Georgia Baptist Convention

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The Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC or GBSC) is an autonomous association of Baptist churches in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is one of the state conventions associated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Formed in 1822, it was one of the original nine state conventions to send delegates to the first Southern Baptist Convention, organized in 1845.[1]

Early history[edit]

The convention was formed at the instigation of Adiel Sherwood, who drew up a resolution to be presented (by Charles J. Jenkins, since Sherwood was, at the time, an outsider in Georgia Baptist circles) at the Sarepta Baptist Association meeting, held on the 21–24 October 1820 at Van's Creek Church near Ruckersville. The text is at right. The underlined portion was an insertion by Jenkins. Sherwood's original text read simply "to sister associations in this State.”[2][3] Sherwood was assisted the Convention's formation by Jesse Mercer, who was to be the Convention's first president, and who helped to write its constitution.[4] Mercer had earlier helped to form the General Committee of Georgia Baptists, in 1803, and the Powelton Conferences at the turn of the century,[5] which had foundered over concerns that its stated goal of "the increase of union among all real Christians" indicated open communion, and possible union of Baptists with Pedobaptists, leading to its dissolution in 1810.[3]

In June 1822, delegates from the Georgia and Ocmulgee Baptist associations met at Powelton in Powelton Baptist Church and agreed upon the constitution of what was then called The General Association.[7] In the 1823 session, the Sarepta association, which, ironically, in 1821 had reversed its position on the necessity for a state convention, and which had not sent a delegation to the 1822 meeting, sent corresponding delegates to the General Association, meeting again in Powelton.[2] Sarepta was not to become a full member for some two decades.[3] Delegates were also sent by the Sunbury association, which joined the General Association, meeting this time in Eatonton, in 1824; by the Yellow River association, in 1825; by Augusta (and by several auxiliary societies, which were that year, by a constitutional amendment, allowed to join) in 1826; and by the Flint River association in 1827 (when the convention met in Washington).[2] From 1826 to 1838, twenty-six auxiliary societies sent delegations to the Convention. This growth stopped when the Primitive Baptists separated from the missionary Baptists; and instead, from 1835 to 1845, the Convention saw a growth in the number of Baptist associations joining it, with fourteen associations joining during that period.[3] When the General Association met in Monticello in 1828, it resolved to change its name to the General Convention (formally: The Baptist Convention for the State of Georgia).[2][3]

In April 1861, the Convention met in Athens. Like other churches, conventions, and conferences, it aligned itself politically with the Confederacy, passing the following resolutions on the 29th:[8][9][10][11]

Whereas, Abraham Lincoln is attempting, by force of arms, to subjugate these States, in violation of the fundamental principle of American liberty;


Resolved, by the members of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia, That we consider it to be at once a pleasure and a duty to avow that, both in feeling and principle, we approve, indorse, and support the government of the Confederate States of America.

Resolved, That while this Convention disclaims all authority, whether ecclesiastical or civil, yet as citizens we deem it a duty to urge the union of all the people of the South in defence of the common cause, and to express the confident belief that in whatever conflict the madness of Mr. Lincoln and his Government may force upon us, the Baptists of Georgia will not be behind any class of our fellow-citizens in maintaining the independence of the South by any sacrifice of treasure, or of blood.

— Georgia Baptist Convention, .[12]

This resolution preceded a similar resolution, passed in May the same year by the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Savannah, where approximately one half of the delegates were Georgians, approving of the Confederacy.[10][11]

Georgia Baptist colleges[edit]

Other affiliated organizations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chad Brand and David E. Hankins (2006). One Sacred Effort: The Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists. B&H Publishing Group. pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-0-8054-3163-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Jesse Harrison Campbell (1847). Georgia Baptists: historical and biographical. Richmond: H. K. Ellyson. pp. 197–201. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Jarrett Burch (2003). Adiel Sherwood: Baptist antebellum pioneer in Georgia. Baptists Series. Mercer University Press. pp. 85–88. ISBN 978-0-86554-890-9. 
  4. ^ Julie Whidden Long (2008). Portraits of Courage: Stories of Baptist Heroes. Mercer University Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-88146-109-1. 
  5. ^ Walter B. Shurden (2006). "Roots and Wings: The Mercer Baptist Tradition". In William D. Underwood. The Baptist Summit at Mercer University: 19–20 January 2006, three addresses. Mercer University Press. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-88146-061-2. 
  6. ^ "A Baptist" (17 August 1822). "The General Baptist Association of the State of Georgia". Columbian Star. Washington, D.C. p. 2. 
  7. ^ "Powelton Baptist Church historical marker". GeorgiaInfo: an Online Georgia Almanac. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 12 February 2018. 
  8. ^ Edward McPherson (1865). The political history of the United States of America, during the great rebellion (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Philp & Solomons. p. 513. 
  9. ^ John Lee Eighmy (1972). Churches in cultural captivity: a history of the social attitudes of Southern Baptists. University of Tennessee Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-87049-115-3. 
  10. ^ a b Thomas Conn Bryan (1953). Confederate Georgia (republished 2009 ed.). University of Georgia Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-8203-3499-8. 
  11. ^ a b John Wesley Brinsfield (2006). The spirit divided: memoirs of Civil War chaplains : the Confederacy. Mercer University Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-86554-964-7. 
  12. ^ Edward Everett (1861). "Doc 124. THE BAPTIST CONVENTION OF GEORGIA". In Frank Moore. The Rebellion record: a diary of American events, with documents, narratives, illustrative incidents, poetry, etc. 1. New York: G. P. Putnam. p. 179. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Boykin, Samuel (1881). "The General Association". History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia. Baptist History Series. 8 (reprinted by The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. 2001 ed.). Atlanta: James P. Harrison and Company. pp. 103 et seq. ISBN 978-1-57978-913-8. 
  • Campbell, Jesse Harrison (1847). "The State Convention". Georgia Baptists: historical and biographical. Richmond: H. K. Ellyson. pp. 197–211.  — Campbell gives the full text of the General Convention constitution, and detailed accounts of every meeting from 1822 to 1844.
  • Campbell, Jesse Harrison (1874). Georgia Baptists : historical and biographical. Macon: J. W. Burke & company. Retrieved 20 February 2018. 
  • Cathcart, William (1881). "History of Georgia Baptist Convention". The Baptist Encyclopedia. Baptist History Series. 1 (reprinted by The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. 2001 ed.). Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts. pp. 440–441. ISBN 978-1-57978-909-1. 
  • Gardner, Robert Granville (1995). A decade of debate and division: Georgia Baptists and the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention. Mercer University Press. ISBN 978-0-86554-484-0. 
  • Grem, Darren (2007). "Southern Baptists". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. 
  • Lester, James Adams (1972). A history of the Georgia Baptist Convention, 18227–1972. Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia. 
  • Sanders, B. M. (1853). "Georgia". In John Lansing Burrows. American Baptist register, for 1852. American Baptist Publication Society. 
  • Wooley, Davis C., ed. (1958). "Baptist Convention of Georgia". Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists. 1. Broadman Press. pp. 536–544.