He was the first of the modern Baptist evangelists
Jacob Knapp, raised in an Episcopalian home, was ordained to the Baptist ministry onAugust 27, 1824. Prior to that he had been educated at the Hamilton Theological Seminary, after being licensed to preach in 1821 by, the Baptist church in Masonville, New York, and graduated on June 1, 1824. Upon graduation he accepted a church in Springfield, NY where he saw 60 people saved and added to the church in 6 years. In 1830 he began a 3 year pastorate in Watertown, NY where revival fires fell, and Knapp baptized nearly 200 converts in 3 years into the membership of the church. A great phenomenon took place in America about this time, as the successful “protracted meetings” of Charles G. Finney, who labored mainly among the Presbyterians, saw his great revivals. There was a concern for a greater thrust in evangelism, and wherever Jacob Knapp went to preach, great results followed. He resigned from Watertown and went into full time evangelism for the next 42 years of his life. He saw his largest audiences in Rochester, NY (1839), N.Y. City (1840), Boston (1841), and Washington D.C. (1843).” In 1840 Knapp moved to Rockford, IL, and labored in the Midwest. In 1867 he went to California and preached among the churches there. Up until modern times, it is quite certain that none equaled him in the number of meetings and the territory covered. It has been estimated that 100,000 were converted through his labors for Christ, and 250 entered the ministry. Knapp died on March 2, 1874. His funeral began at 1 pm the following Lord’s Day and lasted until sunset. Knapp was the first of the modern day Baptist evangelists.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 353-354.
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