(Publishers Note: “As we mentioned at our Jan. 13 entry, we have the same situation here. As the churches of the North, the great churches of the South also drifted into modernism as they too went into denominationalism as the associations became conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention became a huge monolith associated closely with the NCC and WCC and other New World Order efforts through their annuity program and the non-profit status of their churches. Like the seven churches of the book of Revelation, in time their candlestick will too be removed. Some of their churches are already experiencing great spiritual decline.”)
Upper Room of the Court House
The First Baptist Church of Knoxville was organized January 15, 1843, in the upper room of the court house, the organization being completed on the 22nd of that month. The ministers present on the latter occasion were as follows: Rev. Mr. Kennon, Duke Kimbrough, Mr. Milliken, Mr. Bellue, Mr. Coram and Mr. Ray. The membership at first was quite small, being composed of twenty-six white persons and twenty colored. During the first few months of the existence of this church the membership grew quite rapidly and by August the enrollment reached eighty-five. Thirty had been added by experience and seventeen by letter, seven had been dismissed and one had been excommunicated. This large increase in the membership was due to two revivals, one in the spring and one in the summer, the first having been conducted in the First Presbyterian Church by Rev. Dr. Baker of Texas, and the other by Rev. Israel Robards, who remained for several successive days and nights, arousing a deep religious interest in the community. The first pastor of the church was Rev. Joseph A. Bullard, who remained one year. Those most prominent among his successors were the Revs. G. W. Griffin, Matthew Hillsman, L. B. Woolfolk, S. H. Smith, Dr. Brenker. D. D., J. L. Lloyd, J. B. F. Mays, George B. Eager, C. H. Strickland and E. A. Taylor. Rev. E. A. Taylor at the end of a three years’ pastorate, lasting from 1885 to 1888, had one of the strongest congregations in the state of Tennessee, and a large, handsome brick church building, with his congregation out of debt. His labors in Knoxville are remembered with pleasure by his former parishioners. The membership at that time amounted to about 650, and the Sunday-school had a membership of more than 500 scholars. After the retirement of Rev. E. A. Taylor toward the latter part of 1888, a call was extended January 23, 1889, to Rev. Carter Helm Jones, who began his labors there about February 1, 1889, remaining until April 30, 1893, upon which day he preached his farewell sermon, having accepted a call from the McFerrin Memorial Baptist Church of Louisville, Ky. During the four years of his pastorate in Knoxville he baptized 243 persons and admitted to the church 435.
Dr. Dale R. Hart, from: “Early Baptist in Knoxville, Tennessee”