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Free Will Baptist Historical Resources

PLEASE NOTE: These historical documents may or may not represent the current position of Free Will Baptists on any given issue. Many files are Adobe Acrobat (pdf) files. They are quite large and may take a long time to appear on your computer. For ease of viewing, download only the files in which you are interested and read them at your leisure.

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In the South: The Palmer Movement


What Free Will Baptists Believe

Eugene Louis (E.L.) St. Claire, D.D., Ph.D remains one of the most prominent evangelists in the history of the Free Will Baptist Movement. This article, originally published by Ayden Free Will Baptist Printing Company, gives readers a brief overview of the doctrine and beliefs of the Southern Movement in the mid- to late-1800s. The article is accompanied by, "A Prince and a Great Man," a biographical sketch of the author written by the late Laura Bell Barnard.


Origins of the Free Will Baptist Church of North Carolina

Elder Rufus K. (R.K.) Hearn was a leading minister of the Free Will Baptist General Conference of North Carolina during the mid- to late-1800s. Long time pastor of the Gum Swamp Free Will Baptist Church, he also served as the editor of The Free Will Baptist, longest-running Free Will Baptist periodical. In this article, published sometime during the 1860s, Hearn traces the shadowy history of the early Free Will Baptist Movement in North Carolina.


Excerpts From A Free Will Baptist Handbook

Enjoy excerpts from this handy, one-volume reference book that introduces who we are, where we came from, what we believe, what God has done through us in the past, and what He is doing through us today. Order this book from Randall House Publications.


Free Will Baptists in Tennessee
By Robert E. Picirilli  



In the North: The Randall Movement


General History



Free Will Baptist Quarterlies

Published from 1853-1869, in seventeen volumes, the quarterly contained essays addressing subjects from Islam to the inspiration of Scripture, Slavery to the biblical role of the pastor. The pages of the quarterlies paint a vivid picture of the Free-will Baptist movement in the north during the mid-19th century.


Music and Poetry



The Westward Movement

The Gem

The Gem, pubished by the Missouri State Association, is one of the longest running Free Will Baptist periodicals. The monthly paper, first distributed in January 1929, continues today. Founding editor, Elder Edward Hilliard, gave us a glimpse into the paper’s purpose in his first editorial:

“The purpose of this, our paper, will be fully realized only by the united co-operation of every member of our Free Will Baptist church groups, that can possibly subscribe for it themselves, and also enlist the interest of their friends outside of church circles, in order that our joy may be shared by others also, and the cause of Christ advanced.”

Volume 1: January 1929

Volume 7: July 1929

Volume 8: August 1929

Come back soon to download additional issues of the Gem!




General Resources


The Forgotten Days of Early Cuba

A long-forgotten letter from pioneer missionary Winford Davis details the origin of early Free Will Baptist missions work on the island of Cuba. The remarkable document is summarized by historian Jack Wiliams in a brief article. Download the entire letter in .pdf format.


New! Leroy Forlines and the Commission for Theological Integrity

Read the brief history of the commission charged with safeguarding Free Will Baptist doctrine from the pervasive influence of modern and postmodern culture. The commission will celebrate 50 years in 2012—marking both the number of years in existence and the leadership of outgoing Chairman Leroy Forlines.


Integrity: A Journal of Christian Thought

Integrity: A Journal of Christian Thought is published by the Free Will Baptist Commission for Theological Integrityin cooperation with Randall House Publications, Free Will Baptist Bible College, and Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College. It is partially funded by those institutions and a number of interested churches and individuals.Integrity exists to stimulate and provide a forum for Christian scholarship among Free Will Baptists.8

Volume 1: 2000

Volume 2: 2003

Volume 3: 2006

Volume 4: 2008

Volume 5: 2010

©2012 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists