June 16

William Baynham was born into a wealthy Virginian, Episcopalian family. At the age of 21 he earned his degree, intending to practice medicine. Then during the summer of 1834, through the preaching of William Broaddus, he was converted to Christ. It is reported that for some time after that when he heard the name of Jesus, he would weep. William Baynham joined the Eon Baptist Church in Essex County, Virginia. Before long he began to fill the pulpit – much to the delight of the church. In January 1842 he was called to become their pastor. Ten years later he was called to pastor the Upper Zion Baptist Church, but in the process he didn’t forsake his first charge. He pastored Enon Baptist for 43 years and the Upper Zion church for 33 years. In 1880 The Religious Herald, a Virginia Baptist paper, requested and published a number of letters from elders who had served lengthy pastorates. Bro. Baynham submitted the following: “The real ground of my continuance for so long a period as pastor of my two churches has been our strong mutual love. In my portion as pastor I have endeavored to be one with my charge. I have tried to show myself the friend… The children have had a good share of attention. In affliction I have been prompt and attentive, ready to render personal assistance as necessary. One rule has been unvaried with me; not only not to neglect the poor, but to show them all kindness and attention. My social relations I choose for myself – my kindness and affection for my church member...

June 9

On this day (June 9) in 1865 several members in good standing were released from three different churches in Charleston, SC in order to form the Morris Street Baptist Church. Their first pastor was Jacob Legare, who served the church for the next twenty years, building a solid practical and doctrinal foundation. It is said that during his tenure he baptized more than 3,000 believers – more than ten per month. The church became the mother to several other congregations, and in one case a number of members were moved overseas to re-form as an independent Baptist church in their new location. In addition, more than a dozen young men were called to the ministry out of the Morris Street Church, several of whom became well-known servants of God. The second pastor of Morris Street was John L. Dart, a graduate of Newton Theological Seminary. As a young man, he taught school in Washington DC, after which he pastored in Providence, Rhode Island. As the interim pastor of a major pulpit in Augusta, Georgia, a great revival was graciously granted by the Lord, which caught the attention of the afore mentioned the Morris Street Church, to which he was called and served for four years. During his tenure there he baptized more than 500. Bro Dart may be best known for his pamphlet entitled “The Immersion Issue” in which he challenged several Methodist preachers to a debate on the subject. The challenge was never accepted. The Morris Street Baptist Church still exists and can be found at #25 Morris Street. The church and all the people mentioned in this...

June 2

Two weeks ago our history involved Lewis Craig who led his church to move from Virginia to Kentucky, settling eventually at South Elkton. Today marks the anniversary of the ordination, in 1770, of his brother Elijah Craig. Elijah was born again in 1764 under the preaching of the Regular Baptist, David Thomas. A year later, the Separate Baptist, Samuel Harriss, encouraged Bro. Craig to begin meetings in his neighborhood so that others might hear the gospel and grow in Christ. Elijah began going house to house preaching salvation by grace. After another year, he asked North Carolinian James Read to come and baptize himself and the other young converts he had gathered. When churches were established at Blue Run and Rapidan, and after his ordination, Elijah Craig became their pastor. Bro. Craig was a preacher blessed of God with zeal and aptitude. He had very little formal education, but he applied himself to learning the Word, which he handled as the true sword of the Spirit. His congregations were often greatly moved by his messages. When some of his neighbors began to complain, the sheriff and a posse were sent to arrest him, taking him from the field where he was plowing to the magistrate at Culpepper. He was jailed without arguments either pro or con, where he was fed nothing but rye bread and water for a month. Over the next few years, Elijah was jailed in Culpepper again and twice in Orange County all for preaching the gospel of the grace of Christ. In 1786, he decided to follow his brothers to Kentucky. There he bought a...

May 19

On this day  in 1662 the “Act of Uniformity” received royal assent, after being passed by the Anglican-dominated British Parliament. It required that every minister in England had to receive episcopal ordination, and before August 24 of that year they must publically give their “unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained and prescribed in and by… the Book of Common Prayer.” Of course the Baptists in England rejected the concept of a church or religion established by the government, so they were not surprised by the new round of persecution against them. But it is estimated that a total of 1,760 other ministers were ejected from their churches, many of whom had taken a stand against paedobaptism – the baptism of infants. One of the positive consequences of the Act was to force those dismissed preachers to more fully consider their doctrines, and many went further into becoming Baptists. Another result was that there was then a clear distinction between the established church and the dissenters; a line had been drawn in the sand by the government. Despite the spotty persecution against the brethren, it made many new men more bold in their witness for the truth....

May 12

If there ever was ever a “Bible belt” in Canada it was in the Maritimes, but unfortunately it lasted for only a short time. I understand that there are former Baptist churches empty all over the eastern provinces today. One of the men of God working in the area was Baptist missionary Israel Potter. He wrote the following letter to Thomas Baldwin, pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Boston. “Clements, Annapolis county, Nova Scotia, May 12, 1810. Dear and Rev. Sir, In the beginning of March last, a most powerful reformation began in the lower part of this town, which seemed to pervade the minds of old and young, and many, we hope, were brought to the knowledge of the truth. About ten days after, the good work made its appearance in the middle of the town. The people assembled from every quarter, and it seemed that it might be truly said, that God was passing through the place in a very powerful manner. The glorious work has since spread through every part of the town, and some of all ages have been made to bow to the mild sceptre of the Redeemer. The ordinance of baptism has been administered for five Sabbaths successively. Forty-five have been admitted to the sacred rite, and a church has been constituted upon the Gospel plan, consisting of sixty five members, to which we expect further additions. If I should say that two hundred have been hopefully converted to the Lord in this town since the reformation commenced, I think I should not exceed the truth. The good work is still spreading...

May 5

Many religionists are content in gathering only two or three times a year. Some of the more faithful try to come together at least once every week. The true children of God, however, love their Lord enough to want to worship and learn of Him more frequently than once every seven days. In so doing they often draw the attention and wrath of God’s enemies. The Baptists in Virginia had been put down and persecuted for years. Attacks upon them had come in many ways, including legislation, incarceration, disruption of their worship services and physical assault. Individual churches and groups of churches petitioned the House of Burgesses on several occasions, usually to no effect. But up to and during the time of the War for Independence some progress toward religious freedom began to slowly emerge. On this day (May 5) in 1774 there was yet another petition brought before the Virginia government. This time there was a new and interesting theme involved. The records states: “A petition of sundry persons of the community of Christians called Baptists … was presented to the House and read, setting forth that the toleration proposed by the bill ordered at the last session of the General Assembly … not admitting public worship, except in the daytime, is inconsistent with the laws of England, as well as the practice and usage of the primitive churches, and even of the English church itself; that the night season may sometimes be better spared by the petitioners from the necessary duties of their callings; and that they wish for no indulgences which may disturb the peace of...

April 28

Thomas T. Martin was born on this day  in 1862. The place was Smith County, Mississippi. His father was a Baptist preacher and college professor, but T.T. wanted to become a lawyer. That was not the Lord’s will. God had given him several special gifts, and He intended that Martin use them in the Baptist ministry. After graduation from Mississippi college, he began to study theology in Texas, supporting himself by teaching Natural Science at Baylor college. After a short ministry in Kentucky, the Holy Spirit led Brother Martin to Leadville, Colorado for two years and then to Canon City. After a short return to Kentucky, where he nearly died from food poisoning, he returned to Colorado, pastoring in Cripple Creek. These Colorado ministries were primarily among hard rock miners – sinners of the most hardened variety. Martin wanted to become a missionary in Brazil, but his health at the time prevented it. Then in 1900 T.T. Martin began a new form of ministry – evangelism. In community after community, he would hold protracted meetings from two to three weeks. In these meetings he would preach twice a day, except on Sunday’s when he usually preach four times. During this time, Martin began a third ministry. Using his knowledge of both the Bible and science, he became the author or a number of books. Today, if one googles his name, the first references which come up point to his fame as a proficient defender of Creationism. An anti-evolution theme began to permeate his campaigns. He even had meetings and set up a shop in Dayton, Tennessee, during the Scopes...

April 21

This little note ties in with one of the articles in this week’s church bulletin (www.calvary@iadhobaptist.com). On this day in 1867 a note in the church minutes of the Kiokee Baptist reads, “The Baptist Church of Christ at Kiokee met and proceeded to the ordination of Brother Billy Harris, colored, to preach the Gospel.” Throughout American Baptist history there have been many examples of a positive relationship between blacks and whites. In 1639, John Clarke organized the Baptist church in Newport, Rhode Island, and a few years later “Jack, a colored” was baptized and added to the church’s membership. Living in Rhode Island, Jack was most likely a free man. But in the south slaves were often received into local Baptist congregations. In fact, in some churches the blacks outnumbered the whites up to as many as six to one. In the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, “colored deacons were elected, whose duty it was to watch over (the needs) of slave and free Negro members.” That church also licensed certain colored men, who seemed fitted by God to “exercise their spiritual gifts in public” – ie. to preach the gospel of Christ. A man named Lott Carey, a member of the church in Richmond, was able to raise $850 with which he purchased the freedom of his family. Then he, with Collin Teague, in 1821, sailed for Liberia, establishing the first Baptist Church in Monrovia. After the War Between the States, there was pressure to organize separate churches for the blacks, and many prominent churches willingly authorized and supported those churches, acknowledging and training young men for ministries...

April 14

  Dorothy Kelly was an English Puritan, living in Bristol. She desired to see the Church of England reformed – cleansed from the wickedness and laxity found in its members and clergy. On Sundays, after attending the services of her church, she would join others in private homes for prayer and the reading of more Biblical sermons. One of the men attending those meetings was an Anglican cleric named Hazzard. Over time, Rev. Hazzard, asked Mrs. Kelly, a widow, if she would marry him, and she agreed. The Hazzard home become a meeting place for Puritans. And since Bristol was one of the ports from which travelers to America embarked, the Hazzards hosted many people seeking what they called “religious freedom.” Mrs. Hazzard became more and more disenchanted with her church, its sermons, the reading of the Book of Common Prayer, and abuse of the Lord’s Supper. One week when her husband traveled to Lyme to avoid taking “Holy Communion,” Dorothy heard that Mr. John Canne, a noted dissenter – a Baptist – was staying in a local inn. She sent word inviting the man to lodge at the Hazzard home. When he found a group of Puritans in one of their meetings, he urged them to give up the Church of England entirely and gather for their own worship and prayer. Mrs. Hazzard felt convicted that was what she should do. When her husband returned home, she told him of her plans, and although he never left his church, he permitted his wife to do as she felt led of God. Soon, the group, meeting in a barn,...

April 7

The Metropolitan Tabernacle is best known as the site of C.H. Spurgeon’s ministry, but he did not start that church.  Several important men pastored there before him.  Benjamin Keach was ordained and began his pastorate there in 1668.  John Gill was an elder in that congregation for fifty-one years until his death in 1771. Following Gill, John Rippon was asked to become their under-shepherd.     On this day in 1773 Rippon wrote to the church.  “Various have been the workings of my mind upon this weighty subject since I left you [after candidating].  Often and daily have I laid it before the Divine throne, impartially sought counsel of the All-wise and infallible Counselor.”  He goes on to ask more time to pray about accepting their offer of the pulpit, “before I return an absolute and decisive answer to the call you have given me; which am rather inclined to…”      After several months Rippon agreed to become their pastor.     Rippon’s predecessor, Benjamin Keach, has become known for introducing congregational singing to his congregation and to Baptists in general.  John Gill is known for theology and his commentary on the Bible.  Spurgeon is known for his sovereign grace evangelism.  John Rippon is also well known, but slightly less so than his fellow elders.     Rippon was an admirer of Isaac Watts and scriptural hymns.  He made sure that the Metropolitan Tabernacle continued to sing quality hymns by publishing one of our great early hymnals.  It included material from several authors – including himself.  For example, the arrangement of the hymn “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name” which is best...

March 31

Abraham Marshall followed his father in becoming the pastor of the Kiokee Baptist church in north east Georgia. After more than forty years of bachelorhood, Abraham determined that the Lord wanted him to marry, providing him with someone “to divide the sorrows and double the joys of life.” That desire was a part of Abraham’s purpose in visiting his father’s homeland in New England. Praying for a better horse and for a wife, Bro. Marshall set off across the Savanna River in 1792. In a few days, a Christian brother heard about the preacher’s need and traded horses with him. With that prayer answered, Abraham believed a wife would also be provided. Stopping in Spottsylvania, Virginia at the home of John Waller, Marshall met Miss Ann Waller. She was not the least bit taken aback when he explained the purpose of his trip and that he had appointments in New England. She agreed to marry him, if the Lord didn’t provide him a wife from among the Yankees. Abraham Marshall’s preaching tour in the north was blessed by the Lord, but no wife was supplied. On this day in 1792 he arrived back in Spottsylvania and four days later the couple was married. Six days were involved in the entire courtship, but these were not starry-eyed children. He was a forty-four-year-old seasoned Baptist preacher and she was thirty-one-year-old Christian woman. Ann and Abraham enjoyed a three month “horseback honeymoon,” riding about 550 miles down to Kiokee. The couple eventually had four sons, one of whom followed his father and grandfather as pastor of the church. Ann Marshall died in...

March 24

  On this day (March 24) 1809 Grover Comstock was born in Rochester, New York. Although he was the son of a Baptist preacher, he was not converted until after he had become a successful lawyer. In 1831 a blessed rival swept through Rochester and Comstock along with many others, including a few lawyers, were born again. Almost immediately Bro. Comstock became burdened for the lost heathen. While in school, preparing for missionary service he met his future wife, a woman also dedicated to the mission field. Comstock was ordained in Rochester on March 12, 1834, and shortly after that the couple sailed for Burma with their eyes set on a place called Arracan. Upon their arrival in Moulmein, Burma, they were unable to proceed to their intended destination, so they launched into the work at Kyouk Phyoo and then Ramree, preaching and printing gospel tracts. As children were born into the family, the Comstocks determined that it would be necessary to send them home for their education. It was, of course an extremely difficult decision. When Dr. Eugenio Kincaid was set to furlough back to the States, he took with him the two eldest Comstock children. He described the parting as exceedingly emotional, and the last thing he remembered of Bro. Comstock, with tears streaming down his face, were the words, “Remember, Brother Kincaid, six men for Arracan,” meaning, ” we need six more missionaries for Arracan.” When Kincaid’s ship was off Shady Hook, April 28, 1843, back in Burma, Sister Comstock, aged 31, died. Almost one year to the day, Bro. Comstock, aged 35 also died. Soon...

March 17

Jacob Dirks and his two adult sons, Andrew and Jan, became believers in the Lord Jesus Christ through the work of Anabaptist ministers. Mrs. Dirks and the other children remained Roman Catholics. When Jacob heard that an arrest warrant had been written against him, he fled from Utrecht to the larger city of Antwerp, hoping to spare his wife any further grief. But the magistrates took possession of most of the family possessions and she later died in poverty. The authorities eventually discovered Jacob and two of his sons, one whom was by this time engaged to be married. They were condemned to death. On this day (March 17) in 1568 the three were paraded through the city before the eyes of thousands, including the bride-to-be and some of the younger children of the family. One son ran up to his father and threw himself around his neck, weeping in sorrow, but he was torn away, thrown to the ground and trampled by the crowd. At the place of execution, Jacob asked, “How is it with you, my dear sons?” They answered, “All is well, dear father.” At that point the executioner mercifully strangled the men before lighting the fagots to burn their bodies. Those hating the truth in Holland during the sixteenth century had no respect for age or sex. It is said that thousands of Anabaptists were martyred in various ways – many in the same fashion as Jacob Dirks and his...

March 10

Balthazar Hubmaer was born in Bavaria in 1480. He studied the doctrines of the Protestants, embracing the views of Luther, pastoring a Lutheran church and becoming a good friend and associate of Ulrich Zwingli. However he expected the Reformation to return to Biblical truth, and when that did not occur he embraced Anabaptism. He formed a Baptist church and immersed more than a hundred of his former church members, drawing the wrath of both Protestants and Catholics. Both Hubmaer and his wife were arrested and jailed separately. The dungeon cells in which they were kept were dark, cold and full of disease. Balthazar’s health deteriorated. He pleaded with his old friend Zwingli for assistance but was refused. After some time, the only hope he had was in death or recantation. Torture on the rack and with other means were applied. In his weakened condition, and fearing the worst for his wife, he agreed to meet Zwingli’s demands. Balthazar Hubmaer was taken into the city cathedral and placed on the raised pulpit before a huge congregation. Swaying back and forth in weakness, he began to read his letter of recantation, but then he stopped. As if miraculously empowered by God, he raised himself to his full height, and he filled the cathedral with the shout, “Infant baptism is not of God, and men must be baptized by faith in Christ.” The huge crowd exploded, both with curses and some praise. Hubmaer was dragged back to prison where he once again wrote out a clear and Biblical confession of faith. On this day (March 10) 1528 Pastor Hubmaer was led to...

March 3

On this day (March 3) in 1876, Florida became the 27th State in the Union. Three months prior to that date, H.Z. Ardis became one of the first Baptist pastors in the state, taking the reigns of God’s assembly in Madison, a community in the Panhandle. Ardis was born on August 8, 1811 into a South Carolinian Presbyterian home. As a teenager, he made a profession of faith and united with others in constituting a Presbyterian church at Beach Island, S.C., between Aiken and Augusta, GA. There in 1832 he joyfully married the love of his life, but when a baby girl came along the family was nearly destroyed. Upon coming to understand the Bible, H.Z. refused to permit his daughter to be christened, furthermore he felt led of the Lord to be immersed in water. On September 26, 1834 he joined a local Baptist church. Thus he found himself at odds with his mother, all his in-laws and even his wife, but he refused to give up what he knew to be the truth. Rather than despairing, H.Z. began to conduct prayer meetings, and soon after that he was urging sinners to come to Christ. The following January the Union Baptist Church called for his ordination. Even though his wife refused immersion, Bro. Ardis served that congregation for nine years, while at the same time assisting other churches throughout South Carolina. In 1845 Ardis was overcome with poor health. He was urged to move to an even warmer climate, which led him to Madison, Florida. By the grace of God his health improved and he pastored that assembly...