The Day Baptists United
The Baptist General Committee of Virginia took up the subject of union between the Regular and Separatist Baptists on August 10, 1787. The Committee fulfilled a great need from its first session October 9, 1784, until its dissolution in 1799. The Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the Baptists in America were in their formative years. The Baptists sent memorials and remonstrance’s relating to the vital issues of religious liberty to the Virginia General Assembly by John Leland, Ruben Ford, and others. For many years the subject of union had been debated and concerns aired.
The Regulars complained that the Separates were not sufficiently explicit in their principles, having never published…any confession of faith; and that they kept within their communion many…professed Armenians, etc. The Separates answered that they did not entirely approve of religious societies binding themselves too strictly by confessions of faith, “seeing there was danger of usurping too high a place.” After considerable debate as to the propriety of having any confession of faith at all, the report of the committee was received with the following explanation in part: “To prevent the confession of faith from usurping a tyrannical power over the conscience of any…and that the doctrine of salvation by Christ and free, unmerited grace alone ought to be believed by every Christian and maintained by every minister of the Gospel. Upon these terms we are united; and desire hereafter that the names of Regular and Separate be buried in oblivion, and that from henceforth we shall be known by the name of the United Baptist Churches of Christ in Virginia.” This union took place during the time of a great spiritual awakening across the Commonwealth.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 328-29.
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