Shine as the Stars
How unlikely that a pastor who lived his entire life from birth to death in a rural area would ever have such godly influence as to baptize almost 5,000 people. In the country churchyard of Bethel Baptist Church in Charlotte County, Virginia, a modest grave marker designates the resting place of the body of the beloved pastor Elijah White Roach. How fitting that the words of Daniel 12:3 have been incised on the marker: “They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever.”
In coming to maturity, Elijah made a profession of faith and became a member of the local Baptist church. As he matured spiritually and developed leadership, he was invited occasionally to preach. At that time, a seasoned pastor, Abram Poindexeter, took Elijah under his wing and began to train him for Christian service. Elijah’s ability in the pulpit grew, and the following year a church building was constructed in Midway and thirteen members constituted the new church, and Elijah was ordained and became the pastor of that congregation. The church grew immediately. He preached two hundred times a year and kept up with pastoral visitation. Other congregations were formed, and in time Elijah was pastoring four such churches. Elijah W. Roach preached into his eighty-seventh year. In fact on the Lord’s Day before his home-going, he preached at the Midway Baptist Church, then arriving home on Monday, he fell asleep in Jesus. Great crowds gathered for his funeral, and the text used was the goal of his life. “They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 112-114.
Daniel Marshall Baptized Samuel Harris.
“the arrow of the Almighty stuck fast.”
Samuel Harris led the charge for the Separate Baptists in Virginia. He was born, Jan. 12, 1724 but not born again until 1758. He was a nobleman, in that he held several positions of honor. He served as sheriff, colonel of the militia, and captain of Fort Mayo. But under the preaching of the Murphy boys he said that, “the arrow of the Almighty stuck fast.” Daniel Marshall baptized him, and he was ordained in 1769. He first preached in Culpepper County but was driven out of town by a mob. In Orange County he was pulled from the platform by a roughneck and abused until rescued by friends. On another occasion he was knocked down while preaching. However, even then he didn’t suffer as other Baptist preachers did. Take the case of “Swearing Jack Waller.” He was on the jury at the trial of Lewis Craig. Craig told the jury, “I take joyfully the spoiling of my goods for Christ’s sake. While I lived in sin the jury took no notice of me.” John Waller’s heart was melted and he was saved and in time became an honored Separate Baptist preacher. One time while he was preaching he was assaulted by an Anglican parson and a sheriff. The parson stuffed his whip handle down his throat but he returned and continued to preach. John Taylor, John Koontz, William Webber, David Barrow, Lewis Lunsford, John Pickett, James Ireland, and Elijah Baker all suffered at the hands of mobs as they attempted to preach the gospel. Sometimes snakes were thrown into their midst. Many attacks were made at their baptism’s. At times preachers were plunged into the mud with the threat of drowning. It could surely be said of them that they were sent forth as, “sheep among wolves.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins /, pp. 24-26.
On Jan. 10, 1887, the Baptists of Burma sent a reply to the Anglican Bishop of Rangoon, Burma, and the British and American Bible Societies request made in 1886 to reprint Judson’s Burmese translation but with one change – replacing “immerse” with the transliteration “baptize.” Judson’s reply to an earlier request had been, “I would rather lose my right hand than tamper with the Word of God.” The Baptists said that they understand that they want to use the transliteration “baptize” or a neutral word that all denominations might use, rather than the word “immerse”, “not on the ground that [it] is an incorrect or inadequate translation of the Greek word, but because it is not acceptable to other denominations of Christians. You seem to regard it as more important to please these other denominations than to make the Burman version mean the same thing to the Burman that the Greek Testament means to the Greek…We are compelled to decline.” After giving several supporting reasons to back up this opening statement the letter closes with this poignant thought: “What you really mean is, that you will not circulate such a version if it be made by Baptists…you will circulate it if made or used by a people who say, ‘I immerse thee,’ when they simply apply their wet fingers to the forehead of the candidate…” J.N. Murdock, Cor.[esponding] Secretary. As David L. Cummins says, “May we be as faithful as these Baptists in upholding the truth of God’s Word”!
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins /, pp. 20-22.