Remembering June 7, 1966
by Tom Chantry
“…Thus many of us seem to be as men without a country, or as odd individualists in other fellowships. Yet we do not relish the spirit of total independency which is plagued with weakness. Perhaps it is time to begin a Fellowship of like-minded brethren for mutual edification and encouragement…” – Walter J. Chantry, 1966
It is possible to posit a variety of dates for the beginning of the Reformed Baptist movement in America. The first of the modern Reformed Baptist churches was started in 1951. The same church adopted the 1689 Confession in 1958. Ernie Reisinger and Walt Chantry met Al Martin for the first time in 1965. However, if the question is when a movement of churches began, the answer must be fifty years ago today – June 7, 1966.
That day, which in 1966 also fell on a Tuesday, was marked by the opening of the first of the Carlisle Pastors Conferences which were the first attempt to form a more formal communion among those churches which subscribed to the 1689 Confession. The conferences were hosted by Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, of which Chantry was pastor. The reason is expressed in the quote above, drawn from the letter of invitation sent to those Calvinistic Baptists known to the Carlisle church.
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