Category Archives: Church History

114 — April 24 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Adoniram Judson
Comfort in affliction
1827 – Little Maria Judson, the infant daughter of Adoniram and Ann Judson, missionaries to Burma, died on this date, just a few months following the tragic death of her dear mother.  In a letter to Ann’s mother Rebecca Hasseltine, dated April 26, 1827, Adoniram tried to comfort her, the best he knew how with the following words:  “My sweet little Maria lies by the side of her fond mother…an affection of the bowels,) proved incurable.  She had the best medical advice; and the kind care of Mrs. Wade could not have been, in any respect, exceeded by that of her own mother.  But all our efforts, and prayers, and tears, could not propitiate the cruel disease.  The work of death went forward; and after the usual process, excruciating to a parent’s feelings, she ceased to breathe… at three o’clock P.M. aged two years and three months.
We then closed her faded eyes, and bound up her discolored lips, where the dark touch of death first appeared, and folded her little hands-the exact pattern of her mothers on her cold breast.  The next morning, we made her last bed, In the small closure which surrounds her mother’s grave.  Together they rest in hope, under the hope tree, (Hopia) which stands at the head of the graves; and together, I trust, their spirits are rejoicing, after a short separation of precisely six months.  Thus I am left alone in this wide world.  My father’s family and all my relatives, have been, for many years, separated from me, by seas that I shall never pass.  They are the same to me as if buried.  My own dear family I have actually buried: one in Rangoon, and two in Amherst.”…What remains is for me to follow where my Savior reigns.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 166.
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113– April 23 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Evangelist of Power
Abraham Marshall was born on April 23, 1748. He was twenty-two when he was converted and twenty-seven when he was ordained. Soon after the death of his father, Daniel Marshall, Abraham assumed the pastorate of the Kiokee Church.   At the age of thirty-eight, he mounted his horse and became an amazing evangelist, preaching almost every day on the journey coming and going. Conversions were numerous and estimated in the hundreds.  Vast crowds came to hear him.  One hot Sunday in August in the state of Connecticut, he preached to 1,300 in the morning and then, after a brief rest, addressed 1,500 at 2 pm.  On another August Sunday he preached in Poquonock in Windsor, Connecticut, to 1,500, and in the same place on September 10, he addressed 3,500, which was the largest religious rally ever held in the vicinity.
These are just a few accounts that were recorded in his journal as he preached some 197 times in seven states.

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, p. 165
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112– April 22 – This Day in Baptist History Past


James P. Boyce
Prayer and a Biblical Educator
James Petigru Boyce was a fine scholar and very popular in his ways. He received his college education when it was not unusual for students and faculty to meet for prayer every evening. The spiritual welfare of Boyce became of great concern to some of his fellow students, and he became the object of special prayer that his gifts and graces might all be consecrated to Christ.
Shortly after one of these times of special prayer and fasting, Boyce took a ship from New York to Charleston, South Carolina. During this long journey, it was observed that he spent a great deal of time in his stateroom. A friend discovered that he was reading his Bible, and after much discourse together, Boyce came under deep conviction. Upon reaching the city, he found that his sister was also concerned with her spiritual welfare and that a close friend had just made his profession of faith.
Dr. Richard Fuller was preaching in the city with great effect, and a spiritual awakening was under way. Boyce’s conviction of sin increased, and he felt himself a ruined sinner and looked to the merits of Jesus Christ alone for his salvation. On April 22, 1846, he was baptized on that profession of faith. Boyce graduated from Brown University in 1847 and studied theology at Princeton from 1848 to 1851.
Dr. Dale R. Hart from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, p. 1623
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111 — April 21 – This Day in Baptist History Past


The Separation was amiable

1867 – Brother Billy Hariss, colored, was ordained into the gospel ministry according to the minutes of The Baptist Church of Christ at Kiokee, Georgia.  This is but a small example of the relationship between the races during the early development of our nation, both before and after the Civil War.  Dr. John Clarke organized the Baptist church in Newport, R.I. in 1639, and “Jack”, America’s first black Baptist was baptized in 1652 and added to the membership of the church, being a “free man.”  However, many among the slave population in the South came to know Christ and outnumbered whites in the membership of Baptist churches 6-to-one in ratio.  The First Baptist Church of Richmond, VA elected Black deacons to watch over free and slave Negro members.  They also licensed certain colored men to “exercise their spiritual gifts in public.”  At least fifteen years prior to Carey ‘s sailing for India, George Lisle, the first Black ordained Black Baptist in America, went to Jamaica as a missionary.  Lott Carey, a member of First Baptist of Richmond purchased his freedom for $850 in 1813 and with Colin Teague, sailed in 1821 for Liberia and established the first Baptist church in Monrovia.  Prior to the Civil War, Abraham Marshall, pastor at Kiokee, ordained Andrew Bryan in Savannah.  It was also prior to the Civil War that John Jasper was saved and sent by his “master” to preach the gospel.  After the war the blacks desired their own places of worship and the white churches either gave them the old church and built new ones or helped the blacks build new ones.  The separation was amiable.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 161.
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110 — April 20 – This Day in Baptist History Past


The unknown Apostle of Liberty
1676 – On this day one of the greatest of our Baptist leaders and American founders, Dr. John Clarke, died.  He was born in London in 1609 and became skilled as a physician when apprenticed to a doctor.  His fame lies in the founding of Rhode Island with Roger Williams and one of the first Baptist churches in America.  He also, along with Williams, laid the principles of religious and civil liberty which led to the First Amendment to our Constitution.  His journey toward the Baptists after leaving Anglicanism saw him going first to the dissenters and then he moved to Leyden, Holland, to flee persecution.  It was there that he came in contact with some Baptists but he was yet to travel to America, join the Puritans, become disgusted with their intolerance toward the Baptists and other dissenters and finally become a Baptist pastor himself.  But no doubt his greatest achievement was securing a permanent charter for Rhode Island.  He spent twelve years in England to do it, first trying through Cromwell and then finally through King Charles II after he was restored to the throne.  This Baptist charter on religious liberty was the first charter on total religious liberty in the history of the human race.  It read in part, “Our royal will is, that no person within said Colony, at any time…, shall be…molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for differences of opinion in matters of religion, that do not actually disturb the civil peace of said Colony…not using this liberty to licentiousness and profaneness, not to civil injury or outward disturbance of others…”  What a great debt we owe John Clarke.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 160.
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109 — April 19 – This Day in Baptist History Past


He opposed all infidelity
1836 – Dr. A. J. Gordon, named for Adoniram Judson,was born in New Hampshire on this day in 1836 to godly parents.  At the age of 15 he came to a vital knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Upon completing his education including his theological training, he was ordained and became the pastor at Jamaica Plain, MA.  From 1867 until 1869, he was sought as the pastor of the Clarendon Street Baptist Church of Boston, but did not accept it until they agreed to eliminate the paid choir and replace it with congregational singing.  He was a composer of hymns and hymn tunes himself.  His most influential work was related to world evangelism and missions in which he served for over twenty years as a member of the board, or as executive chairman of the American Baptist Missionary Union.  He strongly emphasized the faith element in missions.  He believed that the new birth by the Holy Spirit was essential for the believer.  He participated in Dwight L. Moody’s evangelistic meetings and was a consistent soul winner and evangelistic preacher himself.  He knew that all preaching and ministering of the Word was futile apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.  He was an apologist for biblical Christianity against Darwinism, agnosticism, Unitarianism, transcendentalism, Christian Science, baptismal regeneration, and the influence of materialism in the evangelical churches of his day. Dr. Gordon was a fundamentalist before fundamentalism.  He held that the Bible was inerrant and infallible.  He died in 1895 and on his gravestone reflects that Blessed Hope – Pastor A.J. Gordon “Until He Come.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 159.
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108– April 18 – This Day in Baptist History Past


“the Great, the Incomparable”
Abel Morgan, was born at Welsh Tract, April 18, 1713, and educated near by, at Pencader Academy, kept by Rev. Thomas Evans. He was ordained at Welsh Tract in 1734, and was called to the Middletown Church, New Jersey, which he served as Pastor till’ his death in the seventy-third year of his age. In 1772 he was Moderator of the Philadelphia Association, the celebrated Dr. James Manning being Clerk at the same time. Previously, Mr. Morgan served as Clerk. It was in 1774, upon his suggestion, that the Circular Letter was adopted by the Philadelphia Association for the first time. He was among the most noted Baptist ministers of his day. Dr. Samuel Jones calls him “the great, the incomparable Abel Morgan” (Benedict, p. 582). The same writer (p. 209) says: He “is the oldest writer I can find among the American Baptists in defense of their sentiments. Between this learned writer and Rev. Samuel Finley, a Presbyterian minister, then of Nottingham, Pennsylvania, a dispute appears to have arisen, which was carried on with much spirit on both sides for a number of years.” The Reverend Samuel Finley, who became president of Princeton College, challenged Pastor Morgan to a discussion relating to baptism. Finley wrote a pro-pedobaptist treatise, A Charitable Plea for the Speechless, and Abel Morgan replied with his Anit-Paedo Rantism; or, Refuted, the Baptism of Believers Maintained and the Mode of It by Immersion Vindicated. This treatise was printed in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin in 1747.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from:  William Catchcart, editor, The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881; rpt. 1988, pp. 814-815.

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107– April 17 – This Day in Baptist History


German U-Boat Sinks the Zam Zam – 144 missionaries on board
Florence Almen had gone from America in 1936 and had served for a term in French Equatorial Africa. After returning to her homeland for a year of furlough. Florence said her farewells to family and friends and boarded the Zam Zam on March 21, 1941, for her return to her labors.  The ship carried 201 passengers, including 144 missionaries.   They made their way to Baltimore and picked up additional crew and then continued on to Brazil. Leaving Brazil for Cape Town on April 9, they traveled without lights and maintained radio silence, for the German U-boats were very active. All seemed to go well until April 17, just two days from the arrival in Cape Town. A terrible vibration rocked the ship, and the screaming crash of shells awakened passengers and crew. The old ship was under attack.
They found that their lifeboat had been hit, but they finally discovered another.  As the lifeboat pulled away from the listing Zam, they found that it, too, had been riddled with gun fire and was filling with water. Florence Almen did not know how to swim, but heroically to lighten the load, she jumped overboard. As she did so, she cried out to the Lord, “I’ll be seeing your face today, Lord Jesus.” She further testified, “I wasn’t alone. God was there. Underneath were the everlasting arms. I felt His Presence—really real.” In a short time, they heard a motor and discovered that the German captain of the raider (the Tamesis) had sent a launch to pick up those in the water.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 156-157
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106– April 16 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Burning Pepper to Prevent Preaching
John Young was one of the courageous Baptist preachers in Virginia during the 18th century who suffered for the freedom to preach according to conscience. He died in a good old age on April 16, 1817.
In 1908, one of his granddaughters gave the following interesting information of John Young. “He was converted and began preaching. He, with others, was imprisoned for preaching what he believed to be the truth. His mother, who had care of his motherless children, visited him regularly once a week taking the children with her. Each preacher was in a room to himself. Each room had one small window, placed so high up in the wall that only a patch of sky could be seen, nothing on the earth. The congregations of the different ministers learned, each, which was his pastor’s window. Once a week John Young’s congregation (and I suppose the other’s too), would assemble under his window, and run up a flag, to let him know they were there and he would preach to them. In this way a great many people were converted. The authorities said, ‘ These heretics make more converts in jail than they do out ‘, so when the congregation assembled, that pastor was smoked out by burning pepper to prevent his preaching.”
Young had been arrested on June 13, 1771, ostensibly for preaching without a license.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, p. 155.
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105 — April 15 – This Day in Baptist History Past


God for Us

Life is the Time to Serve the Lord
James Greenwood certainly fulfilled the qualifications of a bishop and steward in being blameless and faithful until his death on April 15, 1815. Notwithstanding his excellent character did not keep him from being persecuted along with his other brethren in their service to the Lord.
Semple tells us that “in August 1772, James Greenwood and William Loval were preaching not far from the place where Bruington Meeting House now stands, in the county of King and Queen, when they were seized and, by virtue of a warrant, immediately conveyed to prison.”
Before the constitution of the Bruington Church the Baptists of the neighborhood met in a local barn. Later an arbor was erected where they might meet. It was here while James Greenwood and William Loval were preaching that they were arrested, and were conveyed to the King and Queen county jail. While being led to the jail they began to sing: “Life is the time to serve the Lord” and they gave notice that they would preach the next Lord’s Day from the jail windows.
The hymn that Greenwood and Loval sang challenges the Christian of today to use the time that God has given him or her to accomplish the work of Christ regardless of the hardships of this life. The hymn that they sang was written by Isaac Watts and may be found in The Baptist Hymnal of 1883 Edited by William H. Doane and E. H. Johnson.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 153-154.
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