This is an index of all the Circular Letters of the Northbend Baptist Association that are extant. This association, located in Northern Kentucky (and now known as the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association) was established in 1803. Churches in the area were originally associated with the Elkhorn Baptist Association, mostly based in central Kentucky, and were dismissed from Elkhorn to establish this association. A list of the authors of the Circular Letters before 1812 is available (see at the end of the document), but those Letters are not known to exist. Some of the Letters do not have a title and are somewhat vague in content, and some of them cover more than one subject. All of the Circulars are not on this site, but others will be posted. — Jim Duvall
INDEX — Circular Letters of the Northbend Baptist Association — 1804 - 1871. The Association was constituted in 1803, so 1804 was their first Circular publication.
KEY: P = pastor, M = minister, O = ordained, L = licentiate, D = deacon, C = clerk — These are used when known.
Year ----- ----- Subject ----- ----- Author ---- ---- Name of the Church where the writer was pastor/member.]
1804-1811 [None of these Letters is available. See the end of Index for the authors of these Letters.]
1812 — The importance of the commands of God. — John Watts, Middle Creek [P/O]
A letter to encourage the churches at the beginning of the War of 1812; the war began in June of that year. He said, "As the people of old were not exempt from war, if need be let us make use of force to repel force."
1813 — Our churches in adversity; our land afflicted [War of 1812]. — Jesse L. Holman, Laughery, IN [O]
1814 — Attendants of grace: humility, prayer and watchfulness. — Moses Scott, Middle Creek [D]
The author mentions France and the effects of wars there; Britain has suffered the judgment of God and our country is seeing God's hand lifted up in judgment against her. Repentance is called for.
1815 — The languid and barren state of the churches. — Absalom Graves, Bullittsburg [L/C]
God certainly is strong and sovereign, but God's people are negligent and disobedient. A call for repentance from coldness and the evils that brought it upon them.
1816 — "A Few Thoughts on the Advantages of Revelation." — Moses Scott, Middle Creek [D]
The writer stresses the importance of the Word of God and how God uses it to reveal Himself to us and to reveal our own condition to us. He stresses the attributes and especially the mercies of God.
1817 — A post-millennial statement, hoping for the kingdom to soon come. — Absalom Graves, Bullittsburg [L/C]
1818 — Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity. — Jesse L. Holman, Laughery, IN [O]
The importance of uniting in proclaiming the gospel, building up the Lord's churches and living above the "jars and contentions" of this world through love.
1819 — O that God would prosper Zion, and prosper us in her ways and love. — Moses Scott, Middle Creek [L/D]
Middle Creek had seen 93 added by baptism and Bullittsburg 165 the previous year. This year had been lean [in conversions] but the churches were at peace and this gave reason to rejoice in the Lord for His great promises. He compares the seasons and the planting and growth of grain to the work of the Lord.
1820 — [Page 1 of the letter (on p. 3 of minutes) is very dark and nearly 1/3 is missing; some on page 4 is missing.] — James Dicken, Bullittsburg
On page 4 he speaks of our being "called" in Christ and our being "created anew" in Christ and our responsibility to "honor our high calling."
1821 — Some marks or scripture evidences which characterizes, distinguishes and accompanies one in a Justified state. — Moses Scott, Middle Creek [L/D]
1822 — "A few observations" ( a short letter). — Cave Johnson, Sand Run [D]
He says we should be thankful for the "free exercise of liberties, both civil and religious." He says also many in the land suffer "with pestilence and death." Many whom they knew suffered on beds of affliction. [CJ came into KY from VA and was one of the early residents of Bryant's Fort before moving to northern Ky. — jrd]
1823 — "The cause of the declention of religion among us." — Robert Kirtley, Bullitttsburg [P/O]
The history of the church shows occasions either to mourn or joy. We rejoice: "when good and wholesome doctrines are preached; when ordinances are observed; when the word of God has free course, and is glorified...." Churches and Christians decline when these are let down. Discusses failure to observe baptism and the Lord Supper by believers.
1824 — "We would recommend to the churches to aim at setting the house of God in order." — Moses Scott, Middle Creek [D]
A treatise on church discipline: "...remember, that a glorious character in the administration of Christ's kingdom is righteousness."
1825 — A brief history of the North Bend Association. — Absalom Graves, Bullittsburg [D/C]
Graves reviews the revivals and other blessings of the churches of the association in its 22 years.
1826 — The death of three men: James Dicken, Landon Robinson & Absalom Graves are lamented. — Robert Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
Two men: Dicken and Robinson were young; Graves had been in the Association since its beginning. He encourages the brethren to be serious in doctrine and the service of the Lord.
1827 — The Sovereign Working of God. The writer reviews the great mercies and promises of God to us in spite of what we are: unworthy sinners. — Willis Graves, Bullittsburg [C]
1828 — The Christian Duty of Praise and Adoration. A large number of the church letters are filled with mourning and complaining. — Lewis Webb, Sand Run [C]
The writer reviews the promises of God and encourages Bible reading, prayer, praise and an earnest seeking of the Lord and His blessings.
1829 — Let brotherly love continue — Lewis Conner, Forks of Gunpowder [O]
There were 186 members received by experience & baptism since the last associational meeting.
1830 — An Exhortation about people falling away from from the truth; this is the fulfillment of prophecy. — William Whitaker, Sand Run [O]
1831 — God is greater than David's throne, greater than Solomon's house, greater than anything in this world. — Moses Scott, Middle Creek [D]
This is a call for us to humble ourselves before Him; to grow and abound in His love. The apostle Paul, as an example, is also mentioned often in this article.
1832 — A lengthy letter describing the great power of God in salvation. — Willis Graves, Bullittsburg [C]
This work shows the total, absolute depravity of man and the total, absolute power of God in salvation. It was written by the church and associational clerk. The seriousness of the theology of that day is shown in this letter. [He says only one of the remaining "delegates" of the original members who constituted the association was still alive: he died before their next meeting.]
1833 — The importance of unity among the churches of the Asssociation is stressed. — Lewis Webb, Sand Run [C]
1834 — Our connection as brethren: we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. — Lewis Conner, Forks of Gunpowder [P/O]
The author says Baptists agree on baptism and the Lord's Supper; the only disagreement they seem to have at all is the way of preaching: the gospel is always the same - some have different styles.
1835 — Let brotherly love continue. — Robert Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
The writer appeals to remember the brethren "of old" in the earlier days of the association, as an example.
1836 — The trials of life and the lessons they teach us. — Reuben Graves, Bullitsburg [D]
1837 — Our duties to God, obligations to one another and the consolations that result. — Lewis Webb, Sand Run [C]. The importance of understanding the love of God for us, and manifesting that love to each other is stressed.
1838 — The work of Christ in saving a lost soul, and a description of the sinner. — Lewis Webb, Sand Run [C]
The writer vividly describes the terrible condition of a sinner and how God the Holy Spirit works to convict him and bring him to Christ. Christ's work of redemption and the importance of the witness of Christians by the fruit of salvation in their lives are also emphasized.
1839 — Only the redeemed can be true members of a church; salvation is by the work of God only. — Lewis Conner, Forks of Gunpowder [P/O]
He discredits the doctrine of others who teach that bapizing in a natural creek or pond makes a spiritual person. He says that salvation is as passive on the new-born christian as the natural birth experience was. [Conner's church and five others would pull out of the NBBA after one more meeting to form a Predestinarian association, charging the NBBA with changing its doctrine. jrd]
1840 — A brief history of the NB Association from 1825 to the present. — Lewis Webb, Sand Run [C]
1841 — A Plea for Peace Among the Churches — The association had lost six of its churches; there is a passionate call to the people of the churches: he says if they have the right spirit they will not have the desire or time to disturb other churches, as some have done. — Robert Kirtley, Bullitsburg [P/O]
Added - 2.13.09.
1842 — "The connexion between faith and works in the justification of the sinner." — P. S. Bush, First Baptist Church, Covington [D]
The writer uses mainly JAMES and ROMANS as the basis for his discussion. Well written and with a spirit of concern for godly living.
1843 — The independence of the local church; the power of the association and the rights and privileges of members. — Lewis Webb, Sand Run [C]
1844 — The public worship of God: the utility of it and the duty of sustaining it. — Asa Drury, First, Covington [P/O]
[A committee of one man from each church was appointed to read and review this letter before it was approved to be read, p. 4. It was amended some, then approved.]
Added - 2.13.09.
1845 — The Dangers of Papal Power; and the Dangers of Fanaticism. — Lewis Webb, Sand Run [C]
The writer sees a time of persecution coming when the churches of our land will be attacked. He refers to a "phrenzy" (abolitionists-?) aided by infidelity and treason, who also intend to destroy the Lord's churches.
1846 — A treatise showing the errors of Hyper-calvinism, Campbellism and universalism. These heresies had come into the communities in recent years. — James A. Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
1847 — [J.M.Frost, Pastor of First, Covington had been appointed to write the Circular; he submitted the Circular of 1841 from the Long Run Association, which was not adopted. Brethern Frost, P.C. Scott (Burlington) and James Robinson (Dry Creek) were appointed as a committee to write the Circular and present it the ensuing day.]
They presented a letter on: The need for revival. Factors relating to the problem: lack of it has developed among brethren.
1848 — There is a call for young men to heed the call to preach, a need for humility and a need for revival. — Leonard Stephens, Dry Creek
1849 — The Importance of Christian Hope. — P. C. Scott, Burlington [P/O]
"Christian hope is the firm expectation of all necessary good, both in time and eternity, founded upon the perfections, offices and promises of Christ."
1850 — The history of the churches and association up to the present. — Lewis Webb, Sand Run [C]
1851 — The Elements of Christian Character. — P. C. Scott, Burlington [P/O]
The importance of faith, knowledge and holiness are discussed.
1852 — The imperfect state in which to demonstrate Christian character. — James A. Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
This is a follow-up to the previous year's letter and shows the Christian's weaknesses and sources of help in the Lord and His Word.
1853 — Believers should be careful to maintain good works. Titus 3:8. — Robert Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
1. Public worship and faithful preaching of the Word; 2. church disicpline; and 3. Christian benevolence are emphasized in this letter.
1854 — The need for Baptist ministers. — J. D. McGill, First, Covington
1855 — The reciprocal duties of church members and their ministers. — Leonard Stephens, Florence
1856 — A plea to recognize the sovereignty of God in both spiritual and temporal matters. — Lewis Webb, Sand Run [C]
1857 — The purpose of the N. B. Association. — James A. Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
The churches had confidence in the association; there was great care for peace and prosperity among the churches; "the brethren were deeply imbued with the spirit of the gospel."
1858 — Asa Drury of Dry Creek was assigned to write the Letter. The committee assigned to review it reported: "as written was not such as they would recommend to be published with the minutes."
1859 — "The Lord's Supper." — James A. Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
This is one of the longest letters written — 7+ pages. He covers the institution and design of the supper. He argues closed communion. (At this associational meeting JAK was asked to preach on "The Design of Baptism." He later published a 211 page hb book on baptism.)
1860 — The Importance of Christian Union By Asa Drury [P/O] Dry Creek Baptist Church, Kenton County, KY.
He means: a union of Christ as the Head, his law as the sole and sovereign authority, and his example as our pattern, in the Chritian life.
1861 — The Civil War and its threat to the churches. — James A. Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
He comments on the war and its distractions and dangers to the churches: It "threatens devastation and ruin to all we hold dear in life."
1862 — [The brother assigned to write the letter was absent - none was written for this year.]
1863 — An Exhortation [I Cor. 16:13-14]. — James A. Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
The points of emphasis: 1] vigilance, 2] firmness, 3] be bold, 4]be strong and 5] let abounding charity characterize all labors....
1864 — "Suffer the Word of Exhortation" — James A. Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
A follow-up to the previous year's letter -- emphasizes that each should cling to "the distinguishing doctrines of sovereign grace," and display a godly life. He speaks of the times as "the unrestrained riot and fury of human passion" [men from Boone County and members of the churches fought on both sides in the Civil War.]
1865 — "The Christian a Laborer" — W. Pope Yeaman First, Covington [P/O]
Stresses the duty and importance of diligence in the Lord' service.
1866 — "Church Discipline" — R. E. Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
The writer says there is no "subject of greater practical utility" than this. It is "indispensable to the purity, peace and prosperity of the Churches..." Written with compassion and the desire for a holy church.
1867 — "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." [Eph. 4:3] — S. P. Brady, Middle Creek [C]
1868 — "Lukewarmness" — James A. Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
The characteristics, dangers and remedy are dicussed.
1869 — "The Divine Procedure in the Administration of the Final Judgment." — R. E. Kirtley, Sand Run, [P/O]
The committee appointed to review this Circular before it was read to the associaiton, came back with this report: "That after due consideration they recommend the 'Circular Letter' as being sound in doctrine and eminently worthy of publication in the minutes of the association."
1870 — A history of Bullittsburg Baptist Church was assigned to J.A. Kirtley and appeared in its first installment and was concluded in 1872.
1871 — "The Scriptural Duty and Method of Training the Churches to Christian Liberality." — James A. Kirtley, Bullittsburg [P/O]
This is the last Circular Letter written and published, except occasionally for a special subject. The association began publishing histories of the churches.
1875 — A Centennial Sermon preached by J.A. Kirtley in several churches leading up to our country's 100th anniversary, entitled "A Good Confession," was published on pages 5-24.
[The following is a list of the authors of the Circulars from the beginning of the Association; none of these are known to exist. This info is available from the records of the early Minutes that are hand-typed copies.]
1804 - Alexander Monroe of Forks of Licking BC.
1805 - Josiah Herbert of Twelve-Mile BC.
1806 - Moses Scott of the Middle Creek BC.
1807 - Absalom Graves of Bullittsburg BC.
1808 - Moses Scott of Middle Creek BC.
1809 - Absalom Graves of Bullittsburg BC.
1810 - John Beal of Mouth of Licking BC was the appointed writer. This letter was read and disapproved; then Thomas Henderson of Bullittsburg BC was appointed to write it; this was read and approved by the association.
1811 - Moses Scott of Middle Creek BC; a small amendment was made before the association approved it.
[This Index was prepared by James R. Duvall, Union, KY in 1996. These Circular Letters are available as microfilm records at The Southern Baptist Seminary Library, Louisville, KY.]
American Circular Letters
Baptist History Homepage