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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Tag Archives: Baptist history
He opposed all infidelity
“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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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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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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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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Blacks receive the gospel gladly
1831 – Thomas Paul, one of the first black Baptist pastors is the one that we honor on this day. Paul was a “free black” born in Sept. 1773, and at 16 was born the second time. On May 1, 1805 he was ordained to the gospel ministry. Black Baptists were numerous at that time numbering an estimated 400,000 by the end of the Civil War. However, they had few Black churches and worshiped with the white folks but segregated in galleries, or in groups within their auditoriums. Bro. Paul formed the African Baptist Church in Boston, later called Joy Baptist, and served as their pastor for twenty years. According to one account, He was no ordinary man…”His understanding was vigorous, his imagination was vivid, his personal appearance interesting, and his elocution was graceful…” In time the Gold Street Baptist Church in New York invited him to help them. Paul assisted the black’s to separate from the whites and establish the Abyssinian Baptist Church, and even though a small group, Paul remained and led them as pastor. Because of Carey and Thomas, this was also the time that Baptists were awakening to the burden of missions. The Mass. Baptist Missionary Society was started in 1815. The African Baptist Missions Society was formed in Richmond, VA by black Baptists. Paul applied to the Mass. Society for service in Haiti, was accepted and went at age 55. However, the French language proved to be difficult and he returned home. Thomas passed into the presence of the Lord on April 14, 1831. What a tribute he was to the Lord and his race.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 152.
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He stood by the Word
1785 – Spencer H. Cone was born on this day at Princeton, N.J. to dedicated Baptist parents who were also members of the Hopewell Baptist Church. His mother prayed for him, while on her breast, and received the assurance that he would be a preacher of the gospel. At the age of 12 he entered Princeton College, but his father developed mental illness and he was forced, at age 14, to support the family. He worked as a bookkeeper, newspaper publisher, and an actor. He was devoted to the politics of Jefferson and Madison. He discovered the works of John Newton in a bookstore and came under deep conviction over his sinful condition, and that Christ alone could save him. Cone fought bravely in the War of 1812 as captain of artillery in several prominent battles. Shortly he began preaching in Washington, D.C. and became so popular that he was elected chaplain of the U.S. Congress. He then was pastor of a church in Alexandria, Virginia, and then became pastor of the First Baptist Church in NY, City. For nearly forty years he was a leader in home and foreign missions and in the great modern movement for a purely translated Bible. He fought the pedobaptists over the issue of baptizo meaning immerse. In his prime it was said that he was the most popular clergyman in America. Though he valued education, he was mostly concerned with the purity of the Word that men might truly know the mind of Christ in the Scriptures, translated faithfully into the languages of all men.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 150.
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They Sought a Place of Refuge
Jailed for refusing to pay a bond
William Screven emigrated to Boston from Somerton, England, about the year 1668. He moved to Kittery in the Province of Maine. After Massachusetts acquired the area of Main, the authorities began to watch Screven closely because of his Baptist views.
Ultimately, Screven was charged first with not attending meetings on the Lord’s Day. Later he was charged with making blasphemous speeches against the “holy order of pedobaptism,” after spending some time in jail for refusing to pay a bond of £100.
On April 12, 1682, he was brought before the Court at York, and the examination resulted as follows:
“This Court having considered the offensive speeches of William Screven, viz., his rash, inconsiderate words tending to blasphemy, do adjudge the delinquent for his offence to pay ten pounds into the treasury of the county or province. And further, the Court doth further discharge the said Screven under any pretence to keep any private exercise at his own house or elsewhere, upon the Lord’s days, either in Kittery or any other place within the limits of this province, and is for the future enjoined to observe the public worship of God in our public assemblies upon the Lord’s days according to the laws here established in this Province, upon such penalties as the law requires upon his neglect of the premises.”
Screven and his associates had now come to the conclusion that if at Kittery they could not have freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences, they must seek that freedom elsewhere.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: Baptist History Homepage , ( Rev. William Screven and the Baptists at Kittery , By Henry S. Burrage,
1904 ) pp. 18-19
Edward Wightman, the last Baptist to be executed by the fires of the stake at Lichfield outside the St. Mary’s Catholic Church on April 11, 1612. Bishop Neile of Lichfield and his coadjutors, who acted as Royal Commissioners on the occasion, were manifestly “forgers of Lies. “ Thomas Crosby mentions that “many of the heresies they charge upon him are as foolish and inconsistent, that it very much discredits what they say.” What was the real cause of his martyrdom? “Among other charges brought against him were these: ‘That the baptizing of infants is an abominable custom; that the Lord’s supper and baptism are not to be celebrated as they are now practiced in the church of England; and that Christianity is not wholly professed and preached in the church of England, but only in part’ “ Though they found him guilty of many heresies, some of which were probably unknown to him, even by name, the account that he claimed “the use of baptism to be administered in water only to converts of sufficient age and understanding.” Was true.
What kind of man really was Edward Wightman? His son, grandson, great grandson, for two more generations all pastored Baptist churches in America! That is a great tribute to his faith.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: A History of the Baptists, by John T. Christian /A History of the English Baptists, by Joseph Ivimey.
Ten Shillings or Ten Lashes
100– April 10—This Day in Baptist History Past
Joshua Morse, having been born April 10, 1726, his life spanned many eventful years during the establishment of our nation. At the age of eighteen he began his ministerial labors at a time when every man who opened his door for a dissenter to preach was fined five pounds, the preacher ten shillings, and hearers five shillings. The very first time that Morse preached at Stonington, CT he was apprehended, and the magistrate sentenced him to be fined ten shillings or to receive ten lashes at the whipping post. The fine he could not pay, and the lashes he was prepared to receive.
Morse was knocked down often by blows while praying and preaching as well as being dragged around by the hair of his head. On one occasion a man struck Morse in his temple with such violence that it brought him to the floor from which he arose with emotion and pity and said, “If you die a natural death, the LORD hath not spoken by me.” This man, not long after, went to sea, fell from the ship, and was drowned.
About a month before his death in July of 1795, he called his church together and gave them his last advice and benediction. He had composed a hymn to be sung at his funeral and chose a passage to be preached from, which was, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 144-145. / Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.