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The designation "Regular" was assumed to distinguish these more traditional Baptists from the "irregularity" of Separate Baptists who began colonizing the southern frontier after 1755. The original Separate Baptists migrated to North Carolina following the first Great Awakening, and their enthusiastic doctrines spread rapidly, eventually having a strong influence on the style and theology adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention when it formed in 1845. William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Foundations in the South (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1961), pp. 158-162. The worship of Separate Baptists was noted for zeal and emotion and incorporated as part of its noisy, uninhibited services an

extensive ministry of women,
including their praying aloud and preaching. Robert A. Baker, The Southern Baptist Convention and its People, 1607-1972 (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1974), p. 49. Martha Stearns Marshall, one of their foremost female preachers, was described as
a lady of good sense, singular piety and surprising elocution, who in countless instances melted a whole concourse into tears by her prayer and exhortations.
Robert Baylor Semple, History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia (Richmond, Virginia, 1810), p. 374; quoted in Garnett H. Ryland, The Baptists of Virginia, 1699-1926 (Richmond: The Virginia Board of Missions and Education, 1955), p. 40.

Just as the initial participation of Baptist women in England was tempered by the denomination's rising social status and a cultural definition of femininity that excluded aggressiveness, the activity of Baptist women in the South declined in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The back-country Separate Baptists began uniting with the respectable Regular Baptists of the cities for cooperative efforts after the Revolution, and women generally ceased speaking out in worship, deferring to the leadership of males. Some women continued as deaconesses, but that office lost its ordained status and became a natural extension of private nurturing identified with the female sex. Since congregational autonomy and varied social customs prevailed, especially on the frontier, these were merely trends regarding Baptist women's behavior rather than uniformly accepted creeds. Where emotional fervor and informality characterized worship services, as in the camp meeting revivals of the early 1800s, some women continued to be vocal

as convert-exhorters, or as good singers and praying persons.
Dickson D. Bruce, Jr., And They All Sang Hallelujah: Plain-Folk Camp-Meeting Religion, 1800-1845 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1974), p. 86. Women's public role in worship, however, was largely eliminated in the nineteenth century by the establishment of order and cooperation among Baptists of the South and by their negative reaction to feminine activism as demonstrated in the abolition and woman's suffrage movements.

After the Civil War, when the issue of women's missionary societies introduced afresh the debate over the proper role of women in Southern Baptist circles, the passivity and silence that had become dominant as the nineteenth-century model for women were promoted as the traditional pattern for Christian women since biblical times. Examples of women preaching a sermon or praying with a penitent sinner, accepted by many Baptists less than a century before, had been forgotten or were repressed as embarrassing mistakes of unlearned forebears. The men who served as pastors, presided over denominational councils, taught in seminaries, and wrote religious commentaries claimed biblical command and natural law had established the patriarchal dominance that existed. One of these nineteenth-century traditionalists, Dr. J. H. Spencer, commented frequently in the Baptist Standard as late as the 1890s on women's place in worship:

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Source:  OpenStax, Patricia martin thesis. OpenStax CNX. Sep 23, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11572/1.2
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