 1754, “the alliance between the two groups within Separatism was practically at an end, and the Baptist members left to form new churches or join existing ones.”[2]

A Baptist church was instituted in Middleborough, Massachusetts by a number of brethren led by Mr. Backus from the Titicut Separatist church who were convinced communion should be limited to believers baptized upon a profession of their own faith. On July 23, 1756, Mr. Backus was installed as their pastor.

“He … published a discourse from Gal. iv. 31, to shew that Abraham’s first son that was circumcised was the son of the bond-woman, an emblem of the national church of the Jews; in distinction from regenerate souls, the spiritual seed of Abraham, of whom the Christian church was constituted; into which neither natural birth, nor the doings of others, can rightly bring any one soul, without its own consent. Upon these principles was the first Baptist church in Plymouth county then founded[.]”[3]


Endnotes

[1] Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 2 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), fn. 1, p. 115; on pp. 116-119 Backus gives further arguments.

[2] William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Foundations in the South (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), p. 18.

[3] Backus, Volume 2, pp. 117-118.