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318 – Nov. 14 – This Day in Baptist History Past

The gospel invades the South

1755 – A small group of Baptists, including Shubal Stearns, his brother-in-law Daniel Marshall, and Joseph Breed invaded the South with the gospel. Until that time little progress had been made by the Regular Baptists but God used these men to change the spiritual climate in that entire territory. The little group totaled sixteen when they arrived at Sandy Creek, North Carolina, but in one year’s time they had 606 members. Almost beyond belief, the Sandy Creek Baptist Church in seventeen years spawned forty-two churches and produced 125 preachers. Stearns was born in Boston, Mass., on Jan. 28, 1706. He had been a Presbyterian but in 1745, through the preaching of George Whitefield, Stearns joined with that group called the “New Lights” or “Separatists.”  Though his education was limited he gave himself to reading extensively and became convinced of believer’s baptism and left the pedobaptists, and on May 20, 1751 was baptized by Rev. Wait Palmer, a Baptist pastor in Tolland, Conn. Several months later he was ordained and began to travel and preach. He moved to Berkeley County, Virginia, in 1754 but was not satisfied with the results when he was invited to come to N.C. In 1758 Rev. Stearns visited the nine Baptist churches that had already been founded, and he invited each church to send messengers to form an association of churches which resulted in the Sandy Creek Association coming into existence for the purpose of preaching, singing and reporting as to what God was doing throughout the area. Revival often fell. After 12 years there were 3 associations in N.C., S.C. and VA. [George W. Purefoy, A History of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association (New York: Sheldon and Co., 18590, pp. 292-93. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 622-24.]   Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

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