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Heretic began Louisiana Baptist state paper

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 19:09
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Louisiana Baptists’ first denominational paper began in 1855 at Mount Lebanon, LA. Named Louisiana Baptist with Hanson Lee as its first editor, the paper was reportedly “ranked with the ablest religious journals of the south.” Nonetheless, the paper suffered fatal ups and downs over the next two decades, changing owners several times, until it was sold to J.R. Graves in 1869 and subsequently discontinued.

Ten years passed when Louisiana pastor, S.C. Lee heeded the call of Louisiana Baptists the state over of the need for a weekly newspaper to keep Baptists informed.1 In 1878, Lee began The Baptist Messenger at Farmersville later moving it to Arcadia (1881).

CaptureS. C. Lee was born in Wilcox County, Alabama on September 2nd, 1826 to Baptist parents who were “anti-missionary” Baptists. S.C.’s father was a deacon in the church, and so S.C. was raised in the “anti-missionary” culture. S.C. was converted at 13 years of age and joined the church by baptism. S.C. continued in the “anti-missionary” Baptist movement until 1850. At that time, S.C. dissented from what historian W.E. Paxton describes as the “extreme Calvinistic views and anti-mission tendencies of his brethren, and especially on the extent of the Atonement.” Consequently, the church responded: “he was arraigned and excluded for heresy.”

S.C.’s life afterward was a spiritual roller coaster. However, after a period of prodigal living, S.C. recommitted his life to Christ in 1861, was ordained to the gospel ministry, and went on to serve as pastor of several Louisiana churches. He also served both as moderator and clerk of Concord Baptist Association as well as commissioned to travel as their appointed missionary in 1869. Paxton writes of S.C. Lee’s accomplishments in education:

“He conceived the first idea of establishing an associational school within the bounds of the association. As the fruit of his labors in this direction, the ‘Concord Institute,’ an excellent school, was established at Shiloh. He traveled three months in the interest of the school, and obtained an endowment of $10,000; sufficient to secure permanency to the academy.”

Who knew that an Alabama boy growing up in a Louisiana “anti-missionary” Baptist church and, because of later rejecting the “extreme Calvinism” he was taught, was tried for heresy and dismembered from his church, would become the catalyst God would use to launch The Baptist Messenger for Louisiana Baptists?


1The narrative is dependent upon the entry “Elder S.C. Lee” in The History of the Baptists of Louisiana From the Earliest Times Until The Present. W.E. Paxton. St. Louis: C.R. Barnes Publishing Co. 1888.



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