This Sunday in Baptist History
Dutton Lane sounds like it could be the title to a 1967 Beatles’ song, but it is actually a man’s name.
After settling in North Carolina and establishing the Sandy Creek Baptist Church, Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall began to minister and preach the gospel in adjacent Virginia, where the Lord blessed and many were saved. On one occasion Brother Marshall took forty-two of those new converts and baptized them, one of them being Dutton Lane. Soon Brother Dutton was preaching the same gospel which the Lord used to redeem him. In 1760 the first Separate Baptist church in Virginia was established, and Dutton Lane became its pastor. With the Dan River church as his home base, he and others from the church established five other preaching points, several of which were eventually organized as sound Baptist churches.
This was at a time when there was great hatred against the Baptists in Virginia. For example, according to one historian, “One Wm. Cocker had conceived such a malignity against the Baptists that he was wont to say, ‘He had rather go to hell than heaven if going to the latter required his being a Baptist,’ but then coming accidentally to a place where Bro. Dutton was preaching, he fell to the ground moaning, ‘Lord have mercy upon me! I am a gone man! What shall I do to be saved?’ going on like this for an hour.” Later, the Lord did save that man, and he became a member of Lane’s church.
Sadly, no one opposed Dutton Lane’s ministry more than his own father. He actually beat his wife, because she went to hear her son preach Christ. That lady’s godly testimony eventually induced the man to attend one of his son’s preaching services, and there he fell under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Eventually, he too was born again.
1769 was a year of great fruitfulness in the life of Dutton Lane, and on this day, he was instrumental in constituting the Nottoway Baptist Church.