Tag Archives: religious leaders

235 – Aug. 23 – This Day in Baptist History Past


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


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He had no fear of excoriating politicians or religious leaders
December 30, 1835 – Zacharius N. Morrell (Z.N.) with a clear voice and a stronger body than he had known for years,  preached his first sermon on Texas soil. He had just arrived with his physician and several other friends from Tennessee on a survey trip to see if his family could be safely taken to that Roman Catholic enclave. He determined that night, that he would bring his wife and four children to Texas and cast his lot with that turbulent empire. According to B.F. Riley, Morrell had the distinction of being the most, “daring, uncompromising and aggressive of the pioneer Baptist preachers of Texas.” J.M. Carroll said that he was responsible for, “having laid the right foundations of organized Baptist work in Texas.” Born in S.C. on Jan. 17, 1803, he received little formal education but was known for his courage and fiery temperament. He began preaching before he was 20 and served for 14 years in Tennessee. For a period of 9 years he averaged preaching a sermon per day even though he was hemorrhaging from his lung. The anti-missionary forces had made inroads into Texas but Morrell formed the first “missionary” Baptist church in the state at Washington on the Brazos with 8 members in 1837. As a champion of missions, temperance, Sunday schools, and education, he stamped his impression upon the early labors in his adopted state. He organized churches and associations. He had no fear of excoriating politicians or religious leaders when he felt that they were to be censured. He felt that the Bible was to be wielded as a sharp two-edged sword. He also countered the “Hard-Shells” and the “Campbellites” when they penetrated the state along with fighting the Indians.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 547-49.

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