Of momentous importance for the diffusion of Baptist principles throughout the South was the enthusiastic evangelism of Shubael Stearns and Daniel Marshall, “New Light” Baptists from New England (1754 onward). Stearns had become a Baptist in New England (1751) and had felt an irresistible impulse to devote his life to missionary work in the South. Marshall was led to Baptist…

Until 1662 and the introduction of the Half-Way Covenant, the Congregationalists and other Puritans had demanded evidence of a conversion experience as a prerequisite to church membership. But, in the midst of spiritual decline in the latter half of the seventeenth century, they had compromised that requirement in order to replenish their dying congregations. The Half-Way Covenant allowed children to…