About Tom Nettles:

Dr. Nettles is widely regarded as one of the foremost Baptist historians in America. He came to Southern Seminary from the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was Professor of Church History and Chair of the Department of Church History. He previously taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Along with numerous journal articles and scholarly papers, Dr. Nettles is the author or editor of nine books. Among his books are By His Grace and For His Glory; Baptists and the Bible, the highly influential volume which he co-authored with L. Russ Bush; and Why I am a Baptist, co-edited with Russell D. Moore.

Text: 2 Corinthians 3 (click)

It is a tremendously powerful concept to say that “You are our letter . . .”.  This passage speaks of the ministry of Daniel Marshall.  We are looking at Daniel Marshall because we are here talking about church planting.  The history of Baptist life is a series of church plants.

Daniel Marshall (1706-1784)

Ninth of eleven children.  Became a believer in 1726.  A man of “ardent temper” very zealous for Christ.  For 20 years, he lived in prosperous circumstances.  Marshall was speaking of the necessity of the new birth and was arguing for a regenerate church membership.  In 1744, he heard Whitfield preach and saw many conversions.  He came to believe that the time of the millennial glory was near.  The confession stance of his church and his hope of success was in the historical stance of Calvinism.  Marshall had the conviction that he should dispose of all his earthly goods for the sake of the conversion of the heathen.  The nearest opportunity for the conversion of the heathen was the Mohawk Indians in 1751.  Many of the Indians were impressed by the concerns of the gospel, and several were converted.

In Winchester, Marshall attended a church within the Philadephia Association and concluded that they were biblically sound.  He was licensed to preach the gospel and the unrestrained exercise of his gifts.  His gifts were “not above the level of mediocrity.”

** At this moment, I realized that I in no wise will be able to keep up with Dr. Nettles in his paper on Daniel Marshall.  I will see if I can get a PDF copy of it up for download.  In the meantime, another article by Dr. Nettles related to Daniel Marshall is “Shubal Stearns and the Separate Baptist Tradition.”

Biblical Principles that can be gleaned . . .

1.  True success and preaching comes not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit.

2.  God gives the increase.  Marshall gives flesh to reality that God does not depend on the legs of men, but on His own determination to build His own church and uses whatever instrument He desires.

3.  The great value of personal courage bolstered by the fact that God will own His cause.  Paul–“For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

4.  Marshall served as a great encouragement to young ministers.  He attended his preaching with great urgency and fervency.  He knew how to encourage one to stir up the gift of God in them, to not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord.

5.  The irreplaceable value of zeal.  The prominent feature of Marshall’s character was the burning zeal for the conversion of the heathen.  Love to Christ, love for the souls of men, constituted his ruling passion.

6.  The indivisible nature of doctrine and gospel ministry.  Each church plant began with a robust doctrinal statement.  A firm doctrinal basis from the beginning can protect the sheep from the wolves as well as a witness to truth once for all delivered to the saints for generations to come.