Out And About (2014/08/01)


  • Over at Founder’s Journal, Tom Nettles writes about the New Hampshire Confession’s warm evangelical Calvinism.
  • Some of Spurgeon’s “lost” early sermons are going to be published
  • The Confessing Baptist has featured an interview the Reformed Cast did with Michael Haykin back in 2011 about his book, “Rediscovering the Church Fathers”. It’s an excellent book, by the way.


  • Collective Punishment in Gaza is a short article well worth reading.
  • This is a heat-map which shows social media conversation intensity over various events in Gaza
  • Over at the Gospel Coallition, back in 2013, Derek Rishmawy wrote”I am not Abraham’s Mistake” (about being a Palestinian Evangelical)
  • This Greek Orthodox critique of the Left-Behind/dispensationalist position on the Gaza conflict is fascinating.
  • Over at American Conservative, Daniel Larison deconstructs a common line of argument which supports Israel’s actions in Gaza
  • Israel’s military has received $121 billion dollars from the U.S., some former supporters are beginning to question this.

General Foreign Policy


  • The NSA’s new partner in spying? Saudi Arabia. See this and this.


  • It seems the tea business is booming in North America!


  • So apparently, black and white stripes for prisoners is coming back.
  • Ever read your kids Goodnight Moon? Now there is a Northwoods version, Goodnight Loon

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Anti-Immigration Sentiment in the 19th Century

“In 1845, the year of the schism in the [American Baptist] Triennial Convention, the Nativist Party,  which was strongly opposed to immigration…held its first national convention. Its existence reflected the growing hostility to the influx of Irish immigrants, in particular, who were Roman Catholic. The Nativists were composed largely of Americans of the old Protestant stock of northern Europe. During the decade, 1840 to 1850, they had become increasingly alarmed as more than 1,713,000 immigrants crowded the shores of the United States in contrast to only 600,000 in the previous ten-year period.” – Robert G. Torbet, A History of the Baptists (Valley Forge: Judson Press, 1973), 379.

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Early Calvinistic Baptists in Bethel, Maine – Part 6

I have finally been able to pick up a copy of East Bethel Road by Eva Bean to get some information that was not accessible via the Google Books limited view.20140726_070312

Here are some tidbits about the early Calvinistic Baptists in Bethel, Maine:

1. The first entry in the records of the church, probably from 1795, said “Having been enabled by Divine Grace to give ourselves to the Lord, we believe it is our duty and esteem it a precious privilege to give up ourselves to His visible church and make a public declaration of our faith in the Doctrines of Christ and order of His church.

2. Their 1795 “Articles of Faith” contained 16 articles and four “expressions of belief”.

3. A note dated July 15, 1802 said:

“Met at the house of Asa Kimball and favored with a sermon by Elder Cole from Titus 2:11 ‘For the Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” This was by the blessing of God made a happy season to our souls, and on the same day Brother Stephen Estes, Brother John Kilgore and Brother John Kilgore Jr., were received into church communion and fellowship.”

The “Elder Cole” was Benjamin Cole from Lewiston, Maine.

4. In 1817, while Daniel Mason was pastor, the qualifications for church membership were listed as:

  1. A scriptural Christian experience.
  2. Correct doctrinal views, including a plan of salvation, ordinances, and church polity.
  3. A sober, regular outward deportment
  4. Godly conversation!

5. In 1847, during Joseph B. Mitchell’s pastorate, reasons for being “investigated” (with or without dismissal) were listed as:

  1. Immoral conduct
  2. Intemperance
  3. Embracing universal faith
  4. Embracing Mormonism
  5. Non-attendance at gospel meetings
  6. “Mingling too much with the world in vain talk”

6. In 1904, the church clerk Millie H. Clark said: “The future is open before us and may we press on with renewed devotion and courage, and while we continue to labor in His name, may it be in the spirit of the prayer which say  ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. At that point the church had been without a settled pastor for 24 years! I have no idea what happened to the church after 1904.

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Early Calvinistic Baptists in Bethel, Maine – Part 5

Since my last post, I made a quick and ugly website which represents some of the information I’ve gathered on the Calvinistic Baptist church in 18th/18th century Bethel, Maine. The website is intended to be a one-stop, one-page place to visit and learn about the history of this New England Baptist community. It is very much a work in progress.

Yesterday I was able to pay a visit to a meeting house which the early Calvinistic Baptists in Bethel, Maine used. It’s on Intervale Road in East Bethel. My GPS had some wrong information and it took me on a dead end road which turned out to be rocky, quite abandoned, and flooded. Nevertheless, I was able to navigate around and found the property quite easily afterward.

The building is owned by the Bethel Historical Society and was built in 1831. Multiple denominations carried out their services there.  There is a graveyard out back.

Here are some photos of the meeting house.





I explored the graveyard a bit. I saw the graves of many family names who played an important role in the church in the 18th and 19th centuries (such as Estes, Mason, Kimball, Foster, Bean, and Bartlett. Here are some photos of the graveyard, ending with a photo of the grave of Deacon Eli Foster, who I featured in my last post.




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Early Calvinistic Baptists in Bethel, Maine – Part 4

051812142425_01 051812151152_01In this series, I’ve previously posted Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Here is Part 4, providing more information about “First Baptist Society in Bethel, Maine”, a Calvinistic Baptist church in Oxford County, Maine, which seems to have disappeared from the scene at some point in the early 1900s.

To the right are pictures of the meeting houses they utilized. Special thanks go out to Matthew Jones for graciously providing permission to post these. On the right is the Middle Intervale building (built in 1816) and on the left is the East Bethel building (built in 1830).

A List Of Pastors

By tying various sources together, I’ve been able to infer an approximation of the settled pastors as well as some of the men who helped with pulpit supply. I am still working on this list and it still has some gaps. I have my eye on a source which may help get this list into better shape. Sadly, it appears that from 1880 and onward, they lacked a settled pastor. As of yet, I see no evidence that the congregation existed beyond 1904.

  • 1795-1807 – No settled pastor (Visited by Oxford county area ministers such as John Tripp, James Hooper, John Chadbourne, Nathaniel Chase)
  • 1807-1811 – Ebenezer Bray
  • 1811-1817 – Thomas Wyman
  • 1818-1835 – Daniel Mason
  • 1836-1846 – Benjamin Donham
  • 1846-1846 – Joseph B. Mitchell
  • 1848-1848 – No settled pastor (Pulpit supply by Ransom Donham and Hiram Cushman Estes)
  • 1849-1853 – Levi Burnham
  • 1853-1853 – No settled pastor (Pulpit supply by Ransom Donham)
  • 1854-1855 – David S. Hawley
  • 1857-1862 – William Beavins
  • 1863-1863 – No settled pastor (Pulpit supply by Ransom Donham)
  • 1864-1865 – Thomas J. Sweatt
  • 1867-1869 – Edwin M. Bartlett
  • 1870-1875 – Otis B. Rawson
  • 1877-1879 – William M. Harthorn
  • 1880-1884 – No settled pastor (Ottis B. Rawson for 6 months in 1880 and William Beavins returned May-Nov 1884)
  • 1887-1892 – No settled pastor (Pulpit supply by William B. Hutchinson, Woodman Bradbury, William W. Wakeman, and William T. Green)
  • 1899-1904 – No settled pastor (pulpit supply by William H. T. Bock, David W. Lovett and Ralph Sherwood)

Deacon: Jonathan Abbot Jr (1808-1887) was “an exemplary man, a good farmer and citizen” and lived on a homestead near Walker’s Mills. He served as a deacon in the church in the 1830s.  It’s interesting to note that one of his sons was named Stephen SPURGEON Abbot. Stephen was born in 1859, during the prime of Charles Spurgeon’s ministry, and presumably that is the source of Stephen’s middle name. Stephen served as the town clerk, “noted for his accuracy and thoroughness of work”. In the 1880′s, Stephen left Maine and became a lawyer in Denver, Colorado. Jonathan had another son named Jonathan FLAVEL Abbot, presumably named after the prominent Puritan John Flavel.

Deacon: Eli Foster (1802-1873) was the son of Asa (1765-1831) and Anna Foster.  He married Dorcas Barlett and settled between Locke’s Mills and the Androscoggin river. Eli was said to be of limited education, but significant natural abilities. He was chosen as deacon in the church and served until his death. He was respected as a farmer and business man. He was thrifty and kind. His wife was industrious, skilled in spinning, knitting and weaving. Eli left a forest in the vicinity of his buildings, which largely consisted of sugar maple trees, noted in 1899 as still standing and “one of the finest sugar orchards in town”. On his gravestone is inscribed: “The memory of the just is blessed”.

Member: Sumner Estes (b. 1827) was the son of Eli and Clarissa (Kimball) Estes. He was born in Bethel and was educated at Gould’s Academy and also Hebron Academy. At the age of 11, he joined the Baptist church and years later, after attending Waterville College in the early 1850s, he was licensed to preach. In 1853, he was ordained in Canton, Maine and continued there until 1854. He also pastored churches in Sidney, Thomaston, Machias, Pembroke, Cherryfield, Lisbon Falls (1869-1871), and Sanford.  Due to “disease of the throat” and other illnesses, he was forced to leave the ministry. He then went on to become a druggist and apothecary.  He was married to Sarah M. Holt of Bethel and his son Charles went on to write a book,  Christian Missions in China, which was published in 1895.


  • Frederick Clifton Pierce, Foster genealogy, Part 1, 357.
  • Edwin Emery, The History of Sanford, Maine, 1661-1900, 447.
  • History of Bethel: formerly Sudbury, Canada, Oxford County, Maine, 1768-1890 , 239.
  • Third General Catalogue of Colby College, Waterville, Maine. 1820-1908, 192.
  • http://oxfordcounty.blogspot.com/2010/02/history-of-canton-baptist-church.html
  • http://genealogytrails.com/maine/androscogginco/andro_history_part_twenty_two.html
  • http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=59097190
  • Eva Bean, East Bethel Road
  • Numerous other sources

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People From Essex, Ontario: Frederick Erdmann Smith

fullsizeFrederick Erdmann Smith (also known as Fred Smith or F. Erdmann Smith or Erdmann Smith) lived in my town (Essex, Ontario) as a child. He also was a graduate of Essex High School.

In 1961 Frederick wrote a letter to the Essex Free Press, which outlined a few biographical details. I found it fairly interesting to see where this Essex resident ended up.

It turns out that Frederick became the dean of Oklahoma Baptist University (1907-1921). He was also professor of Psychology and Education at William Jewell College (1921-1924), and president of Ottawa University in Kansas (1924-1931).

Frederick was active in American Baptist life, being the president of the American Baptist Publication Society (where John Newton Brown had been editorial secretary a century earlier) in the 1930′s for 6 years and also served as secretary of the American Baptist Convention’s Budget Committee. He also pastored three large churches: Austin Baptist Church (Chicago, IL), Delmar Baptist Church (St. Louis), and First Baptist Church (Denver).

Frederick considered his days in Essex High School to be “the most exacting, and best years of [his] education”.


  • Photo: Unknown, “F. Erdmann Smith, President of Ottawa University,” in Franklin County Kansas Historical Archive, Item #52159, http://www.franklincokshistory.org/repository/items/show/52159 (accessed July 10, 2014).
  • Essex Free Press (Essex, ON), 28 Jul 1961, p. 1

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Out And About (2014/07/14)



Dubious Quotes

  • Did G. K. Chesterton say “When man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything”? This article convincingly argues no.


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First Multi Site Church? (Pastor: Son of A Celebrity Pastor)

“The Pennepack Church was founded…by Pastor Elias Keach, son of the well-known London Baptist minister [Benjamin Keach]…Elias Keach had come to Philadelphia from London in 1688, a young man of twenty who thought it sportive to garb himself as a clergyman. Because of the prestige of his father, the Reverend Benjamin Keach of London, he secured invitations to preach. At his first service, he suffered pangs of conscience and thereupon confessed his imposture…From then on he preached at Pennepack with unusual effect. Indeed he extended his parish to include a large circuit of congregations in Trenton, Chester, and other small towns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When the Pennepack Church was organized, these Baptists united with its membership. The entire membership was to gather together twice a year, in the spring and the fall.” – Robert Torbet, A History of the Baptists, p. 210



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