- First Baptist Church in the City of New York
The First Baptist Church in the City of New York is a
Christianbased in a sanctuary built in 1891 at the intersection of Broadway and West 79th Street in the Upper West Sideof Manhattan Island. FBC is a conservative, independent, evangelistic, mission-oriented church in fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, based in Schaumburg, Illinois.
The church holds 90-minute worship services at 11 a.m. Sundays and midweek activities on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
The first attempt to establish a Baptist presence in New York City dates to 1711, when William Wightman began his ministry. A church was built on Gold Street but disbanded eight years later because of financial
Scattered Baptists organized in 1745 under the
businessmanJeremiah Dodge and the pastor Benjamin Miller of Scotch Plains, New Jersey.
A church edifice built in 1760 was again located on Gold Street.
John Gano(1727-1804), a New Jerseynative, became the first full-time pastor of the congregation of twenty-seven, which by 1762 had grown to three hundred members and took the name "First Baptist Church in the City of New York".
The church supported the
American Revolutioneven though New York City was occupied by British forces from the summer of 1776 until the duration of the war. Elder Gano joined the army and was a chaplainto General George Washington. With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, a celebration took place in Newburg, New York. Washington called upon Gano to offer the prayer of thanksgiving. The Anglican(Episcopalian) Washington also requested that Gano baptizehim because after Washington's study of the scriptures, he concluded that baptism by immersion should follow the conversion of a believer.
On his return to New York City after the revolution, Gano found thirty-seven members who restored the church building and grew thereafter to two hundred. When the Congress offered former revolutionary soldiers land on the
frontier, Gano departed from New York to Kentucky. There he started several Baptist churches. He was also a founder of the Baptist-affiliated Brown Universityin Providence, Rhode Island.
Early 19th century
In 1802, FBC built a new stone structure while still based on Gold Street. Under the leadership of Dr. Spencer Cone, the congregation relocated in 1842 to the intersection of Elizabeth and Broome streets in a gothic structure still in use by another church today. This was also the headquarters of the Baptist Home and Foreign Mission Board. When the congregation outgrew the facility, it moved to the intersection of 39th Street and
Park Avenue. Under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Anderson, a gothic brown stone sanctuary was constructed as well as a separate Bible school building.
ymbolism of the sanctuary at Broadway and 79th Street
Isaac Massey Haldeman was the pastor who thus far has served the longest tenure at FBC -- from 1884 to 1933. Six years after his arrival, FBC relocated to the present facility, which is adjacent to a subway station.
The FBC building was designed by George M. Kaiser, who also planned the
Apollo Theater. A balcony was added in 1903. This created a seating capacity of one thousand. Two unequal towers over the corner entrance to the main auditorium are examples of biblical symbolism. The taller tower represents Jesus Christas the Head of the Church. The lower tower, which appears incomplete, was designed to represent the church, while will remain unfulfilled until the return of Christ. Two shorter towers represent the Old Testamentand the New Testament.
A large rose window facing Broadway pictures Christ as the center of the New Testament church. He is in the large inner circle. The star depicts Him as the Bright and Morning Star. The crown shows Him as King of Kings. The frame of sun portrays Him as the Sun of Righteousness. The five upper circles depict the writers of the New Testament
Epistles, while the botton four circles represent Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Gospelauthors.
FBC faith and practice
The five front steps of the sanctuary conform to the teaching that
salvationis by the grace of God alone through Jesus. FBC teaches the "faith once delivered to the saints":
Sovereigntyof the Trinity( Godas Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)
(2) Inspiration and inerrancy of scripture
(3) The Virgin Birth of Christ
(4) The sinlessness of Jesus
(5) Christ's vicarious atonement at
resurrectionand ascension of Christ
(7) The pre-tribulation
raptureof the church
(8) The pre-millennial return and reign of Christ.
In the church's Gano Chapel are
paintings of Gano baptizing Washington and of Gano praying in thanksgiving for the British surrender. They are copies of the originals located at William Jewell Collegein Liberty, Missouri. The college collection includes Gano's sword, which was a gift from General Washington, who had received it from the French General Marquis de Lafayette.
List of FBC pastors since 1884
FBC has had eighteen pastors, two of which were chaplains of the
United States Congress. Two were also college presidents. Two founded colleges. Collectively, the pastors have written more than three hundred books, mostly on the Christian religion. Many have been denominational leaders. Robert C. Gage, a native of Massachusetts, became pastor in 2000. He resigned, effective September 9, 2007. The current assistant pastor is Matthew A. Carpenter.
Pastors prior to Gage were:
Richard Daniel Burke (1976-1998)
William Fliedner, Jr. (1972-1975)
Arthur Whiting (1950-1955)
William L. Pettingill (1948-1950
Arthur Williams (1941-1947)
William H. Rogers (1934-1940
I.M. Haldeman (1884-1933)
There were interim periods with guest ministers when FBC was without a pastor.
*"The History and Architectural Symbolism of The First Baptist Church in the City of New York, 79th at Broadway", First Baptist Church brochure
* [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30E1FFC3E5B0C7A8EDDA90994DE404482&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fOrganizations%2fB%2fBaptist%20Churches NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: UPPER WEST SIDE; With Bowed Heads, A Flock Looks Warily Ahead]
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=SNwOAAAAIAAJ&dq=first+baptist+church+in+the+city+of+new+york&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=tb38hywTeB&sig=k1iIZ-aFFOTr2HVT0j5Nel7al8o Ten Sermons on the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ]
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