“To Answer Or Not To Answer”: A Case Study On The Emergence Of The Stone-Campbell Movement Amongst The Baptist Churches Of Kentucky In The 1820s -- By: Rodrick Durst

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 03:1 (Spring 2005)
Article: “To Answer Or Not To Answer”: A Case Study On The Emergence Of The Stone-Campbell Movement Amongst The Baptist Churches Of Kentucky In The 1820s
Author: Rodrick Durst


“To Answer Or Not To Answer”: A Case Study On The Emergence
Of The Stone-Campbell Movement Amongst The Baptist
Churches Of Kentucky In The 1820s

Rodrick Durst

Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Professor of Historical Theology

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
201 Seminary Drive
Mill Valley, CA 94941

It was the first Sunday of the month, the day on which the half-time pastor of David’s Fork Baptist Church, Kentucky was to preach.1 “Bishop Vardeman was of magnificent proportions, being upwards of six feet in stature, weighing three hundred pounds . . . possessing uncommon and undiminished energy and vigor, though [56] years of age.”2 His people well knew that Rev. Vardeman was “probably the most effective pulpit orator, and the most successful preacher who ever lived in Kentucky.”3 Vardeman loved these people and had been with them nineteen years. They believed that Rev. Vardeman could preach louder and longer

without showing signs of tiring than any other preacher in the Tennessee Valley. Humorous and humble, he had declared, “I aim more for the heart than the head.”4

Now as was his preaching practice, Vardeman had finished the first third of the sermon, that portion he reserved for professing believers.5 He was turning with urgency to what he did better than perhaps anyone in his generation, exhorting the unprofessed to flee to Christ and avoid the judgment to come. No sooner had he asked, “How shall we be saved if we neglect so great a salvation?” when a tall, none-too-well dressed man slipped through the door and onto a nearby bench. Vardeman recognized him instantly and guessed the reason for the hasty entrance into the meeting. “It’s Rev. Racoon John Smith,” whispered Lucy Vardeman to her neighbor, “and he’s here to cause trouble. He always does.”6 Continuing to preach, Vardeman thought to himself, “Smith will want to know why I turned back to the old Baptist dispensation and he will want to know publicly.” As soon as the meeting seemed to pause, Smith rose and interrupted:

“As I desire all things to know what is right, and to do it, I hope that Brother Vardeman will tell me, and this audience, what passage in the Word of God has convinced him that he was wrong. This I beg him to do now, not on...

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()