A Blessed Baptist historian
October 10, 1779 – David Benedict was born to Thomas and Abigail near Stratford, New York. When David was 14 he was apprenticed to a shoemaker and for seven years labored in that trade. His ability secured an opportunity for the manufacturing and retailing business in that field, but his conversion to Christ at age 20 changed the course of his life.
In Dec. 1799 he was baptized in the Housatonic River and united with the First Baptist Church of Stratford. In 1802 he gave up the career of shoemaker and entered the academy of the Rev. Stephen S. Nelson at Mt. Pleasant, N.Y., and paid his way by tutoring other students. One of them was Francis Wayland, future President of Brown University. In fact David also graduated from Brown U. in 1806. He presented an oration on Ecclesiastic History at graduation.
In 1808 he married the daughter of Dr. Stephen Gano. They were married for 60 years and had 9 sons and 3 daughters. After graduation David became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pawtucket and continued there for 25 years. America’s first Sunday school came into existence there.
For many years David had collected material and he wrote the History of the Baptists in the United States, and to some extent in other countries. Benedict traveled throughout the young nation on horseback, covering nearly four thousand miles.
Dr. Benedict lived to the age of 95. Up until his death on Dec. 5, 1874, his eyesight was unimpaired, and he was able to write clearly both day and night. Baptists are indebted to David Benedict for preserving so well our Baptist annals for coming generations.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 420-21.
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They refuse to support a State Church by force
October 01, 1767 – The records from the First Baptist Church in New Hampshire located in Newtown, (now Newton) show that the church was under attack by the standing order (state Congregational Church). The church was founded in 1752 and is still in existence today.
The following was from those records. John Wadleigh, was chosen moderator, Joseph Welch, was chosen clerk, and the church voted to carry on Mr. Stewart’s and Mr. Carter’s lawsuits which are now in the law on account of rates imposed on them by the standing order.
The remainder of the minutes dealt with the salary to be given to the pastor, Mr. Hovey. Three men were appointed to the oversight of securing the pastor’s wages, and it was further decided that any men who refused to participate in providing the annual compensation of £50 would not have the protection of the local assembly against the demands of the standing order. Nearly 3 years later the church met again (June 25, 1770) and spent the entire business meeting in discussion of the lawsuit.
Another historian has written, “It is as refreshing as a breeze from their own mountains to find so much human ‘granite’ in this little band of New Hampshire Baptists. They refuse to support a State Church by force, and they resolve to support their own chosen pastor cheerfully…Such a Church deserved to live…The work of the Baptists in N.H. grew very slowly following the establishment of the church inNewton. In his centennial address, William Lamson concluded his remarks by saying, “…the constant persecutions and litigations had much to do in retarding their growth.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 407-08.
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The first American martyred by the communists
John Birch, on August 25, was martyred by Chinese communist soldiers near the end of World War II, in Hsuchow, China. His influence had spread over hundreds of miles where he was known to the nationals as “Bey Shang We“, a title of respect. John Birch had gone to China, after finishing a three year course in two years at the Bible Baptist Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, the Fundamentalist school sponsored by Dr. J. Frank Norris, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, and the World Baptist Fellowship. He had gone there after graduating from Mercer University in 1939, magna cum laude. In one year John could speak Chinese. After Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attempted to arrest him, but he escaped. He gave himself to the preaching of the gospel and to the encouraging of the saints as he traveled in war-torn China. While traveling to minister to suffering believers, John was put in touch with Col. Jimmy Doolittle and the four airmen from his plane that he had to ditch in China after their bombing raid on Tokyo. It was Birch that led them to safety. At that point he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as the Intelligence Officer for Gen. Charles Chennault. He was able, because of his knowledge of the language and culture to help in setting up radio contacts. John knew the dangers of communism and witnessed its inroads. John’s parents were Presbyterian missionaries in India on Sept. 12, 1918, when John was born. Because of recurring malaria George Birch moved his family back to the states, became a Baptist, and moved to Macon, Georgia where John received Christ at the age of eleven.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 350-52.
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A grandmother prays her grandson into the ministry
Dr. Stephen Gano was ordained into the gospel ministry on August 2, 1786, by his father, uncle, and several other pastors in the Gold Street Baptist church of N.Y. City. After two brief but successful pastorates in 1792, he received a unanimous invitation to the pastorate of the First Baptist Church in Providence, R.I., where he served until his death. When he became pastor, the church numbered 165 members; however, during the thirty-six years of his ministry there, five new churches were born, and the membership of the First Baptist Church grew to 647. First Baptist Church of Providence was one of the largest Baptist congregations in America and experienced frequent revival. In 1820 alone they saw 147 baptized. Dr. Gano was a stellar leader who served the Warren Association as its moderator for nineteen years. Stephen was born on Dec. 25, 1762, in New York City, where his father, John Gano, was pastor. His uncle James Manning was the President of Brown University where his parents planned to send Stephen until his father entered the army as a chaplain, and thirteen-year old Stephen had to go live with his uncle, Dr. Stites, to be educated as a doctor. While on the way, he and his father stopped at his grandmother’s house. She placed her hand on Stephen’s head prayed for his salvation, and also that God would call him to preach the everlasting gospel and “be faithful unto death that he may win the crown of life.” Stephen did become a doctor and entered the army as a surgeon before he was saved. He served aboard a ship, was taken prisoner and was in a prisoner exchange. He died on August 18, 1828.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 316–17.
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Baptists chose Liberty over Tolerance
The members of the First Baptist Church of Middleborough, Massachusetts, no doubt were sore grieved when their pastor, the Rev. Isaac Backus posted the following notice on July 16, 1759 which read in part, “Whereas by a late Law of this Province it is enacted that a List of the Names of those who belong to each Baptist Society (Church) must be taken each year and given in to the Assessors before the 20th of July or else they will stand liable to be Rated to the ministers where they live:…” In other words Baptists could get an “exemption” from paying the Congregational ministers salary and the upkeep of their church buildings, if they could prove that they were faithful in their own services. Backus spent a great deal of time fighting to eradicate state support for the Standing Order churches. He said that it was not only “taxation without representation” but it robbed the Baptists of their property and livestock to pay the tax that Baptists would not pay out of conviction, and also stole money from them that they could use to build their own meeting houses and pay their preachers. Baptists rejoiced in Jan. 1786 when Virginia passed their act for Religious Freedom. It said, “…no man shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.” There is a vast difference between “Tolerance and Liberty.” Tax exemption is based on the recipient asking for the privilege from a higher authority and meeting certain demands. The other is recognizing that liberty comes from God and demanding from our public servants that they guarantee those inalienable rights as embodied in the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 291-92.
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Montanye, Thomas B.Thomas and Mrs. Thomas Montanye
A Chaplain Challenges the Command
Thomas B. Montanye was seventeen years of age when he was saved and then baptized by John Gano in the First Baptist Church of New York City. Young Thomas Montanye revealed the gift of preaching and in his nineteenth year he was ordained as pastor of the Baptist church in Warwick, New Jersey, where he served for more than twelve years. His preaching was powerful, and the work flourished. In one year alone, more than a hundred and fifty were added to the membership of the church. During this period, Pastor Montanye served in various offices of the Warwick Baptist Association, as is revealed in the minutes of that organization for May 30, 1797. His abilities and successes attracted the attention of others, and in 1801 he was called to the church in Southampton in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he served until his death on September 27, 1829
When the War of 1812 broke out with Great Britain, Montanye received a chaplain’s commission. On one occasion, “a general drill and review of the army had been ordered for the morning of the Sabbath at the same hour when preaching had hitherto been the ‘order of the day.’” He went to “the quarters of General in command and stated to him, in a dignified and courteous manner, that he held a commission from his country, and also from his God; that, by virtue of his latter commission, he was superior in command on the Sabbath to any of the military; that the general order for a review would interfere with orders from a higher source; and that, consequently, the review could not and must not take place.” The Word of God was honored and the review postponed.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/ Cummins) pp. 221.
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A Call for the Ongoing of the Gospel
The mission’s magazine that was used to stir Judson
Pastors Samuel Stillman of Boston’s First Baptist Church and Thomas Baldwin of Boston’s Second Baptist Church were the prime movers behind the establishing of the mission, and the two churches issued a call to the other Baptist churches in the state to unite for the purpose of the ongoing of the gospel. The appeal was dated April 29, 1802, and the meeting was held in the First Baptist Church. “The object of this Society shall be to furnish occasional preaching, and to promote the knowledge of evangelistic truth in the new settlements within these United States; or further if circumstance should render it proper.” “At once they sent out their first missionaries: John Tripp, Isaac Case and Joseph Cornell. . . . The three were to find their own horses, but they were to have a weekly salary of five dollars plus expenses. They were to keep clear of politics, to keep an exact journal, and primarily to evangelize and encourage those people so sadly deprived, by distance and isolation, of church ministries.
In 1803 the society established The Massachusetts Missionary Magazine. It was the September of 1809 issue of this magazine that Adoniram Judson was stirred so as to offer himself for missionary service to India.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 174
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The Separation was amiable
1867 – Brother Billy Hariss, colored, was ordained into the gospel ministry according to the minutes of The Baptist Church of Christ at Kiokee, Georgia. This is but a small example of the relationship between the races during the early development of our nation, both before and after the Civil War. Dr. John Clarke organized the Baptist church in Newport, R.I. in 1639, and “Jack”, America’s first black Baptist was baptized in 1652 and added to the membership of the church, being a “free man.” However, many among the slave population in the South came to know Christ and outnumbered whites in the membership of Baptist churches 6-to-one in ratio. The First Baptist Church of Richmond, VA elected Black deacons to watch over free and slave Negro members. They also licensed certain colored men to “exercise their spiritual gifts in public.” At least fifteen years prior to Carey ‘s sailing for India, George Lisle, the first Black ordained Black Baptist in America, went to Jamaica as a missionary. Lott Carey, a member of First Baptist of Richmond purchased his freedom for $850 in 1813 and with Colin Teague, sailed in 1821 for Liberia and established the first Baptist church in Monrovia. Prior to the Civil War, Abraham Marshall, pastor at Kiokee, ordained Andrew Bryan in Savannah. It was also prior to the Civil War that John Jasper was saved and sent by his “master” to preach the gospel. After the war the blacks desired their own places of worship and the white churches either gave them the old church and built new ones or helped the blacks build new ones. The separation was amiable.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 161.
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He stood by the Word
1785 – Spencer H. Cone was born on this day at Princeton, N.J. to dedicated Baptist parents who were also members of the Hopewell Baptist Church. His mother prayed for him, while on her breast, and received the assurance that he would be a preacher of the gospel. At the age of 12 he entered Princeton College, but his father developed mental illness and he was forced, at age 14, to support the family. He worked as a bookkeeper, newspaper publisher, and an actor. He was devoted to the politics of Jefferson and Madison. He discovered the works of John Newton in a bookstore and came under deep conviction over his sinful condition, and that Christ alone could save him. Cone fought bravely in the War of 1812 as captain of artillery in several prominent battles. Shortly he began preaching in Washington, D.C. and became so popular that he was elected chaplain of the U.S. Congress. He then was pastor of a church in Alexandria, Virginia, and then became pastor of the First Baptist Church in NY, City. For nearly forty years he was a leader in home and foreign missions and in the great modern movement for a purely translated Bible. He fought the pedobaptists over the issue of baptizo meaning immerse. In his prime it was said that he was the most popular clergyman in America. Though he valued education, he was mostly concerned with the purity of the Word that men might truly know the mind of Christ in the Scriptures, translated faithfully into the languages of all men.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 150.
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