The Standard and Baptist History

I have been able to acquire some Baptist History material involving my family:

http://idaho4hisglory.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/some-of-my-baptist-heritage/

Do any of you have "The Standard - a Baptist newspaper" in any of your cupboards or drawers?

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Todd Wood's picture

This is all too good. Let me take this thread to post for you random snippets of Baptist history from The Standard (Feb. 11, 1899):

"The theatrical people of Chicago have taken a stand against Sunday performances, and have introduced a bill in the state legislature to prohibit all paid amusements on Sunday. They distinctly disclaim any religious or moral aim in this undertaking, and say they do not care for the support of church people. The two grounds on which they base their decision are that actors and theater employees need a day of rest, and that Sunday performances do not pay. If a few houses run seven days in the week, however, the rest claim that they must do the same. Hence they seek to have all treated alike. The only people who oppose the bill are the baseball men. We certainly hope the bill will pass, without regard to the motives of its supporters. Eastern cities manage to get along without Sunday theatrical performances, and Chicago can well spare them. We are not foolish enough to suppose the the people who now attend the theaters on Sunday would go to church or any other especially profitable place if the theaters were closed; but it is not the object of laws to make people religious. The most that the state can do is to secure for all citizens the largest liberty consistent with good morals, and to remove all possible temptations from the weak. Beyond that, voluntary efforts must be relied on."

Todd Wood's picture

An excerpt from "Christianity Without Controversies" by W. H. Gristwrit

He deals with the missionary's mistake . . .

"To say that such gospel is not needed in the center of such a city as Chicago is to close one's eyes to the teachings of the gospel and the sad condition of human society. To gather a company of people, giving them that which never disturbs the conscience, never shows the sinfulness of man and his utterly helpless condition aside from Jesus Christ, may be a helpful thing from some points of view, but from the side of life that is either saved or lost, no matter what it clothes or bank account, it is rather serious business. It may become a terrible thing to answer for in the day when God deals with us all. No, a gospel without controversies is not a gospel."

He also discusses the opposition of creeds . . .

"In the effort to change a creed into rubber there is as much danger from the contraction as from expansion."

This is a good Baptist sermon published 110 years ago.

Todd Wood's picture

Augustine S. Carman's printed message - "The Soul of the Church"

Greg Linscott would love the illustration of the fine church organ in this sermon!

But here is a snippet:

"But the church is to find its soul in Christ. It will find its own unity and self consciousness only as it comes into unity with him, and develops an enthusiasm for Christ. There is no proper passion for the church which does not flower out of the root-passion for Christ. Shall it require a new outburst of persecution to fan the flames of such devotion to our Lord as made the martyrs of earlier days go to the stake or to the lions with the elate joy of guests bidden to a marriage feast?

"The church is the body of Christ. He is its head. His is the brain from which the nerve fibres flash out their swift imperatives to the various members. What if a church be suffering from spiritual locomoter ataxia and there be no coordination between the commands of the brain and the movement of its members? But that which physicians recognize as an incurable disease in the physical realm is susceptible of remedy in the spiritual domain, for a church may find its soul if it will but set about doing the will of its head, letting the separate voice of the members melt and be lost in the sound of his voice."

Amen

Todd Wood's picture

I have been reading The Standard (Feb. 18, 1899), favoring the University of Chicago. Reading these papers, I can see the struggles between the conservative and liberal Baptists - the liberals gaining in strength in the North.

Listen to this:

"The "open letter" of Prof. S.C. Mitchell protesting against the acceptance of Dr. Whitsitt's resignation, a portion of which was published in THE STANDARD recently, has awakened much interest in the South. Of course it is not received with favor, in most of the southern papers. The Western Recorder charges Prof. Mitchell with stirring up trouble when Dr. Whitsitt's resignation promised a peaceful solution. Sometimes trouble is better than peace, if the peace be an ignoble one. The Western Recorder also takes it hard that THE STANDARD should have "championed the tract." We might retort, if we were fond of that style of argument, why should Louisville be showing such interest in the running of our seminary? . . . For if the Western Recorder will take the trouble to compare the amount of space it has given to attacks on the University of Chicago with the space we have given to comments upon the Whitsitt matter, it will find food for thought. . . .

"The Recorder says: "Nobody has opposed freedom of research in our seminary." That is to say, the professors may have freedom of research, but if they happen on a fact, or a theory, or a possiblity, that is new to some southern Baptists, they must keep it to themselves. Liberty of research is a meaningless without liberty of teaching. The "freedom of research" which the Western Recorder declares itself in favor of reminds us of an old rhyme:

"Mother, may I go out to swim?
"Yes, my darling daughter;
Hang your clothes on hickory limb,
But don't go near the water."
_____

This is very sly response by The Baptist Standard editorial board, 110 years ago.

My question: Was Dr. Whitsitt of Louisville Baptist Seminary a liberal? I can't remember my American Baptist history.

Todd Wood's picture

There is an article in The Standard, "Curious History of 'Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me.' "

A paragraph from the article . . .

"Between Wesley and Toplady a bitter theological controversy was sustained. Toplady was vicar of Broad Hembury from 1768 to 1778, and the famous hymn was written in his parsonage there, as a protest against the Arminian or Free Will doctrine of John and Charles Wesley and their followers. Augustus Toplady was a high Calvinist, and allowed no opportunity to slip of emphasizing his peculiar vews. Neither did the other side. It is one of the most singular facts in hymnology that a hymn written in the heat of a passionate controversy should have become a foremost favorite in all the churches."

-Taken from The Standard - A Baptist Newspaper (Chicago, February 25, 1899)

[I am finding out that this Baptist paper of the North is not Calvinistic ]

Rob Fall's picture

Todd Wood wrote:
SNIP [I am finding out that this Baptist paper of the North is not Calvinistic ]
The Northern (Regular) Baptists were/are Calvinist. We trace our lineage back to the Particular Baptists of England. However, we follow for the most part Andrew Fuller rather than John Gill in our application of Calvin. For further reading on this distinction, I recommend Francis Wayland's Note on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches published in 1856.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Todd Wood's picture

Ok, here is the scoop on this particular large stack of Baptist newspapers in my possession.

The Standard
A Baptist Newspaper
Established in 1853

A newspaper of national circulation, but especially the Baptist organ for Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.

Goodman & Dickerson Company

Publishers and Proprietors
Edward Goodman . . . President and Treasurer
Emma R. Dickerson . . . Vice-President
J. S. Dickerson . . . Secretary and Managing Editor

_____

Rob, all the Baptist Churches in these states are asked to contribute to the missionary work carried on by the big triad: the American Baptist Missonary Union, the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and the American Baptist Publication Society.

Here is a little chunk on page 22 of The Standard (Feb. 11, 1899) by Rev. Charles H. Parkhurst - "Another phenomenal feature of the situation is the epidemic of Calvinism which has broken out among the expansionists. There is such an overwhelming conviction of divine destiny among them that it looks as though, if the crisis were to be continued for much longer, the remaining braces of Arminianism would all be erased with the stiff brush of predestination."

Edwards is quoted in this newspaper, but Finney seems preferred.

I am deep into the history of 1899. Briggs and Union Theological Seminary freed from the Presbyterians. The Whitsitt Controversy. And the big Baptist Convention that is about to take place in San Francisco, California, May 24-June 1, 1899!!!!! The Baptists are very concerned about the massive Mormon expansion in the Rocky Mountain region. There are special train rates from Chicago to San Francisco (leaving May 16). Sunday, May 21, will be spent at Salt Lake City where services will be held in the evangelical churches.

It is noted, "The holding of our May Anniversaries on the Pacific Coast for the first time in the history of our denomination will be the trip of a life-time for many who have never had the privilege before."

Todd Wood's picture

"Lately Bishop Potter [of New York ] has dropped another bombshell on the Prohibition party. He compares the Prohibitionists to the ancient Pharisees, accuses them of hypocrisy, arrogance, ignorance and untruthfulness; and much more in the same strain. It has been our experience that the Prohibition party is able to look out for itself, and hence we do not feel called upon to undertake its defense. Like all other parties, it has some hypocrites and cranks in it. But unlike nearly all other parties, the vast majority of its adherents have deliberately chosen a position which exposes them to ridicule and hatred, not from any hope of personal advantage, but because of conscientious reasons. This fact in itself should be sufficient to restrain a Christian minister, of high standing in his church, from a sweeping onslaught on the party."

- Chicago, March 25, 1899

Todd Wood's picture

Aha!

So I have finally gotten to the end of the famous Whitsitt Baptist Controversy.

There is a picture of Rev. W. H. Whitsitt, D.D. on the front cover of The Standard (Chicago, May 27, 1899) sitting on my desk.

The Northern Baptists were very affectionate to Whitsitt throughout this whole three year controversy.

But the Southern Baptists could not tolerate the man for his introducing this topic:

"He held, on the evidence of the certain pamphlets and other writings of the first third of the seventeenth century, that the immersion of believers was practically unknown in England for a long time previous to 1641, and was reintroduced in that year."

And of course, the South could not accept Whitsitt entertaining the thought of a Baptist wife being encouraged to joyfully submit to a paedobaptism husband.

The Standard concludes, "Neither side, at least by its wiser leaders, will attempt to celebrate any supposed victory. Before long, if we may express an optimistic desire and hope, there will be no sides any longer, for southern Baptists will be too busy raising increased funds for missions to reenter the arena of pamphlet warfare." May 27, 1899 (right in the midst of the two big Baptist conventions - the North and the South)

Rob Fall's picture

Todd Wood wrote:
Ok, here is the scoop on this particular large stack of Baptist newspapers in my possession.

The Standard
A Baptist Newspaper
Established in 1853

A newspaper of national circulation, but especially the Baptist organ for Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.

Goodman & Dickerson Company

Publishers and Proprietors
Edward Goodman . . . President and Treasurer
Emma R. Dickerson . . . Vice-President
J. S. Dickerson . . . Secretary and Managing Editor

_____

Rob, all the Baptist Churches in these states are asked to contribute to the missionary work carried on by the big triad: the American Baptist Missonary Union, the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and the American Baptist Publication Society.

Yeup, that would be the Standard Operating Procedure for Northern Baptists of that era. They organized themselves in functional groupings.
Quote:
Here is a little chunk on page 22 of The Standard (Feb. 11, 1899) by Rev. Charles H. Parkhurst - "Another phenomenal feature of the situation is the epidemic of Calvinism which has broken out among the expansionists. There is such an overwhelming conviction of divine destiny among them that it looks as though, if the crisis were to be continued for much longer, the remaining braces of Arminianism would all be erased with the stiff brush of predestination."

Edwards is quoted in this newspaper, but Finney seems preferred.

The influence of Finney is not surprising. To a greater or lesser extent, he's influenced just about every one outside the Primitive Baptists and their kin. As for the usage of Calvinist, please see my review of How Many Points. It should be in the Old SI archives.
Quote:
I am deep into the history of 1899. Briggs and Union Theological Seminary freed from the Presbyterians. The Whitsitt Controversy. And the big Baptist Convention that is about to take place in San Francisco, California, May 24-June 1, 1899!!!!! The Baptists are very concerned about the massive Mormon expansion in the Rocky Mountain region. There are special train rates from Chicago to San Francisco (leaving May 16). Sunday, May 21, will be spent at Salt Lake City where services will be held in the evangelical churches.

It is noted, "The holding of our May Anniversaries on the Pacific Coast for the first time in the history of our denomination will be the trip of a life-time for many who have never had the privilege before."

I can make the invitation today. Come out and see what the Lord is doing within 20 miles of the high tide mark of the Pacific

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Todd Wood's picture

Rob, I am looking at The Standard, April 22, 1899. On page 9, they have a drawing of the First Protestant Meeting House in California - Washington Street, San Francisco. This is cool.

Secondly, in The Standard, April 29, 1899, there is on the front cover a photo of "The First Baptist Meeting-House West of the Rockies". Wow. West Union Baptist in Oregon.

Thirdly, in The Standard, May 6, 1899, there is a photo on page 11 of Mrs. R. P. Ford - "The First Person Baptized West of the Rockies." Robert Whitaker from Oakland, California writes an article. Here is an excerpt: "Possibly the pioneer Methodists of Oregon may have immersed some believers before 1844, but of this I cannot say. Methodists do not usually immerse, unless there are some Baptists around. In any event, Mrs. Ford was, I believe, the first person ever baptized by a Baptist minister and into a Baptist church in the western third of the United States."

David Lenox baptizing his daughter, Mary, in February, 1845, before her sister, Elizabeth, and then Perry Beagle.

Great, great Baptist history on the Pacific, 165 years ago.

Jay's picture

This is good stuff, Todd. Keep up the work.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Todd Wood's picture

Let me interrupt my random posts (laughing) with a commercial advertisment from The Standard:

"HIRES Rootbeer is a Temperance Drink. It is prepared for temperance people, a multitude of whom believe it helpful to the great cause of temperance. Any one who states that HIRES Rootbeer is not a temperance drink, either willfully misprepresents the facts or has not investigated the subject in an impartial matter. HIRES Rootbeer is a temperance drink. The leading chemists say so without qualification, and stand ready to prove their assertion. If there are any fair minded persons anywhere who have a scrupulous doubt as to the honesty of this claim, and will address THE CHARLES E. HIRES COMPANY, Philadelphia, they will be given every opportunity to satisfy themselves as to the ingredients, the nature, the character of HIRES Rootbeer."

- June 10, 1899

Todd Wood's picture

Is this the seedbeds of Baptist/Mormon evangelististic dialogue/conversation?

"The Menace of Mormonism was the missionary topic of our prayer-meetings Apr. 5. It is truly regarded as such by all those who are best acquainted with its history and motives. It now seems determined to propagate itself by the most aggressive and extensive missionary operations, more rapidly than ever.

"When I was acting-pastor of the First Baptist church, of Salt Lake City, during a number of months in the year 1888, I became convinced that other and wiser methods than have at least sometimes been employed, must be used to compass its destruction. This conviction has grown upon me from year to year since. Nothing can ever be gained by calling names, impugning motives, or using ridicule. If one could be convinced that sprinkling is not baptism, it could not be done by such means.

The same of any position or view held by any one. If one would show me an me an error in my life, hammer, tongs, blows, curses, would be unavailing; Baptist are not influenced by such agencies. I fancy that human nature is much the same among Mormons.

"Why not meet them on their grounds? The following idea may not be new, but I have never seen it advocated by any one. Let all the different great religious denominations appoint two or three representatives apiece, to act together in the capacity of a commission of inquiry, into the ground of the claims of Mormons concerning: (1) the genuineness of the gold plates; (2) the inspiration of Joseph Smith in translating them; (3) "The Book of Mormon is a later and better revelation than the Bible;" (4) the scientific identification of the ruins of the Aztec and Indian villages with places named in the Book of Mormon, etc., etc., etc.

"If these things are true the Christian world ought to know it. To prove their truth or falsity, ought to be considered none too light a task for the best scientific, historical, philological, or theological scholarship of the world. Here are claims concerning the history of a continent, as well as of God's chosen people, Israel, which have been ignored or ridiculed too long. They affect Jew and Gentile; the red and white and black races. Whether they are the truth of God, or, whether they are the menace of a nation, the world ought to know.

"Let us thus meet these men as men in the spirit of Christ, and say: "If you have truth which we know not, help us to get possession of it. If we impose conditions which seem to you unreasonable, they may not seem so the rest of the world. If you then prove your positions, the glory of the victory will more than reward you for the rigors of the task. If untrue you ought to know it for your own sakes, and your childrens'.

"We have no doubt of the outcome. Nor should we be surprised if the Mormon Church gladly embraced such an opportunity of bringing its tenets before the most advanced scholarship of the world. If not, that very refusal would go far to show that because of their deeds they loved darkness rather than light. They could not refuse to appoint representatives upon such a commission."

- Richmond A. Smith in Cedar Falls, Iowa; The Standard (May 27, 1899)

Todd Wood's picture

W. H. Geistweit is really sparking things in The Standard . . .

On June 17, 1899 he writes on "The Boastful Heretic" . . .

"The annual meetings of the various denominational bodies are over, and there has been the usual stir over heresy, sometimes subdued and dignified, sometimes noisy and turbulent. The annual meetings of Baptists do not afford the general public so much entertainment, so we have not been able to contribute to the general disturbance. It is barely possible, however, that it is due more to the fact that our annual meetings are of a missionary order than that we are so rock-ribbed in our orthodoxy. . . .

" . . . In one gathering the leading preacher delivered a sermon, in which he tore up things generally, talked of the principles of evolution as being the fundamentals in theology nowadays, and went so far as to say that Tennyson, Browning, or Milton, were equally inspired with the biblical writers. . . . "

" . . . Evolution and modern inspiration! these are the voices that sound so loud these days. Evolution is the light that dispels every darkness, brings into prominence the things which before were foggy and misty. And he is bold and rash, not to say ignorant, man, who would rise up and protest against the wide claims made for it. It is like the Brown-Sequard elixir of life; we renew our youth perpetually by drinking at its fountain! How grateful we ought to be for the light which has broken forth upon the world. Evolution, receive our profoundest salaam!

Geistweit takes the "eminent Dr. Gunsauius of Chicago" to task with powerful rhetorical questions.

On June 24, 1889, Geistweit pens, "Progressive--Liberal--Conservative""

He astutely describes the theological situation and then he goes into the three clases of preachers.

"Here, then, are three classes of preachers: Progressives, who accept the newer teaching of evolution as principle, but modify its deductions; they maintain an attitude of inquiry; in the language of one of our own strong men, they are constantly going forward, never necessarily settling a point definitely, but only tentatively--still hoping for more light; they are "liberal," friendly to everything that scholars declare to be the latest light. It is but natural that such men should be hesitant, and frequently lack force, because they lack positive convictions. If I have overstated them, I am sorry; I do not think I have."

"Conservatives: not ignorant men, as is sometimes supposed, the supposition being created by such bumptious critics as Dr. Briggs, who said in my hearing that no man who had any respect for his standing would differ with him in his [Briggs' ] conclusions! But the conservative has settled some things; he accepts as his theology practically the common view I have above mentioned as the natural teachings of the New Testament; he does not feel that he could consistently question the authority or the knowledge of Jesus. Whatever else he does he bows before the sayings of Jesus as recorded in the gospels, and accepts them in the face of every teaching to the contrary. He does not belittle Paul; he believes that Paul's teachings are of equal authority with those of Jesus, claiming that they come from the same source. He does not feel that he possesses all the light; that there is much more to stream from the sacred page; but his attitude is reverent, prayerful, always submitting finally to the truth or teaching of the Book that requires no fine line of reasoning to discover; he believes that the great truths of the Bible lie on its surface; that he who wishes can find the light without the aid of any man or men; the book, Spirit--applied, will reach the heart of mankind when nothing else will. He is also keen, alert to the movements of the world, accepts every new truth, or fresh light upon the old truth; but he has moorings; he has a place of anchor. It is evident that this man is decided in his preaching; he has some settled convictions; he believes things, believes them intensely. It may be safely said that he is the evangelist of the church; it is difficult to conceive what the church would do for converts if he should die out of the land.

"The other class: the liberal men, who occupy pulpits of no special denomination; they are the free lances in things theological. They say that they are loyal to Christ, with the modifications of the progressive, yet without the limitations of the progressive in regular harness. In one breath they throw out the Bible, in the next they embrace it; they use it when it suits their purpose, and on the same ground reject it. They are generally men of strong personality and many gifts; their following is often a personal one, the work ceasing when they change pulpits or platforms. They attract many who want some sort of religious service, but who are not willing to accept the yoke of Jesus Christ in wholehearted following; they are not missionary in their spirit; know nothing of what is called "prayer-meeting life." It would do no violence to say that often these institutions provide intellectual food with a sacred flavor, for most men must feed on something besides business food. They ignore the ordinances, make no efforts at conversions, and have little concern about the ordinary affairs at church life. To say they have no influence on the religious life of a community would, perhaps, do them an injustice; to say that they are positive religious forces would greatly overestimate them.

"What is the relation of the conservative to the growing grist of Satan? I will attempt to answer in the next note."

Have I whetted everybody's appetite . . . . .

On July 8, 1899, he writes again on the what is going on in the midst of biblical scholarship. Verily, a huge battle is looming. He talks of Green and Briggs, John Fiske and Dr. Bruce and the desire for all to "go in the company of Jesus."

He concludes the article, "In closing these three articles the writer desires to say that he has written in the kindliest spirit; if any position has been wrongly stated, he is sorry. Great has been the work done by scholarship of this and other days. All we have and are in knowledge we owe to scholarship; but scholarship is not all of one mind. If higher criticism was not commonly understood to stand for destructive criticism, its service to the world would be mighty; it has done great things, doubtless been often misunderstood; it's weakness has been in not using colons more than periods--by which I mean it has too often declared conclusions when there were none to declare. The question of the authorship of the Bible is not a settled question. And Genesis is not to be despised--yet!"

Todd Wood's picture

If you are interested in the number of Baptists in your state from 1890 to 1899 let me know.

I am far enough into The Standard where I have now heard that Moody has died. His death has had a huge impact for this Chicago Baptist weekly. The famous Joseph Parker gives a beautiful tribute. So does the Sword and Trowel.

The staunch warrior against higher criticism, Prof. William Henry Green, of Princeton Theological Seminary has also died.

Todd Wood's picture

on this slice of National Baptist history in America as we turn to the dawn of the twentieth century.

The National Baptist Anniversaries for the the northern states in 1900 will be in Detroit. And the brothers in Detroit are very excited. The Standard even gives a full account of the 1900 Southern Baptist Convention.

One more note of interest. In the year 1900, there is the big Ecumenical Missionary Conference in New York. The Standard also provides much detail of the speakers and what they said - J. Hudson Taylor, A. T. Pierson, A. H. Strong, the former President of the United States, and the President of the United States, etc.

This has all been a very intriguing ride for me.

History is cool.

But as A.T. Pierson opened up his address on the providence of God in missions there in New York, we agree with him, "History is a mystery until it is read as His story."

Ben Howard's picture

Todd, just a little more on the Whitsett issue,

Whitsett, shortly before he became President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky (the Chicago paper keeps mistakenly referring to it as Louisville Theological Seminary), wrote an entry into a religious encyclopedia promoting a view which today is not considered heresy or bad history that immersion was adopted by English Baptists in 1641. This view was supported by the large majority of the knowledgeable faculty on the staff at SBTC, but the influence of Landmarkism was strong in Southern Baptists at the time and the backlash was severe and loud. He resigned of his own accord in 1898 in order to stop bringing criticism on the seminary. He was followed by E.Y. Mullins who somewhat successfully was able to steer a middle of the road course between both sides in the issue, but Southwestern Seminary came out of Baylor College in Texas with a decided view in favor of landmarkism in the aftermath of all of this. The issue was a secondary and not a primary theological issue, since at that time Southern Baptists were theologically orthodox and it would not be until after the Mullins era that theological liberalism would get a foothold and then entrenched at Southern Seminary.

Thanks for the posts from the papers...they sound fascinating!

Ben

Stephen Schwenke's picture

The problem with Whitsett was that his theory of immersion being reintroduced in England around 1640 was proven false by many other writers of his own era. Of COURSE the protestants would promote his theory - they don't like to admit that their own denomination were relatively NEW in Church History. By making the Baptists a second generation product of the Reformation, they themselves bring credibility to their own cause.
There were several Baptist Historians at the time who loudly denounced Whitsett's assertions and provided documented evidence to the contrary. John T. Christian of New Orleans Baptist Seminary was one of them. William Cathcart and David Benedict also come to mind.
Bottom line: Whitsitt was WRONG.

Pastor Steve Schwenke
Liberty Baptist Church
Amarillo, TX