Baptists and the American Civil War: May 13, 1862

Chowan AssociationThe Chowan Baptist Association of North Carolina assembles today for the organization’s annual meeting. Among business items, the report on the North Carolina Baptist State Convention is front and center, revealing insight into how Southern Baptists have reoriented their mission efforts in light of the Civil War.

This Institution is designed to give strength and efficiency to our efforts in promoting the great objects of christian benevolence, connected with the advancement of our Redeemer’s kingdom in this world. It includes State Missions, Foreign Missions, Ministerial Education and Colportage. It is also auxiliary to the Southern Domestic Board, in promoting missions in general.

In prosecuting its work of State Missions, it does not propose to supersede the work of Associations and Union Meetings, but to co-operate with them, if necessary, and in addition to this, supply destitute villages and sections with Baptist preaching.

In aiding Foreign Missions, it operates through the Foreign Mission Board, located at Richmond, who applies the funds, as directed by the donors.

It proposes to assist young men, called of God to preach the gospel, and approved by their respective churches in procuring an education. Thus educating preachers and not men to preach.

While much might and ought to be said in favor of each of these objects, yet the space allowed for a Report forbids it; we can only, in a very concise manner, bring them before our brethren. The times and circumstances demand that we give them a hearty support. To do this is not only our duty, but it is a great privilege, an exalted honor.

Colportage has long since been deemed an efficient means of disseminating religious truth. Events have transpired, during the past Associational year, which have invested this department of our Convention, with more than usual importance. The immense army now in the field, embraces the flower of the Southern Confederacy. The morals of these men must be cared for, or society will suffer an irreparable loss, however brilliant may be their victories. Army colportage is one of the most efficient means of counteracting the demoralizing inferences of the camp. The success which has attended our efforts in this department, is both gratifying and encouraging, and should stimulate us to a greater degree of liberality than has hitherto been manifested. Such is the magnitude of this work, that it demands more than a passing notice from us. We, therefore, hope that your body, at its present session, will inaugurate some means of affording immediate relief to this department.

However perfect may be the plan of the Convention for prosecuting its work, its efficiency, under God, depends upon the churches. It is their creature. From their contributions, its treasury must be supplied. In view of the pressing necessity of the Board of the Convention,

Resolved, That we request each church in this Association to send contributions to the next meeting of the Convention at Wake Forest College, and that we request the Ministers, of this body to lay the claims of the Convention before their respective churches at some time prior to the meeting of that body.

Respectfully submitted,

R. B. JONES, Chm’n.

Source: Chowan Baptist Association Minutes, 1862 (link)