August 16, 2014 · 7:11 AM
“One of the Leaders in the Fight for Liberty”
William Webber was born on August 15, 1747, to parents of moderate means and received only three years of formal education, and yet he was considered one of the spiritual fathers and pioneers of the gospel in Virginia. He became a carpenter and worked at that trade until he was converted to Jesus Christ under the preaching of John Waller and quickly became an exhorter.
Few men in Virginia suffered more persecutions than Webber. He was among those who preached through the grates of the Chesterfield County jail, spending three months there. In the same year of 1771 he was taken from the platform where he was preaching to the Middlesex County jail for forty-five days, where he, along with several others, preached twice a week, through the bars to those that would hear.
He was also roughly treated on many occasions. In spite of these things, the gospel prospered, and Baptist principles were embraced by many. Many strong and fruitful churches were planted such as the Powhatah church, out of which no less than fourteen preachers were called early in its history.
Early on , Webber became pastor of the Dover Church in Goochland County, VA, and in spite of his poor circumstances, he gave a great deal of time in his youth to preaching. But as his family grew, he found it necessary to limit his labors to his own area. Semple says, “He was very successful in turning many to righteousness; and in confirming the souls of his disciples. He was a man of sound and correct judgment…well versed in the scripture, and ingenious in defending them against error. He was one of the leaders to represent the Baptists in the fight for liberty.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 335-36.
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August 23, 2013 · 8:37 AM
Scourged – Not Ordained by State Church
1771 – James Greenwood preached the gospel in the Middlesex County Jail to a number of friends who had come to encourage the prisoners. In a letter, written by John Waller from the jail he said, “Bro. Thomas Wafford was severely scourged, however because he was not ordained, he was released and did not have to serve time in prison. The early Baptist preachers in the Common Wealth of Virginia were despised by the political and religious leaders that were under the control of the Anglican Church/State system of government. These men, as the early Apostles as recorded in Acts Chapter four and five, had not been trained in the recognized seminaries of the day, and also refused to take a license to preach the gospel, but rather preached under the authority of Christ alone. This principle is made clear at Act 4:13 – Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Because of this, until American Independence was won, they were fined, whipped, and jailed but they would not bend, bow or burn. [Robert C. Newman, Baptists and the American Tradition (Des Plaines, Ill.: Regular Baptist Press, 1976), p. 32. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 460-462.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
Filed under Church History
Tagged as Anglican Church, baptist preachers, bju press, common wealth of virginia, encourage, greg dixon, ignorant, jail, middlesex county jail, ordained, Political, prison, religious leaders, robert c newman, scourged, State church, unlearned, Virginia
August 16, 2013 · 8:39 PM
Jailed for preaching without a license
1747 – William Webber was born. He was considered one of the spiritual fathers and pioneers of the gospel in Virginia. A carpenter by trade until hearing the preaching of John Waller and quickly became an exhorter. He soon became the pastor of the Dover Church in Goochland County, VA. Few men in Virginia suffered more persecutions than Webber. In 1771 he spent three months of confinement in the Chesterfield County jail, where he preached through the grates. Shortly after his release he was taken from the platform in the midst of his message and was placed in the Middlesex County Jail for forty-five days. His crime? Preaching without a license from the State, which was under the Anglican State Church system. These endeavors resulted in the planting of numerous strong and fruitful churches and as many as fourtee preachers were called out to spread the gospel of Christ. [Robert B. Semple, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia (Richmond: Published by the author, 1810), pp. 422-25] Prepared by Rev. Dale R. Hart – email@example.com
Filed under Church History
Tagged as Baptist history, chesterfield county jail, church, confinement, goochland county va, gospel, human-rights, jailed, middlesex county jail, Pioneer, preaching without a license, Religion, spiritual