Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
ELDER JOHN BOND
The early history of the Baptists of Middle Tennessee is intimately associated with name of Bond. Two brothers, James and John Bond, began their ministry in the year 1820 and became and continued dominant factors in the denomination life until their death. John Bond was born in Anson County, North Carolina, February 23, 1787. His parents moved to South Carolina when he was only three years of age. At the age of fifteen he gave his heart to God, and on Wednesday after the third Sunday in July, 1802, having recited his Christian experience to the Padget Creek Baptist church, he was buried in baptism by Elder Thomas Green. The clear waters of old Tiger River witnessed to the joy of the youth.
The Bond family moved from South Carolina to Tennessee and settled near Statesville in 1806. The Smith's Fork Baptist church was organized in this year, and the youth probably became a constituent member and retained his membership with this church until 1815. In this year he was licensed to preach; and when Union church, familiarly known as "Old Hurricane," was constituted , as a daughter of the Smith Fork church, he went into he new organization and became the first clerk. In 1820 he was ordained by the Union church, with the presbytery composed of Elders Joseph Lester and David Gordon. He gave to this church 20 acres of land and largely assisted in the erection of its building. The modern church building stands upon the old plot and the visitor may read in the adjoining cemetery the names of the heroes of those long-departed days.
Soon after his ordination Elder Bond was called as pastor of Union church and served through the unbroken period of 39 years. Tradition holds that the compensation for this long pastorate came in the form of a donation, placed one Sunday morning upon the table before the pulpit. It consisted of about $11.00 and a pair of woolen socks. Pushing the spontaneous expression of appreciated toward an aged, but poor brother, the minister said: "Here, Daddy Mack, you need these worse than I do."
As a minister Elder Bond must have combined tact and oratorical ability to justify such a long pastorate. Careful of informing judgment, tender in his treatment of the brother in error, he was often sought for his counsel to help churches settle their personal and doctrinal difficulties. He was a strong Calvinist who fully recognized that Calvinism did not violate the missionary obligation. When the division in Middle Tennessee occurred over the missionary question, Elder Bond was a strong advocate of the missionary party. His name ranks among the ministers of his day with those of J. R. Graves, R. B. C. Howell, James Whitsitt, J. M. Pendleton, Joseph Marshall, and J. H. Eaton, who were his friends and co-laborers.
His method of speaking was without manuscript. He did not have an ambition for authorship, but in 1859 he compiled the History of Concord Association for their first fifty years which was published by request of the Association. The sum of $50 was given the author for this service, and by him was presented to Union University in Murfreesboro for a scholarship. Elder Bond frequently served as moderator, and preached on special occasions, for Concord Association. As an expression of the Association's love for him, in 1859, the Association raised a fund for making him life director of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Union. Toward the later period of his life he was affectionately known as "Father Bond."
In personal appearance he was of medium height, slender in build, with an average weight of 140 and of an active disposition. He was well to do in material things, owning at one time 1,300 acres of rich land with a number of slaves. In 1806 he was married to Miss Sallie Cummins, and to them ten children were born. The youngest of these Captain James Houston Bond, at this writing is a resident of Nashville. On March 2, 1861, with his mental and spiritual powers unabated, and with the record of a long and useful ministry, and just before the war clouds burst upon the South, this minister of God laid down his earthly service to take part in the triumph of those who served well their God and their generation by the will of God.
The ministerial heritage of John Bond overleaped one generation to fall upon the youngest son of his youngest son, Dr. Albert R. Bond, the beloved editor of the Baptist and Reflector, of Nashville, the grandson of John Bond, gratefully recognizes the pioneer services rendered by his worthy ancestor. It was the privilege of the editor to take part in the centennial celebration of the organization of old Union church and stand in the pulpit of his worthy sire. On the foundation of our fathers may the larger structure of Kingdom plans be builded! (sic)
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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