Under the name of The Baptist Battle Flag, the first number of this periodical was sent forth from La Grange, Mo., June 1, 1875,
with Elder D. B. Ray as editor and proprietor, and Elder C. N. Ray as corresponding editor. The design and character of this publication were thus given in its prospectus, sent out some months before its first issue:
"To encourage the enlistment of volunteers in the service of the 'Captain of our salvation,' and the soldiers to 'put on the whole armor of God;' to entreat everyone 'to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,' and 'fight the good fight of faith,' 'that he may please Him who has chosen him to be a soldier;' to wage uncompromising. war on error, whether held by friends or foes, and 'earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.' But we must not forget that 'the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.'"
"The Battle Flag will give special attention to ecclesiastical history. It will prove that the Baptist church is 'the only Christian community which has stood since the days of the apostles,' &c. 'The historical department of the Battle Flag is designed to make a storehouse of reliable historical facts, with the book and page for each quotation; so that any one may be able to correct the misrepresentations which are in constant circulation against the Baptists. It is not designed to be a state paper, but to occupy a field in polemic and historical theology unoccupied by any periodical in the world. We will therefore ask aid throughout the whole land. The paper will start as soon as the cash subscription is large enough to support it.' 'I feel confident,' says the editor, 'that the Battle Flag will waive in triumph over many a battle-field, even when I shall have 'fought the good fight' and have gone to rest with the loved ones at home."
In June, 1877, the Battle Flag and the Baptist Herald of Lebanon, Mo., were consolidated, and the office of publication moved to St. Louis. The consolidated paper retained the name of Baptist Battle Flag. The present name, American Baptist Flag, was adopted July, 23, 1879, and it continues under the management of Elder D. B. Ray, its original founder. It has fully met the expectation of its friends as a "polemic and a historical paper." ============
[Robert S. Duncan, A History of the Baptists in Missouri, 1882, pp. 906-7. — jrd]
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