The first modern Baptist historian
1683 – Thomas Crosby, the first Baptist historian after the Protestant Reformation was born on this day. The terrible pain and suffering of the 16th century martyrs had just begun to fade from the new generations memories. The conventicles in England were past and the Baptists and other non-conformist churches were now worshipping in the open without fear. This was the atmosphere in which Thomas was converted to Christ and baptized into the Goat Street Baptist Church, where the pastor was his brother-in-law Benjamin Stinton, the son-in-law of Benjamin Keach, pastor of Horsleydown Baptist Church, London. (See entry for March 1). Stinton had compiled historical materials and planned to write a Baptist history of England, but he died before it was possible. The papers came into Crosby’s possession and adding still more of his own, he consumed much information on this general subject, but not being a historian he didn’t feel that he was adequate to the task of writing a history. In that Daniel Neal, a Puritan was writing a History of the Puritans at that time, he agreed to reserve a section for the Baptists, but when it was finished, it only included a scare five pages of Neal’s third volume. Crosby, zealous for the Baptist cause decided to write his own history and became one of the greatest of our Baptist historians. His four volume work, The History of the English Baptists from the Reformation to the Beginning of the Reign of King George I that appeared from 1738 – 1740 is the first attempt at a complete history of the English Baptists. Truly blessed is anyone who has these volumes in their library. And what a great reward, no doubt awaits this ready writer whose heart burned to keep alive this history of a great and worthy people for posterity.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 115.
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