Two lectures from Dr. Sam Waldron on the history of Reformed Baptists in America:
Dr. Waldron’s book “Baptist Roots in America: The Historical Background of Reformed Baptists in America” is available from Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan’s SermonAudio page.
Waldron concludes: “Any church, therefore, determined to preach and practice the whole counsel of God in American today must be ready for war. It must be ready to be called many things by those who believe in autonomous freedom and worship at the shrine of individual liberty! Even those who should know better may be alienated by the spirit of the age. Yet the war is not unwinnable…. The secret of winning the war is not compromise with the spirit of this age. It is uncompromising obedience to God which holds the promise of his blessing.”
Samuel Waldron has given us some keen insights on understanding not just the state of Baptists in America but of contemporary evangelicalism in general. Every Virginia Baptist, in particular, should read this booklet. True to Waldron’s thesis, Calvinistic Virginia Baptists (born of the merger of Regular and Separate Baptists in the early 19th century) loosened their doctrinal convictions in the post Civil War era. One can clearly trace this if he goes back and reads the articles in the Religious Herald, the newspaper of Virginia Baptists. J. B. Jeter (1802-1880) was the last Calvinistic editor of the Religious Herald. With the transition to R. H. Pitt a period of doctrinal decline was hastened. Pitt used the pages of the Herald, for example, to speak out against the adoption of the Baptist Faith and Message in 1925 (the SBC answer to the fundamentalist-modernist controversy). “Freedom” became more important than “purity.” “Anti-creedalism” has subsequently led to liberalism. Waldron offers a compelling analysis of the Baptist trajectory, and a stirring challenge for faithful living in these days.