The primitive Baptists reacted against the incursion of modern theological and worship elements into their tradition, beginning in the 1830s. Jeffrey W. Taylor document the emergence and development of this "conservative" Believers Church tradition.
A Cultural and Intellectual History of the Anti-Mission Movement, 1800-1840
Author: James R. Mathis
This study describes the creation of the Primitive Baptist movement and discusses the main outlines of their thought. It also weaves the story of the Primitive Baptists with other developments in American Christianity in the Early Republic.
Baptists are a study in contrasts. From Little Dove Old Regular Baptist Church, up a hollow in the Appalachian Mountains, with its 25-member congregation, to the 18,000-strong Saddleback Valley Church in Orange County, California, where hymns appear on wide-screen projectors; from Jerry Falwell, Jesse Helms, and Tim LaHaye to Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, and Maya Angelou, Baptist churches and their members have encompassed a range of theological interpretations and held a variety of social and political viewpoints. At first glance, Baptist theology seems classically Protestant in its emphasis on the Trinity, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the authority of Scripture, salvation by faith alone, and baptism by immersion. Yet the interpretation and implementation of these beliefs have made Baptists one of the most fragmented denominations in the United States. Not surprisingly, they are often characterized as a people who "multiply by dividing." Baptists in America introduces readers to this fascinating and diverse denomination, offering a historical and sociological portrait of a group numbering some thirty million members. Bill J. Leonard traces the history of Baptists, beginning with their origins in seventeenth-century Holland and England. He examines the development of Baptist beliefs and practices, offering an overview of the various denominations and fellowships within Baptism. Leonard also considers the disputes surrounding the question of biblical authority, the ordinances (baptism and the Lord's Supper), congregational forms of church governance, and religious liberty. The social and political divisions among Baptists are often as dramatic, if not more so, than the theological divides. Leonard examines the role of Baptists in the Fundamentalist and Social Gospel movements of the early twentieth century. The Civil Rights movement began in African American Baptist churches. More recently, Baptists have been key figures in the growth of the Religious Right, criticizing the depravity of American popular culture, supporting school prayer, and championing other conservative social causes. Leonard also explores the social and religious issues currently dividing Baptists, including race, the ordination of women, the separation of church and state, and sexuality. In the final chapter Leonard discusses the future of Baptist identity in America.
Jesse Mercer (1769-1841) was a Baptist pastor, editor, and denominational statesman who figured prominently in the debates over Calvinism among Southern clergymen. Most studies of Calvinism in America have focused on Jonathan Edwards, the New Divinity Movement, and the Princeton theologians. Calvinism, however, played a key role in shaping the religious mind of the South, particularly among Baptists who debated the relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility as it related to missions, education, and social reform. These debates led to the formation of two Baptist groups, Primitive and Missionary, the latter of which ultimately became Southern Baptists. This book explores the role of Jesse Mercer within these debates as he promoted the first form of the Georgia Baptist Convention. His Calvinistic theology governed his actions and life. He emphasized missions, theological training for pastors, and cooperation between churches in fulfilling the Great Commission. Calvinism is as important a topic today in the study of religion as it ever has been. This book gives perspective and history to current trends and understandings.
Evangelical Protestant groups have dominated religious life in the South since the early nineteenth century. Even as the conservative Protestantism typically associated with the South has risen in social and political prominence throughout the United States in recent decades, however, religious culture in the South itself has grown increasingly diverse. The region has seen a surge of immigration from other parts of the United States as well as from Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East, bringing increased visibility to Catholicism, Islam, and Asian religions in the once solidly Protestant Christian South. In this volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, contributors have revised entries from the original Encyclopedia on topics ranging from religious broadcasting to snake handling and added new entries on such topics as Asian religions, Latino religion, New Age religion, Islam, Native American religion, and social activism. With the contributions of more than 60 authorities in the field--including Paul Harvey, Loyal Jones, Wayne Flynt, and Samuel F. Weber--this volume is an accessibly written, up-to-date reference to religious culture in the American South.
This book considers the distinctive ideas and expressions of Christian faith to be found in the historic Baptist churches. An outline of the history of the Baptist movement will be offered, from its British beginnings in Amsterdam in 1609, through its varied developments in Britain, Europe and North America, to its worldwide presence and diversity today, and its relationship to many other churches with apparently-similar practices (Pentecostal and 'new' churches, e.g.). Holmes draws the various threads together, noting the real diversities in the history of Baptist theology, but suggesting that in a vision of the present and urgent Lordship of Christ experienced in the local congregation, there is a thread that links most of these distinctives.