Old Time Missionary Baptist

Old Time Missionary Baptist

Variously known as Old Time Missionary Baptist, Old Missionary Baptist, and Old-Fashioned Missionary Baptist, these churches represent a sub-group within the landmark Baptists that have rejected most progressive means and methods that were adopted by the majority of Baptists.


The roots of the "Old Time Missionary Baptists" are found in the United Baptists, a turn of the 19th century merger of Regular Baptists and Separate Baptists. A number of the existing "Old Missionary Baptist" associations were at least nominally a part of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Some dropped out of the SBC in the latter part of the 19th century and some as late as the middle of the 20th century. Most of the existing churches were aware of, but had little participation in, the major landmark split from the SBC circa 1900. Some initially participated, then later withdrew from it, perhaps fearing another national organization. Modern innovations brought into evangelism by the SBC, missionary Baptists, and fundamentalists were rejected. Old Missionary Baptists feel these lead to conversions "from the head instead of the heart." This belief has continued to be a major factor separating them from other landmark missionary Baptists. Some "Old Time Missionary Baptists" are engaged in fellowship with certain United Baptist churches which are similar in faith and practice.


Some Baptist researchers classify this group among the "primitivistic" sects of Baptists, because of their rejection of the missionary, benevolent and educational institutions accepted by most Baptists. Yet, they share as much in common with their more progressive missionary Baptist brethren as they do with primitivistic groups such as Primitive Baptists, Old Regular Baptists and Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists. The Old Time Missionary Baptist churches share in common with the larger Landmark movement views on local church, Baptist church perpetuity, baptism, communion; place a strong emphasis on a definite salvation experience and usually have a mourner's bench in front of the pulpit. Sinners are expected to pass through a time of "mourning" (conviction of sin bringing genuine sorrow) leading to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. "Decisional regeneration" is rejected. Singing is accompanied by musical instruments, and most of the churches have Sunday Schools. Some churches practice foot washing, but most do not. A seminary-trained ministry is sometimes discouraged, feeling that this may take away from the work of the Holy Spirit.

After a sermon, the minister yields the floor for anyone seeking to join the church as a new convert, by Christian experience or a letter from a previous church. The person typically speaks of either his or her personal salvation (often referred to as a testimony), a desire to seek repentance for his or her sins, or ask for prayers for a specific individual.

Typically when a child enters the beginning of his or her teens, church members put focus on him or her because this is the age when a child usually begins to feel a draw by the Holy Spirit and recognizes that he or she must seek salvation from worldly sin. However, a person can feel this draw at a much younger or older age. The teen or person is never pressured into seeking salvation. This is only done if the child has confessed interest to his/ her parent or guardian.

At least once a year, churches undergo a revival service in which members meet nightly for a week. The revivals usually last a week in length — the length is extended to the weekend if church members believe that a person seeking salvation is close to obtaining it.

Once a person has confessed belief in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, he or she may then express a desire if they are led by the Lord to become a member of the church. Upon acceptance, and after baptism current members extend the "Right hand of Christian fellowship", in which the new convert is greeted and congratulated by the congregration.

Missionary Baptists hold in combination general atonement, total depravity, and eternal security. Eschatology is mostly amillennial, though the premillennial and postmillennial positions are also represented. Churches engage in home and even foreign mission work through direct church effort (outreach ministries), rejecting the authority of missionary boards and conventions. No organization is developed beyond the local association, but even it is only an advisory council.


*"Middle Tennessee" Correspondence - 199 churches, ca. 22,000 members
**Baptist Old Path (MO)
**Bethel (IN)
**Big Bear Creek (AL)
**Cane Creek (MO)
**Cedar County (MO)
**County Line (MO)
**Dallas County (MO)
**Enon (TN)
**Old Time Camden County (MO)
**Polk County (MO)
**Siloam (KY)
**Southwestern District (TN)
**St. Clair County (MO)
**Wiseman (TN)
*Other Associations - 102 churches, ca. 15,650 members
**Barren River (KY)
**Edmonson (KY)
**Mount Carmel (AL)
**Mulberry Gap (TN)
**Original Smyrna (GA)
**Pine Mountain (KY)
**Pleasant Grove (GA)
**Second North Concord (KY)
**Wayne Trail (OH)


The "Middle Tennessee" correspondence includes 14 local missionary Baptist associations involved in a chain of correspondence which "revolves" around a core of 3 associations located in middle Tennessee and middle south Kentucky - Enon, Siloam, and Wiseman. In 1995, "Baptists Around the World" reported 73 churches with 13,093 members in these three associations. The other 8 associations are similar in belief and practice, but are not in correspondence with the "Middle Tennessee" associations, though Barren River, Edmonson and Second North Concord have minor connections.The Edmonson Association only corresponds directly with one United Baptist Association in Kentucky. Pine Mountain and Wayne Trail are in fellowship with one another, and there is some visitation between Original Smyrna and Pleasant Grove. Mount Carmel only corresponds with a United Baptist association in Alabama. The "Religious Congregations Membership Study, 2000" found 40,200 "Old Missionary Baptists" in 302 churches. "Sub-groups Within the Baptist Denomination (in the United States)" estimated a membership of 37,650 in the 301 churches of the 22 "old time missionary Baptist" associations. Additional independent churches not affiliated with any of these 22 associations exist with about 18,000 members in 171 churches, bringing the total known strength of this type of Baptist to almost 60,000 members in some 473 churches.


*"Appalachian Mountain Religion: A History", by Deborah Vansau McCauley
*"Baptists Around the World", by Albert W. Wardin, Jr.
*"Local Baptists, Local Politics: Churches & Communities in the Middle and Uplands South", by Clifford A. Grammich, Jr.
*"Religious Congregations & Membership in the United States, 2000", Glenmary Research Center
*"Sub-groups Within the Baptist Denomination (in the United States)", by R. L. Vaughn
*"Unaffiliated Landmark Baptist Church Survey", by R. L. Vaughn

External links

* [http://www.oldtimebaptist.org/ Old Time Baptist] - site of
* [http://www.thebaptist.org/ Missionary Baptist Resource Center]

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