Baptists and the American Civil War: September 27, 1862

Georgia Baptists’ Flint River Baptist Association meets today at Liberty Hall Church in Henry County. Delegates listen to a sermon from 2 Corinthians 4:4 on “The Glorious Gospel of Christ,” after which they get down to business. Following the appointment of committees, the first motion raised is offered by army missionary “Brother Van Hoose” who requests the formation of a “Special Committee on the State of the Country.” The motion carries, and later produces a report that is “adopted unanimously” by a vote of delegates, and reads as follows:

It is painful for us to state that our country is involved in an unnatural and cruel war, waged against us by the Northern States. Almost every family has had to mourn the loss of a son, a father, or a husband. We are truly an afflicted people. Our hearts are sad. But we believe the good Lord is with our Southern Confederacy, and will enable us eventually to throw off the Yoke of oppression, repel our enemies, and take our place among the family of nations, a free and independent people.

We recommend the adoption of the following Resolutions:

1. That every development of the war confirms us more and more in the belief of the wisdom of the secession of the Southern from the Northern States, and we will do all in our power towards furnishing men and means to bring the war to a successful termination.

2. That we have unbated confidence in the wisdom of our President and Vice-President, and in the skill of our Generals, to manage the great interests at stake.

3. That we recommend that on every Monday night the members of the churches composing this Body, either meet at their houses of worship or around the family altar, or in secret, for special prayer for our suffering country, and for the protection and safety of our dear soldiers; and also that prayer be made without without ceasing for these objects.

Immediately following the vote, delegates suspend business to offer “special prayer … for the country.” It is not known how many church members in the months and years ahead set aside Monday evenings “for special prayer for our suffering country,” although it is likely that many white Southern Baptists on the home front — often women — pray daily for their loved ones who are far from home fighting an increasingly bloody war.

Flint River Baptists maintain a high level of Christian nationalism throughout the war, proclaiming the Confederacy as God’s chosen nation and never acknowledging the evils, so readily recognized by many other Southern Baptists, among the ranks of Confederate soldiers.

Source: Minutes of the Flint River Baptist Association, September 27, 1862