Historically Black College
Hon. Nathan Bishop, LL.D
Bishop College Notes 1880, The Baptist home mission monthly, Volumes 1-2
The colored Baptists in Texas are anxious for the establishment of a school conducted by the Home Mission Society. The pastor of a white church in a thriving city of that State asks if the Society will not purchase suitable property, for sale there, for this purpose, at a cost of $15,000 ! We wish we could comply with this modest request. But there is a limit to human ability, and, as Dr. Wayland long ago taught, to human responsibility. No more can be attempted in this direction by the Society, this year. The financial limits set by the vote of the Society at Saratoga will be nearly or quite reached in carrying through the educational work of the year, as now laid out.
The Importance of a Normal and Theological School in Texas.
From July Report Of Dr. S. W. Marston.
It cannot be neglected any longer, nor can it be too strongly urged. I thought I had seen in other portions of the South, where I have held Institute.-,, the darkest pictures possible of religious ignorance and superstition among those who professed to be ministers of the Gospel. But not so. I have found in Texas, in the extreme South-west, a condition of religious affairs among those who profess to be Baptists, too sad and too bad, almost, to be believed. Many of the preachers do not seem to be able to comprehend the meaning of some of the simplest truths of the gospel. One preacher said in a sermon upon the death of Christ: "All the meat was whipped off of Christ's back." And in regard to Christ's bearing His own cross, he said: "Christ fell down going up Calvary and knocked off His kneecaps." And of the blood that came forth from the side of Christ when pierced by the Roman soldier, he said : " It washed out deep gullies down de hill of Calvary." Where in the world this preacher learned these facts it is hard to tell. They must be the production of his imagination, or he must have learned them from some one as ignorant as himself. I give this as an example of the instruction imparted by the preacher who is ignorant of the plain teachings of the Word of God, and who substitutes for the truth his own imaginings.
But the most dangerous error I found among these Texas brethren was in regard to the procuring cause of salvation. They hold baptism essential to salvation, and so far as they labor for the salvation of sinners at all, it seems to be to get them through the water into the church. This is apparently the end and aim of ministerial labor, and those brought into the church, instead of being taught to observe all things whatsoever the Iord has commanded them, are taught that while they are members of the church they are sure of heaven. I tried to correct this gross error in regard to the doctrine of salvation, but I saw it was too deeply rooted in their minds to be removed at once. No ordinary amount of Institute instruction will suffice to correct these errors and elevate the present ministry. They need the advantages of months and years of training ; and if they had a Theological School in their midst, I am confident that a majority of the young and middle aged preachers would attend it. Twelve thousand colored Baptists were represented by their pastors in my Institute at Houston, and there are probably twice as many more in southern Texas, and as yet nothing has been done for the education of the ministry, outside of perhaps a half dozen who have attended our schools at New Orleans and Natchez for a short time.
And as for the funds necessary to erect the buildings for a school, Hon. Richard Allen, Treasurer of the Association, said he could easily raise $1,000 a month in cash for this purpose. He is unquestionably the best man in the Association. He has been a member of the State Legislature, and has occupied other public offices and performed the duties pertaining to them with ability and satisfaction ; and I know of no one better fitted or more reliable to act as financial agent for an institution of learning. The people seem to have confidence in his learning, honesty and piety.
Something ought to be done at once. There ought to be a school opened at once in Houston. A teacher ought to be sent there to open, if necessary, a school for ministers in one of the churches until suitable buildings could be erected, which I believe the colored brethren would provide the money for if properly advised. O, that some brother, holding the Lord's money, would designate enough of it for the support of a good man at Houston to work up this important school interest!
A School for Freedmen in the Southwest.
The Home Mission Society has no school for Freedmen west of the Mississippi River. About one million colored people are living in the late slave States of this region. Under the inspiration of Dr. Marston's Institute work the colored people have taken the initiative, and resolved to establish a Normal and Theological school, under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, for the benefit of the colored Baptists of Texas, Arkansas and Northern Louisiana. At a meeting of the Texas and Louisiana Association held in August, they resolved to locate the school at Marshall, Texas, and to raise for the purchase of land and the erection of buildings the sum of $10,000.
Marshall ,is a thriving city, healthful and centrally located on this great field, which has a colored Baptist Church membership of over 100,000. A beautiful site of almost eight acres on the highest point in the city has been secured at a cost of $2,500, $1,000 of which has been paid. The colored people are thoroughly aroused arid enthusiastic, and expect to raise and pay the balance by the first of January next.
The Executive Board at its last meeting adopted the following:
Resolved, That we heartily approve the purpose of the colored people of Texas and Arkansas to establish a school at Marshall, Texas, and rejoice in their determination and promise to raise among themselves the funds necessary to secure a desirable school property.
That Dr. S. W. Marston be authorized to take such general supervision of the work of raising funds and organizing the enterprise, as a proper attention to his ministerial institute work will permit.
Dr. Marston, writing from Austin, Tex., October 4th, says:
" When I presented, in a few remarks, the claims of the South-Western Baptist College, about to be established at Marshall, Tex., for the education of colored Baptist preachers and teachers, to the white Baptist Slate Convention, which met at Austin, Tex., October 2d, 1880, the brethren responded promptly and cheerfully with a contribution of four hundred dollars.
"The sympathy of the convention thus expressed towards the colored brethren was really worth more than forty long speeches upon the floor of the convention, or a whole page of commendatory resolutions printed in its minutes.
" I am encouraged to believe that the white brethren of Texas entertain the most kindly feelings towards their colored brethren, and will contribute yet much more towards the establishment of this educational enterprise. They are generous hearted, and believe in a living faith like that spoken of by the Apostle James."
The colored Baptists of Texas, under the leadership of Dr. Mansion, have contributed $ 1,000 toward the purchase of the school property in Marshall, Texas, and are sure to raise the remaining $1,500 necessary for the last payment in March. Who says the colored people are not coming up ?
Baptist Home Mission Society - 1878