Benoni Stinson was
born in Montgomery County, Kentucky, December 10, 1798, the seventh child of
Elijah and Rachel Cobb Stinson. In his infancy Stinson’s parents moved to
Little Sandy settlement, in the same state. His father and mother did not get
along well and when Benoni was about five years of
age the parents separated living Benoni and four of
the other children with the father.
About this time Elijah Stinson moved to Boone County and Benoni was sent to live with a man by the name of Peter Lehew, where he remained three months without seeing any
of his relatives. His mother then came and took custody of him.
No details of his life from eight to eighteen are left to us, and when we see
him next he is living with his mother, his brother John, and a sister on White River in Indiana. Eventually Benoni and his mother moved to Henderson
County, Kentucky. Here he
married Ruth Martin on February 19,
Together they moved to Wayne County Kentucky, where both made a profession of
faith. They were baptized on August 24,
1820 and subsequently joined the United Baptist Church.
Stinson was ordained to the ministry on November 1, 1821 and accepted the pastoral care of Liberty Church in Little Sinken, Wayne County, Kentucky. The following year they
moved to Vanderburg County Indiana, held a series
of revival meetings, and gathered a church, which they called New Hope.
He was appointed as one of the new messengers delegated to bear the letter
from the new church petitioning for admission to the Wabash District
Association, which was to convene that year at Patoka meetinghouse, Gibson
County Indiana. He was offended by the strong Calvinism he found there, but
joined the association hoping for the best.
During this session of the Wabash District Association it was decided to
divide the body and constitute another association, and the church to which
Stinson belonged was one of those which was to form
the new body. Stinson was pleased with this move, thinking that he would have
opportunity to assist in formulating the Constitution and Principles, which
he hoped would be on a basis more in keeping with his convictions. But this
he was disappointed.
He was a member of the convention appointed to draw up the Constitution,
Articles of Faith, and Rules of Decorum, but when the committee met,
representing the nine churches of the proposed new association, he found it
impossible to insert any article that was not consistent with the doctrine of
unconditional election. Stinson tried to include an article that state “That
the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man should be no bar to
fellowship,” but found the effort vain. Immediately, he saw that the Wabash
District Association was very different from the United Baptists of Kentucky.
In the fall of 1823 Stinson formed a new church on the principles of free
salvation to all men. George Parker, Benoni Stinson
and Lewis Stinson organized the church. This new church was called Liberty and Benoni was chosen as its first pastor.
In the following years, Stinson would be involved in organizing many General
Baptist churches and Associations. He passed to his reward in 1870.