First Baptist Meeting House Boston
46 – February 15 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST
Unregistered churches illegal
1679 – BAPTISTS MOVE INTO THEIR BUILDING IN BOSTON QUIETLY BECAUSE IT WAS ILLEGAL 17TH CENTURY – RELIGIOUS MISSION SOCIETIES INCORPORATED IN 1646 – LAW TO BANISH BAPTISTS REPRINTED IN 1672 – On February 15, 1679, the Baptists moved into their building in Boston that they began a year earlier. This activity was carried out very quietly and cautiously because they didn’t want to alert the authorities because this activity was deemed illegal by the state church which was Congregational. Great numbers were coming out of it and going over to the Baptists because of the compromise of the Half-way Covenant doctrine and other things. In the mid-17th century the Massachusetts Bay Colony was facing the problem of children born to Congregational parents, who had been baptized (christened) as infants but had not confirmed their faith since becoming adults. The compromise was that the church accepted their baptism but not the right to the Lord’s Supper or voting privileges. By 1677 many ministers were advocating the extension of full church privileges to the Half-Way members. This filled the church with unconverted people, deadened preaching, and lost church members. Baptist activity increased. John Eliot, a godly man from Roxbury, had begun evangelizing Indians around 1646 and incorporated a society to promote the work. He formed 12 praying societies among the Indians. These were scattered during the King Philip’s War with the Indians. In spite of this the Baptists fought valiantly against the Indians to protect their settlements. One company, mostly of Baptists was led by William Turner and distinguished itself in combat. But the increase in Baptists alarmed the ministers of the state church. They had their law to banish Baptists reprinted in 1672 and often fined and imprisoned Baptist violators. One of the Baptist ministers, William Hubbard, in a sermon said, “It is made, by learned and judicious writers that one of the undoubted rights of sovereignty is to determine what religion shall be publicly professed and exercised within their dominions.” He also said it was morally impossible to rivet the Christian religion into the body of a nation without infant baptism. By proportion, he proclaimed, it will necessarily follow that the neglect or disuse thereof will directly tend to root it out.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 63.
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