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An Index of the Circular Letters of the
Bethel Baptist Association 1825-1884

By Philip duBarry

     The Bethel Baptist Association, located in and around Logan County, Kentucky, formed in 1825 in answer to a controversy. A contentious spirit of disagreement had lately begun to enter the Red River Association concerning the issues of limited atonement and the preaching of the gospel to the unregenerate. Elder Reuben Ross, whose popularity in the association had achieved a high status, became increasingly convinced that the gospel ought to be preached to the lost. When the association refused to censure Ross or limit his influence, the situation reached a climax. The association held a special convention at Union Baptist Church in 1824 to harmonize the differing sentiments, but division was unavoidable. The two camps agreed to part ways peaceably. Therefore, on October 28, 1825, those following the teachings of Elder Ross met at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church and organized the new association.

     The following is an index of all circular letters published in the Bethel Baptist Association minutes from 1825 to 1884. After this year the annual meetings featured various historical reports instead of circular letters. This association is now known as the Logan-Todd Baptist Association. -- Philip duBarry

The following key is used throughout as known: [P] - Pastor, [O] - Ordained Minister, [L] - Licentiate.

1825 - As this was the first association meeting, no circular letter was assigned or read.

1826 - The Division of the Red River Association, written by a committee of the following: Reuben Ross [P] of Spring Creek West Fork, Wm. Tandy [O] of Bethel, Sugg Fort [P] of Red River.

1827 - Wm. Tandy [O] of Bethel was assigned but no circular letter was written.

1828 - Wm. C. Warfield [P] of Bethel was assigned but failed to prepare a circular letter.

1829 - Brotherly Love, Wm. Tandy [O] of Bethel.

1830 - Love and the Fruit of the Spirit, John S. Wilson [P] of Elkton.

1831 - A History of the Bethel Association, William Warder [P] of Russellville.

1832 - A general exhortation and encouragement by means of taking stock of the past and present situations, John M. Pendleton of Bethel.

1833 - "The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Salvation of Men," Robert T. Anderson [P] of Pleasant Grove.

1834 - Christian Love, John M. Pendleton of Bethel, examined by the following: Reuben Ross [P] of S. C. West Fork, William Warder [P] of Russellville, Robert T. Anderson [P] of Pleasant Grove.

1835 - No circular letter was written due to the "shortness of time" and to ensure the subject, the atonement, be given it's rightful due.

1836 - The Atonement, Robert T. Anderson [P] of Pleasant Grove assisted by a committee of the following: Reuben Ross [P] of S. C. West Fork, William Warder [P] of Russellville, John M. Pendleton of Bethel.

1837 - "Growing In Grace," Thomas Chilton [P] of Hopkinsville.

1838 - Brotherly Love, Robert T. Anderson [P] of Pleasant Grove.

1839 - Family Prayer, R. Williams [P] of Harmony.

1840 - "The radical change that must occur in the heart in order to become a Christian," Robert T. Anderson [P] of Pleasant Grove.

1841 - Searching the Scriptures, O. H. Morrow [P] of Sulpher Spring.

1842 - "The church as the Bride, the Lamb's Wife," J. P. Campbell of Hopkinsville.

1843 - "The duty we owe to the souls of our fellow man," T. B. Ripley [P] of Clarksville, TN.

1844 - Exhortation to continue ministry in light of the pervasive climate of apathy and causes of this spiritual stagnation, S.[amuel] Baker [P] of Russellville.

1845 - Suggestions for increasing in Godliness and for starting revival, Robert T. Anderson [P] of Pleasant Grove.

1846 - "Obligations and Duties of the Lord's Day," H. B. Wiggin [O] of Union.

1847 - Examining one's own personal condition in reference to salvation and holy living, Robert T. Anderson [P] of Pleasant Grove.

1848 - The design of Baptist associations as it relates to the church, S.[amuel] Baker [P] of Russellville. The author stresses that a church ought always to retain her independence while cooperating with other sister churches in the Lord's work.

1849 - Christian Love, R. Williams [P] of Harmony.

1850 - Prayer, W. Sym [P] of Russellville.

1851 - The importance of preaching the Gospel, A. B. Knight [L] of Salem.

1852 - O. H. Morrow [P] of Sulpher Spring was assigned; however, either no circular letter was written or it has been lost.

1853 - Exhortation to increase in the work of the Lord, because our time on earth is short, J. W. Rust of Russellville. This meeting also included the association's first report on Temperance.

1854 - "The Kingdom of the Redeemer," A. D. Sears [P] of Hopkinsville.

1855 - The importance of churches adhering to the laws of Christ, J. M. Bennett [P] of Bethel.

1856 - Church organization as a system, B. T. Blewitt [O] of Russellville.

1857 - "Christian Amenity and Love," J. W. Rust of Russellville.

1858 - The final perseverance of the saints, F. Plaster [P] of Keysburg.

1859 - Peace, M. G. Alexander [O] of Lebanon.

1860 - "Ministerial Education", W. W. Gardner [P] of Russellville. The author limits his remarks to "its Nature and Importance."

1861 - O. H. Morrow [P] of Sulpher Spring was excused from writing the circular letter due to his afflictions.

1862 - The paramount obligations of Christians, J. W. Rust of Russellville.

1863 - Faithfulness, B. Winston of Mount Gilead. "When you organised your churches, you made a pledge to God, that your influence would be felt, in the great work of human redemption. It [faithfulness] implies that you should be true to that pledge."

1864 - The Special Providence of God S. P. Forgy [P] of Trenton. The author defines this as "the constant operation of God, extending to the minutest, as well as the greatest events that take place in the universe."

1865 - Exhortation to enter the work with renewed energy in light of the war having ended, G. W. Inman [P] of Spring Creek

1866 - "The Religious Training of Your Children," G. Hunt [P] of Bethel.

1867 - "The Religious Training of Churches," J. W. Rust of Russellville.

1868 - Personal Piety, A. D. Sears [P] of Clarksville.

1869 - Modern Dancing, W. W. Gardner [P] of Russellville.

1870 - Revivals, L. J. Crutcher [P] of Graysville.

1871 - Piety as the antidote to heresy, John F. Dagg [P] of Hopkinsville.

1872 - Importance of Regular Church Attendance, V. K. Witt [P] of Franklin.

1873 - This year's circular letter was replaced by a History of Elkton Church, A. D. Sears [P] of Clarksville and E. N. Dicken [P] of Bethel.

1874 - Unity, G. F. Bagby [P] of Trenton.

1875 - Baptist Peculiarities, C. E. W. Dobbs [P] of Bowling Green.

1876 - Educational work of the Bethel Association previous to the war, L. Waggener of Russellville.

1877 - Ministerial Education, E. N. Dicken [P] of Bethel.

1878 - Weekly Sabbath Worship, T. G. Keen [P] of Hopkinsville.

1879 - A Regenerate Church Membership, S.[amuel] Baker [O] of Russellville.

1880 - Individuality of Church Members, J. F. Garnett, church unknown. The circular letter was read in his absence.

1881 - Non-workers in the church, B. F. Kidd of Russellville.

1882 - Exhortation to look to the fields and spread the Gospel, S. P. Forgy [P] of Salem.

1883 - No circular letter was written.

1884 - Warning not to neglect Christian doctrine while busy in the work, John F. Dagg [O] of Hopkinsville.

The circular letter was dropped from the agenda in the following years.


[This index was compiled from the Bethel Baptist Association minutes available on microfilm at the Baptist Building in Russellville, KY. It was completed in February, 2005, by Philip duBarry of Addyston Baptist Church, Addyston, OH. Used with permission. - Formatted and scanned by Jim Duvall.]

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