Vol.XVI No.VIII Pg.6
October 1979

Restoration Baptism

Robert F. Turner

B. W. Stone's work of restoration began several years before that of the Campbells but has been somewhat neglected. We quote from his autobiography, and a statement by David Purviance, found in BARTON WARREN STONE, by John Rogers; pp. 60 and 127.


About this time (1804) the subject of Baptism began to arrest the attention of the churches ...Robert Marshall ...had then become convinced of the truth of the Baptists' views and ceased from the practice of pedo-baptism... Alarmed lest he should join (the Baptists) I wrote him a lengthy letter on the subject, laboring to convince him of his error. In reply, he wrote me another in which he so forcibly argued in favor of believers' immersion, and against pedo-baptism, that my mind was brought so completely to doubt the latter, that I ceased the practice entirely. About this time the great excitement commenced, and the subject was... almost forgotten. But after a few years it revived and many became dissatisfied with their infant sprinkling, among whom I was one.


In the midst of our trial with Shakerism, some of us became convinced that infant baptism was not taught in the Bible... However, we rested quietly till in the year 1807, a young woman who professed faith in Christ and joined the church, applied to Stone for immersion. In pursuance of which he published a meeting at a certain water on a day future... Reuben Dooley preached, and afterwards Stone immersed the young woman and one or two more. I had not a thought of being baptized on that day when I went to the place; but during the exercises of the day I realized that it is a command of God, and I am bound to obey.

I called Stone and Dooley aside, and make known my mind to them, and asked Stone to baptize me; to which he consented. I remarked to them that the way of duty appeared plain, but I was sorry to hurt the feelings of the brethren. Dooley said the best way to please brethren is to please the Lord. I then addressed the congregation publicly. It was the first time the subject had been publicly named amongst us. We went to the water: before we went in, Dooley said to me quietly, "As soon as you are baptized I shall want you to put me under the water." Accordingly, as soon as I was on my feet, Dooley came forward, and a number more followed, whom I baptized before I came up out of the water. Stone was not baptized on that day."


Again, from Stone's autobiography we quote: "Now the question arose, who will baptize us? The Baptists would not, except we united with them; and there were no elders among us who had been immersed. It was finally concluded among us, that if we were authorized to preach, we were also authorized to baptize.... As Brother Marshall had not faith in the ordinance, I was called upon to administer. This displeased him and a few others." (Ibid., p. 61)

Note: Marshall prompted Stone to study the matter, then drew back.