156 — June 05 – This Day in Baptist History Past
From Heresy to Harmony
Nathaniel Williams had been born in Salem, Massachusetts, on August 24, 1784. He grew up with Unitarian influences, and the religious convictions of those formative days extended through his early life. While still in his youth, Williams found employment with his uncle and eventually was sent to India on one of his uncle’s ships that was trading in Calcutta. It was during this time that Williams met three English missionaries. Coming under great conviction, he submitted to the Savior’s atonement and was saved. He made public profession of his faith, was baptized by the Rev. Lucius Bolles, and became a member of the First Baptist Church of Salem on June 5, 1808.
The First Baptist Church of Salem had been formed three years previously with only twenty-four members. Bolles was the first pastor, and Nathaniel Williams could not have been placed in a finer institution for training. In time Williams became a deacon, and in July 1812 he was licensed to preach. After several years of pastoring in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts he returned to the church in Beverly as pastor.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins)pp.231-232.
A Fool hath spoken
In speaking of false teachers, Peter says that they will be “clouds without water”, and that they will be brought into bondage by what overcomes them. While many compromise truth for pleasure or popularity, there are others that are overcome by their own intelligence. Such a one was Crawford Howell Toy, who was born on March 23, 1836. Baptists must not forget C.H. Toy who resigned from Southern Baptist Seminary and moved to Harvard and became Unitarian and a celebrated professor from that institution. God had provided Toy with every opportunity to succeed as a champion of Fundamentalism. He had an outstanding education, incubation into sound doctrine, the opportunity of walking with great men such as John A. Broadus, who he boarded with. He wooed and won the hand in engagement of the lovely missionary Charlotte “Lottie” Moon, who he would later lose because of his infidelity. He was noted for his bravery as he fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War under the direct leadership of Robert E. Lee. He was wounded and captured by the Union forces, and he utilized his time studying Hebrew, which he would later become a foremost authority. After the war he studied in Europe and no doubt began to drink the poison of liberalism. Toy was an intellectual giant. To this day it is not difficult to find his articles and writings. Yet in the zenith of his walk among outstanding Bible preachers and professors he would imbibe Darwinism and shipwreck his faith. The same Darwinism that godly Baptists steadfastly resisted in spite of the nearly overwhelming pressure of the intelligentsia of the day. What a fool was Toy in spite of his great intellect. And his former student would prove wiser than her teacher by refusing his hand in marriage.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp, 170 – 172.
“He was persuaded of universal liberty.”
November 14, 1819 – David Barrow died. He had been an ardent member of a Baptist emancipation society called the “Friends of Humanity” in which he wrote a 64 page booklet on the evils of slavery. While contending for the liberty of the American colonies, he was persuaded of universal liberty. Through this principle he came to the conclusion that he should free his slaves even though he owned a considerable number. Baptist Historian Semple says, “It is questionable whether I was not, in the end, productive of more harm than good. While it lessened his resources at home, for maintaining a large family, it rendered him suspicious among his acquaintances, and probably in both ways limited his usefulness.” Semple’s remark gives insight into the response of many toward those who zealously took up the cause of emancipation. George Mason of Virginia refused to sign the Constitution because the lack of a provision to care for the slavery issue. After 20 years of labor in Virginia and N.C., Barrow moved on to Ky. When some began to embrace Unitarianism, he was sent in 1803 to help convince the heretics of their apostasy. He wrote a pamphlet on “The Trinity” which helped to check this growing heresy. However his popularity didn’t last long because when the Kentucks found out his views on emancipation it was all over. A committee went from the North District Association and demanded that the church expel him from the pulpit or they would be expelled from the Assoc. The church left Baptist doctrine and threw their pastor to the wolves and chose the denominational bosses and stayed with the association. We are reminded what Paul said to the Galatians, Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/ Thompson/, pp. 473-75.