John G. Stearns was a pioneering minister during the later Second Great Awakening in the upper and western areas of New York, whose efforts were marked significantly, not by large numbers of local church members, but rather by a noteworthy influence beyond the walls of his pastorates through his publications. . . .Long buried on the forgotten shelves of archival material, Stearns’ writings offer a Baptist minister’s theological evaluation of these times, thus providing much-needed religious primary source material for this era. Examining Stearns’ publications surfaces one principal conclusion: he sought to clarify the sometimes-blurry line between genuine and false religion, claiming that a dramatic shift occurred in the 1820’s in both the theological framework and methodologies brought about by various groups declaring new interpretations of Scripture. Ultimately, he asserted, “these things are not religion” and would argue, as an alternative, that ministers must employ apostolic means to bring about the genuine movement of God among a people. ---J. Ryan West
The picture is of the Baptist meetinghouse at Clinton, NY, where Stearns served as pastor.