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A STATE CONVENTION OF BAPTISTS?

Near Lexington, KY., Dec.4, 1860.

To the Editors of the SOUTHERN BAPTIST MESSENGER.

DEAR BRETHREN: – I see an article going the rounds in some of our public Journals to the following effect: “The State Convention of Baptists met here [Montgomery, Ala.,] Wednesday, and resolved unanimously in favor of disunion. They sent their resolutions to Gov. Brown.”

My object in sending you a copy of this publication, is simply to ascertain [as you are no doubt advised in the matter,] whether the Old School or Primitive Baptists have anything to do in this business, or is it the New School or Fullerite Baptists who seceded from us within the present century? As they have heretofore proved themselves to be secessionists and disunionists in their religious career, no marvel if they are engaged in the business still. But it certainly would be a new and strange movement for the old order of Baptists. As individuals and citizens we have, and should exercise our common rights under the government as others. But as a society or church, while we maintain the rectitude of the expression of our King and Counsellor who said, “My kingdom is not of this world;” we should not be found meddling with the civil authority. Our motto should be, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers;” for we are assured that “the powers that be are ordained of God.” The prime object of the Apostolic Baptists has ever been in all their conventions [church meetings] to worship their God as he has directed them, and not to interfere with the earthly governments under which they should live peaceable and be obedient subjects. This intolerant, uncalled-for, unjustifiable, unscriptural, and therefore unhallowed institutions North and South, has already rent or sectionalized nearly every religious society in the land except the primitive order of Baptists, so that each one thus divided has its “Church South,” and “Church North.” If then our civil government should be divided, they must be, and as it remains an unalterable fact that “a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand,” and as the kingdom of Christ “shall stand forever,” it will give us an additional proof positive to the many we already have, that they constitute no part of that kingdom.

I have traveled among our churches in twelve or thirteen of the States, and Canada, and have never seen a matter of the foregoing description as published in the Newspapers brought before one of them, East, West, North or South.

And further, the humble writer of this article wishes it distinctly understood that he enters his solemn protest against the political actions of all such sectional, professed religious combinations, and unhesitatingly believes that every true Baptist in the land who understands the Scriptures and desires that his actions should be controlled by their dictates, will heartily join him in the protest. As I have no idea that any O.S. or Primitive Baptists have disgraced their profession by meeting and mingling in this political Baptist Convention, [?] I send you this Brethren, for publication, to disabuse the minds of any who might suppose that we should so far degrade our profession and society as to engage in the unhappy political strife that is now so alarmingly disturbing the peace, and endangering the perpetuity of our beloved country and civil institutions. Please answer the question immediately and briefly, What Baptists are these?

Your brother most truly,
J.F. Johnson.