A Publication of the J. H. Spencer Historical Society

President's Note,
"...earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." - Jude 3

     As Baptists, we hold to the historic Baptist Distinctives which, taken altogether, distinguishes us from other denominations. (See p. 2) These distinctives identify us as Baptists and are the basis of who we are and will give Baptists a uniformity of belief among our churches. With all the competing doctrines and ideas out there today it may be helpful to ask a few questions:

     1. Did the first church believe that the Bible was the sole authority for faith and practice? Yes. Many churches today are going with the spirit of the age and have elevated reason and tradition to the level of Holy Scripture as their authorities. But as history bears out, any church that marries the spirit of the age will find herself a widow within one generation.
     II Timothy 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:20, 21

     2. Did the first church believe that salvation was by grace through faith alone? Yes. Once we are Convinced of the holiness of God, Convicted of our sins by the Holy Spirit, and Converted to faith in Christ we will understand it was all of God and all of Grace. We ought to be baptized when we are saved, but baptism doesn't save or even help save us. We are saved not by our obedience, but by Christ's obedience to the Father in going to the cross.
     Ephesians 2:8, 9; Galatians 3:26

     3. Did the first church believe that baptism was by immersion only? Yes. The word baptidzo means only "to dip, plunge, or immerse." There are Greek words for sprinkling and pouring, but they are never used in the New Testament in connection with baptism. Our Baptist forebears stood for this principle, and thousands upon thousands suffered severe persecution and even death for their belief in believer's baptism.
      Matthew 28:18-20

     We know that the world is going to keep moving on into deeper unbelief led there by reason, tradition, and utter apostasy, but we, as Baptists, are called to earnestly contend for the faith and not give in to the spirit of the age. We are called to take the higher ground because the Bible instructs us, the Holy Spirit enables us, the great cloud of witnesses encourages us, the blood of the apostles and martyrs inspires us, and future generations of Baptists are counting on us.

     Today, instead of contending for the faith, many have been corrupting and compromising the faith by preaching a watered down version of the New Testament faith. These historic distinctives are based in Holy Scripture and distinguish us as Baptists from the other Christian denominations. To sum it all up; add up all the doctrines of all the denominations, subtract everything that is unscriptural, and the net result is pure Baptist doctrine!

     I want to thank you all for your support of the J. H. Spencer Historical Society. As you know, we are financed only by membership dues and contributions and receive no funds from the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Consequently, The Spencer Journal is printed and mailed out only to those who are dues-paying members of the JHSHS.

     I trust that this issue will be instructive and inspiring for you as you read about the strong stand our Baptist forbears took on their views of the Bible which in turn shaped our heritage and denomination.

Because HE Lives,
Stan Williams

Purpose Statement
of the J. H. Spencer Historical Society

     The purpose of the J. H. Spencer Historical Society shall be to:

- preserve and promote the heritage, history, distinctives and doctrines of Kentucky Baptists
- cooperate with other Baptist historical societies, commissions, and agencies
- collect materials of historical interest to be archived at the Kentucky Baptist Building
- sponsor annual meetings, that will include traditional worship, workshops on preserving the histories of churches and associations, presentations of papers, and sermons.

JHSHS Officers

Stan Williams . . . president
R. Charles Blair . . . vice president
Ben Stratton . . . secretary/treasurer

Bros. Blair, Williams & Stratton

The Baptist Distinctives

Supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ
Sole Authority of the Holy Bible
Autonomy of the Local Church
Regenerated and Baptized Church Membership
Priesthood of the Believer
Believer's Baptism by Immersion
Two Ordinances: Baptism and Lord's Supper
Individual Soul Liberty
Friendly Separation of Church and State


J. H. Spencer Historical Society Membership List
Summer 2010

1. Chris Beckham
2. Edith Benett
3. Charles & Alma Blair
4. Don Burford
5. James Carlin
6. Harold Carney
7. John Chowning
8. James Duvall
9. James K. Duvall
10. Joe Early
11. Adam Greenway
12. Brad Hall
13. Rick Hatley
14. D. Leslie
15. Jerry Hopkins
16. Don Huston
17. Robert J. Imhoff
18. Ronnie Mayes
19. Jeff Noffsinger
20. Don & Glenda Patterson
21. Ken & Carol Potter
22. Ray Provow
23. Tom Quimby
24. Rick Reeder
25. Hughlan P. Richey
26. Joed Rice
27. Jeffrey Sams
28. Rodney Skipworth
29. Chris Skipworth
30. John Sparks
31. Glen Stewart
32. Ben Stratton
33. Bill Summers
34. Robert Tarrence
35. Steve Thompson
36. R. L. Vaughn
37. Versailles Baptist Church
38. Bobby Waldridge
39. First Baptist Church of Walton
40. Steve Weaver
41. Bill Whittaker
42. Bob Winstead
43. Charles W. Winstead
44. Stan Williams
45. Stephen Wilson
46. Mickey Winter
47. Danny Zickefoose

2nd Annual Meeting of the J. H. Spencer Historical Society
November 9, 2009 - Elizabethtown, Kentucky

1. In President Stan Williams' absence, Vice-President Bro. Charles Blair called the meeting to order. He then read from Isaiah 51:1 - "look unto the rock whence ye are hewn."

2. Bro. Ben Stratton passed out copies of the hymn "Come, Thou Font of Every Blessing." He explained that the author of the hymn, Robert Robinson, was a Baptist pastor in England. Robinson also authored two unique Baptist histories ("History of Baptism" and "Ecclesiastical Researches") in which he sought to trace the ancient history of the Baptists.

3. Bro. Ray Provow led in prayer.

4. Dr. Stephen Wilson shared his presentation on "Kentucky Baptists and Biblical Authority." He passed out written copies of his presentation and asked for any questions at the end.

5. Bro. Ben Stratton gave the secretary and treasurer's report. There are currently 33 paid members of the JHSHS and $411 in the bank.

6. Bro. Charles Blair called for items of business to be discussed.

     A. The times for the annual meeting were discussed. While Monday morning has some problems, no better alternatives were mentioned. Dr. Bill Whitaker made the motion that the annual meetings of the JHSHS be held on Monday mornings. Dr. Stephen Wilson seconded. Motion passed.

     B. Copies of the bylaws and constitution for the JHSHS were passed out. These will be voted on next year.

     C. Dr. Bill Whitaker shared that he wished the JHSHS would cooperative with the Baptist History and Heritage Society in promoting their upcoming meeting at Georgetown University.

     D. Bro. Charles Blair asked permission to write an official response from the JHSHS to Rodney Harrison, professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Harrison had written an article criticizing J.M. Carroll's "Trail of Blood" which Bro. Blair felt contained a large number of errors. Dr. Bill Whitaker replied that the JHSHS doesn't have an official position on Baptist origins. Bro. Blair agreed and said he would write a personal reply instead.

     E. Bro. Charles Blair asked that all three officers of the JHSHS be elected to a second year by acclamation. Dr. Bill Whittaker made the motion and Bro. Jim Duvall gave the second. Motion passed.

7. Dr. Joe Early gave his presentation on the history of Campbellsville University. At the end he asked for any questions.

8. Bro. Charles Blair thanked everyone for attending the meeting. He mentioned that the JHSHS would have a booth set up in the exhibits hall during the KBC. He also invited everyone to eat together at the Golden Corral afterwards.

9. Dr. Whittaker gave the benediction. There were 15 in attendance.

     Minutes taken by Ben Stratton, secretary/treasurer.


Kentucky Baptists and Their Views on the Scriptures
by Dr. Stephen Wilson

     When the first Kentucky Baptists migrated into Kentucky in the 1700s, they already held very strong views about the authority of the Scriptures and its importance to the faithful. Indeed, most of the few Baptist confessions written prior to this time began not with what Baptists believed about God, but rather, first stated what Baptists believed about the Bible. Their rationale for stating this apparently was their conviction that even belief in God rested on the authority of the Bible. This priority assigned to the Bible has continued with nearly every major Baptist confession right up to the present day.1

     Baptists first penned their beliefs about the Bible in the 17th century. In a series of confessions originating from London, English Baptists affirmed the authority and reliability of the Bible. In the first confession ever drawn up by a Christian faith community that called themselves "Baptists," the leaders of seven London area churches stated that, "The rule of this knowledge, faith, and obedience, concerning the worship and service of God, and all other Christian duties, is not man's invention ... but only the word of God contained in the canonical Scriptures."2

     As English Baptists expanded the original London Confession through various editions and rewrites, a longer statement that attested to the authority and reliability of the Bible was developed. The London Confession of 1677 and 1689 (largely identical) even listed the sixty-six canonical books that many later Baptist confessions omitted. These later London Confessions emphatically stated, "The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience." The later editions of the London Confession specifically stated that the Bible was "infallible."3

     Colonial and early American Baptist confessions continued that theme of confirming the, authority and reliability of the Bible. The Philadelphia Confession of 1742 restated the language of the later London Confessions. Reducing the long article on the Scriptures in the London and Philadelphia Confessions to a more compact article, the New Hampshire Confession of 1833 stated that the Bible "has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error."4

     By the time that Kentucky Baptists had organized themselves into a state convention in the 1830s, they simply had acclimated themselves to the long tradition of honoring the Bible. Shortly before this time, a number of Kentucky churches and a few associations had either endorsed the London or Philadelphia Confession. Since the language supporting the Scriptures were essentially the same, these local churches and associations committed themselves to the high view of the scriptures that those earlier confessions had articulated.

     Although the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky (the GABK - the forerunner of the Kentucky Baptist Convention) did not formally endorse any of the existing Baptist confessions with their specific language about the importance of the Scriptures, the GABK thought that distributing the Bible among the state's residents was a high priority. In 1837 the GABK passed a


resolution to that effect, "That in view of the vast field before our denomination for the distribution of the Word of God, every effort should be put forth to accomplish the work."5

     Although no specific evidence has come to light on whether or not Kentucky Baptists of this era were successful in their Bible distribution efforts, they continued to support efforts to promote Bible distributions as well as scriptural literacy. As scriptural literacy increased in the state, the Bible became the ultimate source to decide the major issues of the 19th century within Kentucky Baptist life. Writers and speakers in the Baptist community appealed to the Bible frequently and many a point in the public debates was made by citing a particular belief and practice as "scriptural" or "unscriptural." The Bible in Kentucky Baptist life functioned in much the same way that a human ecclesiastical authority functioned in other Christian faith communities.

     Both before and after the War Between the States, Kentucky Baptists saw the need of establishing educational institutions to promote the teaching of the Bible and scriptural literacy and the training of ministers. These efforts had at their heart the high view of the Scriptures that Baptists of other eras had championed. Kentucky Baptists supported a number of these educational institutions such as Georgetown College, but the crowning achievement of Kentucky Baptist educational efforts was the relocating of Southern Seminary to Louisville in the 1870s.

     Prior to the move to Louisville, Southern Seminary adopted a statement of faith that affirmed traditional Baptist views of the authority of the Scriptures. This statement of faith, "The Abstract of Principles," stated in article 1 that, "The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience."6

     The Abstract, the oldest confession of faith in Southern Baptist life, was written to define what every professor at the Seminary would use as his guide of personal faith and is still in place today to accomplish that aim. Although the statement on the Scriptures in the Abstract is perhaps the weakest statement in any of the Baptist confessions concerning the role of the Bible, it still conveyed the high view of the Scriptures that would guide the most important Baptist educational entity in the state. Graduates of the Seminary and other Kentucky Baptist educational entities would soon take their high view of the Scriptures with them as they fanned out over the state, pastored churches, and conducted community revivals.

     With the dawn of the 20th century most Kentucky Baptists and their leaders still held to a high view of the Scriptures. The growing Baptist community in the state came about because of evangelistic efforts that were guided by a biblically-based faith. Although Kentucky Baptists were not untouched by the growth of "higher criticism's" reach, most rank and file Baptist ministers and teachers largely continued to endorse the authority and reliability of the Bible.

     Kentucky Baptists were among those who drafted and later endorsed the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message that became the standard belief and practice guide for Southern Baptists for much of the 20th century. Using previous Baptist confessions as a source for its section on the Scriptures, it contained stronger language than the Abstract of Principles and largely mirrored the


New Hampshire Confession when it stated, "it [the Scriptures] has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error."7

     Indeed many of Kentucky's more flamboyant pastors and evangelists of the era between the two World Wars espoused an especially high view of the Scriptures and employed them liberally in their public addresses. J. W. Porter, H. Boyce Taylor (thought by many to have developed the idea of the Cooperative Program), Mordecai Ham (this Kentuckian preached the sermon that inspired a young Billy Graham to accept Christ in North Carolina), and Clarence Walker all regarded the Bible with great reverence and were regarded as great Bible teachers by those that heard them or read their written works.8

     After the Second World War however, some who held a less exalted view of the Scriptures rose to some prominence in Kentucky Baptist life. The ranks of Kentucky Baptists produced few liberals who completely disregarded the authority and reliability of the Bible, but others harbored some lingering doubts about the Scriptures even as many of them continued to profess official allegiance to The Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message.

     The latter document was revised in 1963 and the statement about the Scriptures was little changed. It still contained the expression that the Bible's truth was "without any mixture of error" that owed its original language to the New Hampshire Confession. Again Kentuckians were among those who helped draft the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message (BFM), and their only significant addition to the article on the Scriptures would be the addition of the line, "The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ." Although the line seemed harmless enough and the messengers approved the new addition to the article on the Scriptures in the 1963 BFM, conservatives of a later era, including many Kentucky Baptists, found much to criticize in the statement.9

     The period of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were after all, a period in Southern Baptist and Kentucky Baptist history when theological moderates dominated both conventions. Many Southern Baptists, including many Kentucky Baptists, took some of the moderate professors at Louisville's Southern Baptist Seminary to task for their writings and teachings that seemed contrary to the long Baptist tradition of upholding the authority and reliability of the Scriptures. A case in point was when Southern Seminary professor Clyde Francisco re-wrote a commentary on Genesis in 1973 that conservatives thought incorporated some elements of higher criticism. The "Volume 1, Revised" Broadman Bible Commentary proved nearly as contentious as the controversial volume it had replaced. This and other controversies helped highlight theological differences on both the authority and interpretation of the Bible.10

     By the 1970s many Southern Baptist and Kentucky Baptist conservatives began organizing to oppose what they saw as "Bible-doubting liberalism throughout [Seminary] classrooms and literature." A leader among these Southern Baptists was the Louisville pastor LaVerne Butler. Butler, who would later be named as president of Mid-Continent College (today university), helped spearhead at least two organizations pledged to combat those in the convention who cast doubt on the veracity of the Bible. For his efforts, 21st century Kentucky Baptist conservatives later acknowledged him as the "Godfather of the conservative resurgence in Kentucky."11


     Beginning in 1979 Southern Baptist conservatives elected every president of the Southern Baptist Convention right up to the present day. Rallying behind the cause of biblical inerrancy these conservatives championed the higher view of the Scriptures that the present Southern Baptist confession and previous Baptist confessions had stated was "infallible" or promoted "truth, without any mixture of error." Kentuckians like Butler and others supported this movement.

     In 2000 the Southern Baptist Convention, reflecting its conservative direction, again revised the Baptist Faith and Message and made slight changes to Article 1 on the Scriptures. The committee that recommended the changes included at least one Kentucky resident - Dr. R. Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Seminary. Most notably, the study committee dropped the afore-mentioned controversial last line of Article 1 on the Scriptures in the 1963 revision. Nevertheless, they largely stuck with previous BFM language about the Bible and passed on the opportunity to declare the Bible "infallible" as the older London and Philadelphia Confessions had done or include the term "inerrant" as some had hoped they would do.12

     The lead up to and aftermath of the 2000 convention soon produced a corresponding debate among Kentucky Baptists about which confession to observe as the official Kentucky Baptist confession. Since the 1963 and 2000 BFM have slightly differing language on Article 1 about the Scriptures, the lingering and continuing "battle over the Bible" remained somewhat unresolved among Kentucky Baptists, hi 1999 Kentucky Baptists attending the annual Kentucky Baptist Convention narrowly turned down the recommendation of Pastor William Shoulta of Louisville to affirm the 1963 BFM. The vote was 408 against and 374 for the proposal.13

     In the 2000 Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) the messengers approved a proposal to study the relationship of the KBC to the various Baptist confessions and report back to the convention in the next year. The study committee that was formed was thought to have included Kentucky Baptists representing a wide variety of views on the subject of which confession(s) to use.

     The committee that reported back next year in 2001 delivered a surprising conclusion.

     Instead of endorsing a particular confession, the study committee recommended that the Bible itself be the basis of Kentucky Baptist belief and practice. Furthermore, the committee commended virtually all of the American Baptist confessions including all the various Baptist Faith and Message revisions and refused to endorse any particular confession. Both the study and the recommendation were accepted by the convention. In this way the unity of the Kentucky Baptist Convention was preserved and the Bible remained at the front and center of Kentucky Baptist life.14

     Although the KBC preserved its unity in the early 21st century, it sidestepped the issue of which particular BFM to endorse. Every Baptist confession has set a standard of high regard for the Bible, and in one sense, it probably does not matter what confession a particular church or Baptist individual accepts in regard to what the confessions say about the Scriptures. Nevertheless, subtle nuances exist in the statements about the Scriptures found in the various confessions. While virtually all Kentucky Baptists continue to maintain a high regard for the Bible in


terms of its authority and reliability, differences remain in how to state this and on how to interpret the Bible.


1 For the order of the articles in regard to the placement of the authority and reliability of the Scriptures, see: London Confession (1644); London Confession (1677 and 1689); Philadelphia Confession (1742); New Hampshire Confession (1833); Abstract of Principles (1858); and Baptist Faith and Message (1925, 1963, and 2000).
2 London Confession, Article 7 (1644).
3 London Confession, Article 1 (1644 and 1698).
4 Philadelphia Confession, Article 1 (1742) and New Hampshire Confession, Article 1 (1833).
5 Minutes of the GABK (October, 20, 1837).
6 Abstract of Principles, Article 1 (1858).
7 Baptist Faith and Message, Article 1 (1925).
8 For a short secondary account of the influence of most of these men in Kentucky Baptist life please refer to James Duane Bolin, Kentucky Baptists 1925-2000, (Nashville: Southern Baptist Historical Society, 2000). Bolin seems largely supportive of H. Boyce Taylor's role in helping to found the Cooperative Program in the Southern Baptist Convention, but Taylor's pivotal role in this is not universally shared in Southern Baptist life and during the 75th anniversary celebration of the Cooperative Program, the Convention in 2000 portrayed the efforts to develop the program as a cooperative venture among many figures of that era. Mordecai Ham's role in leading Billy Graham to Christ is re-counted by Graham himself in the second chapter of his autobiography, Just As I Am, (New York: Harper Collins, 1997).
9 Baptist Faith and Message, Article 1 (1963). The author personally knew Kentuckian C. Hoge Hockensmith, then the pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky and a member of the Committee that worked on the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message. V. C. Kruschwitz, who at the time was President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, was also on the 1963 study committee. The last line of the statement on the Scriptures went virtually unnoticed at the time in 1963, but it became anathema to late 20th century Baptist conservatives who believed that it elevated Jesus' words in the gospels above the rest of the Bible. They removed the line in the BFM of 2000 and asserted that "all Scripture is a testimony to Christ."
10 McBeth, H. Leon. The Baptist Heritage, (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1987), p. 680-681 recounts the controversy.
11 McBeth, p. 683-684 highlights the role of Kentuckian LaVerne Butler for his role in what some have called "the battle for the Bible" in the 1970s and 1980s. It is not known who first called Butler the "Godfather of the conservative resurgence in Kentucky."


12 Baptist Faith and Message, Article 1 (2000). Privately, some Southern and Kentucky Baptist conservatives then and now thought the study committee missed an opportunity by not declaring the Scriptures to be "infallible" or "inerrant" Conversely, other Southern and Kentucky Baptists regard the current statement as on a par with being "infallible" and "inerrant" even if the two words are missing in the statement.
13Western Recorder, 23 November, 1999.
142001 Annual of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, (2001), p. 52-53.


What Constitutes Valid Baptism?
By J. B. Moody

     J. B. Moody (1838-1931) was pastor of the First Baptist Churches of Pewee Valley, LaGrange, Elk Creek, Harrods Creek, Paducah, Bagdad, and Owenton, KY as well as Hot Springs, AR, San Antonio, TX, and Tampa, FL.

     "Keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you," was Paul's solemn charge to the church of God at Corinth. In proof that the term "ordinances" included what we here claim, the apostle proceeds to blame the church for an abuse of the Lord's Supper.

     What he received from the Lord he delivered to the church, and the church was blameworthy for her unfaithfulness in keeping the sacred trust. How the ordinances were delivered and how they are to be kept must be learned from the Scriptures. Hence, whatever is necessary to their scriptural observance is necessary to their validity. In this light I am to discuss baptism. With a few simple statements I will open the subject, and at once come to the points I have chosen to argue.

     1st. It is agreed among Baptists that immersion in water is essential to valid baptism. The proofs of the correctness of this position are so abundant that a tithe of them would exceed the limits of this paper. It was the meaning of the word Christ used, hence it is what He commanded, and it is also what the apostles and early churches practiced. The correctness of this position is here assumed, and from it the following conclusions are drawn:

     (a). When Baptists attempt to administer baptism in any other way they surrender the position that immersion is essential to valid baptism.

     (b). When Baptists receive a baptism otherwise administered, they surrender the position assumed.

     (c). When Baptists concede that baptism may be otherwise administered, they surrender immersion as essential to valid baptism.

     2nd. Baptists believe that the subject of baptism must be a believer in Christ, and that saving faith includes repentance. The immersion of an infant or unbelieving adult is not valid baptism.

     The proofs of the correctness of this position are abundant, and Baptists are so well agreed upon it that this position will be also assumed, and the following conclusions are deduced:

     (a). When Baptists knowingly administer baptism to other persons than saved believers, they surrender the Scriptural subject of baptism.

     (b). When Baptists knowingly receive such baptisms they surrender the position assumed.

     (c). When Baptists concede that baptism may be administered to other subjects, they surrender the position that a saved believer is the Scriptural and essential subject of valid baptism.


     I briefly mention these two points upon which we are so well agreed, as stepping stones to two others that require a more careful presentation.

     3rd. Baptists believe that immersion of one saved by faith is for certain purposes. When Christ said:

     "He that believeth not is condemned, but he that believeth is not condemned,' he was talking about the faith necessary to baptism, for he was addressing an unbaptized man. When he said: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death into life," he was talking of the faith that is prerequisite to baptism, for he was talking to unbelievers.

     Hence we conclude from these Scriptures that the candidate for baptism must possess a faith that secures salvation, everlasting life, remission of sins, and justification.

     But if a candidate for baptism professes a faith that confessedly does not save the soul, or secure remission and justification, and he rushes to baptism to have these mighty defects in his faith supplied, saying that "baptism now saves us" and "washes away sins;" that baptism is in order to remission of sins; then said candidate, from our standpoint, is in the gall of bitterness and bonds of, iniquity, and his baptism cannot be recognized by us as valid baptism.

     To prove that we are right, let us examine such a candidate in the light of Scripture. "Whosoever believes on the Son of God is not condemned," "shall not perish," but "has everlasting life," and "shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death into life."

     Now, "whosoever" takes in all of that class, and if such a candidate says that he believes in the Son of God, but is yet in his sins and under condemnation; that he has not passed from death into life, then his faith must have its defects measured by the value of these fruits. Hence, the infinite value of the fruits must mark the infinite defects of his faith, and faith, infinitely defective, falls infinitely short of what is essential to valid baptism.

     Those who claim that baptism is in order to salvation, or the new birth, deny these fruits of faith, and confess that these Scripture texts were not fulfilled in their candidate's faith, and we deny that baptism secures them, hence we cannot consistently recognize their baptism as valid.

     4th. It is essential that baptism be scripturally administered. It is not the duty of any man or any organization to administer baptism. If the ordinances were delivered to the church, then her authority is essential to their valid administration. Otherwise she could not keep them as delivered. At first only John the Baptist was authorized to baptize, and all must go to him. He had not been baptized, but he desired to be. This exception was necessary, as baptism, like other things, must have a beginning. After this the Apostles baptized under the direction of Christ, and when He left the earth He committed all the interests of His earthly kingdom to His executive bodies, the churches. Doctrines, discipline, ordinances and missions were entrusted to the churches, and the churches were congregational and composed of baptized believers. Such churches had the promise of divine providence to the end of the age. One who believes in the immersion of believers for the purpose of showing his fellowship in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and who believes also in congregational church government, does wrong in going to a pedobaptist, who claims the commission to sprinkle infants, and who


usurps the prerogatives of the churches, and teaches for doctrines the commandments of men. He should have gone to those of like faith with himself. So inconsistent is this that Baptists should protest against it, and require the wrong to be corrected. If one wants a baby sprinkled he must not come to me, knowing my disbelief in the rite. So if one wants immersion he should not go to one who refuses and abuses it. God works in a man both to will and to do, but never against his will. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin, and if a candidate is required to know anything about the ordinance, he is required to know better than that. If the authority to administer is extended to those who refuse and abuse it, then there is no restriction under the sun. When Baptists receive such an immersion they endorse the flagrant inconsistency, and virtually say that a man who does not receive it, and who does not believe it, may scripturally administer it. From such inconsistency may the good Lord deliver us.

     Hence the immersion in water of a believing penitent, for the purpose of declaring his interest hi the finished work of Christ, administered by the authority of a church of Christ, with which the candidate wishes to unite in the faith, fellowship and labor of the gospel - this, not less, "Constitutes Valid Baptism."


     Joseph Burnley (J. B.) Moody {1838-1931} was a noted Southern Baptist pastor, editor, and author. He pastored numerous churches in Kentucky such as the First Baptist Churches of Pewee Valley, LaGrange, Elk Creek, Harrods Creek, Paducah, Bagdad, and Overton as well as the First Baptist Churches of Hot Springs, Arkansas and Tampa, Florida. He was a graduate of Bethel College in Russellville, Kentucky and the school conferred the D. D. degree upon him in 1891. Moody served as editor of the Baptist Gleaner, The Baptist, and The Baptist and Reflector newspaper. He also authored numerous important books on Baptist Distinctives such as "The Distinguishing Doctrines of Baptists" and "My Church."


(Republished by the J.H. Spencer Historical Society)


What Baptists Believe
By Selsus E. Tull

     S. E. Tull (1878-1973) pastored the First Baptist Churches of Paducah and Middlesboro, KY, Jackson, TN, New Orleans, LA, Greenwood, MS and Pine Bluff and West Helena, AR.

     I am glad of the opportunity to set out in these following words a short resume of the beliefs of our Baptist people. These things are not new to the world, but the glory of what we stand for is substantiated through its age-long repetition. The beliefs of Baptists are now a part of the world's religious inheritance.

     Baptists hold the Truth of the Gospel in its simplest and most axiomatic form. There are worlds of people in other churches who believe what the Baptists believe. They are in faith Baptists though not attached to Baptist churches. On the other hand, there are people who are greatly prejudiced against Baptists because the simplicity of Baptist Belief absolutely destroys the things upon which some denominations are built. Here are some of the things which Baptists throughout all Christian history have stood for:

     1. The all-sufficient and finished work of Jesus Christ as the one and only means of redemption from sin.

     To the Baptists, every other claim to merit before God other than the imputed righteousness of Jesus is blasphemous dishonor against Hun who is the only Lord in "The Household of Faith" and the only "Head of the Church" for which He died.

     2. The open Bible as the only source of doctrine and the only authority to govern churches and individuals.

     By inspiration, God, has given to the world His revelation in the Bible. The Baptists hold that every soul may interpret God's Word for himself, and that every soul is accountable only to God for his obedience to the Scriptures. No power civil or ecclesiastical, can add to or take from the Bible as God's only and final message to every individual. The destiny of every man depends absolutely upon what God says in His Word.

     3. The absolutely individual liberty of every soul to personal worship and obedience as his own conscience dictates.

     This great principal of individualism in religion underlies and explains the age-long contention of the Baptists for the complete separation of church and state. No constituted civil power must contravene the God-given right of any soul to worship God or not to worship as he pleases.

     It is this doctrine of individualism which forces the Baptists to discount the practice of infant baptism. To baptize an unconscious baby is to rob him of the right to personal faith in Jesus Christ. The command of Jesus cannot be performed by proxy.


     It is this doctrine of individualism which dethrones religious autocracy, and refuses any vested or constituted religious autocrat the right to govern or to dictate the religious belief or habits of any soul.

      It is the doctrine of individualism in religion which makes every should his own priest before the gracious God who is "No respecter of persons,"

     4. Baptists hold that the New Testament church is composed only of those who are saved by personal faith in Jesus Christ. They have stood through the ages for a converted church membership. This doctrine of salvation before church membership forbids the Baptists to accept the theories of sacramental or covenantal grace being imparted by church relations. For this reason Baptists hold that the ordinances are only acts of Christian obedience and that baptism and the Lord's Supper contain no grace-imparting efficacy.

     5. The absolute equality of all church members in the government and privileges of the church.

     This great doctrine logically follows the doctrine of a converted church membership. All souls are saved alike therefore, they stand on an equal footing before God and among themselves in all religious privileges. This is the explanation of Baptist democracy and their doctrine of self-governing churches. It is this doctrine of the equality of all the saved before God and among themselves that forbids the Baptists to recognize grades among church members. For this reasons Baptists have no Popes, Priests, Bishops or Presiding Elders. If God is "No respecter of persons," Baptists believe that He is no respecter of clothes. "Equal rights to all and special privileges to none" is a Gospel is preached by Baptists and Baptist churches spring up, the people have a new-birth to freedom in all respects. Baptists are the pioneers of liberty and the harbingers of freedom among all races and people. Be glad you are a Baptist, and work and pray that truth which we hold may become the inheritance of all people. "If the Truth shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."


     Selus E. (S. E.) Tull (1878-1973) was a well-known Southern Baptist pastor and denominational leader. He pastored the First Baptist Churches of Paducah and Middlesboro in Kentucky and the First Baptist churches of Jackson, Tennessee, New Orleans, Louisiana, Greenwood, Mississippi, Temple, Texas, and Pine Bluff and West Helena, Arkansas. Tull was a graduate of Union University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was one of the primary leaders in getting the Southern Baptist Convention to adopt the "The Budget Plan" or Cooperative Program and wrote the first manual on the subject. He was a strong defender of Baptist distinctives and authored such book as "The Imperial Christ" and "Denominationalism Put to the Test."


(Republished by the J.H. Spencer Historical Society)


History of the Kentucky Baptists
The Christian Repository, 1856
By Samuel H. Ford

      [The following is a portion of chapter eight of Ford's History of the Kentucky Baptists which he published in serial form in his newspaper, The Christian Repository. It shows the difficulty the Regular and Separate Baptists encountered when they sought to unite on the early Kentucky frontier. The adoption of a "Confession" and the doctrine of election seemed to remain polarizing issues between them. The entire essay may be found at]

     A clearer proof than this cannot be asked, that Baptists never made this Confession as a standard, or as having any binding authority on the Churches or ministry. To defend themselves against the slanders of their foes was their sole object, and this object it measurable accomplished.

     This English work was revised by the Philadelphia Association in 1742, and was afterwards, in America, called the Philadelphia Confession.

     The Separates in Kentucky, however, dreaded it as a yoke on the neck of Christ's freedom. The Regulars, or at least some of them, were inclined to make it the standard of ultimate appeal. Had both parties understood its object, and believed the principles it embodied, no dissension could have occurred from its publication or adoption. As it was, the possibility of a union was abandoned; and the Separates prepared to constituted a new Association of Churches whose views were in harmony.

     In October, 1785, five Churches met, by their delegates, at Gilbert's Creek, to form a Separate Baptist Association. Present, from Gilbert's Creek, Joseph Bledsoe, Moses Bledsoe. No Linn, Joseph Dodge. Pottinger's Creek, Benjamin Lynn, Jas. Milburn. Head of Boom's Creek, Robert Elkin, William Bush. Rush Branch, John Bailey, James Smith. Joseph Bledsoe was chosen Moderator, James Smith, Clerk. They formed the South Kentucky Association. Small was its beginning. It did not number, in all, more than on hundred members. Without a meeting-house; without singing books, frequently without Bibles; surrounded by the wilderness and the savage; privations and dangers; they erected their simple altars; they clung to the teachings of God's own word, and steadily they progressed in knowledge, in numbers, and in usefulness. In 1792, the South Kentucky Association comprized eighteen Churches, nine ordained ministers, and eight hundred and thirty-six members. Among these Churches were the Forks of Dix River, 2d Boone's Creek, Tates Creek, West Fork of Cox's Creek, Howard's Creek, Jessamine Creek, and Huston Creek.

     It will be seen, by reference to the minutes of the Elkhorn Association, that in 1793, an effort was made to reconcile any differences existing between the Regular and Separate Baptists. A union had been effected between them in Virginia, and in the Carolinas. In 1789, a letter had been received by the Elkhorn Association, from the General Committee of Virginia, informing them of union. On the reception of this letter, it was, "Agreed to drop the appellation, Regular, in all letters going from this Association."


     Following this was a communication from the South Kentucky Association, where a similar letter, from Virginia, had been received. A Committee bore this letter, composed of John Bailey, Joseph Bledsoe, William Bledsoe, and A. Treble. They were invited to seats, and endeavored to effect a union. A Committee - Jas. Garrard (afterwards Governor of Kentucky), R. Johnson (the father of Richard M. Johnson), John Taylor, and A. Eastin, were appointed to confer with the Committee from South Elkhorn. A General Association was appointed at Herod's Meeting-house the following August, of two lay members from each Church. The meeting was held; but the union was not consummated. In 1793, the same Committee, having visited the South Elkhorn Association, reported as follows:
"We do agree to receive the Regular Baptist Confession of Faith; but to prevent its usurping a tyrannical power over the consciences of any, we do not mean that any person is bound to a strict observance of everything contained therein; yet that it holds forth the essential truths of the gospel; that the Supreme, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancients writers, doctrines of men and private spirits are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest - can be no other but the Holy Scriptures."
     This preamble being unanimously adopted by the Elkhorn Association, it was believed that the union between the two bodies was finally formed. At the next Association of South Kentucky the preamble was presented, and by a large majority rejected, and the probability of a Union made more hopeless than ever. Fresh misunderstandings arose, and old animosities rekindled. The names, Regular and Separate, were dropt. Both were in correspondence with the General Committee of Virginia. And thus, with the same name (United Baptists), and the same principles, an apparently impassible barrier divided them.


     Editor's note: The introduction to this Circular Letter is from J. H, Spencer's A History of Kentucky Baptists. Silas Noel was the first Baptist pastor to show in a systematic manner what Alexander Campbell was teaching by Campbell's own writings.

     J. H. Spencer wrote,

     "This was probably the most important association ever held in Kentucky. The principle object of its meeting was to define Campbellism, which on account of the ingenious ambiguity of Mr. Campbell's writings, had not been generally understood by the Baptists, and to warn the churches against its devastating influence. This was done in a circular letter, printed in the minutes of the proceedings of the association, and sent to the churches of which it was composed. The circular letter was written by the learned, profound and eminently godly Silas M. Noel, D.D. The letter is lengthy, but it is a clear, unequivocal statement of what Mr. Campbell's teachings were, at that time, as set forth in his own writings, and deserves to be preserved in a permanent form. Mr. Campbell, in the Millennial Harbinger, Vol. I, Page 276, in his usual equivocal style, denies that the circular letter correctly represents him; but, as he does not tell his readers in what particular he is misrepresented, and as the circular refers to the page in Mr. Campbell's publications where each quotation may be found, the reader, who can get access to the Christian Baptist and the Millennial Harbinger, in their original form can judge for himself. To those who can not gain access to Mr. Campbell's writings, it may truthfully be said that no man ever had a higher character for truth and integrity than Silas M. Noel." -

     The following is the circular letter:

Franklin Baptist Association (KY)
Circular Letter
By Silas M. Noel, D.D.
July, 1830


Dear Brethren:
     You will learn from our minutes, the result of this called session of our Associations. Before Alexander Campbell visited Kentucky, you were in harmony and peace; you heard but the one gospel, and knew only the one Lord, one faith and one baptism. Your church constitutions were regarded, and their principles expounded and enforced, by those who occupied your pulpits. Thus you were respected by other denominations, as a religious community. Often were you favored with refreshing seasons from on high, and many of your neighbors and of your families were brought to a knowledge of the truth. How delightful were your morning and evening interviews, cheered by the songs, prayers and exhortations of brethren, and by the presence of Him who has promised that where two or three are gathered together in his name, to be in their midst. Have not these happy days gone by? In place of preaching, you now may hear your church covenants ridiculed, your faith, as registered


upon your church books denounced, and yourselves traduced; while the more heedless and, unstable abjure the faith, and join with the wicked in scenes of strife, schism and tumult. The fell spirit of discord stalks in open day through families, neighborhoods and churches. If you would protect yourselves as churches, make no compromise with error, mark them who cause divisions; divest yourselves of the last vestige of Campbellism.

     "As an Association, we shall deem it our duty to drop correspondence with any and every Association or church, where this heresy is tolerated. Those who say they are not Campbellites, yet countenance and circulate his little pamphlets, are insincere; they are to be avoided. When they say they are persecuted, because they will not swallow the Philadelphia Confession of Faith," you are not to believe it, for no church has called one of them in question on that point so far as we know. It is not so much their objection to this book, but rather our objections to their Confession of Faith that makes the difference. When they tell you that the Holy Spirit begins the work of salvation, that he carries it on, and that he perfects it, they may only mean that all this is done, by the words of the Holy Spirit, that is, by the Testament read or heard, and not by the quickening energies of God's Spirit, directly. All supernatural, immediate influences are discarded by them, as mere physical operations. All that we have esteemed religion, the work of God's grace in the soul, directly, is rejected. Mr. Campbell calls it a whim - a metaphysical whim! And that you may know the full extent of our objections, we herewith send you several articles gathered from the Christian Baptist, and Millennial Harbinger, [When reference is made to the Millennial Harbinger, in the thirty-nine Articles, the first volume of that periodical is meant. C. B. stands for Christian Baptist, and M. H. for Millennial Harbinger.] with a reference to the pamphlet and to the page, where you can read and judge whether they are, or are not, the reformation tenets. It may be said that these scraps are garbled from many volumes. Verily, they are but scraps; but each scrap embodies an opinion easily understood; so that this may with some propriety, be called a confession of opinions. We are not obliged to republish his pamphlets. Were we, however, to do it, the nature and bearing of these opinions would not be changed.


1 ."That there has been no preaching of the gospel since the days of the apostles."
"That the people have been preached to from texts of Scripture until they have been literally preached out of their senses.
"That all public speaking now necessary, is to undo what has already been done."
"That John Calvin taught as pure Deism as was ever taught by Voltaire or Tom Paine; and that this Deism is taught in all the colleges in Christendom."
"That all the faith that men can have in Christ, is historical."
"That the words 'little children,' in the phrase, 'I write unto you, little children,' (in the epistle of John) are to be understood literally" [M. H. p. 100 compared with p. 104-5.]
"That faith is only an historical belief of facts stated in the Bible."
"That Baptism, which is synonymous with immersion and for which every such believer is a proper subject, actually washes away sin, and is regeneration." [For last two articles, see M. H., pp. 117, 119.]
"That in the moral fitness of things, in the evangelical economy; baptism or immersion is made the first act of a Christian's life, or rather the regenerating act itself, in which the person is properly born again - born of water and spirit - without which, into the kingdom of heaven he cannot enter." [C. B. vol. v., p. 223.]
(note) No prayers, no song of praise, no acts of devotion, in the new community, are enjoined on the unbaptized.
"Most certainly, where a man is born of water, there is the bath of regeneration. Jesus gave himself for his bride, the church, and that she might be worthy of his affection, he cleansed her with a bath of water and with the word, etc." [C. B. vol. v. p. 123.]
"That there is but one action ordained or commanded in the Testament, to which God has promised or testified, that he will forgive our sins. This action is

Christian immersion." [C. B: vol. vi. p. 158.]
12. "That by the mere act of a believing immersion into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are born again, have all our sins remitted, receive the Holy Spirit, and are filled with joy and peace." [C. B. vol. v. p. 213.]
"QUERY. Is a believer in Christ not actually in a pardoned state before he is baptised?
"ANSWER. Is not a man clean before he is washed? Where there is only an imaginary line between Virginia and Pennsylvania, I can not often tell with ease whether I am in Virginia or Pennsylvania; but I can always tell when I am in Ohio, however near the line; for I have crossed the Ohio river. And blessed be God! he has not drawn a mere artificial line between the plantations of nature and of grace. No man has any proof that he is pardoned until he is baptized. And if men are conscious that their sins are forgiven, and that they are pardoned before they are immersed, I advise them not to go into the water, for they have no need of it." [C. B. vol. vi. p. 188.]
13. "That Christian immersion is the gospel in water. The Lord's Supper is the gospel in bread and wine." [C. B. vol. v. p. 158]. "As water saved Noah, so baptism saves us. He had faith in the resurrection of the earth; and we have faith in the ressurection [sic] of Jesus. He believed in God's promise of bringing him out of the water, and we his promise of raising from the dead. We leave our sins where Noah's baptism left the ungodly." [C. B. vol. vii. p. 123]. "As in the natural world a child cannot be said to be born of his father until he is first born of his mother, so in the spiritual world, no one can be said to be born of the Spirit until he is born of the water." [M. H. vol. I p. 206.]
"Can men, just as they are found when they hear the gospel believe? We answer boldly yes; just as easily as we can believe the well attested facts concerning the person and the achievements of General George Washington." [C. B., vol. 6, p. 187].
"We rejoice to know that it is just as easy to believe and be saved as it is to hear or see." [C. B., vol. 5, p. 221]
16. "All the sons of men cannot show that there is another faith, but the belief of facts either written in the form of history or orally delivered. Angels, men or demons cannot define anything under the term faith,

but the belief of facts or of history; except they change it into confidence. While men are talking and dreaming and quarreling about a metaphysical whim, wrought in the heart, do you arise and obey the Captain of Salvation. And my word - nay more, the word of all the apostles for it, and of the Lord himself, you will find peace and joy, and eternal salvation, springing from the obedience of faith." [C. B., vol. 6, p. 186.]
"That to be born children of wrath means only to be born Gentiles." [same page].
"Millions have been tantalized by a mock gospel, which places them as the fable places Tantalus, standing in a stream, parched with thirst, and the water running to his chin, and so circumstanced that he could not taste it. There is a sleight-of-hand or religious legerdemain in getting around the matter. To call anything grace, or favor, or gospel not adapted to man, as it finds him, is the climax of misnomers. To bring the cup of salvation to the lips of a dying sinner, and then tell him for his soul he cannot taste it without some sovereign aid beyond human control, is to mock his misery and torment him more and more." [C. B., vol. 6 p. 187.]
"That baptism is the only medium divinely appointed, through which the efficacy of the blood of Christ is communicated to the conscience. Without knowing and believing this, immersion is as empty as a blasted nut. The shell is there, but the kernel is wanting." [C. B., vol. 6, p. 160.]
"No person on earth believed that the Messiah would die a sin offering or rise from the dead, from Eve to Mary Magdalene. If we do not make this assertion good before we finish the essays on the Jewish and Christian dispensations, we shall eat it up." [C. B., vol. 6, p. 217.]
21. "The election taught by the college men contemplated all the righteous, from Abel to the resurrection of the dead, as standing in the relation of elect persons to God; than which nothing can be more opposed to fact and scripture; for though Abel, Enoch and Noah were worshipers of the true God, they were not elect men; nay, though Melchisedec himself, King of Salem, was at once priest of the most high God, and the most illustrious type of the Messiah; though he received tithes of Abraham, blessed him, and, as Paul

informs us, was greater than he; yet neither Melchisedec nor any of the numerous worshipers for whom he officiated in the quality of God's priest, did ever stand in the relation of elect worshipers in the scripture sense of the word elect. Abraham was the first elect man; and it remains for those who assert the contrary of this to prove their proposition - a thing they never can do by scripture." [C. B., vol. 6, p. 228-9]
"Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were not chosen of God, for the mean, partial purpose of being dragged into heaven, will or no will, on the principle of final perseverance." [C. B., vol. 6, p. 230.]
"Whether a man can believe, i.e. imbibe the electing I principle, is never answered in the holy scriptures, for this substantial reason: It is never asked. This is an unlearned question of modern divinity, i.e. (deviltry, if such a word or thing there be,) and could be agitated only by fools and philosophers; all the world knowing that we must believe what is proved." [C. B., vol. 6, p. 231.] (Query - Does he believe there is a Devil?)
"The 'moral law' or Decalogue - is usually plead as the rule of life to believers in Christ; and it is said that it ought to be preached 'as a means of conviction of sin.' The scriptures never divide the law of Moses into moral, ceremonial and judicial. This is the work of school men, who have also divided the invisible world into heaven, hell and purgatory." [C. B., vol. 1, p. 147.]
(Look at this.) The spirit of God insulted, and his word deceitfully handled, in glossing away the force and meaning of another text, proving the inhabitation of the spirit and his direct agency upon the souls of believers.
"Likewise the spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which can not be uttered." Romans viii. 26.
Look now at the glossing:
"The spirit referred to in this text is the spirit of man, and not the spirit of God; or rather, it is the spirit of patience; for there is no adjunct or epithet attached to the term spirit, which would authorize the conclusion that the spirit of God is referred to; and why should the spirit of God use groans which can not be expressed in words? Does this weakness belong to that

divine agent." [M. H., vol. I, p. 115].
"I have never spent, perhaps, an hour in ten years in thinking about the trinity. It is no term of mine. It is a word which belongs not to the Bible, in any translation of it I ever saw. I teach nothing, I say nothing, I think nothing about it, save that it is not a scriptural term, and consequently, can have no scriptural ideas attached to it." [C. B., vol. 7, p. 208.]
"Trinity. This is one of these untaught questions which I do not discuss, and in the discussion of which I feel no interest. I neither affirm nor deny anything about it. I only affirm that the whole controversy is about scholastic distinctions and unprofitable speculations."
28. "Come Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove,
With all thy quick'ning powers!
Kindle a flame of sacred love,
In these cold hearts of ours. "

"In the singing this hymn, which is very ingeniously adapted to your sermon and prayer, you have very unfortunately fallen into two errors. First you are singing to the Holy Spirit, as you prayed to it, without any example from anyone of the old saints, either in the Old or New Testament; and without the possibility of ever receiving an answer to your prayer. The second error into which you have fallen, is this: You acknowledge your church to be the church of Christ; and if the church of Christ, its members of course have the spirit of Christ." [C. B., vol. 7, p. 129.]
29. "Does the preacher preach up Sinai instead of Calvary, Moses instead of Christ, to convince or convict his audience? Then he sings: -
Awak'd by Sinai's awful sound,
My soul in awful guilt I found,
And knew not where to go;
O'erwhelm'd with sin, with anguish slain,
The sinner must be born again;
Or sink to endless woe.'
&c., &c., &c.

"I know of nothing more anti-evangelical than the above verses; but they suit one of our law convincing sermons, and the whole congregation must sing, suit or nonsuit the one-half of them. But to finish the climax, the exercise is called praising God." [C. B. vol. 5, p. 105-6.]

"When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I'll bid farewell to every fear,
And wipe my weeping eyes."
Queries for the Thoughtful. 1. What title is this? 2. What make it more clear? 3. Who issued this title? 4. Where is it filed? 5. Why does its dubiety forbid to part with every fear, and to banish tears? 6. Could you not make it more clear instituting a new action, or course of action? "Without being prolix, or irksome in filing objections to all these specimens of hymn singing, I shall mention but two or three: They are, in toto, contrary to the spirit and genius of the Christian religion.... They are an essential part of the corrupt systems of this day, and a decisive characteristic of the grand apostacy." [C. B., vol. 5., p. 1.07].
30. "To separate and distinguish the spirit from its own word, is the radix of unhallowed speculation. What the gospel, written or spoken, does, in regenerating or purifying the heart, the spirit of God does, and what the spirit of God does, the gospel spoken or written does. Those who reject the gospel proclamation, resist the spirit of God; and those who resist the spirit of God, resist and reject the gospel proclamation." [C.B. vol. 4, p. 282.]
(note) Whoever, then, hears a verse or chapter of the New Testament read, hears the spirit's voice. Such is Mr. C's creed, in regard to the Holy Spirit's energies - that spirit which he imagines is nothing else than the word of Revelation!
31. "The ancient gospel reads thus: 'Unless ye believe, ye cannot receive the Holy Spirit.'... 'When ye believe ye receive the Holy Spirit'... What does the expression Holy Spirit mean? Ans. In scripture, it stands first, for God the Holy Spirit; and secondly, for the holy mind or spirit of the believer. For illustration: 'Why has Satan tempted you to lie unto the Holy Spirit; ye have not lied unto men, but unto God.' And the Savior says, 'How much more will your heavenly father give a Holy Spirit (as it should be translated), to those that ask him.' Again, 'Praying in a Holy Spirit.'" [C. B., vol. 4, p. 249.]
32. "THE BELIEF OF ONE FACT, and that upon the best evidence in the world, is all that is requisite as far as faith goes, to salvation. The belief of this one FACT, and submission to ONE INSTITUTION, expressive of it, is all that is required of Heaven to admission into the church. The one fact is, that Jesus, the Nazarene is the Messiah:

The evidence upon which it is to be believed, is the testimony of twelve men, confirmed by prophecy, miracles, and spiritual gifts. The one institution is, baptism into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Every such person is a Christian, in the fullest sense of the word." [C. B., vol. i., p. 221.]
33. "Revivals. Enthusiasm flourishes, blooms, under the popular system. This man was regenerated when asleep by a vision of the night. That man heard a voice in the woods, saying, 'Thy sins are forgiven thee.' A third saw his Savior descending to the tops of the trees at noon day. A thousand form a band, and sit up all night to take Heaven by surprise. Ten thousand are waiting for a power from on high, to descend upon their souls; they frequent meetings for the purpose of obtaing [obtaining] this power." [C. B., vol. i, p. 187.]
To show Mr. Campbell's utter contempt for Christian experiences, it is enough to notice the following narrative written and published by him in the C. B. vol. 7, p. 191:
34. "Relating experiences. A good old Virginia negro, and a very regular and orthodox professor, of more than ordinary attainments among the sable brotherhood, was accustomed to prepare 'experiences' for such of his friends as wished to join the church. He disclosed to them, how they ought to feel in order to make good converts, and how they ought to relate their feelings in order to make a good confession. His usual fee was a good fat chicken, for each convert that passed the ordeal of the church. But as he insured his converts for a chicken a piece, if any one was rejected, he got nothing. No cure, no pay., was his motto. Once, a negro, more stupid than the others, was rejected; he tried a second and a third tune, but was rejected. Sambo then declared he would not insure him, unless he would promise him three chickens. To this he acceded; and by great exertions, he got him able to repeat how bad he felt, how dark it was with his soul, how a great light broke into his mind, how happy he was, and how much he loved Jesus. He was received and Sambo eat his chickens with joy and a good conscience."
(note) Now this ridiculous, impious fiction, is signed by the editor, A. Campbell, as if it were true. And what is it, but the most pitiful aping of Thomas Paine and Voltaire, in heaping slander upon the regenerating energies of God's Spirit.
35. "Some look for another call, a more powerful call than the written gospel presents. They talk of an inward call, of

hearing the voice of God in their souls. This special call is either a lie or it makes the general call a lie. This is where the system ends. The voice of God, and the only voice of God which you will hear, till he calls you home, is his written gospel." [M. H., vol. i, p. 126-7.]
36. "Did humanity die, and divinity leave the Son of God? To this the scriptures do not respond. It has arisen from the dissecting knife of theological anatomists. They are as skillful to separate and treat of humanity and divinity in the Son of God, as is Col. Symmes in forming this globe into so many hollow spheres, each having its own properties and inhabitants." [C. B., vol. 2, p. 287]. "Is Jesus Christ the very and eternal God? Ans. If men could debate such a question upon their knees it would be scarcely admissible. It is an untaught question, a scholastic one in its form, and terms, and tends to perpetuate a controversy, and a peculiar style of speaking, which, the sooner it could be forgotten, the better for both saint and sinner." [C.B., vol. 6, p. 282], "We pray to the same God and Father, through the same Lord and Savior, and by the same Holy Spirit." [H. M., vol. i, p. 175.]
(note) Thus, it seems, he will not pray directly either to Christ or the Holy Spirit.
37. "The Holy Spirit begins, carries on, and consummates the salvation of men." [M. H., vol. i, p. 139].
(note) But mark it, reader, for here lies the deception. It is done simply and wholly by reading or hearing the scriptures, which are the words of the Holy Spirit, and not by an immediate work of God's grace in the heart.
38. "In the natural order of the evangelical economy, the items stand thus: 1st, Faith; 2d, Reformation; 3d, "Immersion; 4th, Remission of sins. 5th, Holy Ghost; 6th, Eternal life." [C. B., vol. 6, p. 66.] "There are three kingdoms; the Kingdom of Law, the Kingdom of Favor, and the Kingdom of Glory; each has a different constitution, different subjects, privileges, and terms of admission. The blood of Abraham brought a man into the Kingdom of Law, and gave him "an inheritance in Canaan. Being born, not of blood, but through water and the spirit of God, brings a person into the Kingdom of favor; which is righteousness, peace, joy, and a holy spirit, with a future inheritance in prospect. But if the justified draw back, or the washed return to the mire, or if faith die and bring forth no fruits, into the Kingdom of Glory he cannot enter. Hence good works through faith in Jesus, gives a right to enter into the holy city." [C. B., vol. 6, p. 255].

(note) By this, can we understand any thing else, than the entire rejection of the doctrine of the final perseverance of saints, and justification by the righteousness of Christ, imputed to the believer?
39. "There is no democracy or aristocracy in the governmental arrangements of the church of Jesus Christ. The citizens are all volunteers when they enlist under the banners of the great King, and as soon as they place themselves in the ranks, they are bound to implicit obedience in all the institutes and laws of their sovereign. So that there is no putting the question to vote, whether they shall obey any particular law or injunction. Their rulers and bishops have to give an account of their administration, and have only to see that the laws are known and obeyed." [C. B. vol. v., p. 121.]
(note) Truly, this is not democracy; nor is it a moderate aristocracy. What is it, short of Episcopacy or Papacy!

     "BRETHREN: Can you read this, and say or think that it is not, even now, high time to "march out of Babylon?" Doubtless, you can not hesitate. In February, 1825, Mr. Campbell denounced reformation. "The very name," said he, "has become as offensive as the term 'Revolution,' in France." He is now in a paroxysm about reformation. In all the extravagance of unbridled fanaticism, he fancies that he has already introduced, the millennium, as far as his tenets have prevailed. The millennium, he dreams, has bursted in upon South Benson, Versailles, Clear Creek, David's Fork and: Shawnee Run. Who besides himself, and those who have sold their birth right have - who have committed their heads and hearts for reformation pottage, can indulge in a conceit so silly and ridiculous. From such frenzy and quackery, and above all from such a millennium, may a kind Providence deliver us. Amen.

[From J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1885; reprint. 1984, pp. 624-635.]

Baptists In Kentucky
The Traveling Church

by Mickey Winter

     "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." - "United States Declaration of Independence" written by Thomas Jefferson and signed by 56 delegates to the Continental Congress - Ratified July 4,1776.

     LIBERTY - Religious Liberty is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the supreme being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control - Webster's 1828 dictionary.

     In the Gospels we find that our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the church. Not only did he give it certain distinctive but he also promised its perpetuity. With the perpetuity comes the promise of persecution as well. It takes only a casual reading of the New Testament to realize that persecution came early and often and resulted in the deaths of perhaps as many as 50 million Baptists over a period of time.

     In 1620, tired of religious persecution, the Pilgrims set sail for the new world. One November 9, 1620 after 66 days at sea, they landed at Plymouth Bay. They were not Baptist but were Separatist who desired to break from the Church of England. They would be followed by the Puritans in 1630 and then finally by thousands of others. By the early 1640's, over 20,000 people would call New England home.

     It only took a few years before the early settlers of our country forgot about the persecution they had faced in the Old World and they began to persecute those who did not agree with them. Massachusetts set up it's own church, the Congregational Church. It soon became a law that one must be a member of said church and none other. The Baptists soon began to disperse. Roger Williams and John Clarke went south to Rhode Island. Others would follow and like the persecution in the early part of the Book of Acts, they would soon spread to the "uttermost part" of the New World.

     It is in Virginia that we are introduced to Lewis Craig. He was born in Orange County, Va. in 1737 into a family that would eventually number eleven children. Three of these children, Lewis, Elijah and Joseph became preachers. One of the daughters, Betsy, married a preacher, Richard Cave. Craig was converted under the preaching of Samuel Harriss somewhere around 1765. Unlike most modern day "conversions", prior to his conversion, under great pressure of guilt, he would follow preachers from meeting to meeting and at the closing of preaching would stand crying and warn the people to flee from the wrath to come and except they were born again, like himself, they would all go down to hell. Today's requirements for salvation fall


short of biblical requirements. Someone walks down the aisle, repeats a prayer, joins the church and continues to live much like they always have. We call this "soul-winning". May I remind you that unless the Holy Spirit is involved in such a decision, all is vain.

     The years following his conversion he would be arrested and imprisoned numerous times for preaching the gospel, once for over 3 months. Baptists in those times were hated and persecuted because they were not part of the "established church". Many states had a state church that you must belong to and any other "denomination" was against the law. He became pastor of the Upper Spotsylvania Church, Spotsylvania County City, Virginia in November, 1770. Growing tired of the persecution, he would soon lead his church to Kentucky.

     In August of 1774, Richard Henderson, a Virginian transplant to North Carolina and a practicing judge, established a land speculation company called Transylvania Land Company. In March of 1775, he met with some 1200 Cherokee Indians near Elizabethtown, Tennessee, and purchased some 20 million acres of Kentucky land. It was called the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals and the land lay between the Cumberland River, the Cumberland Mountains, and the Kentucky River. It was to be called Transylvanian and the capital was suppose to eventually be Boonesborough. The problem with this treaty was two-fold. The Cherokees probably had no more claim to the land they sold then did the Iroquois, or other tribes. Secondly, the Royal Proclamation act of 1763, as well as Virginia and North Carolina law, made it illegal for any private citizen to purchase any Indian land. On December 3, 1776, Virginia would declare the Transylvania Company null and void and incorporated the same land into Virginia and called it Kentucky County, Virginia, with Harrodsburg being the County Seat. There were only about 300 people in Kentucky at this time. In 1780, Kentucky was divided into three counties, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Fayette.

     Prior to the Sycamore Shoals Treaty, Henderson had hired Daniel Boone to blaze a trail through the Cumberland Gap to Boonesborough, Kentucky. This became known as the Wilderness Road. Highway 25 follows basically the same route. Soon others would follow, and near the Rockcastle River would turn west toward Harrodsburg.

     It was a Sunday morning in September, 1781, at the Upper Spotsylvania Church near Fredericksburg, Virginia and the grounds were covered with wagons and horses, livestock and people. How many people, no one knows, perhaps as many as 400-600, although some may have joined along the way. They would leave the following morning on their journey, an exodus if you will, of some three months and 600 miles. They were going to Kentucky. They would take with them the pulpit Bible, the communion service as well as the official books and records. They were in fact a "traveling church."

     The spiritual leader, Lewis Craig, was not the only preacher on the trip. There were others who themselves would play a part in Kentucky history. Captain William Ellis was the military leader. He and his men would provide protection. There is evidence to suggest that he had been to Kentucky before and maybe Lewis Craig himself. Ellis knew the dangers of the Indian situation and would be called upon during the 600 mile trip to provide protection yet not all would find the safety of it.


     Monday morning found them heading south along the mountain road. Traveling some five miles per day, they made their way past Charlottesville, Virginia and crossed the Blue Ridge at Buford's Gap. They soon ran out of civilization and traveled many days without site of man or cabin until they came to Fort Chiswell just east of present day Wytheville, Virginia. Fort Chiswell was built in 1758 during the French and Indian War. Located at the junction of what is now Interstate 77 and 81, all that's left is a marker.

     The stay at the Fort was short but eventful. They were forced to give up their wagons. They could have kept them a little longer but they could not cross the gap at this time in history with them and this was the best and last opportunity to trade for them. The wagons had provided places to carry furniture and other household belongings. Also, they provided places for the women and children to ride and protection from the elements during the night's sleep. Things were about to change.

     The road now seemed worse than ever. Where they once rode, they now walked. They seemed to encounter one hill after another as well as water crossings. They had also learned at Fort Chiswell that the threat of Indian attack had increased. Pushing on out of fear and determination, they finally made it to the stockade cabins of Black's Fort, now present day Abingdon, Virginia.

     Behind them lay the old homesteads, members of their family and friends who they would probably never see again. The road they had traveled was covered with furniture and other items that had been passed down through generations. Much had fallen from pack horses and become to cumbersome to carry. It was late September and winter was coming on.

     There were still some 250 miles to go but the threat of an Indian attack was real and the need to stay at Black's Fort for awhile was necessary. For some six weeks, the area around the fort became their home. They found there another group of Baptists from Virginia who had left their homes for Kentucky some ten months prior, and Craig aided in constituting them into a church. Research has led us to believe that this church itself was also a "traveling church". It would remain here near Abingdon until September of 1783 at which time they would leave to go to Kentucky. They would later remain near Lancaster, Kentucky until the Spring of 1784. At that time they moved north near Boonesborough, Kentucky. The church would eventually be named Providence Baptist Church. Robert Elkin was the pastor and would remain so until his death in 1822. Other notable members would include Andrew Tribble, and Squire Boone, Jr.

     It was early November, 1781 and word had come to the fort that the British had surrendered at Yorktown, Pennsylvania, the previous month. Word had also come that Indian trouble was at a minimum because many of the Indians had left the area for their winter homes. After some six weeks, it was time to leave. It was time to say goodbye to the friends they had made and the comforts of the fort, comforts they would not know again for sometime.

     It was the second Sunday in November 1781. They were camped on the north fork of the Holston River. Craig preached on trials and afflictions. That night afflictions came. Indians attacked


the camp. Captain Ellis and his men drove them off but one of the men standing guard was missing. They would later find him lying across the trail, dead and scalped. It was a sight they would not soon forget. It was to be followed by the misery that winter brought that time of year; rain, sleet and snow. The elements would come into play as they crossed streams and rivers and up and down the mountains as they followed the narrow trail. Finally, on the first of December, they crossed the Cumberland Gap. They had been on the trail almost three weeks and had only covered thirty miles. Their food supply was low and snow was falling. They were cold but campfires were out of the question for fear of Indians.

     The trail they were following is pretty much the same route as U.S. 25 follows today. At Flat Lick, they would pick up Skaggs Trace. The trace was named fore a hunter who had traveled the area some twelve years before. It would eventually take them through present day Barbourville and through Levi Jackson State Park. Near Hazel Patch they would follow the creek west to the Rockcastle River. They would follow the river to Skaggs Creek, up the western branch to Little Negro Creek to the Dix River and then on to Crab Orchard and Stanford. They would pass just south and west of what is Mt. Vernon today. At Dix River they were attached again by Indians who stole some of the horses and cattle. The next morning would bring them to Logan's Station, modern day Stanford. It was early December. They had traveled some 600 miles. They were the third Baptist church in Kentucky.

     At this point allow me to interject some historical truths. The first Baptist Church in Kentucky was Severn's Valley, founded just a few months prior on June 18, 1781 near Elizabethtown, Kentucky. John Gerrard was the pastor.

     The second Baptist church in Kentucky was Cedar Creek, founded July 4, 1781 near Bardstown, Kentucky. The pastor was Joseph Barnett. The third was Craig's Traveling Church, December 1781. Thomas Tinsley was the first preacher to preach to a crowd in Kentucky. It was in Harrodsburg in 1776. Squire Boone, brother of Daniel, may have been the first Baptist preacher in Kentucky as he performed the first marriage ceremony in Kentucky at Boonesborough.

     They probably only stayed a few days at Logan's Station before they established a settlement on Gilberts Creek, on the 2nd Sunday in December, 1781, approximately 2.5 miles from present day Lancaster. They established Craig's Station on small plateaus just several hundred feet west of the creek. The land, some 1400 acres, was property Lewis Craig acquired from one James Berry several years before. This leads me to believe that Craig had been to Kentucky before and acquired the land and in fact, some records indicate that he and Captain Ellis had just came to Kentucky hi 1779. Craig and his "traveling church" later to be called Gilbert's Creek Baptist Church, stayed at this location for almost two years before they moved north to Fayette County, and started the South Elkhorn Church. Prior to that move, they helped constitute the Forks of Dix River Church in 1782, six miles north of Lancaster, Kentucky. Craig stayed at South Elkhorn for 9 years and in 1792, he moved to Mason County, Kentucky and constituted Braken Church near Minerva. He would live out the rest of his life there and died in 1825. He was 88 years of age.


     When Craig and the church left Craig's Station to move to South Elkhorn in 1783, some of the church members stayed behind. They did their best to keep the church going. George Smith was probably the pastor in charge. The church disbanded in 1785 or 1786.

     Joseph Bledsoe moved from Virginia to Gilberts Creek in 1783. He organized a church and called it Gilberts Creek Baptist Church. Although it was within a mile of Craig's "traveling church" also called Gilbert's Creek, they are not the same. Bledsoe's church was a Separate Baptist Church while Craig's was a Regular Baptist church. What is unusual about this was that while m Virginia, Craig was a Separate Baptist preacher. It might also be noted that Bledsoe was Pastor of the Upper Spotsylvania Church in Virginia before Craig became pastor. Maybe there was some jealousy involved. J. H. Spencer, the noted Baptist historian, says there was very little distinction between their beliefs.

     Modern day controversy: there are three Gilbert's Creek Churches. If you travel highway 39 West from Mt. Vernon toward Lancaster you will find the location of all three. Some 3 or 4 miles east of Lancaster you will find Gilbert's Creek Baptist Church with its modern church building. They lay claim to being related to the "traveling church". I think it is very possible that they either have or have had church members who can trace their lineage to members of the 1781 "traveling church". If you travel west from there you will come to the intersection of 39 and Gilbert's Creek Road. If you look left upon the heavily treed hill you will find the site where many believe the "traveling church" built a building. There are a number of graves located there. There is a sign on the road that indicates this to be the "traveling church". This information is not correct. This is in fact where Joseph Bledsoe started the Separate Baptist Church in 1783. When he actually built a church building we do not know. Craig himself built no church building at Craig's Station. They met in some building or house within the Station. Spencer wrote that as of late 1784, although there were 8 constituted churches in Kentucky, there were no church buildings.

     If this was not the "traveling church", where was it located? Again, from the intersection of 39 and Gilbert's Creek Road, if you follow the creek north for about a mile you would come to Craig's Station and the "traveling church" area just to the left of the creek. You would have to wade the creek or get permission from the land owners to cross their land. Since the area lies between 39 and the Fall Lick Road (Hwy. 1972) and the site is closer to Fall Lick Road, it would be best to wade the creek from that area. I have been to the site and was granted permission from the present land owner to be there. I will not list bis name because I did not get his permission to list it.

     Kentucky is full of Baptist History. The Baptists played an important role in opening up this western frontier. Names like Craig, Bledsoe, Vardeman, Tribble, Spencer, Taylor, Hickman, Smith, Gano, the list goes on. We should be proud to be Baptists and relish in the role our fore-fathers played in History. However, let us not forget, we have our role also and there is a group that is following us.



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