Sandy Creek Baptist Association

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Martin, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    While there are some who claim that the Sandy Baptist Association were not Calvinistic in their theology, history proves otherwise.

    From the Principles of Faith of the Sandy Creek Association...

    III. That Adam fell from his original state of purity, and that his sin is imputed to his posterity; that human nature is corrupt, and that man, of his own free will and ability, is impotent to regain the state in which he was primarily placed.

    IV. We believe in election from eternity, effectual calling by the Holy Spirit of God, and justification in His sight only by the imputation of Christ's righteousness. And we believe that they who are thus elected, effectually called, and justified, will persevere through grace to the end, that none of them be lost.

    In those two statements alone we have four of the five points of Calvinism.

    Total Depravity
    "that human nature is corrupt, and that man, of his own free will and ability, is impotent to regain the state in which he was primarily placed."

    Unconditional Election
    "We believe in election from eternity"

    Limited Atonement

    Irresistible Grace
    "effectual calling by the Holy Spirit of God, and justification in His sight only by the imputation of Christ's righteousness."


    Perseverance of the Saints
    "we believe that they who are thus elected, effectually called, and justified, will persevere through grace to the end, that none of them be lost."

    The wording in each of these points is clearly Calvinistic. While neither of these sections address the issue of limited (particular) atonement it can be shown, as Tom Ascol has argued, that the Sandy Creek Association held to that doctrine as well.

    Why is this important?

    There are several high profile Southern Baptists going around claiming that Calvinism is a cancer in the Baptist Church. They claim that evagelical calvinism is a contradiction of terms and, some of them, have claimed that the Sandy Creek Association was not Calvinistic. So this is an historical apologetic issue (ie...getting history right).
     
    #1 Martin, Dec 4, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2006
  2. rlvaughn

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    Martin, I would suggest a somewhat cautious approach to using these principles as the major proof of your contention. The reason I say this is that those principles may not be an accurate reflection of the theology of the first 40 or so years of the Association (org. 1758). The Separate Baptists had a general antipathy towards creeds/confessions of faith, and the Regulars did tend to look on them as a little too Armininian. Based on a quick "search and find" of Purefoy's history of the Sandy Creek Association, the principles from which you quote were added in 1816, when the association adopted articles of faith, a constitution and rules of decorum.

    I want to be clear. It is my opinion, based on what I've read, that the Sandy Creek churches and Separate Baptists in general were Calvinistic. I think the most suspicion of them by the Regulars in this area of theology was because they tolerated greater diversity of opinion on soteriology and that they refused (at least generally & initially) to adopt the Philadelphia Confession. The fact that they wouldn't adopt the Philadelphia Confession is often taken as proof that they weren't Calvinistic. It is proof that they didn't believe in adopting confessions.

    But, check John Asplund's Annual Register of the Baptist Denomination in North America (1791, reprinted by Church History Research and Archives, Lafayette, TN, 1979) and, IIRC, you will find that Asplund made notes about some of these churches/associations holding a general atonement or that Christ "tasted death for every man".

    In 1845 Sandy Creek adopted new articles of faith in 16 articles. Article no. 8 states that "election is the gracious purpose of God according to which he regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners..." This is a few years after the missions/anti-missions division and probably signals the start of watering down some of the stronger Calvinistic theology.
     
  3. Brother Jeremy Slone

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    Well i have read some on this and its up for debate i guess, I believe Shubal Stearns was calvinist, the separatist or New lights back ground was Calvinist, They were moved or converted under George Whitefields preaching who was a calvinist. Many of this group ended up joining the regulars up North, like Isaac Backus. Shubal Stearns and family was a small part that ended up in North Carolina from Conn.
    There was one regular baptist church in the forming of this association and Shubal himself had a copy of the Westminster Confession that was handed down in his family. I believe the focus of the group was experimental evidence of the New birth. When Shubal was in N.C. he baptized 600-900 ? in a few years. Now this is where arminianism comes in i believe. Now what was the background of all these new separate baptists. Sandy Creek area would have had alot of quakers in it to start with, then probably Methodist background. and maybe some with no background in religion. Now lets say a primitive baptist gets that many new members in a few years with other background. You would probably end up with some different views down the road. And this is how i see it right now til i get more on the subject.
     
  4. old regular

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    Separates

    In South Central Kentucky, the South Kentucky Association is very arminian, but, they were not originally and at one time they fellowshiped the Regulars, I do not know how they are related to Sandy Creek. Bro.Mike
     
  5. GeneMBridges

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    The information I've seen from the NC Biblical Recorder's records states that most of the churches in NC affirmed the doctrines of grace well into the last quarter of the 19th century and into the 20th, so I suspect Asplund's assertion relates only to the atonement. In addition, "tasting death for every man" can be meaningful depending on the referent for "every," with respect to its extension.
    In '45, all the signatories of the SBC Charter itself held to the Philadelphia Confession.

    We also know that the Separate Baptists were known to deny union/fellowship with Regulars because the Separates felt they (the Separates) believed the Regulars confessions more than they did, so reticence to union cut both ways.

    We also know that Daniel Marshall's church in GA and the first association of GA Baptists which were spawned from Sandy Creek were clearly Calvinist, as they articulated all five points of Calvinism. Their daughter churches in TN adopted the Philadelphia as well.

    The latitude that they showed was not to doctrine but to practice. This was the cause of the reticence of the Regulars with respect to the Separates. The Separates were known to include those of more Arminian conviction if and only if they felt their zeal could be usefully employed. They were reticent to adopt confessions because (a) the Old Lights had brow beaten many of them with their confessions at one time and (b) they surmised of some Regulars that the orthodox confessions were given lip service and were believed more by the Separates than the Regulars themselves in some cases. There was also a strong cultural factor, as, in NC, the Westerners and Easterner were antipathetic to each other. The Easterners in NC as a whole were "uppity," and tended toward more rigid forms and doctrine or were viewed in the West as scandalized by deism and/or hypocrites. Thus, the Westerners wished to have no part with them. The Westerners also had very little access to formal education and were often poor. The converse was true in the East, and their confessional tradition, or paucity thereof in the West, reflects this dichotomy.
     
  6. old regular

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    The Separate

    I was wondering ,what has become of the churches that were in the Sandy Creek association?Are there any Calvinistic Separates left anywhere?If so what are their practices like? I know the South Kentucky Association of Separates is still going strong in South Central Ky, this association contained both Regular and Separate Baptist Churches in it, the Regular Churches came from the Holsten Association,the South Ky was organized sometime between 1785 and1788 they changed their name to United during the general union and like alot of the Regulars they took their old name back in 1985 they had 34 churches and 2,974 members a few churches has been added since then, they oppose the doctrine advocated by the only old regular baptist church in their area, and believe you can lose your salvation and be lost, they still practice foot washing but now have sunday schools, and musical insturments and are very much like general or freewill baptist, the history of the old time baptist in america by Elder Wesley Yonts has several articles about the Sandy Creek and Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall it appears by this record that most of the membership were former Congregationalist who became disillusioned with their former church and the move from New England to the south was for religious freedom, that the association was organized in 1758 and list the member churches in 1760 as Sandy Creek(1755),Deep River,Abbots Creek, Little River, Neus River,Black River,Dan River and Lunenburg if they came from Congergationalist would not their theolgy have been from a Calvinistic viewpoint, I also believe that Calvinist Churches[free grace] could have easily baptized 600-900 members, look at the early church ,the apostles were not Arminians, the doctrines of Grace preached in a experimental form, to those whom God had already gave ears to hear with; powerful Spirit led preaching,that we hear that the Seperates did could have brought life and immortality to light for the thousands that God had opened their hearts, you also had former church members being baptized in the proper form, many of these had already believed that they had an experience of grace.Did the Separates of Ky come from the Sandy Creek orgin? Bro.mike
     
  7. Brother Jeremy Slone

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    The Holston Baptist association has a body that is in the SBC today. www.holstonbaptists.org/ gives a little history under "about us" i don't know if there is any other bodies from the holston or not. The sandy creek association is SBC as well but the sandy creek baptist church is primitive and they still have the building Shubal Stearns preached in.
     
  8. Jeff Weaver

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    The Washington District Primitive Baptist Association is a daughter of the Holston. The Washington has several off-spring, in the for what it is worth category.
     
  9. J.D.

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    Many churches are so anti-credal that they actually despise their own Constitution and SOF. They put it away in a drawer in the basement and then make up their own beliefs and methods as they go along. It depends on who's personality dominates the crowd. They could have the Westiminster Standards as their SOF, and as far as they're concerned, it doesn't mean any thing.

    I've been in several of these types of churches over the years.

    I think that's how you start with a Calvinistic SOF but wind up with pelagian/Finneyist churches.
     
  10. Brother Jeremy Slone

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    Sandy Creek association

    Well i don't know if sandy creek was an association yet but they had multiple preachers when John Gano came down from New Jersey from the philadelphia association and after he had preached among them he was well received.
     
  11. Logos1560

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    In his book entitled BAPTIST CONFESSIONS OF FAITH, William L. Lumpkin wrote: "The Separate Baptist movement went south from New England in 1754 especially in the persons of Shubael Stearns and Daniel Marshall. These pioneers ministered for a while in northern Virginia in the midst of some Baptists who were connected with the Philadelphia Association, before moving on to settle at Sandy Creek, Guilford (now Randolph) County, NC. The church which the Separates established at Sandy Creek had phenomenal growth and became the center of an evangelistic movement which spread throughout the South. In seventeen years the mother church planted forty-two Separate Baptist churches and sent out one hundred twenty-five ministers. The Sandy Creek Association, organized by Stearns in 1758, was ever characterized by its missionary zeal" (p. 357).
     
  12. Logos1560

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    In the book HISTORY OF NORTH CAROLINA BAPTISTS, George Washington Paschal listed the following as the churches in the 1758 Sandy Creek Association:
    Sandy creek--Shubal Stearns
    Newriver--Ezekiel Hunter
    Southwest--Charles Markland
    Haw river--Elnathan Davis
    Little river--John Bollin
    Grassy creek--James Reed
    Shallow Fords--Joseph Murphy, Dan. Marshall
    Lockwood's folly--Mr. Guess
    Trent--James McDonald (pp. 228-229)

    Then same book listed the following churches as springing out of the Sandy Creek church:
    Abboot's Creek,
    Deep River
    Little river
    New River
    Southwest
    Trent
    Staunton-river, Virg.
    Fall-creek, Va
    Dan-river, Va
    Grassy-creek
    John Waller's church, Va
    Fair-forest, SC
    Congaree, SC
    Stephens-Creek, SC
    Shallow-fords

    (pp. 227-228)
     
  13. ichthys

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    There is a Sandy Creek Primitive Baptist Church and a Sandy Creek Baptist Church both located next-door to each other at the original site near Liberty, NC.
    (I remember this because we drove by it last weekend, and I haven't forgotten yet.) ;)
     

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