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by Brian Trainer

Adoniram Judson is generally called the “Father the American Missions.” This location is proper. Judson to be the very first minister that the gospel to depart from American shores in order come dedicate himself to the proclamation the Jesus Christ to the heathen abroad. Several aspects of Judson’s ministry earn him the position of “Father” or originator. First, Judson to be a vocational minister. In various other words, his financial support was raised entirely from his gospel ministry. Second, that departed indigenous the boundaries of America. David Brainard and also others were house missionaries in ~ the well-known territory the the joined States, yet God command Judson to leaving the country. Third, Judson’s whole financial assistance was acquired from local churches in the united States. By faith, churches chose to support a male who would stand for them abroad. Fourth, Judson to be the first American to accept this job of civilization evangelization. Though rather went v him, Judson to be the acknowledged leader and also the one whose foreign ministry expanded the longest time span. These four elements merged earn Judson the title together “Father of American Missions.” together such, Judson’s life and also ministry is a pattern upon which various other missionaries, from his contemporaries until the present, have the right to look because that instruction and also encouragement.

HIS CONVERSION and CALL

Judson’s life and also ministry cannot be covered adequately in this short article. When surveying Judson’s life and also ministry, lot of joys, discouragements, and turning points are quickly noted. Among these turning points occurred after Judson left America and also prior to his arrival in Burma, which would be his house for thirty-eight years. He chose to disapprove pedobaptism and become a post-conversion immersionist, a resolution the shook the ecclesiastical human being of his day. This decision proved to it is in not only a personal turning allude for Judson, yet it consequently compelled American Baptists as a whole to sign up with the efforts of world evangelization. Our objective in this post is to briefly survey Judson’s life before his international service, his decision to come to be an immersionist, and also the eventual an answer to his decision.

Judson’s Conversion

Adoniram Judson to be born on respectable 9, 1788, in Malden, Massachusetts. He to be the eldest boy of Adoniram Judson Sr, a Congregational minister. At very early age, Adoniram’s parents well-known his pundit prowess. In fact, by period three he might read whole chapter that the Bible. By age ten, Judson had a reputation for his capability in both arithmetic and also Greek. In 1804, at the young period of sixteen, he gotten in Providence College, subsequently dubbed Brown University. Three years later, Judson graduated as the valedictorian. This was adhered to by a brief stint together a teacher in Plymouth, Massachusetts, wherein he writer “Elements of English Grammar” and “The Young Lady’s Arithmetic,” both second level textbooks.

Judson’s excellence in the kingdom of student was not accompanied by a search of his parents’ God. To be sure, Judson was acquainted through the piety that his parents and also had an pundit knowledge the the Scriptures, but he personally garbage God. Affected by a college friend, Jacob Eames, Adoniram espoused the theology of Deism and proclaimed himself a “free thinker.” His newfound id led come open conflict with his stern, Congregational father. Unable to reason with his father and also longing because that the world’s pleasures, Judson travel to new York City to look for a life of freedom from his parents’ spiritual pressure. The short visit was discouraging as his company of friends turned to small theft and crime to do ends meet. Judson had actually no ar to go, but back home.

On his trip home, he had occasion to continue to be at an inn. The events of this evening adjusted the food of his life, as his boy Edward later recounts:

The following night he stopped at a country inn. The landlord mentioned, together he lighted him to his room, that he had actually been obliged to ar him following door come a young male who was exceedingly ill, probably in a dying state; yet he hoped the it would certainly occasion that no uneasiness. Judson assured the that, beyond pity because that the poor sick man, the should have actually no feeling whatever, and also that now, having heard that the circumstance, his pity would certainly not of food be raised by the nearness that the object. But it was, nevertheless, a an extremely restless night. Sounds came from the sick-chamber—sometimes the motions of the watchers, periodically the groans the the sufferer; yet it was not these i beg your pardon disturbed him. He believed of what the landlord had actually said—the stranger was most likely in a dice state; and also was that prepared? Alone, and the dead the night, that felt a blush of shame steal end him in ~ the question, because that it confirmed the shallowness that his philosophy. What would certainly his late companions say come his weakness? The clear-minded, intellectual, witty E—, what would certainly he speak to such consummate boyishness? yet still his thoughts would revert to the noble man. Was he a Christian, calm and strong in the hope of a glorious immortality? Or was he shuddering upon the brink of a dark, unknown future? probably he to be a ‘freethinker,’ educated by Christian parents, and also prayed over by a Christian mother. The landlord had explained him together a young man; and in imagination he was forced to place himself ~ above the dice bed, despite he strove through all his might versus it. At last morning came, and the bright flood of irradiate which the poured right into his room dispelled every his ‘superstitious illusions.’ As quickly as he had risen, the went trying to find the landlord, and also inquired because that his fellow-lodger. ‘He is dead,’ was the reply. ‘Dead!’ ‘Yes, he is gone, poor fellow! The physician said the would most likely not endure the night.’ ‘Do you understand who that was?’ ‘O, yes; it was a young man from Providence College—a an extremely fine fellow; his name was E—’ Judson was totally stunned. After hours had passed, the knew not how, that attempted to seek his journey. However one solitary thought populated his mind, and the words, Dead! lost! lost! were continually ringing in his ears. He knew the faith of the scriptures to be true; the felt its truth; and he was in despair. In this state of psychic he resolved to give up his scheme of travelling, and also at once turned his horse’s head towards Plymouth.

Throughout the remainder the Adoniram Judson’s life, he attributed the events of this night for transforming the direction the his life.

On October 12, 1808, Judson was accepted as a “special student” in ~ Andover Seminary—“special” in the he had not do a profession of faith. On December 2, 1808, that readjusted when Judson make a solemn dedication of self to God. In September 1809, just one year shy of his conversion, Judson was offering serious contemplation to human being missions. In February 1810, he solved to be a missionary come the heathen abroad.

The contact to Service

The occasions that followed are landmarks for the American goals movement. Several men from Andover College—Samuel Mills, James Richards, Luther Rice, Samuel Nott, Gordon Hall, Samuel Newell, and also Adoniram Judson—formed a missionary fraternity with the score to stand for Christ and the Congregational church on the foreign mission field. These men prompted the general Association of Congregational church to kind the American plank of Commissioners for international Missions on June 28, 1810. The very first meeting of that board was organized on September 5, 1810. Dr. Samuel Worcester was appointed matching secretary.

The an initial action taken by the board was to identify whether there would be a relationship in between the American mission board and that the the London Missionary Society. The London Missionary culture had already sent Mr. William Carey as its an initial missionary abroad, and also it to be enlisting others to join Carey in India or to expand the mission venture to various other nations. The American board hoped to elicit cooperation and also financial support from your brethren in England, and consequently selected Judson to take trip to London to achieve this job of communication. Judson’s mission to London met with restricted success. If the London culture was no willing come offer assistance to the American Board, it was willing come enlist 4 men—Judson, Newell, Nott, and Gordon—into the work of the London Society.

This arrangement was no acceptable to the American Board, and on September 18, 1811, the board voted to advise the four men in question “not to place themselves at present under the direction the the London Missionary Society, however to wait the more intimations of Providence relative to our way of furnishing them through the requisite assistance in the proposed international mission.” This appeal ultimately charted the direction for the American missions movement: American missionaries to be to be supported by American churches. As a result, the American board ordained Newell, Judson, Nott, Hall, and Rice because that the gospel ministry as missionaries come Asia on Thursday, February 6, 1812. ~ above February 19, 1812, Adoniram and Ann Judson and Samuel and also Harriet Newell embarked from Plymouth in the brig Caravan bound because that Calcutta. The Notts, Halls, and also Luther Rice embarked at a later date from Philadelphia on the Harmony. The Caravan come in Calcutta ~ above June 17, 1812, and the Harmony arrived on July 8, 1812. The American foreign missionary movement had begun.

THE BAPTISM CONTROVERSY: Judson’s Perspective

Adoniram Judson left the shores of America together an educated, ordained, and also commissioned Congregationalist missionary. At no time in his early writings is over there a concern of doubt concerning his place on baptism. Together a Congregationalist, he practiced pedobaptism. However doubt’s shadow began to darken his mind together he learned the issue in i from Plymouth come Calcutta. In ~ a period of four months, Judson’s doubt climbed to such heights that his convictions top top the worry shifted indigenous the place of pedobaptism to post-conversion immersion. In law so, Judson isolated self from his co-workers, his mission board, his home church, and his family. Judson documents this theological trip in two significant historical documents. The first is a letter come his home church, in which that communicates the personal and doctrinal battles he endured while making this decision. The second file is a “sermon,” perhaps better called a treatise today, ~ above the topic of baptism.

The chance for examine of the object of Baptism

Three events prompted Judson’s examine of the problem of baptism when on board the Caravan. First, when he remained in Andover he had actually been functioning on a translate into of the Greek brand-new Testament. This naturally led him to investigate the appropriate translation for words bapti,zw (baptizo). Second, Judson lugged with him letters from Dr. Worcester come Dr. Wilhelm Carey questioning for help from the English Baptist missionaries. Judson, understanding that the worry of baptism would certainly arise, wanted to have the ability to give a simply defense of his place of pedobaptism. 3rd and foremost, although Judson to be an educated and ordained minister, that personally had no ministerial experience. Thus, Judson for the very first time necessary to affirm what he was going to exercise in the ministry. In the opening lines that his letter home he writes:

You will certainly readily believe me, as soon as I say, the on leaving my country, I small imagined, the I should ever become a Baptist. I had actually not undoubtedly candidly examined the subject of baptism; yet I had solid prejudices against the sect, that is every where talked against.

It was on plank the vessel, in prospect of mine future life among the heathen, that ns was caused investigate this important subject. I was going soon to proclaim the glad news the salvation with Jesus Christ. I hoped, that my ministrations would be blessed to the conversion of souls. In the case, ns felt that ns should have no hesitation worrying my duty come the converts, it gift plainly commanded in scripture, the such space to be baptized, and received right into church fellowship. But how, believed I, am i to act the unconverted children and also domestics of the converts? space they come be thought about members the the church the Christ, through virtue that the counter of the head of their family, or not? If lock are, candlestick I not to act them together such? after ~ they are baptized, can I consistently collection them aside, together aliens indigenous the commonwealth of Israel, until they room readmitted? If they are not come be considered members of the church, have the right to I consistently carry out to lock the initiating ordinance the the church?

These concerns troubled Judson’s mind. The knew he had actually to arrive at biblical answers former to start his to adjust abroad. Practice based upon legacy or upbringing was not sufficient. Biblical truth must it is in the structure on which Judson stood.

Searching the Scriptures: The setting of Baptism

As Judson searched the bibles for answers to his questions, his examine proceeded upon two tracks: the an interpretation of the word “baptism” and the definition of the ordinance in Scriptures. Regarding the first line of study, Judson made the following conclusions:

The primitive word ba,ptw (bapto) from which the word denoting baptism, is derived, signifies immersion. This, with the basic consent the the Pedobaptists themselves, is as much the appropriate an interpretation of the Greek word, as of the English word, dip or immerse.

The indigenous denoting baptism (bapti,zw)(baptizo) is derived from the verbal of this primitive native (baptoz) (baptoz) by a change in the termination, which, follow to an developed principle in the Greek language, never affects the main idea; but when make on words, express a quality or attribute, merely conveys the additional idea that causing or making.

The word which denotes the act of baptizing, follow to the intake of Greek writers, uniformly signifies or implies immersion.

That immersion is the exclusive signification of the word, shows up from the complying with testimonies of eminent Pedobaptist authors, who concessions on this subject might not have actually been impacted by Baptist partialities, but must have resulted from a conviction of truth alone.

There room no instances, in the new Testament which require us come depart from the etymological and also established interpretation of the word.

The locations chosen because that the management of the ordinance, and the situations attending those instances, in i beg your pardon the plot of baptizing as an especially described, in the brand-new Testament, plainly show immersion.

The idea the immersion is the only one, which will certainly suit all the assorted connections, in which the word is supplied in the new Testament.

Under each suggest made, Judson said extensively the various brand-new Testament i that sustained his assertions. He was persuaded that the word “baptism” must median immersion. The notes:

But transparent the whole new Testament, I can find nothing that looked like sprinkling, in link with the ordinance of baptism. It appeared to me, the a plain human should, without any kind of previous info on the subject, review through the brand-new Testament, he would certainly never obtain the idea, the baptism consisted in sprinkling.

Judson’s mode of baptism to be scripturally settled. He would certainly be an immersionist. One concern still lingered, however: who have to be baptized?

Searching the Scriptures: The topics of Baptism

Judson obtained his theological education and learning under the interpretative hermeneutic of covenant theology, i m sorry concludes the the relationship between Abraham, Israel, and also the church is without substantial distinction. Together Judson approached the exercise of baptism, that was required to reinvestigate the relationship in between these 3 entities. To be they analogous? were the covenantal rites the circumcision and also baptism identical? Judson’s conclusions to this arguments provided him with the answer come the concern that had actually been troubling him: who room the rightful entrants in Christian baptism? He composed to his residence church about his discoveries:

When i proceeded come consider certain passages, which are thought to favor the Pedobaptist system, (1 Cor. 7:14; plot 2:39; Matt. 19:14, 18:3; acts 16:34; 1 Cor. 1:16) I found nothing satisfactory.

In a word, I might not uncover a solitary intimation, in the brand-new Testament, the the children and domestics that believers to be members the the church, or entitled to any church ordinance, in consequence of the job of the head of their family. Everything discountenanced this idea. When baptism was spoken of, that was constantly in link with believing. None however believers were commanded to be baptized; and also it walk not show up to mine mind that any kind of others were baptized.

Here, then, showed up a striking difference in between the Abrahamic and also the Christian systems. The one known the membership of children, domestics, and remote progeny of professors, and likewise tended directly to the establishment of a national religion. The other showed up to be a selective system, acknowledging none together members that the church, yet such as offered credible proof of believing in Christ.

This led me come suspect, that these two systems, therefore evidently different, can not be one and also the same. And now the light started to dawn. The an ext I read, and the much more I meditated on the subject, the more plainly it showed up to me, that all my errors and also difficulties had actually originated, in confounding these 2 systems.

I cannot explain to you, to ~ brethren, the light and satisfaction, which i obtained, in acquisition this watch of the matter, in considering the 2 churches distinct, and also in classing my principles of each in their suitable place. I became possessed the a key, the unlocked numerous a difficulty, which had actually long perplexed me. And the much more I review the Bible, the more plainly I saw, that this to be the true device therein revealed.

But on the various other hand, if you embrace and exercise the Abrahamic system, you will inevitably confound the church and the world; you will receive right into the church multitudes who are destitute the those qualifications, which are represented, in the brand-new Testament, together requisite come constitute a member of the kingdom i beg your pardon Christ collection up; you will ultimately establish a national religion; and also this will certainly be as contrary to the system laid down in the brand-new Testament.

These excerpts native Judson’s letter reflect the significant interpretative transition in his hermeneutic. It likewise indicates the reason Judson ended up being not just an immersionist, however a post-conversion immersionist. Because post-conversion immersion is the primary distinction of the Baptist church, in a word Adoniram Judson ended up being a Baptist.

The an individual Cost

Judson’s decision to become a Baptist was not made there is no a an excellent deal of personal thought and grief. Judson explained his place as “being in the grip of a Gordian knot.” He reflect on the price of his decision in his letter home:

But while I obtained light and satisfaction ~ above one side, i was hurry in an obstacle and distress on the other. If, believed I, this device is the true one, if the Christian church is no a continuation of the Jewish, if the agreement of circumcision is not precisely the covenant in which Christians currently stand, the whole structure of Pedobaptism is gone; over there is no staying ground for the administration of any church ordinance, come the children and domestics the professors; and also it adheres to inevitably, that I, that was christened in infancy, ~ above the faith of my parents, have actually never yet obtained Christian baptism. Should I, then, forsake mine parents, the church through which i stand connected, the culture under whose patronage I have come out, the companions of mine missionary undertaking? should I forfeit the an excellent opinion of every my friend in my aboriginal land, occasioning grief come some, and also provoking others to anger, and be pertained to henceforth, by all my previous dear acquaintance, together a weak, despicable Baptist, who has actually not sense sufficient to recognize the connection in between the Abrahamic and the Christian systems? all this to be mortifying; the was hard to flesh and blood. Yet I believed again — that is better to it is in guided by the opinion of Christ, who is the truth, than by the opinion the men, but good, whom I know to it is in in one error.

I saw, that, in a twin sense, ns was unbaptized, and also I feeling the command the Christ pressing my conscience. Now if i quieted my conscience in for to my own personal baptism, and concluded, that on account of my strange circumstances, that was ideal to top my very own convenience, rather than the command of Christ, quiet the inquiry would return, through redoubled force, —How am i to treat the children and also domestics of converted heathen? This to be the beginning of every my difficulties, and also this, on Pedobaptist principles, I can not resolve, by the Bible, or by any books that ns consulted.

I have been sensible, the my change of sentiment would give much ache to plenty of whom i loved and respected, come the members that the church ns am now addressing, and also to mine honored father, your pastor. This reflection was the greatest trial attending mine baptism. The was organic for me, therefore, to be desirous of reflecting you clearly the extreme to which ns was reduced, and also the potency of those debates which constrained me to end up being a Baptist; hoping the you would, by that means, be led to sympathize v me, in the exercises of mind that I have experienced, and be willing to admit, that my conduct has not to be the result of short-term caprice, or the still more reprehensible effect of interested and also sinister motives. I solemnly profess to have actually done this point from a solitary regard to truth and duty. I have not transformed my sentiments on any allude of doctrine, or Christian experience. My love tells me, dear brethren, that ns am tho on v you, though we differ top top the subject of baptism.

To end up being a “weak, despicable Baptist” was not just a personal issue. His wife, Ann, was intimately associated in the theological journey, and in each controversy she made decision the next of pedobaptism.She listened attentively come his argumentation and also studied the scriptures personally, and though she observed the reasoning, she was hesitant. She composed these indigenous to she parents: “I make the efforts to have him give it up, and also rest to solve in his old sentiments, and frequently told him, if he came to be a Baptist, I would certainly not.” Upon showing up in Calcutta, Ann learned the subject when again “with all my prejudices on the Pedobaptist side.” at some point she capitulated, not based top top marital pressure, but because she found “that the truth appeared to lie on the Baptist’s side.”

The emotional cost to Ann to be significant. Take into consideration her reflect on this subject in a letter to her parents, then in a letter come a friend:

It was extremely trying to reflect on the results of our coming to be Baptists. Us knew it would certainly wound and grieve our dear Christian girlfriend in America—that we should lose their approbation and also esteem. We thought it probable the commis­sioners would certainly refuse to assistance us; and, what was an ext distressing 보다 anything, we knew we should be separated from our missionary associates, and go alone to part heathen land. These things were an extremely trying to us, and also caused our hearts to bleed for anguish. Us felt we had no home in this world, and also no friend however each other.

She composed in a comparable fashion come a to ~ friend:

Can you, my dear Nancy, quiet love me, tho desire to hear from me, when I phone call you i have come to be a Baptist? If ns judge indigenous my very own feelings, ns answer you will, and that my differing from friend in those points which execute not influence our salvation will certainly not diminish her affection for me, or make you unconcerned because that my welfare. . . . Thus, my dear Nancy, we are evidenced Baptists, not because we wish to be, but since truth compelled us to be. We have actually endeavored to count the cost, and be prepared for the numerous severe trials result from this readjust of sentiment. We anticipate the lose of reputation, and also of the affection and also esteem of many of ours American friends. However the many trying circumstance attending this change, and also that which has actually caused many pain, is the separation which must take place in between us and also our to ~ missionary associates. Return we space attached to each other, and should certain live really happily together, however the brethren carry out not think it finest we need to unite in one mission. These things, my dear Nancy, have actually caused united state to weep and pour out our understanding in prayer come Him who directions us so lot wish and also need. We feel that we space alone in the world, v no actual friend however each other, no one on who we can depend however God.”

The final Decision

After Adoniram and Ann do the decision together to become Baptists, they sent the following letter come the leaders of the Baptist mission company in Serampore.

Calcutta, august 27, 1812

TO THE REV. MESSRS. CAREY, MARSHMAN, and also WARD.

As you have been ignorant the the so late exercises of my mind on the topic of baptism, the interaction which i am around to make may occasion you some surprise.

It is now about four months since I took the subject right into serious and prayerful consideration. My inquiries, commenced during my i from America, and after much productive research and painful trial, which ns shall not currently detail, have actually issued in entire conviction, that the immersion the a professing believer is the just Christian baptism.

In these exercises I have not to be alone. Mrs. Judson has been involved in a similar examination, and also has involved the exact same conclusion. Feeling, therefore, that we are in an unbaptised state, we wish come profess our belief in Christ by being baptised in obedience come his sacred commands.

Adoniram Judson, Jun.

Consequently, on September 6, 1812, in the Lal Bazar Chapel in Calcutta, Dr. Ward that the London Missionary culture baptized Adoniram and also Ann. Both had studied the scriptures together and also separately. Both were mindful of the great cost of your decision. Both recognized that to come to be a Baptist would average the ns of friends, support, family, and perhaps also their missionary endeavor. Both knew they were obligated to share their readjust in conviction through the newly formed American plank of Commissioners for foreign Missions. This to be done by method of letter on September 1, 1812. Judson composed his to ~ friend and supporter, Dr. Worcester, and informed him of his readjust in position.

Rev. And also Dear Sir, —

My readjust of sentiments on the topic of baptism is thought about by my missionary brethren together incompatible through my continuing their fellow-labourer in the mission which they contemplate ~ above the Island of Madagascar; and it will, ns presume, be taken into consideration by the plank of Commissioners as equally incompatible with my proceeding their missionary. The board will, undoubtedly, feel as unwilling to assistance a Baptist missionary as I feeling to comply v their instructions, which specifically direct united state to baptise ‘credible believers v their households.’

The resolution of my link with the plank of Commissioners, and a separation from my dear missionary brethren, I considered most distressing results of mine late adjust of sentiments, and, indeed, the many distressing occasions which have ever before befallen me. I have actually now the prospect before me of going alone come some remote island, unconnected through any society at present existing, from which I can be furnished through assistant labourers or pecuniary support. Whether the Baptist church in America will certainly compassionate mine situation, I understand not. Ns hope, therefore, that while my friends guilty of what lock deem a departure from the truth, they will certainly at least pity me and also pray because that me.

With the same sentiments of

affection and respect together ever,

I am, sir, your friend and servant

Adoniram Judson, Jun.

Just as they had anticipated and also feared, the Judsons to be left at that time there is no friends. Your American missionary brethren, supporting churches, and also home mission board were of a different doctrinal persuasion and also thus can no longer work with them. Because of political and also commercial pressures, the eastern Indian Trading agency controlled by the English was demanding the all Americans leaving India immediately. The only an individual bright spot because that the Judsons was your friendship through Luther Rice. He, too, had readjusted his position on baptism and was ready to continue to be with the Judsons and also work. The only hope they had actually of remaining on the mission ar was the possibility of a positive an answer to the following letter sent out to Dr. Bolles, a Baptist minister in new England.

Calcutta, September 1, 1812

Rev. Sir, —I recollect that, throughout a short interview I had actually with you in Salem, I suggested the formation of a culture among the Baptists in America because that the assistance of foreign missions, in imitation that the exertions of her English brethren. Little did ns then expect to it is in personally concerned in together an attempt.

Within a couple of months I have experienced one entire adjust of sentiments ~ above the topic of baptism. My doubts concerning the correctness of my previous system of id commenced throughout my i from America come this country; and after countless painful trials, i beg your pardon none have the right to know yet those who room taught to relinquish a mechanism in i m sorry they had been educated, I cleared up down in the complete persuasion the the immersion of a professing believer in Christ is the just Christian baptism.

Mrs. Judson is united v me in this persuasion. We have signified ours views and also wishes to the Baptist missionaries at Serampore, and also expect to it is in baptised in this city following Lord’s day.

A separation from my missionary brethren, and a resolution of my connection with the plank of commissioners, seem to be necessary conse­quences. The missionaries at Serampore space exerted come the utmost the their ability in managing and also supporting their considerable and complicated mission.

Under these circumstances I look to you. Alone, in this foreign heathen land, ns make mine appeal come those whom, through their permission, i will contact my Baptist brethren in the united States.

With the advice the the brethren in ~ Serampore, i am contemplating a mission on one of the east islands. They have actually lately sent out their brother Chater come Ceylon, and also their brothers Robinson come Java. In ~ present, Amblyna seems to existing the many favourable opening. Fifty thousands souls room there perishing without the means of life; and also the situation of the island is such the a mission there created might, through the blessing that God, be prolonged to the adjoining islands in those seas.

But must I go thither, it is a most painful reflection the I have to go alone, and also uncertain that the means of support. However I will certainly trust in God. He has frequently allowed me to worship his divine goodness, and will never forsake those who placed their to trust in him.

I am, too ~ sir,

Yours, in the mr Jesus,

Adoniram Judson, Jun

The Judsons might only wait, hope, and pray that their brief missionary career would certainly continue. Their decision to change was marked by both a major study of the word of God and good personal pain. It absolutely was not the prudent choice based ~ above the wisdom the men. It expense them whatever they had at that time. That was, however, the necessary an option based upon the divine dictates of their conscience. As Luther the old said, “Here lock stood, they could do no other.”

THE BAPTISM CONTROVERSY: The Results

The an adverse Response

The results of Judson’s decision in the broadest feeling are shown by the totality of the American Baptist missionary movement from 1812 come the present. In the narrower historical sense, Judson’s decision prompted both a an unfavorable and confident response. The an unfavorable response to be voiced by the Reverend Enoch Pond, a Congregational pastor in Ward, Massachusetts. He published a publication entitled, A treatise on the Mode and also Subjects that Christian Baptism — Designed as a answer to the Statements and also Reasonings that the Rev. Adoniram Judson, which to be a solution to the sermon that Judson had preached in India. This sermon was published in the united States and also subsequently received great attention. Pond starts the book by stating his factor for writing.

But is the existing revival that this controversy properly chargeable to the writer? once Mr. Judson wrote and also published his Sermon, through the avowed design of transmitting it come America, he well knew that he to be treading on controversial ground; and also he had actually every factor to expect, unless he claimed it would pressure universal conviction, the someone in his native country would effort a reply.

Pond’s reply, though, to be not just theological in context. He questioned Judson’s motivations for his readjust in position.

Pedobaptists would certainly gladly indulge the hope, the these pretensions room sincere—that Mr. Judson was affected in this matter by a sense of duty and also the are afraid of God. Lock cannot, however, repress the opinion, ~ a deliberate examination of concomitant circumstances, that his change is to say the least, a an extremely mysterious event.

He then ongoing with directly calling Judson’s character into question.

Mr. Judson is a human being whom, for numerous years, I have been accustomed to respect. It is with pain I discover myself under responsibilities to controvert what he has advanced. The is an especially painful, that i am to become the tool of interacting facts which serious implicate his moral character. His particular friends might rest assured the I have actually no satisfied in detraction, and also that it would afford me the highest happiness, might the mysteries the his conduct be completely developed, and also the charge which in the ensuing pages lies against him it is in fairly removed.

Pond’s accusations room several. He started by arguing that Judson’s change was not based ~ above lines of biblical reasoning, but upon the opportunity for gaue won gain.

The reasonings he has actually employed have actually been work before. And also in the food of his theological education, it would certainly seem he must have actually known this. The disagreements he has now progressed and pronounce conclusive, he must have previously considered, and also pronounced incorrect.

It is somewhat remarkable in the situation of Mr. Judson, the he should be readjusted to precisely such a point. Having begun to waver, why did he waver just therefore far, and no farther? Without interacting his “exercises to any kind of of the Baptist denomination,” why did the at length fasten ~ above those very topics, which constitute the peculiarities that the Baptist faith? at a duration when his very own circumstances were significantly perplexed, and also when liable to imagine that some brand-new expedient can improve them; exactly how came he to coincide so specifically with those Missionaries among whom Providence had actually thrown him, that were currently prosperously established, and engaged in their benevolent work?

Second, Pond says that Judson was not honest and open v his co-workers and also not loyal to his home church.

Another impressive circumstance respecting Mr. Judson’s change, is the concealment that his see from his missionary brethren. He definitely could not have renounced Pedobaptist values without a struggle. He can not have actually been honestly brought to decide, the those ministers with whom he had ever linked were not continual ministers that Christ; the those churches v which he to be connected, on i beg your pardon he to be dependent, and to i beg your pardon he to be under solemn obligations, were no regularly constituted churches of Christ; the his reverend father and most intimate Christian friends had never been baptized in the surname of the Trinity, or rightly professed the Christian faith; yea, that he himself had actually constantly promoted that, which (pursued to what he deems its direct consequences) is “the most pernicious practice which ever infested and also laid rubbish the vineyard of the Lord” — he might not possibly have actually been lugged to such a decision, there is no a deep inward conflict. Exactly how strange, then, the the conflict never ended up being visible! the it to be neither observed by, nor revealed to, his missionary companions! here is a band of brothers, walk forth with the gospel to a soil of idols, not just under strange obligations, but, it have to seem, peculiarly disposed, to maintain an intercourse the most frank and open; and also yet among them passes v a scene of the utmost psychological trouble; dissents indigenous the church order of his ancestors, supporters, and also associates; and is at size on the allude of a complete separation from them, and also has never made to them the slightest intimations the what had actually passed, and also was pass in his mind!!

Third, Pond accused Judson the harboring resentment concerning a previous reprimand he received from the American plank of Commissioners for international Missions about Judson’s communication with the London Missionary Society. The accusation was the Adoniram had actually overstepped his bounds together he negotiated because that a partnership in between the two parties. Initially, Judson had actually denied that a official admonition to be given, (though later in life that notes that mistakes were made for which he was sorry). Pond seized on this discrepancy and also accused Judson of both bitterness and dishonesty.

It will be recollected by many, that soon after the knowledge of Mr. Judson’s adjust had got to America, it to be hinted in details circles, the this had been induced by resentment. He had received, formerly to his leaving the country, a solemn reprimand or admonition from the plank of Commissioners for foreign Missions; and also the affront occasioned by it had actually induced him come desert them. Rumours favor these in ~ length uncovered their way into the East, and reached the ears of Mr. Judson.

To substantiate his accusation, Pond quoted Dr. Samuel Worcester, the corresponding secretary of the American Board. Worcester was responding come the question worrying whether Judson actually received a official reprimand from the Board.

In the beginning of the year 1811, Mr. Judson was sent out by the Prudential Committee come England, for objectives distinctly mentioned in his instructions. In that mission, what he to be instructed not to do, the did; and also what he to be instructed come do, he neglected. Top top his return, in July the the very same year, he kept himself aloof native the Prudential committee, do no consistent report that his doings, and also assumed the administration of matters in his very own way.

Great dissatisfaction was expressed by every member present; and it came to be a very serious question whether Mr. Judson should not it is in dismissed. ~ deliberation, however, it was resolved, the he have to be in a formal and solemn way admonished. THE ADMONITION WAS accordingly ADMINISTERED IN existence OF THE BOARD.

In the February following, his deportment to be such, the it again became a serious and also most trying inquiry with the Prudential committee, even if it is he should be allowed to go. And it was not without great heaviness the heart, countless fears, and details but tender cautions, no to him only, however to the various other Missionaries respecting him, that he was ultimately sent out.

The ultimate issue is v Him, to whose sovereign wisdom, and also power, and also goodness the belongs, come overrule the wayward dispositions and actions of men for the advancement of his very own glory and kingdom.

Pond then called for Judson come repent of his lying, to recognize his wrongdoing, and to humble himself.

To deny the the smallest particular, would certainly be to contradict a body of men, which yields to none in America in allude of respectability and also worth. To quibble and equivocate on the an interpretation of details words, would find the the contrary of one honest, humble spirit; and, instead of exonerating him, would certainly in the estimation of the candid confirm his guilt. To pretend forgetfulness the the reality which he has denied would certainly be perfect unaccountable, and excite the suspicion of an attempt to impose ~ above the publik . In short, we see yet one food which Mr. J. Deserve to dutifully pursue. He need to retrace his steps. The credit of congregationalism walk not call for that he need to return come his former sentiments; yet the credit of religious beliefs does imperiously require, that he humble himself, and be willing to confess the truth.

Pond continues to question Judson’s personality by saying that “Mr. J. Possesses normally a proud, unstable, aspiring temper; and also none require be informed, that mortified pride and cramped ambition are powerful stimulants of revenge.”

Fourth, Pond accused Judson that plagiarism regarding his sermon top top baptism. Judson had actually referenced the work-related of a Mr. Booth transparent his treatise.

In short, what part of the job-related is to it is in accredited come Mr. Judson, and what to Mr. Booth? There ought to be no foundation for questions choose these. The really face of the Discourse should totally preclude them. Over there evidently is in this Sermon a good (not to say needless) parade that learning. We hope the was not Mr. Judson’s architecture to be accredited through all this finding out himself; yet we are sure a great proportion that his readers space in risk of mistaking the truth. If he is a usually man, he will certainly wish therefore it need to be stated, that almost all his quotations and also references, uneven it it is in those that a very modern date, are transcribed, verbatim et literatim, from Mr. Booth and others; and also that a great proportion that the learning displayed in the job-related is not originally his own.

We had the curiosity to spend an hour or two in to compare Mr. Judson’s Sermon v “Pedobaptism Examined.” We straight discovered between sixty and also seventy quotations v their references, and nearly forty references where there to be no quotations, which were manifestly transcribed from this learned work! this quotations and also references must have price Mr. Booth more labour than to create a folio. Every the credit transaction he has for them, is crowded into less than 3 indefinitely and also equivocally built lines!!!

Finally, Pond stated that Judson was missing the entire point concerning the baptism controversy.

The inquiry at issue in this component of the subject is no whether immersion is a valid mode of baptism: this we might admit. No one is it even if it is this mode is preferable to every others; because that we room willing that those who choose immersion, also in our very own churches, need to be indulged. Nor is it even if it is immersion was generally practised in the at an early stage ages of Christianity; this we have no necessity or disposition to deny. We execute not say the neither of these points is questionable; but neither of castle is the an accurate question in dispute. The suggest at problem is in few words this — Is immersion essential? Mr. Judson contends, the the idea of immersion enters right into the really “nature of baptism; that the terms baptism and immersion space equivalent and interchangeable.” he evidently supposes immersion essential come the ordinance. This, then, is the suggest to i m sorry his reasonings need to tend. Let him prove, what we deny, that immersion is necessary to baptism, and the dispute is in ~ an end.

Pond’s strike on Judson to be to be expected on all fronts. His book was spread throughout Congregational and also Baptist churches. No doubt it affected Judson’s friends and family members alike. Because of this, the severity the the cost for the Judsons was exceptionally high. Together they anticipated, it cost them an ext than financial support; it also called into question their personal integrity. No price can be greater for a minister the the gospel.

Positive Results

As stated earlier, the hopeful results of Judson’s decision have been shown throughout the history of an ext than 175 year of American Baptist foreign missions outreach. Within the historic context, there were three confident results. First, Luther Rice, early out to declining health, went back to America and also became a spokesman because that Baptist missions. His labor and love because that the mission field stirred the hearts of American Baptists throughout the growing nation of America. Second, Judson’s letter come Dr. Bolles met with a positive response. The American Baptist churches, v no initiatory activity of your own, already had two missionaries on the field. They got this together the hand the God and began a Baptist combination for international Missions. The letter below communicates this decision to Judson.

DEAR BROTHER—by the arrival of the Tartar, in January last, we obtained the intelligence of your adjust of views on the subject of Christian baptism, and likewise intimations of her readiness come embark in a mission under our patronage, need to a culture be formed amongst the Baptists in America for the purpose.

Your letter excited peculiar emotions. We taken into consideration it together the voice of God calling us to the development of a missionary society. The we could not, however, be charged through acting prematurely, or be thought about as interfering with the board of commissioners, we ascertained whether they plan to continue you in their service before we formally made decision to connect you in ours.

Satisfied on inquiry what to be our course of duty, we developed ourselves into a culture for propagating the gospel in India and also other international parts. In ~ a conference of the trustees, we unanimously agreed to rental you together our missionary, and also to stand prepared to support you v all the pecuniary help we can command.

By the come of one more vessel, we have heard that the Rev. Mr. Rice entertains the same sentiments as yourself ~ above the topic of baptism. This event gives us joy, due to the fact that it must include much to her comfort in a foreign land to have actually a fellow-labourer in the gospel. The board have actually not met since Mr. Rice’s letter was received, yet I to be confident the he will certainly be bring away under their care. We have actually not had actually time come mature our thoughts so regarding say through decision whether it would certainly be ideal for you to be linked with, or live independence of, ours brethren in ~ Serampore.

At current it appears to united state that a connexion through them would many subserve the understand of the Redeemer’s kingdom in India, and be most abundant of happiness to yourselves. All the services which have the right to be derived from union with men of integrity, disinterested benevolence, and also a expertise of the country, growing out the a twenty years’ suffer would accrue to you from a relation through them. These considerations induced united state in March last to write to Mr. Fuller, of Kettering, top top the subject, expressing our wishes that you can be considered as belonging to the mission family members at Serampore. Should it appear, native future events, an ext desirable the you should act alone, or together American missionaries, separately from the English brethren, then, no doubt, we shall it is in pleased to have it so; however our existing sentiments are, the you had much better act with and by your advice.

In instead of of the Society,

Yours affectionately,

Daniel Sharp

Finally, it have to be provided that Judson’s relationship with the Congregationalist plank was not permanently severed. In a soft exchange of letters dated twenty-seven year after the separation, Judson composed to Dr. Anderson, the director of the American plank of Commissioners for foreign Missions. His occasion for composing was to ask because that a subscription of your newsletter, The Herald, however within the letter the writes:

I am mindful that it is not constant to problem you v this business; but, to tell the truth, I have rather recorded at that as providing me an occasion to drop girlfriend a line, and perhaps acquire one in return. Though I have actually been (as some may think) a wayward child of the American plank of Commissioners for foreign Missions, i have constantly retained the warmest filial affection for that body, under whose auspices I first came out.

I was likewise afraid that, attempting to readjust the setting of conveyance, i should, by part accident, shed my Herald altogether, uneven I wrote you, and also begged you come secure me from together a misfortune.

There are not many, perhaps, currently living, who deserve to say, together I can, that they have read every variety of the Herald, from the time it an initial commenced that existence, in the form of the Panoplist and also Massachusetts Missionary Magazine, come the present time; and I hope to reap the privilege as lengthy as i live. The Herald, in mine view, contains an ext interesting missionary information, and also a advance of sounder missionary principles, than any type of other publication in the world.

I remain, reverend and dear sir,

Yours, most sincerely,

A. Judson

Dr. Anderson’s tender reply reads together follows:

REV. ADONIRAM JUDSON, Maulmain, India.

REV. And DEAR SIR,—A few days since I had actually the great pleasure that receiving your favour of January 21. If anything to be wanted, in addition to your long, devoted, and successful missionary life, to perfect the impression made by your letter to Mr. Evarts, dated June 13, 1880 (and i beg your pardon I replied to February 25, 1831), it was such a letter as lies now before me. Yet I need to not have said, no one am i aware, that anything was crucial to offer you a stronger organize upon our hearts than any type of other among the brethren that your society can perhaps have. Us rejoice in the good, the very an excellent good, which has grown the end of your change of relation. We view the an excellent hand of our God in this. We would not, therefore, have it otherwise. The old asperities the feeling have perished in the grave, or have been softened under by time and also the elegant of God. We love come think of you together intimately pertained to us—having — a usual missionary parentage. For this reason we send friend the Herald, and on this account we mean to send it to you as lengthy as you proceed a missionary of ours Lord and Master.

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Conclusion

Adoniram Judson is the father of American foreign Missions. He earned this title not just by years of service, yet by the top quality of his life and service. A male of God is forged by his response to turning points. The baptism dispute of 1812 was a memorable turning point in the life that Judson. His fidelity to the word of God expense him dearly. Yet, the price that paid has actually reaped rewards for 200 years.