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The Old Baptist Glossary PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Montgomery   



Primitive Baptist





A handbook of common expressions new and archaic that are in use by the Old Baptists



The Primitive Baptist Heritage Corporation

14302 Walmer

San Antonio, Texas 78247












For thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name…











Copyright 2012 by PBHC




 The Primitive Baptists are a colorful people to be sure, and with such distinction comes uniqueness in actions, customs and vocabulary. Having grown up among these people, I heard expressions used by church members and never really thought how strange they may sound to those new to the Old Baptists until it was brought to my attention. I then felt that it would be a good thing to compile a listing of these words and phrases and define them as best as I could. In the process of this effort, I became interested in discovering phrases no longer in use or those used in a particular vicinity and set out to compile these as well. I sent out requests for help, asked a lot of questions, did a lot of thinking and began to compile. Thus began “The Primitive Baptist Glossary.”


I have tried to make this list as exhaustive as possible but I know that it can never be 100 per cent complete. I am sure there are very wonderful phrases that are missing and that is regrettable. Perhaps we can update the Glossary on a consistent basis until a degree of contentment is attained.

 I received a lot of help in compiling this list and I greatly appreciate it. This could not have been the work of one person and certainly the help received from across the county made this a better listing. I thank everyone who helped make this book what it is.

 In His service,

David Montgomery

July 2012






A Capella: To sing without man-made musical instruments. The expression is Italian for “in the manner of the church” or “in the manner of the chapel.”


Present-day Christian religious bodies known for conducting their worship services without musical accompaniment include some Presbyterian churches devoted to the regulative principle of worship, Old Regular Baptists, Primitive Baptists, Plymouth Brethren, Churches of Christ, the Old German Baptist Brethren, the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church and the Amish and Mennonite. Certain high church services and other musical events in liturgical churches (such as the Roman Catholic Mass and the Lutheran Divine Service) may be a cappella, a practice remaining from apostolic times. Many Mennonites also conduct some or all of their services without instruments. Sacred Harp, a type of religious folk music, is an a cappella style of religious singing, but is more often sung at singing conventions than at church services.

 Opponents of musical instruments in the Christian worship believe that such opposition is supported by the New Testament and Church history. The New Testament verses typically referenced are Matthew 26:30; Acts 16:25; Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12, 13:15; James 5:13, which reveal a command for all Christians to sing.

 There is no reference to instrumental music in the worship of the New Testament or the worship of churches for the first six centuries. The absence of instrumental music in New Testament worship is significant given the abundance of Old Testament references and commands. After several hundred years of Tabernacle worship without instrumental music, King David introduced musical instruments into Temple worship based upon a commandment from God. God commanded who was to sing, who was to play, and what instruments were to be used, as seen in 2 Chronicles 29:25–29.

 Unlike the Israelite worship assembly, which was only able to look on during Temple worship as the Levitical Priest sang, played, and offered animal sacrifices, in the New Testament, all Christians are commanded to sing praises to God. This leaves those opposed to instrumental music in worship with the understanding that if God wanted instrumental music in New Testament worship, he would have commanded not just singing, but singing and playing like he did in the Old Testament. Though God commanded instruments to be used in Temple worship, and the daily life of Israel, the first recorded example of a musical instrument in Roman Catholic worship was an organ introduced by Pope Vitalian into a cathedral in Rome around 670. Thus, over time, the expression "a cappella" ("in the manner of the chapel") came to mean exclusively vocal music in contradistinction to the spreading use of the organ in cathedrals.

 Instruments have divided Christendom since their introduction into worship. They were not widely practiced until the 18th century, and were opposed vigorously in worship by a number of Protestant Reformers, including Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley. In Sir Walter Scott's “The Heart of Midlothian”, the heroine, Jeanie Deans, a Scottish Presbyterian, writes to her father about the church situation she has found in England:

 “The folk here are civil, and, like the barbarians unto the holy apostle, have shown me much kindness; and there are a sort of chosen people in the land, for they have some kirks without organs that are like ours, and are called meeting-houses, where the minister preaches without a gown.”


Absolute Predestination: A heretical doctrinal tenet that God predestined all things that come to pass.


Absoluter: One who believes in the doctrine of Absolute Predestination.


Adam Multiplied: An expression of the depravity of man. When Adam fell into sin, all of humanity fell with him and his sin is multiplied per each human being born into the world. There are scads of interesting expressions that deal with depravity and Old Baptists like to use them.


Adoption: A major doctrinal tenet. The process of incorporating the elect into the family of God. They are all adopted into God’s family and are now blessed to be heirs of Him and joint heirs with Christ (the only begotten son of God).


Afternoon Service: The worship service held after lunch usually commencing around 2:00 pm. It is a favorite time to preach the young brethren and the so-so preachers (though this fact is often hotly denied). It is also a favorite time for the Professional Sleepers of the church to perform their office.


All Wise, Ever to be Adored, Holy, Heavenly Father: A common expression in public prayer. God.


Amazing Grace: A hymn written by John Newton. The National Anthem of the Primitive Baptists.


Amen: Greek: “Let it be so.” What you say when you agree with a good point the preacher just made. What is said when closing a prayer so the people will know when to raise their heads. It is considered bad form not to close a prayer with “Amen.” It just is.


Amen is such a versatile word. It says what you want it to say for so many different times and occasions. It works hard for you to convey your heart and soul. It is one of the best words ever made. It is how our Lord Jesus closed his prayer and it think it a good way for Christians to close theirs. If Jesus did it this way then we should also. Matthew 6:13 "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."


Amen is how the Apostle Paul closed most of his epistles. Colossians 4:18 "The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen."


And the Apostle John. 2 John 1:13 "The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen."


It is the last word in the Bible.  Revelation 22:21 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."


And it is another name for our Lord. Revelation 3:14 "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God"


So let us stop trying to act like the world, let us stop worrying about appearing strange, let us go back and follow scriptural precedent and do what we're supposed to do. Use the word Amen! Right? Amen!


Amen Brethering: These brethren, typically deacons of various classes, sit together on the front benches during service. Sometimes they will allow the visiting minister to sit with them, but only if they pass the “fisheye test” first. If the preacher in the stand makes an especially impressive point, they rally together better than cheerleaders at a Friday night football game and loudly AMEN!!! the fella. If the preacher gets in a big way, these are the fellas that will shout and holler. They've been known to shed a tear or two, too.


Conversely, if the preacher in the stand makes an uncertain sound or switches Jonah for Noah, perhaps, he'll earn the dreaded groupwide Amen Brethren Fisheye. And, if (God forbid!) said preacher should actually preach some false doctrine, or even something that sounds fishy, these good Brethren are likely to call him down. Every once in a blue moon, if a preacher utterly forgets himself, and preaches past an hour and a half or so, these are the fellas that will likely stand, hymnals in hand, and lead the congregation in singing that fella down.


One can always tell if an Amen Brother is in the doghouse at home from some infraction. He won't sit up in the Amen Corner... he'll sit with his wife in the congregation that Sunday. Sister Gab-A-Lot takes sharp notice of this, of course.

Amen Corner: Where the Amen Brethering sit; usually on a pew on the right or left sides of the pulpit. The Amen Corner is usually made up of older ministers and deacons who “help” the preacher while he is preaching. Such help consists of loud resounding, “amens!!” and groans that display their satisfaction that the preacher is doing well and that they are in wondrous agreement with what he is saying. If the Amen Corner is quiet, either the minister is not being blessed or he’s “gone to meddling.”

 Other expressions the Amen Corner might use are:

o   “Preach it!”

o   “Come on!”

o   “uh huh”

o   “Right!” or “Das rat!”

o   “Ummmmmmmm!” (Think a walrus in heat)

o   “Yeah!”

o   “Hear! Hear!”

o   “Bear down on it!”

o   Corruptions of “Amen” i.e. “A-mahn!” and “Eeeeemieeen!”

o   Tears of Joy—these can be the loudest of all “amens.”


Awomen Corner: Awomen Corner: Where certain sisters would sit and wait for the moment in the sermon that lent itself to such good feelings that they would begin to wail and shout. Some would raise their hands in glorious rapture; some would stand up and begin to sway while moaning and shouting. This was more or less confined to Appalachia and the Southeast and by the late 20th century, the awomen corner has been phased out even in those vicinities.  



Amener: Someone who is prone to “Amen!” during the worship service.

Another Order: Usually refers to a group or system of belief that is not Primitive Baptist.  Rather than name or call out a particular religion or system, this phrase is used. Ex: “Joe belongs to another order.”

Appointment: A time designated for a minister to hold a gospel meeting. If said appointment is done on a regular basis then it is called a “Regular Appointment.” Ex: “Brother George has a regular appointment at Sardis on third Sundays.”


Arminian: One who subscribes to the doctrine of salvation by works; one who believes in grace but emphasizes that a person must believe and accept Jesus as their personal savior in order to receive said grace; one who follows the school of theology based on the ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609). The doctrine may be broken down into the following:


·         The rational faith or nonfaith of man determines their election or condemnation. In other words, election is based on belief and condemnation is based on unbelief.

·         Jesus Christ died for all of humanity but only those who exercise faith receive the atonement.

·         No person is able to respond to God’s will unless aided by the Holy Spirit.

·         God's grace is not irresistible.

·         It is possible to be separated from the love of Jesus Christ.

·         It is possible for the saved to fall from eternal grace and be damned to eternal hell.

There is no such thing as "once saved, always saved."



Within the broad scope of the history of Christian theology, Arminianism is closely related to Calvinism (or Reformed theology), and the two systems share both history and many doctrines. Nonetheless, they are often viewed as rivals within evangelicalism because of their disagreement over details of the doctrines of divine predestination and salvation. Primitive Baptists are not Calvinists. They held views of the sovereign grace of God long before John Calvin was ever born.


Arminian Skinnin’: To say disparaging things about those who believe the Arminian doctrine; to preach against Arminianism; to mock and deride all other denominations. We are thankful that this practice has faded in recent years. We do not need to tear down others to prop ourselves up. Let the truth defend itself.


Articles of Faith:  A set of beliefs outlining the doctrine of a church, sometimes numbered, and often beginning with “We believe.”


Article of Faith of Old Union Primitive Baptist Church of Arkansas


The scriptures are our sole rule of faith and practice; we are therefore not bound to any creed of faith. However, most Primitive Baptist churches have summarized their interpretation of the scriptures in various Articles of Faith. The following articles are those adopted by our congregation. They are similar to the statements of Primitive Baptists around the world.

 1.       We believe in only one true and living God and the Trinity of persons in the Godhead Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and yet not three but one God. (Deuteronomy 6:5; Malachi 2:10; I Corinthians 8:6; John 5:7)

 2.       We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the revealed word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice. (II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20-21)

 3.       We believe in the fall of Adam and the consequent depravity of human nature, and that all men, by nature, are in a state of wrath, and utterly unable to recover themselves by their own free will and ability into the favor of God. (Acts 17:26; Romans 5:12, 18-19)

 4.       We believe that God, before the foundation of the world, chose a definite number of the human race in Christ Jesus to salvation, and that they in particular are saved. (II Samuel 23:5; Psalms 89:27-36; Hebrews 13:20; Ephesians 1:4; John 6:37-41)

 5.       We believe that all who are chosen in Christ shall be called, regenerated, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit; that they are justified in the sight of God by the righteousness of Christ imputed unto them; and that all will be preserved through grace and will never fall finally away. (John 6:45; Romans 8:28-30; II Thessalonians 2:13; John 10:27-29; I Peter 1:3-5)

 6.       We believe that faith is a gift of God. Good works, the result of faith, justify us in the sight of men and angels and are evidences of our salvation. (Ephesians 2:8,10; Galatians 5:22; Romans 5:1; Hebrews 11:6)

 7.       We believe that baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and washing of the saint’s feet are ordinances of Jesus Christ which are to be perpetually observed by the church. True believers are the only proper subjects for baptism, and immersion is the only mode. None but baptized believers may participate in the observation of the Lord’s supper and washing of the saint’s feet. (Matthew 28:19; Acts 8:12,37,39; Romans 6:4; John 13:1-17; I Timothy 5:10; Luke 22:30; Matthew 26:20-29)

 8.       We believe that no man has the right to administer the ordinances of the gospel, unless he is called of God, holds to these confessions, is regularly baptized, and has come under the imposition of the hands of a presbytery. (Acts 13:2; Hebrews 5:4; Matthew 28:19; I Corinthians 4:1)

 9.    We believe in the resurrection both of the just and the unjust, and that the happiness of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked will be everlasting. (I John 3:2; Romans 8:11; Philippians 3:21; Daniel 12:2; I Corinthians 15; John 5:28-29)



Association: A confederation of churches that associate together for the purpose of general correspondence and fellowship. Each church in an Association will call the other churches, “Sister Churches.” The Association will hold one large meeting a year, said meeting is also known as “The Sosation.”  

 This meeting usually commences on Thursday evening and continues through Sunday morning with three services on Friday and three services on Saturday. The Friday morning service is really when the Association begins and the brethreing will appoint a representative preacher to speak at that service which is called “The Introductory Discourse.” It is a great honor to be selected to preach The Introductory Discourse.

 The Association is usually named after a nearby river or stream (i.e. Fishing River, Little River, Chamber’s Creek) or it could be named after a desired attribute (i.e. Unity, Fellowship, Harmony) or it could be named after the vicinity the Sister Churches are located (i.e. South Arkansas, Golden West, West Texas, Border States). Many, if not most of these meetings were times of great rejoicing with singing, preaching and fellowship rising and soaring throughout the various services until such a time that the “apex” of the meeting was reached where there would be shouts of praise and expressions of great joy. Many people would join the church and be baptized at Associations. There are photos of 20, 30, 40 and more people lined up at the creek or river awaiting baptism.

 The Association had two officers. These being…

          1.    The Moderator: Usually the pastor of the Host Church or in some cases was appointed for life. He would have to be a most representative preacher to be bestowed the lifetime moderatorship. These brethren had a large degree of power and some did not use it for the good of the church.

2.    The Clerk: This brother took care of the business and correspondence of the Association and took down the minutes of the various Business Meetings.


The Association was a time that was greatly looked forward to by the Brethren and Sisterns for in the old days, it was the only they go to see each other. It was also a good time for young ladies and gentlemen to meet and begin a hopeful courtship.


The Association was also a time for churches to see how each other was doing and to engage in Business Meetings to keep the correspondence between themselves and in extreme moments, appeal to the Association for help in alleviating particular problems a Sister Church may be encumbered though this would often cause the problems to worsen.


The Association was also noted for establishing committees to take care of the bizness. Such committees being…


1.   The Finance Committee: Members of this committee count the money donated to the meeting, pay the expenses of the meeting, pay for the printing of the Association Minutes (very important this) and if there is any money left, disperse the remaining funds to the ministers who preached at the meeting.


2.   The Preaching Committee: Members of this committee determine who preaches and when they preach. They are famous for picking the driest preachers to speak at the afternoon service.


By and large, many Associations have dropped business meetings and committees and now style themselves as Fellowship Meetings. Many have applauded this change.






Backslider: One who had once turned away from worldliness but has gone back to it; one who has ceased coming to meeting and has placed other things above their service to the Lord.


Bankrupt Sinner: A human being before God’s grace is bestowed upon them. The human race had a sin debt that could not be paid except to spend eternity in hell; but the grace, through the redemption of Jesus Christ, paid the debt for all his children and they are no longer bankrupt. As the old-timers used to say, “Ten thousand talents in debt and not a farthing to pay.”


Baptism: One of the two ordinances in the Primitive Baptist Church. To immerse completely in water and be raised up from same. This is a picture of the death burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. To be a member of the church, one must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized by a duly ordained minister of the church.


Baptistry: Where people are baptized. This is a recent thing for Primitive Baptists as in the past; people were baptized in rivers, creeks and stock tanks. These newfangled things have put an end of such distractions as breaking ice in order to immerse the folks, chasing away water snakes and other assorted character building situations.


Barrel Baptist: Someone who has a barrel instead of a cup. They attend services and fill up their barrel so that they don't have to come back for 3 to 4 weeks and average attending about once a month.



Bass: The last name of the majority of the Primitive Baptists in Texas. To be a Texas Primitive Baptist and unrelated to the Bass family is very rare; such individuals are styled “Muggles” and the author J. K. Rowling borrowed this expression for use in her “Harry Potter” series.  To be a Muggle and also married to a Muggle is a great anomaly.


Being Taken Out: The process where a crying or otherwise naughty child is taken out of the sanctuary in order to calm the little fellow down and/or administer appropriate punishment for their naughtiness. To be punished for being a brat in church. To be baptized by belt, switch and paddle. To understand what "brethren, pray for me" really means.


There are three rules that must be obeyed in this process.

o   The child must cry loud enough to annoy every person in the sanctuary. Only until the very last person has been annoyed shall the child be taken out. 

o   There must be people who are appointed to turn around and glare a hole through the offending parents and children.

o   When the child is finally taken out, there must the sound of a pop! and a loud intense wail! of the child responding to the pop! This pop! and wail! are two of the most satisfying sounds to ever enter human ears. And upon hearing the wail! all the brethren said, "Amen!" 

From "Adventures with the Primitive Baptists"


The poor hapless and haggard parents! All they want to do is go to church and hear a good sermon. They are trying to bring their children up in the church. The kids were fine coming up to the meeting, they were ok during the song service, but just when the sermon got interesting, they turn into heathen barbarians, mischievous gremlins, clumsy oafs and screaming hyenas.


I was brought to church since I was a newborn and was taken out many times. My wife and I have raised four kids in the church and we likewise took them out many times. You would think that I would be more sympathetic toward these poor parents having been so often in their shoes, but I have been known to give a pretty good glare myself. I have done it even while preaching…it doesn’t do any good but at least it makes me feel better. I do realize that it isn’t always the children’s or the parent’s fault. Sometimes the poor little thing will hit their pumpkin heads on the bench…five seconds later a wail of biblical proportion arises and fills the room…the parent will console the baby but the wail rings out louder and louder…after a long and fruitless effort, the parent will take the little invalid out and the volume of the wail descends…like the sound of a train going off in the distance. Finally, there is a sweet silence and you breathe a sigh of relief. Wow, silence can be so sweet.


Big Preacher: A minister who is well known in a good way and is frequently invited to preach meetings. Every Primitive Baptist will say they would never use this expression, but they do. Of course they do.


Black Rock Address: A statement drawn up from a meeting of brethren in 1832 at the Black Rock Baptist church in Black Rock, Maryland to compose a general address in which they announced and explained their resolve to withdraw fellowship from the liberal doctrines and practices. The resulting document, generally known as the Black Rock Address, had widespread influence, and lead churches across the country to take similar action. The conservative churches deriving from this unfortunate but necessary division later became known as Primitive Baptists.


Black Rock Address: Introduction

 To the Particular Baptist Churches of the "Old School" in the United States:

 Brethren, It constitutes a new era in the history of the Baptists, when those who would follow the Lord fully, and who therefore manifest a solicitude to be, in all things pertaining to religion, conformed to the Pattern showed in the mount, are by Baptists charged with antinomianism, inertness, stupidity, &c., for refusing to go beyond the word of God; but such is the case with us.

 Brethren, we would not shun reproach, nor seek an exemption from persecution; but we would affectionately entreat those Baptists who revile us themselves, or who side with such as do, to pause and consider how far they have departed from the ancient principles of the Baptists, and how that in reproaching us they stigmatize the memory of those whom they have been used to honor as eminent and useful servants, of Christ; and of those who have borne the brunt of the persecutions leveled against the Baptists in former ages. For it is a well-known fact that it was in ages past a uniform and distinguishing trait in the character of the Baptists, that they required a "Thus saith the Lord," that is, direct authority from the word of God for the order and practice, as well as the doctrine, they received in religion.

 It is true that many things to which we object as departures from the order established by the great Head of the church, through the ministry of his apostles, are by others considered to be connected with the very essence of religion, and absolutely necessary to the prosperity of Christ's kingdom. They attach great value to them, because human wisdom suggests their importance. We allow the Head of the church alone to judge for us; we therefore esteem those things to be of no use to the cause of Christ, which he has not himself instituted.


Bless This Food and the Hands that Prepared It: An oft repeated prayer request. We assume the rest of the food preparer was blessed as well.


Bless the Food to Our Bodies and Our Bodies to Thy Service: An oft repeated prayer request. It is a neat play on words. Ah, the English language!


Bless the Sick and the Afflicted: An oft repeated prayer request. A redundancy?


Bless the Sick and the Ill: An oft repeated prayer request. A redundancy.


Boss Deacon: A deacon that thinks he is the pastor of the pastor and every action of the church should be decided by him.


Brethering: A colloquialism of the expression, “Brethren.” This expression is used in the South, especially east Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and the Florida Panhandle. Ex: "And I was blessed to be with the Brethering down at New Little Hope church yesterday."


Brother and Sister So-and-So: The people that you wished were there to hear that good duty sermon, but of course, they never are there when a sermon they need to hear is preached.


Brother Didn't Know He Wasn't A Deacon: A male member of the church that is like Brother Reliable but he has yet to be ordained as a deacon. When his ordination is finally called for, people express surprise because they thought he had long been a deacon. Amazingly, Brother Didn’t Know He Wasn’t A Deacon is sometimes not even a member!


Brother Faithful:  A male member of the church that is married to Sister Reliable. While she's cleaning up the inside of the church house, he's out mowing the grass, painting the building, and supervising the laying of new gravel in the parking lot. He keeps the church property in good repair and ferries Sister Reliable about, toting packages and cartons for her to refill stock supplies. He's the guy that can fix the commode in the ladies' room when it overflows at Sosayshun time, fills the baptistry the night before a baptism and figures out a way to warm that arctic water up a tad. He makes sure the doors are open, the coffee is hot and fresh, and the building is warmed up in the wintertime.


Brother King Of The (medicine) Hill: A male member of the church who competes with other brethren about which new medication has been prescribed for which worse ailment. The purpose of the competition is to be the most sick with the worst medicine.


Brother Loud: A male member of the church who sings louder than everyone else usually out of time and out of key.


Brother Manicure: A male member of the church who clips his fingernails during the sermon. Brother Manicure often uses a pocket knife to clean his nails as well.


Brother No-Info: A male member of the church who is the complete opposite of Brother TMI. He is such a stoic fellow, that he could have been told by the doctor that he will be in the grave within three days, and if he is a widower, NO ONE will ever know. This feller is the one that Elder Sonny Pyles says that you will need a blood hound to go up and down hospital halls to find.


Brother Nosey: A male member of the church that loves to publicly confront folks and make them look small. Often he goes on the 'facts' gleaned from Sister Gab-A-Lot. This fella makes mountains out of molehills, stirs up fusses at conference time, and sometimes gets it into his head that he is deacon material and will campaign for the job.


Brother OverFriendly: A male member of the church who tends to congregate toward the womenfolk - whether at the lunch table or just after-church conversation. They also tend to give longer than normal hugs. Also known as Brother Grab-A-Lot.


Brother Sir Galahad: A male member of the church that helps all the Sisters from their cars into the church.... carries heavy lunch baskets and burdens into the building, runs out in the rain with an umbrella, and holds doors open. This is the gentleman's gentleman; kind, sweet, and thoughtful. He'd drape his cloak over a mudpuddle to save a sweet dear Sister distress.


Brother Songleader: A male member of the church that can pitch any tune, knows all the songs of all the hymnals ever written and printed, can call page numbers and knows the titles by their OLD names (Idumea, Prosperity, Pisgah, etc.) He knows how to wave his arm around to keep time, and can sing tenor and bass and sometimes alto if his belt is a little snug that morning. This fella teaches Singing Schools, encourages little future song leaders to toddle up front with their hymnals, and sometimes can even line a song for you if you ask.


Brother Snake In The Grass: A male member of the church who is always conniving of how to get everything his way, even if it means using people and taking advantage of situations. He is never loyal and could be your friend one day and your enemy the next. Bro Snake In The Grass knows better than any federal congressman how to "count votes" before church conference has even opened with a prayer, and he knows how to set up the right person to make the Motion that he wants made and the right one to second the motion quickly.


Brother Snores: A male member of the church that can be counted on to keep the preachers' egos in check by faithfully falling asleep during their sermons and snoring (and sometimes snorting) loudly during especially crucial moments of oratory. This elicits titters and giggles from the Sisters Sweetness and Light, shocked looks from Sisters Take Charge and Sister E, knowing looks of ammo gathered and stored for future use from Sisters Gab-A-Lot, and patient forbearance from Sisters Meekmouse and Reliable. Sometimes this has been known to produce dynamic effects on the preacher in the stand in response, but stalwart Brother Snores will not be dissuaded from his appointed duty!


Brother Stay The Course: A male member of the church that shows up every Sunday, rain or shine, no matter what. This is the Brother with a bad hip and a horrible lurch to his gait; the Brother in a wheel chair, the Brother who was brain injured in some horrific accident years ago. While others may stay home with the sniffles or the mulligrubs, this fella soldiers on week to week through his pain and adversity, never faltering or failing.


Brother Strong-Silent: A male member of the church that hardly says anything but when they do, it is worth listening to. The men are very wise, extremely reliable and are needed far more they would ever admit. He is a close cousin to Brother No-Info.


Brother/Sister Historian: A male or female member of the church that knows everything about everything that ever happened to and amongst PB's since Adam was created and Hector was a pup. They can quote dates, times, places, names, incidents, and stock prices to the penny on any question you might have. These folks tend to be the Keepers of Propriety in the church. They know what is and what isn't 'fittin'. They are watchmen on the walls over the old landmarks. You know how a head sheep will have a bell around its neck, and all the other sheep follow the sound of the bell? This member is like that, pleasantly sounding the mellow bell along life's journey.


Examples: Brother Turner Lassiter of Georgia, Elders R.H. Pittman of Virginia and Sylvester Hassell of North Carolina.


Brother T.M.I.: A male member of the church that upon asked of the state of their health, will divulge Too Much Information. They especially enjoy talking about their organs, tissues, tumors, bodily fluids and waste products. The more gross the description thereof, the more they will share with anyone ignorant enough to ask.


Brother What-A-Character: A male member of the church whose personality grows to legendary proportions. He is noted for his peculiar ways which becomes stories that are passed on to the generations that follow. Think Bro Alfred Cothern and his love of hand-grabbing catfish.


Brother Witty: A male member of the church that can turn a phrase into the funniest of things and knows all the interesting colloquialisms, some he made up himself.


Brush Stack Preaching: When someone takes a lot of time and has very little of value to say, he is stacking brush in the place where the grain should be. In other words, he is saying, "Look at this" like it is good food. All that is really there is trash that is fit to burn rather than eat." Read Jeremiah 23:28.


Business Meeting: A meeting during the Association to determine the various committees, to hear their reports, to hear the letters from the member churches being read, to appoint various functions, responsibilities, etc., to determine where the Association is to be held the next year, and so on. Business Meetings are also another expression for “Conference.” See Conference.


Bull Deacon: A deacon with a big ego. In herds there are generally a few bulls that try to exert their dominance on the rest and if they are challenged, they react even more belligerently. Such are Bull Deacons.


Bushel Baptist: An expression originated by Elder Keith Ellis denoting a church member who hides the fact that they are a Primitive Baptist; a church member who hides that they are Christian; a church member who tries to act somewhat worldly so no one will think they they’re strange. Taken from Luke 11:33, “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.”



Calling: 1. When the Holy Spirit informs a man that he is to preach the gospel; the apparent evidence that a man is a true minister; a gift to preach. Also known as “The Call to the Ministry” or “Called to Preach.”


2. A doctrinal tenet of the new birth or regeneration. Also known as “The Effectual Call.”


  1. A doctrinal of hearing and believing the gospel; conversion. Also known as “The Gospel Call.”


Campbelites: The religious denomination known as the Church of Christ that split off from the Baptists in the early 1800’s. They were founded by Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander Campbell…hence the name, “Campbelites.” They are also known as “Water Dogs” and “Baptism Regenerators” as they believe one must be baptized in order to be saved.


A popular line among the old-timers went thusly,


“In Acts 2 and 38,

The Water Dogs do congregate.”


Another one went thusly,


“Give me an ax and two 38’s and I can handle any Campbelite.”


Calling denominations by the name of their founder is an old practice going back to the Scriptures where the early church was called “Christians.” Other names given to groups are:


Russelites: The followers of Charles Russell; AKA “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Wesleyans: The followers of John Wesley; AKA “Methodists.”

Millerites: The followers of William Miller; AKA “Adventists.”


There have been groups among the Primitive Baptists that have been styled according to their strongman. Such are:


Crawfordites: The followers of Elder Thomas L. Crawford whom they believe is leading their churches even in Heaven.

Smooties: The followers of Elder William Smoot who was off on several doctrinal points.

Beebeites: The followers of Elder Gilbert Beebe who had a falling out with Elder John Clark.

Clarkites: The followers of Elder John Clark who had a falling out with Elder Gilbert Beebe.

Burnamnites: The followers of Elder E.H. Burnam, who believed that you had to hear the gospel in order to be saved. AKA “Old Regular Baptists.”

Parkerites: The followers of Elder Daniel Parker who believed in the “Two-Seed” heresy.


Camp Meeting: An extended meeting that is similar to Associations, but there are no business meetings. It gets its name from a time that worshippers came and camped on the meeting grounds in tents and wagons. Some may have been called "Brush Arbor Meetings"


Ceiling Preacher: A minister that looks at the ceiling while preaching instead of making eye contact with congregation.


Chasing a Rabbit: A sudden train of thought that jumps out at a preacher during his sermon; the temptation is to leave off the subject of the sermon and chase the new thought like a dog would chase a rabbit. Sometimes you catch the rabbit; sometimes he slips into his hole. (See Shotgun Sermon)


Choppin' Fodder: An expression meaning the sermon was not quite up to snuff and the poor preacher just couldn't preach a lick.  Therefore, if a preacher is not “shuckin the corn” then they are “choppin fodder.”


Charge: A portion of an ordination service when the ordination subject is given formal instruction and encouragement. The practice is taken from the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the young minister Timothy in various scriptures in 1 and 2 Timothy.


1 Timothy 1:18-19 “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.”


1 Timothy 5:21  “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.”


1 Timothy 6:13-14  “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


2 Timothy 4:1-2  “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”


It is a common practice for the person being ordained (whether to the office of elder or deacon) to ask one particularly close to them to “deliver the charge” at their ordination. To be asked to deliver a charge to someone should be considered a great honor.


Christmas Poinsettias: People who attend church only during Christmas.


Church Candlestick: The abiding presence of Jesus Christ in a local congregation without which a church cannot be called a church. Without the candlestick a church is merely a gathering; with the candlestick it becomes a spiritual place where the presence of God is felt and joy and fellowship abound.


Church Covenant: A declaration, drawn up by a local church which the duties as church members towards God and their fellow believers are outlined. It establishes what are the basic duties and responsibilities of a church member. It is not known how the practice of formulating a church covenant began but they have been around a long time. Most members probably cannot recite their church’s covenant and some may not know their church has such a document.  It is not the end of the world if they don’t.


Church Covenant of Bethany Primitive Baptist Church of San Antonio, Texas


Almighty God, by his grace, has been pleased to call us out of darkness into His marvelous light. We have surrendered ourselves to the Lord, and to one another, in a gospel way, and have been baptized, professing our faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by His assistance, we do covenant and agree to observe the following:


1. We agree, in accordance with the commandment of our Lord, to meet for worship and fellowship, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. We recognize Sunday as the Lord’s Day to be honored as such by each of His people.


2. We agree to observe the ordinances of the New Testament church, the Lord’s Supper and washing of the saint’s feet.


3. We agree to contribute of our time and our finances for the support of the church and its pastor.


4. We agree, in brotherly love, to pray for each other, to look over one another for good, and to assist each other in case of need, whether the need be spiritual or material.


5. We agree to walk together in love, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering. When disputes arise we will forgive one another as Christ also has forgiven us. We will pursue only those offences that constitute a continual and definite breach of Christian fellowship.


6. We agree to carefully refrain from whispering and backbiting. If we are offended by another member of the church we will attempt to resolve the issue by taking the steps described by the Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 for resolution of private offenses. We will pursue such action only when the offense is so serious that we cannot continue in church fellowship with that person until it is resolved.


7. We agree to maintain a life that is honoring to our Lord according to the direction of scripture. “That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.” (Titus 3:8) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearances of evil.” (I Thessalonians 5:21-22)


8. We agree, in accordance with the above, to avoid places and activities which bring shame and reproach upon the name of our Lord. We will not frequent places where drunkenness, revelings, and uncleanness abound.


9. We agree, after the failure of loving counsel and patient labor to bring repentance, to withdraw ourselves from those judged by the church to be guilty of such public offenses to God and His church as fornication, adultery, sodomy or masochism, covetousness, idolatry, railing, drunkenness, theft, and extortion. We recognize that the purpose of such withdrawal is to maintain the purity of the church and to bring the excluded person to repentance. We stand ready to recognize godly sorrow and repentance when it occurs in the life of such a one to restore him to full fellowship in the church when the offense has been removed by the grace of our Lord. Galatians 5:19-21, I Corinthians 5: 1-5


These things we do covenant and agree to observe and keep in the name of and by the grace and assistance of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.  


Church Egg: A deviled egg.


Church Headquarters: The Primitive Baptists have a headquarters but it is not located on earth, but rather, it is located in Heaven. Jesus Christ is the Head of the church and upon Him rests the authority. Because this is the case, one can travel from PB Church to PB Church all over and feel so at home, hear familiar songs and hear the same doctrine…even from preachers they never knew existed until said preacher stepped up to the pulpit.


Church Letter: A letter denoting a person is a member in good standing in an orderly Primitive Baptist church.


Childring: A colloquialism of the expression, “Children.” This is used as a companion to “Brethreing” and “Sistering.” Ex: "And God bless the little Childring!"




Coffee: A beverage made from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant and served very hot. Coffee is secondary to the Holy Spirit in having a good meeting. One does not need coffee to preach a good sermon but one most assuredly needs it to stay awake enough to enjoy it.


Comedians: Ministers who like to tell a plethora of jokes and/or funny stories in a sermon. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em. Too much levity is not good.


Committee of Three: Folks who are tasked to visit a sick or errant church member.


Communion: An ordinance of the church where the Saints partake of the (unleavened) bread and wine and wash each other’s feet. Some churches have Communion once a year, some twice, some more frequently. The Scriptures do not say how often to do it, just to do it.  And so we do.


Conference: A business meeting held usually once a month wherein the church members consider the various and sundry practical needs of the church. It is desired that these be useful and peaceful meetings but sometimes they can go awry; these conferences are referred to as “Karate Conferences” and they are to be avoided at all costs.


Most Primitive Baptist conferences follow Robert’s Rules of Order which is the recognized guide to running meetings and conferences effectively and fairly.


Council Meeting: A gathering called to address a point or points of order that might be plaguing the churches. Usually a meeting like this is called to make a statement regarding doctrinal issues that the church is facing.


The practice is taken from the scriptures when the Apostles and other brethren met to determine the church’s stand regarding the acceptance of the Gentiles into the church. Acts 15:1-2 “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.”


The Bonham Council was called to give a formal statement in regard to the doctrine of Absolute Predestination. The most well-known Council Meeting among the Primitive Baptists was the meeting in Black Rock, Maryland which was called to determine the church’s stand against modernisms that have crept into several places. (See “Black Rock Address”)


The findings of a Council Meeting are usually published and/or sent to various churches. These findings are known as a “Declaration” or “Resolution.”


Crick: A colloquialism for “creek.” Ex: “She was baptized in Big Reed Island Crick in Carroll County, Virginia. The water was cold.”


Crossover: One who crosses factional lines and somehow gets away with it.


Crybaby: Someone who is prone to shed tears of joy during the worship service. Some ministers are crybabies and boohoo throughout their own preaching.


Cry Room: A room where babies and young children are taken when they have become a distraction during worship service. This is a new thing amongst Primitive Baptists. Formerly, the children were taken outside or to the lunchroom.  Some churches style their cry rooms as “Training Rooms.” Let’s hope it’s the parents training the children and not the other way around.



Day of Factions: A period when most Primitive Baptists in the Southwest were divided into various factions. It was not a good period in our church’s history.


Deacon: One of the two offices in the church. Deacons are appointed to take care of the finances of the church and are frequently called upon to make decisions regarding the needs of the building and the grounds of the church. A good deacon is worth his weight in gold and a good pastor will use their gifts wisely.


Deacon Deluxe:  The representative deacon among the deaconship of a church; the oldest and most experienced among the church’s deacons; the deacon that deacs the other deacons; These are also referred to as “Head Deacons” but not to be confused with “Bull Deacons” and/or “Boss Deacons.”


We have heard of one young deacon that signed his name "DDIT" (pronounced duh-dit) in correspondence. This meant "Deacon Deluxe In Training."


Dead Alien Sinner: The state of all humanity before any such are regenerated. Dead in sins and alien to God…not a good place to be.


Delivery: The particular vocal style in which a minister preaches a sermon; delivery includes word choice, voice inflection and the speed of the words which are spoken. 


A “good delivery” is one where the minister is easily understood and is well accepted by the listeners. It is usually said of novices, “he needs to work on his delivery” though how one “works” on their delivery is hard to know. Basically, just getting over the fact that you are up there preaching and so you might as well get used to it is the best way of “working” on your delivery. Another method of improvement is to listen to oneself preaching though it is better to die a thousand deaths than having to undergo this method. Prayer always helps as well.


Loud and fast delivery does not always indicate good preaching liberty. Elder Sonny Pyles said something like this; “If Whooping and Hollerin identifies Spirit filled preaching, then God would have made the emblem of the Spirit a Screech owl instead of a dove.”


It appears that a lot of habits in the pulpit sprang from imitation of brethren who just personally had some of those personal habits and it became entrenched for generations. Examples: “and uhs” and “sing song”, certain pacing styles and pet expressions like “my Bible tells me” and “my father’s children.” Ministers should be themselves and remember who they are speaking to…the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Dinner on the Grounds: A meal served outdoors after the morning service. In the old days, church buildings did not have lunchrooms so it was common to serve lunch in the church yard. Sawhorses laden with boards were used as tables where the dishes of food were placed.


Doctrine: The fundamental beliefs regarding the existence and sovereignty of God, the creation of the world and the salvation of human beings.


Doctrinal Preacher: A minister that is prone to preach on subjects related to fundamental doctrine and very little on Christian responsibilities.


Door of Utterance: When a minister is given liberty by the Holy Spirit to preach a good sermon and delve deep into the scriptures, shuck the corn and feed the sheep and the lambs.


Drag a Song: When the song is sung at a pace considered by some to be too slow.


Drippings from the Gospel Sanctuary: An oft-repeated prayer request indicating a desire to be blessed with a good worship service. One wonders why the requester would want to stop at mere drippings when a whole torrent would be preferable. One then wonders why the sanctuary would even drip in the first place.


Dry Land Baptists: Those that seemingly enjoy church, attend services perhaps more faithfully than some members, and contribute financially to the church yet never join and enter into the ordinance of baptism. No matter how many times they hear the message preached and rejoice in it, never act on it by way of public profession. These are also called “drylanders.”


Why these people are never moved to the point to leave the ranks of drylanders and join the Old Baptists is open to debate. It is generally assumed that they desire the blessing of church attendance without having to perform the duties of church membership. Theirs is the loss. Below are listed other reasons why some folks may remain drylanders.


1.   They feel unworthy to join the church.  

2.   They have had a bad experience in the past with a former pushy or dictator like pastor, bull deacon, or other members who made them feel unwelcome.

3.   They believe their baptism in another order was a good experience and do not see the necessity to be baptized into the PBC, though they love the doctrine.

4.   General unrest in the church, or constant negative talk of unrest in other sister churches causes some to not want to be a part of it.  

5.   Long conferences where an hour and a half has been spent on about 15 minutes worth of business.  

6.   A pastor or regular visiting minister who always downs other churches.

7.   They just have not felt impressed enough to join and will not until they do.

8.   Some have a fear of standing up before a group and telling their experience or being questioned in public.  

9.   Can not give any reason at all.   If asked, they just don't have an answer.   

10. They are comfortable with their life the way it is.


Dry Sermon: When the Spirit is not with the preacher; when the sermon feeds the mind more than the soul because there is too much letter and not enough spirit. Often a dry sermon is described with “It clouded up, but it never did rain.”


Duty List: A sheet of those who are tasked to clean the church building, take out the trash and other type labors.


Duty: The responsibilities that the scriptures enjoin a Christian to perform; doing what is right and not doing what is wrong; obedience.


Duty Preacher: A minister that is prone to preach on duty and very little on doctrinal subjects.


Dying Grace: (Written by Sister Cheri Thomas) dying grace is that which God gives to a person as they experience the process of physical death. He comes to be with a person and carry him/her through the experience.


Death is not an event so much as it is a process. The process can be terrible, or “soft as downy pillows are”, as the hymn says. Consider the case of Stephen. His death was horrific, from a physical standpoint; he was stoned to death—an incredibly painful and horrifying thing, and yet, we read that, as he was dying, he saw heaven's immortal glory, and cried out in joy at the sight of Jesus.


THAT is dying grace! A horrid death was rendered impotent, and transformed into a glorious experience and example for us all as well.



Easter Lilies: People who attend church only on Easter Sunday.


Elder: An ordained minister; one of the two offices in the church, the other being a deacon.


Elder Dad: A minister who is the biological father of another minister.  Elders Hugh Montgomery, Lonnie Mozingo, Sr, John Conley, Vaughn Winslett, E.W. Hooven, W.H. Richards and John R. Daily are a few Elder Dads who had several of their sons become ministers.


Election: A major doctrinal tenet. God chose his people before the world began and predestinated them to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Those who are this chosen people are called the elect.


Elijah Syndrome: A mindset that some ministers develop when they feel that they are the last defense of truth and so spend all their time defending the same point over and over and riding hobby horses. The sheep will not get fed on this preaching and the preachers should know better. One wonders if they enjoy feeling this way.


Everlasting Woe and Misery: The punishment the non-elect shall face in the lake of fire. What all of us would eternally experience had it not been for the finished work of Jesus Christ.


Exercising: What a minister does before he is ordained; a time period where a prospective minister “exercises” his preaching gift through trial and error by making repeated attempts at preaching.


There seems to be an undeclared time frame when it is determined that a man has exercised long enough and has demonstrated that he is or is not called to preach. However, there have been cases when no one had to heart to tell the brother that “he just hasn’t got it” and is left in exercising limbo for years on end. This is a sad situation to be sure. An even sadder situation is when he is ordained despite the demonstrated lack.


There also seems to be undeclared things to look for in determining that a man has “got it.” These things vary from vicinity to vicinity.


Some of these traits include:


·         Is he teaching a lesson?

·         Can he put together a lesson and keep it going for longer than 30 minutes?

·         Can he successfully moderate a conference without splitting the church?

·         Can he preach on Justification By Faith and not confuse the whole congregation?

·         Does he know better than to preach on giving and Responsibilities of Church Members before he is ordained for at least ten years?

·         Can he pass the Mike Montgomery/Clifford Gowens Kobayashi Maru? (See “Cold Houses and Weak Coffee”).

·         Does he drink coffee? Does he drink it black? Can he make a pot of coffee?

·         Can he garner at least 4 amens from Elder Doyle Hurst and/or Elder Sam Bryant in one sermon?

·         Would his home church be content to have him as their pastor? (uh huh…big one here)

·         Has he made at least on failure and had to literally crawl out of the pulpit? (Seriously, some churches will not call for a guy’s ordination until he makes at least one failed attempt and realized that he stunk the place up. We have eyewitnesses for this)




Exclude: When a person loses their church membership through the action of the church. A particular “charge” is stated as for the reason of the action. Said charge could be non-attendance, immorality, drunkenness, etc. In the old days, folks were excluded for a myriad of reason: nonpayment of debt, tale bearing, dancing, etc. They were tough back in them days.


Exhorters: Men who are gifted in encouraging the church in a speaking way but are not necessarily called to the ministry. It is said of such, “He may not be called to preach but he sure has the gift of exhortation.”


Experience of Grace: A particular moment in a person’s life when they felt and experienced the grace, love and peace of God. In many occasions, their life is completely changed; carnal habits are abandoned and spiritual behaviors are adopted. These experiences are often revisited and treasured by the individual with great fondness.


In the old days, a person had to relate their “experience of grace” before they were admitted into the church. Some were made to feel that they had to have a “Road to Damascus” type experience else their request would be rejected by the church. In recent years, this requirement has been dropped. As one old father said, “Sometimes the Holy Spirit comes as a mighty rushing wind; sometimes it comes as a gentle breeze.”


Experimental Preacher: A minister that likes to preach about spiritual blessings in our lives; a minister that preaches on experiences with the Lord and the church; a minister that does not preach about doctrine; a duty preacher.


It has been suggested a better term would be “Experiential Preacher” but the expression “Experimental” stuck. As a child the editor of this glossary always pictured preachers in white lab coats doing all sorts of crazy experiments.


It has also been noted that an experiential preacher talks about his own struggle with cigarettes and not giving financially....but when he talks about the congregation’s cigarettes and not giving, the label changes from experiential/experimental to “meddling” or “duty.”


Extend an Arm: When a church is formed out of another church. The host church (also called the “Mother Church”) allows some of her members to take their church letters and form themselves into another church. It is often heard, “XYZ Primitive Baptist church came out of ABC Primitive Baptist church.” Thus, ABC church “extended an arm” and formed XYZ church. This is all to keep the church succession in proper order.



Faction: A splinter group of churches that feel they are in the right whilst others are in error or gross disorder. Oftentimes these groups will align themselves under a “strong man” and will style themselves under his name. Who would want to splinter off a group is very puzzling. Who would want a faction named after them is beyond the compiler of this glossary.


Fair Weather Baptist: One who attends services only when things in their life are going well; one who attends services only when things in the church are going well. Otherwise, they be a no-show.


Fair Weather Baptists also only attend at their own personal convenience. Back in the horse and buggy day, these folks only attended during good weather.


Today, any inclemency, meteorological, personal, or otherwise, will serve to hinder their attendance as well. Sometimes even doing a load of laundry in preparation is just 'too much', and might collapse this poor person in utter exhaustion, therefore they stay home and rest. These tend to be very dramatic folks.


Fathers in the Ministry: An older and more experienced minister that guides and teaches a younger minister; a mentor to young preachers. It is a very good thing for young ministers to have at least one father in the ministry and several more is even better.


Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellers there is safety.”


It has been noted that the most dangerous member of the church is a young preacher that takes no counsel and the second most dangerous is an older minister that gives bad counsel. May the Lord spare the church from both.


Feet Washing: A special service held during Communion where the Saints wash each other’s feet as per the commandment of Jesus Christ in John 13:13-15, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”


Fellowship: (1) A feeling of happy closeness and kinship between church members; to have “fellowship” with a brother or sister in Christ. (2) A state of unity and harmony within a body of believers; (3) A state of unity and harmonious interaction between two or more churches; to be “in fellowship” with a sister church.


Fellowship can also be used as a verb. Ex: “We are going to fellowship with the brethren at New Hope next weekend.”


(From Sis Neetcie Buell) “Fellowship in the Church shows the beauty of "Oneness" of mutual sharing of doctrines of truth and benefits of the Kingdom of Heaven. It has the power of unity and companionship as Fellow Travelers come together with gladness and singleness of heart, of same like Faith, desiring with great desire to worship our Lord, the Great King of Kings. Many blessings spring forth from the oneness of fellowship.”


Fill the Stand: To preach. One assumes the larger the preacher the more of the stand he fills which should not be a problem with most of our Old Baptist preach brethrering. They tend to run large to extra-large.


It is not entirely the preacher's fault. It's mighty hard to remain slim when you're fed with such a wide assortment of delicious food. Said food you must eat for you do not want to hurt any Sister's feelings. As Poor Dave once wrote, “Diplomacy over diet!”


Fish Eye: A glaring facial expression given when a person violates the non-written but strictly held Rules of Decorum of Primitive Baptist conduct.


The Fish Eye is given when…


·         When a person leads more than two songs in the state of Texas.

·         When a song-leader preaches a mini-sermon before leading a song.

·         When the song-leader pitches the song too low or too high.

·         When a minister preaches for over an hour.

·         When a minister goes to meddling.

·         When a minister preaches too loud or too soft or too fast or too slow.

·         When a parent fails to take their crying child out of the sanctuary. The Fish Eye can turn into the Glare of Steel the longer the heathen barbarian is allowed to scream.

·         When someone walks through the wrong door into the sanctuary during service.

·         When someone brings a casserole into the lunchroom on the Sunday there is no lunch.

·         When there is no Gospel Bird or Church Eggs on the dinner table.

·         When your little sweetbrat throws away most of the food on their plate at lunch.

·         The Fish Eye is given by the older sisters when a younger sister comes in with a skirt too short or a neckline of a dress too low or if her heels are too high.

·         Also given if you butt in first in the lunch line before the visiting preacher and his family gets their food.

·         Also given by Elder Dave Montgomery when he is served grits for breakfast.


The Fish Eye is represented in print by the following emoticons:  

  1. _ 
  2. ̯͡


Additionally, one may receive the “eye roll” which is demonstrated by the emoticon listed below. If you get one of  these, it is not good.



Five-Fivethirty: The time when supper is served during a meeting; the space of time between 5:00 and 5:30 PM giving the Sisters a comfortable cushion in serving the evening meal. Before 5:00 PM is too early and after 5:30 PM is too late. Five-fivethirty is just right.


Foot Stompers: People who like to loudly tap their feet in time while singing.


Foul Weather Baptist: One who attends services only when things in their life are going awry; one who attends services only to vote on a hot issue in conference. Otherwise, they be a no-show.


It has become more than wearisome to see folks cajoling their third cousins and wayward children who are members but haven't been to church in 21 blue moons, so they can stack the deck in an important conference vote. Such a thing should not transpire.


Foyer: A small room adjacent to the sanctuary that is often used for hanging coats and storing the guest book. Children tend to play in the foyer during cold or rainy weather and it often serves as a cry room when there is no designated room for that purpose.


Free For All: A meeting where there is no invited speakers and most, if not all of the ministers who come are used in a preaching way.


Fried Chicken: The staple of all Primitive Baptist meals. It’s what’s for lunch and it’s what’s for all lunches. Fried Chicken has been the staff of life for generations of Primitive Baptists. Also called “The Gospel Bird.”


Sister Neycia’s Old Baptist Gospel Bird


·         Cut chicken into pieces.

·         Soak in buttermilk for about an hour.

·         Mix up flour and 1/2 cup corn meal shake in Lowry’s seasoning salt.

·         Roll chicken in flour mixture and drop into HOT melted Crisco. Use a cast iron skillet.

·         Cook until golden and crispy.

·         Drain chicken on wire racks. Place paper towels beneath the racks.


Full Time Support of the Ministry: When a church is able to provide a financial living for their pastor and therefore, he does not have to work a secular job and is now able to devote his time to study and pastoring.


Fulton Meeting: A meeting of over 100 ministers in Fulton Kentucky in 1900. This meeting was to address some concerns facing the Old Baptists at that time; chief among them was a proper interpretation of the 1689 London Confession of Faith. Said confession was published with several footnotes explaining the Minister’s views on various points.


Funeral Home Fans: Hand held fanning devices that were usually issued by local funeral homes. The fans were used by the hot and sweaty congregants to cool themselves during sultry outdoor meetings and in hot buildings without air conditioning.


The fans that had been bent by children, made a nice flap/snap noise to keep timing and rhythm with the preachers. Children were also wont to draw on them and gaze at the pretty pictures the funeral homes printed on the fan. They were also handy for knocking those wasps out of the air and into some ladies hair


In Appalachia, funeral home fans were referred to as “Armstrong” Air Conditioners. In other places they were called “Baptist Fans.”


When such devices were not available, a songbook was oftentimes uses as a fanning device. It was very common to see a whole congregation swinging away during the preaching service.  Some were "vote for someone" fans during political seasons. The fans lasted longer than the political careers did in some cases.


In these modern days of central air conditioning and the demise of tabernacle meetings, handheld fans are rarely seen. Now, the sisters are donning shawls during the service to keep warm as the building is too cold for their taste. How the pendulum swings.




Garden Redemption: An erroneous belief that Jesus sweat blood while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and this blood that was "sweated" was the blood of Redemption. The preachers that confessed this heresy have been ignored by mainstream Old Baptists. Some of the advocates of this heresy have passed on, the rest are just hanging on.


General Meeting: A church meeting where no guest minister is invited and the church uses the preachers that show up. Also called a “Free For All.”


Gone Down: When a church has lost members over a period of time and has regressed to a much weakened state. Such a thing is sad to see but even sadder to be a part of.


Gone to Meddling: When the preacher preaches on issues that are none of his business; when the preacher touches on a "touchy" subject; when the preacher says something in a sermon that the listener does not like then he has quit preaching and gone to meddling.


Popular meddling subjects are:


o   Money—particularly giving to the church

o   Full Time Support of the Ministry—use this subject when you do not want to be invited back.

o   Roles of Church Members—particularly deacons

o   Local Church Troubles—sometimes, preachers think they can go to a particular area and “straighten them out.”  They were never heard from since.

o   Why Women Should Be Silent in the Church—don’t even try this one at home.

o   Popular Music—your parents hated your music too; remember?

o   Fashion—preaching on short skirts will give you the short shrift.

o   Church Attendance—But they’re not there to hear the meddling sermon so it does no good.

o   Bible Study—this expression should never be used in a sermon. Only used by most meddlesome of preachers.

o   Hominy, Grits, Sweet Tea and Pulled Pork—oddly, some people like these things and have a passion about them. Better to avoid it altogether.


Gospel Bird: See Fried Chicken.


Grace: Unmerited favor bestowed upon an undeserving creature; the extension of the loving-kindness and forgiveness of God toward bankrupt sinners; the opposite of works; a state of divine favor that endures to the end of time; an amazing and charming sound; what saved a wretch like me.


A popular acronym for grace is thus:


G od's
R iches
A t
C hrist's
E xpense


From Sis Neetcie Buell: Grace...Sweet Amazing Grace! We know its source; that it is Divine and from the Almighty God, yet it is so immense and unbounded that we will never fully understand or comprehend the great depth and complete fullness of its beautiful nature. Grace embodies so many things: love, mercy, pity, favor, forbearance, tolerance, tenderness, pardon, help, understanding, forgiveness, compassion, patience and so much more. It is given to us freely and unmerited though unworthy we be, thus giving our humbled souls a great mystery of, “Why me, Lord?” Grace is a fountain of love flowing free. Oh, praise God. I drink daily from that cup of everlasting love and I praise my precious Lord, for the mercy that is given me.


Groan: To “Amen” by making a groaning sound. To emit a sound often liken to the mooing of a cow. Groanings are more likely to be made during an especially good public prayer and are usually made by the brethering.


Groaner: Someone who is prone to groan during the worship service.


Guest Book: A small book located in the foyer of the church building that young children like to scribble in. Sometimes used for a guest registry.


Guest Minister: A man whom a church has especially invited to preach at their meeting. Also called a “guest” or “invited speaker” though we hope he preaches as well as speaks.




Hardshells: Primitive or Old Baptists. So called because they like hard nuts to crack, meaning they are not easily separated from their beliefs; also because Primitive Baptists are not ashamed to defensively stand (like a turtle) during debates.


Handshake: The shaking of hands following the preaching service.  Also see “Right Hand of Fellowship” and “Strike Hands.”


Handshake Song: A song that will be good to sing during the Handshake. Said song should have plenty of verses to carry through the Handshake and one that most of the folks are familiar with. “How Firm A Foundation” is a popular Handshake Song.


Hardshelling: An expression meaning when Hardshells talk along doctrinal lines; when two or more Old Baptists converse on a Bible subject in great length and detail. Hardshelling is often done between services at the Sosashun or in homes until the wee hours of the morning. It seems that only Hardshells can hardshell at 2 o’clock in the morning and still be perfectly active at next day’s meetings though more evidence is needed to firmly establish this point.


There is a great necessity of copious amounts of coffee before, during and after Hardshelling. And there is the oft-experienced miracle of the next day's sermons mentioning everything that was discussed during the Hardshell session the night before, though the preachers were not even in the hardshelling.


Hardshelling also involves visitation of the sick and infirm, not necessarily letting them know that you are coming to see them first


Head Deacon: One who deacs the other deacons. See also Deacon Deluxe.


Heaven and Immortal Glory: That wonderful place in the third heaven where all the Elect dwell in perfect bliss and harmony forever. Our future inheritance on high.


Hobby Horse: A particular subject that a minister likes to preach on repeatedly; it can also be a church problem that the preacher will bring up time and again in sermons much to everyone’s chagrin. There is no profit in riding a hobby horse. They don’t go anywhere anyway.


Hollow Log Doctrine: An erroneous doctrinal tenet that denies that the Holy Spirit makes any permanent moral change in the individual at regeneration. The scenario is that a rabbit runs into a hollow log and out the other end. This rabbit that runs in and out of the hollow log provides no change to the log whatsoever.


Homecoming Meeting: A meeting wherein all present and former members attend to worship the Lord, reminisce of the good old days and pray for good days to come.


Home Church: The church where one retains their membership. See “Old Home Church.”



Iced Tea: A beverage made from the leaves of the tea plant and served over ice. Iced tea is the national drink of the Primitive Baptists. Sweet or unsweet, it has always been there and always will be. Yes, there must be iced tea at very meal.  


 Interrogation: The part of an ordination service where the subject is asked various questions regarding faith, doctrine and practice.


Introduce: To speak a short discourse before the main sermon is presented. Introductions should last no more than 10-15 minutes; any longer will be met with the dreaded Fish-Eye.


In a Big Way: To get loud and fast with the voice and vocal delivery while preaching. See “Shuck the Corn.”


In Deep Water: When a preacher gets over his head in dealing with a particular subject. He is liable to sink if he doesn’t get to swimmin hard and fast. Probably shouldn’t have taken the subject in the first place.


In Tall Cotton: When a preacher is doing very well in dealing with a particular subject. He is preaching “A Masterpiece” and will be given many amens for his efforts for he is certainly “shucking the corn.” Way to go, good Brother…amen and amen!


In the Matter: An expression meaning that the Lord is involved in whatever is at hand. Ex: “I read a certain Scripture just last week that's been on my mind, and Brother So-and-So took it for his text. The Lord was surely in the matter.”


Invited Back: To be asked to preach at a church that you have been invited before. This is a great honor, for it is one thing to be invited to a place, it quite another thing to be invited back.


Itis: The condition of sleepiness that attacks a person during the afternoon service, especially after eating a fine meal cooked by the Mothers in Israel.  Other contributing factors are preacher brethren with a monotone voice or preaching a less than enthusiastic subject. Adding a very efficient air conditioning system with a gentle hummmmmm, the Itis will most certainly attack.



Justification: A major doctrinal tenet. Basically, it is a declaration of righteousness. The Elect of God were redeemed by the blood of Jesus on the cross and are sanctified by the Holy Spirit in regeneration. Based on this, they are now justified, i.e. declared righteous.


Justification by Faith: When a person is blessed to exhibit faith and understands that they are truly justified by the blood of Jesus Christ. Their faith does not render them righteous but it declares them so.


Justification by Works: When a person is blessed to exhibit good works and walk in the footprints of Jesus Christ. Their good works do not render them righteous but they declare them so.



Regarding Justification by Sis Cherilyn Thomas


If one truly understands (to the limit that we are given here in this life) that they are justified in Christ before God, it will not lead to pride, or haughtiness, or arrogance. This knowledge and understanding is accompanied by the most complete humility, humble gratitude, and self-abasement.


Jesus marked this difference most clearly in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. Note the differences in attitude between the two characters. And, Jesus said, "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Not exaltation in the eyes of men, for popularity, or acclaim, or praise. Exaltation in Christ at HIS glory and honor and worthiness.


Thus, righteous judgment properly done, is never something that is done from a standpoint of righteous indignation, or exaltation of self. We are not given to judge others' eternal destiny, ever. We are charged to judge, with clear discernment and righteous judgment, between right and wrong here in this life. God has clearly and directly instructed HIS rules on right and wrong, and has given us those directions for all time in the Bible. There is no shadow of doubt with regard to these things: do not steal, do not lie, do not covet, do not commit adultery, etc. The actions that people take, the false doctrines that they promote, the false words that they speak---these are to be judged, by righteous judgment, here in time. And to my mind, as truly the chief of sinners, this is a fearful and terrible thing. For I am guilty of these same things, and must judge within myself with regard to myself, daily, in my own personal on-going warfare.

 Only through the humility and abasement of self that comes with submission to the Will of God, and understanding of justification (justification by faith), can one walk aright, and make positive action with regard to that justification (justification by works).







Kehukee Declaration: In 1827, the Kehukee Association was the first Baptist Association in the United States to take a stand against the unscriptural innovations of Missionary Societies, Bible Societies and Theological Societies.  From this meeting began the movement by many other Baptists to reject these “New School” practices. Elders Joshua Lawrence and C.B. Hassell were principle authors of the Declaration.


From “Hassell’s History”


1827. The Association met at Kehukee, Halifax County

This session of the Association was one of the most remarkable ever held by her. At this time came up for consideration the Declaration of Principles submitted at the last session to the Churches for approval or rejection. And upon a full and fair discussion of them, the following order was made, Viz.: "A paper purporting to be a Declaration of the Reformed Baptists in North Carolina, dated August 26, 1826, which was presented at last Association, and referred to the churches to express in their letters to this Association their views with regard to it, came up for deliberation. Upon examination, it was found that most of the churches had given their opinions; and after an interchange of sentiments among the members of this body, it was agreed that we discard all Missionary Societies, Bible Societies and Seminaries, and the practices heretofore resorted to for their support, in begging money from the public; and if any persons should be among us, as agents of any of said societies, we hereafter discountenance them in those practices; and if under a character of a minister of the gospel, we will not invite them into our pulpits; believing these societies and institutions to be the inventions of men, and not warranted from the word of God. We further do unanimously agree that should any of the members of our churches join the fraternity of Masons, or, being members, continue to visit the lodges and parades, we will not invite them to preach in our pulpits, believing them to be guilty of such practices; and we declare non-fellowship with them and such practices altogether." In adopting this resolution there was not a dissenting voice. It was unanimous. Before the vote was taken there was a diversity of sentiment, and brethren freely interchanged views on the subject. Some of course were favorable to the toleration of these innovations, and pleaded for them with all their power; while those opposed to them as being contrary to ancient usage and pernicious in their consequences, boldly denounced them and contended for their abolition. On taking the vote, it was found that a large majority were opposed to these new men-made schemes; and then it was agreed to make the vote unanimous; and the same was accordingly done. It may therefore be set down as having the entire sanction of the Kehukee Association, composed of thirty-five churches, holding 1,951 members.


Those messengers of the churches in the Association at that time who favored these new things appeared before the adjournment of the body to be thoroughly convinced of their error. They gave signal demonstration of their acquiescence in the final decision, embraced the brethren who took opposite views, fell upon their shoulders, and seemed to be overwhelmed with joy. Never perhaps in the whole period of her existence, either before or since that time, did such a melting scene occur in a session of the Kehukee Association as did then. All present seemed to be fired with love for each other, and thankfulness to God that He had conducted the controversy to such a happy issue.


The Moderator, Elder Philemon Bennett, adjourned the Association with an affectionate address and prayer. Here was a stand taken against corruptions which had sprung up in the American churches about twenty-five years before, and had taken rapid hold on many of them, so that they were exceedingly loath to give them up.


It was a noble stand taken by the Kehukee Association, and would have done honor to bold defenders of the faith in any age of the world. The men of that day were renowned in Zion. Their memories will be cherished by future generations. They emancipated the churches with which they were connected from priestcraft and religious fetters that were becoming more and more intolerable every year.


This was the first and great decisive stand taken by the Baptists on American soil against worldly institutions, as being necessary for the propagation of the gospel and the salvation of men. Some had resisted them at the very outset, and all along through their progress; but now they could be borne with no longer, and it was resolved to cast the entire trumpery overboard. This example of the Kehukee Association, then sixty-two years old, was encouraging to other similar bodies; and from 1827 to 1840 there was a stir among churches and Associations all over the land, and many followed the example of old Mother Kehukee.


In September, 1832, a number of churches belonging to the Baltimore Association convened with the church called "Black Rock," [Black Rock Address] in the State of Maryland, and took the position that had been taken by Kehukee; so that, in the Northern States, Primitive or old-fashioned Baptists were called "Blackrockers," and in the Southern States they were known and stigmatized as "Kehukeeites."


Kid’s Table: A table in the lunchroom where the children are wont to sit during lunch. Some churches have recently placed smallish tables that are specially designed for the comfort of the little ones.


The Kid’s table at the First Primitive Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Pictured: Deborah Mallow, Katherine Kirkpatrick and  Cameron and Reagan MacAnally.


Kitchen: The lunchroom.


Kitchens: The last name of 66% or more of the membership of Zion’s Rest Primitive Baptist Church in Jasper, Alabama. It is a fun thing to say, “The Kitchens are in the kitchen.”


Kitchen Singing: A time of singing in the lunchroom after the folks have finished their meal.


Kryptonite: Something that drives away the Holy Spirit from a service. It could be a heretical sermon or unsound song, or an attitude in a preacher or song leader that is prideful and all about them. The spirit goes out the window whenever such things occur.



Last Song: The final hymn before the preaching service.  Sometimes the minister will select a particular song as it pertains to the message he is about to deliver. A good moderator will ask the preacher if he has a song he would like have sung. A murderator will neglect to do this.


Lead, Guide, Guard and Direct Us: An oft-repeated prayer request. What folks want the Lord to do with them.


Lead us in a Word of Prayer: To ask someone to offer prayer on behalf of the entire congregation. The prayers are usually longer than just a word.


Liberate: An official act of a church that grants permission for an unordained preacher to exercise his gift at other churches and meetings. This is mainly a custom amongst the churches in the east and is not done so much in the west.


License: An official act of a church that recognizes that a man has a preaching gift but that he is not ready to pastor churches. This is mainly a custom amongst the churches in the east and is not done so much in the west.


Licentiate: A man who has been licensed to preach.


Lifted Up: To feel the presence of the Holy Spirit to the point where one has a sense of being translated to a better existence; also known as "uplifted" and "carried away." A condition, once experienced, is continuously sought after and desired.


We have often heard people say after services, “I was lifted up today.” We have also heard this regarding a preacher who had very good liberty, “Brother Longwinded was sure lifted up today.”


Interestingly, the expression “lifted up” in the scriptures usually means to look up (lifted up his eyes), to raise your voice (lifted up his voice), to stomp on someone (lifted up his heal) or to feel pride (his heart is lifted up). The only close reference is Ezekiel 11:1, “Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD'S house, which looketh eastward.”


Light Lunch/Supper: A meal late in the meeting when the leftovers from earlier meals are served.  Also, a light supper is a meal before a evening Communion service where one does not want to get too full before they take the bread and wine.


Like Faith and Order: An expression referring to other Primitive Baptists that are in full fellowship. They believe the same doctrine, worship with the same practice and use the right preachers.


Limited Atonement: A major doctrinal tenet where only the elect’s sins are forgiven and their sin debt paid. In other words, Christ’s blood was shed for a limited group of humanity; not the entire human race.


Line a Song: Lining a song consists of the song leader reading the line or verse of the song and then the congregation singing the same line in unison. This procedure is followed throughout the entire song. This practice was necessary back in the days when the church could not afford songbooks and just a few were able to have one. Those who did have a book would line the song so all would know the words to sing. It has now become part of our heritage.


Little Child of God: A person who has been born again; in a general sense, it applies to anyone listening to a sermon as preachers are wont to style their listeners as such.


Love Flowing From Breast To Breast: A oft-repeated prayer expression. A desire for love to be manifested and felt amongst the congregation.


Low Ground of Sin and Sorrow: A graphic description of the earth wherein the fallen race of Adam dwells; the hard and harsh existence human beings endure in the world following Adam’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden and prior to Resurrection Morning.


Lunch: The noon meal; a meal served after the morning service. This was once called “Dinner on the Grounds” but with the advent of kitchens in modern meeting houses, dinner is no longer served on the grounds; rather, lunch is now served in the kitchen.







Mama-Called Preacher: An expression meaning that the Lord didn't do the ministerial calling, mama did.


Meeting Baptist: A person that is quick to attend large meetings but is rarely found in church on the normal meeting times.


Meeting Season: The time of the year when meetings are held every weekend; the time of year when Old Baptists entertain Associations, annual meetings, fifth Sunday meetings and various types of singings. Meeting season usually begins in early April and continues through the end of September.


Minor Songs: Songs written in a minor key. Ex: “Wayfaring Stranger” and “Detroit (Do Not I Love Thee).”


Moderator: The man that officiates a meeting or conference. The moderator is usually the pastor of the church though in some Associational meetings, the position is chosen. Also, it is the custom of some of the northern churches to select another person to serve as moderator of the conference other than the pastor.


Monkeygomery: A member of the Montgomery clan of Old Baptists. A term of affection given by Uncle Wonderful himself. (See “Uncle Wonderful.”)


Moss Back: To contend for the old ways of faith, doctrine and practice and to never, never move from such; to be against anything that might be construed newfangled or new-fashioned in regard to faith, doctrine and practice. The image is like a rock that is held fast to the ground and thus advantageous for moss to grow thereupon. The expression comes from the old saying, “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” Primitive Baptists are fond of moss.

 This expression is often used in reference to a person or even to a particular region. Example: “Them ole moss-backs in South Texas can't be reasoned with!” To some, this is a compliment.


Mother in Israel: A female member of the church that acts as a mother figure. She may not have biological children of her own but due to her wonderful personality, wisdom and giving of herself, she serves as a beloved example and nurturing figure in the lives of many.


The expression is taken from Judges 5:7 when the Prophetess Deborah exclaimed, “The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.”


Also when an unnamed wise woman chided General Joab in 2 Samuel 20:19, when she said, “I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?”  One does not mess with Texas nor with Mothers In Israel.


Mounting: A mountain.


Murderator: A bad Moderator.


What turns a moderator into a murderator?


·         He re-preaches the sermons that have just been preached.

·         He uses too much or not enough humor.

·         He talks too quietly and can only be heard by the first two rows.

·         He is too verbose. As Poor Dave once wrote, “A moderator should use moderation in his moderating.”

·         He cannot remember things and has to be constantly reminded.

·         He falls asleep during the preaching and has to be woken up by the preacher. We have seen this.





Nanner Puddin: A dessert made up of bananas, vanilla pudding and vanilla wafer cookies. Some use the term “Banana Pudding” though it is scientifically proven that calling it such reduces the flavor by 32%. True Old Line Nanner Puddin is cooked on a stove top (never instant pudding), and has the cookies placed within the pudding instead of merely thrown on top. A proper Nanner Pudding also uses Nabisco or Jackson brand Vanilla Wafers as opposed to a generic off brand. Also, there shall be meringue on top with perfect little peaks.


The Nanner Puddin must be no cooler than room temperature; studies show it tastes better shortly after coming out of the oven. Placing the Nanner Puddin in the refrigerator will ruin it so it is important to ensure there are no leftovers.


Original NILLA Banana Pudding


Prep Time: 30 min

Total Time: 50 min

Makes: 12 servings, 2/3 cup each




3/4 cup sugar, divided 1/3 cup flour, dash salt, 3 eggs separated, 2 cups milk, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 45 NILLA Wafers, divided 5 bananas, sliced




MIX 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in top of double boiler. Blend in 3 egg yolks and milk. Cook, uncovered, over boiling water 10 to 12 min. or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.

RESERVE 12 wafers for garnish. Spread small amount of custard onto bottom of 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Cover with layers of 1/3 each of the remaining wafers, bananas and remaining custard. Repeat layers 2 times.

BEAT egg whites on high speed of mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over custard, sealing well to edge of dish.

BAKE 15 to 20 min. or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. Top with reserved wafers just before serving.



Old Baptist Nanner Puddin


Heat 2 cups milk...stir in 1 cup sugar, heaping 1/3 cup flour...pinch of salt. Stir well...add 2 slightly beaten egg yolks. Cook until thick...remove from heat and add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp butter. Blend until butter melts. Layer pudding with cookies and bananas in pan. Use your egg whites and sugar to make your meringue. Bake just until peaks are golden.


New Year’s Meeting: A meeting held on the last day of the year that included singing, some preaching and a lot of eating. These are mainly a custom in the southeast and are not done at all in the west.


New Year’s Eve Singing: A singing service that is held on the last day of the year beginning around 7:30 pm wherein songs are sung till midnight with intermittent breaks for eating and fellowship. It is customary for one to say, “We’re gonna sang out the old year and sang in the new.” And so they did.


Night Service: A worship service at night usually starting around 7:00 pm. This service is usually omitted during annual meetings in these modern times. Everybody’s tired….let’s relax.



Old Baptist: A Primitive Baptist.


Old Baptist Funeral: A funeral service consisting of congregational singing with focus on the doctrine, and much more hopeful, even uncommonly joyous. Such funerals are long remembered in great fondness and serves as a great tribute to the deceased.


Old Baptist Pallet: A small temporary bed comprised of quilts and blankets often made on the floor and used to sleep overnight guests during a large meeting. Stories abound of houses where the living and dining room floors were covered with such pallets. Using the Old Baptist Pallet, it is possible to house 20 to 30 guests in a modest home. Comfort is not the issue…fellowship is.


Old Home Church: Usually refers to the church where one first joined and was baptized. Sometimes it refers to the church where one retained their membership for a long period of time.


Old Line: Primitive Baptists that hold to the old ways of worship i.e. a capella singing, no Sunday Schools or mission boards, etc. A conservative Primitive Baptist. Not a liberal nor Progressive.


Old Paths: The faith, doctrine and practice of the Primitive Baptist church; the way of true Christian worship; the proper application of Godliness. The expression is taken from Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein.”


What is truly to be considered the “Old Paths” and what is not has been open to debate through the years especially in the area of practice. There was much dissension when certain churches began using songbooks with note rather than the old hymnbooks containing just the poetry. A humorous example is when Brother Mossy Back Deacon observed the young preacher sipping hot tea instead of coffee, he opined, (in thunder tones) “Brother, I am sorry to see you so soon departed from the old paths!”


Old School: Another expression for “Primitive.” Some Primitive Baptists like to style themselves as Old School Baptists.


On the Mountaintop: A spiritual high; to feel the Holy Spirit; to be lifted up. See “lifted up.”


Ordain: to establish in a particular office or order; hence, to invest with a ministerial function; to ordain a minister or deacon to that particular office in the church.


Ordained Help: Elders and Deacons who are sent to participate in an ordination service as a member of the presbytery. Oftentimes, a church who is about to ordain an elder or deacon will write their sister churches and ask them to send their ordained help. This is a historical custom and not a biblical one though it certainly does not violate any scripture. It became needful as most churches have only one elder among their membership and needed more elder in order formulate a proper presbytery.


Order of Service: The sequence of events that the worship is to follow. Usually, it is singing, prayer requests, praying, preaching, invitation for church membership, right hand of fellowship (or parting hand) and announcements then dismissal prayer.


Ordination: A special service in which a minister or deacon is ordained. A particular church will “call” for a man’s ordination in which said man is delivered to a presbytery where he is examined, prayed for, laid hands on and charged with the duties of their office.


Ordination Party: A social event designed to welcome and congratulate one who has been ordained. The Old Baptists have not entertained such events in over 100 years but they were quite the thing back in the day. This fete was usually held in someone’s home; food was prepared and gifts (like clothes, books, bibles, etc) were presented to the ordainee.


Ordination Prayer: A special public prayer made in an ordination service. Usually, the one selected to offer this prayer is by request of the ordainee and is considered a great honor to be asked to do such.


Out of Order: When someone violates Robert’s Rules of Order or acts in an unspiritual manner during church conference. When a conference has reached such a point, it is advisable for the Moderator to close the conference as being “out of order.” We have seen this one time in our experience and we hope we never it again.


Over Yonder: Where Heaven is. Paradise. Home.



PB: An acronym for “Primitive Baptist.”


PBC: An acronym for “Primitive Baptist Church.”


PK: An acronym for “Preacher’s Kid.”


Pastor: The minister who serves a church as their under-shepherd.


Pastor Call: When a church selects a pastor to serve them.  Sometimes, this is done on an annual basis and the church clerk and treasurer are also selected.


Pat Byrd: A minister from Georgia that is known for his witty sayings and has been quoted in many a sermon over the years. He was mentally sharp and spiritually profound to the time of his death at past ninety years of age, in 1976. Elder Byrd was a great influence on several ministers who still serve in the 21st Century. 


A famous story of Elder Byrd is thus: One time he had to follow a really good preacher. As the preacher was preaching, Pat was fiddling with a pencil and a piece of paper. When the other guy sat down, Pat handed him the paper with the drawing of an upside-down bird and the caption, "Pat is a dead Bird."


Peace Baptists: A union of two factions of Primitive Baptists; namely, the Webb and Newman factions. Half of the Webb Baptists (this half was called the Richards Baptists) and all the Newman Baptists came together and made peace after the 1927 Dallas Peace Meeting. The other half of the Webb Baptists that remained were called Trumpet Baptists. Peace between these factions did not totally come until the late 1980’s.


Peace Meeting: A gathering called to settle trouble, confusion, strife, and turmoil that might be plaguing the churches. Brethren from different churches are called into counsel and make recommendations to promote peace. Some peace meetings have been successful in this; some have not; some even made the troubles worse.


Pew Preachers: Ministers who suggests points and scriptures while another minster is preaching. If you sit next to a pew preacher, you will be getting two sermons, one from the brother in the pulpit and the other from the fellow you’re sitting by.


Pew Sitters: People who sit, stare and watch every move that the minister makes while he is preaching in order to find a quirk, misapplication or some other thing to complain about.


Pillars of the Church: Members of the church who are in reputation for their leadership and wisdom; a strong supporter of the church through their physical, spiritual and financial labors; a person who has been a member of the church for many years. It is hoped that every member would eventually become a pillar of the church.


The expression is taken from Galatians 2:9, “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”


Wise and aged members, Fathers in the Ministry, Mothers in Israel, Deacon Deluxes are among those that are considered Pillars of the Church.


Pitch a Song: To indicate the note of which begins a song; to cue the congregation that a particular song will begin with a particular note; to “do-mi-so.” An experienced song leader will pitch a song before he starts singing it though they might defer the pitching to a more seasoned leader.


Example:  Song Leader: "Bro Stan Musical, will you pitch this one for me?"

Bro Stan Musical: "Sure. Do mi So Mi Do! Do!!"


Song Leader: (falling in) Do!!! Sweeeeeet Riiiverss of Redeeeemmming Love!!!..." 


Pity Party: When a person engages others to feel sympathy towards them; when a person complains to a large degree in order to attract attention; a period of excessive griping and complaint. David Montgomery has been noted for saying, “I don’t have pity parties, I have pity conventions.”


Playing in the Streets of Jerusalem: When the children play between and after services; when the laughter and the noise of happy activity from the children is heard. May it ever be heard amongst the Primitive Baptists.


Podium: The pulpit. Also called “the stand.”


Podium Pounder: One who strikes the pulpit whilst making an important point in a sermon.


Polly Parrot Preacher: A fellow that preaches like the last minister he heard or one that imitates his favorite minister. Sometimes they do this consciously, sometimes not.


Popcorn Songs: Hymns in the songbook that have a fast, skippy beat; a song whose main aspect is the chorus with either a bass, tenor or alto lead; any song taking two or more pages in the songbook. Also known as “Skip Along With Jesus Songs.”


The popcorn comparison is thus: As popcorn kernels pop here and there...the parts of the song (bass, soprano, tenor, and alto) "pop in and out" here and there as the song is sung.


It should be noted that what is construed a Popcorn Song to one can be a perfectly wonderful song to another. As of yet, there is no Popcorn Song Review Board amongst the Old Baptists.


Pope: A derogatory term indicating one who uses power and influence to get their way. They would never call themselves such but those behind their back do. Sometimes, they’re right.


Pounding: An occasion where church members give the pastor and his family gift offerings for Christmas. Usually the gifts consist of dry goods like sugar, cake mixes, non-perishable items. Also done for wedding showers as well.


Power and Demonstration of the Spirit: When the Holy Ghost blesses someone to preach to the point that there is no doubt. To have the power of the Holy Spirit is good but it is better when said power is demonstrated. Yes, we want this.


Preach Brethering: A term of endearment and fraternity that a preacher calls his fellow brothers in the ministry.


Preacher Hug: A hugging technique to dissuade Brother Over-Friendly and Brother Grab-A-Lot. To do so, lean forward from the waist, arms extended, into the hug. All Brother Over-Friendly will get is a face full of hair and a cold shoulder.


Preaching Arrangements: The schedule of who preaches and when they preach. For instance, the moderator might say, “And we’re going to ask Brother Longwinded to go first to be followed by Brother Cantpreachalick.” Thus, the way things shall be.


Preaching Grace: The liberty of the Holy Spirit that a minister needs in order to proclaim the gospel in a preaching way.


Preaching Hour: 11:00 am on Sunday morning, unless you’re in some parts of Georgia where it is 11:30.


Preaching Service: When the time comes to begin preaching, usually right after the song service.


Predestination: A major doctrinal tenet. The preordination of the final destiny of the Elect to everlasting happiness in the paradise of Heaven.


Presbytery:  A group of ordained men who have assembled to ordain someone to the office of minister or deacon; a group of ordained men who have assembled to constitute a church.


Primitive: A word meaning “first” or “original.” Primitive Baptists hold to the same doctrine and practice that the Baptists have always believed. Hence, the name.


Primitive Baptist Grapevine: The passing of news and information from person to person. The actual broadcast speed of the grapevine has never been determined but we know that bad news is spread at alarming rates whereas good news travels much slower. Oftentimes, the person who first uttered the news will hear it again from someone else with a few added tidbits.


Primitive Baptist Matchmaking Service: aka PBMS. Still in operation and will be until the Lord comes back. See “Adventures with the Primitive Baptists.”


Professional Sleeper: A male or female member of the church that sleeps during any given service no matter how good or pertinent the sermonic is. Professional Sleepers are the bane of all ministers.


Proud You Came: A southern expression extending joy at someone's visit and good fellowship. Not used much anymore but it was quite the thing to say in its day. The usage of "pride" in this particular manner is interesting.


Publish an Open Door: To give the invitation to any who might be interested in joining the church. This expression is a modification from older one—“Opening the door of the church.” The reasoning is that the doors of the church are always open therefore it is better to “publish” or “announce” that fact. The doors are open people, come on through!


There are other ways of expressing it as well:


·         “If you wish to come forward, please do.”

·         “If you want to join the church, now is a good time.”

·         “The church is now open for the reception of members.”

·         “The church will now wait upon you.”


The poor souls that demure from the blessed invitation are known as “White Knuckle Baptists” or “Drylanders.” It is difficult to understand why walking through an open door can be such a hardship for some.




Regeneration: A major doctrinal tenet. The process of the new birth or being born again; a working of the Holy Spirit and is done apart from any work that humans may do.


Resurrection: To rise from the dead and be alive again; to rise from the grave. Several were resurrected in the scriptures, namely Lazarus, the widow’s son, The Shunnamite’s son, Tabitha and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Resurrection Morning: When Jesus comes back the second time to raise our bodies from the grave and change us to be perfect, immortal and incorruptible.


Richards Baptists:  A faction of Primitive Baptists that was supportive of Elder W.H. Richards and made peace with the Newman Baptists after the 1927 Dallas Peace Meeting. The combined group was then called the “Peace Baptists.”


Charley Richards Baptists: A faction of Primitive Baptists that was supportive of Elder Charley Richards and remained aloof from the mainstream Primitives. Charley split from his brother (H.G. Richards) and his father (Hamp Richards). The Charley Richards churches either died out or became part of the mainstream long after his death.


Right Hand of Fellowship: To shake hands after preaching; to welcome new members to the church after their baptism; the Big Handshake after the last session of the Association. 


Rostrum Walker: One who is prone to walk from one side of the podium while preaching a sermon.


Ruled by Saturdays: (Written by Elder Marty Hoskins) In the Appalachians, in particular, half the churches will have their meetings “ruled by Sundays.” However, the other half will be “ruled by Saturday.” This means if a church meets on the 2nd, and they are ruled by Saturday, then you will count Saturdays on the calendar and then look at the Sunday immediately following that Saturday to find the actual meeting date. As best I can figure, this practice was started because some churches had their business conference on Sunday (thus they became ruled by Sunday) and some had their business conference on Saturday (thus they became ruled by Saturday). So, a church that is ruled by Saturday meets on the Sunday immediately following the Saturday that you can count on the calendar based on the number of the weekend that they meet. Clear enough? Good.


Now if that seems confusing. Consider this. My father used to pastor one church that met on the 3rd weekend and was ruled by Saturdays. He pastored a second church that met on the 1st and 4th, but was ruled by Sundays. This was fine most of the time. However, when the actual first DAY of the month was on Sunday, the weekend of the 3rd Saturday and the weekend of the 4th Sunday are the same weekend. You don't believe me? Get a calendar and find a month where the first day of the month is on Sunday. Count to the 4th Sunday of that month, which will be the 29th day of the month. After that, count to the 3rd Saturday of the month and then look at the Sunday immediately following (the next day), and you will find that it is the 29th day of the month as well. And as best I can figure, it is really hard for one preacher to preach in two different pulpits at the same time without some sort of smoke and mirrors or a camera and video conferencing.


Ruled by Sundays: This is an expression that means that a church's meeting schedule is determined (ruled) by which Sunday it is upon a calendar month. They may have services the “first” and “third” Sundays with conference the Saturday night before the third Sunday. This is very important to understand in order to be a good Primitive Baptist because everything is determined by what Sunday it is and if you do not get it, you will spend your life in utter confusion. 

For instance, our church's annual meeting falls on the third Sunday of the month of June. I don't have to look at a calendar to give the actual days. Why should I? It's the third Sunday in June. Not the first, not the second but the third. If you came on the fourth Sunday then you'll miss our meeting and I will give you the fish eye.

Sometimes people will say, "Our meeting embraces the first Sunday in October." They just mean, "Our meeting is the first Sunday in October beginning the Friday night before." The meeting may begin the fourth Friday in September but we are ruled by Sundays so it doesn't matter what Friday it is, just count the Sunday. Got it? Some churches are ruled by Saturdays but these folks are a sect unto themselves. See above definition for “Ruled by Saturdays.”

Below are simple explanations of "Ruled by Sundays."

 1st Sunday: The first Sunday of a calendar month.

 2nd Sunday: The second Sunday of a calendar month.

 3rd Sunday: The third Sunday of a calendar month. For some reason, churches usually have their business meeting this particular Sunday.

 4th Sunday: The fourth Sunday of a calendar month.

 5th Sunday: The fifth Sunday of a calendar month that has 5 Sundays which is also known as, “A Five Sunday Month.” Most months usually have only 4 Sundays so it is a tad unusual for a month to have 5 Sundays. Some churches will let out meeting on this Sunday to allow their members to visit other Sister Churches. Sometimes, the church might entertain a “5th Sunday Meeting” with services beginning Friday night and all day Saturday before the 5th Sunday. As more and more PB churches have services every Sunday, 5th Sunday meetings are not too common anymore though they were a big deal back in the day. The first time Dave Montgomery ever spoke in a preaching way at a large meeting was at a 5th Sunday Meeting held at the Bethel Primitive Baptist Church in McMahan, Texas. It was a harrowing experience but a necessary one.

In order for there to be five Sundays in February, February 1st must fall on a Sunday, and it must be a leap year, so that February 29th is the fifth Sunday. Statistically speaking, a given date is associated with a day of the week one out of every seven years. Leap years occur every four years (with a few exceptions that I'll ignore here). So, the probability of February 1st falling on a Sunday and it being a leap year is 1/7 times 1/4, or 1/28 years. So, there should be 5 Sundays in February roughly every 28 years.

The American colonies were one of the last to adopt the currently used Gregorian calendar, in 1752. If we take that year as the start of the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, then there are have been approximately 9 years with 5 Sundays in February. The last most recent 5th Sundays in February were 1976 and 2004. And the next ones will be 2032, 2060 and 2088.

Rules of Decorum: A set of statements that establishes the procedural rules and decorum guidelines that are used in conducting a conference or business meeting or any business that should come before the church.

Middleton Creek Primitive Baptist Church of Mississippi

Rules of Decorum

Article 1: The Pastor or supply shall be Moderator, in case of his absence a Moderator protem shall be chosen, who shall determine on all points of order. The duty of the moderator shall be to keep order, to take the voice of the church on all questions properly brought before conference, and declare the decision accordingly. He shall have a right to speak on all questions before conference, provided he place someone on the moderator's seat, he shall have no right to vote unless conference be equally divided in that case, he shall give the casting vote.

Article 2: A clerk shall be chosen out of the members composing this church. In case of his absence a clerk protem shall be chosen. The duties of the clerk shall be, to make a correct minute of the proceedings of conference, and shall transcribe the same into a suitable book, which shall be kept for the purpose.

Article 3: Conference shall in all cases be opened by Prayer and Praise.

Article 4: Invite visiting Brethren and Sisters of our Faith and order to seat with us.

Article 5: Open the door of the church for the reception of members.

Article 6: Call for references.

Article 7: Call for promiscuous business that may be in order to come before conference.

Article 8: All business shall be brought before conference by motion and second.

Article 9: Every motion made and seconded shall come under the consideration of conference unless withdrawn by him who made it.

Article 10: No Brother shall speak more than once to any proposition until every member wishing to speak shall have spoken; Nor more than twice without the consent of the conference.

Article 11: Any Brother wishing to speak shall arise to his feet and address the Moderator who shall signify his right to the floor by naming the Brother or otherwise.

Article 12: After having given full time for discussion the moderator shall take the vote of the church in any way he may think proper.

Article 13: All business coming before conference shall be decided by a majority vote.

Article 14: No member shall leave his seat during conference without permission from the moderator.

Article 15: No member shall be interrupted while speaking unless he wanders from the subject or uses language of a personal nature.

Article 16: Conference may be convened as often as they may think proper.

Article 17: The Rules of Decorum and Constitution or Church Covenant may be altered or amended by a concurrence of two thirds of the church but the Articles of Faith shall not be subject to alteration.

Article 18: The minutes shall be read and corrected before conference rises and signed by the clerk.




Sanctification: A major doctrinal tenet. The process by which the Elect are made holy and acceptable to God. This process transpires in the new birth.

Sacred Harp: A type of singing that uses a four note method as opposed to 7 notes. The name of the tradition comes from the title of the shape note book from which the music is sung, “The Sacred Harp”. Sacred Harp groups always sing a cappella, that is to say, without accompanying instruments. It is a very beautiful and soul-stirring style of singing.

The singers arrange themselves in a “hollow square”, with rows of chairs or pews on each side assigned to each of the four parts: treble, alto, tenor, and bass. The treble and tenor sections are usually mixed, with men and women singing the notes an octave apart.

There is no single leader or conductor; rather, the participants take turns in leading. The leader for a particular round selects a song from the book, and "calls" it by its page number. Leading is done in an open-palm style, standing in the middle of the square facing the tenors.

Sacred Harp has had resurgence in popularity with singings held across the country and even in other countries.


Sandwich Supper: The first meal of the Annual Meeting usually commencing on Friday night starting at starting at fivefivethirty, consisting of cold cuts and various other sandwich fixins.


In order to have a successful sandwich supper:

o   One sister must bring a taco salad.

o   Another must bring little smokies.

o   Two sisters must bring pimento cheese.

o   Two different types of chicken salad sandwiches…or was turkey salad?

o   Two very different types of potato salad…one made with mustard and the other with mayo.

o   There must be fifty bags of off brand potatoes chips.

o   There must be one loaf of white bread that is sitting on the table, not really next to anything.

o   There must be deviled eggs.

o   In Mississippi, it is common for there to be several vats of soup; usually one chili like and the other a creamy homemade potato or chowdery type.

o   Some localities have adopted having a fish fry.


Scriptorian: A minister who can quote a large number of Bible verses by memory; a minister who generally uses a large number of Bible verses in his sermons.


Scotch: This expression is unique in that it has a double meaning of which both are opposite of each other. (1) To support a minister while he is preaching. (2) To hinder a minister while he is preaching.


Webster defines the expression thusly: “To support, as a wheel, by placing some obstacle to prevent its rolling. Our wagoners and cartmen scot the wheels of their wagons and carts, when in ascending a hill they stop to give their team rest, or for other purpose.” Thus the double meaning: The wheels are supported in place by the obstacle and also hindered from rolling backward by same. Likewise, congregations can either support or hinder a minister. Of course, the preacher should be dependent on the Holy Spirit, but it helps to get a few smiles and amens.


We have heard the expression used both ways. Elder Bill Caraway often said when he felt the congregation wasn't paying attention, “Brethren, you're scotching me!” We have also heard, “We're coming down to the meeting to scotch you.”


Sermon: (From Webster) A discourse delivered in public for the purpose of religious instruction, and usually grounded on some text or passage of Scripture.


Sermon Prayers: A prayer that turns into a sermon. Not necessarily a good or bad thing.


Shaped Notes: A musical notation system where each note on the scale is printed in a specific shape. Usually the note “Do” is represented with a triangle, “Re” by a half-circle, “Mi” by a diamond, “Fa” by a half-triangle, “So” by a circle, “La” by a square, and “Ti” by an inverted triangle.


Shape notes date from late 18th century America. They appeared publicly at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when two publications came out using shaped notes: The Easy Instructor by William Little and William Smith in 1801, and The Musical Primer by Andrew Law in 1803, intended for use in singing schools. Little and Smith used a four-shape system. Law's system had slightly different shapes: a square indicated fa and a triangle la, while sol and mi were the same as in Little and Smith. Law's invention was more radical than Little and Smith's in that he dispensed with the use of the staff altogether, letting the shapes be the sole means of expressing pitch. Little and Smith followed traditional music notation in placing the note heads on the staff, in place of the ordinary oval note heads. In the end, it was the Little/Smith system that won out, and there is no hymnbook used today that employs the Law system.


  Shape notes proved popular in America, and quickly a wide variety of hymnbooks were prepared making use of them. The shapes were eventually extirpated in the northeastern U.S. by a so-called "better music" movement, headed by Lowell Mason. But in the South, the shapes became well entrenched, and multiplied into a variety of traditions. Ananias Davisson's Kentucky Harmony is generally considered the first Southern shape-note tunebook.


By the middle of the 19th century, the "fa so la" system of four syllables had acquired a major rival, namely the seven-syllable "do re mi" system. Thus, music compilers began to add three more shapes to their books to match the extra syllables. Numerous seven-shape notations were devised. Jesse B. Aikin was the first to produce a book with a seven-shape note system, and he vigorously defended his "invention" and his patent. The system used in Aikin's 1846 Christian Minstrel eventually became the standard. This owes much to the influential Ruebush & Kieffer Publishing Company adopting Aikin's system around 1876. Two books that have remained in continuous use, William Walker's Christian Harmony and M. L. Swan's New Harp of Columbia, are still available. These books use seven-shape systems devised by Walker and Swan, respectively.


Although seven-shape books may not be as popular as in the past, there are still a great number of churches in the South, in particular Primitive Baptist, Independent Fundamental Baptist, and Churches of Christ, as well as Conservative Mennonites throughout North America, that regularly use seven-shape songbooks in Sunday worship. These songbooks may contain a variety of songs from 18th century classics to 20th-century gospel music. Thus today denominational songbooks printed in seven shapes probably constitute the largest branch of the shape note tradition.


Shovel Baptist: A member of the church that tends to sit close to the front and when the preacher begins to preach a particularly good "duty sermon", they set there and shovel the sermon back over their shoulder saying, "Boy, I am glad the preacher is preaching this sermon, because the folks behind me really need it."



Sheep Feeder: One who preaches sermons that are greatly appreciated by the congregations in that they are easily understood and feeds their souls.


It is our opinion that all preachers should be like this. We remember a statement an old sister said after one fellow delivered a very involved sermon, “That was so deep, it was shaller (shallow).”


Shhhh!!: (1) An expression used to shush people who are inadvertently talking during prayer. They should have known better and they would have if they would just stop talking once in a third blue moon. Their mouths must be stopped. (2) An expression used to shush crying or talkative children during the worship service. It does not work. It never has worked. It never will work.


Shotgun Sermon: A sermon that does not follow one particular thought or subject. Also known as “being scattered” and is liken to pellets that were fired from a shotgun of which are sent in different directions. Some consider a shotgun sermon to be directionless and will shut off listening to the preacher. Some think it’s the only form of preaching as it is (in their opinion) “following the Holy Ghost.”  Ministers that usually preach shotgun sermons are termed shotgun preacher or shotgunners. Shotgun preachers like to “chase rabbits.” Whether they kill rabbits with their shotguns still remains to be seen.


Below are some cues that will indicate that when a shotgun sermon in approaching...


  • "I haven't had much time to study this week."
  • "I REALLY need y'all to pray for me today."
  • "I have two (or more) subjects on my mind this morning."
  • "Me and the brethering were talking at the dinner table..."
  • "I've never studied on this text before..."
  • "It's been a long time since I've studied this subject."
  • "I thought I knew what I was going to preach on when I got here."
  • "I was talking to Bro Dave Montgomery last night." (You might as well go straight to dinner if you ever hear this one.)


Shouting: When somebody gets in the spirit and emits a loud vocal sound; when someone is in a spiritual and rapturous moment and releases their rapture by shouting loudly. Shouting oftentimes transpires during the preaching service though it has been known to happen in an especially good song service and during the Right Hand of Fellowship at the Sosashun. Shouting has diminished in recent years though it stills transpires occasionally. It is a very good thing to be able to report about a meeting, “…and there was shouting.” That says it all to some folks.


Shouting Ground: When someone is deeply moved spiritually; a really great point in a sermon; the entire doctrines of grace; anything good or spiritual.


Shouter: Someone who is prone to shout during the worship service.


Showcase Slot: The times of preaching that are the most desirable usually on Friday night or Saturday morning of the big meetings when the largest crowds are in attendance. In the old days, the Showcase Slot was Sunday morning but this has faded in modern times as more people leave on Saturday to get back to their home churches for Sunday.


Another variant of the Showcase Slot is to be selected to speak last in the preacher order. It is common to put the older and more veteran preachers last and to use the younger and/or lesser known ministers first.  Of course, nobody admits they do this but it is done and is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just the way it is.


Shuck the Corn: To preach really, really well; to explain a scriptural subject in good form; to preach in a loud and fast fashion; to tell it like it is; to tell it like it should be; to bear down on the doctrines of grace in a sermon with a little ‘Arminian Skinning’ thrown in for good measure.


Also termed as:

  • “He got after it.”
  • “He got in a big way.”
  • “He sure tore up the pea patch.”
  • “He took a rag off the bush.”
  • “He preached the roof off.”
  • “He preached the varnish off the ceiling.”
  • “That was a barn-burner.”
  • “That was a blow your hair back sermon.”


Singing: The portion of the worship service where songs are sung in order to praise the Lord. Of course, singing is done by the whole congregation, not just a select few.


Singings: A special meeting where “Songs of Zion” are sung; a meeting where singing is done and there is no preaching service. Singings are usually held all day on Saturday with three singing sessions and some continue through Sunday morning.


Singing Baptist: A member of the church that is more prone to attend singings than any other type of service.


Singing School: A time and place where people gather to receive musical instruction. These are usually bent toward the young people but all age groups are invited to attend and participate. The schools usually last a week and are held annually.


Singing Schools are named usually with the appellation, “Harmony.” You can start out in the Harmony Valley then go up to the Harmony Plains then proceed up the Harmony Hill then ascend all the way up to the Harmony Highlands. Or if you’re not into walking you can just go to the Houston Singing School.


Singing Time: A specific time to commence the song service.


Sing Songers: A style of preaching where the sermon delivery sounds like a chant and each phrase is ended with the typical “uh!” or “ah!” The practice is not as ancient as some advocate; it began in the late 1800’s in the mountains of Appalachia and spread across the country. Elder Sylvester Hassell derided it as a “new thing among our people.”


Sister Bighair: A female member of the church with big puffy hair; an older woman with her piled up on her head. She always has her hair freshly and beautifully beauty-shopped, in as big a beehive do as her length of hair will allow, not a single hair out of place. How she sleeps on it, we’ll never know.


Sister Church: A church of like faith and order that is in fellowship with your church. Ex: “We hope all our sister churches will attend our meeting.”


Sister Deacon: A female member of the church who is the wife of the Deacon Deluxe.


Sister Epiphany: A female member of the church who frequently has dreams of prophecy and tells you to the nth degree ALL about it. She takes the pastor to task over such burning issues as whether Adam had a bellybutton, if the serpent in the Garden had legs, and whether or not puppies and kittens go to heaven when they die. She wears her righteous holiness like flowing crimson cape, is shocked at Sister Take Charge's pragmatism and mortified by the length of Sister Outrageous's skirts and stilettos. She makes her piety and charity known far and wide, writes bad poetry and sighs a lot.


Sister Fashion-Plate: A female member of the church that always wears the latest and current fashions whether it looks good on her or not.


Sister Gab-A-Lot: A female member of the church that knows ALL the gossip, trivia, and inside info on everything there is to know. And she doesn't hesitate to spread the news, but only after a demure denial of her gossipy-ness behind a fluttering, well-manicured hand and a giggle or two. She more often than not is the match-maker of the church, knows who's pregnant and who's trying, who's having troubles at home and who's ailing or hurt. She never means any harm, but often the result of her handiwork can cause hurt feelings and tempests in teapots. She's the one who is on the phone 24/7, usually is responsible for putting out the church newsletter (if there is one) and the church member directory. She's the Electrolux of the church...got the dirt on everyone everywhere.


Sister Jiggles: A female member of the church who takes a ladylike sip of the communion wine and somehow always manages to get choked. Due to her girth she coughs and jiggles and digs furiously through her purse for a Kleenex and a cough drop.


Sister Jiggles always carries a suitcase for a purse, and she has everything in there. Little kids love to sit next to her during service, because she always brings them candy and gum. And if you need a Tylenol, a Tic Tac, dental floss, or a monkey wrench, no worries, she’s got it.


Sister Land-of-Goshen: A female member of the church that is the resident "character" that you do not know whether to hug her or slap her.


Sister Meek-Mouse:  A female member of the church that is noted for her meek and timid demeanor. She wouldn't say boo to a goose, always sits quietly, casts her eyes down, and does whatever Sister Take-Charge tells her to do. Usually shy and retiring, this Sister is much stronger than anyone thinks, and generally is part of the backbone of the church.


Sister Mother: A female member of the church that mothers all the other church members. She is always holding the babies and completely understands the naughtiness of children.


Sister Outrageous: A female member of the church that tends to wear bright colored clothes and lipstick, and jangly bracelets that she proceeds to jangle all during the service. She also has a reputation of being very outspoken with an extreme personality.  Every church has a Sister Outrageous; if not, then they need to get one.


Sister Reliable: A female member of the church that is there every Sunday, without fail. She's got the dishes done after lunch before you even realize someone has started them. She doesn't sing too loud, or too quietly, she's not flamboyant and calls no attention to herself. She votes in conference but never speaks up much. She's the one that can quiet a fussy baby, put a smile on a grumpy member's face with an encouraging compliment, finds the coffee filters when everyone thinks they've run out, and then vanishes like a whisper after lunch is cleared until the next Sunday, when she's back again, swiftly and competently bringing order and stability behind the scenes. She's a rock. She and Sister Meek-Mouse are bestest best friends.


Sister Sings-A-Lot: A female member of the church that is always humming and singing and if you give her the middle three words of a song she will tell you the name and where to find it in the song book.


Sister Sister: A female member of the church that is like a big sister or little sister (like one you had, or never had, or like one you wished you had)....the jabber and teaser, but your staunchest defender if someone criticizes you untowardly. Every preacher needs a Sister Sister and a Sister Mother.


Sister Sweetness-and-Light: A female member of the church who’s every word that proceeds from her lips is oh so sweet and kind. Even when she attempts to criticize, it just makes everyone go "awwwww" and they all strive to do better; like, make their beds and clean their rooms.


Sister Take-Charge: A female member of the church that is noted for her Type A personality and “get ‘er done” mentality. She is the R.A. Ermey of the Sisterhood... she's the one that steps up, organizes and plans out the lunches for Sosayshun time, gets after the younger, ditzier Sisters who aren't helping clean up the kitchen after lunch, gets monthly church housekeeping planned and organized, and generally Takes Care of Business. Often she is married to the Deacon Deluxe, or even the Bull Deacon.


Sistering: A colloquialism of the expression, “Sisters.” This is used as a companion to “Brethreing.” Sometimes this expression is pronounced, “Cisterns.” Ex: "Brethering and Cisterns, I feel so unworthy to stand before you today" of which the Amen Corner responds, “Amen!”


Skip Along With Jesus Songs: See Popcorn Songs.


Slobber Preachers: Ministers who have a disturbing habit of drooling spittle out of their mouths while preaching.


Song Leader: An individual who stands in front of the congregation and leads them in singing of songs. The song leader will start the song, hopefully in the right pitch and the congregation will fall in. The song leader is charged with keeping the pace of the song though some may let the congregation dictate the pace of which the song will be sure to “drag.”


Song Leader Devotionals: People who preach a sermonette before leading a song.


Song Leading by Committee: When two or more are tasked to lead the song service. We have seen as many as five leaders in the committee. Said committee can be extended to as much as floor space is available.


Songs of Zion: The songs sung in the singing service.


Sosashun: A colloquial expression for “Association.” See Association.


Sosashun Baptist: A member that only comes to services during the Association or some other big meeting.


Start a Song: To begin singing a hymn, hopefully on the right note. This is often done by the song leader though they may ask another to start the song before them. An experienced leader will usually “pitch” the song before starting it. See Song Leader


Stock Tank: A watering place for livestock and used as a place for baptism. Before the modern baptistery, new church members were baptized outdoors; some in rivers, some in creeks, some in ponds. “Tank” is a word used in Texas as another word for “pond.”  A tank is simply a large containment of water; hence the word tank for pond.



Strike Hands: A colloquial expression for “shaking hands.” This seems to be a Mississippi/Alabama expression as it is rarely heard outside that vicinity.


Struggle: (1) To have a difficult time in preaching a sermon; to be unable to feel the Holy Spirit; to have little or no liberty while preaching.  We want our ministers to have preaching grace, therefore, let us study, pray and meditate so liberty will ensue and struggling will cease.



Preacher A: “Hey Brother, how did you do last Sunday?”

Preacher B: “Oh man, I struggled.”

Preacher A: “That’s too bad. I know how ya feel.”


Why would a minister struggle? We can think of several reasons. A few of them are:


·         The preacher didn’t study much or none at all.

·         The preacher had a bad attitude.

·         The congregation had a bad attitude.

·         The preacher picked the wrong sermon/subject.

·         The preacher didn’t pray like he should.

·         The congregation didn’t pray like they should.

·         Somebody blew it and is under judgment.

·         The church is in a bad way i.e. in a division, has become lukewarm or cold, in rebellion. A sure sign of this is when the pastor struggles at home but has good liberty elsewhere. This is not good. He should have his best liberty at home.


(2) The struggle from the trials and tribulations of life as so well detailed in the old song, “Struggle on”


Our praying time will soon be o’er, Hallelujah,
We’ll join with those gone on before, Hallelujah.

Struggle on, struggle on, Hallelujah,
Struggle on, for the work’s most done, Hallelujah.

To love and bless and praise the same, Hallelujah,
Of Jesus Christ, the bleeding Lamb, Hallelujah.


Struggle on, struggle on, Hallelujah,
Struggle on, for the work’s most done, Hallelujah.


Subject: The topic that the minister will preach about in a sermon. He will usually announce his subject at the outset of the sermon. Ex: “I wanna talk to you all on the subject of regeneration.” Or, “My subject this morning is on giving.” Sometimes a preacher will have multiple subjects on his mind and that can be very dangerous. He needs our prayers. We need our prayers.


Sung Down: An expression meaning that the preacher preached way too long and the congregation sang a song to hush him up and set him down. The “sit down” song is unusually started by a deacon. Popular selections include “Time, What an Empty Vapor Tis” and “How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours.”


Sugar-Stick: A minister's favorite subject or text; a subject or text that a preacher goes to in a pinch and usually mentions in every sermon he preaches. Specifically, the doctrines of grace and the favorite doctrinal verses of the Bible. Romans chapter 8 and Ephesians chapter 1 are one of the Old Baptist's favorite sugar sticks.




Tabernacle: A temporary structure with a roof but no walls that is used to entertain a largely attended meeting. In the old days, these were constructed from branches of trees and were often called brush arbors. Some churches have permanent tabernacles for their large meetings which is an oxymoron considering the definition of the term.


Table Comforts: An eloquent way of saying “Grub” or “Food.” Often used in prayers.


Take A Text: To select a scripture to preach about.


Taken Aside: To be escorted to a quiet place in the building in order to be rebuked and corrected for crimes committed. Usually the Watchdog of the Pulpit is used to take aside a young preacher who has gone to meddling. To be taken aside is not good. To be taken aside by the Watchdog is terrible.


Taken on Statement: When a person is accepted as a member of a church on their personal statement of faith. This is done when a letter of dismissal from their former church cannot be obtained.


Some reasons for this occasion may include:


·         Their former church has disbanded.

·         Their former church has recently been declared out of fellowship.

·         Their former church has recently called a pastor that is not in fellowship.


Taking Part: To be included in the preaching service; to speak along with the regularly scheduled minister. EX: “And we’re going to ask Bro Joe Cantpreachalick to take part in the service.”


There are several types of taking part which determines how much time can be taken:

·         Introduce services: 10 minutes.

·         Take some time: 20 minutes.

·         Go first: 30 minutes.

·         Preach for us: 40 minutes but leave some time for the other guy.


Tater Salad: Potato Salad. A lunch staple.


Texas Two-Step: To lead two songs and call for another leader who leads two songs who calls for another leader who leads two songs. This process is repeated until time for preaching.


Tent Meeting: A large meeting held under a tent that was usually rented for the occasion, though some association owned a tent and carted it to where the meeting was to be held.  The tents were food to keep the sun and rain off of folks; regrettably, they also keep the breezes off as well.


Three Hour Doctrine: An erroneous belief that all the redemption needed for saving the elect took place in the three hours of darkness that Jesus hung on the cross. The previous three hours were spent fulfilling the Law. Some even contend that Jesus was on the cross for only three hours.


Theologian: One who has an exceptional ability to teach and prove the fundamental doctrines of grace.


Tight Wad: A one dollar bill (usually, hardly is a larger bill) that is tightly wadded up and given to the preacher during the handshake.


Time Salvation: A knowledge that one is saved eternally by grace to the paradise of heaven. Primitive Baptists believe that all the elect will be saved but not all the elect will know about it. To know about one’s salvation by grace is time salvation.


Trunk Baptist: One who keeps their church membership in their suitcase or trunk. This would transpire when people relocated; they would ask for a letter of dismissal and then never find a church to join…thus the letter went into the proverbial trunk.  This practice is not as tolerated as before. Now, when a member relocates, the church will not issue them a letter of dismissal but will until they join a church in good order who will then write for the wonderful and much desired letter of dismissal.


Top-Water Preacher: An expression meaning the preacher does not have much depth to his sermon. Also called “Shallow water preacher” meaning that the brother has no depth of insight or understanding, and mostly mouths platitudes or the same empty sermon over and over.


Touch On: To briefly mention a subject, or scripture or biblical character during a sermon. Example: David Montgomery preached a fine sermon on John the Baptist, and at the end he touched on being a prodigal.


Traveling Grace: A safe trip; safety on the road, the blessing to safely arrive at a distant meeting and make it back home again. One needs traveling grace to walk about Zion.


Trumpet Baptist: A faction of Primitive Baptists that aligned themselves under Elder J.C. Morgan, the editor of the “Baptist Trumpet.” After the 1927 Dallas Peace Meeting, this group remained aloof from the other factions that made peace among themselves. Peace between these factions did not totally come until the late 1980’s.


Two-Seed Doctrine: A doctrinal tenet that held that the elect are the literal children of God and the non-elect are the literal children of the devil. This issue was hotly debated throughout the 1800's and was largely spurred by the publication of the infamous book, “Diagram of the Churches” by Dr. S. F. Carlton of Rusk, Texas. Most of the churches in Texas officially made it a test of fellowship. Many heresies take their root from Two-Seedism; namely Eternal Children, Eternal Devil, Eternal Vital Union, and Absolute Predestination of All Things. Two-Seedism is the grandfather of all these heresies.



Uncle in the Ministry: A minister that acts as a good example to a younger minister but is not really that much older or has not been in the ministry long enough to be considered a father figure.


Uncle Harvey: Brother Harvey Bass. Long loved and forever remembered deacon and singing instructor. Along with his wife, “Aunt Marie”, they touched many a generation.









Walking About in Zion: To travel about the country, going to one meeting after another.


Wall Preacher: A minister that looks at the wall while preaching instead of eye to eye contact with congregation.


War of 1832: When certain of the Baptists decided to make a stand against modernisms that have crept into the churches. Among these modernisms were changes in doctrine, the establishment of modern missionary societies and the practice of protracted meeting held for the purpose of “saving” people to heaven. After a period of discussion and arguments, the Baptists were split into two factions: (1) Old School or Primitive Baptists and (2) New School or Missionary Baptists.


The date of 1832 is given as that was year that the Black Rock Address was published and distributed. Some of our good Primitive Baptists are still fighting the War of 1832 by “skinning arminians” in every sermon and conversation. It might be time to leave off the fighting and just preach the gospel. We are sure the War of 1832 has been long forgotten by the New School Baptists.


Watchdog of the Pulpit: A member of the church, usually a deacon, which keeps a careful eye on the ministers so they do not preach heresy, take too much time or go to meddling.


What we fail in asking, fail not in granting: An oft repeated prayer request.


Whisper Preachers: Ministers that speak to softly to be understood; ministers that whisper a good point instead of saying it loudly.


White Knuckle Baptist: One who has an intense desire to join the church but also possesses an equally intense fear of doing same; so much so that the fears keeps the poor soul holding onto the bench so tightly that their knuckles turn white. So instead of doing what would be the most wonderful thing, they keep their seat and hold on for dear life. Repeatedly white knuckling will lead to a bad case of spiritual arthritis of which only the baptismal waters can cure.


White Knuckle Baptists are different than dry-landers because the desire to join the church is there though, sadly, the end result is the same. They forbid themselves from doing their reasonable service which results in unhappiness and guilty feelings. Hence, spiritual arthritis.


Whole Man Doctrine: An erroneous doctrinal tenet that believes that the body is made spiritual in regeneration. So upon regeneration, the “whole man” is spiritual: soul, body and spirit. This thinking is a knee-jerk reaction the Hollow Log heresy. A knee-jerk will often make a jerk out of a feller.


Word Our Prayer: To ask someone to offer a prayer. We would love to hear a murderator say, “And we’re going to ask Bro Joe to word a word of prayer.” Wouldn’t that be nice?



Yodeler: Another name for a sing-song preacher.


Yokefellows in the Ministry: Fellow ministers; the camaraderie that ministers feel toward each other; the friendship, help and support ministers give to one another.






Southern Expression in the Holy Scriptures


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 August 2014 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.