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Baptists in Georgia, 1733-Present

Introduction

From our beginnings, Baptists have actively favored the Lordship of Christ, the authority of the Bible over tradition, believer's baptism, the priesthood of all believers, the gathered and congregational church, local church autonomy that encourages associationalism/connectionalism, the separation of church and state, and religious liberty. Nevertheless, from virtually the start here in Georgia, diversity has also marked our denominational life--a fact that will be made clear as this essay continues. It seems that, in this state as elsewhere, the only time that Baptist is singular is when we are talking about one Baptist.

Early Baptists

In 1733, one or two Baptists arrived on the boat with James Oglethorpe: William Calvert, a lay preacher, and his wife, who might have shared his faith. Others soon followed, totaling probably fewer than 140 by 1770. In 1772 the first continuing Baptist church, Kiokee near Appling, was founded; twelve years later the first Baptist association in the state, the Georgia Association, appeared. As the new century opened, there were about 4,700 Baptists, gathered in 72 churches, with 3 district associations that included 90 percent of the total Baptist population. When the new nation was formed in 1776, about .52 percent of all Georgians were Baptist. In 1800 the figure stood at about 3 percent.[1]

Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC)

After several failed attempts at union (1801, 1802, 1803-c.1810), the largest group of Baptists formed a general body in 1822 which gradually became statewide. Now called the Georgia Baptist Convention, this body supported, and continues to support, Mercer University, The Christian Index (the state Baptist periodical), and various state and national Baptist mission, educational, and publication projects. Georgia Baptists were significantly involved in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention (Augusta, 1845). The Civil War and its aftermath severely curtailed all of the convention's efforts. The founding of the State Mission Board and the employment of a professional leader, J. H. DeVotie, in 1877 proved to be significant as a means of rejuvenating broader Baptist ministries. Except for the depression years, thereafter expansion was steady. Membership in 2001 included 93 associations, 3,510 churches, and 1,377,638 members. Affiliated with the convention are about 100 African-American churches and missions and about 250 congregations speaking about twenty languages other than English. J. Robert White is full-time executive director-treasurer with headquarters in Atlanta.[2]

Seventh-Day Baptists

It is often forgotten that the first Baptist church in Georgia was comprised of those who worshiped on Saturday. The Tuckaseeking Baptist Church (Effingham County) existed only from 1759 to about 1763, when persecution forced its members out of Georgia. No other Seventh-Day Baptist congregation was gathered in Georgia until 1938. Since then, 2 small congregations have struggled for life, 1 of which is extinct. In 1998, the remaining church, located in Paulding County, contained 36 members. Recently it has organized a mission in DeKalb County. Both are affiliated with the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference founded in 1802 and headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin, a national body sponsoring missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries.[3]

General or Free Will Baptists

Also often forgotten is the fact that Arminian Baptists had an organized presence in Georgia in 1791 when the Hebron Baptist Church (Elbert County) was founded. Two other Arminian churches soon followed in Columbia and Hancock counties, the South Carolina-Georgia General Baptist Association existed briefly, and the whole enterprise in that part of the state disappeared about 1797[4]

After a three-decade break in credible historical records, other Arminian churches--apparently influenced by Cyrus White--founded the United Baptist Association (existing c.1831-c.1865), which was followed in 1836 by the still-active Chattahoochee United Free Will Baptist Association. State conventions starting about 1891 and in 1918 failed to be adequately supported. Since 1937 the Georgia State Association of Free Will Baptists has gradually gained strength, being composed of 10 associations, 125 churches, and 7,320 members in 2000. With principal strength in South Georgia, this body supports church development, ministerial training, summer camping, a children's home in Alabama, and a monthly Promotional Bulletin. The state headquarters is in Colquitt, with William Smith as full-time executive secretary-treasurer. In cooperation with the National Association of Free Will Baptists (constituted in 1935 with headquarters now in Antioch, Tennessee), it supports foreign and home missionaries, a college in Tennessee, extensive publications, and a ministerial retirement program.[5]

In 1963, 5 churches in Southwest Georgia (at present having about 340 members) formed the regional Paul Palmer Fellowship Conference of Original Free Will Baptists. Two of the congregations are affiliated also with the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists (constituted in 1921 as the General Conference of Free Will Baptists; present name adopted in 1962; headquarters in Ayden, North Carolina), an organization sustaining missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries. The other 3 are independent of any national Free Will body.[6]

African-American Missionary Baptists

The first all-Black congregation in the province was the First African Baptist Church of Savannah, founded in 1777. However, most African-American Georgia Baptists prior to the Civil War were slaves forced to hold membership in white-dominated churches. With the coming of freedom, the Zion Baptist Association (1865) was the first African-American general body in the state, followed almost immediately by Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Association and--over the years--by about 200 other associations. Statewide, Blacks organized the Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia (existing from 1870 to 1915), a body which is perpetuated to some degree in four existing groups: the large General Missionary Baptist Convention (headquartered in Atlanta; Cameron M. Alexander, president), the New Era Baptist Convention (headquartered in Atlanta; Hopie Strickland, Jr., president), the Georgia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (headquartered in Macon; Melvin Fussell, president), and the Georgia Baptist Missionary Convention (headquartered in Macon; J. L. Mills, Sr., president). Black Georgia Baptists were significantly involved in the formation of the National Baptist Convention of the United States of America (Atlanta, 1895). Over the years African-American missionary Baptist churches in the state have affiliated with one or more of the four national bodies (National Baptist Convention, U.S.A, Inc. [constituted 1895]; National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. [constituted 1915]; Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. [constituted 1961]; and National Missionary Baptist Convention of America [constituted 1988]). Since 1972 as many as 16 churches have been dually aligned with the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. and, more recently, about 100 churches and missions are dually aligned with the Georgia Baptist Convention. Virtually all of these Baptists are identified with national and state conventions sponsoring missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries. While recognizing the uncertainty of such figures, in 1990 there were about 501,786 persons in about 3,345 African-American Georgia Missionary Baptist churches.[7]

Cherokee Baptists

Associated chiefly with Duncan O'Bryant and Evan Jones, some Native Americans in Northwest Georgia became Baptist between 1825 and 1838. Under the former, the Tinsawattee church with branches in Dawson and Cherokee counties contained 31 members in 1828 and held membership in the Chattahoochee Baptist Association. Under the latter, the Valley Towns church in Cherokee County, North Carolina, contained 227 members in 1835, some of whom were aligned with branches in Georgia. The Trail of Tears in 1838 halted this phase of the activity in the East.[8]

Primitive or Old-School Baptists

With the formation of the national Triennial Convention (1814) and the Georgia Baptist Convention (1822), complaints of departure from time-honored doctrines and practices were increasingly heard in Georgia and elsewhere. Sternly Calvinistic Old-School or Primitive leaders, opposed to Sunday schools and money-based organizations, maintained command of some already existing churches and associations and proceeded to institute others if they were repudiated by the majority. The United Baptist Association (1828) was the first such body in the state, changing its name to Canoochie in 1830. Over the years about 90 other Old-School associations have existed for varying periods of time. Many have emerged because of internal struggles concerning the extent of divine sovereignty and the purpose of preaching, the propriety of declaring bankruptcy, the necessity of footwashing, the power of associations, divorce, and memberhip in secret societies. Although no state structure exists, limited cohesion is achieved by the wide circulation of several popular Old School newspapers and by correspondence among various associations. Overall, numerical extent has gradually diminished. It is probable that about 190 churches with about 4,791 members are to be placed in this category. Still reflecting their rural origins, they continue to gather for worship, mutual encouragement, and the pursuit of limited, localized benevolent ministries.[9]

African-American Primitive, Old School Baptists

During the antebellum years, Old School churches had contained some Black members, most of whom probably left as soon as conditions permitted. The Antioch Baptist Association was established in 1869, to be followed by 19 others in the state. The movement peaked about 1910 with 14 associations and about 210 churches claiming almost 4,500 members. Presently, 12 associations are active, and the state contains about 106 churches with about 942 members. They focus on worship, mutual encouragement, and localized benevolences.[10]

African-American Free Will Baptists

Following the Civil War, Free Will Baptist churches tended to lose their African-American members. The first association seems to have been Spring Creek (1872), followed by at least 4 others. In 1906, 93 churches with 3,680 members were noted in the federal religious census. The number had shrunk to 54 churches with 2,081 members in 1936. Perhaps 20 churches with about 500 members are now active.[11]

Holiness Baptists

Asserting the reality of sinless perfection in this life, 4 new churches in and near Wilcox County formed the Holiness Baptist Association in 1894. Two other associations followed in 1934 and 1977. Currently the 3 hold about 50 churches with about 1,582 members. Although they share a common rural background and similar ethical standards, they have no organizational relationship with each other. Strict Sabbatarians, they abstain from tobacco, intoxicating liquors, tea, coffee, dances, gambling, public ball games, swimming pools, circuses, television, short hair for women and long hair for men, immodest attire, and secret societies. Some are pacifist and reject capital punishment. Some speak in tongues. A few women are recognized as preachers and pastors. At one time or another two periodicals, The Gospel Standard and the Holiness Baptist Herald, have been issued, and two campgrounds continue to be maintained in Coffee County.[12]

Landmark Baptists

Initiated in 1851 by J. R. Graves of Tennessee, the Landmark movement soon became a strong force throughout parts of the deep South. Graves and his colleagues produced a unique combination of ideas and practices, some of which were common to other Baptists as well. Local Baptist congregations were thought to be the only true churches, together comprising the Kingdom of God on earth and able to trace their lineage back to the New Testament through a succession of non-Roman Catholic bodies. Baptists should not accept the so-called baptism of other groups (not even their immersion), not share the Lord's Supper with them, not recognize their ordinations, and not permit their ministers in Baptist pulpits. Southwide and statewide mission boards were held to circumscribe the power of a local church; missionaries could properly be sent out only by a church, an association, or a district convention quickly responsive to the dictates of its constituent churches. Before the Civil War this point of view was influential in the short-lived Cherokee Georgia Baptist Convention of Northwest Georgia.[13]

Led by J. A. Scarboro and using the pages of Our Missionary Helper, a Baptist missions periodical in Georgia, the Landmark movement (this time named Gospel Missions) again established a presence in the state by the turn of the century. The Miller and Baptist Union associations became Landmark by 1920. From this nucleus, two statewide general associations have been established in Georgia: the Georgia Association of Landmark Baptist Churches (1925-c.1933) and the Georgia State Association of Missionary Baptist Churches (1946-present). From 1921 to 1947, some Georgia churches were affiliated with the Florida general association. Each general association has cooperated with the American Baptist Association (constituted in 1905 as Baptist General Association; present name adopted in 1924; headquarters in Texarkana, Texas) which has made various claims of Georgia involvement over the years: 23 ordained ministers (1930), 16 churches (1967), and 23 churches (1975). At present there are about 27 churches and missions with about 1,750 members in this category.[14]

When a division came in the American Baptist Association in 1950, the Interstate and Foreign Landmark Missionary Baptist Association of America was founded with major strength in Louisiana and Mississippi. Briefly in the 1960s the Faith Way Baptist Association existed in the Atlanta area. One Georgia church with 11 members cooperated with the general association in the 1980s, but the church had disappeared from the record by 1998.[15]

Affiliated with the Baptist Missionary Association of America (constituted in 1950 with headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas), the Baptist Missionary Association of Alabama and Georgia has had 1 or 2 churches or missions in Georgia since 1967 and in 1998 had 1 church with 263 members.[16]

A recent study has discovered at least 12 unaffiliated Landmark churches active in the state.[17]

Over the years at least 66 Georgia churches have been Landmark, at one time or another. The number now stands at about 39 churches and missions with an estimated 2,564 members.

Progressive Primitive Baptists

Early in the twentieth century, Primitive Baptists were at odds among themselves concerning the use of musical instruments, prolonged revival meetings, regular ministerial support, Sunday schools, a cohesive denominational structure, and other "new" ideas and practices. Affirming these measures, the "progressives" gained control of some churches and by 1903 gained control of their first association. Their numbers gradually grew, chiefly in Georgia; and by 2000, 10 associations with 84 churches and 5,643 members existed in the state. The Primitive Baptist Foundation and the Southern States Primitive Baptist Bible Conference serve as loose state structures, and multiple ministries are offered: state missions, summer camps, ministers' schools, music camps, a ministers' wives association, a scholarship fund for college students, nursing and retirement homes at Vidalia and Millen, a history archives at Statesboro, a radio Bible study service, and the monthly Banner-Herald. For almost thirty years Birdwood Junior College at Thomasville was an agency of this body. While missionaries and funds were sent to Haiti for many years, mission work today is concentrated in the Ukraine and south Russia.[18]

Independent Baptists

Three kinds of Independent Baptists exist in Georgia. (1) From the first decades, Baptist churches in Georgia have existed apart from associations and (later) conventions. Prior to 1801, at least 13 such churches were probably in operation. Shortly after the Georgia Baptist Convention was initiated, churches and associations claimed to be missionary--not Old School, Primitive--but stood aloof from the convention. Some able historians have termed these Separate Baptists. Over the years at least 44 associations have occupied this classification for extended periods at one time or another. Often rural in their orientation, they favor temperance, footwashing, theologically untrained ministers, and associational missions. For the most part, they focus on worship, mutual encouragement, and localized benevolences. Eight associations of this variety existed in 2001, containing an estimated 129 churches with 21,070 members.[19]

(2) Another, and more recent form of independency is also found in Georgia, comprised of churches and pastors identifying themselves with one or more national or regional fellowships--such as Baptist Bible Fellowship International, Georgia Baptist Bible Fellowship, Fundamental Baptist Fellowship, Independent Baptist Fellowship International, Liberty Baptist Fellowship, Southwide Baptist Fellowship, and World Baptist Fellowship. These are congregations that are usually urban, occasionally charismatic, and ranging in size all the way from a tiny mission to a megachurch. Forms of ministry vary from fellowship to fellowship, but an emphasis is usually given to missions, evangelism, education, and publications. The Georgia Baptist Bible Fellowship sponsors a monthly fellowship meeting for its 91 churches, for six years published a monthly newsletter, and now maintains a website. During much of the 1990s an annual fellowship and preaching conference has been held that attempts to include all independent churches and pastors. One respected leader within this movement estimates that Georgia has about 1,000 independent Baptist churches with about 150,000 members in this second category.[20]

(3) A third group of Independent Baptists is comprised of thorough-going independents, remaining completely separated from other churches. Perhaps 500 congregations with 50,000 members occupy this position.[21]

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Georgia

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia was established in 1991 and holds fellowship and training meetings, cooperates in erecting structures for Habitat for Humanity and buildings for moderate churches, supports the Morningstar Baptist Treatment Services for children and adolescents with severe emotional problems, publishes a newsletter, Visions, and supports ministries and missionaries worldwide in cooperation with the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Inc. In 2000-2001 about 150 churches retaining their ties to the Georgia Baptist Convention financially supported the Fellowship. About fifteen other churches and missions in the state with about 3,450 members have recently been established .[22]

The Alliance of Baptists

Constituted in 1987 as the Southern Baptist Alliance, this group is another form of protest against post-1979 developments within the Southern Baptist Convention. It is composed of individuals and churches interested in "the preservation of historic Baptist principles, freedoms and traditions . . . ." In addition to sponsoring annual convocations, publishing books and other materials, maintaining a headquarters in the District of Columbia, and supporting various mission and ministry causes, it contributes significantly to the Baptist Theological Seminary of Richmond, which it launched in 1989. The Alliance assumed its present name in 1992. Currently 9 congregations in Georgia are affiliated with this group, although all are also associated with organizations discussed elsewhere in this essay.[23]

Other Baptists

Two groups have been rural in tone, gathering for worship, mutual encouragement, and localized benevolences. (1) Originating with Daniel Parker in 1826, the highly Calvinistic Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists entered South Georgia in the 1840s. Numerically the movement peaked about 1880 with about 7 Georgia churches and 90 members in the Suwannee River and Lookout associations of South and Northwest Georgia. Thereafter, decline was rapid; Lookout probably disappeared in the 1910s and Suwannee River soon after 1921. The last known Georgia church closed its doors about 1930. A few individuals still quietly espouse Two-Seed doctrines, but no organized churches or associations exist in Georgia.[24] (2) Also coming from the antebellum period, the Duck River and Kindred Associations of Baptists (Baptist Churches of Christ; General Association of Baptists) claimed a single church in Georgia in 1926 and 1936 with never more than 170 members. Presently 1 church with about 80 members is active in Catoosa County.[25]

Six other groups are urban in orientation and have a worldwide vision. (1) Following the division of Baptists in 1845, those in the North and West continued to support separate societies for foreign and home missions and for the publication of Bibles and other religious literature. Prior to the Civil War, Northern churches helped to finance missionaries to Cherokees in Georgia and to publish literature used by some Georgia churches. After the war, the Northern presence in the state was chiefly in the form of evangelistic and educational work among African-Americans and the distribution of literature to churches that would order it. The Northern Baptist Convention, a centralized body, was formed in 1907. Further changes in structure and name occurred in 1950 and 1972, producing the present organization, the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., with headquarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Most Georgia member churches are African-American and aligned also with one or more of the National Baptist conventions. One integrated congregation in Fulton County identifies itself with this body.[26] (2) The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches maintains an extensive missionary, educational, publication, and benevolent ministry worldwide. Formed in 1932 by churches that had withdrawn from the Northern Baptist Convention over doctrinal differences, it now has headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. At one time or another since 1957, 5 Georgia churches have affiliated with this group. Two churches are still active.[27] (3) Emphasizing the Calvinistic theology of many earlier Baptists, Sovereign Grace or Calvinistic or Reformed Baptist bodies emerged in America about 1949. Some churches appeared in Georgia by 1975, and their pastors have held frequent fellowship meetings with their Alabama counterparts since then. Today there are at least 11 churches of this variety in Georgia.[28] (4) The CBAmerica (formerly the Conservative Baptist Association of America) also sponsors a vigorous worldwide mission. Emerging in 1947 as a protest to the perceived liberalism of Northern Baptists, this general body with headquarters in Littleton, Colorado, claimed 1 or 2 churches in Georgia from 1976 to 1993, but claims none at present.[29] (5) The Baptist General Conference, initially made up of Swedish immigrants starting in 1879, has remained theologically conservative but has gradually become Americanized. Its national headquarters is in Arlington Heights, Illinois. From 1979 to 1984 and again since 1994, a congregation with about 18 members has existed in Fulton County.[30] (6) In 2002 a Meriwether County church with about 80 members became dually aligned with the North American Baptist Conference and the Georgia Baptist Convention. Now maintaining its national headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, this once-German general body founded in 1865 sponsors a broad ministry around the world.[31]

Statistical Summary for Baptist in Georgia (Estimation)

Date Churches Members GA Population % Baptist
1750 0 7 5,200 0.13
1800 72 4,690 162,686 2.88
1850 1,182 72,546 906,185 8.00
1900 5,398 503,853 2,216,331 22.73
1950 7,398 1,206,457 3,444,578 35.02
2000 9,102 2,113,412 8,186,453 25.82

 

Notes

01. Robert G. Gardner, Baptists of Early America (Atlanta: Georgia Baptist Historical Society, 1983), 116-120, 326-335, 431; Robert G. Gardner et al., History of the Georgia Baptist Association (Atlanta: Georgia Baptist Historical Society, 1988/1996), 9-39. For a careful and detailed treatment of almost all Baptist general bodies in America, see H. Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1987). For brief essays concerning many of the groups included in this essay, see Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, 4 vols. (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1958, 1971, 1982; hereafter cited as ESB); Encyclopedia of Religion in the South (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1984; hereafter cited as ERS); and Dictionary of Baptists in America (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994; hereafter cited as DBA).

02. Information furnished September 19-20, 2000, and June 11, 2002, by Language Missions Ministries, GBC, New Church Development, GBC, and Research Services, GBC; see .

03. Seventh Day Baptist Directory, 1998, B-33; Don A. Sanford, A Choosing People: The History of Seventh Day Baptists (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992); , January 11, 2002; , January 12, 2002; ESB, 1195-1196, 1955, 2450; ERS, 687-688; DBA, 246.

04. Quarterly Review (Nashville, TN), December 1978.

05. Georgia State Association of Free Will Baptists, Minutes, 2001; Damon C. Dodd, Marching Through Georgia: A History of the Free Will Baptists in Georgia (N.p.: n.p., 1977); ESB, 506-507, 1725-1726, 2239-2240; ERS, 269-271; DBA, 122; J. Matthew Pinson, A Free Will Baptist Handbook (Nashville: Randall House Publications, 1998).

06. Paul Palmer Fellowship Conference of Original Free Will Baptists, Minutes of Quarterly Sessions, 1990-1996, contain no membership figures (the estimation is based on a telephone conversation with David Still of Blakely, a deacon in the Zion Free Will Baptist Church, October 7, 1996); ESB, 1725-1726; ERS, 269-271; DBA, 122; Michael R. Pelt, A History of Original Free Will Baptists (Mount Olive, NC: Mount Olive College Press, 1996).

07. Martin B. Bradley et al., Churches and Church Membership in the United States 1990 (Atlanta: Glenmary Research Center, 1992), 3, 451-453, estimates 503,245 African-American Baptists in Georgia. This figure seems to include all African-American Baptists, including Primitive and Free Will. Hence the total in Bradley has been reduced by the numbers found in the two smaller African-American general bodies in Georgia. It has here been estimated that missionary churches average about 150 members each. Clarence M. Wagner, Profiles of Black Georgia Baptists (Atlanta: Bennett Brothers Printing Company, 1980); ESB, 942-945, 950-958, 1860-1861, 2363, 2427-2428; ERS, 528-530; DBA, 58-59, 198-199; Leroy Fitts, A History of Black Baptists (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1985).

08. Chattahoochee Baptist Association, Minutes, 1826-1831; Robert G. Gardner, Cherokees and Baptists in Georgia (Atlanta: Georgia Baptist Historical Society, 1983), 59-72, 163-164.

09. The Primitive Baptist Church Directory (Cincinnati: Baptist Bible Hour, Inc., 2000), 35-55. The per-church membership estimation (25.63) is based on the latest figures from the 1990s for 99 Old Line churches with 2,537 members in 12 associations. Emerson Proctor, "Georgia Baptists: Polarization and Division, 1803-1838," Viewpoints: Georgia Baptist History 3 (1972); John Crowley, Primitive Baptists of the Wiregrass South, 1815 to the Present (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998); , January 10, 2002; ESB, 1114, 2425-2426; ERS, 612-613; DBA, 226.

10. Current Georgia statistics are as follows: Antioch Primitive Baptist Association: 27 churches/210 members (Minutes, 1999); Flint River PBA: 9/67 (Minutes, 1999); Little Lotts Creek PBA: 5/67 (Minutes, 1999); Mount Calvary PBA (constituted 1880): 5/48 (Minutes, 1999); Mount Calvary PBA (constituted 1980): 3/35 (estimation for 1999 made by the author); Mount Olive PBA: 5/36 (Minutes, 1999); Mount Pleasant PBA (constituted 1887): 3/24 (Minutes, 1999); Mount Pleasant PBA (constituted 1977): 3/30 (estimate for 1999 made by the author); Mount Ramah PBA: 9/98 (Minutes, 1999); Ocmulgee District PBA: 8/49 (Minutes, 1992); Salem PBA: 7/84 (estimation for 1998 made by Jessie Phelps of Macon, clerk of the Mount Ramah PBA, in a telephone conversation, August 30, 1998); and Union PBA: 20/179 (Minutes, 1999). Probably 2 other churches with a total of 15 members are unassociated. Robert G. Gardner, "African-American Primitive Baptists in Georgia," Viewpoints: Georgia Baptist History 17 (2000).

11. Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census, Special Reports, Religious Bodies: 1906, Part II (Washington, DC: 1910), 158-160; Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies: 1916, Part II (Washington, DC, 1919), 119-120; Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies: 1926, Volume II (Washington, DC, 1929), 162-164; United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies: 1936, Volume II, Part I (Washington, DC, 1941), 178-180; Robert G. Gardner, "African-American Free Will Baptists in Georgia," Viewpoints: Georgia Baptist History 18 (forthcoming 2002)

12. Estimation based on Baptist Purity Baptist Association, Minutes, 1982; Calvary Holiness BA, Minutes, 1999; Holiness BA, Minutes, 1983; Charles O. Walker, History of the Holiness Baptist Association of Georgia (Jasper, GA: Pickens Area Vocational-Technical School, 1968); telephone conversation with J. L. Sellers, Jr. (a Calvary Holiness leader), Broxton, July 29, 2002. b

13. Viewpoints: Georgia Baptist History 2 (1969), 3 (1972), 4 (1974), 5 (1976), 6 (1978).

14. American Baptist Association, Minutes, 1930, back; Year Book/Yearbook, 1967, 200-202; 1975, 250-252; Georgia State Association of Missionary Baptist Churches, Minutes, 1998, 1999; Toby Cribbs, Georgia State Association of Missionary Baptists: Fifty Years of History (N.p.: Georgia State Association of Missionary Baptist Churches, 1996) Florida State Association of Missionary Baptist Churches, Minutes, 1995, 7-9; Albert Garner, A History of the Florida State Association of Missionary Baptist Churches (Lakeland: Florida State Association of Missionary Baptist Churches, 2000); Steve Reeves, ABA, Texarkana, TX, October 26, 1999; , January 10, 2002; ESB, 36, 757, 1565, 2080; ERS, 25-26, 399-401; DBA, 20-21, 49, 166-167; Conrad N. Glover and Austin T. Powers, A History of the American Baptist Association, 1924-1974 (Texarkana, TX: Bogard Press, 1979.

15. Interstate and Foreign Landmark Baptist Association, Minutes, 1984, 1998 (Corinth Baptist Church, Conley).

16. Baptist Missionary Association of Alabama and Georgia, Minutes, 1995, 1996; B.M.A.A. Directory and Handbook, 1996-2000; ESB, 757, 984, 1597, 2105-2106; ERS, 88-89, 399-401; DBA, 49, 166-167; John W. Duggar, The Baptist Missionary Association of America, 1950-1986 (Texarkana, TX: Baptist Publishing House, 1988).

17. Robert Vaughn, Mount Enterprise, TX, printed list, March 29, 2001; e-mail to author, April 24, 26, May 9, 2001. The author estimates that these churches average 50 members and are somewhat smaller than other Landmark churches in the state.

18. 2000 Minutes of Primitive Baptist Associations, Patrick R. McCoy, ed.; Jerry A. Newsome, A Modest History of Primitive Baptists in the United States (N.p.: n.p., c.1976); ERS, 613; DBA, 226; Patrick R. McCoy, Culloden, e-mail to author, May 22, 2001; Emerson Proctor, Statesboro, e-mail to author, May 29, 2001.

19. Gardner et al., History of the Georgia Baptist Association, 527-528 (nos. 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 16, 18, 21, 26-29, and 31). Statistics for the associations included in this study are as follows: Chestatee BA: 14/3,174 (Minutes, 1999); Coosawattee BA: 14/3,030 (Minutes, 2000); Ellijay BA: 4/1,088 (Minutes, 2000); Jasper BA: 21/4,097 (Minutes, 2000); New Hope BA: 20/2,131 (Minutes, 2000); Original Smyrna BA: 21/1,645 (Minutes, 2000); Pleasant Grove BA: 25/4,343 (Minutes, 2001); Pleasant Valley BA: 10/1,562 (Minutes, 2000). Central Western BA disbanded in 1997 (Robert Vaughn, e-mail to author, July 5, 2001); South River BA disbanded in 1999 (David J. Moon, Jr. [of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Rockdale County, which is in the Pleasant Grove BA], letter to author, August 11, 2000).

20. The estimation comes from Rev. Raymond Hancock, secretary, Southwide Baptist Fellowship, Stockbridge, October 28, December 12, 1999. For Baptist Bible Fellowship International see: ESB, 113, 2099; ERS, 84-85; DBA, 42-43; Billy V. Bartlett, A History of Baptist Separatism (Springfield, MO: Baptist Bible College, 1972); Billy V. Bartlett, The Beginnings: A Pictorial History of the Baptist Bible Fellowship (Springfield, MO: Baptist Bible College, 1975); , January 10, 2002; for Georgia Baptist Bible Fellowship see: "Brief History of the Georgia Baptist Bible Fellowship," ; for Fundamental Baptist Fellowship see: DBA, 125-126; "A Brief History of the FBF," , January 10, 2002; for Independent Baptist Fellowship International see: "History of IBFI," , January 10, 2002; Albert W. Wardin, ed., Baptists Around the World (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publsihers, 1995), 406; for Liberty Baptist Fellowship see: Wardin, 406-407; for Southwide Baptist Fellowship see: DBA, 150-151, 257; Wardin, 407; for World Baptist Fellowship see: ESB, 515, 2562-2563; DBA, 57, 295; Earl K. and Virginia C. Oldham, ISS-WBF: Sail On (Arlington, TX: Arlington Baptist College, c.1992); "Origin," , January 10, 2002.

21. Estimation made by author after consulting with Raymond Hancock.

22. Conference with E. Frank Broome, Macon, August 31, 1999; Visions (Macon), July/August 2000, July/August 2002; DBA, 93-94;

23. DBA, 19; , August 27, 1999.

24. John Crowley, "The Two Seed Baptists of Georgia," Viewpoints: Georgia Baptist History 16 (1998); ESB, 1433, 2028-2029; DBA, 270-271.

25. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies: 1926, Volume II, 193-195; United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies: 1936; Volume II, Part I, 209-211; Bradley et al., 189; Mount Pleasant No. 1 BA, Minutes, 1996; ESB, 380; DBA, 106.

26. American Baptist Churches, Supplement Directory, 1972-1973, 52; Directory, 1982, 172; 1992, 186; 1996, 169; , January 10, 2002; ESB, 36-42, 1565-1568, 2080-2081; DBA, 21-26; McBeth, 392-412, 563-608.

27. , January 10, 2002; Daria Greening, Schaumburg, IL, November 19, 1999; ESB, 1137, 2435; DBA, 129-130; McBeth, 755-758; Paul N. Tassell, Quest for Faithfulness (Schaumburg, IL: Regular Baptist Press, 1991). The author has estimated that Georgia churches average half the size (50) of all churches in this general body (Wardin, 371).

28. Rev. Gene Breed, Jonesboro, e-mail to author, December 28, 1999; DBA, 233; McBeth, 770-776; Mark Sidwell, "The Reformed Baptists: A Fundamentalism File Research Report," , January 11, 2002. The author has estimated that Georgia churches average half the size (20) of all churches in this general body (Wardin, 430). 29. Conservative Baptist Association of America, Directory, 1975, 1979, 1982, 1993, 1994; CBAmerica, Directory, 1999-2000; , January 11, 2002; ESB, 311, 1664-1665, 2171; DBA, 91; Bruce L. Shelley, A History of Conservative Baptists (Third edition; Wheaton, IL: Conservative Baptist Press, 1981).

30. Bernard Quinn et al., Churches and Church Membership in the United States 1980 (Atlanta: Glenmary Research Center, 1982), 13, 71; Richard K. Bloom, Arlington Heights, IL, e-mail to author, June 20, 2001; telephone conversation with James M. Smith, Norcross, June 20, 2001; , January 10, 2002; ESB, 1343-1344, 2102; DBA, 47, 264-265; McBeth, 561, 728-731; Wardin, 377-379 (Riverwood Baptist Church, Norcross).

31. Newnan Times-Herald, May 11, 2002; Rev. Winston Skinner, e-mail to author, June 18, 2002; , June 18, 2002; ESB, 984-985, 2378; DBA, 206; McBeth, 731-735; Wardin, 380-382 (Mount Zion Baptist Church, Meriwether County).

32. Macon Telegraph, December 29, 2000, 8-A, gives 8,186,453 as the estimated Georgia population in 2000.

Robert G. Gardner, Senior Researcher in Baptist History Jack Tarver Library, Mercer University, Macon, GA 31207 Gardner_RG@Mercer.EDU October 02, 2002

 

 

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