Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
E. J. LOVING
(pages 339 - 340)
Edmund J. Loving was born in Hawkins County, Tenn., made a profession of his faith in Christ and joined the Cloud's Creek Church in the year 1866. He afterwards moved to Spruce Pine Grove Church, where he was ordained to the ministry in the usual way, by vote of the church and the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. He then moved his membership to Rock Bridge Church.
Brother Loving never acquired a very extensive acquaintance with books outside of the Bible and hymn book. The writer has a very distinct recollection of Brother Loving when he came to Carson College (about 1874 or 1875), especially as he appeared, the first time, in the Philomathean Hall. He must have been 25 years old (was a married man, I think) and fresh from the mountains, with the dress and other peculiarities of the typical mountaineer. But he had good native sense, and a voice like a lion. We were partly amused and partly surprised; when he roared in debate we took notice, if it was not exactly with fear and trembling. He remained in school only a few weeks, I think. Twenty years later I stayed all night with him and was entertained at his home north of Clinch Mountain. He had done and was doing a great work. Besides being pastor of a great many churches in that region of country, he had been a wonderfully successful evangelist in many places, and had been missionary of the Holston Valley Association for four years. Before his death, which occurred March 11, 1904, he had baptized about 4,000 people into the fellowship of Baptist churches. That is a remarkable record. He died of blood poison, caused by a wound from a rusty nail. Judged by man's "feeble sense," that was a calamity. How many more lie might have brought into the Kingdom if he could have lived out his allotted years! But these things are in the hands of the Lord, and whatever he does, or permits, is right. His servants fall but his work goes on.
Elder Loving was a member of a lodge at Tate Springs and, after funeral services had been conducted at the church, he was buried with Masonic honors.
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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