Learn About Baptists in American History – Isaac Backus

Learn About Baptists in American History – Isaac Backus

Learn the history of a famous baptist that contributed to American baptist history in this quick one-minute read by our co-pastor, Dr. Jim Willoughby.

Early Life

Isaac Backus was born January 9, 1724, in what is now Norwich, Connecticut.  He was saved at the age of seventeen, during the Second Great Awakening, and surrendered to preach at age twenty-two.  Though he had little schooling, he became an itinerant preacher and was quickly in high demand in the New England area.  Two years later he was ordained, and in 1751 he became the pastor of the Middleborough Baptist Church in Massachusetts. 


He believed strongly in separation of church and state in a very vital time in our nation’s development.  At one point, he refused to pay taxes to the established Congregational church in Massachusetts, even though he was threatened with prison.  In addition to pastoring, he began starting other Baptist churches.  Under his leadership, many Baptist churches sprang up throughout the New England states.  When he began pastoring there were only eighteen Baptist churches in the area.  At the end of his ministry, there were over three-hundred, mostly attributed to him.  At the peak of his ministry, he rode thousands of miles per year to preach in Baptist churches. In one five-month span, he rode 1,251 miles and preached 117 sermons. 


In addition to his preaching, he was also very influential with many of our founding fathers, including George Washington.  He also drafted a bill of rights for America’s proposed constitution that bore a striking resemblance to the one that was eventually adopted, and was part of the Massachusetts Convention that ratified the Constitution.  In 1764, he joined with twelve other men (Baptist preachers, statesmen, and businessmen) to create the first Baptist college in the colonies:  The College of Rhode Island, located in Providence.  This college was created to train Baptist preachers for the ministry.  It was later renamed Brown University. 

He was truly a man of great dedication and firm commitment to our Lord.  He was also one of God’s chosen vessels to bring about the birth of the United States of America.  We should thank God for men such as this, that would give themselves so wholly to Him that He could use them in such a marvelous way in American baptist history.

We hope you enjoyed this piece of baptist history authored by our pastor, Dr. Jim Willoughby, Temple Baptist Church in Kokomo, IN. For more articles like this, we invite you to visit our blog. For more information about our church, visit our homepage.

Leave a Reply