Election2000 - Gore Church - Story2

Election2000 - Gore Church - Story2

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Agee still preaches the basics: the inspiration and trustworthiness of the Bible, the lordship of Jesus Christ, the depravity of humans, the need for redemption, the gift of salvation, and everlasting life.

By the way, New Salem is not, nor has it ever been, a Southern Baptist church. The national media may not know or appreciate such distinctions, but folks around here live by them. Missionary Baptists are independent, mostly rural, and beholden to no national organization. Southern Baptists, on the other hand, are part of a large and influential denomination, run sophisticated publishing and evangelism organizations, and are spread all over the country, from the smallest towns to the largest cities.

Around here, people don't care about all the trimmings that go with big denominations. But they do care about the differences between independent Baptists. And they are aware of differences between Carthage (pop. 2,700)--the county seat three miles west on Highway 70, the river town Gore calls his hometown--and the unincorporated community of Elmwood (pop. unknown), home of New Salem and most of its members, including the vice president, whose 2,100-square-foot brick home a mile west remains his legal residence.

"Elmwood is where we live and worship. Carthage is where we go to town," said Ruth Farmer, who has lived here since she was born 86 years ago.
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Like Al Gore's ancestors, the first Baptists who settled Middle Tennessee's Cumberland basin in the 1780s came from Virginia and called themselves "United" Baptists.

fountain By the 1820s, though, there were United Baptists,Primitive and Free Will Baptists, Two-Seed and Hardshell Baptists, Duck River and Elk River Baptists, Separate and Landmark Baptists, Southern and National and Missionary Baptists. By 1900, there were 27 different Baptist groups.

"Now, it shouldn't ought to be this way, but people have their troubles in the church as well as out of the church," said Elder James Gibbs, who grew up in New Salem and was its pastor from 1960 to 1964. His great-great-grandfather, Felix Gibbs, was the first Gibbs to join New Salem.

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