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LEXINGTON CHURCH, OHIO
   The Lexington First Baptist Church of Jesus
Christ was constituted at the house of Reuben Skin-
ner, in Pike Township, Perry County, Ohio, Decem-
ber 4th, 1819, by Elders John W. Patterson and



 

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Smith Goodin, with a membership of twenty-five,
ten brethren and fifteen sisters.
   We, who are members from different churches
of the regular Baptist Order in the United States of
America, having removed our residence or obtained
letters of dismission from sister churches of the
same faith and order, and being satisfied with each
other's graces as Christians, we do jointly agree to
be constituted into a Regular Baptist Church at
New Lexington, Perry County, Ohio, to endeavor to
walk together in fear and love of God, and give our-
selves to be governed and guided by one another,
according to the word of God, Constituted this, the
4th day of December, 1819.
CONSTITUTION
   SECTION 1. We do now, in the presence of God,
and before angels and men, give up ourselves to the
Lord, Jehovah, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and
vouch him this day to be our Father, Leader and
Teacher, and receive him as our only portion for-
ever; also we receive Jesus Christ as the Supreme
Head of the Church, and Mediator of the New Cove-
nant, as Prophet, Priest and King, to govern and
teach us in the way to appear as our Advocate with
the Father for our admittance.
   SECTION 2. We believe the Scriptures of the
Old and New Testaments to be the word of God, and
the only rule of faith and practice to both Jews and
Gentiles.
   SECTION 3. We believe that God created our
first parents originally good, capable to serve, and
consequently to enjoy him, but they, by transgres-
sion, fell,and corrupted themselves and all their pos-
terity in such a manner as to forfeit all right and


title to God's favor, and of ourselves irrecoverable.
   SECTION 4. We believe that Jesus Christ was
set up from everlasting as a complete Savior for
fallen man, a mediator between God and men. and in
the fullness of time he did assue human nature, in
which nature he died and made full satisfaction to
justice, and purchased all blessings needful for his
people, that they may enjoy him in time and eter-
nity.
   SECTION 5. We believe that justification of
God's people wholly consists in the imputed right-
eousness of Jesus Christ without any other con-
sideration.
   SECTION 6. We believe that regeneration and
sanctification are no acts of man's free will, but are
of the great power of God, working in them by his
Spirit, both to will and to do of his own good will.
   SECTION 7 We believe the preaching of the gos-
pel was ordained of God as the means for the gather-
ing in of his people, and that God hath so ordained
that they who preach the gospel should live of the
gospel: and that it is our duty, according to our
several abilities, to administer to their support.
   SECTION 8. We believe that all who are favored
with the enjoyment of these graces, shall most cer-
tainly and finally persevere in grace to glory.
   SECTION 9. We believe that there will be a res-
urrection of the just and the unjust, and that the
righteous shall receive everlasting life, while the
wicked shall suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.
   SECTION 10. We believe there is a day coming-
in the which God shall judge the secrets of men by
that man whom he hath ordained; and there will be
a separation between the righteous and the wicked;



 

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he will say to the righteous, "Come ye blest of my
Father;" to the wicked, "Depart ye cursed."
   SECTION 11. We believe that baptism is an or-
dinance of the New Testament, instituted by Jesus
Christ, and it is to be administered only by immer-
sion, and that believers, and them only, are the
proper subjects.
   SECTION 12. We believe the Lord's supper
ought to be administered and received in all Christian
churches; this with all other doctrines and ordinances
which we think contained in the New Testa-
ment, we profess to believe and defend; moreover,
we do agree to stand by each other, to sympathize
with one another, to bear each others burdens, and
so fulfill the law of Christ. If a brother or sister
sin against us, we will tell them their faults, as the
gospel directs, and to prevent disputes in future we
will agree that all who join us in future, shall agree
to and sign this constitution or covenant; this we
promise, not in our own strength (being conscious of
our weakness) but in the strength of our Lord Jesus
Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
To testify our sincerity respecting the above men-
tioned doctrines and ordinances, we have hereunto
set our names, the day and date above:
   James Chenoweth, John Vail, Nathaniel Rush,
Reuben Skinner, John Skinner, Samuel Clayton,
Jonathan Carrel, Reuben Tharp, John W. Tharp,
Henry Rush, Mary Skinner, Hannah Vail, Mary
Skinner, Phebe Clayton, Rachel Rush, Sarah Cheno-
weth, Lyda Rush, Sarah Skinner, Rachel Carrel,
Agnes Rush, Ann Tharp, Sarah Tharp, Highly
Tharp, Catharine Rush, Elizabeth Colbourn.
   The above twenty-five members were charter


members of the Lexington First Baptist Church.
We get the following interesting information rela-
tive to the constitution of the Lexington First Bap-
tist Church, viz:
   "The First Baptists were the pioneers in re-
ligion in Pike Township, Perry County, Ohio. Many
of the early settlers had been communicants or ad-
herents of what was known as the Old Jersey Church
in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. This church
was so-called from the fact that it was built and sup-
ported by people who had come in a body from the
State of New Jersey. When the descendants of
these men and women came to Rush Creek Valley,
in Perry County, Ohio, they brought their letters,
and it was not long until there was public worship in
the homes of the pioneers. Elder Samuel Moody,
who lived in Bearfield Township, was one of the first
visiting ministers." There were others, Elder
James Skinner, who was an ordained minister, and
was called to the pastoral care of the newly consti-
tuted church, December 18, 1819. He was the regu-
lar pastor for fourteen years. He joined the church
by letter January 20, 1820. He died September 11,
1841, was seventy-one years of age, and was buried
in the quiet graveyard at the rear of the house,
where a plain stone marks his resting place. A
church edifice was built of large hewn logs, about
forty by fifty feet. Up to this time public worship
was held at private houses of members of the organ-
ization; in summer, in a large barn. Public worship
was held at the homes of Samuel Rush, Reuben Skin-
ner, Thomas Wright and others.
   In 1847 a substantial frame house was built near
the former site, which is in fair condition, having



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been re-roofed October 1921. Elder Thomas Harper
was an ordained minister and lived in the bounds of
the church. He and his wife joined by letter July ,
1826. He served the church as pastor six years. He
died June 13, 1874, aged eighty-five years. He was
buried in the graveyard at the rear of the house.
   Matthew Brown, a member of the church by ex-
perience and baptism, was liberated to speak in
public. He soon gave evidences that God had called
him to the work of the ministry. December 26,
1828, he was ordained to the full functions of the
gospel ministry by the following Elders: Presby-
tery--George Debolt, Joseph Sperry and James
Skinner. Elder Matthew Brown served the church
nineteen years. He removed to Wood County, Ohio,
where he died at the advanced age of ninety-eight
years.
   Elder Thomas Martin was pastor for four years;
Elder Samuel Carpenter in 1863; Elder James Riny
in 1864; Elder Thomas Harper in 1865; Elder J. J .
Vanhorn from 1866 to 1883, he having pastored sev-
enteen years; Elders G. N. Tusing and Z. K. Holi-
day alternately in 1884; Elder W. H. Hickman in
1885, 1886, 1887; Elder Lewis T. Ruffner from 1888
to the present time, 1922, with the exception of four
years when Elder Z. K. Holiday pastored the church
alternately with Elder Ruffner. In 1904 he was
called indefinitely.
   Others that have served the church other than
the regular meeting, (as the church had services
twice a month), were Elder Isaac Barnes, Reuben
Skinner, S. C. Smith, W. H. Fisher and licentiate
John Skinner. Inasmuch as the records from 1847
to 1877 are lost or destroyed, we have no information


that he was ever ordained. S. C. Clayton was the
first Clerk. Others were Smith Wortman, G. W.
Moore, Thomas David, Kate Aid, Lizzie Stump and
Mattie Hammond, who is the present clerk.
   Communion seasons--March, June, September
and December; later dropped to three times--Janu-
ary, July and September. Deacons, Jonathan Carrel,
John Skinner, Samuel Rush, John Davis, Adam
Dusenberry, Frank McKever, William David, and
Albert Brown, who is the present deacon.
   The Church joined the Muskingum Association
August 1820. The :first letter to the Association
was written by S. C. Clayton, assisted by the pastor
Elder James Skinner. He, with Brethren Samuel
Rush and John Skinner, were the first Messengers.
The church entertained the Association in 1824,
1834, 1843, 1852, 1858, 1877, 1881. 1881 was one of
the greatest, from a spiritual point of view, that has
ever been held by that body. There were able min-
isters from Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky,
and other states, and doubtless the only minister
living who was at that Association is Elder John W.
Hoppes, of Washington C. H., Ohio. He bore the
correspondence from the Scioto Association. The
text he preached from was St. John xiv, 6.
   In, 1837 the church divided over the doctrine ad-
vanced by Andrew Fuller and his followers and the
the so-called Benevolent Institutions of the day. The
majority standing opposed to these things, believing-
they were the inventions of men, and a departure
from the faith and practices of Christ and the Apos-
tles, standing firmly upon the foundation of the
Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being
the chief cornerstone.



 

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   October 11, 1919, the church celebrated her One
Hundredth Anniversary by holding a three days'
meeting by Elder L. V. Hite and her pastor, Elder
L. T. Ruffner. Saturday morning Brother Hite de-
livered a very appropriate and impressive sermon on
church identity to a very attentive congregation, a
meeting long to be remembered.
   Elder Ruffner is still our pastor, and held in
high esteem by the church which has weathered the
storms for one hundred and two years. Jesus de-
clares, "Upon this rock I will build my church, and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
                              SARAH E. UNDERWOOD,
Assisted by Elder Lewis T. Ruffner.




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