Friday, December 29, 2006

Sandy Creek Revisited

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Issue 66 of the Founders Journal is off the press and will soon be in the mail. It is one that you don't want to miss. It analyzes aspects of the Sandy Creek tradition in fresh ways. Tom Nettles has an excellent article on Shubal Stearns that is taken from volume 2 of his work on The Baptists. Gene Bridges also has a ground-breaking article on the sociological differences between the "Charlestonians" and "Sandy Creekers." This is one issue that you will want to have on hand the next time you have a discussion about Southern Baptist origins.

16 comments: said...

Sounds very good Tom. I can't wait to read it.

Derick Dickens said...

In November I actually heard Dr. Nettles teaching in Owensboro Kentucky about the Sandy Creek Association and wished he had time to go into more detail at the time. I am looking forward to reading this issue.

scripturesearcher said...

Should be helpful to all readers ~

Hopeful they now number into the multiplied hundreds or thousands!

GeneMBridges said...
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GeneMBridges said...

Groundbreaking? Well, I don't know about all that, though I thank you for the kind words. My goal was actually to place the two traditions in their social and cultural context in history. The differences people note are really praxis oriented, not so much theology; ergo, I wanted to stimulate some conversation and thinking about them within the wider context of Southern cultural and religious history; particularly since Southern historians typically talk about this era as the era of Southern Puritanism and the "Calvinisation" of even the Methodists...a thesis which strikes me as logically pulling in a direction opposite to the "Two Streams" theory, particularly in light of the confessional tradition, which others have so ably examined in the Journal in the past, and which Dr. Nettles so ably demonstrates.

Groundbreadking...if only. I could really use that publishing gig. :). Seriously, I do hope that others will take the ideas there and run with it some more. We need to realize that our churches and broader traditions arise in and from particular times and places. As a Calvinist, I have a doctrine of common grace and sovereign placement in those times, so we need to consider that sometimes the answers to these questions about tradition and theology are not just rooted in the confessions; there's a sociological context to them as well.

That's one reason (among many) that I have come to admire the work of Richard A. Muller in relation to Protestant Scholasticism/Orthodoxy in history. He's not afraid to challenge some old prevailing theories either, and I find his work very persuasive, particularly since he examines the theological writing and also their sociological context and polemic background. I'd encourage folks to read Christ and the Decree (which is unfortunately out of print at the moment), Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, and Protestant Orthodoxy: Essays in Reassessment. It would help them address some of the anti-Calvinist rhetoric related to the historical claims about Beza, for example, when they are issued from the pulpits of some churches or from seminary presidents/professors.

GUNNY said...

Looking forward to the read.

Thanks for the belated Christmas gift.

martyduren said...


Border's had sold out. Where can I write to get a copy?

Tom said...


I do think your article breaks new ground. If anyone else has examined the "Sandy Creek tradition" from a sociological perspective, then I have missed it. Your article is well done. Thanks.


Isn't just like Borders to run out of the Founders Journal? The link in the post takes you to the journal subscription page.

Travis Hilton said...

I'm looking forward to reading it. I had the opportunity to speak on this subject back last April to a group of pastors at a church that is just a few miles from Sandy Creek. The information you had online at that time was very helpful. Semple's History of the Baptists in Virginia was another helpful resource. I also tryed to e-mail Gene to help me in my research but I was unable to connect with him. I'm sure he's done his homework.

I am a direct desendant of Samuel Hilton, who was converted and ordained a Baptist minister at Sandy Creek. He went on to plant the first Baptist church in what is now Scott County, Virginia. This whole issue has become one of special interest all around to me.

Benji Ramsaur said...


I wonder if this will be the most widely read founders journal.

I think so.


G. Alford said...


Thanks for publishing on this topic -

I have often had Arminian brothers dismiss the theological positions of the Founding Fathers of the Southern Baptist Convention by claiming to be a “Sandy Creeker”… as if the beliefs of the Sandy Creek Baptist Church was very different from those of our Founders.

I look forward to my copy of the Founders Journal.

GUNNY said...


I don't know about that.

That one with the baby gaping at a copy of Calvin's Institutes where the tagline was "Are Calvinists Hyper?" was pretty good!

It's been my favorite cover and second favorite issue only to the Do Doctrines REALLY lead to Dunghill? (emphasis mine)

GeneMBridges said...

Benji is just happy now that this edition published, because he thinks it means I'll be presenting my article at a church near him.

Little does he know that I am a willing and able cryto-Presbyterian who wrote the paper for the Dutch-Reformed Illuminati, our coming overlords after the SBC has been converted to Calvinism, after which we will all be taken to the Netherlands, where we will reinstate Kuyper's government and create a Calvinist Empire that will rival Rome in its reach! Today the Founders Journal, tommorrow the world! I, for one, will welcome our new overlords.

The D.O.G. House said...

Looking forward to these reads!

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Gene,

This past year, I was looking for a confession of faith for our church, to replace the 1963 BFM. When I read the very brief Sandy Creek confession, I was amazed at how much Doctrines of Grace material could be stuffed into ten sentences. I had always been taught that Sandy Creek meant not Calvinistic.

Happy New Year, all!

Love in Christ,


Greg B said...

Dear Tom and Gene:
Thank you for the issue. I will have to subscribe again. This is key. Just as the liberals will try to pit Jesus against Himself, I spent 4 years at SEBTS hearing folks pit Sandy Creek against Chas. If we keep actually publishing and talking about real history...history in the words of our evangelistic heroes, our brothers will be left without an excuse.