The Abel Morgans’s Contribution To Baptist Ecclesiology In Colonial America -- By: Gerald L. Priest
DBSJ 8 (Fall 03) p. 49
The Abel Morgans’s Contribution To Baptist Ecclesiology In Colonial America
In chapter seven of Leon McBeth’s Baptist Heritage, titled “Revival Fires: Baptists in America,” he identifies the eighteenth century as a turning point for Baptists. Small beginnings gave way to a surge of growth. He attributes this to three factors: waves of revivalism beginning with the Great Awakening, a social setting that gave status to Dissenters, and immigration of English and Welsh Baptists to America.2 One may argue for additional contributions to Baptist success, such as the missionary activity of pioneer preachers and the nearly wholesale support by Baptists for the American War of Independence. But all of these factors could be discussed as part of the overall contribution of the Welsh Baptists in colonial America. Beginning with their settlements of the Welsh Tract (Delaware) and Welsh Neck (South Carolina) these lovers of political and spiritual freedom spread numerically and provided necessary leadership for a fledgling denomination in crucial areas of Baptist work, such as church planting and ministerial education.
Perhaps the most significant legacy of the Welsh Baptists can be found in areas of local church ministry: congregational singing, fervent expositional preaching, Reformed doctrine, itinerant evangelism, and especially their organizational skills as reflected in the first and most influential of all Baptist associations in America—the Philadelphia Baptist Association (1707).3 Among the pastoral membership of this body, two men stand out as representing the best in Welsh Baptist ecclesiology.4 The relationship they bore to each other (uncle and
DBSJ 8 (Fall 03) p. 50
nephew) is secondary to the impact they had on their fellow Baptists during a time of intense struggle for denominational recognition and growth.
Abel Morgan Sr.
Abel Morgan Sr. (16735 -1722), Welsh Baptist preacher and uncle of Regular Baptist pastor Abel Morgan Jr., was born at Alltgoch in Cardigan County, South Wales. After conversion and ordination at age nineteen, Morgan ministered for several years at the Baptist church of Blaene Gwent in Monmouthshire.6 When his brother Enoch Morgan immigrated to America in 1701 to become pastor of the Welsh Tract Church, he induced Abel and others to follow him. Because of his good reputation, verified by several acquaintances i...
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