"That peace and brotherly love may abound"
Jones, William Brent
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This thesis explores the antebellum disciplinary practices of Beaverdam Primitive Baptist Church, a congregation located in Georgia’s upper Piedmont region. Like Baptists across the South, the church initially disciplined all of its members in order to purge evil elements, reclaim wayward Christians, and maintain a peaceful fellowship of faith. After revivals in the late 1820s transformed the religious context of northeast Georgia, the church increasingly evaluated its ecclesiastical health by the conduct and relationships of white male believers. The largest and most prominent kinship network also began wielding a heavier influence over disciplinary hearings. Discipline did not slow down until the late 1830s, when a number of that family had left the congregation. Despite warnings from Primitive Baptist church leaders, the new evangelical culture of the region’s late antebellum years resulted in the devaluation of local churches. Discipline declined as the neighborhood congregation became less important to evangelicals.