Baptists and the American Civil War: November 4, 1861

Georgia Map 1861The Bethel Baptist Association continues meeting in southwest Georgia. Having earlier endorsed the raising of money to send Bibles to southern soldiers, delegates also hear a report on the “State of the Churches.” The report is discouraging, as the war has impacted Georgia Baptists on the home front:

In consequence of the distracted state of the country, the churches of the Association present no very interesting state of things. In common with her whole people, they have suffered to no little extent from the demoralizing influences of war, as seen in the meagre contributions and very limited number of revivals. But, with all their deficiences, arising from the chastising Providence of God, we should feel truly grateful that we are not in a more deplorable situation.

Bethel Baptists thus face a world of tension. Despite exciting Confederate battlefield victories in the summer and autumn months, these Georgia Baptists lament a decline in the spiritual interests of their church members.

In the months and years ahead, spiritual victories for Southern Baptists will become much rarer.

Source: Alexander L. Miller, History of Bethel Baptist Association (Americus, Ga.: Gammage Print Shop, 1934), p. 73