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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Three generations of pastors
1832 – Jabez Marshall died and ended three generations of the Marshall’s family as the pastors of the Kiokee Baptist Church in Georgia. His father Abraham and his grandfather Daniel had followed before him. Jabez died of the complication of measles at the age of thirty-nine along with that of an overworked body. This ended sixty years of the ministry of this one family. Jabez was also the pastor of the Sharon Baptist Church and had founded the Salem Baptist Church. Jabez had performed the marriage of Issachar J. Roberts in 1830 and his bride who pioneered a missions to lepers in China and finally died there of leprosy himself in 1866. Jabez was a zealous advocate of all mission’s activities at that time. At his own request he was buried at the church rather than in the family cemetery. The Marshall family were Separate Baptists who ministered from 1772 to 1832. Jabez was the oldest son of Abraham and Ann Marshall, but his early life didn’t hold much hope of spiritual fulfillment. His father sent him off to college but he had little interest in an academic life. When he returned home he was soon under great conviction of sin and was saved and baptized. It wasn’t long until he was preaching and exhorting, and after proving the sincerity of his faith was ordained into the gospel ministry. Abraham passed away in the summer of 1819 and Jabez served as the interim pastor of the church and then was called as full time pastor in Nov. 1821. It wasn’t long that he proved himself to be the same caliber Shepherd that his father and grandfather had been for the flock. He was persuasive in his preaching, and is messages never lacked doctrinal undergirding. What a great reunion day that must have been when all three Marshall’s met again when home at last.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 127.
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Tremont Baptist Temple Today
Beauty from ashes
1843 – On this date Timothy Gilbert, S.H. Shipley, Thomas Gould, and William S. Donwell purchased the Tremont Theater for $55,000 and remodeled it at a further cost of nearly $25,000. Their purpose was noble; they desired to provide a meeting house for the Tremont Street Baptist Church, and also to provide “free seats” for the poor and strangers coming into Boston, Massachusetts to seek employment. The practice at that time was to rent pews for the support of the churches. The main auditorium had a seating capacity of 2,000 and met the needs of the congregation until March 31, 1852, when it was totally destroyed by fire. However, by May 25, 1853 the church was laying the foundation for a new facility which was finished on Christmas Day in which they held their first public service with new pews and an organ. The owners transferred ownership to the Evangelical Baptist Benevolent and Missionary Society. The Society granted a lease to the Tremont Street Baptist Church for the use of the building as a place of worship and teaching of God’s Word as long as they supported a good and sufficient pastor and all the pews remained free of charge. On the night of Aug. 14, 1879, the building again was razed by fire, but the directors took immediate steps to rebuild and go on with the ministry. The objectives of the Tremont Baptist Temple was to maintain evangelistic preaching, to support and provide colporteur (distribute religious books) and missionary laborers in Boston and the surrounding areas, as well as to provide in a special way for the spiritual needs of the destitute. On March 19, 1893, Tremont Temple burned again. All was destroyed, including their valuable library and museum, but out of the ashes Tremont built again and continued on for Christ.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 112.
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A FAITHFUL SERVANT – PAIN AND SUFFERING ASIDE
1754 – Caleb Blood, born in Charlton, Massachusetts, while attending a dance at 20 years old was struck with his sinfulness and gloriously converted. Because he progressed so rapidly in his knowledge and understanding of the Word of God, within a year and a half he was licensed to preach by the Baptist church in Charlton in 1776 and became an itinerant preacher. In 1777 he was ordained and served a newly formed Baptist church for four years in Marlow, New Hampshire. In 1781 he accepted a call to Pastor in Newton, Mass., where he served for seven years. During this time he was active with the Warren Association combating the doctrines of Universalism. In 1788 he accepted the Pastorate of the Fourth Baptist Church of Shaftsbury, Vermont where he served with great blessings for twenty years. During 1798-99 a great revival broke out where Blood saw great numbers added to his church. He always discouraged an excess of mere feelings and knew well the difference between the genuine operation of the Holy Spirit and mere human excitement. During this time he also traveled in missionary expansion into the northwest sections of New York and Canada. From 1791 to 1807 he also served as a Trustee for the University of Vermont. In 1807 he assumed the pastorate of the Third Baptist Church of Boston, Mass. Tragedy struck when Blood suffered a blow to his face. It looked small at first, but he suffered great physical pain the rest of his life, as well as being depressed in spirit. But he never stopped preaching even accepting his last pastorate at the First Baptist Church in Portland, Maine. He died on March 6, 1814. He had perfect peace and expressed one great desire that ministers might be faithful, souls saved, and his Master glorified. He was one of the leading Baptist ministers in Massachusetts and Vermont. He authored several tracts on the differences between Baptists and pedobaptists, another one for youth and another on marriage. During his ministry Baptists were debating the propriety of their members being allied with secret societies, such as Freemasons. Blood was one of the first early Baptists to speak out against the participation of Baptists with any secret societies.
Barbara Ketay from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 92-93.
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Congregational singing began
1640 — In that we have no leap year in 2014 we are going to use the entry of Feb. 29 on this date because of its importance to our Baptist churches. This was the day that Benjamin Keach was born into the home of John Keach of Buckinghamsire, England. By the age of 15 Benjamin became convinced of believers baptism and submitted himself to the ordinance upon his profession of faith in Christ. By the age of 18, the society of believers that he fellowshipped with saw fit to set him apart for the gospel ministry. At age twenty-eight he became pastor of the Baptist church in Horsleydown, London. In the beginning they met in homes because of the persecution but finally built a meeting house which was enlarged several times up to nearly a thousand. He wrote many treatises and apologies on the issues of his day which found him in court on many occasions. He not only differed with the state church officials but with some of his Baptist brethren relating to doctrine and practice. Baptists have always differed on non- cardinal issues. One such controversy involved congregational singing. Because of persecution, it had been necessary to avoid singing in worship until around 1680. The whole issue turned on one point, whether there was precept or example of the converted and unconverted, to join in the singing as a part of divine worship. Also they believed that those whom God gifted could sing as the heart dictated the melody but not by rhyme or written note. First they only sang at the Lord’s Supper and then later after the sermon and prayer. Some of the dissenters would leave the building and stand in the yard. Later they withdrew and started their own non-singing church, but then started singing around 1793. Thanks to Benjamin Keach and others we have congregational singing in our churches today.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 83.
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30 – January 30 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PASTThe first church in Tennessee
1806 – A BAPTIST CHURCH WAS THE FIRST CHURCH OF ANY KIND IN THE STATE OF TENNESSEE – Tidence Lane died on January 30, 1806. He was born near Baltimore, MD on August 31, 1724. His Anglican father Richard was an ardent opponent of the Baptists. The message of the Separate Baptists had a great effect on Tidence after the family moved to North Carolina. He married Esther Bibber in May 1743 and heard Shubal Stearns preach, fell under conviction and was gloriously saved. In 1758 his younger brother Dutton was saved and both boys were called to preach. His father was so irate that he pursued the youngest brother with the intent to kill him. Tidence and Esther had nine children, seven of them sons. Pressures, from the British Governor William Tryon against the Baptists, caused Tidence to turn toward Tennessee where the gospel had never been declared. His was the first church of any denomination organized in the State of Tenn. In 1779. he was the first Moderator of the First Association in the state, organized on October 21, 1786, 10 years before Tenn. was admitted into the Union. Lane’s success was so great that by 1790 Tenn. had 18 churches, 21 preachers and 889 members.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/ pg. 40.
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“Blest be the tie that binds…”
1740 – John Fawcett was born, who later became the pastor of the Baptist Church at Wainsgate, England. He had been converted under the preaching of George Whitefield. At age 19 he had been baptized into the fellowship of the Baptist Church at Bradford. His ordination took place in 1765, when he became the pastor at Wainesgate. Six years later Dr. John Gill died, leaving the famed Baptist church at Southwark, London, without a pastor. Fawcett was offered the position, but upon news of their leaving Wainesgate, the congregation was filled with grief. In those days it was rare for a pastor to move, and he would live and die among the people that he served in the gospel. When the fateful day came, a van was sent from London to remove their belongings. Tearful men and women stood around and watched them carry the pastor’s things to the van. Mrs. Fawcett went back into the home weeping, and said to her husband, “I know not how to go.” He replied, “Neither do I.” At that they ordered the things to be taken off the van and placed back in the house. After the moving men and the good people had left them alone, John Fawcett sat down and wrote the beloved hymn: “Blest be the tie that binds, Our hearts in Christian love; The fellowship of kindred minds; Is like to that above.” In later years he became a Dr. of Divinity and was invited to be the Principal of Bristol College, but he died as he had lived, among his own people. King George III having read some of his writings contacted to ask him if he could do anything for him, which he declined. Later his influence with the King was used to save a man from being executed, and several others from heavy legal penalties.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 08-09.
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Results of Baptist missions in Italy
1832 – Dr. George Boardman Taylor was born, and when the call came for service in Italy he was already forty-one years of age. By then he had been educated at the University of Virginia and had served as pastor of churches in Baltimore, MD, and Staunton, VA. He was a chaplain during the Civil war having served in the Twenty-fifth Virginia Regiment under General Stonewall Jackson and had been wounded in battle. In 1880 Rev. and Mrs. J.H. Eager joined them in the ministry. However the mission suffered a setback in March of 1884 because of the death of Mrs. Taylor, which was deeply felt by all. By 1899 some fourteen churches had been founded on the Island of Sardinia and the cities of Rome, Milan, Venice, Bologna, and Naples. Also the missionaries reported that new stations were constantly being opened, and baptisms were more frequent than ever before, and the people were more eager to listen to the Word. Dr. Taylor’s labors continued thirty-four years until he was called home on Sept. 28, 1907, and then his son-in-law, Dexter G. Whittinghill, who had arrived in 1901 to assist him, was able to continue on with the mission. In 1923 the work had prospered to the point that there were fifty-seven churches with just over 2,300 total members. In 1863, James Wall and Edward Clark, two Baptists from England went to Italy. In 1845 Dr. William N. Cote was the first to go from America. Dr. Cote, with the help of an Italian convert, started the first Baptist church with eighteen members on Jan. 28, 1871. Problems then arose that caused Dr. Cote to resign, and Dr. Taylor was asked to take his place, and stabilize the work. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: 2000 A.D. pp. 709-10. George Braxton Taylor, Southern Baptists in Sunny Italy (New York: Walter Neal, Publisher, 1929), p. 30.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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Preached the first Baptist sermon in Oregon
1851 – Dr. Rueben Hill, on Christmas day, organized a Baptist church in Corvallis, Oregon, making Corvallis his major point of service for the next sixteen years. Dr. Hill had come there from Albany, Oregon where he preached the first Baptist sermon ever preached in the state. He planted churches, and served for twelve years as moderator for the Central Baptist Association. He also drew up the charter for the McMinnville College. In 1870 he was made the financial agent of the college and his salary provided scholarships for impoverished Baptist preachers. He also served in the Oregon territorial legislature for two terms. Rev. Rueben Coleman Hill, M.D. was born of humble beginnings in Kentucky on March 27, 1808. He disciplined himself to obtain a good education by his own efforts. When twenty-five, he married Miss Margaret Lair. Dr. Hill received Christ and was baptized into the Knob Creek Baptist Church in Maury County, TN. He served as a deacon and at thirty-six was licensed by the church to preach. In 1846 after evidence of God’s blessings upon his ministry he was ordained as a gospel preacher. From there he founded a rapidly growing Baptist church in Keetsville, MO. Great revivals were held in Springfield and in Arkansas. The gold rush broke out in California and the Hills joined a caravan heading west. He preached every Lord’s Day and witnessed incessantly on the way. When they arrived at Mud Springs, CA, gospel services were begun in the shade of a large tree. When the diggings dried up the town dried up too. From there the Hills moved on to Oregon. Dr. Hill died on Dec. 31, 1890.
[This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: 2000 A.D. pp. 705-06. C. H. Mattoon, Baptist Annals of Oregon (McMinnville, Oreg.: Telephone Register Publishing Co., 1905), 1:82.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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