Baptist History – Elder David Green

By Ura Schrock

Elder David Green lived in the early 1800’s and was originally from Virginia.  He spent most of his life preaching the gospel in North and South Carolina. In 1805 he and several families moved to the bootheel area of southern Missouri, south of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, called Tywappity Bottom.  This was the first organization of a Baptist church in the Missouri Territory or west of the Mississippi River in the United States. That original church did not last very long and was reorganized into a more permanent church a few years later

The name of the new church was Bethel Baptist Church.  They built a church building which became the first non-Catholic house of worship west of the Mississippi.  From that church they sent out quite a few preachers and organized 8 or 9 other churches in the Missouri area.  Sadly, many of those churches did not last, but you can see many small churches in southern Missouri to this day.

The church for about 40 years was an important factor in the moral history of civilization in the area west of the Mississippi due to it’s missionary emphasis.  Twenty-six preachers were ordained and sent out in some way by Bethel Baptist Church. They had a real influence in their small area.

They took their responsibility of preaching the gospel and starting other churches very seriously.  When they drew up the Constitution of their church they made it a point to state several things about their responsibility to spread the gospel and to plant more churches.  They took their church discipline very seriously. There are actual records in a book “History of the Baptists in Missouri,” indicating what they practiced church discipline over.

March 9, 1811, two brothers in the Lord who talked with sisters McDaniels and Watkins for their neglect of church meetings.  They talked to these people and recorded it because they did not attend church. They saw church attendance as very important.  There was another lady who was accused of insulting the church and violating the rules. Another brother John Reynolds was excused from membership for joining the Masonic Lodge.  Another man, brother William Johnson was confronted about playing cards. One man named Ezekiel Hill put in a complaint against himself for killing a deer on Sunday. After acknowledgement of his fault, he was forgiven.  A sister, Hannah Edwards was allowed to wear gold earrings for the benefit of her eyes. At that time, it was believed that gold rings around your face could benefit your eyes and so they allowed her to do that. They were against woman wearing to much or gaudy jewelry.  They took all these things very seriously.

God blessed these people in the revival efforts and church planting efforts because they were zealous for the things of the Lord.  They may have had some funny ideas about things but they were serious about what they believed, they practiced church discipline, they practiced the organization and church policy and they took that very seriously and God blessed them because of those things.