30 – January 30 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PASTThe first church in Tennessee
1806 – A BAPTIST CHURCH WAS THE FIRST CHURCH OF ANY KIND IN THE STATE OF TENNESSEE – Tidence Lane died on January 30, 1806. He was born near Baltimore, MD on August 31, 1724. His Anglican father Richard was an ardent opponent of the Baptists. The message of the Separate Baptists had a great effect on Tidence after the family moved to North Carolina. He married Esther Bibber in May 1743 and heard Shubal Stearns preach, fell under conviction and was gloriously saved. In 1758 his younger brother Dutton was saved and both boys were called to preach. His father was so irate that he pursued the youngest brother with the intent to kill him. Tidence and Esther had nine children, seven of them sons. Pressures, from the British Governor William Tryon against the Baptists, caused Tidence to turn toward Tennessee where the gospel had never been declared. His was the first church of any denomination organized in the State of Tenn. In 1779. he was the first Moderator of the First Association in the state, organized on October 21, 1786, 10 years before Tenn. was admitted into the Union. Lane’s success was so great that by 1790 Tenn. had 18 churches, 21 preachers and 889 members.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/ pg. 40.
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He preached through the prison grates
1744 – John Pickett was born. When he was grown he had a strong leaning toward gaming and sports of all kinds. He became a dancing master which took him to Pee Dee, North Carolina, from his home in King George County, Virginia, around 1764. Under the preaching of Josiah Murphy in N.C. in 1766, Pickett was converted to Christ and baptized. He then began to loathe the sports and pleasures that he once loved and wrote his parents of this change. Upon the death of his father, he returned to his home in Fauquier County, and finding his friends in spiritual darkness, he began pleading with them in private, and later began preaching to them in public. Josiah Murphy came and baptized a few, and later, Samuel Harriss and James Read came and baptized thirty-seven, and organized them into a church. Pickett became ordained May 27, 1772, and took the care of the church known as Carter’s Run. However there was much opposition. Once a mob broke into a meeting house, disrupted the service, and split to pieces the pulpit and communion table, while the magistrates issued their warrant. They seized John and took him to the Fauquier prison. He continued there for about three months, preaching through the grates, and admonishing as many as came to him, to repent and turn to God. Great numbers were awakened to their need of Christ under Pickett’s prison ministry.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 19-20.
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He was also a patriot
1762 – Martin Ross, who was born in Martin County, North Carolina, was greatly used of the Lord in spreading the gospel, guiding the churches in the proper order, and exhorting them to support their ministers and worldwide missions. He was also a patriot who had answered the call of his country as a soldier in the continental army. He received Jesus Christ as Savior in 1782 and was baptized by Elder John Page. He was licensed to preach in 1784 and was ordained pastor of the Skewarkey Baptist Church in 1787. He was an outstanding church planter and able leader in the Kehukee Association of Baptists even though he ministered in an area of rude and often fierce people. He fell into disfavor with many of his brethren when he wrote a circular letter in 1790 on the subject of “The Maintenance of the Ministry.” There had been such a reaction against the state clergy, who had received their salary from taxation of the people and had become corrupt, that for many years Baptist preachers had preached against receiving anything for preaching the gospel. However, Ross believed that there should be a balanced position based on the scriptures, such as not muzzling the ox. (I Cr. 9:9). The division also involved the missionary and anti-missionary movement among Baptists. Ross of course led the fight for the cause of missions. The Baptist Philanthropic Society began as the first organized missionary work among North Carolina Baptists and expanded under his leadership and continued for twenty-five years, when it became the Baptist State Convention of N.C. What a great debt of gratitude we owe to men like Martin Ross. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 649-50. George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists (Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards and Broughton Co., 1930), 1:509.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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42 churches formed in 17 years
1755 – Sixteen Baptists from New England, led by Shubal Stearns with his brother-in-law Daniel Marshall, settled at Sandy Creek, North Carolina. Though Stearns was the undoubted leader, the part that Marshall had in the venture has been underestimated. Morgan Edwards, who visited the Separate Baptists in N.C., said that Marshall was a “weak man, a stammerer, no schollar”, yet Daniel Marshall’s fingerprints are on the Baptist advance up into Virginia, down into S.C., and finally when he was sixty-five, into Georgia. The blessings of God on Sandy Creek Baptist are still astounding. In seventeen years, 42 churches formed, 145 ministers sent out, many ordained, fanned out across the entire region. Marshall was ordained in 1757. About 1760 he moved into S.C. and was responsible in establishing six Baptist churches in the northern section. He was the only preacher of any denomination to stay in the state of Georgia during the Revolutionary War. History declares that the Kiokee church prospered greatly until the “horrors of the Revolutionary War, but these troubles did not drive her faithful pastor from his post. He was once made a prisoner and put under strong guard; but was allowed to leave to conduct religious services; no fear of man could make him forsake his duty. He believed that every bullet had its commission, and every man could but accomplish His will. Before his death on Nov. 2, 1784 a large number of men had been sent out to preach. As a tribute to this great man of God, the city of Appling, Georgia has erected a memorial to his honor in the median as you enter the city, driving from Augusta. [Waldo P. Harris III, “Daniel Marshall: Lone Georgia Baptist Revolutionary Pastor,” Viewpoints: Georgia Baptist History, vol. 5, 1976, pp. 51-64. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 639-40.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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The first to minister in North Carolina
1742 – Mr. Henry Sater deeded an acre of land to Henry Loveall, the first pastor of the Chestnut Ridge congregation for a church site, because the church had been organized in Sater’s home. Sater had come to America from England and had purchased land about nine miles northwest of Baltimore Town. He frequently cared for travelers, quite often Baptist ministers, who would be invited to preach. Being encouraged by the numbers in attendance, this sincere Christian erected a place of worship on his own land at his own expense. The church was organized with fifty-seven members. The church covenant began: “We…the professors of the Gospel of Christ, baptized on a declaration of faith and repentance, believing the doctrine of general redemption (or free grace of God to all mankind), …bind and settle ourselves into a Church.” It was signed on July 10, 1742, and the church continued on until the Revolutionary War. The church began as the Chestnut Ridge Church, but was later known as the Sater’s Baptist Church. The pulpit was temporarily filled by George Eglesfield of Penn., and later by Paul Palmer, whose ministry resulted in nine baptisms, who was also the first to minister the Word in N.C. as early as 1720. However, Henry Loveall, from N.J. is regarded as the first pastor, who baptized forty-eight converts in the four years that he was there. This activity was made possible because in 1649 the Colonial Assembly, through the inspiration of Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, passed an act of religious toleration. Though it was not as expansive as R.I., it did allow Baptists the right to exist. [ George F. Adams, A History of Baptist Churches in Maryland (Baltimore: J.F. Weishampel Jr., 1885), p. 27. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 628-30.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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First Missionaries from North Carolina
1846 – Matthew and Eliza Yates were appointed as missionaries to China by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. They were the first missionaries to go to the foreign field from North Carolina. Yates died on March 17, 1888 and was buried in China after a blessed and fruitful ministry. (Walter Sinclair Stewart, Early Baptist Missionaries and Pioneers – Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1926. 2:176)
Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
They filled the jails, but their churches just kept growing.
December 10, 1769 – Dutton Lane founded the Nottoway Baptist Church in Virginia. This church ultimately founded many others. Lane was born Nov. 7 near Baltimore, MD, the same year that George Washington was born – 1732. It is not known when Dutton’s father moved the family to Virginia near the N.C. line. Soon after Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall established the Sandy Creek church in N.C. they entered Virginia where they preached the gospel and baptized believers among whom was Dutton Lane. A revival followed, and elder Marshall baptized forty-two persons at one time. It was nothing until Lane was preaching, and Samuel Harriss, a man of distinction in that area, was converted. People far and wide began requesting someone to come preach to them, even as far as Culpeper and Spotsylvania Counties. In August of 1760 the first Separate Baptist church in Virginia was organized at Dan River. Lane became its pastor, and by 1772 he had established five different preaching stations with five assistants. The success of the Baptists brought the wrath of Satan down upon them. The hand of the Lord was revealed as James Roberts was going for a warrant in 1769 against Richard Elkins (one of Lanes Assistants). They said that a bright light shone about them so much that their horses squatted on the ground succeeded by such thick darkness that they could not see. Roberts concluded that it was a warning to him to stop being “an opposer.” Dutton’s own father threatened to murder him until his wife persuaded him to listen to him preach which he did, got saved, and his own son baptized his father that was going to kill him. Nothing would nor could stop these preaching men in Virginia. They filled the jails, but their churches just kept growing.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 515-17.
The growth in Virginia was almost breathtaking
November 22, 1755 – Sandy Creek Baptist Church, of Sandy Creek, North Carolina was constituted by Shubal Stearns and a total of eight families adding up to 16 members. The little flock built a meeting house and they rapidly grew to over six hundred under the leadership of Stearns and his brother-in-law Daniel Marshall and Joseph Breed who assisted him. The historian, George Washington Paschal has stated in his book, The History of the North Carolina Baptists that, “I make bold to say that these Separate Baptists have proved to be the most remarkable body of Christians America has known.” David L. Cummins continues, “I further agree with Paschal that had the Baptist cause in America continued under the domination of a strong Calvinism, such as the Particular Baptists advocated, Baptists would not have grown into such a force for God in our land.” It was a memorable day when the little group of Separate Baptists traveled to Sandy Creek, Guilford, County, N.C. Marshall was tireless in his efforts and was soon preaching in Virginia with tremendous results. In an early visit he baptized Dutton Lane, and he soon began to exhort. As a result, revival fell. Marshall at one time baptized 42. Samuel Harriss, who later became the leader of the Separate Baptists in Virginia, was also baptized by Marshall. The growth in Virginia was almost breathtaking, but so was the persecution by the Anglican state church that followed that swept many of the preachers into prison. In 17 years the Sandy Creek church was responsible for 42 churches and 125 Baptist ministers. Her branches reached out from the Chesapeake Bay eastward to the great river westward; and then to the Potomac northward, and to Georgia to the south. Stearns died at 71.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins /Thompson/, pp. 486-88.