Tag Archives: Regular Baptists

222 – August, 10 – This Day in Baptist History Past


The Day Baptists United

The Baptist General Committee of Virginia took up the subject of union between the Regular and Separatist Baptists on August 10, 1787. The Committee fulfilled a great need from its first session October 9, 1784, until its dissolution in 1799. The Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the Baptists in America were in their formative years. The Baptists sent memorials and remonstrance’s relating to the vital issues of religious liberty to the Virginia General Assembly by John Leland, Ruben Ford, and others. For many years the subject of union had been debated and concerns aired.

The Regulars complained that the Separates were not sufficiently explicit in their principles, having never published…any confession of faith; and that they kept within their communion many…professed Armenians, etc. The Separates answered that they did not entirely approve of religious societies binding themselves too strictly by confessions of faith, “seeing there was danger of usurping too high a place.” After considerable debate as to the propriety of having any confession of faith at all, the report of the committee was received with the following explanation in part: “To prevent the confession of faith from usurping a tyrannical power over the conscience of any…and that the doctrine of salvation by Christ and free, unmerited grace alone ought to be believed by every Christian and maintained by every minister of the Gospel. Upon these terms we are united; and desire hereafter that the names of Regular and Separate be buried in oblivion, and that from henceforth we shall be known by the name of the United Baptist Churches of Christ in Virginia.”  This union took place during the time of a great spiritual awakening across the Commonwealth.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 328-29.

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318 – Nov. 14 – This Day in Baptist History Past


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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208 – July 27 – This Day in Baptist History Past


The Welsh revival spreads to America


The Philadelphia Association of Regular Baptists began meeting as early as 1688, in what they called general, and some-times yearly meetings. The business of these meetings was confined to the ministry of the Word and the administration of the gospel ordinances. But at their meeting July 27, 1707 they seem to have taken more the form of an association, therefore this is the date that historians use for the founding of the Philadelphia Association. The members and ministers that made up these churches came from the great Welsh migration in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Such leaders as Jenkins Jones, Abel Morgan, and Samuel Jones brought with them their tradition of great preaching, love of singing, and warm and fervent evangelism. They were a feeble, though faithful, band of believers at that time, consisting of but five churches: Lower Dublin, Piscataqua, Middletown, Cohansie, and Welsh Tract. There were only 14 Baptist churches in all of the colonies at that time. Some things that were discussed in their meeting were things wanting in the churches especially pertaining to who was not to preach in their associational meetings. “…a person that is a stranger, that has neither letter of recommendation, nor is known to be a person gifted, and of good conversation, shall not be admitted to preach, nor be entertained as a member in any of the baptized congregations in communion with each other.”  They were careful to emphasize that they desired no creed and that a “Gospel church is the highest earthly ecclesiastical tribunal and is in no wise subject to any other church, or the decrees of associations or councils. They believed strongly in the sovereignty of God, but kept a fiery spirit of evangelism.


Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 307-09.


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171 — June 20 – This Day in Baptist History Past


They Gave Themselves to the Lord as a People of God


It is interesting to note how our Lord took humble people across great stretches of ocean, planted them on a vast continent, brought them together, and established local churches. Generally, they were feeble numerically, but the seed sown was nurtured and, during times of spiritual awakening, multiplied amazingly. It is interesting to see how the churches of the Philadelphia Association of Regular Baptists began. The church at Montgomery is an example.


In the year 1710, John Evans, and Sarah, his wife, from a church in Carmarthenshire, in South Wales, (James James, minister) came over and settled in Montgomery aforesaid. In 1711, came John James and Elizabeth, his wife, from Pembrokeshire, members of the church at Rhydwillym, (John Jenkins, minister) and settled in the same neighborhood. After some time Mr. Abel Morgan visited them, and preached to as many as came to hear, at the house of John Evans; and after his visiting for sometime, as often as he could, several persons were proposed for baptism, which was administered by Mr. Morgan. In the year 1719, it was moved to them either to join with some neighboring church, as that of Pennepek, being the nighest, or to be settled in gospel order as a distinct church by themselves. Upon which they consulted, and concluded, by reason of the distance of the place and diversity of the language, they understanding very little English, to be rather a church by themselves. Their conclusion being approved by Mr. Morgan, a day was set apart for the solemnizing of this great work, being the 20th day of June, 1719; and Mr. Abel Morgan, and Mr. Samuel Jones, being spent in fasting and prayer, with a sermon being preached by Mr. Morgan, suitable to the occasion, they proceeded. Being asked whether they were desirous and willing to settle together as a church of Jesus Christ, they all answered in the affirmative; and being asked whether they were acquainted with one another’s principles, and satisfied with one another’s graces and conversation, it was also answered in the affirmative; and then for a demonstration of their giving themselves up, severally and jointly, to the Lord, as a people of God and a church of Jesus Christ, they all lifted up their right hand. Then they were directed to take one another by the hand, in token of their union, declaring, at the same time, that they had given themselves to God, so they did give themselves to one another by the will of God, 2 Cor. 7:5, to be a church according to the gospel; to worship God and maintain the doctrines of the gospel, according to their ability, and to edify one another. Then were they pronounced and declared to be a church of Jesus Christ; a right hand of fellowship was given to them as a sister church, with exhortations and instructions suitable to the station and relation they now stood in; and the whole was finished with solemn prayer to God for a blessing on the work of the day. Their number, nine or ten persons.


It is true that “from small acorns mighty oaks are grown.” Our spiritual fathers were more concerned with purity of doctrine and life than large numbers. God’s heritage is a “little flock.”


Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/ Cummins) pp. 253 -254.




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He started most of the Baptist churches in the Mid-lands

Joseph Reese was born in 1732 to Evan and Sarah Reese from Wales.  They moved to Duck Creek, Kent County, in what is now Delaware.  In 1745 the family moved into what was known in those days as the Congarees of S.C.  The parents only lived for twelve more years.  In 1753 Joseph married Ann Reynolds, and the Lord blessed them with nine children.  After the death of Ann he married a widow named Sarah.  Joseph was reared in the Anglican church but was converted to Christ in 1760 through the ministry of a Baptist preacher named Philip Mulkey who was the Pastor of the Fairforest Baptist Church.  Daniel Marshall, another Separatist Baptist, with Reese, saw thirty-two people converted and started the Congaree Baptist Church in 1765 and Reese became pastor.  John Newton, who was helping him and Reese were ordained on Feb. 28, 1768.  Oliver Hart and Evan Pugh, Regular Baptist preachers performed the ordination.  The Sandy Creek Baptist Association censored Reese and Newton for obtaining ordination at the hands of the Regular Baptists.  Reese was responsible for starting most all of the Baptist churches in the Midlands.  One of the highlights of his ministry was the conversion of Richard Furman who became Mr. Baptist of S.C. and became nationally known.  Reese served as a chaplain during the Revolutionary War and later in the Second General Assembly in the House of Representatives from the Richmond District from 1776-1778.   The last two years of his life they carried him three miles on his bed so that he could enjoy the preaching in person.

Richard Furman – Joseph Reese won him to Christ

Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 120 – 122.


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