J. E. Feisser was a minister in the Dutch Reformed denomination in Holland during the 19th century. The early part of his life was not pleasant. He lost his wife and two children, then his own health began to deteriorate, and he lost his right eye. Immersed in depression, he tried to comfort himself in the baptism he experienced in his infancy, but his entire religion seemed hollow and useless. Turning to the Word of God he began to let the Holy Spirit teach him, rather than listening to the theologians within his denomination. Eventually the gracious God taught him to look to Christ alone for salvation, and he became a new man; a born again soul. In 1843 Brother Feisser was removed from his office as a Protestant pastor, for “refusing to fulfill a part of his duty (baby baptizing) and causing offence and disorder.”
In the mean while, to the south, Johann Oncken was starting Baptist churches throughout Germany. When he heard the news of Feisser, he thought it worth investigating, so Oncken sent Julius Kobner to find this Dutch brother in Christ. He did, and after a thorough investigation, on this day in 1845, Feisser and six others were immersed by missionary Kobner in the open air at Gasselter-Nijveen and a new church was established with Bro. Feisser as pastor.
The church struggled through doctrinal problems, governmental and social persecution and the coming and going of several pastors. But then in 1866 under, H.J. Kloekers, a former missionary to China, the congregation moved to Stadskanaal, and built a modest meeting house. Soon the building was full and the members were evangelizing neighboring villages. At that point, Groningen Province became the center of a strong Baptist presence in Holland.
What if Bro. Feisser had not suffered so much loss as a young adult? Would he have become a Baptist and a true gospel evangelist? Without a doubt, the Lord knew what He was doing when He was directing the events in that man’s life.