J.N. Hall – a Kentucky Baptist Name You Should Know

Noted Kentucky Baptist J.N. Hall was born February 5, 1849 and died December 5, 1905. Below are some remarks about this great servant of the Lord.

The Moses of Kentucky Baptists

“I was moderator in the Hall-Laslie debate for T.A. Laslie and during that debate I learned to love J.N. Hall. I admired his manly deportment, his Christian integrity, and his zeal for the doctrine he so firmly believed. Although a General Baptist myself, I learned to look upon J.N. Hall as the Moses of his denomination. While so many men are working for numbers regardless of principle, Hall stood upon the doctrines of his church and was certainly leading his people out of the wilderness. To his church the loss is irreparable, but he left a great name.” Joseph Lee, General Baptist editor, Sikeston, MO

His Evangelism

“He will be greatly missed. He was a Baptist through and through, and a stalwart defender of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” He was also a great soul winner, many being led to Christ in protracted meetings in which he preached. He was a man of most versatile gifts and of most tireless energy.” Western Recorder, December 7, 1905. Through Hall’s evangelistic efforts, numerous Baptist churches in west Kentucky were started, including First Baptist Fulton, Moscow, Mount Carmel, Wickliffe, etc.

His Preaching 

“The Annual Sermon was then preached by Elder J.N. Hall, text: 1 Corinthians 11:22, “Despise ye the Church of God?” . . . For lack of space further remarks upon the sermon are withheld. For two hours and ten minutes the congregation gave most careful attention, but this is not surprising when J.N. Hall is the speaker.”  1890 Minutes, West Union Baptist Association, Kentucky. Hall pastored numerous churches throughout west Kentucky and estimated that he preached over 600 sermons per year.

His Debates

“As a debater Bro. Hall has no equal. His self-possession, keen logic, personal magnetism, oratorical power, ready repartee, broad reading, rapid speaking, clear enunciation, correct pronunciation, distinct articulation and thorough knowledge of all theological questions make him invincible in debate.”  Ben Bogard. Hall held over 100 religious debates in his life. He debated atheists, Adventists, Methodists, Primitive Baptists and Church of Christ.

His Influence 

Much more could be said about Hall. He edited a widely read religious newspaper (The Baptist Flag), established a publishing house, started a Bible school (the Hall-Moody Institute – now the University of Tennessee-Martin) and helped found the West Kentucky Baptist Association in 1893. After his death a close friend wrote: “There are thousands that morn his death. He lives in the hearts of the people. We may safely say that the ultimate effect of his life will have a mighty influence in the homes of the Baptists.” W.F. Lowe, First moderator of Graves County Baptist Association. It is due to the influence of men like J.N. Hall that the Baptists of west Kentucky remain so doctrinally conservative.