Reformation Profiles of African Americans #1 February 1, 2017

1. February 2017 17:10 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
Reformation Profiles
 
Reformation Profiles of African Americans #1 February 1, 2017
Reformation theology can be explained within 10 specific principles resting upon One solid foundation. 5 Sola’s & TULIP on the Sovereignty of God.
Lemuel Haynes who was he?. Haynes was probably the first African American ordained by any mainstream Protestant Church in the United States. 
 
Haynes, was born the abandoned child of an African father and "a white woman of respectable ancestry," on July 18, 1753 in West Hartford, Connecticut. Lemuel is not the given name by his birth parents rather his name probably comes from the man from whose home he was adopted. Born in the home of Mr. Haynes “the child took his name with that of Lemuel which in Hebrew signifies “consecrated to God.” Mr. Haynes kept Lemuel for five months then bounded him out to a Deacon by the name of David Eose, of Granville, Massachusetts, a man described as having “singular piety”.
 
Early Years
With only a rudimentary formal education, Haynes developed a passion for books, especially the Bible and books on theology. As an adolescent, he frequently conducted services at the town parish, sometimes reading sermons of his own. According to his biographer it was said of Haynes that he kept “the Bible, Psalter, spelling-book, and perhaps a volume or two of sermons”. Haynes stated, “I was constantly inquiring after books, especially in theology. I was greatly pleased with the writings of Watts and Doddridge, and with Young’s Night thoughts. My good master encouraged me in the matter”.
 
In 1774, Haynes enlisted as a "Minuteman" in the local militia/army. During this time he wrote a lengthy ballad-sermon about the April, 1775 Battle of Lexington. In the title of the poem, he refers to himself as "Lemuel a young Mollato who obtained what little knowledge he possesses, by his own Application to Letters." Although the poem emphasized the conflict between slavery and freedom, it did not directly address black African slavery directly.
 
But Haynes did have a very strong opinion about it. “Nearly 150 years after his death, a manuscript written by Haynes around 1776 was discovered, in which he boldly stated "That an African... has an undeniable right to his Liberty." The treatise went on to condemn slavery as sin, and pointed out the irony of slaveowners fighting for their own liberty while denying it to others.”
 
Haynes Into the Ministry
Haynes call to the ministry was very evident and at a Congregational meeting house at Middle Granville Haynes labored preaching the Gospel with great zeal for five years. During these five years he preached at a time of “moral darkness with intemperance, profanity and infidelity rife. Strange doctrines intruded. Vice came blodly forward, but, like a rock, the young minister stood by his Lord and Faith”.
 
Haynes would go on and be encouraged to go into the ministry. In 1785, Haynes was officially ordained as a Congregational minister. Haynes served as pastor on three occasion after his ordination. “The first was with an all-white congregation in Torrington, Connecticut, where he left after two years due to the active prejudice of several members.”
 
His second call to pulpit ministry, from a mostly white church in Rutland, Vermont that had a few "poor Africans," lasted for 30 years. “During that time, Haynes developed an international reputation as a preacher and writer. In 1804, he received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Middlebury College, the first ever bestowed upon an African American. In 1801, he published a tract called "The Nature and Importance of True Republicanism..." which contained his only public statement on the subject of race or slavery.”
 
For the last eleven years of his life, Haynes ministered to a congregation in upstate New York. He died in 1833, at the age of 80.
 
 
One very interesting sermon preached by Haynes was called “Universal Salvation” from Genesis 3:4. This sermon was birth in controversy after Haynes was initially supposed to preach at another congregation but was asked not to come. Haynes responded very sternly and boldly. This episode in Haynes ministry is documented in a book called “An Entertaining Controversy”, by William Fay published in 1807. Let’s just say the sermon was a strong objection. Personally I found great encouragement in his bold stance.
 
I have been impacted by the ministry of Lemuel  Haynes who was regarded as “no ordinary man”. He had to be based on the call of God on his life. God’s hand was truly upon him.
 
#SDG

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About Edward L. Smith

My ministry philosophy would consist of these essentials—a High View of God, the absolute authority of Scripture, Expository Preaching, Sound Doctrine, Personal Holiness, and a Biblical view of spiritual authority. All ministries must be God-Honoring, Christ-Centered, & Gospel Saturated. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

 

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