Source: Elder James S. Coleman
Category Archives: Church History
Posted: 08 Sep 2015 05:39 PM PDT
First Boston Meeting House
The Importance of Church Membership
Church membership at one time was much more important among fundamental Baptists than it seems to be in our day. As a case in point, we shall look at the record of the First Baptist Church of Boston. The church had been born in conflict, and many of the early members had been imprisoned for daring to establish such a witness in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. But the years passed, and we read of the second law of thermodynamics as it entered the spiritual realm. “the 9th mo 1684 Mr. Dingley & his daughter Recevd as members to comunion by letter of Recomendation. .. . . At A Church meeting September ye 13th 1685. It was agreed upon the Brother Drinker upon consideration of his neglecting to officiate in his place for A long time & still prsisting in soe doeing should be discharged from ye work & office of A Decon and be Admonished to his duty as a member. . . His admonition availed, for he was restored to his place as a member upon acknowledgment of his desertion and promise of Reforming. Hid did not long walk in fellowship with the church, but after two other admonitions, He was rejected for refusing to heare the Church according to the 18 Chap: Mathew: this was sollemly don 5th January 1695.” Church correction, for the most part, is tragically a thing of the past. Church membership in our day is but a badge of approval, and everyone is expected to join a church somewhere. Now the church is filled with unregenerate membership, and the church is no longer pure.
Posted: 17 Apr 2015 05:23 PM PDT
Teenager in Prison
“But he’s just a kid!” Surely those words could have been said of Joseph in Egypt, or of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Babylon. But that might also have been said of Andrei Yudintsev, who was eighteen when he and his friend, Vladimir Timchuk, were arrested during the Thanksgiving service at their Baptist church. The lads thought they might spend a short time in the local jail or be fined, but soon they discovered they were going to be “tried” and the mandatory “guilty” finding would confine them for years in prison. They were given prison terms of three and a half years. Following a brief incarceration in the local prison, the two were transported to different prison camps. On April 18, 1982, Andrei arrived in his camp where he worked as a welder. For two years, he had no Christian fellowship, but one day he was told that a fellow believer had been brought in. He rejoiced to meet Pavel Zinchenko and to discover that they had many mutual friends. The men continually encouraged each other which made the burdens of prison almost tolerable. In the course of time, a third believer, Vladimir Blasenko from Nikolaev, was also transferred into their camp. Vladimir had suffered severely for his faith, but his captors could not break his spirit. Valdimir was thrilled to discover that Andrei and Pavel had a New Testament, and he read late into the nights. Andrei reported: “At first it might seem that this was a waste of my youth, but when it was over, nothing remained except gratitude to the Lord and gladness. David says in Psalm 33, ‘For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy Name.’” “He’s just a kid?” Of Andrei we can say, he became a man, and a special kind of man, a man of God!
Dr. Dale R. Hart adapted from: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins. pp. 225 – 226
Posted: 15 Feb 2015 04:03 PM PST
Dr. Richard Furman
When church membership meant something
On Feb 16, 1750, Oliver Hart began his ministry in Charleston, S.C. at the Baptist church that was established when William Screven led his congregation to flee when they were persecuted in Kittery, Maine. Richard Furman who later became pastor, began his term of service in 1787. Following are some of the terms of church membership for the Charleston church at that time. Possibly the pendulum had swung too far to the right by then, but who can deny that in these days of “anything goes religion”, the pendulum has swung too far to the left, and in many instances, church membership has almost become meaningless. They had three main rules for church membership. First they were to notify the pastor of their desire for membership in time before the next communion seasons so that he could appoint the deacons or any other of the brethren that he may think proper, to visit the candidate to obtain needful information concerning their faith, character and life. The second phase involved a period where appointed people would spend a time of fellowship with the prospective members to become better acquainted with them. The third step would be a face to face meeting with the congregation where they would have the opportunity to ask the candidate any questions concerning their faith and repentance, etc. If all was well, they would then be baptized and admitted to all of the privileges of the church. Or they would accept them on receiving a letter of recommendation from the church from where they had come – The date was 1828.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 95-97.
Was met with violent opposition and persecution
October 30, 1753 – David Barrow was born into a plain farm family in Brunswick County, Virginia. After he received Christ at the age of 16, he was baptized by Zachariah Thompson and immediately began to exhort others to seek the Savior.
Though he had received very little education earlier, after he married he studied grammar under Elder Jeremiah Walker and became an excellent grammarian. Barrow was ordained in 1771 and traveled and preached extensively in Virginia and N. C. He became the pastor of Isle of Wight Church in 1774. His ministry was interrupted when he shouldered a musket in 1776 and entered the army to defend his newly established country.
Barrow’s exceptional deportment rendered him popular with all classes of men except the baser sort of “church men” who opposed the gospel of God’s grace (Anglican). His successful ministry was met with violent opposition and persecution. On one occasion in 1778, Barrow and Edward Mintz were preaching at the home of a man who lived near the mouth of the James River. A gang of well dressed “church men” came up on the stage that had been erected under some trees. As soon as the hymn had been given out the “church men” began singing obscene songs. Then they grabbed Barrow and plunged him under some nearby water, twice burying his head in the mud to the point that he couldn’t breathe. Barrow barely escaped with his life. Within a few weeks, three or four of their persecutors died in a very strange manner. Barrow and the other men disregarded the threats and continued to preach without further problems. Many were saved, baptized, and a church was organized.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 450-51.
This is a day of apostacy that is as great as what Spurgeon faced. Those that will stand will face anger, arrogance, and ridicule for standing faithfully for the express truths of the Word of God.
Controversy isolated Spurgeon
October 28, 1887 – Charles Haddon Spurgeon withdrew from the Baptist Union. During the height of the dispute before he withdrew he wrote the following that gives insight as to the condition of the Union at the time. “No lover of the Gospel can conceal from himself the fact that the days are evil. A new religion has been initiated, which is no more Christianity than chalk is cheese, and this religion, being destitute of moral honesty, palms itself off as the old faith with slight improvements, and on this plea usurps pulpits which were erected for Gospel preaching. The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of the Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the Resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them!” At the back of doctrinal falsehood comes a natural decline of spiritual life, evidenced by a taste for questionable amusements, and a weariness of devotional meetings. Spurgeon’s early complaints centered upon three problems; the decline of prayer meetings among the Baptist churches, the worldliness of ministers relating to entertainment, and doctrinal problems which stemmed from the inroads of the “higher criticism” of that day. This controversy isolated Spurgeon from many who refused to stand with him for the defense of biblical truth. Many believe that the grief and conflict of this battle hastened his death after a period of illness at Mentone in Southern France. He died on Jan. 31, 1892 at 57 years of age. In our day when apostasy abounds, God grant us men of God like him.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 447-48.
October 26, 1793 – Lewis Lunsford, at the approximate age of 40 fell asleep in the arms of Jesus. Lunsford’s life was terminated in the prime of his life, leaving a family and a fruitful ministry.
Lewis was born in Stafford County, Virginia around 1753. Early in his life, while attending William Fristoe’s meetings, he was deeply convicted and gloriously saved through the gospel of God’s grace. After being baptized by Fristoe, he began to stand up as an advocate for the gospel. Lunsford’s talents commanded the attention of many and procured for him the appellation of “The Wonderful Boy.”
Wherever he went, there was blessing, but his message also attracted opposition. Once there assembled a congregation at a stage built on the property of a Mr. Stephen Hall near Mundy’s Point. After he had read his text, some who were well armed with staves and pistols drew near to attack him. Some of his followers, not listening to Lunsford’s pleas to the contrary began pulling up fence stakes to defend him. Several with pistols mounted the stage when it collapsed. Lunsford made it to Hall’s house and took refuge in an upper room. One of the armed ruffians asked for the privilege of debating with Lewis which the request was granted. When the man returned his countenance was totally changed, and his response to his friends was, “You had better converse with him yourselves, “Never a man spake like this.” They answered him, “Are ye also deceived?” This transformed ruffian never saw Lunsford again because of his ill timed death. Apparently pneumonia had set in. He preached his last sermon from Rom. 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 444-45.
“Amen-even so, come Lord Jesus’
October 24, 1826 – Ann Hasseltine Judson died in Burma, having been struck down by a violent fever, in the absence of her beloved missionary husband Adoniram. He had left for an extended journey that would consume several months. Writing to Ann’s mother he related, “Our parting was much less painful than many others had been. We had been preserved through so many trials and vicissitudes, that a separation of three or four months, attended no hazards, to either party, seemed a light thing. We parted therefore, with cheerful hearts, confident of a speedy reunion, and indulging fond anticipations of future years of domestic happiness.”
He concluded a later letter with these words: “Where glories shine and pleasures roll, That charm, delight, transport the soul; And every panting wish shall be, Possessed of boundless bliss in thee.” And there my dear mother, we also soon shall be, uniting and participating in the felicities of heaven with her, for whom we now mourn. “Amen-even so, come Lord Jesus.”
We can be thankful that the life and work of Ann Hasseltine Judson was preserved in letters written by her Husband, Adoniram, by Ann herself, and others. She wrote from Rangoon, Sept. 26, 1815: “You doubtless are expecting to hear by this time of the Burmese inquiring what shall they do to be saved, and rejoicing that we have come to tell them how they shall escape eternal misery. Alas, you know not the difficulty of communicating the least truth to the dark mind of a heathen, particularly those heathen who have a concerted notion of their own wisdom and knowledge, and the superior excellence of their religious system.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 441-42.
William Penn… saw her lay the straw about her for a speedy burning
October 23, 1685 – Elizabeth Gaunt was executed at Tyburn, near London. She was associated in English history with what was called the Rye-house Plot. Many were executed for participating in a non-existent “plot” to assassinate King Charles II. However, there was never any evidence presented against them in court. Elizabeth Gaunt, a godly Baptist woman who lived in London, spent a great part of her life doing acts of charity, visiting jails, and looking after the poor, etc. But her compassion became her undoing. An accused rebel was looking for refuge from his pursuers. Elizabeth thinking that he was escaping from religious persecution took him in while she looked for a way to get him out of the kingdom. In order to save his own life, he turned Elizabeth in to the authorities, because though it’s hard to believe, the king would rather prosecute dissenters than traitors. Elizabeth was tried and condemned for harboring a criminal. Even though she thought she was harboring a nonconformist and in the eye of the law innocent the judge refused to allow her witnesses to testify and instructed the jury to find her guilty. Elizabeth was condemned and burned, as the law directed in the case of women guilty of treason. She died with a steadfastness and cheerfulness that amazed all who saw it. William Penn, the Quaker, saw her lay the straw about her for a speedy burning, and saw the spectators moved with tears. She left a short note, in part it said: “Neither do I find in my heart the least regret at anything I have done in the service of my Lord and Master…”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 439-41.
‘Gone to the Baptists’
Oct. 22, 1795 – Was the day that Baptist historian and pastor, Isaac Backus heard Stephen Parsons preach, according to an entry in Backus’ diary. Parsons, a native of Middletown, Conn., and a member of the Separatist Congregational church in his home town became pastor of the branch that formed in Westfield, Conn. in 1788. However, in 1795, after much study on the subject, Parsons rejected infant baptism and was dismissed from his church.
Parsons was baptized by Elder Abel Palmer, Pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Colchester, Conn. Seven of his former members went with him and they formed a Baptist church in Westfield. Later Parsons became pastor of the Baptist church in Whiteboro, N.Y. The split in the Congregational Church started with the Revivals of George Whitefield. The decadent Congregational churches were inundated with new converts from the Whitefield and other revivals of that era. In time the new, on fire converts left, and started new Congregational churches called “Separates” or “New Lights.”
The new churches however were cut off from the tax revenues for the upkeep of their church buildings and pastors salaries. At this point, absent infant baptism they were only a step away from being Baptists. Coen says it well: ‘Gone to the Baptists’ is a frequent entry in the record books of the Separate churches beside the names of former members who had adopted the principle of believer’s, as opposed to infant’s baptism.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: from This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 577 – 78.