Tag Archives: messengers

296 – Oct. 23 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Oct. 23, 1808 – In their associational meeting at Waggoner’s Creek in New Providence, Mississippi, the messengers discussed the fact that the Salem Baptist Church building had been constructed on public land, and what steps needed to be taken to secure title. In  1811, the members of the church petitioned the U.S. Congress for special legislation to enable them to purchase the land where the building was erected. Congress passed the legislation and it went to President James Madison for his signature but he vetoed the bill with the following explanation. First he commended the Baptists in their desire to preserve the separation of religion and state with these words, “Among the various religious societies in our country, none has been more vigilant and consistent in maintaining that distinction…of which you make a part. He then vetoed the bill, making it clear that Salem Baptist was not seeking a gift from government but only a legal remedy for their situation. It must be remembered that it was James Madison who, at the insistence of John Leland and the Baptists in Virgina had composed the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was adopted in 1789. Madison considered selling public property to the church as violating the clause, “respecting the establishment of religion.”  The problem was solved when a member Salem Baptist purchased the land and then sold it to the membership of the church. [John T. Christian, A History of the Baptists (Nashville: Boardman Press, 1922), 2:338. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 579-81.]   Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

 

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162 — June 11 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

 Prayer  for Persecutors and Freedom

 

The Separate Baptists in Virginia had divided into two associations for the convenience of the messengers, and on May 14, 1774, the Southern District met in the Banister Baptist Church of Halifax County. There they transacted one of the most important aspects of an associational ministry, a phase that is all but dead among us in these days. For three or four years there had been severe persecutions against the Baptists in many parts of Virginia. Letters were received at their association from preachers confined in prison, particularly from David Tinsley, then in the Chesterfield jail.  The hearts of their brethren were affected at their sufferings, in consequence of which they: “Agreed to set apart the second and third Saturdays in June as public fast days, in behalf of our poor blind persecutors, and for the releasement of our brethren.”

 

Those two days of prayer were Saturday, June 11, and Saturday, June 18, 1774, and the saints prayed for the enlightenment of the spiritually blind persecutors and the freedom of their ministers.  We ought not to be surprised to observe that during that decade, the Separate Baptists “achieved their greatest growth . . . with 221 churches and unconstituted local bodies with 9,842 members.”  Some of the persecutors were converted and became Baptist preachers, and freedom of religion was gained for the whole state of Virginia.

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 240 -241.

 

                                                                               

 

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