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Posts Tagged ‘Shubal Stearns’

Shubal Stearns and the Separate Baptist Tradition

by Josh Powell

This article was written in collaboration with Tom Nettles. Dr. Nettles has expanded and edited this material further for inclusion in The Baptists, Vol. 2.

The year was 1758 and God had richly blessed the gospel strategy of the Separate Baptists in North Carolina. Just three years before, a group led by Shubal[1] Stearns had settled at Sandy Creek and constituted a church. Within those short three years with “a few churches having been constituted, and these having a number of branches which were fast maturing for churches,”[2] Stearns thought it would be a good idea to start an association. The Separates’ remarkable personalities, novel practices, and fiery style of worship and preaching prompted some special attention from the Particular Baptists. Because some gave credit to disturbing reports about these ecclesiological kin, John Gano , who had been commissioned to his work in North Carolina by the Philadelphia Association, attended the 1759 meeting of the Sandy Creek Association. “He was sent, it seems, to inquire into the state of these New Light Baptists.”[3] Robert Baylor Semple reports the visit in this way:

He was received by Stearns with great affection. But the young and illiterate preachers were afraid of him, and kept at a distance. They even refused to invite him into their Association. All this he bore patiently, sitting by while they transacted their business. He preached also every day. His preaching was in the Spirit of the Gospel. Their hearts were opened, so that before he left they were greatly attached to him…. This Association was also conducted in love, peace and harmony. When Mr. Gano returned to his own country, being asked what he thought of these Baptists, he replied, that “doubtless the power of God was among them; that although they were rather immethodical, they certainly had the root of the matter at heart.”[4]

Read the entire article here.

Tom Nettles expanded article can be downloaded here.

The Raw Calvinism of the North Carolina Separates of the Sandy Creek Tradition

A Product of Right Doctrine
In the Right Place at the Right Time

Gene M. Bridges

On November 7, 2005, the Sandy Creek Baptist Church celebrated its 250th Anniversary. The church was founded in 1755 by Shubal Stearns and his brother-in-law Daniel Marshall. In 1758, they established an association. Within seventeen years, the church grew to a membership of over six hundred. It spawned forty-two other churches. Many Southern Baptist historians look to the Sandy Creek Church as one of two tributaries that eventually formed the Southern Baptist Convention in the 19th century, and they often perpetuate a popularized theory from Walter Shurden and Fisher Humphreys[1] alleging that the “high church” Charlestonians were confessional Calvinists, while those in the Sandy Creek Association were either opposed to Calvinism or believed in a “softer” or “moderate” or “kinder, gentler” Calvinism. Moreover, they imply that the Charlestonians were less evangelistic than the Sandy Creek Association.

Read the entire article here.

This article can also be found in the Founders Journal-Issue 66. Download the Pdf here.