On Gospel Order – 1806

Last month I posted the Articles of Faith of the Mississippi Baptist Association established in 1806. These early Baptists in the sate of Mississippi began cooperating together for the sake of the gospel and the health of their local churches 11 years before the Mississippi territory became a state.

Along with the Articles of Faith the constitution of the association included a statement on “Gospel Order.” The document upheld regenerate covenantal church membership, the headship of Christ, correct administration of the ordinances, and church discipline. Two-hundred years later we need to continue stressing these important biblical characteristics of healthy biblical God-honoring churches.


1. We believe that the visible church of Jesus Christ is a congregation of faithful persons, who have given themselves up to the Lord, and to one another, and have covenanted to keep up a godly discipline agreeable to the rules of the gospel.

2. We believe that Jesus Christ is the head of the church, the only lawgiver; that the government is with the body” the church” and is equally the right and privilege of each member thereof.

3. We believe that baptism and the Lord’s supper are gospel ordinances, appointed by Jesus Christ, and are to be continued in the church.

4. We believe that baptism, by immersion, is the only scriptural mode, and that believers are the only proper subjects.

5. We believe that none but regular baptized church members have a right to partake of the Lord’s supper.

6. We believe it to be the duty and privilege of all believers to make a public profession of their faith, to submit to baptism by immersion, and to give themselves members of the visible church.

7. We believe it to be the duty of every regular organized church to expel from her communion all disorderly members who are immoral in their lives, or that hold doctrines contrary to the scriptures.


Amen, amen.

It is interesting to me, a person who is trying find the biblical answer to the question of whether a person who has not been baptized by immersion should be allowed at the Lord’s Table, to see what the Gospel Order states on the subject.

It obviously destroys the argument that the practice of closed communion was invented by J.R. Graves. I know that Graves, or at least his followers, went further in the argument that only members of a particular church may partake in the Lord’s Supper, and someone from another Baptist church who may be visiting should not partake. I am interested in what your view of this is.

On point 7… So…none of you take communion? You all sin, which is immoral. Point 7 is completely ridiculous.

Even if it only upheld in extreme circumstances, perhaps loving the person who relapses would be better than telling them they can’t partake anymore???

Thank you very much for your post. I’m wandering if you could help me to clarify when the association was really organized . I’m reading Reynolds, J. L. Church Polity: The Kingdom of Christ. This author affirms that the Articles of Faith of the Mississippi River Baptist Association, were adopted in October 2, 1846 (pp. 85-86).

Any idea?