Hamilton Square Baptist Church A Historic Northern Regular Baptist Church

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by robt.k.fall, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. robt.k.fall

    robt.k.fall
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    Hamilton Square Baptist Church

    A Historic Northern Regular Baptist Church

    By Robert K. Fall

    HSBC Church Historian



    The subtitle of this article is based on what I answer when I’m asked kind of church I attend. This is a mouthful and throws my questioner off his\her train of thought. The usual answers include, “An Independent Fundamental Baptist Church”, “A Southern Baptist Church,” “A Conservative Baptist Church,” ect.

    My answer is based on our church’s historical underpinnings. Unlike other churches of Hamilton Square’s age (131 years), we have no active, attending members with any family history and knowledge going back to our founding years. This makes it difficult for most members and friends of HSBC to understand Hamilton Square’s historic underpinnings.

    I use Historic were most people would use Fundamental. Why? Hamilton Square was founded in 1881. Twenty nine (29) years before the publication of The Fundamentals (1910-1915). As a word denoting a organization, Fundamentalist came into usage in 1920. Doctrinally, our positions predate the Fundamentalist movement. In other words, Hamilton Square (nee Zion Baptist) was a Fundamentalist church before Fundamentalism was fun.

    In answer to the question, why Northern Baptist and not Southern Baptist? In 1881, the Southern Baptist Convention’s ministry was still confined domestically to the areas south of the Mason-Dixon Line and the Ohio River to include Texas and Missouri. San Francisco was as about a strong a Union stronghold as you could find in the period (e.g. Union Square). Two further factors helped make Zion Baptist Church (later Hamilton Square) a Northern Baptist church. First, our founder Gustavus Schroeder’s home church before he moved west was the First Baptist Mariner’s Church of New York City. The other, Captain Schroeder’s November, 1880 advertisement for a pastor appeared in a Boston, Massachusetts publication, The Baptist Examiner.

    The last term which needs definition is Regular. In the opening paragraph of our February, 1881 articles of agreement, our organizers wrote [my italics]:

    We whose names are hereby given, being members in good standing of the Baptist denomination, holding the faith of the regular Baptist Churches of the United States as generally accepted,

    Regular is used in this sentence in the same sense as it is used by the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches which formed in the 1920s. The Northern Regular Baptist position is laid out in the New Hampshire Baptist Confession of 1830. Dr. Francis Wayland further explained the position in Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches (1857).

    Hamilton Square Baptist Church seeks to serve her Lord in the future with a solid foundation in the past.

    As published in HSBC The Messenger, October, 2012.
     
  2. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    Thank you for this information.:type::applause:
     
  3. Jerome

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    You'd be surprised how much church history survives in newspaper religion pages.

    Here's a timely article from more than a century ago:

    The San Francisco Call, Sunday, Oct. 28, 1906, p. 51:

    "The Sunday school of the Hamilton Square Baptist Church will have a Halloween party in the Sunday-school room on the evening of November 2. The committee in charge will present a unique entertainment. Each member of the school will be privileged to bring one guest."
     
  4. robt.k.fall

    robt.k.fall
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    That would have been held in our church's first meeting house. It and its 1911 replacement were located at Post and Steiner Streets.
     
  5. Squire Robertsson

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    Interesting article, brother. Sad to see not many here are all that interested from the number of replies or views. I guess you problem is Hamilton Square isn't a Primitive, Old Regular, or United Baptist church.
     
  6. Jerome

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    The Standard, March 16, 1907:

    "The California Baptist Relief Committee has appointed Pastor Louis J. Sawyer, of Hamilton Square Church, fraternal delegate to bear greetings and expressions of gratitude to the assembled Baptists at Washington, Richmond and Norfolk, and to report to interested eyes and ears the progress of one year of reconstruction. He has secured a full supply of the finest stereopticon views of San Francisco extant and will lecture en route as opportunities are afforded. Pastors in the line of travel from Omaha to Richmond who wish to secure Pastor Sawyer should address him at once at 1975 Post St., San Francisco, and ask for an engagement."


    Proceedings of the Southern Baptist Convention 1907:

    "SECOND DAY, MORNING SESSION.
    RICHMOND , VIRGINIA, May 17, 1907.
    14. The Convention assembled at 9:30 A.M., and was led in prayer by W . P. Blake, Oklahoma.
    15. The journal was read and confirmed.
    16. An address was made by Louis J. Sawyer, of California, concerning the replies of the churches to the appeal of the Baptists of San Francisco for aid in recovery from the effects of the earthquake."
     
  7. robt.k.fall

    robt.k.fall
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    Stands to reason. By 1906, HSBC would have been 25 years old. Located at Post and Steiner, it was across Steiner form Hamilton Square Park which woulcd have been a major encampemt for those left hoemless by the Earthquake and Fire. HSBC also would have been the largest non-RCC or Jewish meeting house in the district.
     
  8. Jerome

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    Baptist Home Mission Monthly, March 1907

    "At Hamilton Square, pastor Sawyer is addressing himself in a heroic and self-sacrificing spirit to a task that would be depressing save to strong Christian faith. Since the earthquake and fire the neighborhood of this church has been invaded by cheap theaters, vaudeville houses, skating rinks, wine halls and other places of questionable resort, as well as retail business stores. Never was Christian work more needed there than now. The streets are thronged with young men. Temptations to evil abound. Pastor Sawyer is wisely adapting his methods to existing conditions, but is hampered by utterly inadequate and uninviting equipment. He needs a new house with special facilities for such work as is commonly designated institutional in order to meet the new opportunity."
     
  9. Jerome

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    San Francisco Call, January 9, 1907

    "Dr. E. E. Chivers, field secretary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, arrived in the city Monday. . . .Dr. Chivers was on the coast last April, and entered the burned city at the earliest possible day. He at once took the lead in measures for the raising of a fund for the restoration of the church buildings. . . .Dr. Chivers personally secured the donation of one-half this amount from John D. Rockefeller, who agreed to give dollar for dollar on all money raised by the society for this purpose. . . .Dr. Chivers will preach twice while in the city—at the First Baptist Church, 1620 O'Farrell street, next Sunday morning, and at the Hamilton-square Church, Post and Steiner streets, in the evening of the same day."


    San Francisco Call, May 10, 1910

    "San Francisco has a prominent place in the Northern Baptist Convention now in session at the University of Chicago, where 2,500 delegates and visitors are in attendance. The finance committee voted to appropriate $27,000 for church work in that city, the larger part of which is to be used on a new building for the Hamilton square church."
     
  10. robt.k.fall

    robt.k.fall
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    Louis Sawyer was HSBC's seventh (1902-1915) and ninth pastor (1922-1931). At +/- 20 years he was the longest serving pastor until Arno Q. Wenigar, Sr. (1941-1977) and David Innes (1977-present).

    It's also worth noting HSBC was closely affiliated with the Northern Baptist Convention as noted above. However, it cut all ties with the NBC in 1947.
     
  11. Jerome

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    Yes, Pastor Sawyer served alongside Walter Rauschenbusch on an important committee of the Northern Baptist Convention:

    Year Book of the Church and Social Service in the United States

    "The objectives of the Social Service Department are as follows:

    To make known the principles of social Christianity..
    To interpret the gospel of Jesus Christ in terms of human life and social redemption.
    To arouse the spirit of social service in all of our churches.
    To secure the cooperation of our churches with all other agencies doing social service work.
    To suggest lessons in social service study for our people.
    To outline definite and constructive programs for our churches in their work for community betterment.
    To interpret the spirit and aims of the churches to the industrial workers of our land.
    To show that the Christian gospel leads to social effort and that true social effort is essentially Christian.
    To represent the denomination in an official capacity at all meetings where Labor and Social Service are discussed.
    . . . . .
    The members of the Commission are:

    S. Zane Batten, Chairman, 1701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
    George W. Coleman, Boston, Mass.
    Mrs. George H. Ferris, Philadelphia, Pa.
    John E. Franklin, Colorado Springs, Colo.
    Charles J. Galpin, Madison, Wis.
    Mrs. E. J. Goodspeed, Chicago, 1ll.
    Rivington D. Lord, Brooklyn, N. Y.
    Shailer Mathews, Chicago, 1ll.
    Mrs. Helen B. Montgomery, Rochester, N. Y.
    Loran D. Osborn, Boulder, Colo.
    Harold Pattison, New York City.
    W. Edward Raffety, Kansas City, Kans.
    Geo. T. Webb, Secretary, 1701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
    Walter Rauschenbusch, Rochester, N. Y.
    W. Quay Rosselle, Philadelphia, Pa.'
    Henry K. Rowe, Newton Center, Mass.
    Louis J. Sawyer, San Francisco, Cal.
    Alfred W. Wishart, Grand Rapids, Mich."
     
  12. Squire Robertsson

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    It sure does show what a mixed bag the NBC was in its first years.
     
  13. Jerome

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    San Francisco Call, Nov. 25, 1904

    "THANKSGIVING DAY CELEBRATED
    . . . . .
    SIX CONGREGATIONS UNITE
    Unusual Service Is Held at West Side Christian Church

    The union service held at the West Side Christian Church. Bush street, near Devisadero, was well attended and the excellent musical programme splendidly rendered. Joined in the service with the West Side Church were the First English Lutheran, Plymouth Congregational, Hamilton Square Baptist, Centenary M. E. South and the First New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian). The offertory, which was a generous one, was turned over to the Fruit and Flower Mission. The Rev. Louis J. Sawyer of Hamilton Square Baptist Church, who preached the sermon, took his text from Psalm xxiv: "The earth Is Jehovah's and the fullness thereof.""
     
  14. Jerome

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    San Francisco Call, Feb. 19, 1913

    "Rev. Samuel Zane Batten, D. D. of Philadelphia, social service secretary of the American Baptist Publication society, and social secretary of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, will arrive today to preside at an "efficiency institute" for the benefit of the Northern California Baptist churches.
    . . . . .
    The institute will be held in the new Hamilton Square Baptist church tomorrow and Friday, with morning, afternoon and evening sessions. Rev. George E. Burlingame. D. D., will deliver the preliminary address tomorrow evening, and Rev. S. F. Langford on Friday evening. Rev. Albert Ehrgott, social service secretary of the Young Men's Christian association, will speak on Friday afternoon."
     
  15. Jerome

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    San Francisco Call, Feb. 24, 1913

    "PREACHES SOCIAL GOSPEL
    . . . . .
    At the Hamilton Square Baptist church yesterday morning Doctor Batten delivered a vigorous sermon on "The Social Task of Christianity."
    In part he spoke as follows:
    "We are just now rediscovering the kingdom of God. The real Christ of the gospel is coming to the front. The kingdom of God is not any more considered an ethereal vision of the hazy future, but is a society of brotherly love here and now. Christians are awakening to the fact that we are not here to prepare to leave the world as much as We are here to save the world. Indeed, the man who seeks only to save himself is in danger of losing his own soul. What show has a man to stand in the new Jerusalem beyond who makes no effort to make the new San Francisco here?""
     
  16. Jun P Espina

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    Social Gospel is not Christ-glorifying

    Hi. Thanks for letting us know that even some Baptist Pastors are now captivated by worldly philosophies. It is really deplorable that after seminary training and decades of Bible study, many instead become unbelievers and Judases. What a twisted statement that so-called "pastor" of yours made:

    "What show has a man to stand in the new Jerusalem beyond who makes no effort to make the new San Francisco here?"

    Why did he equate new Jerusalem beyond with "the new San Francisco here"? He tried to play "good music and poetry" out of repeating the word "new" to deceive his hearers. This deceitful simile speaks about how can blind "Christians" be easily manipulated to believe what is not biblical!

    God said that our "effort to make the new San Francisco" is meaningless in the "new Jerusalem beyond," for Father God sees our heart as sinful outside of Christ and therefore, all our good deeds are seen in Heaven as sin-infected and unrighteous.

    The Apostle Paul even taught that if we're without Christ, we're without God:

    "...remember that you were at that time separate from Christ...strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." Eph 2:12 NASB

    Social Gospel is always humanistic, man-centered, never God- and Christ-centered.

    Jun P. Espina
    www.bythisverse.com
     
  17. robt.k.fall

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    As HSBC's Church Historian, I must chime in on your post.
    1. This meeting occured in 1913. That's close to 100 years ago.
    2. Dr. Batten was never HSBC's pastor. Please note post 14 in which he is indentified as "social service secretary of the American Baptist Publication society, and social secretary of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America".
    3. 1913 was the heyday of post/a-millenialism. "Bringing in the Kingdom" was the standard.
     

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