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He Had a Baptist Bible

Oliver Willis Van Osdel was born to godly Methodist parents on October 30, 1846, in the village of Middlebush, near Poughkeepsie, New York. His father was a blacksmith and served the Lord until his death. The family moved to Illinois in 1854. Oliver intended to prepare for a career in law but sensed God’s call to the ministry. This led him to an examination of his own beliefs. Though Methodist by heritage, he had come to the conclusion that New Testament truth was most accurately taught by the Baptist people. Thus on March 7, 1869 Oliver was baptized by immersion and joined the Baptist church of Yorkville, Illinois. That night he preached his first sermon. When Oliver’s family pressed him about his decision to become a Baptist, he replied flatly that: “he had a Baptist Bible.” Oliver attended the old Chicago Baptist Theological Seminary, and in 1874 he assumed the pastorate of the Community Baptist Church in Warrenville, Illinois, and was ordained to the ministry on April 30, 1874. The next thirty-five years were eventful as Oliver held a number of pastorates during this period.

Van Osdel developed some strong convictions and the courage to stand by them during his years of ministry.  He faced opposition from several fronts throughout these years and stood firmly for the Gospel, for the truth of God’s Word, and against unbelief. In 1909 something unusual happened to Oliver.  He was called to return to Grand Rapids to pastor the church he had formerly led, the Wealthy Street Baptist Church. At age sixty-two, he began a ministry that would span twenty-five years!

Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins. pp. 137 – 138.

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47 – Feb. 16 – This Day in Baptist History Past

[he] walked 120 miles that he might obey the Lord’s command.

February 16, 1763 – Dan Taylor was baptized. He set out on foot in the winter and walked 120 miles that he might obey the Lord’s command. By the next autumn he had become a General Baptist pastor in Wadsworth. He was refused believer’s immersion by several because of his belief in the unlimited atonement of our Lord, but he continued his search and ultimately heard of a society of General Baptists in Lincolnshire. When only five Dan learned to read. He grew into a sturdy young man but blamed his shortness on not getting enough sunshine during his growing years. His family was not religious but claimed to be of the Church of England and Dan was confirmed when sixteen. However, a few years later he became a Methodist and was made a lay preacher. He delivered his first sermon in 1761, but his study in the Bible led him to request baptism of a Baptist minister. Soon Taylor found that the General Baptist Churches were cold,  and with his passion for souls, Taylor along with nine other ministers formed the Assembly of Free Grace General  Baptists, and they were generally called the “New Connection”. They affirmed their belief in the natural depravity of man, the obligation of the moral law, the deity of Christ, the universal design of the atonement, the promise of salvation for all who believe, the necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and the obligation upon repentance of immersion. Taylor traveled 25,000 miles, mostly by foot, on preaching tours. He would average nine sermons a week. Fearing that he was losing his eye sight, he memorized a great portion of the New Testament. He died on Nov. 26, 1816 at the age of seventy-eight, and without his leadership,  the “New Connection” movement merged with the Baptist Union in England.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 64-65.

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