Some New Research

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Daniel Dunivan, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. Daniel Dunivan

    Daniel Dunivan
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    While working on a paper for an American Church Semiar on open communion within the midwestern version of General Baptists, I have come across some very interesting bits of information, and I would like to hear other's opinions about my finds.

    What I have discovered is a possible relationship between the earliest General Baptists (particularly Benoni Stinson) and the Cumberland Presbyterians. Stinson mentions preaching in meetings with them (it is within the context of desiring to celebrate the Lord's Supper with one that Stinson claims to have changed his mind on open communion), and I have found mention of the early General Baptists being present at the meetings within the minutes of the first Cumberland Presbyterians in Southern Indiana. To illustrate the connection, notice that General Baptists are Arminian (Cumberland Presbyterians are the only presbyterian groups boldly so), General Baptists are the only group of baptists (I'm aware of) that have presbyteries, and both groups are open communionists. To go a little further, knowing the way Stinson is spoken of in the earliest histories of General Baptists (Stinson is portrayed as a sort of visionary hero), I have started to wonder if in light of such a connection with this other group the descriptions of Stinson's life resemble hagiographies much more than biographies.

    Any thoughts?

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  2. rsr

    rsr
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    I don't seen an organic connection; the Particulars were dominant in the area, it seems, but it wouldn't be long before the Restorationists followed a similar turn against predestination, and they found many converts among the Baptists.

    The United Baptists included both Particulars and Generals, many of them originally from other denominations; the elder who baptized Stinson for example, exhibited a not uncommon progression:

    — J. H. Spencer,A History of Kentucky Baptists, volume 2.

    I suspect there is quite a bit of hagiography in the records, but it's hard to sort out.

    BTW: Were you referring to Benoni Stinson and the General Baptists?
     
  3. Daniel Dunivan

    Daniel Dunivan
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    Yes, among others (William Revis and D.B. Montgomery especially, but also found even as late as the works by Ollie Latch), the work you mention has even been put online at www.generalbaptist.net.

    It seems to me that the Arminian theology truly was something in the air of Stinson's time (one could even point to the same types of development within the Cumberland Presbyterians); however, open communion and a presbyterian form of govenment (ordination comes through the presbytery which has complete authority over ordination--authority to ordain not in the local church) are not so easily tied to the times. The question must be raised: where did Stinson get these? Historically, it seems that in Stinson a variety of traditions converged (Methodists, Cumberland Presbyterians, Baptists) rather than a picture of the smarter and more pious than everyone else Stinson coming to the conclusions on his own.

    rsr, are you aware of any other connections between Methodists and Baptists during the years just previous to Stinson. I know that Methodists and Baptists must have worshiped together at the camp meetings during the time. Was the Arminian theology bleeding over from these encounters?

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  4. Daniel Dunivan

    Daniel Dunivan
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    rsr,

    Can you provide a bibliographic reference (publication information and page number) for the quote you provide above? It would be helpful for my research.

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  5. rsr

    rsr
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    Sorry.

    A History of Kentucky Baptists, volume 2, pages 554-556. By J. H. Spencer. Printed for the author in 1886. Reprinted in 1984 by Church History Research and Archives.

    I can't judge Stinson, but the first observation seems to be correct. The Second Great Awakening, unlike the First, was accompanied by an upsurge in anti-predestinarian tendencies. Given the revival atmosphere on the frontier, I assume there was a great deal of cross-pollination, as exemplified by the rise of the Stone and Campbell and the Restoration movement, which was both anti-hierarchical (like most Baptists) and anti-predestinarian (like the Wesleyans). The Generals already had a bit different ecclesiology than the Separates and the Separates had quite a few ministers who arrived from the paedobaptist tradition.


    There are several instances where Baptists and Methodists shared meeting houses or pulpits.

    SPENCER COUNTY, KENTUCKY, CHURCH HERITAGE

    Methodists, Presbyeterians and Baptists attended services at the Red River Church, where the Cumberland Presbyeterian denomination was born around 1800:

    RED RIVER CHURCH
     

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