First Baptists in Kentucky
1776 – On this date the Baptists arrived in Harrodsburg, Kentucky and the first recorded Baptist preaching was done by William Hickman and Thomas Tinsley. Two years later Hickman was ordained in Virginia and spent eight years of service there.
Though not imprisoned at that time he received a great deal of rude persecution. In the summer of 1784 the Hickman family moved permanently to Kentucky and for the next four years William ministered at every opportunity which resulted in the establishing of the Forks of Elkhorn Church, where he pastored until his death in 1834. That was a period of forty-five years except when he was out of fellowship with the church for two years over the issue of slavery, which he opposed.
During the great revival period of 1800-1803, Elder Hickman baptized over five hundred converts. William was born in Virginia on Feb. 4, 1747. His parents died while he was but a lad, and he became a ward of his grandmother. His educational opportunities were limited, but his grandmother gave him a Bible and insisted that he read it.
When he was fourteen he was apprenticed to learn a trade, and in nine years he was secure enough to marry his master’s daughter Sarah Sanderson. Soon after, he learned that the Baptists (then called New Lights) were in the area, and against his wife’s wishes, he went to hear the preaching.
The next day he went to a public “dipping” of converts and was deeply moved even to tears. The next fall they moved to Cumberland County, KY, and the Lord brought his wife to faith in Christ.
William was saved under the preaching of David Tinsley on Feb. 21, 1773 and baptized two months later, after rejecting Episcopal christening.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 133.
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Tag Archives: New lights
First Baptists in Kentucky
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.
The issue was a regenerated church membership
One of the main results of the Great Awakening was the fact that it produced approximately 100 separate Congregational churches that left the Congregational Denomination, known as “New Lights” over a period of twenty years. The issue was a regenerated church membership, in that the Congregationalists had fallen into the apostasy of infant baptism. Estimates were that as many as fifty thousand were saved, either directly under Whitefield’s preaching or revivals spawned by others that were influenced by him. Out of this group of churches fourteen went further, were publicly immersed and became Separate Baptist Pastors. Two of these were Isaac Backus at Bridgewater, MA on April 13, 1748, who became the great Baptist historian and Shubal Stearns at, Tolland, MA, on March 20, 1751, who became the pastor of the famed Sandy Creek Baptist Church in Sandy Creek, N.C., that launched the Baptist churches of the south. There were two primary reasons why these Separates became Baptists. First, Separates had become Biblicists. The Bible had become their only rule of faith and practice. Therefore infant baptism could not be defended scripturally. The second was for economic reasons, Baptists could claim the Toleration Act, and be excused from supporting the State Congregational Church. However Quakers were excused too but few became Quakers. It was the Baptists that became the stimulus for the ongoing of the Great Awakening as it moved southward.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 110 – 112.
November 09, 1798 – Asahel Morse was baptized, and then licensed to preach in 1799. In 1818 he became a member of the State Convention in Connecticut to frame a new state constitution. He wrote the article on religious liberty that secured the rights of conscience. He was a man of great power and influence among the Baptists, and in 1820 he went to Philadelphia as a delegate from the Conn. Baptist Missionary Board to the Baptist General Convention. All of this came about because of the spiritual awakening called the “New Light Stir”, under the preaching of George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards, and there was no greater “stir” than in the colony of Connecticut. The controversy continued for many years and centered on the Half-way covenant. pedobaptism, and religious liberty. The legislature passed laws against the separates, Congregationalists who were called, “New Lights” because they renounced infant immersion and embraced Baptist principles of believer’s baptism, etc. They were dismissed from public office and students from Yale College, and also excommunicated them from their churches. Many of the New Lights, having embraced and suffered with the Baptists for decades united with them, including in some instances entire churches. Here again is another example of how the Baptists were at the forefront of the battle for religious liberty in the beginning of our nation.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 466-67.