Adoniram Judson and “the more violent spirits of the North”

Adoniram Judson (1788–1850) was a famous missionary to Burma, one of the first American Baptist missionaries. He was supported by a nation-wide union of Baptists, north and south, who organized as the Triennial Convention. Judson came back on furlough in 1845, the year that the Baptists in the south separated from those in the north over the issue of slavery and formed the Southern Baptist Convention. After visiting Baptists in the north in Philadelphia and elsewhere, Judson made a trip south to Richmond, VA in February 1846. Here is what he thought of the split, and the circumstances that caused it:

“I congratulate the Southern and Southwestern churches,” he said, “on the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention for Foreign Missions. I congratulate the citizens of Richmond that the Board of that Convention is located here. Such an organization should have been formed several years ago. Besides other circumstances, the extent of the country called for a separate organization. I have read with much pleasure the proceedings of the Convention at Augusta, Ga., and commend the dignified and courteous tone of the address sent forth by that body. I am only an humble missionary of the heathen, and do not aspire to be a teacher of Christians in this enlightened country; but if I may be indulged a remark, I would say, that if hereafter the more violent spirits of the North should persist in the use of irritating language, I hope they will be met, on the part of the South, with dignified silence.”

Edward Judson, Adoniram Judson, D. D.: His Life and Labours (Hodder and Stoughton, 1883), 475–76. (available on Google Books)


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