Baptists and the American Civil War: May 26, 1865

1865_annual_encyAmerican (Northern) Baptists are wrapping up their annual national meetings, having adopted resolutions for sending missionaries among the freedmen of the South, supporting the abolition of slavery, and affirming black suffrage. The American Baptist Publication Society votes to raise $50,000 to send missionaries to the South to re-organize Sunday Schools among the white population and initiate the same among blacks.

White Baptists of the South, however, are not particular fond of the presumptuousness and intrusiveness of their Northern brethren. In no small part a reaction to perceived American Baptist meddling, the majority of Southern Baptists in Border States resolve to retain affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention. Today Southern Baptists of Kentucky do just that, voting to remain with the SBC.

On the other hand, many black Baptists of the South, previously members of white churches while enslaved are, as freedmen, leaving their former congregations and establishing their own churches, sometimes with the help of Northern Baptists.

New battle lines are thus being drawn. White Southern Baptists have no interest in working with their abolitionist brethren from the North, and black Baptists would be foolish to long remain under the spiritual direction of their former white church members who remain committed to black inequality and servitude.

Source: The American Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events in the Year 1865, Volume 5, New York: D. Appleton, 1869, p. 105-107 (link); Frank M. Masters, A History of Baptists in Kentucky, Louisville: Kentucky Baptist Historical Society, 1953, pp. 338-340 (link)