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Our History



The First Baptist Church has a long history of commitment to Bible beliefs. The present generation of members continues to hold to the beliefs of early Baptists, often called "the doctrines of grace."

The godly men and women who blazed the trails into the region along the east bank of the Mississippi River were missionary in the very best sense of that term. Not the least of these was Elder J. B. Smith, founder and first pastor of the First Baptist church of Clinton, under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. Elder Smith served the First Baptist Church as pastor from 1836-54, and was described as follows:

"Elder J.B. Smith was long a prominent minister and lawyer of Clinton, Louisiana. He was born in 1806. He came to Mississippi in 1834; then he came to Louisiana, and labored about a year and a half as a missionary. In 1836 he settled in Clinton, East Feliciana Parish, and assisted in the constitution of the church in that place. He engaged successfully in the practice of law, at the same time preaching regularly in the churches in the surrounding country. He rose in his profession, and became Judge of this Distrct. He fell a victim to yellow fever, which ravaged Clinton in 1868."

It is clear from the extant writings of Elder Smith and other early leaders that they desired to preach the gospel in such a way that in all things Jesus Christ might have the preeminence. Jesus Christ was at the center of all they preached and taught. They believed Jesus to be an effectual Savior who would not lose one of those for whom He died. The articles of faith of the regional Baptist association spoke of belief in "the eternal unconditional election of a definite number of the human family to grace and glory," as well as the belief that Jesus "by his most precious blood redeemed the elect from the curse of the law." They believed, with the apostles of old, that God would be pleased to use the preaching of the cross to see to it that "as many as were ordained to eternal life would repent and believe in Jesus as Lord."

The First Baptist Church is a cooperating Southern Baptist church, unashamedly embracing the great biblical doctrines that came to prominence in the Protestant Reformation, sometimes referred to as "the doctrines of grace." We are also a member of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA).