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A Paper Submitted to Dr. A. J. Smith In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Course in History of Baptist CHHI 694
By Michael Lewis December 5, 2009
Introduction .................................................................................................................................. 1 Biographical Background .............................................................................................................. 2 Early Life...................................................................................................................................... 2 Converted Congregationalist ......................................................................................................... 3 Calvinistic Baptist ......................................................................................................................... 5 Free Will....................................................................................................................................... 6 The Theology of the Free Will Baptist .......................................................................................... 9 Doctrinal Position ......................................................................................................................... 9 Ordinances .................................................................................................................................... 11 Persecution, False Doctrine, and Social Issues .............................................................................. 13 Significance of the Free Will Baptist Movement ........................................................................... 15 Contributions of Benjamin Randall ............................................................................................... 15 Influence on the General Conference ............................................................................................ 16 Influence of the Free Will Baptist ................................................................................................. 17 Bibliography ................................................................................................................................. 18 Primary Sources ............................................................................................................................ 18 Secondary Sources ........................................................................................................................ 19
1895). Benjamin Randall. The proposed thesis will necessitate an examination of his life. which resulted in a spiritual awakening and reform throughout the colonies. It is not until later documentation that most publications refer to him as ³Randall´. but in humanity¶s free will to choose or deny God¶s gift of salvation. µRandallites¶. 1 1 . 1890. µNew Lights¶. theological differences from the Particular or Regular Baptists of this time and area. 285. and his impact on the Free Will Baptist movement. and his significant contributions to the development of the Free Will Baptist denomination. Christianity in the United States: From the first settlement down to the present time. as recorded in their own publications. This awakening or Great Awakening opened the eyes of many colonists to new ways and theologies. (New York: Hunt & Eaton. Great preachers such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield were very influential in leaving a legacy for the next generation.1 Biography Paper Introduction In the eighteenth century the early American colonies experienced a great moving of God. the purpose of this paper is to examine the life of their founder. Randall. proclaimed belief not in God¶s election. in his early journals sometimes refers to his last name spelling as ³Randal´. ³These people were opprobiously called µGeneral Provisioners¶. this awakening caused a significant development in Baptist life.´ 1 It is of a matter of clarity to understand that the exclusive use of the term Free Will Baptist was not used until later on in their organization. It was the birth of a new faction of Baptists. Following the example of British born Evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770). However. and µOpen Communionists¶. Free Baptist or Freewill Baptist are two of the three titles given to this group of people. One Daniel Dorchester. much like their General Baptist forefathers. many itinerant preachers used inventive methods to stir the hearts of colonists. In New England. µFree Willers¶. Reprint.
³By the time he had founded the Freewill Baptist Church in New Durham. This became his sole occupation for the next nine years until he requested apprenticeship as a sail-maker. in 1780. 2 2 . (Nashville: Randall House Publications.. Davidson describes this development as four major changes. because of his disdain for sea-faring life. (2) the period in the Congregational Church. and (4) the period of Freewill Baptist sentiment. 127. Randall and his William F. His mercantile education and sail making abilities would help him later in life as he supplemented his preaching. 2001). which led to growth in his theology. His grandfather had come from England about 1700 and had settled on the island at the mouth of the Piscataqua River. Feb 7. 2nd ed. Davidson.2 area of interest that will be considered is the development of the Free Will Baptist third ordinance. but to look at Randall¶s participation in this practice and it¶s later development as an ordinance. later to be called New Castle. (3) the period in the Calvinistic Baptist tradition.´2 Subsequently it will be beneficial to trace these four areas of Randall¶s life to understand the importance and development of the Free Will Baptist faith and practice. Biographical Background The founding of the Free Will Baptist denomination was Randall¶s methodical journey of personal examination of the Scriptures. feet washing. New Hampshire. It is not the intent to do an exhaustive history of feet washing. his theology had passed through four major changes: (1) the period of unconverted piety. The Free Will Baptists in History. NH. Like the majority of eighteenth century colonists in New England. 1749. Randall¶s father was a sea captain and at the age of nine he would often accompany his father to sea. Early Life Benjamin Randall was born in New Castle.
From that time I practiced secret prayer and was always led to pray on my knees or prostrate on my face. Ward. fasted. principally taken from documents written by himself. 2. read his Bible.A. In those exercises I would often be affected by tears. Frederick L. or heard that any particular attitude had been enjoined as a duty. Randall truly had an understanding of God based on fear. and ³even on the seas his sense on propriety made profanity to him disgusting. (Limerick. Wiley. 557. TN: Free Baptist Cyclopaedia Co.´6 His early years were truly based on a sense of self-righteousness and failed to bring the contentment he desired.. G.´4 From an early age of five Randall stated in his journal: ³I seldom closed my eyes in sleep at night without prayer to God in such language as would best express the feelings of my heart. (Valley Forge. Converted Congregationalist In 1770 George Whitefield made his last visit to America and preached in Portsmouth. Being so convinced of his Congregational roots. He attended worship at the Congregational Church. Randall John Buzzell.3 parents were members of the Congregational Church. PA: American Baptist Publication Society. 4 3 Ibid. though I had never seen anyone pray in these attitudes.T.. Randall recalled that he always took a serious approach to matters of religion. (Nashville. 6 5 3 . ME: Hobbs. Woodman. 1915).´3 Randall described his own childhood spirituality as ³pharisaical´ as he tried to get to heaven through good works such as praying and fasting as he attempted to ³establish a righteousness of my own. a neighboring town to Randall. prayed. 1889). 3. and Co.´5 At this stage in his life. striving to be an upright child so that he might avoid the ³deep pit. 7. The Life of Elder Benjamin Randel. Life and influence of the Rev. In recounting his childhood. somewhere under where we live. Burgess and J. Benjamin Randall: Founder of the Free Baptist denomination.Historical and Biographical. Free Baptist Cyclopaedia . 1827).
The Life of Elder Benjamin Randel. John Buzzell. (Limerick.«for I was resolved that his preaching should have no effect on me«´7 Later on his way to hear Whitefield for a fourth time he heard the news that Whitefield was dead. 1. Randall became inquisitive and even with his reluctance could not refrain from going to hear Whitefield three more times.10 In May of 1775. Frederick L. XXXIV (May 18. 8. Life and influence of the Rev. he ended his association with the Congregational Church. Wiley. After his conversion he joined the Congregational Church.4 reluctantly went to listen to Whitefield. I could not see. Even this met with disapproval from the pastor after a brief period of success. (Valley Forge. ME: Hobbs. ³Apostolic Succession and Religion of the Spirit. Exemplified in the Life and Times of Benjamin Randall. Woodman. which was a move into another phase of his life. 1827).´8 Randall then remembered the words of the apostle. 1915). principally taken from documents written by himself. As a last attempt he began to hold his own meetings of singing and the reading of scripture.´ The Morning Star.. Randall writes: ³«The power with which he spoke was a torment to me« I felt enough of the spirit of persecution to have all such preachers whipped out of town«Although Mr. He toiled over the lack of godliness and discipline in his family¶s church. 2627. but it was not a happy experience. Whitefield¶s coming was so disgustful to me«I also went. PA: American Baptist Publication Society. 8 7 Ibid.´9 As this truth became clear. 10 9 4 . It was with this news that Randall began to contemplate the sermons of Whitefield and the condition of his own life. 1859). and Co. but more as a spectator. 4-6. Randall finally found the peace that he had wanted in his life. Benjamin Randall: Founder of the Free Baptist denomination. ³But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. ³Yet I believed God was merciful enough to save me and everybody else: but how it could be possible for Him to be just and save me.
do leave that off and read the Bible instead. Frederick L. much like Whitefield. When they would not adhere to his same thoughts. Wiley. 13 11 12 Ibid. (Valley Forge. Life and influence of the Rev. Randall. His conclusion resulted in the belief that the Scriptures taught believer¶s baptism and that he himself should be baptized. Maine. 1776. 9.12 Randall began taking the leadership by reading sermons to the congregants. But in one evening. Randall saw the need to improve the Congregational Church.´13 This expression deeply impressed Randall because his position was recognized but caused him to refrain from preaching. Benjamin Randall: Founder of the Free Baptist denomination. TN: American Baptist Historical Society. (Nashville. History of the Freewill Baptists: A study in New England separatism. the next transition would not be so easy. PA: American Baptist Publication Society. this spiritual development was a very natural change for Randall. 1915). ³Mr. 46. 41. However. 43.11 On October 14. he began looking for another fellowship that would identify with his viewpoint. He served as an orderly sergeant and began to study the Scriptures concerning the validity of infant baptism.5 Calvinistic Baptist Moving from religious piety to a second step of conversion. on the next day he began to read and soon was Norman Allen Baxter. William Hooper baptized him and after his baptism he joined the Calvinistic Baptist Church at Berwick. Randall began to cultivate his call to serve people by attending to the spiritual needs of the soldiers in the Revolutionary Army. If you will not preach to us. as the service was closing one of the members called out. 5 . Rev. 1957). I am tired of hearing you read old sermons. By this time he had developed a following because of his great leadership and in March 1977 Randall answered the call of Christ for full-time ministry. However. Because of his passion for holiness and a strong desire to be involved in evangelizing his town.
that it was my duty to preach the gospel.6 expounding on scripture.. 1778. but it was the town of New Durham.´14 Randall began to preach around the area and even with much resistance and danger to his life. an universal love. Dating back to his conversion Randall wrote: ³I saw an universal atonement. an universal call and that none would ever perish. In the summer of 1777 Randall continued to preach revival around the country. but he would later have to face Baptist dissention concerning his message. ³With tears I told the people how the Lord had made it manifest to me that. In his own words Randall states. Wiley writes: ³People flocked to hear the new preacher. With much prayer and fasting. 44. It wass in New Durham that the Free Will Baptist movement began and Randall¶s doctrine was challenged. Then opposition commenced in open demonstrations. After preaching a revival in new Durham the people were stirred to invite Randall to be their next pastor. from Scripture. Ibid. and judged that something must be done to arrest the revival. This stage is very crucial in Randall¶s spiritual development because he identified. 15 6 .´15 Somehow Randall always escaped the mob or won over the crowd. a founding role. preaching. March 23. Free Will The final stage in Benjamin Randall spiritual development was the realization of conviction that Christ had died for every man. Randall decided to move his family from New Castle to New Durham. 49. and the revival spread till some thirty were hopefully converted. only those who would refuse to accept«O what love too I felt for all 14 Ibid. the need for believer¶s baptism. His continual preaching prepared him for the last phase. for the last two years. The enemies of equal rights and the exercise of religious liberty began to feel alarmed. to be the pastor. NH that later was of particular interest.
both adults and infants. His laconic answer was.7 mankind. " Because I do not believe them. who called on him publicly to state why he did not preach the distinctive views of Calvin. like Randall. Randall was summoned to a meeting. within the sphere of Randall's influence. 1915). others. pot a span long!´18 The hyper-Calvinism. by his sovereign will. ³For while some. It does not appear that this doctrine had made a matter of controversy until the first attack on Randall by an aged minister. ME: Hobbs. But the common interest was not to continue. especially in New England. (Valley Forge. and Co.´17 Up to this time. 7 . held for the John Buzzell. Woodman. to some extent had crept into the Baptist denomination. while a certain number must be saved. 19 18 Ibid. 75. 65. with a common interest in their general cause. 1827). Frederick L. 65. must be lost. 20. The Life of Elder Benjamin Randel. 17 16 Ibid. PA: American Baptist Publication Society.. 64. Wiley. Randall¶s conviction was so complete that he felt as though everyone shared his sentiment. and wanted that they all might share in that all fullness. principally taken from documents written by himself. Life and influence of the Rev. reveals that the young preacher had little problem with his different views when he first began to preach. John Buzzell. as descried above. the Baptists had moved forward united. others held the doctrine that God. (Limerick. which I saw so extensive and so free to all«´16 An early biographer of Randall. All had been peace and harmony since his acceptance of the Baptist faith and ³«nothing had been said about Calvinism or Arminianism. Benjamin Randall: Founder of the Free Baptist denomination."19 In July 1779. 21. and all²as they would contend²for the glory of God! Some would preach that there were infants in hell. had determined that. adhered to the doctrine of free grace for all who would accept salvation.
and on June 30. extended to them the hand of fellowship. which he believed to be divinely marked out for his own footsteps.´22 Randall found himself in an undesirable situation. came forward. joined hands. considered. to answer for his alleged doctrinal errors. It is also of particular interest that Randall had no purpose or 20 Ibid. Ibid. There he met his inquisitors during a two days' debate. signed the covenant. 1780 the New Durham church adopted the first Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. The Crown Pointe church ordained Benjamin Randall. and as an expression of their fellowship and union. the candidates. his most prominent accuser proclaimed: " I have no fellowship for Brother Randall in his principles.23 It is important to note these Articles of Faith mentioned by Wiley predate the Free Will Baptist treatise of 1834. 21 22 23 8 .8 purpose. four men and three women. And now let him be God who answers by fire. so long as the Lord owns me. until several years later it seemed a necessity. This done. These articles were then read. and that people be his people whom he owns and blesses. Elder Randall then presented the sacred Scriptures to them as their only rule of faith and practice. and pursue the path. 82. Clearly and precisely he maintained his views and no one could dispute his arguments. and while all knelt offered a prayer that the Spirit of God might consecrate them to his service. 67."21 Randall replied. ³It makes no difference to me by whom I am disowned. He was fully opposed to any division then. He had no choice but to step aside from these hyper-Calvinists.20 At the close. but he could not violate his convictions and consent to preach Calvinism. and intentionally adopted. 67 Ibid. 83. 67 Ibid. at a Baptist church in Lower Gilmanton.
However. he still claimed a place in the Baptist ranks. but by the revelation of Christ. 1827). Randall was in no way prideful in his beliefs since he did not take credit for them. Randall¶s ministerial training did not include any kind of formal education. but it was indeed a definable moment when the Calvinistic Baptist withdrew fellowship from him. principally taken from documents written by himself. who provided the stability that helped shape a collection of congregations into a unified movement. it is of utmost importance to give general definition to the Free Will Baptist beliefs as outlined by the Articles of Faith from the New Durham church. but considered God to be the direct source of this theological understanding.. ³I know that I received it not from men. The previous identified the travels and activities of Randall¶s life and ministry. The Theology of the Free Will Baptist The genesis of this movement was located at New Durham. John Buzzell. 250. Randall was selftaught as a minister and developed his theology based upon his own personal understanding of scripture. and Co. the home of Benjamin Randall. This section will analyze the theology of Randall and the connexion that separated them from the majority of the other religious groups in New England that affirmed Calvinism. In one of his letters to the New Durham Quarterly Meeting he wrote of his theology stating. (Limerick.¶24 Doctrinal Position It is again important to note that Randall was not a proponent of separating from the Baptist in New England. New Hampshire. ME: Hobbs. 24 9 .9 anticipation of founding a separate sect. The New England Regular Baptist had yet to pen the New Hampshire Confession and so still adhered to tenets of extreme Calvinism. So. and full loyalty to Baptist principles of free church and believer¶s baptism. The Life of Elder Benjamin Randel. However. Woodman.
Mutually they agreed that the Sabbath is a day of personal communion with God. who is Father. Benjamin Randall: Founder of the Free Baptist denomination. 89. Pinson Benjamin Randall. 1993). The journal of Benjamin Randall and the First Free Will Baptist Church. New Durham. ed. Frederick L. relating to the idea that Christ died for all as a general atonement and that man has a dual responsibility in his acceptance of this grace relating to man¶s free will. of the New Durham Church Articles of Faith. 89.´ 27 Randall¶s belief in the free will of humanity also led him to believe that it was possible for individuals to lose their salvation. by Dr. They both give an account of the condition of man and his fallen state and need of salvation.10 Both agreed on inerrancy of scriptures and one true God. TN: Published By The Home Missions Dept. helped him understand his nagging question. Wiley. and Holy Spirit. and their explanations were seen to be in perfect harmony with a general atonement and a universal call. 90. or the possibility of apostasy. An experience that he felt that was from God. Life and influence of the Rev. there are direct statements in articles 10 and 11. New Hampshire. 27 26 25 Ibid. Son. 10 . 54-56. There are inherently many similarities in these statements alone and it is understandable that Randall never made issue of the differences. PA: American Baptist Publication Society. 1915). This need for a Savior is found in the person of Christ and is the sole justification represented in both groups. notably in Romans. which is by the grace of God through repentance. that he could not explain quite to his own satisfaction. In the same way an individual could choose to accept God¶s grace they could also reject the grace of God. Randall states that he found certain texts. (Valley Forge. Roy Thomas (Antioch. They equally agree on Christ¶s immanent return and judgment. 90.25 However. Of The National Association Of Free Will Baptists.26 ³Randall saw the seals of those difficult texts all unloosed.
New Hampshire. John Buzzell. (Limerick. then Randall believed they put their salvation at risk. Of The National Association Of Free Will Baptists. 161. ME: Hobbs. 31 11 . all children were free from condemnation until they reached the age of accountability. 1781. Woodman. 67. by Dr. 57. at which time they were subject to condemnation for their own sins.30 Ordinances In the area of the ordinances of the church the Free Will Baptist found common ground with Regular Baptist in believer¶s baptism. but their lives must demonstrate that decision.´28 Randall¶s belief that men and women could lose their salvation is confirmed in one of his published sermons discussed by Buzell. 1827). and Ministries. ³A failure to continue in faith. Randall and the Church of Christ of New Durham first considered the question on September 12. TN: Published By The Home Missions Dept.11 calls this. The journal of Benjamin Randall and the First Free Will Baptist Church. especially with his own conversion experience.29 In the sermon he established the spiritual condition of children and God¶s unconditional acceptance of them. principally taken from documents written by himself. In Randall¶s opinion. With Randall¶s zeal to see all people come to Christ it is evident that would be a strong tie to his Baptist background. ed. However. (Nashville: Randall House Publications. Roy Thomas (Antioch. 161.´31 Eventually the congregation decided that only evidence of the Christian life should be the prerequisite for access to the Lord¶s Supper. and ³after long labour decided to refer it to further consideration. Matthew J. Pinson. A Free Will Baptist Handbook: Heritage. Beliefs. but then did not demonstrate Christian identity in their life. The Life of Elder Benjamin Randel. New Durham. unlike the Regular Baptist in New England Randall did not recognize baptism as a prerequisite for fellowship in the Lord¶s Supper. All people were eligible to accept the grace of God. 1993). 162 Benjamin Randall.. 1998). If individuals accepted the grace of God. and Co. 30 29 28 Ibid.
33 The present Treatise of the Faith and Practices of the Free Will Baptist still to this date do not acknowledge baptism as a prerequisite to partake in the Lord¶s Supper and is an advocate for open communion with the only requirement that only believers partake. "Washing of Feet and Hands. William L. ME: Hobbs. Rev. and Co. Lumpkin.´32 A similar decision was reached at the December 1785 New Durham Quarterly Meeting held at Gorham. Other Baptist groups have participated in feet washing and it can be traced to other distinct groups such as the Roman Catholic Church as a ritual in the liturgy for Maunday Thursday celebrations.org/cathen/15557b. Herbert Thurston. 1781 states.htm (accessed December 18.34 It can definitely be traced to the Annabaptists and the 1632 Dordrecht Confession of the practice of washing of the saint¶s feet. Vol. 1827). ³Then voted liberty to those that believe it to be their duty to wash one another¶s 32 Ibid. New York: Robert Appleton Company. The Life of Elder Benjamin Randel. Maine.(Valley Forge: Judson Press. 80. 366. ³It is the duty and happy prerogative of every believer to observe this sacred ordinance.." The Catholic Encyclopedia.´ A journal entry of Randall dated September 9.35 The Free Will Baptist are distinct in that feet washing is stated as an ordinance that teaches humility and reminds the believer of the need for cleansing of sin. 57. 35 34 33 12 . http://www. 15. Woodman. The Treatise of the Faith and Practices of the Free Will Baptist states. 2009)..newadvent. 1912. 1969). (Limerick. John Buzzell. Baptist Confessions of Faith. The true ordinal distinction of the Free Will Baptist is feet washing.12 They also decided non-immersed believers could ³participate at the table as long as their lives demonstrated a commitment to Christ. principally taken from documents written by himself. ed.
by Darrell Holley (Nashville. New Hampshire.´41 While visiting the churches in the region of Kennebeck River he wrote in his journal. ³Randall continued to warn his followers against the doctrine of eternal security. 1993). It is not a test of fellowship among Free Will Baptist Churches. 9. William F. The journal of Benjamin Randall and the First Free Will Baptist Church. New Durham. It was also in the amended Article of Faith April 13.. Of The National Association Of Free Will Baptists.39 Persecution. TN: Published by the Historical Commission of the National Association of Free Will Baptist). New Hampshire. ed. TN: Published By The Home Missions Dept. 1969). by Dr. this matter of feet washing has always been defined as a matter for the local church to decide concerning its practice. ed. Free Will Baptist and the Washing of the Saints Feet. 60. ed.40 After being condemned as a heretic. ed. 36 Benjamin Randall.37 The Free Will Baptist Connexion used this confessional document loosely until their first treatise was published in 1834. Roy Thomas (Antioch. Randall was severely beaten and faced much persecution by the clergy. 13 . 73 William L. 57. New Durham. Davidson and Robert E. and Social Issues Some of the greatest persecution and exploitation against Benjamin Randall and his followers came from Calvinists.´36 The ordinance of feet washing was listed as article 15 in the Articles of Faith of the New Durham church. 1993).(Valley Forge: Judson Press. 60. The journal of Benjamin Randall and the First Free Will Baptist Church. Baptist Confessions of Faith. by Dr. Roy Thomas (Antioch. Benjamin Randall. 376. where feet washing is listed in chapter 18 article 3. Picirilli. 1791. 37 Ibid. TN: Published By The Home Missions Dept. which dealt with the separate practice of feet washing among men and women.38 However. 41 40 39 38 Ibid. False Doctrine. Rev.13 feet to act on it. Lumpkin. and preached that it led to sinful living and false hope. Of The National Association Of Free Will Baptists.
pride. Ibid.14 ³I found great freedom in preaching ±the truth prevailed. The Shakers were having success at the Free Will congregations at Loudon and Canterbury. If I mistake not. The Calvinistic veil which had been so long over their hearts seemed to be rent in twain from top to the bottom. and the people through all that country appeared to be awakened.´42 The New Durham Church also faced great adversity after being organized for two years when the Shaker cult filtered into New England to gather laborers for their vineyard. and the people were enabled to look into the perfect law of liberty. However. 1791 to address conduct. This was deemed necessary because those who had become backslidden had infiltrated the church. secret prayer. all our elders and deacons have left us and joined the Shaking Quakers with a great part of the church with them«´43 From the earliest times well into the 1800s. He was a total abstainer. 63 Ibid. lawsuits. 1783. The pastor of the Louden church writes Randall January 13. charitableness. refusing to drink any kind of alcoholic beverage even when urged to do so for the possible relief of colds and coughs from which he continually suffered. worldliness and ordinances. with a sorrowful heart I set down to write to you at this time to inform you some of our difficulties we are under.44 Because of new challenges among the brethren it was necessary for the New Durham Church to amend its Articles of Faith April 13. rum was a staple in most New England households. Elder Benjamin Randall deplored the widespread effect of liquor and zealously cried out against the evils of the day. 64. ³Dear Brethren. family worship weapons. Randall¶s strong and resolute stand against drinking led the congregation to deal patiently and lovingly with any offenders among the membership. exhortations and speaking to one another. The issues addressed were primarily issues 42 Ibid. 59 43 44 14 . trade and commerce.
D. Pittsfield. NH: Dover: Freewill Baptist Printing Establishment. and now revival was taking place. 237. Volume I: From the Year 1780 to 1830. 1862). for Half a Century. For several years the movement had suffered the effects of false doctrine. It had dealt with internal problems of backsliding. I. and the New Durham church had survived being disbanded and reorganized. Stewart. History of the Freewill Baptists. 1792 Randall met with representatives from New Durham. This was a new cooperation among Free 45 Ibid 72. Randall expected a true believer to demonstrate his or her relationship with Jesus through a lifetime of faithfulness. but there was one note worthy addition concerning article 9 addressing the issue of bearing arms. 46 15 . Articles 9 came to the conclusion that those who professed Christ could not be consistent with His life giving teachings and continue to bear arms.15 relating to holiness. (Dover. Middleton.46 Contributions of Benjamin Randall On May 23. and Barringon to organize the yearly meetings conveying four times a year and the new quarterly meeting gathering every three months. Church members that did not adequately demonstrate the life of faith prompted the church discipline process within the connexion as the congregation was obligated to try to assist the erring member back into membership within the congregation.45 Significance of the Free Will Baptist Movement Randall rejected the ³Calvinistic´ understanding of the doctrine of election and believed salvation was available to all people if they chose to accept the grace of God. The church discipline process was not limited to the local congregation but was a connexion-wide practice that provided multiple levels of adjudication and appeal culminating in the ultimate authority of the Yearly Meeting.
His established an elaborate organizational structure within the connexion as the monthly meetings were held accountable by the quarterly meetings and the quarterly meetings were held accountable by the yearly meetings. Randall¶s free will theology was a catalyst concept of the movement and his personal theology became the driving force of the connexion. (Nashville: Randall House Publications. New Hampshire. 1808. Stewart. NH: Dover: Freewill Baptist Printing Establishment. 1862). in order to be present for the funeral service.47 Randall¶s legacy was apparent in the administrative decisions he initiated as he attempted to manage the fast-growing movement. Volume I: From the Year 1780 to 1830. 133-135. (Dover. Influence on the General Conference Randall¶s followers were not surprised at his passing. Randall¶s impact on the Free Will Baptist did not end with his death. but Randall¶s organizational efforts resulted in a unique polity among eighteenth century Baptists. because the last five years of his life included numerous bouts of serious illness that Randall himself was surprised to overcome. 223 48 47 16 . 22. 2nd ed. William F. 9 ruling elders. Davidson. Randall was able to maintain supervision over the activities in the monthly meetings throughout the connexion. The Free Will Baptists in History. Randall¶s leadership was instrumental in defining the relationships between the local congregations and the quarterly and yearly meetings as he proposed the system that was eventually adopted and implemented.16 Will Baptist Church¶s that by 1790 numbered 20 with 8 ministers. it continued long after his life ended on Oct. His service was held October 26. History of the Freewill Baptists. 1808 and his burial was delayed a few days after his death so individuals from throughout the connexion could travel to New Durham. 2001). I.48 The system of organization took years to develop. and 7 unordained preachers. for Half a Century.D. Through his participation in the quarterly and yearly meetings.
Because of Randall¶s efforts the movement gained momentum in the nineteenth century and established in 1827 as a General Conference. They allowed larger leadership roles for women in their churches. and by the 1830¶s the Foreign Mission Society and Home Mission Society would be formed. Nashville. Mcbeth. The only change was the addition of the meeting of the General Conference of the Freewill Baptists. a printing establishment. Influence of the Free Will Baptist By 1911 the Randall movement would merge with the Northern Baptist and only a remnant of Free Will churches that had not merged met with the remainder of their southern brothers from the Paul Palmer line to form in 1935 as. which would develop four schools of higher learning.17 The system of accountability that Randall implemented continued to serve the movement and it was only as a result of the continued growth of the connexion that Randall¶s system was modified in 1827. enlisted many blacks in to their membership and ordained black pastors on an equality with whites. 1987). 435-437. the basic system of accountability Randall implemented remained in place as the monthly meetings continued to report to the quarterly meetings and the quarterly meetings continued to report to the yearly meetings. The Baptist Heritage/Four Centuries of Baptist Witness. ³The Randallite¶s pioneered in several areas.49 Even after the modifications in 1827. (Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group.´50 American Baptist Historians often draw a distinction between the First Great Awakening 49 Ibid. The National Association of Free Will Baptist. Leon H. 50 17 . a national periodical. in the 1840¶s they became the first Baptist group to allow single women as foreign missionaries. 714. They strongly opposed slavery.
1926). (Downers Groves. From the First Settlement of the Country to the Year 1845 Volume 2.51 The first wave of revivals challenged the theology and commitment of those established churches while the second wave was dominated by the rise of the common man. John T. Randall spent the next twenty-eight years organizing and leading a new religious movement that grew and developed largely in the last two decades of the eighteenth century. Christian. Illinos: Bogard Press. 51 18 . The Freewill Baptists serve as a unique religious movement that bridged the span between the two revivals. when Benjamin Randall. 345. A History of the Baptists of the United States. experienced his conversion after hearing of the death of George Whitefield in 1780.18 of the eighteenth century and the Second Great Awakening that occurred a century later. They began as a result of the eighteenth century revivals and developed and matured during the revivals of the nineteenth century. The origin of the Freewill Baptists can be traced back to the first wave of revivals. 167. Randall himself adopted many of the same worship practices and followed Whitefield¶s example by developing an itinerant ministry of his own.
Baxter. Roy Thomas Antioch. Volumes 1-2 (1780?-1911). Randall. John. Mass. 1859. Freewill Baptist. The journal of Benjamin Randall and the First Free Will Baptist Church. TN: Published By The Home Missions Dept. 1874. 19 . In three parts. Norman Allen. Benjamin. New Durham. and Co. 2nd ed. Woodman. The baptism of believers only: And the Particular Communion of the Baptist churches. History of New England Baptists: With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists. Cambridge. A History of the Baptists of the United States. NH: Dover. Christian.19 BIBLIOGRAPHY Primary Sources Backus. TN: American Baptist Historical Society. Isaac. The Life of Elder Benjamin Randel. 2. Jonathan McDuffe.. OH: Selah Hibbard Barrett. Of The National Association Of Free Will Baptists. Memoirs Of Eminent Preachers In The Freewill Baptist Denomination (1874). 1871. and J. Brewster. Vol. ³Apostolic Succession and Religion of the Spirit. Baldwin. Illinos: Bogard Press. ed.Historical and Biographical. Exemplified in the Life and Times of Benjamin Randall. Freewill Baptist General Conference. 1881. John T.. Free Baptist Cyclopaedia . Downers Groves. Buzzell. Minutes of the General Conference of the Freewill Baptist Connection (1859). G. explained and vindicated. Thomas. ME: Hobbs. Dover. Newton. Limerick.. Freewill Baptist quarterly magazine. principally taken from documents written by himself. New York: General Books Llc. 1889. New Hampshire. The first--Published originally . Cornhill: Printed And Sold By Manning & Loring. 1827. 2009. Centennial Record of Freewill Baptists.: The Printing Establishment. Secondary Sources Barrett. 1926. History of the Freewill Baptists: A study in New England separatism.T. From the First Settlement of the Country to the Year 1845 (Volume 2) (Hardcover). N. 1993. Nashville. 1957. Burgess. Selah Hibbard. 1806. Freewill Baptist.: The Backus Historical Society. Nashville. Mass. 1955. Rutland..´ The Morning Star. by Dr.A.. Ward. XXXIV May 18. with Strictures on several late Publications. 1780-1880.H. TN: Free Baptist Cyclopaedia Co..
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