"A Monthly Emagazine, Bridging Baptists Yesterday and Today"

June  2003              Vol. 2  No. 6


Produced by The Center for Baptist Studies, Mercer University

Walter B. Shurden, Executive Director and Editor, The Baptist Studies Bulletin

Greg Thompson, Associate Director, The Center for Baptist Studies

Wil Platt, Associate Editor, The Baptist Studies Bulletin

Robert Richardson, Coordinator, Mercer Certificate Program in Baptist Studies


Table of Contents:

        I Believe . . .: by Walter B. Shurden

              Few Care

       The Baptist Soapbox: By David Currie

               "The Current Role of Mainstream Baptists"

       Baptist Spirituality in America: by E. Glenn Hinson

              “Following Jesus”

       BSB Book Review Special:

                    John Tyler’s Book  Baptism: We've Got It Right. . . and Wrong

       Baptist Studies Special:

              Baptist Myths: A New Pamphlet Series

       The Baptist Stacks: Perusing Periodicals for Baptistiana: by Pam Durso

               Pastor Shortage, Strange Friends, Religious Liberty, and Music

       Baptist Women in America: by Carolyn DeArmond Blevins

              “Dorothy Hazzard: Dissenter, He-Goat, Preacher”

       Baptist Books: by Glenn Jonas

              William Carey’s Journal and Selected Letters

       Baptist Firsts: by Charles Deweese

             “The First Baptist Confession”

       Letters to the Editor:

                   Letters from Ron Nicholas, Clarissa Strickland and Ken Duke

       Baptistville: by Greg Thompson

              Happenings in Baptistville


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 "Few Care"

by Walter B. Shurden

I Believe . . .


that what is really sad about the forty-three SBC missionaries who lost their jobs because they refused to sign a binding creed is that very few Baptist people really care. The SBC leadership and the leadership of the International Mission Board certainly do not care. To the contrary, they appear delighted to be able to draw the theological strings of Southern Baptist life even tighter. This shows how wrong some Baptist Bystanders were ten or fifteen years ago who said of the new SBC leadership: "You just watch; they will compromise once they get the power; they will have to; they can rough up a few professors, but Southern Baptists will not stand for them messing with the missionaries." Compromise?! What many very good people failed to realize is that one CANNOT compromise when one works with an epistemology that says, "I have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; if you disagree, you don=t know the truth."

But it is not only the SBC leadership who do not care. Many good and wonderful "Southern Baptist" laypeople do not care. The issue does not touch them. They have families to raise and bills to pay. For many of them, the Kingdom of God is equated with their local church and the programs it devises to help keep their children civilized. I still hear of SBC-aligned pulpit search committees who are looking for someone who has not been involved in the controversy! Some churches don=t even want someone to help them care. Many faithful people still dismiss the trashing of Baptist principles and the elevation of theological fundamentalism to Baptist orthodoxy as a "Preachers= Fight." Besides, after twenty-five years of hearing all the theological huffing and puffing, one tends to turn a deaf ear to the latest schoolyard tussle. "What=s the big deal about Baptists imposing a creed?," they ask. They are unaware that their question reveals the problem.   

And here is another category of the non-caring: most moderate Southern Baptists (are there any left?) and ex-Southern Baptists don=t care. "Let=s be proactive, not reactive," we say. "Let=s forget the past and move on," we say. And I sympathizeCa good bit. But to paraphrase Carlyle Marney, "We had better not try and take up an offering among those forty-three missionaries with that kind of gospel."  Some of us in this non-caring category have friends among those forty-three.  It is hard for us not to care, even though we long ago predicted the outcome and tried to get them to come with us.

But as always, some care. Some groups, such as the Texas Baptist Convention, tried to create a financial and vocational safety net for the missionaries. Some groups, such as Mainstream, spoke up, saying binding creedalism is alien to the work of the IMB. Not only so, but some Baptists who are not Southern Baptists care that the largest Baptist group in the world projects Baptists into the public eye as creedalists and fundamentalists.            

 A bit of history from friend Bruce Gourley of Auburn University on Baptists and creedalism before closing the door on this sad episode for which few care. Bruce found it in the December, 1845 issue of the Kentucky Baptist Western Baptist Review, volume 1, number 4, pages 129-133. Speaking of Baptists using binding creeds, the writer said, and again, this was 1845: 

"And we here state, and we defy all contradiction, that the only bond of union and communion is the Bible. This every man acquainted with their history knows to be the truth. They never published any creed, long or short, at any time, as a bond of union or communion. These, we say, are notorious facts, and we assert them in the face of a thousand and one statements to the contrary, made of late years in print and in the pulpit."

But that was 1845, the year the SBC was organized. That=s the same year that the SBC founders at Augusta wrote that "we have no creed but the Bible." Some Baptists have devolved since then.       





THE BAPTIST SOAPBOX: Invited guests speak up and out on things Baptist (therefore, the views expressed in this space are not necessarily those of The Baptist Studies Bulletin, though sometimes they are). Climbing upon the Soapbox this month is David Currie, National Consultant for the Mainstream Baptist Network and Executive Director of Texas Baptists Committed.


The Current Role of Mainstream Baptists

By David R. Currie


        The current role of Mainstream Baptists is best explained in simply looking at the breakfast we are sponsoring during the CBF General Assembly. MBN is sponsoring a breakfast and the speakers will be two missionary couples who recently left the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board because of their refusal to sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message statement.

         Who would allow these missionaries to share their story but MBN? State conventions will not give them a platform in opposition to the SBC. CBF and the Alliance have their own ministries and mission programs.

         Yet the stories of these missionaries and others like them need to be heard by Baptists. Providing this platform is a role uniquely given to MBN, as we are the group continuing the educational effort regarding the evil of Fundamentalism.

        The Mainstream Baptist Network speaks to two critical areas not addressed by any other moderate organization: education and advocacy.

        State Mainstream groups are the only groups that stand up to the Fundamentalist misrepresentations. Well-meaning state convention leaders in several states say nothing because they are hoping against hope that they can keep everyone working together. This is well intentioned, but the Fundamentalists do not care about cooperation. If they win, they will expunge all that they can as they have in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Missouri. If they lose, they will form their own organization. CBF leaders nationally and in each state mostly say nothing because they have chosen to focus on their ministries. I do not fault them for this. But someone or some group has to keep telling the truth and this task, given to us by God, has fallen to the Mainstream groups.

        We also conduct an annual convocation to share ideas, inspiration and information. We publish Mainstream, our national journal, as funds are available. It is designed to educate persons regarding historic Baptist principles, and the truth about what is happening in Baptist life, especially in the SBC. This is a very important because no one else does this. We continue to educate the uninformed about the SBC and its leadership.

        The role of the state Mainstream Baptist groups depends on the current situation in each state. Currently, and I’m sure, for my lifetime at least, Fundamentalists control the SBC.

         As the influence of Fundamentalism has spread, Fundamentalists have taken over several of the larger state Baptist Conventions.  These state conventions are South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Georgia, and Florida.  In these states, the role of the Mainstream group is to tell the truth about the SBC (and sometimes their state convention), and encourage individual Baptist people and individual churches to stay true to Baptist principles. This is an important role because in all of these states, the Baptist newspaper is either controlled by the Fundamentalists or is not allowed to report on Mainstream or CBF work. This kind of control of the Baptist press in those states is immoral, unethical, un-Baptist, and un-American. Also, in these states, the Mainstream group helps churches find traditional, non-Fundamentalist pastors for local churches.

        In Texas and Virginia, where the old-line state Baptist conventions have remained committed to historic Baptist principles and rejected Fundamentalist attempts to take them over, the Fundamentalists have formed new state conventions. These Fundamentalist state conventions spend endless amounts of money attacking the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Baptist General Association of Virginia with lies and half lies. The Mainstream Baptist groups stand up to such lies in those states. They help local churches withstand efforts of Fundamentalists to take control of local churches and tell the truth about what is really happening in the SBC.

        Finally, in some other critical states like North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the state convention leadership is still riding the fence. In these states, the Mainstream group does play a political role, and there is nothing wrong with that. Baptists make decisions by voting.  I have never faulted Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler for encouraging Fundamentalists to attend the SBC and vote for leadership that reflected their convictions. I have, however, faulted them for rallying persons, even children, to attend the convention and support Fundamentalist convictions by misrepresenting the views of the then leadership of the SBC and their commitments and vision. 

        Where there is still a war going on for control of a state convention, Mainstream has a role.  I hate the word “war,” but that is the word used by the first Fundamentalists. They have declared war on everything traditionally Baptist and they also want to control everything. In those states where the battle for leadership is still going on, Mainstream is right in encouraging persons to attend the state convention and keep the state convention inclusive, fair to everyone and focused on the primary task of helping churches regardless of political persuasion. Any state Baptist convention lost to the Fundamentalist leadership is basically a convention in the process of becoming less effective in furthering the Kingdom of God as defined by Christ himself.

        In states where Fundamentalists are in control, every church that is saved from Fundamentalist leadership is another local church redeemed for the Kingdom and the preservation of traditional Baptist doctrines. This is important work. The most important role the Mainstream Baptist Network plays is that it is the only group that continues to stand up publicly to Fundamentalism in Baptist life.

         Most do not realize that the SBC is now an organization searching for ethical, moral and biblical leadership. The SBC has abandoned a focus on expanding the Kingdom of God and chosen to become an organization which some connected with the inner circle of the SBC leadership describe as “obsessed” with controlling the hearts and minds of its employees, missionaries, seminary professors and local churches.

         So, Mainstream is still playing an important role in education and advocacy. I pray that someday we will no longer be needed. Once the traditional Bible-believing Baptists come together in both a prophetic role as well as a ministry role, we can fade into the sunset. Only God knows how long that will be. Until that time, I and every other traditional Baptist will do what God has called us to do. 

        As frustrating as this is for those of us who cherish traditional Baptist freedoms, history and doctrines, we will continue in our attempts to challenge Fundamentalism in a spirit of Christian love and concern. But we will always do it without apology. 

         The Baptists role in spreading the Kingdom is at stake. We take that very seriously.



 Interested in a free Pastor's Workshop on Hot Potato Church/State
issues with Brent Walker of the Baptist Joint Committee?

Register for the workshop by emailing Greg Thompson at
before Thursday, 4 September 2003, Macon, GA.


Baptist Spirituality in America: a column on the distinctive spiritual emphases of Baptists in America by E. Glenn Hinson, Professor Emeritus of Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Senior Professor of Church History and Spirituality at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, Visiting Professor of Church History at Lexington Theological Seminary, and Adjunct Professor of Church History at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary.

“Following Jesus”

by E. Glenn Hinson


          Every once in a while Christianity has raised up some people who believed the way to cut through the evil, the turmoil, and the confusion of their age was to follow Jesus, especially Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  Names that jump out at me are Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Clarence Jordan, the lone Baptist.  Clarence believed, “You can’t have great ideas in the abstract.  They have to take flesh.”  Accordingly, while a student at Southern Seminary, he ministered Jesus-like to the poor, the homeless, the alcoholic, the lost in Louisville’s Haymarket.  In 1942 he and his wife Florence joined a former missionary couple, Martin and Mabel England, in founding Koinonia Farm, where they sought to build a racially inclusive community at Americus, Georgia, which would live in radical obedience to Christ and help local farmers, especially the poor.  When it looked in 1968 like this bold venture would die, Millard Fuller joined Clarence in a new program called Koinonia Partners, from which has sprung Habitat for Humanity and Jubilee Partners.  For loving his enemies as Jesus taught (Matt 5:44) Clarence paid the painful price of exclusion, ostracism, threats on his life, and economic retaliation.  What urged him on and sustained him through it all?  Those who knew Clarence Jordan well would know that nothing set him apart more than an ever-present Greek New Testament.  His “Cotton Patch” translating and paraphrasing of the scriptures bear stark testimony of a life so completely saturated by the teaching of Jesus that it penetrated his every thought and action.  He doubtless spent hours in the little shack he called his office listening to God speak to him through the Jesus story and more hours incarnating it in the world around him.


Mini-Sabbatical !!!

Are you a Baptist Minister interested in a week-long sabbatical of supervised

reading in Baptist Studies? Click here for more detail.




BSB BOOK REVIEW SPECIAL: John R. Tyler, a layman of Kirkwood Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri, serves as a deacon and teaches an adult Sunday School class in his local church. Elected as the first moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Missouri, he also served as moderator of the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in 1998-99. He had a 30-year career with SBC Communications.


Book Review:  Baptism:  We've Got It Right . . . and Wrong by John Tyler, Macon, GA, Smyth and Helwys, 2003,  ISBN 1-57312-384-6, 192 pages.


Reviewer: Dan Ivins, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Portland, Oregon

         Written from the perspective of a layperson, and for lay persons, author John R. Tyler is no stranger to biblical and historical scholarship in his proposal to rethink this rite of entrance into the family of God in light of the changes taking place in our day. His approach is balanced in that he examines what we Baptists have going for us in baptism.  And what we have going against us. Then he offers suggestions about what should change and why, in an effort to improve baptism.

He organized the work around five headings, which are all questions that need asking and answering. In the third heading Tyler proposes some practical ways that baptism can be renewed focusing upon the preparation of the candidate.

The final heading caught my attention because Tyler takes on the alien immersion issue in Baptist life by those congregations influenced by the Landmark controversy or closed baptism.

I understand fully the relevance of this subject from having served as pastor in the four corners of the country, and having dealt with this issue in all of them.  In my first church out of seminary, in Maryland, a bombshell was dropped in the baptistery when my wife and I stood against the entire congregation by proposing a bylaws change because a Presbyterian gentleman wanted to join our church but not be re-baptized.  He gave a moving testimony of what his baptism meant to him, and convinced the majority to change. Predictably, we lost a strong family, who claimed, "Village Baptist Church is no longer Baptist!"  Well, maybe we were being more Christian than Baptist.

Tyler understands the problem being one of continuing to practice outmoded exclusionary methods in a time when more people are becoming Baptists from other denominations, with different understandings and practices of baptism.  The rub comes when those who experienced infant baptism want to unite with congregations that cut their teeth on believer's baptism.  How do we maintain the integrity of one without denigrating the validity of the other?

I observed the way my Baptist family of faith made my Methodist wife feel by insisting that she be "re-baptized."  Her body was in the water but her heart wasn't.  Thus, a rite that was intended to be a blessing became trivialized by an exclusionary policy.

Furthermore, Tyler claims Baptists are weak in not giving proper attention to baptism in worship and "being more serious about being Baptist than taking Jesus seriously."

What I thought was right: the summaries and questions following each chapter.  Also the emphasis on celebration, inclusiveness, and being more Christian than Baptist when the two tangled.

What was wrong:  some Old Testament groundwork was omitted and too much emphasis on immersion, since the first historical Baptists were poured.

This book has the potential to bring unity in our churches by educating and asking appropriate questions as well as proposing sensible and caring answers. I recommend it highly. 


Reviewer: Richard F. Wilson, Chair, Christianity Department, Mercer University

John R. Tyler has written a helpful and hopeful book for Baptists interested in clarifying the history, practice, and meaning of baptism. What makes the book helpful is Tyler’s remarkable understanding that theology is, by definition, dialogue. What makes the book hopeful is Tyler’s attitude and conviction that Baptists can and should take the risks of meaningful dialogue about baptism.

            The impetus for writing a book about baptism and Baptists is stated clearly: “the increasing failure of some lifelong Baptists to understand . . . baptism,” and “the increasing influx into Baptist churches of people from other denominations . . . and the issue this raises” (ix) about the meaning of baptism. The audience also is well defined: “I have written . . . to provide a resource primarily to Baptist laypeople” (ix).

            Three aspects of this book make it one that should be used widely. First is Tyler’s careful attention to establishing a process for dialogue. He acknowledges that Scripture and history do not speak with one voice about baptism. He also knows that Baptists discussing baptism could encounter tensions surrounding the issue. Wisely Tyler suggests that those who read this book in a group study setting agree upon a “group covenant” (12 and 151) before they begin their study. Even those who read alone could benefit from the idea of a reader’s covenant to enter the centuries-old conversation about baptism. Theology at its best is dialogue, whether it is healthy conversation or healthy reflection upon the ideas of others.

            Secondly, Tyler is clear that the practice of baptism needs to be informed by theological reflection. Chapters seven through thirteen, and the conclusion, are some of the clearest practical theology passages one might read. Building upon careful biblical and historical reflection, Tyler challenges Baptists to separate the meaning of baptism from requirements for church membership. At the same time he offers a high regard for baptism as a symbol of regeneration and a public confession of one’s commitments toward Christian discipleship. Perhaps the most important point of these chapters, however, is Tyler’s good insight that Baptists are not the only Christians who understand the practice of baptism.

            Finally, Tyler writes with the promise that Baptists can renew their understanding of baptism and transform the practice of baptism into significant teaching moments in the life of the church. A constant throughout the last seven chapters–those dealing with the theology of baptism–is an optimism that Baptists can turn their reflection and dialogue about baptism into a continuing commitment to teach the importance of baptism for all Christians. Such a broad hope serves to focus the theology and practice of baptism for Baptists and also serves to cultivate respect for baptism practices found in Christian communities of faith beyond Baptist life. Tyler concludes that Baptists can and should maintain a commitment to believer’s baptism as normative for Baptists, while at the same time finding ways to welcome Christians from communities of faith as full members of Baptist churches without requiring rebaptism.


Reviewer: Malcolm Tolbert, Professor of New Testament, Emeritus ,Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC

            In the preface to his book, Baptism: We've Got it Right. . . and Wrong, John R. Tyler states that he wrote it "to provide a resource primarily to Baptist laypeople (ix)." He has succeeded in his goal admirably. Not only will his book help laypeople to wrestle with an extremely important issue, but many pastors should profit from it. A very intelligent layman himself, Tyler did an excellent study of worthwhile sources in preparation for his task.

Tyler concludes that Baptists are right when they insist on baptism by immersion upon an initial profession of faith and refuse to baptize infants. He is convinced, however, that many Baptist churches are too exclusionary in their requirement that believers from other churches be immersed in order to be accepted as members. He makes a very important point when he says that the writers of the New Testament could not have foreseen and, therefore, could not have addressed our question (138), which means that there is no New Testament answer to the problem. All the Christians that Paul knew, for instance, had been baptized by immersion.

Tyler does not use I Corinthians 12:2, which would have strengthened his argument. Paul affirms that no one can confess Christ as Lord apart from the Spirit. The initial confession of faith, therefore, is the first indication that a person is a believer and is endowed with the Spirit. Possession of the Spirit indicates that a person is Christian. This means that in excluding people who have made that confession by word and deed, often for many years, we are excluding "those whom God has joined to the Body of Christ" (142).

I think that Tyler's excellent argument might have been strengthened somewhat had he made a clear distinction between the form and meaning of baptism (See my book, The Shaping of the Church, 47 ff.). Almost certainly the form of baptism in the earliest days was immersion in water. What was the meaning of this rite of baptism by immersion? Evidently it was the means by which a person confessed faith in Jesus Christ with a commitment to serve him as Lord. It marked the beginning of the Christian life and the identification of the new believer with a community of Christians. Perhaps another form could have been adopted, but immersion is a highly significant symbol of what occurs. Believers are forgiven of their sins and embark on a life that takes them in an entirely different direction.

          Baptism, as practiced in the earliest churches, had meaning, only as the initial step of the believers' walk by faith in Jesus. This means that we are faced with a problem for which there is no New Testament solution. We have to choose between form and meaning.  We cannot administer New Testament baptism to a person who has been a confessing believer and a member for years of a Christian church. We can immerse people like that but it does not have the New Testament significance. The end of the matter is that we have to choose between form and meaning in deciding our position. In my opinion, and Tyler's, meaning is much more important.





Baptist Myths

A New Pamphlet Series

A series of eleven pamphlets that address negative perceptions held towards Baptists in popular American culture. These pamphlets are suitable for individual study, church classes, and academic courses. They are jointly published by the Baptist History and Heritage Society, The Center for Baptist Studies of Mercer University, and the Whitsitt Baptist Heritage Society. Editor: Doug Weaver; Associate Editors: Charles W. Deweese & Walter B. Shurden. The pamphlets will be available for distribution by August 15, 2003, in time for fall church and school classes.


Myth: Baptists Are Anti-Catholic—John Finley

Myth: Baptists Are Anti-Ecumenical—Glenn Jonas

Myth: Baptists Are Anti-Intellectual—Rosalie Beck

Myth: Baptists Are Inerrantists—Wm. Loyd Allen

Myth: Baptists Are Not Peacemakers—Paul R. Dekar

Myth: Baptists Are Racists—Pamela R. Durso

Myth: Baptists Are Scientific Creationists—Phyllis Rodgerson Pleasants

Myth: Baptists Believe in Doctrinal Uniformity—Robert N. Nash, Jr.

Myth: Baptists Don’t Believe in Social Justice—Merrill M. Hawkins, Jr.

Myth: Baptists Don’t Believe in Women Pastors—Sheri Adams

Myth: Baptists Support State-Sponsored Prayer—Doug Weaver


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The Baptist Stacks: Perusing Periodicals for Baptistiana: Notes of journal articles: what they say, don’t say, almost say, and mis-say about Baptists by Pam Durso who is Assistant Professor of Church History and Baptist Heritage at Campbell University Divinity School at Buies Creek, North Carolina.


Pastoral Leadership Shortage

Barbara Saunders, “The Finding of the Four Thousand: A Primer on Executive Thinking at the Grassroots Level,” In Trust 14:3 (Spring 2003): 12-15.

The shortage of pastoral leadership is a disturbing trend for every denomination, but the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is providing a model for solving that dilemma.  In 2001, Atlanta lawyer and Presbyterian elder John Aldridge put his experience in the business world to work and began developing strategies for recruiting more seminary students and educating and encouraging young people to consider pastoral ministry as a vocation.  Aldridge, with the assistance of Presbyterian leaders and the Fund for Theological Education staff members, has built a central database of the names of young people who are interested or who have demonstrated leadership in the church.  This database is accessible to seminaries, internship and scholarship programs, and churches.  Because Baptists face this same pastoral leadership shortage, Baptist leaders should take note of this solution-oriented program.    


One Answer to the Baptists’ Pastoral Leadership Shortage

Audra E. Trull and Joe E. Trull, eds. “How Baptists Got Into This Debate Over Women,” Christian Ethics Today 9:2 (April 2003): 3-9.

          Putting Women In Their Place: The Baptist Debate Over Female Equality, a book edited by Audra and Joe Trull, will be released in, June 2003, by Smyth & Helwys Publishing Company.  A preview of the book is available in the April 2003 edition of Christian Ethics Today, which contains the introductory chapter written by the Trulls. The Trulls share some of their own story with regard to educating and supporting women in ministry, and they review some of the more recent history of the SBC’s treatment of women. The article also includes a list of the book’s other chapters and contributing writers.


Duke McCall and W.A. Criswell – Best Buddies?

John Pierce, “Duke McCall Talks About Leadership, W. A. Criswell, BWA and More,” Baptists Today 21:5 (May 2003): 2-3, 16-17.

Baptists Today recently interviewed Duke McCall, now 88 years old and living in retirement in South Florida and western North Carolina. In the interview, McCall spoke candidly about the Baptist controversy, his friendship with W. A. Criswell, and the problems that have and will result from CBF seeking membership in the BWA. Duke McCall still has many lessons to teach Baptists, if only they will listen.


Religious Liberty Sunday

Gardner C. Taylor, “Religious Liberty and License,” Report from the Capital 58:9 (April 30, 2003): 3-5.

As the summer quickly approaches, planning for that July 4th worship service must once again be done. For many Baptist leaders, this service is one of the most difficult ones to plan, but the Baptist Joint Committee in its most recent Report from the Capital has provided its readers with help, including a brief sermon from Gardner Taylor, senior pastor, emeritus at Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, a children’s sermon, a list of book resources, and a religious liberty litany written by George W. Truett.


Baptist Music

David W. Music, “The Newport Collection (1766): The First Baptist Hymnal in America,” Baptist History and Heritage 38:2 (Spring 2003): 87-102.

New and improved Baptist hymnals appear in our pew racks every ten years or so, and most Baptists give little thought to how the hymnals were produced or who wrote the hymns. David Music’s article not only provides the history of music in early American Baptist life, but it also describes the production of the first Baptist hymnal in America. His article causes the reader to take notice of the current hymnals in the racks and to appreciate the efforts and gifts contained within the pages of our Baptist hymnals.




Baptist Women in America: a column on the specific role of Baptist women in America by Carolyn DeArmond Blevins, Professor of Religion, Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, TN.


Dorothy Hazzard:  Dissenter, He-Goat, Preacher

By Carolyn DeArmond Blevins


         Dorothy and Anthony Kelley were active in the Puritan movement in seventeenth century England.  When Anthony died, Dorothy remained active, taking Anthony’s place in some activities. Well-respected in Bristol, famous for her piety and reforming ways, she boldly resisted many of the holy days promoted by the state church.  The new leader of the local Puritan movement was Matthew Hazzard.  Dorothy and Matthew married and shortly after moved to St. Ewen’s parsonage.  Puritans in Bristol and Puritans on their way to New England found warm hospitality at the Hazzard home.  Sometimes pregnant women from nearby parishes came to the Dorothy’s home to deliver their babies to avoid the infant rituals in the state church.

        The day came in 1640 when Dorothy and four men, not including Matthew, led the “way out of Babylon,” separating themselves from the corrupt worship and superstitions of the state church.  Dorothy even struggled with hearing the common prayer read in her husband’s church, eventually resolving never to hear it read again. Every Sunday morning she and the four men met at Dorothy’s home to get away from the worship of the world. After common prayer, they went to hear Mr. Hazzard preach. Then in the afternoon they met at her house or a Mr. Bacon’s house to encourage one another.  Eventually they decided not to hear any minister who read common prayer. One chronicler of the time referred to Dorothy as a “he-goat before the flock.” Matthew was eventually dismissed from the Church of England in 1662. Dorothy continued to lead the growing group that became the Broadmead Baptist Church in Bristol.  Some called her the first woman Baptist preacher.  At her death in 1675 she was referred to as a “prominent figure in the religious life of Bristol.”




Baptist Books: Notes of books, past and present, by and about Baptists, by Dr. Glenn Jonas, Charles Howard Professor of Religion and Chairman of the Department of Religion and Philosophy, Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina.


William Carey Speaks

by Glenn Jonas


Terry G. Carter, The Journal and Selected Letters of William Carey, Macon, GA, Smyth and Helwys, 2000, 304 pp.

            William Carey is the father of Baptist missions.  Although there have been several biographies of Carey written through the years, this edited work by Terry Carter collects together a variety of primary source materials from Carey and actually lets the great missionary speak for himself. Perhaps the most important and interesting part of this book is the inclusion of William Carey’s journal which covers the years 1793-95, the early years of his work in India. This material provides the reader with insight into the intimate thoughts and ideas of Carey as he struggled through the difficult situations during those first years. Good historians need primary source materials and Carter has provided a valuable tool for the library of any Baptist historian or lay person interested in the life of William Carey. This book would also be a valuable addition to church libraries and is a must for Baptist college and university libraries.



Baptist Firsts: Charles Deweese, Executive Director-Treasurer of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, writes this section of BSB. He identifies some of the “firsts” in Baptist life in America.


"The First Baptist Confession of Faith in America"

By Charles W. Deweese


Baptists in America have prepared, adopted, and used confessions of faith since 1665. At times, confessions have served such positive values as highlighting key biblical teachings, identifying Baptist principles, providing theological guidance, and emphasizing the role of voluntarism in faith. More recently, some Baptists have injected non-biblical teachings into confessions, twisted confessions into creeds, and used them to terrorize seminary faculties, brutalize missionaries, and reduce the Bible to second-hand authority.

Since these two approaches are miles apart, perhaps a quick look at the first Baptist confession in America, adopted by the First Baptist Church of Boston, Massachusetts, in 1665, can be instructive. This confession enthusiastically threw the defining qualities of Baptists into the public arena.

First, the church based this confession and Baptist identity squarely on the Bible. Because of "great opposition from the government of the place," the church drew up this confession and delivered it to the Court "to let the world know there faith & order proved from the word of God."

Second, the confession exhibited a preference for freedom throughout. The church designed the statement of their own free will and started it this way: "Wee believe with the heart & confess with the mouth." The statement affirmed the right of a group of baptized saints to form a church, determine the membership, choose their own officers, exercise discipline, and "give unto god that which is gods & unto ceasere that which is ceaseres."

Third, the confession outlined in plain language key Christian teachings: God as Creator, the Trinity, the Lordship of Christ, salvation, believer's baptism, discipleship, the church, and others. 

Fourth, the church, posturing dissent, used the confession to announce boldly to the Court its intention to be fully biblical and Baptist regardless of the consequences: "If any take this to bee heresie then doe wee with the apostles confess that after the way which they call heresie wee worship the father of our Lord Jesus Christ believing all things that are written [in scripture]." 


Editor's Note: The following is an actual replica of the First Baptist Church of Boston confession taken from Nathan Wood’s History of the First Baptist Church of Boston p.65.


Wee believe with the heart & confess with the mouth that there is but (a) one god (b) Creator & governor of all things (c) distinguished into father, Son, & holy spirit (d) & that this is life eternall to know the only true god & Jesus Christ whom hee hath sent (a) Deut. 6 : 4: I tim. 2 : 5 : Eph. 4 : 6: (b) gen. I : I : hebs II : 3: (c)matt. 8:16: 1 John5:7: (d) John 17:3: heb's 5:9: (d) & that the rule of this knowledge faith & obedience concerning the worship & service of god & all other christian duties is the written word of god contained in the bookes of the old & new testaments (e) john 5 : 39: 2 tim 3 : 15 : 16: 17: deut: 4 : 2 : 5 : 6: gen: 6 : 22 exd: 20 : 4 : 5 : 6 : & 39 : 42 : 43 I chron: 28 : 19; psal : 119: ezra: 8 : 19 : 20 & 27 : 13 : gall: I : 8: Rev 22 : 18 : 19: (f) wee believe Christ is the foundation laid by the father (g) of whom moses and the prophets wrote & the apostles preached (h) who is that great prophet whom wee are to heare in all things (i) who hath perfectly revealed out of the bossom of his father the whole word and will of god which his servants are to know believe and obey (f) gen 3 : 15 : & 22 : 18: (g) deut : 18: 15: psal: 22 : 6:7:12:&17 (h).deut:18:15: acts 3:22:23: (i) john I: 18: &12 : 29 : & 15 : 15 & 17: 18: matt: 17: 5: 2 tim : 3 : 15: 16: 17: (k) Christ his commission to his desciples is to teach & baptise (l) And those that gladly received the word & are baptised are saints by calling & fitt matter for a vissible church (m) And a competent number of such joyned together in covenant & fellowship of the gosple are a Church of Christ (k) matt: 28 : 19: acts 9: 10: 18 : .& 10 :28: (1) acts 2 : 41: (m) I cor I : I : 2 : 4 : 5 : jer: 50 : 4 : 5: psal: 50 : 5 : micha 4: 5: matt: 18: 15 : 20 (o) wee believe that a church thus constituted are to walk in all the appointments of Christ (p) And have power from him to chuse from among themselves there owne officers whom the gosple allowes to administer in the ordinances of Christ among them whom they may depute or ordaine to this end (o) matt 28 : 20: (p) acts 14 : 23 & 6 : 3 : 5 : 6: Rom 12 : 4 : 8: acts 9 : 10 : 18 & 10 : 47 :48 : (q) And this church hath power to receive into there fellowship vissible believers (r) & if any prove scandelouse obstenate & wicked to put forth such from amongst them (s) when the church is mett together they may all propesie one by one that all may all learne & all may be comforted (t) & they ought to meete together the first day of the weeke to attend upon the Lord in all his holy ordinances continuing in the Apostles doctrine & fellowship & breaking bread & praise (q) rom: 14: I & 16: 2: (r) matt 18 : 7: I cor: 4 : 5 : (s) I cor: 14 : 23 : 24 : 25 : 3 I : (t) acts 20 : 7: I cor: 16 : 2 : acts 2 : 42 : (v) wee acknowlidge majestracy to bee an ordinance of god & to submitt ourselves to them in the lord not becawse of wrath only but also for consience sake rom: 13 : I I pet: 2 : 13: 14 (w) thus wee desire to give unto god that which is gods & unto ceasere that which is ceaseres & to every man that which belongeth to them (x) endeavoring alwaise to have a cleare consience voide of offence towards god & towards men having hope in god that the resurection of the dead bee of the just unto life & of the unjust unto condemnation everlasting (y) if any take this to bee heresie then doe wee with the apostles confess that after the way which they call heresie wee worship the father of our Lord Jesus Christ believing all things that are written in the law & in the prophets & in the psalms (w) matt: 22 : 2 I (x) acts 24 : 14 : 15 : 16: john 5 : 28 (y) 2 tim : I : 13 : & 3 : 14: 15 : 16: 17: matt: 10 : 32. This was delivered to A Court of Assistants on the . . . of the seventh month 1665.



Last Month's Letters to the Editor

Email your letters to <> by 8 July 2003.


Ron Freyer Nicholas, Saginaw, MI, USA wrote:

RE: the note on Stan Purdum's article on Baptists and lectionaries

“For almost 10 years now, I've been editing annual editions of "An American Baptist version of the Revised Common Lectionary." Earlier printed editions were included in the annual "American Baptist Planning Calendar." Beginning in 2002, the annual edition is printed in the Fall issue of "American Baptists In Mission." It is also posted on the American Baptist Churches USA website at

Rev. Larry Dobson and the late Rev. Dr. George Younger have been the only Baptists to sit as members of the Consultation on Common Texts, the working group that produces the Common Lectionary and other worship/liturgical texts for English-speaking Christians in North America. They also work in cooperation with other English-speaking Christian groups around the world who have similar interests. The CCT would welcome more voices from among Baptists.

There is also an egroup on Yahoo! whose concern is worship/liturgy among Baptists. Members of the group are from around the world. There are indeed many Baptists interested in liturgy, Lectionary use, and the benefits of voluntary adoption of the use of a lectionary and Christian calendar to order our worship.”



Clarissa Strickland, Associate Coordinator for Leadership Development, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Inc wrote:

"Speaking to Power" was a great piece. Thank you. And I love the Bulletin.”



Ken Duke wrote:

"Thank you so much for May's issue. I really enjoy reading all that you have sent me."




Baptistville: Goings-On Among Baptists

Conferences and Lectures:


A Pastor’s Workshop: Dealing With the Hot Potato Church/State Issues Today:

A Morning With Brent Walker of the Baptist Joint Committee

Sponsored by

The Center for Baptist Studies

Mercer University

Thursday, 4 September 2003


Vineville Baptist Church
2591 Vineville Avenue
Macon, Georgia


Cost: Free

For more details , go to our Home Page, click Conferences.


Mercer Preaching Consultation



 The Center for Baptist Studies

and McAfee School of Theology


September 28-30, 2003


St. Simons Island, Georgia

King and Prince Hotel


Cost: $50

(Registration and refund deadline September 15, 2003)

For more details , go to our Home Page, click Conferences.


Teaching and Preaching the Baptist Heritage in the Local Church


October 17, 2003


Mercer University

 Macon, Georgia

Religious Life Building


Leaders: Dr. Walter Shurden,

              The Reverend Greg Thompson,

              Dr. Pam Durso,

              The Reverend Robbin Mundy,

              Dr. Quinn Pugh


Cost: $25

For more details, go to our Home Page


The 2003 General Assembly of the

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship


June 26-28

Charlotte Convention Center

Charlotte, NC


Theme:  It’s Time! Being the Presence of Christ


For more details click here or visit



Baptist Women in Ministry

20th anniversary Celebration

CBF meeting in Charlotte, NC

 Wednesday evening, June 25, 6 p.m.


The evening will feature a fine banquet

 and concert by Kate Campbell.

The cost is $45.

Please call the Baptist Women in Ministry

office in Kansas City, 913-321-6864



American Baptist Churches USA

2003 Biennial Meeting

Theme: Centered in Christ

June 27-30, 2003

Richmond, Virginia


Click Here for more details


      Call for Proposals


God, Democracy and U.S. Power:

Believers Church Perspectives



How do Christians in the Believers Church tradition,

living in a democracy that is the world’s dominant power,

understand their witness to God?


This fifteenth gathering in the series of Believers Church Conferences

is being hosted by Eastern Mennonite University and Bridgewater College

in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

with assistance from the Mennonite Central Committee Washington Office,

Church of the Brethren General Board Washington Office and

the Baptist Joint Committee,

Thursday-Saturday, September 23-25, 2004.


         This conference focuses upon the meaning of citizenship in the United States from the perspective of the Believers Church.  The planners observe that the United States currently possesses and exercises unprecedented influence on a global scale. The conference is designed to clarify together what it means to be both citizens of the state and members of the body of Christ.

          Church traditions usually associated with the Believers Church include Adventists, Baptists, Brethren, Disciples of Christ, Mennonites, Methodists, Pentecostals, Plymouth Brethren, and Quakers. They understand the church to consist of voluntary membership by those confessing Jesus Christ as Lord.

          We are soliciting proposals which address the topic and question above in a conference which will

  • use various genre including paper, panel, storytelling, workshop, art, case study and sermon.
  • highlight past experience within various traditions who share in the believers church perspective.
  • engage believers church viewpoints from the perspectives of other traditions.
  • apply the methods and insights of various disciplines and vocations.
  • approach the topic from transnational or global viewpoints.
  • elucidate the range of postures toward political processes within believers church traditions.
  • consider the meaning of kingdom citizenship in terms pastoral, scholarly, prophetic, and artistic.
  • integrate the insights and concerns of both congregations and the academy.
  • reflect the racial and ethnic diversity within the Believers Church.
  • incorporate spirituality, scholarship, and worship.
  • nominate others as presenters, panelists, storytellers, preachers, artists, etc.

 Proposals should consist of

§         a one-page description of the presentation, including its contribution to the conference.

§         an indication of each participant’s background and credentials (e.g., resume, c.v., etc).


deadline for proposals: October 1, 2003


for more information or to submit proposals:
                                                    Nate Yoder                                                                         Eastern Mennonite Seminary

      540/432-4255                                                                                 Harrisonburg, VA 22802        





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