East Texas church draws Daniel Parker's ire
On this day in 1843, Bethel Church in Sabine County joined four other East Texas Baptist churches in organizing the Sabine Baptist Association. Representatives of the five founding churches met at Union (Old North) Church, four miles north of Nacogdoches. The other churches were Union and Mount Zion, Nacogdoches County, and Border and Bethel, Harrison County. The participation of the Sabine County Bethel Church, located between Milam and Sexton in the county's "dark corner," drew the ire of Daniel Parker, under whose authority it had been constituted in 1841. Parker, his Predestinarian brethren in the Pilgrim Primitive Baptist Church, and the Union Association opposed missionary societies and boards, Bible societies, Sunday schools, and secret organizations, all of which were claimed to be purely devices of man with no scriptural authority for their existence. In August 1844, the Pilgrim Church called upon the Bethel Church to surrender its authority as a church, since it had "departed from the faith and order." Less than two months later, however, thirty-six persons were baptized into the Missionary Baptist faith at Bethel Church. The oldest Baptist church in Sabine County, it has remained in continuous operation since its founding, though its name has been changed to New Hope Baptist Church.