The mission of Texas Baptists is to challenge, equip, and empower people to passionately fulfill God's call to reach all people with the Gospel. The success of churches is measured by the number of Christians actively winning souls and enabling them to win over the crowds. All other activities, such as raising funds, constructing buildings, organizing ministries, delivering sermons, and writing songs, are ultimately in support of this mission. In the mid-1800s, reports from Texas Baptists revealed a deep-seated belief that black people were inferior, indolent, childish, and superstitious. As a result, they refused to recognize most black Christianity as legitimate and insisted that only white Baptist preachers could preach the right gospel.
This attitude has been linked to a decrease in evangelization efforts in the Southeast, where the population is growing most rapidly. In 1863, reports from Texas Baptists began to reflect an open concern for the Confederate Army and also a disdain for Northern sympathizers. By 1875, the African Methodist Episcopal Church had grown enough to host its second annual conference in West Texas and black Baptists held their first convention meeting at the state level. Baptist conventions often have departments staffed with people who carry out evangelistic campaigns, help churches and other Baptist entities improve evangelization, and offer conferences to instruct and inspire Baptists in evangelization. In addition, they emphasize obedience of slaves as part of their evangelization efforts. Texas Baptist leaders spread a gospel closely linked to the plantation hierarchy. They observed that black Baptists “maintained a better order in their public worship” and did everything possible to suppress any bustle that characterized their meetings.
However, they never mentioned any violence against black slaves in their reports. This essay has explored how the rise of black churches, violence against blacks and their communities, and reports from Texas Baptist associations all coincide to show the continuing white patriarchal mentality and violence of the evangelization plans of the Baptist plantations of Texas. The mission of Texas Baptists is clear: to spread the Gospel and bring people closer to God. To do this effectively requires an understanding of how evangelization has been shaped by history. The rise of black churches in Texas was met with resistance from white Baptists who sought to maintain control over religious practices. This resistance was further compounded by violence against blacks and their communities.
Reports from Texas Baptist associations reveal a deep-seated belief that black people were inferior and indolent. This attitude has been linked to a decline in evangelization efforts in the Southeast. In order for churches in Bexar County, Texas to effectively evangelize today, it is important for them to understand how history has shaped their mission. It is also important for them to recognize that violence against blacks and their communities must be addressed if they are to be successful in their mission. Finally, it is essential for them to recognize that only through open dialogue can they truly understand how best to reach all people with the Gospel.