340 – Dec. 06 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


He made it clear that all associations are entirely “voluntary”.
December 06, 1821 – The First State convention was formed in South Carolina, “for the promotion of evangelical and useful knowledge, by means of religious education and the support of missionary service among the destitute…and the promotion of the true interest of the churches of Christ in general, and of their union, love and harmony in particular.” And yet again, “The Convention shall recognize the independence and liberty of the Churches of Christ, and consequently shall not in any case arbitrarily interfere with their spiritual obligations.” Denominational colleges were begun rapidly in the states that followed the pattern of establishing state conventions. The first cohesive effort among Baptists began in 1707. It was for the purpose of educating its ministers and the spread of the gospel in the world. The growth of associations was very slow among the Baptist churches for fear of the assumption of power by the associations. It was 60 years after the Philadelphia Association that the Warren Association, of Rhode Island was formed. It was only after assurances from men like Edward T. Hiscox in his Baptist Directory (1866) did the growth of the associations proliferate. He made it clear that all associations are entirely “voluntary”. No church or individual was obligated to unite with them and they “can leave them when they wish.” The research by Robert G. Gardner reveals that in 1780 there were approximately 1066 Baptist churches in America and only 14 Associations, representing 286 churches which were less than 25%. However that was to change drastically when Luther Rice returned from the field from India. The birth of the Triennial Convention for the cause of missions, the development of associations and state conventions became a reality.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 508-10.

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