compiled by Sally K Harris, 1984
The church was organized in the building known at that time as the City Mission in Rocky Mount, NC. It was given the name Central Baptist Church because it was almost in the center of the City; the building was on Washington Street.
A group of people came together to hear different preachers of many denominations preach on Sunday afternoons. Some of the people were members of other churches, but most of the people were without a church home.
A preacher from Raleigh, NC, named John Coley, came down to preach to us. Mrs. Otha Barrett was the leader of the City Mission at that time. They called the people together and suggested that we organize an independent Baptist church in this building. Some of the people were unhappy about it because they wanted it to continue as a mission, but the church was born in the year of our Lord 1946. Rev. Coley came down on Sunday afternoons to preach to us. We also had Sunday School in the mornings; Charles Harris was the leader of that.
Rev. Coley suggested that we call a full-time pastor. He said he knew a preacher that had pulled out of the Southern Baptist Convention, and he thought he might consider becoming our pastor. He came down to preach to us, and he consented to become our pastor. That preacher was Rev. M. Luther Hux. We liked him very much. We knew that he would not compromise the Gospel as we believe it.
We soon began to have trouble with the people who wanted the building back as a City Mission. They took Mrs. Barrett and our pastor to court, and the church lost the case. It once more became the City Mission. We had to find a place to worship, so we began meeting in the home of Charles and Sally Harris. Our pastor and his wife Selma lived in one room of our home because there was not enough money coming in to pay a pastor, but he determined by the grace of God to stay and continue to preach the truth.
This church was the first independent Baptist church in Rocky Mount, NC. He had to fight a great battle. All of the preachers were against him. They said Rocky Mount did not need another church, but we felt that God wanted us to continue the church. Some of the members could not take the pressure, and they pulled out and went back to other churches. I will try to name as many members that I can that were members while we were meeting in our home: Mr & Mrs Sam Meyer and family, Mr & Mrs J W Bowden and family, Mr J J Coltrain, Mr & Mrs Ralph Robbins & family, Mrs Otha Barrett, Dorothy Radford, Mr & Mrs Charles & Sally Harris & family, Mrs Lovett Johnson, and Rev & Mrs Luther Hux.
The time we were meeting in our home, the Huxes had a little girl named Selma, now known as Selma Jordan. While they were waiting for the birth of their girl, Mrs. Johnson gave our pastor a lot in Englewood. The pastor and some of the people of the church began to build a house for the pastor and his family. When Selma was born, they were able to carry her to their new house. It was not finished, but they could live in it.
We then started meeting in the pastor's home. Mr. Robbins would come by on his paint truck and take all of us out to the preacher's house. We decided to find a place closer to town, so we rented a room in the Masonic Temple downtown. The Lord really blessed us there. Quite a number were saved. Mrs. Gupton - mother of Jack and Elwood - came, and she liked what she heard preached. Jack and Marie Gupton came to hear our pastor, and God wonderfully saved them. Elwood and Mattie Gupton were saved also and some others that I cannot remember.
We began to think about building a church building. Our pastor mortgaged his home and borrowed money from an insurance company. The members signed to make the payments if our pastor could not. But, praise the Lord, we never had that trouble because we believed we were in the will of the Lord. The church name was changed at that time to Temple Baptist Church. We had only one room to worship and have classes in, but to us, it seemed like a mansion because the Lord had given it to us after much prayer.
We had about three Sunday School classes all meeting in the sanctuary. On warm days, we would take the children out behind the church. We had little benches that someone had made for us to use. Mrs. Barrett left us - because she did not have as much to say about the church as she would like to have had - and went back to the mission.
The church continued to grow, and the Lord blessed us with many new members. We had people coming from Raleigh, NC; Richmond, VA; Littleton, NC; and Langley Field, VA. Soon other independent Baptist churches were organized, and we lost a few of our members. But we still needed more room, so we built a small room on the back of the building and had classes there.
We began a conference in 1950 that was mostly for preachers called The Bible Lovers' Fellowship. We know it today as The Sovereign Grace Bible Conference, and everyone is welcome. When we first began the conference, we served meals on the grounds because we did not have a fellowship hall then.
Our pastor obtained a tent and held meetings in many places, among them was Wilson, NC, and Boone Street in Rocky Mount, NC. During that time, Richard and Eula Brown were saved and Richard's brother, Thomas Brown. They became members of our church, along with Thomas' wife and many more that are not with us now.
Our pastor continued to preach and fight the good fight. In 1952, a new Bible came out called the Revised Standard Version. Our pastor was very upset because of a lot of changes which had been made. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 7, verse 14, the text was changed to read that our Lord was born of a "young woman" instead of a "virgin," as all God's children believe. He began to preach against it with great zeal. He suggested that he might burn a page of the RSV Bible with Isaiah 7:14 on it in protest against the unholy changes that had been made to the Word of God. The newspapers took it up, and it made headlines all over the nation. People could not understand why he would take a stand like that and began to condemn him. But he continued to preach and write against the new Bible and its errors.
In November 1952, he did burn part of a page of an RSV Bible with Isaiah 7:14 on it. He felt at the time of the burning that he was being led by God, which we understood because he received many letters and phone calls from all over the USA saying they had been trying to get some protest started against the RSV in the newspapers and had not been able to accomplish a thing. We believe this was God's way of getting the news to the public that this version of the Bible is heresy. In the margin beside Isaiah 7:14, it said, "His father was probably a Roman soldier." "Look" magazine covered the burning, and their write up came out in January 1953. Many people felt that our pastor was doing it to get attention, but he was doing it because he loved his Lord and could not stand anybody changing the Word that he loved so much with all his heart and soul. We lost a few members because of it, but the church continued in spite of all opposition.
The brick part of the church building was built later, and we have our church as it remains today. Our beloved pastor's wife, Selma, passed away August 2, 1976. Three years later, on April 10, God gave him another wife, the former Alice Long. She was a great help to him in his last days. She was a wonderful friend of the church, and we loved her very much. On August 7, 1982, the Lord called our beloved pastor home to be with Him.
Now the Lord has blessed us with another shepherd, and we thank the Lord for him. His name is Dan Carpenter from Rochelle, VA. We trust the Lord will use him in a mighty way to carry the torch and to preach the gospel of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ for His praise and glory and never compromise the Gospel as we believe it to be the truth.
ADDENDUM by Pastor Dan T Carpenter
In 1985, the pastor and members of Temple Baptist Church, coming to the understanding that denominationalism does not have any basis in the Bible, decided to become undenominational and changed their name to Temple Bible Church.
For more information, call 252-904-9415.