This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD. To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;
Ps 102:18, 21
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Kehukee Declaration

Explanatory Note

In 1827, the Kehukee Association was the first Baptist Association in the United States to take a stand against the unscriptural innovations of Missionary Societies, Bible Societies and Theological Societies.  From this meeting began the movement by many other Baptists to reject these "New School" practices.

Elder James Taylor


The following excerpts are taken from History of the Church of God, by CB and Sylvester Hassell, 1886, Reprint Old School Hymnal Co, Ellenwood, GA, 1983


P 662
The Kehukee Association appears to have been the fourth Association of Baptist Churches in America; Philadelphia the first; Charleston the second; Sandy Creek the third; and Kehukee the fourth. The Philadelphia was formed in 1707; the Charleston in 1751; the Sandy Creek in 1758; and the Kehukee in 1765.

The churches of this order were first gathered in North Carolina [and] were thoroughly established in the doctrine of grace, and adopted the London Articles of Faith of 1689; upon which the Philadelphia and Charleston Associations were also founded.

P 736-738
1827. The Association met at Kehukee, Halifax County
This session of the Association was one of the most remarkable ever held by her. At this time came up for consideration the Declaration of Principles submitted at the last session to the Churches for approval or rejection. And upon a full and fair discussion of them, the following order was made, Viz.: "A paper purporting to be a Declaration of the Reformed Baptists in North Carolina, dated August 26, 1826, which was presented at last Association, and referred to the churches to express in their letters to this Association their views with regard to it, came up for deliberation. Upon examination, it was found that most of the churches had given their opinions; and after an interchange of sentiments among the members of this body, it was agreed that we discard all Missionary Societies, Bible Societies and Seminaries, and the practices heretofore resorted to for their support, in begging money from the public; and if any persons should be among us, as agents of any of said societies, we hereafter discountenance them in those practices; and if under a character of a minister of the gospel, we will not invite them into our pulpits; believing these societies and institutions to be the inventions of men, and not warranted from the word of God. We further do unanimously agree that should any of the members of our churches join the fraternity of Masons, or, being members, continue to visit the lodges and parades, we will not invite them to preach in our pulpits, believing them to be guilty of such practices; and we declare non-fellowship with them and such practices altogether." In adopting this resolution there was not a dissenting voice. It was unanimous. Before the vote was taken there was a diversity of sentiment, and brethren freely interchanged views on the subject. Some of course were favorable to the toleration of these innovations, and pleaded for them with all their power; while those opposed to them as being contrary to ancient usage and pernicious in their consequences, boldly denounced them and contended for their abolition. On taking the vote, it was found that a large majority were opposed to these new men-made schemes; and then it was agreed to make the vote unanimous; and the same was accordingly done. It may therefore be set down as having the entire sanction of the Kehukee Association, composed of thirty-five churches, holding 1,951 members.

Those messengers of the churches in the Association at that time who favored these new things appeared before the adjournment of the body to be thoroughly convinced of their error. They gave signal demonstration of their acquiescence in the final decision, embraced the brethren who took opposite views, fell upon their shoulders, and seemed to be overwhelmed with joy. Never perhaps in the whole period of her existence, either before or since that time, did such a melting scene occur in a session of the Kehukee Association as did then. All present seemed to be fired with love for each other, and thankfulness to God that He had conducted the controversy to such a happy issue.

The Moderator, Elder Philemon Bennett, adjourned the Association with an affectionate address and prayer. Here was a stand taken against corruptions which had sprung up in the American churches about twenty-five years before, and had taken rapid hold on many of them, so that they were exceedingly loath to give them up.

It was a noble stand taken by the Kehukee Association, and would have done honor to bold defenders of the faith in any age of the world. The men of that day were renowned in Zion. Their memories will be cherished by future generations. They emancipated the churches with which they were connected from priestcraft and religious fetters that were becoming more and more intolerable every year.

This was the first and great decisive stand taken by the Baptists on American soil against worldly institutions, as being necessary for the propagation of the gospel and the salvation of men. Some had resisted them at the very outset, and all along through their progress; but now they could be borne with no longer, and it was resolved to cast the entire trumpery overboard. This example of the Kehukee Association, then sixty-two years old, was encouraging to other similar bodies; and from 1827 to 1840 there was a stir among churches and Associations all over the land, and many followed the example of old Mother Kehukee.

In September, 1832, a number of churches belonging to the Baltimore Association convened with the church called "Black Rock," [Black Rock Address] in the State of Maryland, and took the position that had been taken by Kehukee; so that, in the Northern States, Primitive or old-fashioned Baptists were called "Blackrockers," and in the Southern States they were known and stigmatized as "Kehukeeites."

The resolution was re-confirmed the following year (1829) where:

P 741
"It was made known at this Association that some persons had suggested that the decision of the last Association, found in the fourteenth article of the Minutes, concerning Missionary and Bible Societies, Theological Seminaries and Masonic Fraternities, was not correctly stated; and whereas many members of this Association were members of the last; it was resolved that the article as it appeared in the Minutes contained the true spirit of the decision, and that the Association did not approve of any alteration thereof, bat advised the churches to strictly adhere thereto."

 
 

6/4/2009

 

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