He refused the “Test Oath”
1866 – Rev. B.F. Kenny, a respected Baptist minister, of Daviess County in Missouri, was arrested on three indictments found against him by a grand jury for the crime of preaching the gospel without taking the ‘Test Oath’. The State Convention had inserted this oath into the new constitution on Jan. 6, 1865, at the close of the Civil War, making it mandatory for pastors to vow loyalty to the state above Christ and His Word. 400 pastors out of the 450 in the state suffered rather than bowing until the act was repealed by the Supreme Court of the U.S. on Jan. 14, 1867. Several of them were imprisoned. Rev. J.H. Luther, Editor of the Missouri Baptist Journal was arrested, held on $1,000 bond, to answer the charge of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ without re-ordination from the commissioner of the state church. Another Baptist preacher was dragged from his home at mid-night, pistol whipped and beaten, and warned to leave the county because he refused to sign the ‘test oath’. [R.S. Duncan, A History of the Baptists in Missouri (St. Louis: Scammell & Co. Publishers, 1882), pp. 926-27. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 496-97.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
An Ambassador for Jesus Christ
George Pleasant Bostick was the fifth son of fifteen children, three of whom became missionaries to China. These three gave a total of 110 years to reaching the Chinese with the gospel of Jesus Christ. For many years their mother prayed that God would call at least one of her sons to be a preacher of the gospel. When G. P., as he was affectionately known by his family and friends, answered God’s call to China, she was apprehensive, but later when her youngest son, W. D., and youngest daughter, Addie, also went to China, she exclaimed with joy, “If I could feel as confident and happy about the other children as I do about these three, I would be willing for them to go to China. What a privilege and honor!”
G. P. Bostick was converted to Christ at an early age and was shortly afterward baptized into Floyd’s Creek Baptist Church in North Carolina. Soon after, he had a clear and definite call to preach. The church recognized his call and licensed him to exercise his gifts. He was later ordained at the New Hope Baptist Church near Raleigh, North Carolina. He was a joyful ambassador for Christ, yielding to God fifty-two of the sixty-eight years of his life.
He experienced deep sorrow in losing the wife of his youth and, later, the fine consecrated missionary whom he met in China and married. In both instances, he was a great distance from home when they died suddenly, and both were buried before he could return home. While on furlough, Bostick met and married Lena Stover. She assumed the responsibility for his family and was his devoted wife for the last fourteen years of his life. He contracted typhus fever and never fully recovered. On the occasion of his death, she testified, “He loved life in all its fullness, for God and family and humanity. He died as he had lived. I have never seen such a passing; a going out, as it seemed to me. He was in a coma…On the borderline he called the names of loved ones who had gone on before.” He joined those loved ones June 21, 1926. George Pleasant Bostick was one of those early pioneer missionaries who opened a great nation to the gospel of Jesus Christ. God grant us leadership in world evangelism with the same devoted, courageous, pioneer spirit.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 254-255.