In 1994, the Indiana Historical Society awarded me a generous CLIO Grant to carry out research and write about a religious movement, a group that eventually called themselves General Baptists that emerged in southwest Indiana in the early 1820s under the leadership of a young Baptist minister named Benoni Stinson.
Although there had been previous books written about this group, none of these endeavors placed the origin of the Indiana movement solely within the larger context of the dramatic anti-mission controversy going on at that time. The book I wrote, Christ Tasted Death for Every Man: The Story of American’s Frontier General Baptists, was the primary result of my labor and offered a fascinating view of religion on the American frontier. It further led to some interesting discussions, as my findings challenged some of the prior views regarding the denomination’s origins.
Forgotten in the discourse, however, was an important article I also wrote about the founding of the General Baptists of Indiana within its larger context which appeared in the Indiana Magazine of History, “The Struggle for the Soul of Frontier Baptists: The Anti-Mission Controversy in the Lower Wabash Valley.”
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