Primitive Baptist beliefs bound by simplicity in worship, lives

Jeff Harvey

Continuing with the pages of William Sanders II “A New River Heritage, Vol. IV” (1994, McClain Printing Company, Parsons), we turn to the role that various religious groups played in the early years of what would become Mercer County, with a continuing of a focus on what made the various Baptist denominations different.

Sanders wrote the Primitive Baptists, heretofore known as the Primitives, adhered to simplicity in their worship and lives, which set them apart.

Elder Norvel Mann, Sanders’ source for most of the material on the subject, defined the nature of selecting Primitives ministry as a spontaneous matter of “a brother asking for the liberty to speak or take part in a worship service in prayer or speaking for a few moments.”

In addition, a pastor may notice a young brother, who had a special interest and may call on him for prayer,  to speak to the church or to exhort or read a scripture or expound a little. If the brother felt a call to the ministry or gift to teach, the church will license or liberate and give the brother a right to fill in among the other area churches.

Furthermore, if all the churches involved agreed that was is profitable and the brother was gifted in the ministry and he felt the burden, they would call for his ordination and the minsters would convene to question the brother and set him apart by the “laying on of the hands for the work of the ministry.”

Mann said it was on-the-job training for the church ministry.

The first elders had no salary and there is still no set salary for those of the Primitive Baptist Church. They are not fully supported by their church ministry gifts.

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