Although we don’t know much about Dungan we do know he was a man of vision to move his large family to this area which was remote at this period of history. The expansion of the work under Keach continued the growth of Baptists in Pennsylvania resulting in the formation of the first Baptist association in America. We should never despise “the day of small things” for we never know what God can do through it.
Kerfoot’s major contribution to his discipline was to reissue in revised form Boyce’s Abstract Although he lauded Boyce as “the greatest leader that Southern Baptists have ever had,” Kerfoot did in fact include, always in small print or footnotes, several points on which he differed from his mentor.
The injuries inflicted on Holmes give new meaning to how important believer’s baptism is by immersion. Here was a brave warrior for Christ who was willing to endure such brutality and injustice so that the cause of Christ and what He commanded us to do in the Great Commission could be advanced. We see believer’s baptism by immersion in a new light with such a story of suffering for the cause of Christ and the Baptist faith. May we be willing to go and do likewise.
Some have believed John Clarke deserves to be called the first real Baptist leader in Rhode Island although Williams founded it. While Williams was a Baptist only for a few months, Clarke remained faithful for nearly forty years. Williams concluded that no visible church was valid until Christ sent a new apostle to restore it; therefore, he never affiliated with any other church. Many also believed the church Clarke founded at Newport deserves to be called the first pure and permanent Baptist Church in America although history proves otherwise, since Roger Williams resigned the church in Providence before Clarke even started the church at Newport.
The idea of separation of church and state has been perverted by secularists in our day and age. However, his view did pave the way for religious liberty for all groups and made America a safe haven for religious toleration. We learn from Williams that state religion cannot be regulated without abuse. When people are free to choose and voluntarily affiliate with a church it makes freedom of conscience a tremendous truth that leads to genuine and sincere religious practice. For this reason freedom of religion without any state control has been a cherished belief of Baptists because of men like Roger Williams who were willing to take a stand for it.