According to Baptist historians, Z. T. Leavell and T. J. Bailey, the first Baptist church organized in Mississippi was the Salem Baptist Church in Jefferson County in October 1791. Apparently, however, Salem church was known by other names before 1807. Leavell and Bailey explain:
The first church was called Salem, i. e. peace, and stood among the upper branches of South Fork of Coles Creek in Jefferson county, on what is still known as ‘The Salem road.’ ” (Jones” Protestantism) This statement is true in a sense. This first church was called Salem, but was not called Salem at first. It is the general opinion that it was, but the opinion is not correct by much. It is called in the early church records, “The Church of Jesus Christ at Coles Creek,” “The Baptist Church of Jesus Christ on Coles Creek,” and “The Baptist Church on Coles Creek.” It is spoken of as assembling in private homes, and “according to appointment,” until I805, when it is said to meet “at ‘Coles Creek Meeting House.'” The caption of the old minutes is, “The Records of Coles Creek Church.”
Furthermore, the Salem church’s confession of faith was brief and perhaps even considered hollow by standards within some sectors of confessionalism today. The only three articles read:
- We agree to submit ourselves to God, and to each other, reprove, and bear reproof, bear each other’s burdens, and to carry on the work of the Lord as well as we can.
- We agree, as touching things temporal, not to go to law one against another, as the Scriptures forbid that Brother should go to law against Brother.
- We believe the Lord’s Day to be set apart for the worship of God, and, whereas it has been much observed, now to pay particular attention to that day: and make the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament our rule and practice in life.
The authors conclude the confession as “a good and simple creed, and one by which the church abided throughout its existence.”
Source: Leavell, Z.T. and T.J. Bailey. A Complete History of Mississippi Baptists, From the Earliest Times. Vol 2. Jackson: Mississippi Baptist Publishing Co., 1904: 1522-1523