According to Z. N. Morrell, “In 1844, a convention was called by the regular Predestinarian Baptists of the East, which met with the Antioch church, in Jasper County, on the eighth day of November. Five churches were represented in this convention, viz.: – Antioch, Louisiana; and Salem, Antioch, Harmony and Mount Olive, Texas.”[ii] Alfred Lyons of Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana wrote to The Primitive Baptist and described attending the convention.[iii] He said the meeting occurred on November 8th “at brother Richardson’s.”[iv] Probably the convention was called under the authority of Antioch Church. (According to their historical marker, the Antioch Church had a log meeting house beginning in 1842.)
To the best of my ability, I have reproduced the letter of Leroy McGaughey, below.
TO EDITORS PRIMITIVE BAPTIST.
Ballieu’s Ferry, La.
Dec. 15th, 1844.
Dear Brethren: By the following Resolutions of an Association recently organized in this vicinity, you will perceive by what authority I write.
Resolved, that the Clerk transmit a copy of the Articles of Faith and Constitution of the Association, to Editors Primitive Baptist, for insertion in its columns.
Articles of Faith of the Louisiana and Texas Regular Predestinarian Baptist Association.
Article 1st. We believe, in the being of one only true and living God, the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, and these three are one.
2nd. We believe, the scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God, are of divine authority, and the rule of faith, and practice.
3rd. We believe, that man was created in the image, and after the likeness of God. But sinned and came short of his glory. And, in the total depravity of human nature, and man’s inability to reinstate himself.
4th. We believe that Jesus Christ was set up from everlasting as the Head of the church; which is his body.
5th. We believe in the everlasting love of God to his people; in the eternal and unconditional election of a definite number of the human family to grace and glory.
6th. We believe that sinners are only justified in the sight of God, by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is unto all, and upon all them that believe.
7th. We believe all those who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, are in time effectually called regenerated, converted, and sanctified, and are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
8th. We believe that there is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; who by the satisfaction which he made to law and justice, in becoming an offering for sin, hath by his most precious blood, redeemed the elect from under the curse of the law, that they might be holy, and without blame before him in love,
9th. We believe good works are the effects of faith and follow after justification; are evidences of a gracious state, and that it is the duty of all, believers to perform them, from a principle of love.
10th. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, and a general judgment, and that the happiness of the righteous and punishment of the wicked will be eternal.
PREAMBLE AND CONSTITUTION.
We the Regular Predestinarian Baptist churches of Jesus Christ, having been regularly baptised upon a profession of our faith, are convinced of the necessity of a combination of churches; and of maintaining a correspondence, for the preserving a federal union among all the churches of the same faith and order. We therefore do agree to unite and form ourselves into an Association, upon the following principles: namely,
Article 1st. We do covenant and agree on equal rights and privileges, to live together in an associated capacity, as a medium of correspondence by which we may extend our union and fellowship to distant churches.
2nd. Those messengers chosen by the churches, shall compose the Association, and the messengers, so chosen shall produce letters from their respective churches, certifying their appointment, together with their number in fellowship, those baptised, received by letter, restored, dismissed, excommunicated, and dead, since the last Association. And the messengers thus chosen and convened, shall be denominated the Louisiana and Texas Regular Predestinarian Baptist Association.
3rd. No church in the Association shall be entitled to more than three messengers, whose names shall be enrolled.
4th. We do agree to meet together once a year, at such time and place as may be deemed expedient, for the purpose of keeping up and perpetuating said union.
5th. This Association when convened shall choose a Moderator to keep order, and a Clerk to record the proceedings and the same, who shall be chosen from among themselves.
6th. This Association shall, have the right to form rules of decorum for the order of the house while in session..
7th. This Association shall have the right to receive sister churches into her union, upon examination of their Articles of Faith and Constitution; and if found orthodox in faith, and orderly in practice, the Moderator shall manifest the same by giving the messengers the right hand of fellowship.
8th. We think it necessary to have an Association fund for defraying the expenses of the same, we therefore, deem it the duty of the churches in this union, to contribute such sums as they may think proper, and send by their messengers to the Association; and the moneys thus donated, shall be deposited in the hands of a Treasurer, who shall be responsible for the same, and shall pay it out according to the direction of the Association.
9th. The Minutes of the Association shall be read and corrected if necessary before the Association rises: and signed by the Moderator and Clerk.
10th. We having long viewed the corruption of the Baptist ministry, or those who wear the Baptist name, with the deepest interest and regret, who are going to and fro, through the country receiving and. baptizing on their own responsibility, without church authority, to the great distress of the churches: which practice we utterly abhor and detest, and do hereby declare non-fellowship with all such. And against all ministers who are going about the country constituting churches on their own responsibility.
11th. Having for years past viewed the distress that the following institutions, or societies, have brought upon the churches, that is to say, missionary effort, societies, Bible, Baptist State convention, temperance, Sunday school union, tract, ministerial education, and in a word, all the combinations and societies of the day, setup in order to advance the Redeemer’s kingdom; as inimical to the peace of Zion, calculated in .their nature to cause schism. We therefore declare non-fellowship with all such.
12th. This Constitution and Article of Faith may be altered or amended, by the unanimous concurrence of the Association.
LEVI A. DURHAM, Moderator.
Leroy G. McGaughey, Clerk.
Antioch church, Louisiana, Leroy G. McGaughey, Levi A. Durham,* Alfred Lyons, messengers. Salem, Wolf Creek, Texas, E. T. Fulgham, Edmond Parsons. Antioch, Texas, Jas. Richardson, Jer. Day, Benj. Richardson. Harmony, Texas, R. E. Powell, Thos. Baty. Mt. Olive, Texas, R. T. Gipson,* J. Whitmire. The stars represent ministers of the gospel.
Brethren, every where, I will just here make a few remarks in my weak way. The above declaration of non-fellowship has caused a mighty stir with the opposite party, who say they are Baptists and are not. The Articles of Faith of their Association, with some few exceptions, are the same as those here given; and yet if one dare contend for the faith therein contained, he is immediately charged with preaching a dangerous doctrine, and of being opposed to temperance, morality, the spread of knowledge, and all the civil institutions of the day. This we know is not so, and I think they do too; for we contend that all these things are implied in the church, and that it is unnecessary, after in the most solemn manner pledging ourselves to God, to, then in order to make that promise more binding, pledge ourselves to man, the inferior and equal with ourselves. God hates such religion and so do I. Ask them if they believe their Articles of Faith, and they will tell you, no.
Now, brethren, I conceive that the signing of an Article of Faith implies a belief in the same, and if I were to do the like in unbelief, I know in what position I would stand before God and man. I could speak of many strange things that have taken place here since the above declaration; such as, forming churches out of excluded members, wilful misrepresentations, &c, by those who compass sea and land to make a proselyte. But I will desist as I am only laying myself liable to the criticism of these worldly-wise people, and conclude by subscribing myself you unworthy brother in tribulation. Pray for me. LEROY G. McGAUGHEY.