Concord Baptist Association
Corresponding Letter, 1864
Held at White's Run Baptist Church
Carroll County, KY
THE Concord Association now in session with her Sister Chnrch, at White Run, Carroll County, Ky., to the Associations with whom she corresponds:
Dear Brethren, amid the turmoils and afllictions that have been the portion of our country, we have again been permittted to assemble in an associated capacity. But our body is greatly reduced in numbers, and those who have met, manifest a desire to get through our business, and return to their homes. In reporting to you the state of our Churches, and the progress of the cause of Christianity in our bounds, we have to say that most of our Churches complain of barrenness and declension, though manifesting unity and peace in their bodies, while some of our Churches report a revival influence with an ingathering of members into their bodies.
In regard to Brethren visiting us from corresponding Associations, we regret to say that we received only one letter, and that from Franklin Association. But we make much allowance in consequence of the troubles in the country. We send you this by our brethren, printed in onr minutes, at which time and place we will be gratified to meet your messengers as heretofore. Brethren, farewell.
May the blessings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, be with you and us, is the prayer of your Brethren at Concord.
The Concord Association now in session with her sister Church, at White's Run, Carroll County, Ky., to the Churches composing her body.
DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS, The circumstances under which we are now assembled, when civil commotion has almost broken loose the bonds of society,and the demoralizing events of the times, have left their impression upon all things sacred and profane, call upon us more especially than ever, to feel grateful to our Heavenly Father, for his kind protection in the preservation of our lives, and for his kind permission to us to meet again, to hold this, our forty-fourth anniversary.
Im submitting to you this, our annual, we propose calling your attention to a subject intimately connected with the prosperity of the Church; but one which has not as yet engaged the special attentions of any large portions of our membership. We m ean ministeral support.
Under the Jewish Theocracy, the tribe of Levi was set apart for the ministeral service, and they were supported by the other portion of the people and the supports thus given to the Levitical priesthood wasconsidered among the most charitable acts: - Deuteronlmy xxxi, 12th verse.
The Minister of our Savior's Gospel is appointed to that exclusive work. His calling is one of necessity and he has no choice. "The harvest is great and the laborers are few."
In every instance in the New Testament where reference is made to support of the ministry, we are taught that ministers are to be supported by the Church.
"If we have sown un to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall
reap your carnal things?" I Corinthians xii - 14th verse.
How few is the namber of those that preach the Gospel, especially amomg protestant denominations in the United States, that live by tho Gospel? How few are there of ministers that are able to aay that they have preached tne Gospel of onr Lord Jesus Christ, as the primary object in life to the exclusion of every secular pursuit? This minister is a farmer, this one a teacher, another one a physician, a laborer, merchant or something else. We hold that it is impossible for the man of God to follow any secular pursuit, and at the same time discharge his ministerial duty. Ministers may accomplish much good and follow some other calling; but their efficiency as a minister will be great in proportion as they labor, in that sphere alone.
Imagine that we have a ministry whose time ie exclusively occupied in ministerial labor, and who can calculate the results that wonld follow. The ministry would become more learned, and more able to teach, the laity would become more spiritual minded, because moro of their time would be employed in wpirutal things, and would by so much more exercise a salutary influence upon the unoonverted. But ministers will answer us and very properly too, that it is impossible so to devote their whole time - that many of them are men of large and dependent families, and that the compensation received for their ministerial services, is wholly inadequate for their support.
This is the difficulty; we have a zealous and devoted ministry; they are willing and ready to labor anywhere for the glory of God. They must have the necessaries of life too, and must labor for it, if they are not supported. How is this difficulty to be remedied? We look to the laity alone for the solution. Our Lord's word should be preached every Sabbath, in every Church in the land. A very small pittance of our yearly income is sufficient to procure a minister one Sabbath in a month, as we have paid them. In several of the Churches under our observation where the membership represent a taxable property of several hundred thousand dollars; they have services in their church once a mouth, and pay the minister less than one hundred dollars.
The devout minister of the Gospel feels with the Apostle Paul, that "wo is me, if I preach not the Gospel," and the injunctions is not less heavy upon us if we support not those who minister unto us in spriritual things. We would say then to the minister in the fear of God, we should not minister unto the churches that are not willing to bear the burden of his support. If he most partially abandon his ministerial duties to earn a support at some other calling, let him devote the time that he can employ, in the ministry, in preaching to the destitute, Our space is circumscribed. Brethren, if we will but do our duty we can recall the ministers who labor for support within our association, from the plow, the counter, the school, and the work bench, and make them constant laborers in the field, where the "harvest is abundant, aud the laborers are few."
[From Concord Baptist (Carroll & Owen County, KY) Association Minutes, 1864, pp. 6-7. Via SBTS Archives and Special Collections, Adam Winters, Archivist. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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