The "AnaBaptist" meeting-house in Charleston

This past week my wife and I visited Charleston, South Carolina, for the third time. It is a city that we love. I was speaking on the 400th anniversary of the KJB at Charleston Southern University, their Staley Lectures. It was a great honour to be there, to speak on the KJB, and renew old friendships, with Dr Peter Beck, and make new ones, with the brothers in the Religion Dept. especially. Among the places we visited was the Charleston Museum, where they had an exhibit for the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. A number of things caught my attention: a collection of snuff boxes reminded me of the one that Andrew Fuller passed around at the founding of the Baptist Missionary Society to collect monies for that; George Washington’s baptismal cup; and a confederate soldier’s uniform in which you could see the bullet hole that killed the wearer when he was literally shot through the heart by a sniper.

There was also a map entitled “A plan of Charles Town from a Survey of Edwd Crisp Esq in 1704.” On the map there was a building, marked S, which designated the locale of what was called the “AnaBaptist” meeting-house. This was, of course, the first building of what is now the First Baptist, the mother church of the SBC.

There was no indication of the religious affiliation of Crisp. But it was probably not Baptist. Rarely did the Baptists term themselves Anabaptists. They did not wish to be identified with those denominated by that term in the 16th century. Nor did they admit to what the term designated: they were not re-baptizers, for they believed that anything but believers’ baptism by immersion was not a true baptism.