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The First Kentucky Baptist Convention, 1832
By Frank Masters, 1953
      The following appeared in The Baptist Chronicle and Literary Register, a monthly of Georgetown:
"That the Baptists are criminally remiss in the dissemination of the gospel is known to all. A determined effort to rouse the churches from their present dormant state ought to be made by every one who loves our Lord Jesus in sincerity. I propose, in order that we may no longer delay that which ought long since to have been done, that a convention of the brethren from every part of the state, be held."*
Soon many of the churches began openly to opose such a convention, while many others were hesitating and suspicious of the propriety of constituting such a body.

      The Convention was called to meet in Bardstown on March 29, 1832 to continue for three days. Fourteen delegates were present from the three auxiliary societies, viz: Frankfort, Lexington and Georgetown, and twenty from nine churches - a total of thirty-four. In addition to these, the following visiting ministers were invited to seats: George Waller, David Thurman, Jacob Locke, William M. Brown and Joshua Morris. These brethren were strong supporters of the Convention, but were not messengers. The only available record shows that at the close of 1832, there were 35 Kentucky, thirty-seven Baptist associations, 608 churches and 35,862 members after a loss of about 10,000 who went with Alexander Campbell.+

      The Convention was organized by electing Silas M. Noel, Moderator; George W. Eaton, Samuel Carpenter and Herbert C. Thompson, Corresponding Secretaries, and Henry Wingate, Clerk. The sermon introductory to the business of the body was delivered by Rev. Ryland T. Dillard, then pastor the First Church, Lexington. A committee with S. M. Noel, chairman, was appointed to draft a constitution for the government of the Convention which was adopted as follows:

"1. This Convention shall be known by the name of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

"2. It shall be composed of those, and those only, who belong to, or are in correspondence with, the general Union of Baptists in Kentucky.

"3. Any Church, Auxiliary Society, or Association, belonging to the Baptist connexion, shall be entitled to three representatives, qualified in article second.

"4. The representatives of the Churches, Societies and Associations, when assembled in Convention, shall have no ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the Churches or Associations, nor act even as an advisory council in cases of difficulty between Churches; nor shall they interfere with the Constitution of any Church, or Association, nor with the articles of general union.

"5. The Convention, when met, shall elect a Moderator, three Corresponding Secretaries, Clerk, Treasurer, and as many other members as the Convention may, from time to time, think necessary; who, together with said officers, shall be an executive board; a majority may constitute a quorum for business. During the recess of the Convention, its business shall be transacted by the executive committee, who shall have power to fill vacancies in their own body, and shall submit a report of their proceedings to each annual meeting.

"6. The Convention shall, annually, collect and publish a statistical account of the Churches and Associations in this state - devise and execute plans for supplying destitute churches and neighborhoods with the gospel of Christ, and have power to disburse monies contributed by the Churches and Associations in the manner specified by the contributors, provided special instructions are sent.

"7. All monies contributed by the Churches, Associations, and others, to aid traveling preachers, and to advance the benevolent views and objects of the Convention generally, shall be specifically appropriated to those purposes.

"8. The Convention shall send forth men of tried integrity and usefulness to preach the gospel."

      Two remaining articles relate to the time and place of meeting and the amending of the constitution.**
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      The Kentucky Baptist Convention went out of existence in October 23, 1837, to be succeeded by the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky. [Masters, p. 265]
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* J. H. Spencer, A HIstory of Kentucky Baptists, Vol I, pp. 649-650; The Christian Repository, July, 1859, Vol. 8, p. 480.
+ Repository, December, 1831, Vol. 2, No. 12, p. 187.
** Spencer, Vol. I, p. 642; see also Allen, I. M., The United States Baptist Annual for 1832, p. 186.

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[From Frank Masters, A History of Baptists in Kentucky, 1953, pp. 257-258. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]



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