First Baptist Church
This congregation was founded June 27, 1835, by Elders Ezra Courtney, Charles Felder, and Jesse Young. There were 13 charter members: S.M. Brian, Nathaniel Brian, William Marley, Francis Brian, Hannah Brian, Mary Smith, Mary Jones, Mary Bowin, Jane Spencer, Kissa Eagan, Elizabeth Harrison, Rohanna Whitaker, and Elizabeth Chaney.
First Baptist Church of Jackson was organized in the heart of the Felicianas committed to the reformed faith of our Protestant forefathers, and to the Baptist doctrine of the “gathered” church. The men and women who founded First Baptist Church of Jackson taught that saving faith is the gift of God, and is wrought in the hearts of sinners by the work of the Holy Spirit. They taught that God must save undeserving sinners and God alone.
The articles of faith of the church (1835) emphasized the eternal truth of the Scriptures, the total depravity of mankind, the work of the Trinity in salvation (election by the Father, redemption of God’s people by the death and resurrection of Christ, and their effectual calling by the Holy Spirit), as well as the perseverance of those who are saved. At the founding of the church a resolution was adopted that S.M. Brian be appointed to write a letter (petition for membership) to the Mississippi Baptist Association.
That association, organized in 1806, and which was composed of churches from a large area in both southwestern Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana, met with First Baptist, Jackson in 1838. This association included First Baptist Church of New Orleans and First Baptist Church of Baton Rouge. For the meeting to be held in Jackson is an indication of the prominence of the little town as a commercial and educational center in the heart of the plantation country.
At the organizational meeting the church elected a committee to examine several "brethren of color" who were unable to attend the Saturday conference (business meeting) of the church. Members were received by petitioning the church in a regular business meeting. If a person could make a convincing profession of faith in Christ, he would, upon being baptized, become a member. By 1862 the church at Jackson had 70 white members and 170 black members.
The first place of worship was located two blocks to the west of the present church building. The second place of worship was located across the street and down one block. The present church house was already being planned during the pastorate of Thomas W. Adams, but he died in July of 1859. The building was begun in the Fall of 1860 and completed in the Spring of 1861. The dedication service was held on Sunday, May 19, 1861. It was a warm day with a high temperature of 94 degrees. Thomas W. Brown, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and James Stratton, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church participated in the service along with the pastor of First Baptist Church, M. W. Stambough. The new church building was the last edifice to be constructed in Jackson before the carnage of war descended on the area.
There were Sabbaths during the War Between The States when the church was unable to hold services. According to the church minutes there was no meeting for worship on June 13, 1863 because of the fear that the "Yankees would take our horses and take every man a prisoner that looked young enough to be a soldier."
Welcome to a very old church with a much older gospel. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. (John 3:17-18)
No person who has ever lived, except the Lord Jesus Christ, has righteousness which is perfect and therefore acceptable to God. We must depend on Christ Jesus to be our righteousness. We must not trust in our good works, or our baptism, or anything other than Christ. He is the only way to God. As he himself said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)