Cathcart’s Baptist encyclopedia describes J. W. D. Creath as “the most apostolic man in Texas.”1 Born in Virginia in 1809, educated at Virginia Baptist Seminary (at the time of Cathcart’s writing, it was Richmond College), and after pastoring for several years in his home state, was appointed by the Domestic Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention as a missionary to Texas in 1846.
In addition, according to Cathcart Creath “raised more money for missions and the erection of houses of worship, and he constituted more churches, than any man in the Southwest.” Creath also served as moderator of Union Association, president of the Texas convention of Baptists, president of the trustees of Baylor University, and vice-president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Cathcart judged Creath both a “sound theologian” and a “thorough Baptist.”
In 1854, Creath penned a circular letter for the Union Baptist Association of Texas. Creath titled its theme to be “Infant Salvation” and stated in his opening words the subject remains one of “deep and thrilling interest to the church, as well as to every parent’s heart.” Creath also conceded that while the Bible may seem not so clear as on some other points of revealed truth, “yet we think it is sufficiently so [i.e. sufficiently clear on Infant Salvation] to insure consolation to the heart of every parent.”
Creath then pens these words concerning his understanding of Baptists on the eternal destiny of infants dying in infancy. He wrote:
The position which we, as Baptists, have occupied since the days of Christ and the inspired Apostles, and which we still maintain is this: That all infants dying in infancy are saved, in accordance with the electing love of God through the application of the atonement of Christ by the Holy Spirit, and are included in the number of God’s elect; and this salvation is unconditional, so far as repentance, faith, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the holiness or unholiness of parents are concerned”
Once again we find Baptists expressing not agnosticism concerning infants dying in infancy like a chorus of Southern Baptists are doing today. Rather we find them expressing a convictional certainty toward the eternal destiny of a significant portion of the human race, convictional certainty not based upon emotion or sentiment, but upon the revealed Word of God.