1783 – Luther Rice was born into a pedobaptist (Congregational) home on this memorable day. He along with Adoniram and Ann Judson became Baptists when they were baptized in India, after studying the subject of baptism on the voyage, although on different ships. Because of this they were compelled to sever relationship with their denomination which left them penniless and identify with the Baptists in America. In our opinion, this was the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy found at Mat 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Prior to this there had been only scant missionary activity among the churches of North America and that was to the Indians and the settlers who had migrated westward. But from this effort of Rice and the Judson’s a great flood of missionaries began to go forth to many parts of the world. It all started with a group called the “Brethren” who had formed a missionary fellowship interested in world evangelism at Williams College (Congregational) in Massachusetts. One day during a rain storm some of the “Brethren” took refuge under a haystack, and while there prayed for those in the world who lived in spiritual darkness. It would forever be called the “Haystack Prayer Meeting.” Even though Rice wasn’t at the haystack, he was a part of the “Brethren” and was the first with the Judsons to go forth. Rice eventually returned to America to stir up the Baptists for world evangelism. He became the rope holder while Judson was tied to the rope. World missions needed them both. In the North there were mission societies, in the South the Baptist method was conventions.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 121..
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“They “were sprung from the seed which he (Whitefield) first planted”
December 21, 1764 – Rev. James Reed, a clergyman from the Church of England, living in Virginia, reveals how George Whitefield’s preaching helped the Baptists and what his views were about believer’s baptism. Rev. Reed said that Whitefield had affirmed that they “were sprung from the seed which he first planted in New England and the difference of soil may have perhaps have caused such an alteration in the fruit that he may be ashamed of it. He particularly condemned the re-baptizing of adults and the doctrine of the irresistible influence of the Spirit, for both which the late Methodists in these parts had strongly contended, and likewise recommended infant baptism, and declared himself a minister of the Church of England. Whitefield was clearly a pedobaptist and a state-church preacher, even though he insisted on the new-birth. The great revivals that sprang up from the preaching of Whitefield produced the Separate Congregationalists from which God raised up some of our most effective and powerful leaders. Among those were Shubal Stearns and his brother-in-law, Daniel Marshall. They migrated through Virginia and N.C. and along with many other Separates became persuaded of Baptist principles including believers baptism. This was the origin of the name “Separate Baptists” and their zeal and success in evangelizing and their uncompromising stand on believers baptism was to the consternation of the Episcopalians and Methodists. When men receive the “new Light” of the Holy Spirit they are far more likely to receive believers baptism and to gather with the ducks rather than the chickens.” For “birds of a feather flock together.”
At every opportunity he preached the gospel
November 16, 1786 – Abraham Marshall returned to his beloved home state of Georgia from a round trip on horseback to Connecticut to care for matters of his deceased father’s estate. The trip had begun on May 10. The bachelor pastor made a similar trip of 2,200 miles in 1792 in search of a life partner. Abraham’s greatest delight was in his preaching. At every opportunity he preached the gospel and defended the faith. As he traveled northward he met a man named Winchester who knew some of his relatives of whom one was Rev. Eliakim Marshall, Separatist, Congregationalist minister, respected citizen, and long-time pedobaptist in New England. When Abraham arrived at Windsor, CT, he was the house guest of his cousin Eliakim, and it wasn’t long until the subject of Baptism came up. After long discussions from the Word, Eliakim was convinced of immersion. But his wife opposed it on the basis that he had been raised a Congregationalist. But after his conversion he had left the church and was fined in 1746 for non-attendance. He had been ordained as a pastor of a New Light Separatist church in Wetherfield, CT. He was also active politically and served the state assembly and also ran for governor in 1780, thus his wife thought it demeaning for him to admit doctrinal error. But he did so in a powerful sermon in the presence of his congregation. Abraham Marshall recorded in his diary, “…then we advanced…to a river…and baptized Eliakim Marshall in the presence of hundreds who had never seen the ordinance administered according to the pattern and example of the great Head…before.” The following day Abraham had the privilege of delivering the ordination sermon of Eliakim as a Baptist preacher, and until his death Eliakim served as a Baptist pastor.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins /Thompson/, pp. 476-78.
“determined to invest his life in winning souls to Christ”
November 11, 1790 – Thomas Baldwin, was installed as the pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1791 seventy were added to the church, and they later experienced several glorious revivals, one in which resulted in 21 receiving Christ. His mother left a fine moral and intellectual character on Thomas. His father was attached to and rose to some distinction in the then Colonial Army. When Thomas was 16, his father having died and his mother having remarried and moved to Canaan, N.H., Baldwin represented the town in the state legislature at an early age and commenced his studies to fit himself for the legal profession. After the death of his first son in 1777 he resolved to make religion his first concern. It was not until 1780 that two Baptist preachers came to labor in the neighborhood that he came to a full understanding of the grace of God. Having been educated among pedobaptists, he struggled with the subject of Baptism. He became convinced of believers baptism and was determined to follow through to be baptized in the latter part of 1781 no matter how much disapproval and alienation he received from his friends, which was considerable. Baldwin determined to invest his life in winning souls to Christ and building up the cause of Him who had by His grace brought him to the saving knowledge of the truth. In due time he was set apart for the work of an evangelist and then for 7 years he pastored the Baptist church in Canaan with no stipulated salary. All he received did not average to more than $40 per year. He spent a considerable amount of time preaching in destitute places, sometimes as far as 100 miles in the dead of winter. He became a prolific writer, editor, and apologist for the principles of the Word of God.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 469-70.