Samuel W. Lynd, son of Samuel Lynd, a prosperous silk merchant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was born in that city, December 23, 1796. He received a good classical, though not a collegiate education. At the age of twenty-four he was converted, and was baptized by Dr. William Staughton, whose eldest daughter, Leonora, he married. He studied theology with Dr. Staughton, but the failure of his voice compelled him to delay entrance upon the work of the Christian ministry, and for several years he and Mrs. Lynd, a most efficient helper, conducted a school for young ladies in Baltimore. In January, 1824, Mr. Lynd became pastor of the Navy Yard Baptist church, Washington, D. C. In 1830 they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio.
In Cincinnati, in 1830, just previous to the organization of the Ninth Street Baptist Church, there were in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, four Baptist Churches: The Enon Church, later known as the First Baptist Church; the Sycamore Street Baptist Church, the one claiming the name of Original and Regular First Baptist Church; and the Bethel Baptist Church. It was a time of religious activity, as Alexander Campbell was preaching there in some of the Baptist Churches, presenting his peculiar views, while some Baptist ministers were inclined toward hyper-Calvinism. It was also a time of much discussion and difference of opinion upon doctrinal subjects among Baptists.
In that year Rev. Samuel W. Lynd came on a visit and preached several times in different churches. A number of members, attracted by his style of preaching and his clear and sound views of Christian doctrine, determined to organize a church under his leadership. This company was composed of nineteen members, fourteen of whom had obtained letters from the Enon Church, and four from the Sycamore Street Church. They were recognized by a council November 9th, 1830. Rev. Dr. George Patterson, of the Enon Baptist Church, and Rev. John Boyd, of the Bethel Baptist Church, took part in the exercises, with Rev. S. W. Lynd giving the right hand of fellowship.
Rev. S. W. Lynd was called as the pastor of the Ninth Street Baptist Church and took charge January 1st, 1831. The first baptism took place in March, 1831, in the Ohio River at the foot of Vine Street, and the church welcomed converts by baptism almost every month for several successive years. By September, 1831, the membership numbered 200.
The new church having no house of worship, met for awhile, on Sunday mornings in the City Council Chamber, and Sunday evenings occupied the house of the Enon Baptist Church. During their first year they erected a house of worship. This house of 40 by 70 feet, costing $12,000.00, was built upon the south side of Sixth Street. The church changed its name to the Sixth Street Baptist Church, and was incorporated under that name February 6th, 1832.
The other four churches soon were absorbed into its membership, and ceased to exist. Dr. Lynd had the qualities of mind and heart that enabled him not only to draw, but to unite these members into one harmonious church, which was characterized by brotherly love during the early years of its history.
During 1837 Pastor Lynd conducted in The Millenial Harbinger (Alexander Campbell's periodical) a controversy with Campbell concerning his views on baptismal regeneration.
He was in the forefront of the anti-mission conflict in Southern Ohio, and was one of the staunchest advocates of the cause of foreign missions. In the mid-1830s, the anti-mission movement divided the churches of the Miami Baptist Association and Pastor Lynd's church was one of the four churches excluded by the anti-missions majority. A. H. Dunlevy, in his History of the Miami Baptist Association (1869) says: "In the Sixth Street [Baptist Church], Cincinnati, there was great unanimity in favor of Missions, and for Sunday-schools, Tract and Temperance Societies." Dunlevy states the leaders on the two sides in this debate were: Dr. S. W. Lynd, and Elder Daniel Bryant, then of Middletown on the side of missions, versus Elder Stephen Gard of Elk Creek, and Elder T. Childers, then of Mount Pleasant Church, on the side of the anti-mission party. Lynd became prominent in promoting the new Miami Association and was chosen its first Moderator.
Dr. Lynd was also prominent in the educational work of his day. He was among eight Cincinnati Baptist men who purchased 370 acres of land in Covington, Kentucky (across the Ohio River from Cincinnati) for the Western Baptist Institute in 1835. They paid $33,250 "at their own risk and on their own responsibility." The school was begun in 1845. The first faculty listed shows: "Rev. S. W. Lynd, D. D., President, and Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology." There were also three other professors the first year.
Dr. Lynd took a large part in the controversy growing out of the slavery question and the Western Baptist Institute never prospered because of that issue. Southern pastors would not send students from their churches to a school taught by professors from the North. Many associations in the South passed resolutions similar to the Long Run in Kentucky (1845):"Resolved, That the situation in which Covington Institution is, on account of the suspicion respecting its president upon the subject of slavery, this Association deems it an unsafe place to educate its rising ministry."In 1843, Pastor Lynd led the church to exclude some prominent members for violating the church covenant; but it was done in a Christian spirit which resulted for the good of those who were excluded. These brethren abandoned their evil ways, were restored to the church, and became valuable members.
Dr. Lynd resigned in September, 1845, having accepted a call to the Second Baptist Church, St. Louis. During his Cincinnati pastorate of 15 years, 764 persons united with the Church; 400 of them by baptism.
S. W. Lynd in the 1850s began a debate with James M. Pendleton concerning Pendleton's small book: An Old Landmark Reset - Ought Baptists to Invite Pedobaptists to Preach in Their Pulpits? Dr. Pendleton included some of their discussion in an appendix to a later edition of his book. Pendleton thought Dr. Lynd was inconsistent with what he had written earlier.
Dr. Lynd, President of the Western Theological Institute, and one of the leading Baptist ministers of Kentucky, has identified himself with the opponents of the "Landmark." He has expressed his regret that the little treatise was ever written, and seems to think its author will regret it too. Dr. Lynd's decided opposition to the "Landmark" is very remarkable in view of the following facts:
In the "Cross and Baptist Journal" of April 15, 1836, he expresses himself thus: "I assume the position that Baptists and Pedobaptists differ on ESSENTIAL points, ESSENTIAL to the honor of Jesus Christ and the future prosperity of the churches. And I would have the community understand it. Have Baptists forgotten the ground which they occupy? Have they forgot that the difference involves the constitution and government of gospel churches?" Again, "I have feared for some time that the union of Baptists with other denominations would prove to be an alliance of much ultimate evil."
Who would have thought that after writing thus Dr. L. would oppose such a separation between Baptists and Pedobaptists as the "Landmark" recommends? But this is not all.
In the Western Recorder of January 10, 1855, Dr. Lynd uses the following language: "The constituents of a church, according to primitive model, are such persons as have been baptized upon a credible profession of repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." In the same paper of April 25, 1855, he says: "Churches organized, according to primitive usage, are those in which the constituents are immersed believers, called the saved and the sanctified. Ministers of the gospel were appointed by the churches, and recognized, fellowshipped, and set apart to full official authority, by the elders of the churches."
From this definition of a gospel church, it follows irresistibly that Pedobaptist societies are not gospel churches. They are not composed of "such persons as have been baptized upon a credible profession of repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." The "constituents" of these societies are not "immersed believers." From the premises of Dr. Lynd, as well as those of Dr. Waller, the conclusion is inevitable that Pedobaptists can lay no valid claim to "ecclesiastical existence." This is the doctrine of the "Landmark," and why is it worse in me to publish it than in Drs. Lynd and Waller?
But, says Dr. L., "ministers of the gospel were appointed by the churches," etc. The persons appointed were of course members of the churches, or otherwise the churches would have no jurisdiction over them. If they were members of the churches, they were, according to Dr. L.'s definition of a church, "immersed believers." So be it. Then it follows that in apostolic times none were appointed "ministers of the gospel" who were not church members, and consequently "immersed believers." And here the perplexing question arises: Can men now be ministers of the gospel who are not members of churches formed according to the gospel? I say they cannot; and, therefore, they ought not to be so recognized. This is the position of the "Landmark."
Some, however, have made a distinction between a minister of the gospel and a preacher of the gospel. They say a minister must belong to a gospel church, having been immersed on a profession of faith, but that a preacher does not of necessity belong to a gospel church, and that immersion on a profession of faith is not a prerequisite to preaching. But can it be shown that unbaptized men - and consequently sustaining no church relation - were, in primitive times, permitted to preach? Was there a class of men analogous to modern Pedobaptist preachers who were not recognized as ministers of the gospel, but were considered preachers, and invited to preach, and allowed to immerse, though never immersed themselves? The truth is, there is no scriptural authority for making a distinction between a minister of the gospel and a preacher of the gospel. Paul speaks of himself as a "minister" and a "Preacher," and says to Timothy, "Preach the word," and in the same chapter, "Make full proof of thy ministry." Dr. L. says that "Ministers of the gospel were appointed by the churches." I ask if preachers preached without such appointment? To suppose they did is an absurdity. We have only to read the Acts of the Apostles to see the priority of church membership to preaching the gospel.
After reading the preceding extracts from Dr. Lynd, the reader will be surprised to know that in the Western Recorder of May 16, 1855, he says:
"I have never denied that Pedobaptist societies are churches, or that their elders are gospel ministers. I hope I never shall, be it orthodox or heterodox." Dr. L. had lost his usual equanimity when he wrote this. For him to hope never to make a certain denial, though it be heterodox not to make it, is doing injustice both to his head and heart.
How Pedobaptist "elders" are "gospel ministers," when, in apostolic times, "ministers were appointed by the churches," and the churches were composed of "immersed believers," is too much for mortal comprehension. I could as easily understand how two and four make twenty. Dr. L., however, kindly prophesies in the Recorder of June 6, 1855, that when I shall have "taken a wider theological range" I will change my position. Alas, that so many take a "theological range" wider than the New Testament! If I reason from premises that Dr. L. has laid down I must conclude that the doctrine of the "Landmark" is true; if I conclude that it is false, I must first repudiate his premises, and then take a "theological range" beyond the limits of truth. From taking such a "range" I must be excused. I protest most earnestly and solemnly against it.*
* To understand fully the references to Dr. Lynd the reader will remember that several communications from him and the author of the "Landmark" have been published in the Western Recorder.
Lynd was a member of the committee which approved and commended "The Psalmist" to the Baptist churches of the country, and he preached the sermon before the Missionary Union in Philadelphia, in 1844.
To Miller's "New Selection of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs" (1835), Dr. Lynd contributed seven hymns.
In 1853, he removed to a farm near Lockport, Illinois, but a few years afterward he became pastor of the Fourth Baptist church, Chicago, Illinois.
In 1855 Lynd served as Moderator of the General Association of Baptists of Kentucky which met in Louisville that year.
For a while, he was pastor of the Mt. Auburn Baptist church, Cincinnati, Ohio. About 1863-4, he returned to Lockport, Illinois, where he died, June 17, 1876.
In 1834, Samuel Lynd published a Memoir of Rev. William Staughton, his father-in-law, who originally was from England; had pastored in Philadelphia and was the first corresponding secretary of the American Baptist Board of Foreign Missions.
A Sermon by Dr. Samuel W. Lynd, The Sorceress of Endor, was published in the Tennessee Baptist in 1848.
"Come and See" - A Short Sermon by Dr. Samuel W. Lynd, was published in the Tennessee Baptist in 1850.
[The information in this essay is from: Henry S. Burrage, Baptist Hymn Writers and Their Hymns, 1888; A. Judson Davis, "A History of the Ninth Street Baptist Church, Cincinnati, Ohio," 1891, in Miami Baptist Association Minutes, 1900; A. H. Dunlevy, History of the Miami Baptist Association, 1869; Long Run Baptist Association Minutes, 1845; J. M. Pendleton, An Old Landmark Reset. - Jim Duvall]
Baptist History Homepage