Twentieth Century Kentucky Baptist Biographies, Volume 2
Twentieth Century Kentucky Baptist Biographies, Volume 2
Mabel Clement by J.M. Sallee
A fictional novel that teaches Baptist distinctives? At first this idea seems to be a contradiction, but in reality it is one of the most helpful books ever written on the issue. “Mabel Clement” is a novel set in late 19th century Texas. It tells the story of a young Church of Christ girl named Mabel Clement and how she becomes a Baptist.
The Kentucky connections to the book are significant. John Milton Sallee (1849-1915) was from Somerset, Kentucky. He pastored the Middlesburg, Cox’s Creek and Henderson Baptist Churches before moving to Texas in 1899 to pastor the Beesville Baptist Church. While pastoring the First Baptist Church of Henderson, Kentucky, Sallee preached a series of sermons setting forth the differences between Baptists and the Church of Christ. The messages were so well received that the congregation asked Sallee to publish them in a pamphlet. Instead Sallee choose to express his Baptist convictions in narrative form. The result was “Mabel Clement.”
W.W. Gardiner, himself a noted Kentucky Baptist, once told Sallee that he would trust his interpretation of some portions of Scripture more than that of Dr. John Broadus. When Sallee asked, “Why?” Gardiner replied, “Because you have been forced to know some things that Dr. Broadus never had to know.” Pastoring in Kentucky in the nineteenth century, Sallee was forced to know how to response to the followers of Alexander Campbell. In the book Sallee gives Biblical answers on such questions as salvation by faith alone, the design of baptism, the rightful participants in the Lord’s Supper, falling from Grace, and the depravity of the sinner. Each of these subjects are addressed within the wider framework of the story, making the book enjoyable to read and the issues easier to understand.
“Mabel Clement” was first published by the National Baptist Publishing House of Fulton, Kentucky in 1903. It was later republished by the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville, Tennessee in 1926. It was last reprinted by John R. Gilpin of Ashland, Kentucky in 1956. Today the book is out of print, although copies can readily be purchased on http://www.amazon.com and http://www.ebay.com. The book can also be read online in its entirety at: http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com and http://www.pbcofdecaturalabama.org. I encourage you to read this helpful book for yourself.
This book review originally appeared in the J.H. Spencer Historical Society journal. If you enjoyed it, why not consider joining this Kentucky Baptist Historical Society. To join or for more information write to:
J.H. Spencer Historical Society
P.O. Box 26
Farmington, KY 42040
1. Where is the oldest Baptist meeting house still standing in Kentucky?
2. What Baptist preacher baptized Isaac McCoy, the greatest Indian missionary who ever lived?
3. What Baptist preacher is given credit for baptizing George Washington?
4. What Baptist preacher became Governor of Kentucky?
5. What Kentucky Baptist preacher helped ordain J.R. Graves to the ministry?
6. What individual born in Lincoln County, Kentucky has a University named for him in Texas?
7. Which President of the United States once owned over 90,000 acres in Kentucky?
8. What former Baptist meeting house still stands on Runnymede Farm in Bourbon County, Kentucky?
9. What Baptist preacher did Thomas Jefferson say influenced him concerning the best plan of Government for Kentucky?
10. Who baptized Abraham Lincoln’s father?
11. What future automobile manufacturing company brought the headstone for Abraham Lincoln’s mother?
12. What outlaw’s father was an original trustee of William Jewell College?
The answers to these questions and much more are in the new book: “The First Fifty Baptist Churches in Kentucky” by Mickey Winter
223 pages, hardback. $10 postpaid.
Order from the author:
135 Oak Drive
Waynesburg, KY 40489
Real Churches or a Fog By Stanley Edwin Anderson
As a student in Chicago, it was my privilege to live in the same building with Dr. S. E. Anderson, who was also one of my instructors. Imagine being able to walk up two flights of stairs and ask the teacher questions at almost any hour! A few years later, when Dr. Anderson published his excellent work titled Real Churches or a Fog?, designed to rebut the “universal impossible church” notion, he was so gracious as to ask a young man to proof the body of the original manuscript and write an introduction! My, what a joy!
Dr. S.E. Anderson (1900-1977) was born in Minnesota and as a young man pastored a Congregationalist Church there. Deciding he needed more education, he moved to Jackson, Tennessee to attend Union University. There he studied under such staunch Baptists as George Savage and I.N. Penick and was a student with Kentucky Baptists like J.D. Grey, Joe T.Odle, and Frank Carlton. At first the Landmark Baptist views of these men amused him, but he soon found himself agreeing with them. He submitted to scriptural baptism and ordination. After graduation he pastored Baptist churches in Tennessee, Washington, Oregon and Illinois and served as a chaplain with the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II. After the war he earned his doctorate at the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago and thereafter was invited to join the faculty.
His work on John, “The First Baptist,” was one of the first of his writings this reviewer saw. Reading it and J. R. Graves’ “John’s Baptism” strengthened convictions already held and led to a message, now preached many times, from Mt. 3:13-17 titled “Exactly Like Jesus.” Before that, Bro. O. C. Markham had introduced “Your Baptism is Important” (also available in Spanish) to the student body at Mayfield.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s Dr. Anderson was invited to be a guest speaker at Mid-Continent Baptist Bible College in Mayfield on three separate occasions, speaking at an Alumni Bible Conference held at Northside Baptist Church in Mayfield on one of those times. His message from I Chronicles 12, on “Qualities we Need in God’s Service,” made a lasting impact on this reviewer. Dr. Anderson was not a “forceful” speaker, but his convictions were deeply held.
This is a very positive work about local, visible congregations as the “true church,” rather than some nebulous “fog” unseen, wafted through the air of compromise. For Dr. Anderson saw the essence of the “universal” idea; it compromises true churches! Baptists would do well to invest in this work, at once scholarly and sound (a rare combination!), and to absorb and transmit its information to our Protestant as well as Catholic friends and any others seeking God’s truth on New Testament views of “the church.”
Dr. S.E. Anderson authored 13 books, most of which deal with ecclesiology. All of them are worth reading. “Real Churches or a Fog can be ordered from Bogard Press (www.bogardpress.org or 1-800-264-2482) for the low price of $4.95.
Reviewed by Charles Blair, pastor of the Poplar Grove Baptist Church, Hickman, Kentucky
“Resolved, That we recommend to the patronage of the brethren belonging to this Association, the Western Recorder, published at Louisville, Ky., the Tennessee Baptist, Great and Little (Iron) Wheels,Theodosia Ernest, Orchard’s History of the Baptists, etc., published by J.R. Graves, Nashville, Tenn.”
(The above resolution appears in the 1860 minutes of the Mount Olivet Baptist Association of west Kentucky. In 1893 this association divided into the West Kentucky and Graves County Baptist Associations. Of particular interest is the books they were recommending to the brethren. Theodosia Ernest by A.C. Dayton tells the story how a Presbyterian girl becomes convinced of believers’ immersion, while in the Great Iron Wheel, J.R. Graves rebukes the Methodists for their hierarchical control of local churches. As a result of these books, multitudes of Presbyterians and Methodists in the south joined the Baptists.)
“Over the years, it has been my privilege to use and recommend The Church Member’s Handbook by Bro. Joe T. Odle in several churches. It is still the finest new member’s study I have found. It is clear on our Baptist basics, accurate in its approach, concise rather than rambling, and relatively inexpensive. In one interim situation where this was used for new member’s training, 21 people were baptized and another 21 added by letter in a 6-month period. This was over 30 years ago, and of those 42 still living and in that town, almost all are still active in that church. Most of those living elsewhere are also in a Baptist church. Few of the group have “dropped out” of church or joined other denominations. The Odle book was at least partly responsible for that good record.
Having known Dr. Odle, and enjoyed his preaching and teaching as well as his editorial work on the Mississippi Baptist Record, and having known his father-in-law L. R. Riley, it is a special pleasure to encourage the continued use of his work. I plan to use it next year in the Poplar Grove Baptist Church where I am serving as pastor, Lord willing.”
By Bro. Charles Blair, Pastor of the Poplar Grove Baptist Church in Hickman, Kentucky. Director of Missions of the West Kentucky Baptist Association.
Church Member’s Handbook is currently published by Broadman & Holman and sells for $1.50 at LifeWay Christian stories. First published in 1941, by 1981 over 2 million copies had been printed. It is an excellent resource to give to new church members or to teach in a Sunday School or Wednesday night Bible class.