Isaac Backus


Isaac Backus (1724-1806), Baptist clergyman, was born in Norwich, Connecticut. Converted at a young age, Backus thrust himself into itinerant preaching. Accepting the call for a revivalist preacher of a church near Middleborough, Massachusetts, Backus became racked with indecision over whether it was right to pay taxes to the established Congregational church. As a result of this law, Backus became a champion of the separation of church and state and left the Congregational denomination to form the First Baptist Church in Middleborough. He subsequently continued his evangelistic tours and became a strong advocate of religious freedom. His efforts helped unite the various Baptist groups into a unified movement and in 1767 he founded the Warren Baptist Association, which was the leading alliance of Baptists in New England.

For further reading see W.G. McLoughlin, Isaac Backus and the American Pietistic Tradition (Little, Brown, 1967).

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