First Baptists in Kentucky
1776 – On this date the Baptists arrived in Harrodsburg, Kentucky and the first recorded Baptist preaching was done by William Hickman and Thomas Tinsley. Two years later Hickman was ordained in Virginia and spent eight years of service there.
Though not imprisoned at that time he received a great deal of rude persecution. In the summer of 1784 the Hickman family moved permanently to Kentucky and for the next four years William ministered at every opportunity which resulted in the establishing of the Forks of Elkhorn Church, where he pastored until his death in 1834. That was a period of forty-five years except when he was out of fellowship with the church for two years over the issue of slavery, which he opposed.
During the great revival period of 1800-1803, Elder Hickman baptized over five hundred converts. William was born in Virginia on Feb. 4, 1747. His parents died while he was but a lad, and he became a ward of his grandmother. His educational opportunities were limited, but his grandmother gave him a Bible and insisted that he read it.
When he was fourteen he was apprenticed to learn a trade, and in nine years he was secure enough to marry his master’s daughter Sarah Sanderson. Soon after, he learned that the Baptists (then called New Lights) were in the area, and against his wife’s wishes, he went to hear the preaching.
The next day he went to a public “dipping” of converts and was deeply moved even to tears. The next fall they moved to Cumberland County, KY, and the Lord brought his wife to faith in Christ.
William was saved under the preaching of David Tinsley on Feb. 21, 1773 and baptized two months later, after rejecting Episcopal christening.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 133.
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Tag Archives: baptist
First Baptists in Kentucky
Baptists are not Protestants
1528 – May this ever mark the day, that it is settled in blood, that Baptists are not Protestants. Balthazar Hubmaer was burned at the stake with his wife urging him to remain strong. Sulfur and gunpowder was rubbed into his long beard. All the time he was exhorting others, praying for forgiveness, exhorting others, and commending his spirit unto God. Three days later his dear wife joined him as they drowned her in the Danube River. Once again we see the State Church staining its garments with the blood of the saints. Hubmaer was born in Bavaria in 1480 and studied Theology under Dr. Eck, Luther’s antagonist, but had embraced Luther’s views by 1522. He became allied with Zwingli and assisted him in his debates with the Catholics in 1523 and became a close friend. Being a Biblical scholar, he soon discovered that the Reformation in Zurich had not gone back to the apostolic model, he deliberately embraced Anabaptist principles, which caused a severe rupture in his relationship with Zwingli. He formed an Anabaptist church and baptized more than three hundred of is former hearers. He would preach in the open air, and soon the population became largely Baptist. His popularity soon attracted the attention of the Protestants and Catholics alike and he was soon arrested and taken to the dungeon. There he appealed to his old friend Zwingli, the emperor, and to the Confederation and Council, to no avail. His health broke, his wife was in jail and his only hope was recantation on infant baptism. Finally they broke him, but at the church when he was to read his confession, God gave him strength, and he rose up and shouted, “Infant baptism is not of God, and men must be baptized by faith in Christ.” The authorities rushed him and dragged him back to the dungeon and death.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 98.
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The Missions enterprise begins
1814 – BECAUSE OF ADONIRAM AND ANN JUDSON, BAPTISTS IN AMERICA FORM THEIR FIRST MISSIONS ORGANIZATION – On February 19, 1814 Baptists in America organized for the first time to support the cause of world-wide missions. It all started in 1808 when Adoniram Judson, though unsaved entered Andover Theological Seminary. He was saved in Sept. and immediately surrendered to the ministry. During his first year he read a sermon entitled “Star in the East,” and Feb. 1809 he determined to be a missionary. In June he met Ann Hasseltine who would become his wife. In Sept. he was commissioned as a missionary; and on Feb. 5, 1812, he and Ann were married. On Feb. 6 he was ordained a Congregational minister; and on the 19th, they sailed on the brig Caravan for Calcutta, India. Their honeymoon was spent on the long voyage that ended on June 17 with their arrival after a very pleasant journey. Great changes took place for the Judson’s aboard ship. Judson, knowing that he would be located in the vicinity of William Carey and other English Baptist missionaries thought that he should be able to defend his position on the subject of baptism and began a complete investigation in the N.T. in the original languages. He was amazed to find, after a long struggle, that pedobaptism could not be found anywhere in the N.T. and came to adopt the Baptist position. It was on Sept. 6, 1812 that Adoniram and Ann Judson were immersed in the Baptist chapel in Calcutta. Later Ann wrote a friend saying, “thus, my dear Nancy, we are confirmed Baptists, not because we wished to be, but because truth compelled us to be…We feel that we are alone in the world, with no real friend but each other, no one on whom we can depend but God.” Judson wrote to the Third Congregational Church in Plymouth: “I knew that I had been sprinkled in infancy, and that this had been deemed baptism. But throughout the whole N.T. I could find nothing that looked like sprinkling, in connection with the ordinance of Baptism…” Out of this came the great missions’ effort of Baptists mentioned above that continues to this day.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 69.
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Posted: 03 Feb 2014 12:00 PM PST
Being a Baptist was a crime
1774 – DAVID TINSLEY AND HIS FELLOW BAPTISTS, WERE DEFENDED BY PATRICK HENRY FOR PREACHING WITHOUT A LICENSE – David Tinsley was arrested on February 4, 1774. According to the Order Book of Chesterfield County, Virginia, Number 5, page 400, the charges were as follows: “David Tinsley being committed, charged with having assembled and preached to the people at sundry times and places in this county as a Baptist preacher, and the said David, acknowledging in court that he has done so. On consideration thereof the court being of opinion that the same is the breach of the peace & good behavior, It is ordered that he give surety…of the penalty of 50 pounds & two sureties in penalty of 25 pounds each.” This means that his crime was preaching the gospel as a Baptist. March 4 of the same year, Archibald W. Roberts was indicted for using hymns and poems instead of the psalms of David following communion and the sermon. Tinsley was confined for four months and 16 days in which he and fellow prisoners preached to the assembled crowds through the grates of the prison. The Association meeting at Hall’s Meeting House in Halifax County passed a resolution on behalf of the suffering preachers and received an offering for their defense. The money was wrapped in a handkerchief and sent to Patrick Henry to defend the preachers. Finally the jailers erected a wall over the window of the jail but when the crowd gathered a handkerchief on a pole told the preachers that the people were ready to hear and they commenced to preach. Those gathered became known as the “bandana brigade.” Fasting and prayer gained their release. There were only two more arrests, one in 1775 and the other in 1778 before permanent liberty was secured. There were many conversions however.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 47.
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A Presbyterian became a Baptist
1896 – This was the day that one of America’s greatest Bible expositors, Dr. A.T. Pierson was immersed, in his own words, “to fulfill all righteousness” by Spurgeon’s brother, Dr. James A. Spurgeon at the West Croydon Chapel, London. Dr. Pierson, one of the most successful Presbyterian ministers in America, counted among his personal friends such as D.L. Moody, Charles H. Spurgeon, George Muller and A.J. Gordon. His pulpit ministry was so effective that he resigned in 1859 to devote his full time to Missionary crusades. In 1891 he was invited to serve the Metropolitan Tabernacle in the Spurgeon’s absence for up to six months, until Spurgeon should recover from his illness. However, on Jan. 31, 1892, Spurgeon died and Pierson continued the pulpit ministry while Spurgeon’s brother James carried on the pastoral responsibilities. Pierson had slowly been coming to Baptist views and believed that he should request baptism but feared that his motives would be questioned. When the Tabernacle called Spurgeon’s son Thomas as pastor that relieved him of that stigma and he was baptized by on Feb. 1 the day that he was invited to preach at Spurgeon’s Tabernacle. His motives were still questioned and on April 6, 1896, the Philadelphia Presbytery requested his resignation. “With peace of heart produced by obedience, Pierson wrote the presbytery, ‘Had I this action to take again I would only do it more promptly…’ Thank God for the testimony of Dr. A.T. Pierson.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp.
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Parsons Rejects Infant “Baptism”
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. [C.C. Coen, Revivalism and Separatism in New Englan, 1740-1800 (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1987), p.86. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 577-79.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
Persecution before Communism in Russia
1870 - Vasilia Ivanhoff, was baptized in the Fiflis River, following his conversion to Christ, having been born under the government of Elizabethpol, Russia in 1848. He is one of the prime examples that persecution in Russia against the Gospel of Christ, and especially against Baptists, was in full effect even before the Communist revolution of 1917. Soon after he was saved, Vasilia was called to preach the gospel, and from that time he began to experience severe persecution. As he traveled without a passport, which was denied, he was arrested, tried and exiled. In 1895 he again was arrested and served in Siberia for four years as a beast of burden, chained to fifteen other men and made to grind corn on a treadmill. Under his ministry a Baptist church was established at Baku, his home town, which soon consisted of three hundred members. His testimony at sixty-three was that his persecution began at age twenty-two when he became a Baptist. He said, “Since that time most of my life has been spent in prison and exile.” He said that he had seen the inside of thirty-one different prisons. “…I have baptized over fifteen hundred men and women, most of them at night in some lonely place away from the eyes of the police. Often I have chopped through the ice in order to administer baptism. Once I baptized a group of eighty-six persons.” Vasilia, and others like him, are the forebears of the unregistered Baptist church movement in Russia that survived the Communist era that still exists today. [J.N. Prestridge, Modern Baptist Heroes and Martyrs (Louisville, Ky.: World Press, 1911), pp. 23-24. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 576-77.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
Baptists prevailed over Communism
1917 – Was the culmination of the Communist revolution that took place in Russia that overthrew the tsarist empire and brought that land under the clutches of atheism. ”. Baptist history in that country has ever been filled with persecution and martyrdoms. Baptists first entered that nation in modern times in 1867, and by 1879 had gained legal standing as a “sect”. However, from the very beginning their main enemy was the Russian Orthodox Church, whose goal was always to destroy the Baptist witness. Church buildings were confiscated, pastors jailed, and even the children of parents were taken from them. In the face of all of this the Baptists have continued unabated. When Lenin first came into power the Baptists received a reprieve, but under Stalin’s reign of terror all of that changed quickly. In the decade of the thirties alone 22,000 out of 25,000 pastors and preachers were either shot or died in prison camps. However, the Russian Orthodox Church could easily co-exist with the communist regime because that form of religion presented only a dead and empty ritual with no reality. Communism could not allow Bible-believers to continue to evangelize, because their faith called for a personal knowledge of and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to remember though, that the Bible-based distinctives that have marked Baptists throughout the world have remained evident in the Soviet Union. Like the Inspiration of the scriptures, a regenerated church membership, the ordinances of baptism by immersion, the Lord supper, the autonomy of the local church, and the separation of church and state. [Georgi Vins, Loving the God of Truth (Toronto, Canada: Britannia Printers, 1996), p. 241. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D.607-09.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
They “Held the Rope”
1792 – Is a day that should live forever in the hearts of Bible believing Baptists, for it was on that day that the first modern-day mission agency was founded. William Carey, Andrew Fuller, and a small group of Baptist pastors from the Northhamptonshire Baptist Association in Great Britain formed the Baptist Missionary Society, or the B.M.S. for short. Dr. John Collett Ryland, Jr. was to become the driving force behind the eventual success of the B.M.S. He was the son of Rev. John C. Ryland, Sr. and was born in 1753 in Warwick and educated in his father’s school. He served for fifteen years as his fathers assistant at the College Lane Church, Northhampton, before succeeding him as pastor of that Baptist congregation in 1786. It was while assistant to his father that he baptized William Carey in the River Nen on Oct. 5, 1783. His diary entry said, “I baptized a poor journeyman cobbler.” In 1792 he became pastor of Broadmead Baptist in Bristol and principal of Bristol Baptist College where many men were trained for the ministry and missions. He followed Fuller as the Secretary of the B.M.S. and traveled extensively and preached nearly 9,000 sermons, much of it for the cause of missions. Twenty-six of his students went on to the mission field. Carey had challenged Ryland, Sutcliff, Fuller, and Pearce to “hold the rope” while he went into the mine of India. They didn’t disappoint him. Dr. Ryland died in 1825 at 72 years of age. [Norman S. Moon, Education for Ministry-Bristol Baptist College 1679-1979 (Rushden, Norrthhamptonshire: Stanley L. Hunt, Ltd. 1979), p. 113. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 539-40.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
Knibb – Center
He Helped Defeat the Slave Code
1803 – William Knibb was born in Kettering, England, eleven years after the first missionary society in modern history was founded in the same place in 1792. His father gave no indication of salvation, but his mother took the children to Sunday school at the Independent Chapel. William moved to Bristol with his older brother Thomas, and was baptized by Dr. John Ryland in 1822. Thomas went to Jamaica as a schoolmaster and died within four months. William applied to the same mission society to take his place, married on Oct. 1824, and sailed for that other world a month later. His heart broke to see the injustice of slavery. The Society wrote him to have nothing to do with civil or political affairs. He raised the money to set a Black slave free who had been flogged and made to work on a chain gang for two weeks because he attended a prayer meeting. He helped defeat the Slave Code which would have made missionary work among slaves impossible. He also went to England in 1832 to help Wilberforce in his effort to pass the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 through the British Parliament, which abolished slavery throughout most of the British Empire. He died in 1845 at the age of forty-two. [Ernest A. Payne, The Great Succession (London: Carey Press, 1946), p.44. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 490-91.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon