Tag Archives: apprenticeship

02 – January 02 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Oncken, GerhardJohann Gerhard Oncken

Baptists go to Germany

1884 – Johann Gerhard Oncken, the “Apostle of the German Baptists,” finished his course, and went home to be with His Lord. As a young Lutheran he had left his native Germany for England to serve an apprenticeship under a devout Presbyterian tradesman. He treasured his Bible, but it was only after a serious accident, and a near death encounter, that brought him to salvation in Christ after hearing a rousing sermon in a Methodist church. Immediately he desired to be a missionary and from that day he became a witness for Christ. He was sent to Germany by the British Continental Society. He united with the English Reformed Church and set out for Hamburg, Germany, but the German State Church for bid him to preach. He became an agent of the Edinburg Bible Society. During his lifetime he distributed over two million copies of the scriptures. Upon the arrival of his first child he began to question infant baptism and after studying His Bible, he longed to be immersed himself, but had to wait five years before he could. In time he found the Rev. Barnas Sears, an American studying in Germany. On April 22, 1834, seven believers were immersed at night in the river Elbe near Hamburg. This became the First Baptist Church in modern Germany, and Oncken became their pastor. Within four years churches were begun in Berlin, Oldenburg, and Stuttgart. In May of 1840, he was arrested and cast into prison, for the first, of what was to become numerous imprisonments. But the opposition merely caused spiritual advancement by the Baptists. Oncken’s work spread into Denmark, the Netherland’s, as well as Lithuania, Switzerland, Poland, and Russia. In 1860, Germany passed a law granting religious freedom. The Hamburg church seated 1400 people.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 02-03

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174 — June 23 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

When Medley Found Harmony With God

 

Samuel Medley, who had been born on June 23, 1738, at the age of sixteen when war broke out between England and France in 1755 was glad at the thought that he might be able to finish out his apprenticeship in the cloth trade in the British navy. Thus Samuel found himself in the famed Battle of Cape Lagos.  He was wounded as the battle raged, and the greater part of the calf of one of his legs was shot away. The leg did not heal, and in time, the ship’s surgeon told him that gangrene had set in and amputation was imperative. Young Medley was filled with horror, and the doctor granted one more day before surgery. Medley began to think of his godly father and grandfather and remembered a Bible in his trunk. Sending for it, he spent the night reading the Bible and praying. The next morning when the surgeon returned, he was amazed at the healing that had begun, and no operation was necessary. Rather than being led to repentance, Medley rejoiced in his good fortune and turned again from the Lord.

 

Having to convalesce before continuing to pursue his aspirations of advancement in the navy, Samuel Medley went to his grandfather’s home in London.  The elderly gentleman witnessed to and warned his grandson, but young Medley was unconcerned. Then one Sunday evening the grandfather chose to read Medley a sermon by Dr. Isaac Watts, and the Holy Spirit brought conviction and worked a wonderful transformation in the young sailor’s life. What a change resulted! Day by day Samuel Medley studied in his grandfather’s library. He was twenty-two years old now, and there was no time to lose. He was baptized in December of 1760 by Dr. Gifford. He learned both Hebrew and Greek and prayerfully studied the Word of God.

 

Medley’s usual day began in the study soon after his 4:00 A.M. rising. Private devotions and study were observed until ten o’clock, and then the various pastoral responsibilities among his people took place. He loved to witness to the sailors in his seaport city, and he had a keen interest in youth. The pastor loved music and wrote much poetry that found its way into useful hymns.

 

The man of God approached death in his sixty-first year, and on his deathbed he said, “ ‘I am now a poor shattered bark, just about to enter the blissful harbour: and O, how sweet will be the port after the storm.’…His last words were, ‘Glory! Glory! Glory! Home! Home!’ He died on July 17th, 1799,”and thus ended a glorious journey in the grace of God.

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart:: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 257 – 258.

 

 

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