Pastor Kevin Madden was kind enough to invite me to preach at First Baptist Church in Washington, GA recently. I was delighted to have that opportunity, for several reasons, but one of the reasons was because the early history of The Christian Index can be traced to that part of our state.
Jesse Mercer was the first pastor of the church and served there from 1827 until he died in 1841. In 1833 Mercer brought The Christian Index to Washington to “stir his Washington flock and all Georgia Baptists to action for missions and education.”
After the second worship service a gentleman, Lloyd Johnson, age 62, came up to me after the benediction and said, “I have story for you about The Christian Index.”
I said, “Great! I want to hear it. I am always looking for good stories.”
Lloyd began, “I was raised mostly by my grandmother. One day, when I was about nine or ten years old I did something that I was not supposed to do; and my grandmother said, ‘Boy, if you don’t behave I am going to give you a whipping with The Christian Index.’”
He continued, “I had no idea what The Christian Index was, but figured that it must be some terrible form of corporal punishment.
“I don’t remember what I had been warned not to do, but I guess I did it again, because my grandmother called me into the house for my punishment. She rolled up that Christian Index, but it didn’t have that many pages to it, so I thought, ‘This newspaper can’t do much damage.’
“However, I bent over to receive my whipping and when that little rolled-up Christian Index hit me on the backside I barely felt it. It didn’t hurt one bit, but I hollered and screamed like I was being beaten to death.”
My daddy used to whip me with the knotty branch of a lilac bush or a belt when I got out of the traces. I wish he had used The Christian Index. I don’t know if you have ever used The Christian Index to discipline your children, but I do hope you will not only read it, but tell your friends to look for us at www.christianindex.org.