Last night I was reading some material written by Eld. E. J. Lambert, a Primitive Baptist minister. In it he mentioned the connection of he and his family with the "Kelly Division of the Missionary Baptist Church." I had not thought of this group in awhile. Some of you might find their history interesting. The only written material that I am aware of specifically on this group is Welcome, Church of Christ - Instrumental: A Study of the Kelleyites by Willard D. Hughes [Missionary Baptist Seminary Press, Little Rock, AR, 1977]. This book is out of print. Hughes was a former member of the Kelleyites and says it is not the purpose of his book to "prove the validity nor expose the error" of these churches. He is simply trying to record their history and practice. He also states that his use of the term "Kelleyite" is not derogatory, but for the purpose of clearly identifying of whom he speaks. Their official name is "Church of Christ." Eld. Lambert, whose father was a minister of the Kelleyites, consistently refers to them as the "Church of Christ (Kelly Division of Missionary Baptists)." Hughes has found them referred to as Kelleyites in official documents of the Works Project Administration (WPA) in the 1940's. The Kelleyites owe their name and origin to Samuel Kelley. Kelley was born in 1817 in what is now Pike Co., Arkansas, but in early adulthood he moved to Illinois. In Illinois, he first connected himself to the Methodists, but later joined the Baptists and was ordained by them in 1838. Shortly after this he returned to Arkansas. A difference in practice between the Baptists with whom he was connected in Illinois and the Baptists in Arkansas was evidently a contributing factor to the rise of the Kelley division of the missionary Baptist church. Kelley was a prominent and successful citizen by the standards of his day. He lived in Pike Co. and later in Howard Co. He was elected to at least one term in the State Legislature. His church was a member of the Red River Association. In 1856, he was invited to preach at the meeting of the Caddo River Association. In this sermon, he preached the doctrine of apostasy, or falling from grace. The next morning the Caddo River Assn. passed resolutions against Eld. Kelley, his doctrine of apostasy, the fact he had not been baptized by a Baptist, and also withdrew fellowship from the Red River Association. The next year the Red River Association excluded Samuel Kelley and his followers. Kelley evidently preached between 1857 & 1870 wherever he could. In 1870, Kelley convinced the Philippi Baptist Church to adopt open communion and change their name to the Philippi Church of Christ. [The only change to "Church of Christ" would simply be dropping the Baptist name from the common practice of that day; e.g. Whatever Baptist Church of Christ becomes Whatever Church of Christ.] This church withdrew from the Caddo River Association that year, and the Association also withdrew from them. This can probably be considered the official date of the division of the Kelleyites from the Baptists (although as I have noted, persons such as Eld. Lambert still considered them to be Baptists). Other churches were organized or adopted the doctrine and practice of the Kelleyites, and this movement grew for a time. Later the movement would decline, and now survives with about 4 or 5 churches in Hot Spring and Clark Counties in Arkansas. My first inclination would be to think it was the ecumencial nature of the doctrine, rather than lack of evangelization, that led to the decline - just an opinion. The major differences doctrinally between the Kelleyites and the missionary Baptists of Arkansas at that time seem to have been that the Kelleyites held final apostasy (or falling from grace), open communion, and alien baptism. They are similar in doctrine and practice to the Free Will Baptists, but have evidently never had any connection with them. They also hold footwashing as an ordinance. This is an issue that would separate them from most present-day missionary Baptists in Arkansas (SBC, ABA, BMA, etc.), but would have been of little consequence in the mid-1800's. According to Hughes, they also have three offices: pastor, elder, and deacon. I find it interesting that a large number of Baptists in Arkansas might now be in agreement with two of the three major differences that existed: alien baptism & open communion.