Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 3, 1969

J. H. Halbrook And The Florida Baptists

Earl Kimbrough

J. H. Halbrook was one of those pioneer preachers who labored "more abundantly" in the counties of Northwest Alabama during the years following the Civil War. From 1876 until 1890 he traveled the hills and hollows of that region preaching the Word under hardship and persecution. But in 1890, due to failing health, he moved of North Florida, and there continued to labor in the Lord's vineyard until his body was laid to rest in a cemetery near Chiefland in 1905.

Not long after moving to North Florida a rumor was circulated among Halbrook's friends in North Alabama to the effect that he had joined the Baptist Church. Very naturally this created excitement among the saints in that section, many of whom he had led out of the Baptist Church by his faithful preaching. In a short space of time he received four letters from as many places in Alabama inquiring about this rumor and requesting him, as he put it, "to rise up and explain." This is his reply:

"Well I have often since I have been here asked them and the other people, as for that matter, to lay aside their unscriptural names and practices and unite with us on the Word of God and take it as their only rule of faith and practice, and a good many of them have done so, always leaving their unscriptural names behind and taking the names found in the Bible. So you see I am joining just as I used to "join" them in Alabama.

"Let me say to all my old friends in Alabama don't be uneasy about me. I am only 'joining' a few at a time and not the whole church, and in this way I expect to 'join' them occasionally as long as I live.

"I will start out next Saturday to join a few more, as I received word yesterday that several more, both Baptist and Methodist, wanted me to join' them next Lord's day.

"Please say through the Advocate to all its many readers that if any of them want any Baptists `joined,' drop me a card and I will come and 'join' them and the Methodists and all of the sinners that want to be joined to Christ." (Gospel Advocate, Sept. 29, 1892, p. 621.) — Tuckerman, Ark.