Evangelist of Power
Abraham Marshall was born on April 23, 1748. He was twenty-two when he was converted and twenty-seven when he was ordained. Soon after the death of his father, Daniel Marshall, Abraham assumed the pastorate of the Kiokee Church. At the age of thirty-eight, he mounted his horse and became an amazing evangelist, preaching almost every day on the journey coming and going. Conversions were numerous and estimated in the hundreds. Vast crowds came to hear him. One hot Sunday in August in the state of Connecticut, he preached to 1,300 in the morning and then, after a brief rest, addressed 1,500 at 2 pm. On another August Sunday he preached in Poquonock in Windsor, Connecticut, to 1,500, and in the same place on September 10, he addressed 3,500, which was the largest religious rally ever held in the vicinity.
These are just a few accounts that were recorded in his journal as he preached some 197 times in seven states.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, p. 165
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He was the leader of the Separates
1745 – THE SEPARATE BAPTISTS WERE FOUNDED BY SHUBAL STEARNS WHO WAS A CONVERT OF GEORGE WHITEFIELD Shubal Stearns was born on January 28, 1706. In 1745 he joined the ‘New Lights’ and preached as a ‘New Light Congregationalist’. He was a convert of George Whitefield the English Anglican Evangelist. Many of his converts became Baptists as they began to study the scriptures and became convinced of believer’s baptism by water immersion. Stearns was one who became the leader of the Separate Baptists; Isaac Backus was another, he became known as “The Apostle of Liberty”, and Daniel Marshall was the other who became the founder of the Baptist effort in Georgia. Shubal was baptized in 1751 and ordained on May 20. In 1755 he moved to Sandy Creek, N.C. where he organized a Baptist church and saw a great out pouring of God’s Spirit and in a short time they had over six hundred members. His assistants were his brother-in-law Daniel Marshall and Joseph Breed. Shubal traveled continually and they not only saw the lost saved but a host of young men called to preach. Some of them were John Dillahunty, Philip Mulkey, Joseph and William Murphy, James Read, Nathaniel Power, and James Turner. Churches flourished in Virginia and the Carolinas and the Sandy Creek Association was formed. Stearns was lovingly revered as the “Old Father.” He died on Nov. 20, 1771.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/ pg. 37.
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“My peace I leave with you”
1724 – Samuel Harriss was born in Hanover County, Virginia. While still a youth his parents moved to Pittsylvania County where men appointed Samuel as church warden, sheriff, a justice of the peace, burgess of the county, colonel of the militia, captain of Ft. Mayo, and commissary for the Fort and Army. All of this did not satisfy his soul and he was brought under deep conviction. He attended a meeting of the sect called Baptists and heard the Murphy Boys, Joseph and William preach in a small house. He got under conviction and was gloriously saved some time in 1758 and began to follow Daniel Marshall and travel with James Read from N.C. Harriss became so effective that they called him the “Virginia Apostle.” At the invitation of Allen Wyley he went to Culpeper, Virginia and ventured as far as the Shenandoah Valley. While preaching in Orange County he was pulled down and dragged about by the hair and sometimes by one leg. On another occasion he was knocked down while preaching. In Hillsborough he was locked up for a considerable time for preaching without a license. A man owed him a debt but he said that he was so sure that God would pay him that he would discharge the debt against the man. The man was so utterly amazed that he ultimately paid him in full.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 16-17.
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Posted: 31 Dec 2013 05:50 PM PST
Kiokee Baptist Church
The Southern Baptist Convention begins
1771 – Daniel Marshall moved to Georgia, and by the spring of 1772, he had led a small congregation in the formation of the First Baptist Church of Kiokee and served as pastor until his death in 1784. A Georgia law of 1757 prohibited any worship not “according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England,” but Marshall led a “brush arbor” service. As he bowed in prayer, he was interrupted by a heavy hand on his shoulder and the declaration, “You are my prisoner!” The 65 year old preacher stood to his feet only to hear the young constable inform him that he had, “preached in the parish of St. Paul.” Mrs. Marshall quoted scripture which the Lord used to bring about the official’s conviction and conversion. The Court ordered Marshall to leave the Province of Georgia. His son remembered that he quoted scripture, “Whether it be right to obey God or man, judge ye,” and he went on his way preaching with great power. This boldness bore fruit, for the 21 year old constable, Samuel Cartledge was gloriously saved and in 1777 was baptized. After serving as a deacon in 1789, Cartledge was ordained to preach and ministered in Georgia and S.C. until his death at 93. One of his preacher descendants has referred to him as, the “Colonial Saul of Tarsus.” The Separate Baptists were led primarily by three men; Shubal Stearns, in North Carolina, Daniel Marshall, in Georgia, and Samuel Harriss, in Virginia. It was because of their labors that caused the proliferation of the Baptists in the south and the growth of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 01-02.
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42 churches formed in 17 years
1755 – Sixteen Baptists from New England, led by Shubal Stearns with his brother-in-law Daniel Marshall, settled at Sandy Creek, North Carolina. Though Stearns was the undoubted leader, the part that Marshall had in the venture has been underestimated. Morgan Edwards, who visited the Separate Baptists in N.C., said that Marshall was a “weak man, a stammerer, no schollar”, yet Daniel Marshall’s fingerprints are on the Baptist advance up into Virginia, down into S.C., and finally when he was sixty-five, into Georgia. The blessings of God on Sandy Creek Baptist are still astounding. In seventeen years, 42 churches formed, 145 ministers sent out, many ordained, fanned out across the entire region. Marshall was ordained in 1757. About 1760 he moved into S.C. and was responsible in establishing six Baptist churches in the northern section. He was the only preacher of any denomination to stay in the state of Georgia during the Revolutionary War. History declares that the Kiokee church prospered greatly until the “horrors of the Revolutionary War, but these troubles did not drive her faithful pastor from his post. He was once made a prisoner and put under strong guard; but was allowed to leave to conduct religious services; no fear of man could make him forsake his duty. He believed that every bullet had its commission, and every man could but accomplish His will. Before his death on Nov. 2, 1784 a large number of men had been sent out to preach. As a tribute to this great man of God, the city of Appling, Georgia has erected a memorial to his honor in the median as you enter the city, driving from Augusta. [Waldo P. Harris III, “Daniel Marshall: Lone Georgia Baptist Revolutionary Pastor,” Viewpoints: Georgia Baptist History, vol. 5, 1976, pp. 51-64. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 639-40.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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The gospel invades the South
1755 – A small group of Baptists, including Shubal Stearns, his brother-in-law Daniel Marshall, and Joseph Breed invaded the South with the gospel. Until that time little progress had been made by the Regular Baptists but God used these men to change the spiritual climate in that entire territory. The little group totaled sixteen when they arrived at Sandy Creek, North Carolina, but in one year’s time they had 606 members. Almost beyond belief, the Sandy Creek Baptist Church in seventeen years spawned forty-two churches and produced 125 preachers. Stearns was born in Boston, Mass., on Jan. 28, 1706. He had been a Presbyterian but in 1745, through the preaching of George Whitefield, Stearns joined with that group called the “New Lights” or “Separatists.” Though his education was limited he gave himself to reading extensively and became convinced of believer’s baptism and left the pedobaptists, and on May 20, 1751 was baptized by Rev. Wait Palmer, a Baptist pastor in Tolland, Conn. Several months later he was ordained and began to travel and preach. He moved to Berkeley County, Virginia, in 1754 but was not satisfied with the results when he was invited to come to N.C. In 1758 Rev. Stearns visited the nine Baptist churches that had already been founded, and he invited each church to send messengers to form an association of churches which resulted in the Sandy Creek Association coming into existence for the purpose of preaching, singing and reporting as to what God was doing throughout the area. Revival often fell. After 12 years there were 3 associations in N.C., S.C. and VA. [George W. Purefoy, A History of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association (New York: Sheldon and Co., 18590, pp. 292-93. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 622-24.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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They planted small groups for Bible study
1850 – Elder Devin, the Pastor of the Grassy Creek Baptist Church of Granville County, N.C. baptized fifty ‘happy’ converts in that noble stream, by the same name, that flows by the church. The church historian claimed that the pastor had, perhaps, plunged a thousand in the creek in the same manner. Grassy Creek church had spawned many other churches and itself had existed in its purity for more than a century since its inception by Shubael Stearns and Daniel Marshall in 1757 shortly after they arrived from New England. Grassy Creek planted small groups for Bible study throughout a forty-mile area that ultimately grew into churches. They also believed in “protracted” or lengthy meetings. Onesuch meeting in 1775 garnered eighteen souls by membership through baptism. Large crowds would gather to see these baptismal services which were great testimonies to the grace of God in themselves. Grassy Creek church also maintained a great interest in missions at home and abroad. And the congregation was never lured away by entertainment more than involvement, having “itching ears.” [Robert I. Devin, A History of Grassy Creek Baptist Church (Raleigh, N. C.: Edwards, Broughton & Co., 1880), p, 70. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 519-21]
On Jan. 16, 1802, Stephen Nixon became pastor of the Congaree Baptist Church in Richland County, S.C. Congaree church was quite famous in that it had been established by Daniel Marshall and Philip Mulkey, the great Separate Baptist preachers in 1765. He served the church well until his death on Feb. 4, 1816 at age 62. Stephen was born in Dec. of 1754, in Sumter District, S.C. Stephen was saved sometime after 1774 through the ministry of the renowned Richard Furman, pastor of High Hills of Santee Baptist Church. In quick order he was baptized, licensed, and ordained by the High Hills church. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War he felt compelled to serve the newly formed nation, and he enlisted in the military. He served under Gen. Thomas Sumter, and Gen. Nathanael Greene. He was appointed Sargent and fought in the Battle of Eutaw Springs. At 25 he married Martha A. Nettles. Their home was graced with ten children. Stephen was greatly used of the Lord in his 37 years of ministry. He was a messenger seven times to the Charleston Baptist Association when he was pastor of the High Hills church. He was a great church planter in planting many churches, including the First Baptist Church of Columbia, S.C. in 1809. The only physical violence that Baptists experienced in S.C. was at Cheraw Hill. Stephen must have looked forward to the Annual Association meeting that was to take place at the Cheraw Hill Baptist Church, but it wasn’t to be, because the Lord had another meeting planned for him, a meeting in glory. Following is from page 2, Sec. 18 from the minutes of the Association – 1816: “The humility and piety of Rev. Stephen Nixon, were of an extraordinary character.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 33-34.
Daniel Marshall Baptized Samuel Harris.
“the arrow of the Almighty stuck fast.”
Samuel Harris led the charge for the Separate Baptists in Virginia. He was born, Jan. 12, 1724 but not born again until 1758. He was a nobleman, in that he held several positions of honor. He served as sheriff, colonel of the militia, and captain of Fort Mayo. But under the preaching of the Murphy boys he said that, “the arrow of the Almighty stuck fast.” Daniel Marshall baptized him, and he was ordained in 1769. He first preached in Culpepper County but was driven out of town by a mob. In Orange County he was pulled from the platform by a roughneck and abused until rescued by friends. On another occasion he was knocked down while preaching. However, even then he didn’t suffer as other Baptist preachers did. Take the case of “Swearing Jack Waller.” He was on the jury at the trial of Lewis Craig. Craig told the jury, “I take joyfully the spoiling of my goods for Christ’s sake. While I lived in sin the jury took no notice of me.” John Waller’s heart was melted and he was saved and in time became an honored Separate Baptist preacher. One time while he was preaching he was assaulted by an Anglican parson and a sheriff. The parson stuffed his whip handle down his throat but he returned and continued to preach. John Taylor, John Koontz, William Webber, David Barrow, Lewis Lunsford, John Pickett, James Ireland, and Elijah Baker all suffered at the hands of mobs as they attempted to preach the gospel. Sometimes snakes were thrown into their midst. Many attacks were made at their baptism’s. At times preachers were plunged into the mud with the threat of drowning. It could surely be said of them that they were sent forth as, “sheep among wolves.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins /, pp. 24-26.
“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.”