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Early History of the Salem Baptist Association
A History of the Kentucky Baptist
By J. H. Spencer
      This was the second association organized in the Mississippi Valley, and embraced the first two churches planted on the soil of Kentucky. What is known of the early settlement of Baptists in this region, has been related in the early part of this work. As was remarked of Elkhorn, some things already narrated, will be repeated here, in order to make the narrative somewhat connected. The following is a literal copy of the record of the constitution of this ancient fraternity, made by the clerk, and transcribed by Spencer Clack, in his history of Salem Association:
"On Saturday, the twenty-ninth day of October, seventeen hundred and eighty-five, four Regular Baptist churches, met at Cox's Creek, Nelson county, Ky., by their delegates, in order to form an association, and after a suitable sermon on the occasion, preached by our brother Joseph Barnett, from the first chapter of John and 17th verse, proceeded to business. Brother Joseph Barnett being chosen moderator, and brother Andrew Paul, clerk.

"I. Letters from four churches were read, viz.: Severn's Valley, constituted June eighteenth, seventeen hundred and eighty-one. Number of members, thirty-seven. No pastor. Cedar Creek, constituted July fourth, seventeen hundred and eighty-one. Members, forty-one. Joseph Barnett, pastor. Bear Grass, constituted January; seventeen hundred and eighty-four. Members, nineteen. John Whitacre, pastor. Cox's Creek, constituted April, seventeen hundred and eighty-five. Members, twenty-six.
"II. The right of churches to associate, the nature, character and authority of an association opened by brother Barnett.
"III. The constitution, principles and character of the several churches, proposing to associate, minutely inquired into, both in regard of doctrine and discipline, and left under consideration till Monday morning. Adjourned till Monday morning.
"Met according to adjournment.
"IV. The report of the several delegates being read and attended to. Resolved, That the churches have adopted 'the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, and Treatise of Discipline,' hereto annexed, and hold ourselves in full fellowship with the Philadelphia, Ketocton and Monongalia [sic] associations, and proper measures endeavored to obtain assistance from, and correspondence with the same."

     It is probable that they had not heard of the constitution of the Elkhorn Association, which had occurred on the first day of the same month; as a broad wilderness, traversed by blood-thirsty savages, intervened.

     We cannot but observe the respect they manifested toward the churches, constantly exalting them above the association; nor do we fail to perceive their great care that the churches associating, should be sound in faith and discipline. Elkhorn had made some exceptions to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, but Salem adopted it entire.

     After the constitution, the association considered several items, the 9th of which embraced the following: "Resolved, That no queries be received in this association, but such as have been debated in the churches, and come inserted at the bottom of their letter." They also "Resolved, That two days of fasting and prayer be held yearly, one on the fourth Saturday in March, the other on the fourth Saturday in November, to be a day of fasting and thanksgiving."

     The Second Session was held at Cedar Creek, Nelson county, September 30, 1786. No reference is made to Elkhorn Association. It was "Resolved, That the yearly meeting be held at Nolin [an arm of Severns Valley], and that all the preachers in the association attend."

     The Third Session was held at Cox's Creek, Nelson county, October 6, 1787. A letter of correspondence was received from Elkhorn Association, by the hands of John Tanner, Augustine Eastin and Marias Hansbrough. Rules for the government of the Association were adopted. These rules did not differ essentially from those now in general use, except the l0th and 22nd, which read as follows:

"10. In order to keep up union and communion among the churches that compose our body, we are to observe the same rules of discipline, as the members of an individual church do in cases of grievances amongst her members. If one church is grieved with another, she is to send one or two select members to inform her and gain her, and if they fail to gain her, she shall call on one or two sister churches, in our body, for helps, who are to send one or two select members with her, to gain the church, causing grief, and if they fail to gain her, they are to cite her to the next association, to answer the complaint which is to be laid before the association, and they are to attend to it, be- fore they enter on the business of the arrangement; and if they cannot gain her, the association is to drop her from the union: For the churches that compose our body stand, as touching fellowship, related to each other, in the same point of light as the members of an individual church to each other.

     "21. Corresponding messengers from other associations have a right to deliver their sentiment on any subject, and to vote as members of our body."

     Some of the 29 rules from which the above are extracted, were adopted in 1787; the remainder were added in 1807. It is not usual at the present time, to concede that the churches composing an association, sustain the same relation to each other, as do the individual members of a church. Yet, if an association is to make any attempt to maintain fellowship, and exercise discipline among the churches, of which it is composed, it is difficult to see wherein the fathers erred, in laying clown this rule. The rule permitting corresponding members to vote, was not generally adopted, by the early associations.

     The Fourth Session convened at Cox's Creek, October 4, 1788, Brashears Creek, afterwards called Clear Creek, and located near the present site of Shelbyville, and Rolling Fork church, were received into the union. The association now numbered 6 churches and 188 members.

     The Fifth Session met at Cox's Creek, October 3, 1789. The venerable John Gano, from Elkhorn, preached the introductory sermon, from Acts 15:6. Query: from Rolling Fork. "Is it lawful for a member of Christ's church to keep his fellow creature in perpetual slavery? " Answer: "The association judge it improper to enter into so important and critical a matter, at present. " The association was much agitated on this subject, for a number of years. Two of her preachers, Joshua Carman and Josiah Dodge, became irreconcilable Emancipationists, and finally broke oft from the association, and set up an Emancipation church.

     During the session under review, the question as to whether the laying on of hands upon newly baptized persons, was necessary to fellowship, was answered in the negative.

     Sixth Session, at Cox's Creek, Oct. 2, 1790. The introductory sermon was preached by Augustine Eastin. Hardins Creek and White Oak Run churches were received. A revival had prevailed during the preceding year, and 1 12 baptisms were reported. It was decided that the proper time to give the right hand of fellowship was after baptism. The question as to whether giving the hand of fellowship before baptism, would be a breach of fellowship, was referred to the next association, and then withdrawn.

     Seventh Session, at Cox's Creek, Sept. 30, 1791. Simpsons Creek church (now Bloomfield) was received. The churches of the association aggregated 432 members. It was Resolved, that James Garrard (afterwards Governor of Kentucky, eight years), Wm. Wood, Wm. Taylor and Baldwin Clifton, comply with the request of Severns Valley church, with respect to the ministerial qualifications of Josiah Dodge. The examination being satisfactory, he was ordained. In answer to a request from Elkhorn Association, that this association aid them in revising the Confession of Faith, they desired time to consider, and to have the approbation of the churches.

     Eighth Session, at Cedar Creek, 1792. The church at Chenowiths Run (now Cedar Creek, in Jefferson county) received John Taylor and John Price were messengers from Elkhorn. The association decides that the 26th Article of the Confession of Faith, does not prohibit Christians from marrying unconverted persons, but only forbids their marrying persons of profane and debauched lives, or of heretical principles. The name of Lick Creek church appears on the minutes this year, for the first time.

     Ninth Session. (place of meeting unknown) 1793. Drennins Lick Creek church (now Mt. Moriah), in Nelson County, and Mill Creek, in Jefferson county, received. The subject of slavery continues to agitate the churches.

     Tenth Session, 1794 Buck Creek, afterwards called Buck & Elk, and now known as Elk Creek, and Mill Creek in Nelson county, received.

     1795. Query: Has the association a right to appoint quarterly meetings? Answer. Yes. Mill Creek, Jefferson county, inquires if it is right for professing heads of families to raise up their servants without teaching them to read the word of God, and giving them sufficient food, raiment and lodging. The association thought it improper to interpose in domestic concerns. The same church inquires if a black slave has a right to a seat in the association. The answer was: Yes, provided he be sent as a messenger from a church. Each of the two parties in Lick Creek church sent a letter to the association, claiming to be the legitimate organization. Both parties were rejected, till they should reconcile their difficulties. This, it is believed, was the first case of the kind that occurred in Kentucky. The precedent here set, has generally been followed. A reconciliation was effected, before the next meeting of the association.

     1796. Rolling Fork church, except three members, had withdrawn from the association, on account of its tolerating slavery. The church at Mill Creek, Jefferson county, had also withdrawn for the same reason.

     1797. At Cox's Creek three new churches were received; Beech Creek, Shelby county; Harrods Creek, now in Oldham county, and Long Run, Jefferson county. The association advises the churches to discountenance, Reuben Smith, from either preaching or administering the ordinances among them, unless he unite himself with some church. This Elder Smith had been a member of a small church called Strodes Creek in Clark county. That church had been dissolved. He had moved to what is now Spencer county, and had failed to unite with: any church. He afterwards joined Elk Creek church and became its pastor.

     1798. The association met at Buck & Elk (now Elk Creek.) Two new churches were received: Salt River, in what is now Anderson county, and Ridge church, whose locality is now unknown.

     1799. The association met at Brashears Creek. Three new churches were received: Plum Creek, afterwards called Plum and Buck, and now known as Buck Creek, in Shelby county; Tick Creek (now Bethel), in Shelby county, and Fourteen Mile Creek (now Charleston), in Knox county, Indiana. The churches are advised to be extremely cautious in the restoration of excommunicated ministers, to their former standing.

     1800. The association met at Simpson's Creek. Two new churches were received: Six Mile (now Christiansburg), in Shelby county, and Eighteen Mile Creek, in what is now Oldham county. The church at Port William (now Carrollton), at the mouth of Kentucky River, applied for admission, but was rejected. This church resulted from a union meeting of Baptists and Methodists, and probably adopted a hybrid confession of faith. It, however, so changed its articles of belief as to be admitted into Elkhorn Association, the next year. It is now located at Ghent, in Carroll county.

     At the meeting under review, the association advises the churches to dismiss, in the way they were received, members who hold the doctrine of Hell Redemption. The churches are also advised to introduce no persons into the ministry, except such as give evidence of true piety and promising gifts; that every rational and proper means be used for the improvement of such gifts, and that, in bringing them to ordination, the church should, in every case, have the assistance of at least two, but rather three ministers, esteemed for piety and abilities.

     1801. The association met at Long Run meeting house, in Jefferson county. This was the first associational year of the great revival. Seventeen old churches and seven new ones met by their messengers. The following were the churches received at this meeting: Corn Creek in what is now Trimble county, Little Mount, in what is now Spencer county; Sulphur Fork, Floyd's Fork (since dissolved) and Rock Lick, in Henry county; Burks Branch in Shelby county, and Cane and Back Run (then in Jefferson, but now King's church, in Bullitt county). Rock Lick church, afterwards united with North Six Mile, and formed Mt. Pleasant church, in Henry county. Previous to this date, the minutes and circulars were written, one copy for each church, but, at this meeting it was agreed for the future to have them printed. How greatly have printing establishments been multiplied in Kentucky in eighty-five years.

     The churches are advised to be extremely cautious about receiving members who have divorced their wives, or husbands, and married again, while their former companions were still living; and not to receive such without the assistance of one or more churches. Query, from Corn Creek: "Is a Christian to take all manner of abuse from a ruffian, without making resistance ?"
     Answer: "Yes, so far as the abuse amounts to language only." It was agreed to correspond with Green River Association. The duty of deacons is defined: "To take care of temporal concerns of the church." The question as to whether it is consistent with good order for a minister to hear experiences and baptize, within the bounds of a church, without its consent, was postponed, and subsequently answered in the negative.

     1802. Met at Cox's Creek. The following churches were received: Salem, Hites Run, Rock Creek, Lick Branch (now Lagrange, in Oldham county), and Rolling Fork, which had seceded from the association, in 1796. "Query from Hardin's Creek: Is it advisable to receive the evidence of credible persons in the world, against a member who might publicly transgress, and yet deny it?
Answer: All things considered, we think it not advisable." This bad advice was reconsidered, and reversed, the next year. At this meeting, a correspondence with South District, Tates Creek and Cumberland associations, was agreed to. It was agreed that "an association is only an advisory council."

     The association had now been in existence seventeen years. Its growth during the first fifteen years, was very slow indeed. It was constituted of four churches, aggregating 123 members. In 1800 it numbered seventeen small churches, the aggregate membership of which, though not definitely known, is supposed to have been about five hundred. During the next two years its increase was so great, that, in 1802 it numbered 34 churches and about 2,500 members. It embraced in its territory nearly all the region of country, lying between the Ohio and Green rivers, west of the mouth of the Kentucky river. At the last named date, it was agreed to divide its territory, and Salt river was fixed upon as the dividing line. All the churches north of that stream were to form a new association, to be called Long Run. This reduced the mother fraternity to 11 churches, aggregating, in 1803, 792 members. After this date, it enjoyed a good degree of prosperity. The country began to be settled more rapidly, and, what was still more important to the prosperity of the churches, the long continued agitation of the slavery question had measurably ceased. The principle growth of the association, heretofore, had been in the direction of its Northern border. But now the country, to the south and west, began to fill up, and the new churches planted, were principally in those directions. The churches represented in the association, in 1803, were Cedar Creek, Cox's Creek, Simpson's Creek, Mill Creek, Wilson's Creek and Rolling Fork, all in Nelson county; Hardin's Creek, in Washington; Hites Run in Breckenridge; Rock Creek, in Grayson, and Cedar Creek (since dissolved), in Bullitt.

     The following churches were received into the association at the dates indicated, between the year 1803 and the second division of the body, in 1817: In 1803, Severns Valley, (which had left the association, on account of its tolerating slavery, and joined Green River Association), and Nolin in Hardin county; in 1804, Bacon Creek, in Hart county, and Beaver Dam Creek, in Edmonson; in 1806, Bethel and Mill Creek, in Hardin; in 1807, Short Creek, believed to be in Grayson; in 1808, Union, in Hardin; in 1809, Goshen, in Breckenridge; in 1811, Salem, in Harrison, Ind., and Little Union, in Spencer; in 1821, Pleasant Run and Caney Creek, in Grayson, and Buck and Indian Creek, Ind.; in 1813, Rough Creek and Otter Creek, in Hardin; Rough Creek, in Ohio; Concord, in Grayson, and New Hope and Pisgah, in Breckenridge; in 1814, Mt. Pleasant, in Ohio, and Salem, at Bardstown, in Nelson; in 1816, Walnut Grove, in Breckenridge, and Panther Creek, in Daviess, and, in 1817, Mt. Zion, in Hardin.

     In 1803, several queries came before the association, one of which was on the subject of communing with other than Baptist societies, which was decided to be out of gospel order. It was also decided that the recent union with the Separate Baptists did not change any of the rules of order of either party. South District Association having been violently rent asunder during this year, it was agreed to continue correspondence with that party which adhered to the principles of the general union.

     In 1804, correspondence was opened with Russells Creek Association. The churches were advised not to encourage strange preachers, unless they came well recommended, and maintained a good character. In answer to a query concerning feet washing, the association advises each church to act in accordance with its own conviction.

     In 1805, the churches are cautioned not to allow William Downs to preach among them, he having been excluded from Rolling Fork church.

     In 1808, it was averred not to be disorderly for a woman to marry the husband of her deceased sister.

     In 1810, in consequence of the existence of a disorderly sect, calling themselves Baptists, the churches were advised "to give an expression of their faith and order, in letters of dismission, and require the same from persons desiring admission." The sect here referred to, was a faction which had broken off from South District Association in 1803, and assumed the name of Separate Baptists. They held in fellowship, at least one prominent preacher (John Baily), who taught the doctrine of Hell Redemption.

     In 1811, the association advised that in ordaining a minister, the church should be unanimous, and have the concurrence of at least two ordained preachers.

     In 1812, a correspondence was agreed to with Silver Creek Association, in Indiana. The following query from Cedar Creek was discussed and. answered: "Is it agreeable to the gospel mission, for the ministers thereof to publish and preach funeral sermons? If it is, we wish to know the scripture that authorizes it.
     Answer: "We believe it is not, and we know of no scripture which authorizes it." Also the following query from Little Union: "Doubts have arisen in our Baptist society, whether persons baptized (immersed) by a Baptist preacher, not ordained, should be rebaptized before they are received into our churches?
     Answer: "We believe each church is the most proper tribunal to determine the qualifications of her members, and that baptism is not rightly administered by anyone except a regularly ordained minister." It was decided that to partake of the love feast with the Methodists, was a transgression of Baptist rules, and should require of the transgressor a public acknowledgement.

     In 1814, it was advised that churches holding members who deny the personality and deity of the Holy Ghost, should be dealt with.

     In 1815, a circular letter from the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions was received, at the hand of their agent, Luther Rice, who was invited to a seat in the association. It was decided that a person who relates his experience to a church, [and is approved for baptism] is not under its watch care, until he is baptized. The association recommend to the churches to take such measures as they may think proper, for the education of candidates for the ministry. Judge Davage's pamphlet referred to in the history of Elkhorn Association, was condemned as heretical.

     In 1817, James E. Welsh, a missionary to the West, was invited to a seat in the association.

     At this date, the association numbered 31 churches, aggregating 1,809 members. These churches were scattered over a territory, now embraced in at least fifteen counties. This rendered attendance on the meetings of the association, very inconvenient. It was thought advisable, therefore, to form a new association. Accordingly, the following churches were dismissed for that purpose: Rough Creek, Goshen, Pisgah, Bethel, New Hope, Caney Creek, Concord; Pleasant Run and Gilead, Ind. Mt. Pleasant and Panther Creek, which were not represented in the body, were accorded liberty to join the new association. Elders Walter Stallard, Warren Cash, Martin Utterback and Shadrach Brown, with Joseph Lewis and George Helm, were appointed to aid in constituting the new fraternity, at Goshen church, in Breckenridge county. The time appointed for this transaction, is not specified, but most likely occurred the same fall.

     This division left the association in 1818, 20 churches, aggregating 1,654 members. Between this period and 1840, the following churches were received, at the dates indicated: In 1819, Rudes Creek, in Hardin county and New Hope, in Washington; in 1821, Ohio (now Wolf Creek), in Mead and Chaplin's Fork, in Nelson; in 1823, Rough Creek, in Hardin county; in 1824, Gilead, in Hardin, and Doe Run (soon afterwards dissolved); in 1822, Forks of Otter Creek, in Hardin; in 1829, Mt. Pleasant (now Brandenburg), in Mead; in 1830, Younger's Creek, in Hardin, and Rolling Fork, in Nelson; in 1834, Sinking Creek, in Breckenridge; in 1836, Rock Bridge (an old church), in Washington; in 1838, Middle Creek and Hodgenville, in LaRue, Little Flock, (location unknown), and Mt. Zion, in Hardin; and, in 1839, Westpoint, in Hardin.

     In 1818, the association "earnestly recommended the churches to contribute to missionary purposes," and expressed the "opinion that education societies greatly conduce to the promotion of the Redeemer's Kingdom." Correspondence was opened with Goshen Association.

     The strictness with which the Baptists adhered to order, in these early days, is illustrated by several items of business, transacted by this association, in 1823. A certain preacher from another sect, had been received into one of the churches, on his former baptism. The question was introduced into the association, as to whether it would be orderly to invite him to preach and administer ordinances, under his alien ordination. The answer was: "It is not disorderly to invite him to preach, if the church of which he is a member has licensed him to preach; but we think it not good order to invite him to administer the ordinances under that ordination." Mt. Zion church, of which Elder James Haycraft was a member, for some reason, now unknown, had withdrawn from the association; whereupon that body adopted the following resolution, in 1824: "That this association consider Mr. James Haycraft a disorderly preacher, who has withdrawn from us in a disorderly way, and refuses to give up his credentials." Union church expressed a doubt, in 1827, "as to the lawfulness of taking profiles and likenesses, and hanging them up in our houses;" but the association thought this was not "forbidden in the Scriptures."

     In 1832, two letters came up, each purporting to be from Green River Association, that body having divided, in consequence of disturbances, gendered by the introduction of Campbellism. Both letters were rejected, and the parties were advised to adjust their difficulties. The advice was acted upon, and the correspondence was resumed the following year.

     Salem Association was not disturbed by Campbellism, at so early a date as was Elkhom. Nor did that heresy prevail to so great an extent in the former, as in the latter. It was, however, introduced in some of the churches, on its northern border by Jacob Creath, jr., and produced a schism at Bloomfield, by which that church lost 57 members, who were excluded, in 1834. Among these was Jarvis P. McKay, an ordained minister. Salem church at Bardstown, and Mill Creek church, five miles east of that village, both under the pastoral care of Samuel Carpenter, were carried away by the dissimulation, insomuch that they were both excluded from the association, in 1834. A small remnant of each, however, adhered to the old faith, and both were acknowledged by the association, as the original churches at those places.

     In 1833, the association, in answer to queries from two churches, expressed the opinion that it was not according to good order to receive the baptism, either of "the Reformers" or of "the Christian body." It was also, on motion of that most staunch and valuable church member, Abner King, of Cox's Creek, "Resolved, That the churches composing this association, be advised not to open their meeting houses, for preaching, by any person holding the doctrines of A. Campbell, or who call themselves Reformers, or of the 'Christian order,' commonly called 'New Lights.'" This resolution led to an immediate separation of the Campbellites, from the churches composing the association. The loss to the body was comparatively small in numbers. But Samuel Carpenter, one of the two preachers cut off with the Campbellites, was a man of considerable influence and ability. In 1833, the year before the division, the association numbered 26 churches, aggregating 2,343 members; in 1835, the year after the division, it numbered 27 churches, aggregating 2,184 members, Sinking Creek church, numbering 29 members, having been added to the association in 1834.

     About the time of the Campbellite schism, the leaven of Antimissionism began to work in some of the churches. This was aroused and excited by the association's advising the churches, in 1837, to send messengers to a contemplated meeting, which would convene in Louisville, the 20th of October, of that year, for the purpose of constituting a general association, to succeed the Kentucky Baptist Convention, which had recently been dissolved. The next year an extensive revival prevailed. When the association met in October, 652 baptisms were reported, and six new churches were received. The revival was still in progress. In 1839, the churches reported 438 baptisms, and one new church was received. This precious refreshing from the presence of the Lord, stirred up the hearts of the Christians, and soon called forth the query: What can be done to carry out more effectually the Savior's command -- Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature? This question was not agitated in vain, as we shall see anon. But the revival brought no relenting to the Antimissionaries.

     When the association met in 1839, Sinking Creek, Union and Rough Creek churches were not represented. A committee was sent to inquire the cause of their absence. The Antimissionary parties in these churches, having already determined to secede from a Missionary Association which they could no longer fellowship, met, by their messengers, with other similar factions at Otter Creek meeting house, on the 25th of October, of the same, year, and organized what they termed "Otter Creek Association of Regular Baptists." This new fraternity met again the following May, when it numbered 13 churches, aggregating 502 members. This was a greater loss to Salem Association than it sustained by the Campbellite schism, at least, so far as numbers were concerned.

     When Salem Association met, in 1840, Sinking Creek was dropped from the union, and it was ascertained that Union was reduced to 22 members, while Rough Creek reported only 16. Several others had been reduced by the rending off of small factions. But the revival had far more than compensated for the loss. The association numbered, this year, 35 churches, aggregating 3,199 members.

     At the meeting, in 1840, this association made for the first and only time in its entire history, a slight concession to the Anti-missionaries. The question as to whether this body should represent itself in the General Association appears to have been referred to the churches, the preceding year. The association now took up the subject, and disposed of it as follows: "The reference respecting the General Association-the churches composing our body, think it not expedient for the association to represent herself at this time." It is manifest that this decision did not accord with the real sentiments of the body; for the very next item of business was the passage of the following resolutions:

     "1st. That this association appoint one minister, who will be acceptable to the churches, whose duty it shall be to preach to the destitute churches and neighborhoods, so far as shall be in his power, and report to the next association."
     "2d. That he be remunerated for his services; and, on all suitable occasions, he shall take up collections for the same. And all the churches which feel disposed to aid in this cause, are requested to send up their contributions to the next association; and that a committee of five be appointed to settle with the minister for his services."

     In accordance with these resolutions, Colmore Lovelace was appointed Missionary for the ensuing year, and a committee, consisting of Samuel Haycraft, W. Quinn, T. Miller, R. Richards and C. Pearpoint, was appointed to settle with him for his services. This committee was, in fact, the first Missionary board in Salem Association. This was the same year that Elkhorn Association appointed J. D. Black her first Home Missionary, and appointed a committee of five to settle with him. This arrangement was continued three years in Salem association, and then dropped. The Missionary Board was revived, in 1851, and has continued to do efficient work, to the present time.

     In 1849, another division of the association occurred, by mutual agreement. The body had become inconveniently large, and it was thought expedient to form a new association, of its more northern churches. The following churches were dismissed for that purpose: Cox's Creek, Bloomfield, Rolling Fork, Bardstown, Mill Creek, Little Union, New Salem, Mt. Washington and Shepherdsville. Before this division, the association numbered 33 churches and 3,352 members. The churches were urged to be more punctual in observing the Lord's day; and to make an effort to sustain a Baptist Sabbath School in each church. The body was much weakened by the loss of its largest and most influential churches, which had been dismissed, as stated above, to form Nelson association: So that, in 1850, it was reduced to 22 churches, numbering 1,784 members.

     This Association took its first action on the subject of Temperance, in 1849, when it adopted a series of resolutions, offered by W. L. Morris, of which the following is the substance: That this Association take a stand on the subject of temperance; that the friends of that cause have our sympathies, our prayers and our aid, till the monster, intemperance, be driven from our land; that we discountenance and disfellowship all professed christians who keep distilleries or tippling houses; that we discountenance the practice of dram-drinking, by Baptists, whether at the public bar or in private, and recommend to the churches to do the same, and, that we invite the attention of our brethren through-out the State, to this momentous subject.

     Two high schools were erected within the bounds, and under the auspices of this Association, about 1866. They were both quite prosperous, for several years. But finally the beautiful and valuable grounds and buildings of Lynland Institute passed into the hands of a private individual, and are now used for a family residence. The present condition of Salem College is not known to the author.

     The first principal of Lynland Institute was an imprudent, ambitious young man, with a stubborn conviction of self-sufficiency, of the name of G. A. Coulson. He soon began to preach some chimerical notions, which caused disturbance in several of the churches. A number of grave, judicious brethren labored to induce him to cease preaching these disturbing sentiments. But these attentions seemed only to inflame his self-conceit. The two most offensive propositions that Mr. Coulson promulgated and labored to sustain, were that "there is no promise, in the New Testament, to the unbaptized, as such," and that, "there is no discipleship without baptism." In 1868, Mr. Coulson, being a member of Gilead Church, and frequently preaching to it, the Association adopted the following resolutions, by an almost unanimous vote:

     That we admonish said church [Gilead], and all the churches of Salem Association, and advise Baptists everywhere, to give neither countenance nor encouragement to the unscriptural doctrine of those who may attempt to sow the seeds of discord among us. "That we agree with the editors of the Western Recorder and the Baptist, that these propositions are not debatable among Baptists, and that pardon, regeneration, justification and salvation are promised to believers. whether baptized or not; and that there are christians who have never been baptized."

     Notwithstanding this plain admonition Mr. Coulson continued to preach, and several of the churches continued to encourage him. Wherefore, the Association, in 1869, adopted the following resolutions:

"That we reiterate the advice to the churches composing the Association, not to encourage the man, promulgating said doctrine; and that we will not receive messengers from any church, which calls or retains such a minister, as its pastor.

"That if any church should disregard this advice, a respectable minority of such church ought at their regular meeting, to declare their determination to present themselves to Salem Association, as the church, declaring non-fellowship for the doctrine above described; and such a minority, in our judgment, ought to be received as the church, instead of the others who have departed from the faith of the Baptists."

     At least three churches in the Association were divided. Most of the Coulsen party at White Mills Church, finally joined the Campbellites. The parties at Hodgenville were re-united, after much confusion, as were also those at Gilead. This Association firmly maintained its ancient doctrine and usages, and Mr. Coulson moved out of its bounds, since which the body has enjoyed peace. Perhaps it should have been observed that this fraternity, in 1867, in common with most other similar bodies in the State, vigorously protested against the action of the Legislature by which the Campbellites were given exclusive control of the State Agricultural College.

     Want of space will not allow of further details of the proceedings of this old fraternity. It is sufficient to say that it has continued to enjoy a good degree of prosperity, and has kept pace with its sister associations, in the benevolent enterprises of the day. It has had fewer vicissitudes than most similar bodies of its age. In its early history, it suffered the inconvenience of a great scarcity of preachers. Indeed, it has never been well supplied with ministers, even to the present time. But since the revival of 1800-3, it has had an unusually even course of prosperity. There have been baptized into the fellowship of its churches, not far from 18,000 persons. In 1880, it numbered 42 churches, aggregating 4,230 members, and was the largest association of white Baptists in the State, except Little River.


[Taken from J. M. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1886; reprint, 1984, Vol. 2, pp. 44-60. The title is supplied. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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