Thursday, February 22, 2007

Just when you think you know....

Just when you think you know all about Baptist history, you learn something new!

The only distilled beverage native to the United States is bourbon. A Baptist preacher from Kentucky, Elijah Craig (1738–1808), is credited with the invention of bourbon whiskey. He and his brother Lewis and the “Traveling Church” came from Virginia and arrived in central Kentucky circa 1781. Apparently, a number of Kentucky churches trace their lineage to this beginning.

According to Wikipedia, “He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1771, and was imprisoned briefly in South Carolina, apparently for disturbing the peace with his sermons. He then moved to what was then Bourbon County, Kentucky and settled in the area of Frankfort, Kentucky in 1785. In 1777, he became pastor of Blue Run Church.”

The first Baptist college founded west of the Allegheny mountains – Georgetown College (in Georgetown, KY) – has a connection back to Elijah Craig. He founded the Rittenhouse Academy in 1798. Silas Noel, a Frankfort, KY lawyer and minister, helped persuade the Kentucky legislature to charter the Kentucky Baptist Education Society in 1829. Citizens of Georgetown offered to raise $20,000 and donate the assets of Rittenhouse Academy for a new college. Therefore, Georgetown’s roots are fed from Craig’s school.

I ran across the bourbon info in “The excommunication of wine” in the Searcy, Arkansas Daily Citizen (Thursday, February 8, 2007 6:38 PM CST) That article carried this interesting paragraph:
“It took less than one hundred years for the majority of American Churches to end eighteen centuries of the virtually universal use of wine and begin serving grape juice at communion services. This swift change in public perception is akin to the drop in sales of orange juice and bread caused by the recent Atkin’s Diet brouhaha. In this sense, Prohibition can be viewed as one of history’s most successful marketing campaigns.”


RSR said...

I ran across an article on temperance in the Tennessee Encyclopedia that says, in part:

[/i]In February 1887 the Tennessee Temperance Alliance held a convention in Nashville to organize county committees statewide to generate public support for the amendment when presented to the voters for the final referendum. Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches participated in the campaign. In Morgan County, for example, Reverend A. B. Wright, a circuit rider in the Upper Cumberland region, served as chairman. For two weeks, he made speeches in favor of the prohibition amendment to groups assembled in schoolhouses and churches. When he arrived at an engagement scheduled at the Baptist Church in Sunbright, he discovered the preacher and his father had "locked us out," and he was forced to speak at a nearby building. Throughout his crusade, Wright found that most voters favored liquor, a perception that was confirmed by the September vote. David Lipscomb, leader of the Christian Church and editor of the Gospel Advocate, urged his members to boycott the polls because he did not believe Christians should become involved in politics. When the vote was counted, 145,000 voted against the prohibition amendment, and 118,000 voted for it. "A dark day for Tennessee," lamented Wright.[/i]

R. L. Vaughn said...

A Texas Baptist preacher, J. B. Cranfill, was Vice-Presidential candidate on the Prohibition Party ticket, I believe around the turn of the century (19th to 20th).