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Circular Letter
Bethel Baptist Association, 1831
A Brief History of the State of Religion in the Association
By William Warder, Pastor FBC, Russellville, KY
[p. 6]
Beloved Brethren: Having received intelligence from all the Churches composing our body, we propose giving you a brief history of the state of religion in the bounds of our association.

Since the last annual meeting there have been but few additions to the churches by a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus, and submission to the ordinance of baptism. The few who have been brought in we regard as evidences of divine presence, and manifestations of the work of the holy spirit. Of late, there has been a pleasing appearance of a revival of religion in the neighborhood, between Mt. Gilead [near Allensville in Todd County] and Mt. Pisgah churches, eleven
[p. 7]
have been baptized and the work appears to be progressing. How desirable it is, that the little cloud should gather strength, and water all the garden of God. For this let us be fervently engaged in prayer. In the abscensce [sic] of revivals it is pleasant to have it in our power to say, that the churches enjoy "the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace" but alas! this has not been our condition, during the past year; at least not of all the churches. The common pestilence, which has afflicted the [B]aptist society generally, and particularly some of the associations in Kentucky, has afflicted us. It is true there are but three of our churches, where the votaries of reform (so-called) [Campbellism] even sufficiently numerous to form a body capable of self-government, yet many of the churches have had the subject before them, on account of one or more of their members having adopted their doctrine and thereby became troublesome in the house of God. Indeed where no member has been carried astray by it, such has been the deleterious effects, which it has had on society, by diverting the mind from better things, that it has operated as a mildew on the prosperity and of Zion

Covenant breaking (and such is the design and tendency of this reformation) is an evil most likely to sour the temper and produce impatience. Society rarely if ever passes under a scourge of this kind, without the temper's being thrown of[f] its proper equilebrium, some, from an ill-directed zeal for the maintenance of truth are ready to say, "master shall we command fire from heaven and consume them as Elijah did" and others from a morbid state of judgment, do not discriminate between right and wrong, and would abuse charity by casting it as a mantle over error; which is as pernicious to the church, as poison to the human constitution. These like Aaron would have a golden calf in the camp; and those like Jehu would drive on furiously and say, "behold my zeal for the Lord." We are happy to have it in our power to say, that but little of the above named spirits have manifested themselves in the management of this evil amongst us. The churches considering themselves "built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" and trusting in the divine aid of Him who says, "on this rock will I build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
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[From Bethel Baptist Association Minutes, 1831, pp. 6-7. From microfilm records at the Logan-Todd Association office, Russellville, KY. - Transcribed by Jim Duvall.]



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