Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Elder John Culpepper

In the web site of Meadow Creek Primitive Baptist Church, we read the following concerning this old church.

"According to Elder Culpepper's History of The Pee Dee Association, Bear Creek Church hosted the session in 1825 but no minutes were available. Meadow Creek and Bear Creek were probably part of the Sandy Creek Association before 1816. Meadow Creek Primitive Baptist Church is a charter member of the Original Bear Creek Association of Churches. Five churches met at Bear Creek Church in November of 1832 and established the Bear Creek Association. They were: Bear Creek, Cold Water, Freedom, Meadow Creek, and Piney Woods.

In 1758, the church at Sandy Creek extended an arm to Little River Church in Montgomery County. Little River grew from 8 members to 500 members in three years. In 1760, Little River Church extended an arm to Meadow Creek.

Elder John Culpepper (The Church’s first official Pastor) It is believed that Elder Culpepper served in the American Revolutionary War. He later served three terms in the United States House of Representatives."

In previous postings I have shown where the Bear Creek Association originally believed in Gospel means.  Meadow Creek Church is one of the oldest in the association. 

Hardshells want us to believe that their forefathers did not believe in Gospel means, but clearly Elder and Congressman John Culpepper, a leader in the Sandy Creek Association, was a believer in the Gospel means position.  Today's Hardshells are not primitive in their beliefs.

"The following is a letter from the Rev. Mr. Culpepper, of North Carolina, to James Yarbrough, of Alabama, Marengo County, who has had the pastoral care of Mount Pleasant Church, in the Flat settlement, for a number of years; but has recently rent himself from her, declaring non-fellowship with all benevolent institutions of the day."

Elder John Culpepper
Beverly, July 5, 1838

Dear Brother:

"I have the pleasure of informing you, that I and my friends in these regions are generally well. My children are scattered to different states: Benjamin, the eldest, is in Tennessee, on the Fork Deer River; he has a wife and seven or eight children, and is said to be doing well. --Nancy is a widow, with five children, and has removed to Sumter county, near you. John is living in Malborough District, South Carolina, and has six children he spends nearly all his time in preaching, and is considered a useful preacher. E.A. Culpeper, I am informed, went to Texas, and returned to Louisiana and has settled himself.

We have had good times in Anson, for several years. The Baptists have increased two or three hundred fold; they have ten framed Meeting Houses in Anson, and have moved on in great love and harmony, until of late; but an unfortunate division has taken place -- perhaps one fifth of the Baptists in North Carolina, have broken off from the rest, and will have no fellowship with any who hold with the Bible Society, Missionary Society, Sabbath School, or Temperance Society". This division, like the "East wind", has blasted some of our prospects. Few have joined them of late. The Bear Creek Association, in Montgomery, Anson, Rowan and Cabarrus, has ten churches. They have baptized but one person in the last year, and that was a negro woman, who lived and professed to have got religion near the Brown Creek Meeting House amongst us. They are really like Pharoah's [sic] lean kine, and come "thin and blasted with the East wind." -- All the old preachers you know in the country and most of the young intelligent young ones, are on the Missionary or effort side, and your brother, William A. Morris, is amongst them. He and myself have a Temperance meeting yesterday at Brown Creek Meeting House; we had ninety members before, and seven joined yesterday, and I hope the cause of God and good morals are gaining though iniquity abounds, and the love of some is waxing cold.

We hear that a division has taken place among you, and it is reported that you are on the Anti-Missionary side. I desire to hope that it is not so, but hear that it is. I now desire to call your attention to a few facts. In 1790 or '92 a few Baptist preachers, John Rippon, John Ryland, Samuel Pearce, Andrew Fuller, and others in England, set apart the first Monday evening in every month as a time of special prayer to God, to revive religion in their own souls and in the Churches, and send the Gospel to the Heathen. In June 1793, they sent out John Thomas and William Carey to Hindostan, to preach to the Hindoos; and others have since followed and joined them. Claudius Buchanan, a young disciple of John Newton's and a preacher in the Church of England some years, went chaplain to the Indies; he there became acquainted with out Baptist brethren, and caught the Missionary flame, and travelled extensively in that country, and then returned to England, and preached and published his "Star in the East".

A few young Prebyterians or Congregationalists, in New England, read his "Star in the East", and caught the same flame, (call it wild-fire, or what you please), and in 1812, A. Judson, Samuel Newel, S. Hall, S. Nott, and Luther Rice, sailed for the Indies. Two of them, A. Judson, and Luther Rice, became Baptists. Judson and his wife traveled to Burmah [sic], and Rice returned to American [sic] and travelled and spread the news; and in 1814, the Baptists met in Philadelphia to the number of perhaps thirty, including Baldwin, Furman, Staughton, and others, (more than two-thirds of whom are gone to reap their reward.) and formed a Missionary Society, and "The Baptist Board of Foreign Missions"; and have been from then till now sending out preachers and raising money to support them. In 1815, the Sandy Creek Association, the oldest in the State, and the third in the Union -- Philadelphia being the first and Charleston the second, and we the third; appointed Robert T. Daniel, corresponding Secretary to the Baptist Board of foreign Missions; John Culpeper, Messenger to the general meeting. In 1816, the newly formed Pee Dee Association adopted the same course and appointed J. Culpeper Corresponding Secretary to the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, and Messenger to the general meeting. I have been travelling agent for the board some few years, and am well acquainted with the progress of the Missionary cause.

I, last April, went to Philadelphia, when nearly four hundred Baptists met and formed a bible Society. I am now old, and have spent the present year almost entirely in Anson. Our English and American brethren have sent out preachers to Hindoston, to Burmah, and elsewhere, and they have translated the Scriptures into about thirty languages, and they are now printing and circulating the Scriptures in many languages and preaching the Gospel amongst the Hindoos, Burmans, Chinese, Carens, Siamese and in many other nations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, and preachers are going to and fro. The use of Missionaries to do the work formerly done by land, require [sic] much time to spend in travelling and preaching, and abandoning the use of ardent spirits, enabled to raise money and spread the Gospel. The Missionary Baptists in America, raise the last year, for printing and distributing the Bible, $35,714.66; for Foreign Missions, more than $63,000; for Home Missions, more than $15,000; for Tracts, more than $10,000, and large sums for building Meeting Houses, Schools, and Colleges -- and as we can now travel by railroads, and steam boats, and ships, so rapidly, we hope the time is near "when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Isa. xi ch. "And from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, God's name shall be great amongst the gentiles; and when in every place incense shall be offered to his name". Mal. I ch. And now my dear Brother, in view of these things, let me say to you, if through the want of information on these subjects, you and any of your family have honestly opposed these benevolent plans, and thought you were doing God's service, recollect Saul of Tarsus, "Verily, thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus". If you are on the Lord's side, persevere (for as much as your labor is not in vain in the Lord), for as sure as God is in heaven and his word is true, so sure the effort Baptists are doing God's work. As I never expect to see you again in time, but shall surely meet you at the bar of God; till then, I bid you an affectionate farewell."  (see here)

Not only were the first pastors of the oldest Bear Creek churches believers in Gospel means, but also the first Hardshells who formed the Bear Creek Association (1832) were also believers in Gospel means, though they opposed many mission methods.