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John Taylor on Discipline at Clear Creek Baptist Church
Versailles, Kentucky

I had once thought if all the people on the earth could be [C]hristians we should have a paradise here, but the circumstance of Clear Creek Church, soon after this great revival, is one item in the scale against this opinion -- for the people were chiefly all religious now in the neighborhood -- a circle from a center of three miles, would now take in chiefly all the members of Clear Creek Church, which were upwards of three hundred in number; the term of brother with everybody you met with, became such a common place appellation that it in a manner lost its sacred quality; human nature is of that base quality, that it will not bear to huddle much of it together -- we therefore soon found great difficulties in the Church, by personal bickerings among the members, and for very trifling things quarrels were stir[r]ed up, and the sacred epithef1o of brother scandalized while a man would use it when in bad temper; two men can scarcely quarrel but others will take sides somewhere;
[p. 75] this produces faction, and much destroys the peace of the Church of Christ; these things not only made their appearance, but sprang up in the Church at Clear Creek. Accusations in the Church became very common, and for very trivial things.

Another thing which often awakened great excitement in Clear Creek Church, was expelling their members by a majority of voices, when a complaint was brought in, and especially when the case was somewhat doubtful; one side would conclude, if we do not exert ourselves a guilty man will be continued in the Church, the opposite side would think if we do not strive hard, an innocent man will be condemned, so that we seldom had a trial of that kind, but it was with great warmth of temper -- and after all, but a cross and pile chance as to the equity of the decision -- nothing is more rational, than the way a man comes into the Church, he should go out, yet privileges may be curtailed by suspension, through a majority of voices, while the member is yet retained under the admonition of the church -- 2d Thes. 3 Chap. 14 and 15 verses.

I know one of the most respectable members in Clear Creek Church, improperly expelled by this majority plan -- I suppose the free male members at this time in the Church, was about one hundred -- perhaps sixty or seventy acted in this case, the case being a very doubtful subject, only twenty voted, ten on each side -- one ten voted for his guilt and expulsion, the other ten voted him innocent, the moderator gave the casting vote against him, and the worthy deacon was thus slam[m]ed off by this majority plan; the excluded man attended meetlngs as usual, and with great calmness took his distance for a year or two, when the Church reinvested [reinvestigated] the subject, and unanimously voted the former decision wrong, and the deacon again took his seat, by the invltatlon of the church, without asking any questions -- another instance of five or six complaints being brought into
[p. 76]
the church against one of the leading members, about land claims -- only three members voted in this case, two against the member and one for him; one of the two rose up and insisted, that according to the rules of the church he was expelled, and [he] demanded the record to be made, but the church would not admit this vote to stand, and by a great majority, in a second vote cleared the accused man. This with several other similar cases, convinced me of the majority plan of exclusion, that it was improper, though myself had been a principal instrument to get it established in Clear Creek church, then thinking that on any other plan we could never get clear of the bad people -- but after my conviction on that head, I could never get a change of the rule in the church, and perhaps Clear Creek uses this destructive rule to this day.

[From John Taylor, A History of Ten Baptist Churches, 1823, pp. 74-76. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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