Sunday, June 14, 2009

Let's Know Church History

Baptists (myself included) in general have little knowledge of those who have gone before us. This is not a good thing. We should be aware of who the Baptists were, where they lived, what they believed, when they lived, and why they are worthy of remembrance.

I encourage you to visit the Baptist Cameos page at The Reformed Reader. You will find numerous short, biographical sketches of Baptists from the past. These include theologians, pastors, missionaries, and historians.

For example, the first paragraph about Charles Spurgeon says, "Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was England's best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1854, just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon, then only 20, became pastor of London's famed New Park Street Church (formerly pastored by the famous Baptist theologian John Gill). The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000—all in the days before electronic amplification. In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed Metropolitan Tabernacle."

As another example, the sketch on William Carey reads, "Father of modern missions. He was the author of An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens (1792); preacher of the sermon at the Baptist associational meeting in Nottingham, May 31, 1792, on text of Isaiah 54:2-3 and the theme, 'Expect great thing from God; attempt great things for God'; and leader in founding The Particular Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen (later named the Baptist Missionary Society) at Kettering on Oct. 2, 1792, which in turn launched the "society method" of missionary support and direction, and the whole modern evangelical missionary endeavor. With physician John Thomas he went to India under the appointment of the Baptist Missionary Society, devoting 41 of his 73 years to India without a return to his homeland. He was an able linguist and translator; a botanist of considerable reputation; and a missionary statesman par excellence."

Let's know our history and be thankful to God for the service of those before us.

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