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Comments on the Salem Association
Boone County, Kentucky
By James A. Kirtley
      James A. Kirtley was for several decades in the late nineteenth century a leading pastor, historian and theologian for the Northbend Association of Baptists. His father Robert, had been a pastor of the Regular (Missionary) Baptists for many years in northern Kentucky.

      James A. Kirtley wrote concerning the Salem Predestinarian Baptist Association (established at the Forks of Gunpowder Baptist meetinghouse in 1840), "The annual gatherings of this little body, and some of the occasional meetings of their churches, were the stated seasons for the coming together of their preachers from North, South, East and West who seemed to think that the highest aim of their calling was by vulgar wit and ludicrous anecdotes, to hold up to derision and contempt those to whom they applied the epithets 'arminian,' 'soft-shell,' and the like; while educated ministers, missionaries, Bible societies, etc., came in for a full share of their denunciation." Kirtley goes on to say everybody knew that their attacks were on his father who was the Pastor of Bullittsburg Baptist Church and Moderator of the North Bend Association of Baptists at the time of the division in 1840.

      James says his father, Robert Kirtley, had baptized many of these brethren; they had looked upon him as their spiritual father. They had acknowledged him as a faithful Bible expositor and delighted in his ministry in previous days. When they divided over doctrine, missionary policy, education of ministers and a few other issues, those who withdrew from Northbend Association, lent their sanction to those who abused his father. James says these things were "a furnace of affliction" and the greatest trial in the life of his father.

[From James A. Kirtley, History of Bullittsburg Baptist Church, 1872, pp. 60-61. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]



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