May 20

After preparing this vignette, I’ve determined to read more of the books of Abraham Booth.

Booth was born on this day (May 20) in 1734. The place was in Derbyshire, England. At the age of ten the Lord saved him from a life headed toward debauchery and hell. At the age of twenty-one he was baptized and joined a General Baptist Church. He was encouraged to preach and soon became pastor of a church at Kirby-Woodhouse. As a General Baptist he hated the doctrines of sovereign election and particular redemption. But as he studied God’s word in order to preach the gospel his views began to change. At the age of thirty-three he published his Reign of Grace, a defense of God’s sovereign administration of salvation. But he never lost his evangelistic fervor. Unlike others in his generation, he preached to all men, exhorting them to repent and to trust Christ, leaving the bestowal of salvation to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. His position in this matter lead to an invitation to become pastor of the Prescott Street Particular Baptist Church in London, for which he was the under-shepherd for the next thirty-seven years.

Booth was not highly educated, and perhaps due to this lack of formal training he was instrumental in the founding of Stepney College for the training of other men. He became an excellent author. In his Pedobaptism Examined, one of the books which I have read, he quotes eighty Pedobaptist writers who admit that “baptizo” means “immerse.” Then in his Apology for Baptists he reprimands those “Baptists” who left immersion to the conscience of the believer. He insisted that proper baptism was essential to church membership, and he also expressed a fear that if the Lord’s Supper was extended to the unbaptized, it would eventually lead to an unbaptized membership and ultimately to unregenerated members.

Amongst other social issues, Booth was highly vocal in his condemnation of slavery, becoming one of the first to declare that the traffic in men and women was sinful and shameful – “a perpetual scandal to the profession of Christianity.”

Abraham Booth died in London in 1806 at the age of seventy-three.