The following editorial was written by J.H. Spencer, author of A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1885 and a Kentucky pastor. William H. Whittsitt, President of the Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, had previously written unsigned articles for Johnson’s Cyclopedia stating that immersion by Baptists began in 1641.
“Dr. Whitsitt on Baptist History,”
Western Recorder, April 23, 1896
By John H. Spencer
“I could but ask myself the question: Could the learned professor have been in mental equilibrium when he wrote the article? The utterances are too puerile in themselves to merit much attention from historians. But dignity and credence are accorded to them, in the popular mind, on account of their having been written by the professor of ecclesiastical history in the largest Baptist Theological Seminary in the world, and published in an able and popular encyclopedia. Such contravention of all authentic history, secular and ecclesiastical, would attract little attention if made by an ordinary scribbler.
“So Dr. Whitsitt, one of the most amiable and candid of men, has allowed himself to be strangely led by this discredited Pedobaptist scribbler instead of following our accredited historians. And to what end? Only to afford small Pedobaptist scribblers and preachers some plausible excuse for gratifying their enmity against the Baptists by misrepresenting their denominational history. But unfortunately for truth, Dr. Whitsitt is not the only Baptist whose “broadmindedness” and “liberality” have led him to give readier credence to Pedobaptist fiction than Baptist facts. Now, as always, our most potent enemies are those of our own household. It was the army of Hellas that wasted Troy, but it was the enemies within the walls who opened the gates to the invaders.”
[J. H. Spencer, “Dr. Whitsitt on Baptist History,” Western Recorder, April 23, 1896, p. 2. Cited by Adam Winters in his thesis "T.T. Eaton and the Politicization of Baptist Ecclesiology," pp. 157-158. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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