The Primitive Baptists
Inspired by the revivals of the Second Great Awakening, many Baptist congregations in the early nineteenth century began to form mission societies. Some conservative Baptists disagreed with the idea of missionary work, however, since such efforts contradicted the traditional Calvinist doctrine of predestination. Predestination, the belief that God has already chosen who will and will not receive salvation and that only God can grant this divine election, clashed with missionary work's emphasis on personal efforts toward salvation. Also troubling to more conservative Baptists were the emerging seminaries, Sunday schools, and auxiliary organizations, as well as the general centralization that accompanied missionary work. Some Baptists began to protest the appearance of these "man-made" agencies, arguing that such money-based agencies and missionary societies had no place in the churches of apostolic times, were not mentioned in the Bible, and thus should have no place in the modern church.
Formal opposition in Georgia to these new "institutions of the day" began as early as 1819, when the Piedmont
The Primitive Baptists later underwent a number of further divisions over such issues as the manner of addressing the unconverted in sermons, whether preaching the gospel was a "means" of regenerating the elected, limited versus absolute predestination, the validity of outsider baptism, divorce, membership in secret societies, and the use of instrumental music in worship. After the Civil War (1861-65), African American Baptists in Georgia left white-dominated congregations and established many Primitive Baptist churches and associations of their own.
Joyce H. Cauthen, ed., Benjamin Lloyd's Hymn Book: A Primitive Baptist Song Tradition (Montgomery: Alabama Folklife Association, 1999).
John G. Crowley, Primitive Baptists of the Wiregrass South: 1815 to the Present (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998).
Cushing Biggs Hassell and Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God, from the Creation to A.D. 1885 (1886; reprint, Conley, Ga.: Old School Hymnal Co., 1973).
Julietta Haynes, "A History of the Primitive Baptists" (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1959).
Emerson Proctor, "Georgia Baptists, Organization and Division: 1772-1840" (master's thesis, Georgia Southern College, 1969).
David S. Williams, From Mounds to Megachurches: Georgia's Religious Heritage (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008).
John G. Crowley, Valdosta State University
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