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BAPTISTS are individuals who comprise a group of Evangelical Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers (believer\'s baptism , as opposed to infant baptism ), and that it must be done by complete immersion (as opposed to affusion or sprinkling ). Other tenets of Baptist
Baptist
churches include soul competency (liberty), salvation through faith alone , Scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local congregation . Baptists recognize two ministerial offices, elders and deacons . Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestant churches, though some Baptists
Baptists
disavow this identity.

Diverse from their beginning, those identifying as Baptists
Baptists
today differ widely from one another in what they believe, how they worship, their attitudes toward other Christians, and their understanding of what is important in Christian discipleship.

Historians trace the earliest church labeled "Baptist" back to 1609 in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
, with English Separatist John Smyth as its pastor. In accordance with his reading of the New Testament
New Testament
, he rejected baptism of infants and instituted baptism only of believing adults. Baptist practice spread to England, where the GENERAL BAPTISTS considered Christ's atonement to extend to all people , while the PARTICULAR BAPTISTS believed that it extended only to the elect . Thomas Helwys formulated a distinctively Baptist
Baptist
request that the church and the state be kept separate in matters of law, so that individuals might have a freedom of religious conscience . Helwys died in prison as a consequence of the religious persecution of English dissenters
English dissenters
under King James I . In 1638, Roger Williams established the first Baptist congregation in the North American colonies . In the mid-18th century, the First Great Awakening contributed to Baptist
Baptist
growth in both New England and the South. The Second Great Awakening in the South in the early 19th century greatly increased church membership. Baptist missionaries have spread their church to every continent.

The largest Baptist
Baptist
denomination is the Southern Baptist Convention , with the membership of associated churches totaling more than 15 million.

CONTENTS

* 1 Origins

* 1.1 English separatist view * 1.2 Anabaptist
Anabaptist
influence view * 1.3 Perpetuity and succession view * 1.4 Baptist
Baptist
origins in the United Kingdom * 1.5 Baptist
Baptist
origins in North America

* 2 Baptist
Baptist
affiliations

* 3 Membership

* 3.1 Statistics * 3.2 Qualification for membership

* 4 Baptist beliefs and principles

* 4.1 Beliefs that vary among Baptists
Baptists

* 5 Controversies that have shaped Baptists
Baptists

* 5.1 Missions crisis

* 5.2 Slavery crisis

* 5.2.1 United States * 5.2.2 Caribbean islands

* 5.3 Memory of slavery * 5.4 Landmark crisis * 5.5 Modernist crisis

* 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Bibliography

* 9 Further reading

* 9.1 Primary sources

* 10 External links

ORIGINS

Baptist
Baptist
historian Bruce Gourley outlines four main views of Baptist origins: (1) The modern scholarly consensus that the movement traces its origin to the 17th century via the English Separatists , (2) the view that it was an outgrowth of Anabaptist
Anabaptist
traditions, (3) the perpetuity view which assumes that the Baptist
Baptist
faith and practice has existed since the time of Christ, and (4) the successionist view, or " Baptist successionism
Baptist successionism
", which argues that Baptist
Baptist
churches actually existed in an unbroken chain since the time of Christ.

ENGLISH SEPARATIST VIEW

Modern Baptist
Baptist
churches trace their history to the English Separatist movement in the 1600s, the century after the rise of the original Protestant denominations. This view of Baptist
Baptist
origins has the most historical support and is the most widely accepted. Adherents to this position consider the influence of Anabaptists upon early Baptists
Baptists
to be minimal. It was a time of considerable political and religious turmoil. Both individuals and churches were willing to give up their theological roots if they became convinced that a more biblical "truth" had been discovered.

During the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
, the Church of England
Church of England
(Anglicans) separated from the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
. There were some Christians who were not content with the achievements of the mainstream Protestant Reformation. There also were Christians who were disappointed that the Church of England
Church of England
had not made corrections of what some considered to be errors and abuses. Of those most critical of the Church's direction, some chose to stay and try to make constructive changes from within the Anglican Church. They became known as " Puritans " and are described by Gourley as cousins of the English Separatists. Others decided they must leave the Church because of their dissatisfaction and became known as the Separatists.

Historians trace the earliest Baptist
Baptist
church back to 1609 in Amsterdam, with John Smyth as its pastor. Three years earlier, while a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, he had broken his ties with the Church of England. Reared in the Church of England, he became "Puritan, English Separatist, and then a Baptist
Baptist
Separatist," and ended his days working with the Mennonites. He began meeting in England with 60–70 English Separatists, in the face of "great danger." The persecution of religious nonconformists in England led Smyth to go into exile in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
with fellow Separatists from the congregation he had gathered in Lincolnshire, separate from the established church (Anglican). Smyth and his lay supporter, Thomas Helwys , together with those they led, broke with the other English exiles because Smyth and Helwys were convinced they should be baptized as believers. In 1609 Smyth first baptized himself and then baptized the others.

In 1609, while still there, Smyth wrote a tract titled "The Character of the Beast," or "The False Constitution of the Church." In it he expressed two propositions: first, infants are not to be baptized; and second, "Antichristians converted are to be admitted into the true Church by baptism." Hence, his conviction was that a scriptural church should consist only of regenerate believers who have been baptized on a personal confession of faith. He rejected the Separatist movement's doctrine of infant baptism (paedobaptism ). Shortly thereafter, Smyth left the group, and layman Thomas Helwys took over the leadership, leading the church back to England in 1611. Ultimately, Smyth became committed to believers' baptism as the only biblical baptism. He was convinced on the basis of his interpretation of Scripture that infants would not be damned should they die in infancy. Print from Anglican theologian Daniel Featley 's book, "The Dippers Dipt, or, The Anabaptists Duck'd and Plung'd Over Head and Ears, at a Disputation in Southwark", published in 1645.

Smyth, convinced that his self-baptism was invalid, applied with the Mennonites for membership. He died while waiting for membership, and some of his followers became Mennonites. Thomas Helwys and others kept their baptism and their Baptist
Baptist
commitments. The modern Baptist denomination is an outgrowth of Smyth's movement. Baptists
Baptists
rejected the name Anabaptist
Anabaptist
when they were called that by opponents in derision. McBeth writes that as late as the 18th century, many Baptists
Baptists
referred to themselves as "the Christians commonly—though falsely—called Anabaptists."

Another milestone in the early development of Baptist
Baptist
doctrine was in 1638 with John Spilsbury , a Calvinistic minister who helped to promote the strict practice of believer's baptism by immersion . According to Tom Nettles, professor of historical theology at Southern Baptist
Baptist
Theological Seminary , "Spilsbury's cogent arguments for a gathered, disciplined congregation of believers baptized by immersion as constituting the New Testament
New Testament
church gave expression to and built on insights that had emerged within separatism, advanced in the life of John Smyth and the suffering congregation of Thomas Helwys, and matured in Particular Baptists."

ANABAPTIST INFLUENCE VIEW

A minority view is that early 17th century Baptists
Baptists
were influenced by (but not directly connected to) continental Anabaptists . According to this view, the General Baptists shared similarities with Dutch Waterlander Mennonites (one of many Anabaptist
Anabaptist
groups) including believer's baptism only, religious liberty, separation of church and state, and Arminian views of salvation, predestination and original sin. Representative writers including A.C. Underwood and William R. Estep. Gourley wrote that among some contemporary Baptist
Baptist
scholars who emphasize the faith of the community over soul liberty, the Anabaptist influence theory is making a comeback.

However, the relations between Baptists
Baptists
and Anabaptists were early strained. In 1624, the then five existing Baptist
Baptist
churches of London issued a condemnation of the Anabaptists. Furthermore, the original group associated with Smyth and popularly believed to be the first Baptists
Baptists
broke with the Waterlander Mennonite Anabaptists after a brief period of association in the Netherlands.

PERPETUITY AND SUCCESSION VIEW

Main article: Baptist successionism
Baptist successionism

Prior to the 20th century, Baptist
Baptist
historians generally wrote from the perspective that Baptists
Baptists
had existed since the time of Christ. Proponents of the Baptist
Baptist
successionist or perpetuity view consider the Baptist
Baptist
movement to have existed independently from Roman Catholicism
Catholicism
and prior to the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
.

The perpetuity view is often identified with The Trail of Blood
The Trail of Blood
, a booklet of five lectures by J.M. Carrol published in 1931. Other Baptist
Baptist
writers who advocate the successionist theory of Baptist origins are John T. Christian , Thomas Crosby , G. H. Orchard, J. M. Cramp, William Cathcart, Adam Taylor and D. B. Ray This view was also held by English Baptist
Baptist
preacher, Charles Spurgeon as well as Jesse Mercer , the namesake of Mercer University.

BAPTIST ORIGINS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

In 1612, Thomas Helwys established a Baptist
Baptist
congregation in London, consisting of congregants from Smyth's church. A number of other Baptist
Baptist
churches sprang up, and they became known as the General Baptists. The Particular Baptists were established when a group of Calvinist Separatists adopted believers' Baptism.

BAPTIST ORIGINS IN NORTH AMERICA

See also: Baptists in the United States and Baptists in Canada

Both Roger Williams and John Clarke , his compatriot and coworker for religious freedom, are variously credited as founding the earliest Baptist
Baptist
church in North America. In 1639, Williams established a Baptist
Baptist
church in Providence, Rhode Island , and Clarke began a Baptist
Baptist
church in Newport, Rhode Island . According to a Baptist historian who has researched the matter extensively, "There is much debate over the centuries as to whether the Providence or Newport church deserved the place of 'first' Baptist
Baptist
congregation in America. Exact records for both congregations are lacking."

The Great Awakening energized the Baptist
Baptist
movement, and the Baptist community experienced spectacular growth. Baptists
Baptists
became the largest Christian community in many southern states, including among the black population.

Baptist
Baptist
missionary work in Canada began in the British colony of Nova Scotia (present day Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick
New Brunswick
) in the 1760s. The first official record of a Baptist
Baptist
church in Canada was that of the Horton Baptist
Baptist
Church (now Wolfville) in Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
on 29 October 1778. The church was established with the assistance of the New Light evangelist Henry Alline . Many of Alline's followers, after his death, would convert and strengthen the Baptist
Baptist
presence in the Atlantic region. Two major groups of Baptists
Baptists
formed the basis of the churches in the Maritimes. These were referred to as Regular Baptist
Baptist
(Calvinistic in their doctrine) and Free Will Baptists.

In May 1845, the Baptist
Baptist
congregations in the United States split over slavery and missions. The Home Mission Society prevented slaveholders from being appointed as missionaries. The split created the Southern Baptist Convention , while the northern congregations formed their own umbrella organization now called the American Baptist Churches USA (ABC-USA). The Methodist Episcopal Church, South had recently separated over the issue of slavery, and southern Presbyterians would do so shortly thereafter.

BAPTIST AFFILIATIONS

Christian denominations in English-speaking world
English-speaking world

International Associations INTERDENOMINATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

* World Council of Churches
World Council of Churches
* World Evangelical Alliance

DENOMINATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

* Friends World Committee for Consultation * Mennonite World Conference * Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
* Baptist World Alliance * World Convention of Churches of Christ * Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
* Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference * International Lutheran Council * Lutheran World Federation * World Methodist Council * Pentecostal World Conference * International Conference of Reformed Churches
International Conference of Reformed Churches
* Reformed Ecumenical Council * World Communion of Reformed Churches * World Reformed Fellowship

REGIONAL ASSOCIATIONS Africa

* All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) * Association of Evangelicals of Africa (AEA) * All Africa Baptist
Baptist
Fellowship * Africa Lutheran Communion

Asia

* Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) * Evangelical Fellowship of Asia * Asia Pacific Baptist Federation * Asia Lutheran Communion

Caribbean

* Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) * Evangelical Association of the Caribbean * Caribbean Baptist
Baptist
Fellowship

Europe

* Conference of European Churches (CEC) * European Evangelical Alliance * European Baptist Federation * Pentecostal
Pentecostal
European Fellowship

Middle East

* Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)

Latin America

* Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) * Latin American Evangelical Fellowship (FIDE) * Union of Baptists
Baptists
in Latin America

North America

* North American Baptist
Baptist
Fellowship * Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America * North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council

Pacific

* Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) * Evangelical Fellowship of the South Pacific (EFSP) * Asia Pacific Baptist Federation

Australia

CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS IN AUSTRALIA

Australian Interchurch

Australian Evangelical Alliance • site National Council of Churches

Catholic display:none;">

Anglican Church of Australia
Anglican Church of Australia
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church

Holiness display:none;">

Christian and Missionary Alliance Christian Outreach Centre Church of the Nazarene
Church of the Nazarene
Salvation Army Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church

Historical Protestantism
Protestantism

Australian Friends Australian Baptist Ministries Open Brethren Christian Reformed Churches of Australia Churches of Christ Fellowship of Congregational Churches Lutheran Church of Australia Presbyterian Church of Australia Uniting Church in Australia Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia

Orthodox

Antiochian Orthodox of Australia & New Z. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia Serbian Orthodox of Australia background: Lavender;">Pentecostal display:none;">

Australian Christian Churches (AOG) Christian City Church Intl. CRC Churches International Revival Centres International Vineyard Churches Australia Worldwide Church of God

Other

LDS Church

* v * t * e

Canada

Canadian Christian bodies

* v * t * e

Canadian Interchurch

Canadian Council of Churches
Canadian Council of Churches
S. Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America North Am. Presbyterian background: Lavender;">Anabaptist display:none;">

Canadian Mennonite Brethren Churches Canadian Yearly Meeting (Quakers) Mennonite Church Canada

Baptist
Baptist
display:none;">

BAPTIST

Association of Regular Baptist Churches Baptist General Conference of Canada Canadian Baptist Ministries Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists Fellowship of Evgcl. Baptist
Baptist
Churches, Canada North American Baptist Conference STONE-CAMPBELL RESTORATION MOVEMENT

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Evangelical Christian Church
Christian Church
in Canada

Catholic display:none;">

Anglican Church of Canada Anglican Church in North America Polish National Catholic Church Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church

Holiness display:none;">

Christian and Missionary Alliance, Canada Church of the Nazarene
Church of the Nazarene
Evangelical Free Church of Canada The Salvation Army Wesleyan Church

Lutheran

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Lutheran Church–Canada Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Methodist
Methodist

British Methodist
Methodist
Episcopal Church Free Methodist
Methodist
Church in Canada United Church of Canada

Orthodox

Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, N.Am. Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada) Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Canada
Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Canada
Orthodox Church in America American-Canadian Macedonian Orthodox Diocese Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada NON-CHALCEDONIC

Armenian Apostolic Diocese of Am. Coptic Orthodox Church in Canada SYNCRETIC

Evangelical Orthodox Church

Pentecostal
Pentecostal

Apostolic Church of Pentecost Canadian Assemblies of God Church of God of Prophecy Intl. Foursquare Gospel, Canada Intl. Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Holiness Church Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Assemblies of Canada Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Church of God ONENESS PENTECOSTAL

United Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Church Intl.

Presbyterian display:none;">

Canadian and American Reformed Churches Christian Reformed Church in North America L\'Église réformée du Québec Presbyterian Church in Canada Presbyterian Church in America Reformed Church in America United Church of Canada

Other

Messianic Jewish Alliance of America Plymouth Brethren
Plymouth Brethren
Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
in Canada LDS Church Vineyard Canada Watch Tower Bible
Bible
and Tract Society of Canada SYNCRETIC

Evangelical Orthodox Church

Ireland

Irish Christian bodies

* v * t * e

Irish Interchurch

Irish Council of Churches Churches Together in Britain and Ireland Evangelical Alliance , UK

Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
(Anglican) Association of Baptist
Baptist
Churches Roman Catholicism
Catholicism
Assemblies of God Elim Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Church Presbyterian Church in Ireland

Nigeria

CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS IN NIGERIA

Nigerian Interchurch

Christian Association of Nigeria Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Nigeria

African initiated

Cherubim and Seraphim Society Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim Church of God Mission International Church of the Lord (Aladura)

Anglican

The African Church Church of Nigeria

Baptist, Anabaptist
Anabaptist
, DC

Church of the Brethren in Nigeria Churches of Christ in Nigeria Mambila Baptist
Baptist
Convention of Nigeria Nigerian Baptist Convention

Catholic

Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church

Holiness display:none;">

African Methodist
Methodist
Episcopal Church in Nigeria Deeper Christian Life Ministry Redeemed Christian Church of God United Methodist
Methodist
Church of Nigeria

Lutheran

Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria Lutheran Church of Nigeria

Pentecostal
Pentecostal

The Apostolic Church Nigeria Christ Apostolic Church
Christ Apostolic Church
General Council of the Assemblies of God Nigeria Gospel Faith Mission International Church of the Foursquare Gospel The Lord\'s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement New Apostolic Church in Nigeria Winners\' Chapel

Presbyterian display:none;">

Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria Church of Christ in Nigeria Church of Christ in the Sudan Among the Tiv Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ N.K.S.T Presbyterian Church of Nigeria Reformed Church of Christ in Nigeria

Other Protestant

Evangelical Church of West Africa QIC-United Evangelical Church Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
in Nigeria Word of Faith Ministries

* v * t * e

South Africa

Christian denominations in South Africa

South African Interchurch

South African Council of Churches

Catholic display:none;">

Anglican Church Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church Roman Catholicism
Catholicism

Holiness display:none;">

Die Heilsleër Zion Christian Church

Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Apostolic Faith Mission

Protestantism, Other

Baptist
Baptist
Union Evangelical Lutheran Church LDS Church Methodist
Methodist
Church

Reformed

Dutch Reformed: NGK Dutch Reformed: NHK Evangelical Presbyterian Church Presbyterian Church of Africa Reformed Church in Africa Reformed Churches: GKSA United Congregational Church Uniting Presbyterian Church Uniting Reformed Church

* v * t * e

United Kingdom

Christian denominations in the United Kingdom

* v * t * e

UK Interchurch

* Affinity (formerly British Evangelical Council) * Churches Together in Britain padding:0"> Anglican

* Church of England
Church of England
* Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
* Scottish Episcopal Church * Church in Wales
Church in Wales

Baptist
Baptist

* Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland * Baptist Union of Great Britain * Baptist Union of Scotland
Baptist Union of Scotland
* Baptist Union of Wales

Catholic

* Roman Catholicism
Catholicism

* Roman Catholicism
Catholicism
in England padding:0"> Holiness padding:0.2em 0 0.4em;text-align:center">

* Church of the Nazarene
Church of the Nazarene
* Salvation Army * Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
* Wesleyan Holiness Church

Lutheran

* Lutheran Church in Great Britain

Methodist
Methodist
padding:0.2em 0 0.4em;text-align:center">

* Methodist
Methodist
Church of Great Britain * Methodist
Methodist
Church in Ireland

New Church Movement

* Newfrontiers * Pioneer Church

Orthodox

* Greek Orthodox of G.B. (Eastern Orthodox)

Pentecostal
Pentecostal

* Assemblies of God * Church of God in Christ * Elim Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Church

Presbyterian padding:0.2em 0 0.4em;text-align:center">

* Asso. Presbyterian Churches, Scotland * Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
* Congregational Federation * Evangelical Presbyterian Church * Presbyterian Church in Ireland * Presbyterian Church of Wales * United Free Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
* United Reformed Church

Other

* LDS Church in England * LDS Church in Wales
Church in Wales
* LDS Church in Scotland * LDS Church in Ireland * Quakers
Quakers
/ Britain Yearly Meeting

United States

CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS IN THE U.S.

U.S. Interchurch

* National Association of Evangelicals * National Council of Churches * Churches Uniting in Christ

Anabaptist
Anabaptist
and Friends

* Church of the Brethren * Mennonite Church USA
Mennonite Church USA
* Amish
Amish

Baptist
Baptist

* Alliance of Baptists * American Baptist Association * American Baptist
Baptist
Churches * Baptist Bible Fellowship International
Baptist Bible Fellowship International
* Baptist Missionary Association of America * Conservative Baptist Association of America * Converge * General Association of Regular Baptist Churches * National Association of Free Will Baptists * National Primitive Baptist Convention of the U.S.A. * North American Baptist Conference * Southern Baptist Convention

AFRICAN-AMERICAN BAPTIST

* National Baptist
Baptist
Convention of America * National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. * National Missionary Baptist Convention of America * Progressive National Baptist Convention

Catholic and Anglican

* Anglican Church in North America * Episcopal Church * Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church

Eastern Christian

* Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese * Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America * Orthodox Church in America * Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia * Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church

NON-CHALCEDONIAN

* Armenian Apostolic Diocese of Am. * Coptic Orthodox Church * Syriac Orthodox Church

Holiness display:none;">

* Christian and Missionary Alliance * Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) * Evangelical Covenant Church * Evangelical Free Church of America * Church of the Nazarene
Church of the Nazarene
* The Salvation Army * Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
* Wesleyan Church

Lutheran

* Evangelical Lutheran Church in America * Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod * North American Lutheran Church * Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Methodist
Methodist

* African Methodist
Methodist
Episcopal Church * African Methodist
Methodist
Episcopal Zion Church * Christian Methodist
Methodist
Episcopal Church * Free Methodist
Methodist
Church * United Methodist
Methodist
Church

Pentecostal
Pentecostal

* Assemblies of God * Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) * Church of God in Christ * Church of God of Prophecy * Church on the Rock International * Full Gospel
Gospel
Fellowship * International Church of the Foursquare Gospel * International Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Holiness Church * Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Church of God

ONENESS PENTECOSTAL

* Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Assemblies of the World * United Pentecostal
Pentecostal
Church Intl.

Presbyterian display:none;">

* Christian Reformed Church in North America * Conservative Congregational Christian Conference * Cumberland Presbyterian Church * Evangelical Presbyterian Church * Korean Presbyterian Church in America * International Council of Community Churches * National Association of Congregational Christian Churches * Presbyterian Church (USA) * Presbyterian Church in America * Reformed Church in America * United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ

Stone-Campbell

* Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
* Christian churches and churches of Christ * Churches of Christ * International Churches of Christ

Other

* LDS Church * Community of Christ * Grace Gospel Fellowship * IFCA International * Jehovah\'s Witnesses * Messianic Jewish Alliance of America * Plymouth Brethren
Plymouth Brethren
* Vineyard USA

* v * t * e

* v * t * e

Many Baptist
Baptist
churches choose to affiliate with organizational groups that provide fellowship without control. The largest such group is the Southern Baptist Convention . There also are a substantial number of smaller cooperative groups . Finally, there are Independent Baptist churches that choose to remain autonomous and independent of any denomination, organization, or association. It has been suggested that a primary Baptist
Baptist
principle is that local Baptist
Baptist
Churches are independent and self-governing, and if so the term 'Baptist denomination' may be considered somewhat incongruous.

In 1925, Baptists
Baptists
worldwide formed the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). The BWA now counts 218 Baptist
Baptist
conventions and unions worldwide with over 41 million members. The BWA's goals include caring for the needy, leading in world evangelism and defending human rights and religious freedom. Though it played a role in the founding of the BWA, the Southern Baptist Convention severed its affiliation with BWA in 2004.

MEMBERSHIP

The First Baptist Church in America . Baptists
Baptists
constitute roughly one-third of U.S. Protestants .

STATISTICS

See also: List of Christian denominations by number of members and List of Baptist denominations

Today, more than 100 million Christians identify themselves as Baptist
Baptist
or belong to Baptist-type churches. There are 36 million Baptists
Baptists
who belong to churches cooperating with the Baptist
Baptist
World Alliance . Many Baptist
Baptist
groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist Bible Fellowship do not cooperate with the Alliance.

Baptists
Baptists
are present in almost all continents in big denominations. The largest number by baptized memberships are in Nigeria (3.5 million) and Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
(2 million) in Africa, India (2.5 million) and Myanmar
Myanmar
(1 million) in Asia, United States (35 million) and Brazil (1.8 million) in the North and South America.

According to the Barna Group researchers, Baptists
Baptists
are the largest denominational grouping of born again Christians in the USA. A 2009 ABCNEWS/Beliefnet phone poll of 1,022 adults suggests that fifteen percent of Americans identify themselves as Baptists.

A large percentage of Baptists
Baptists
in North America are found in five bodies—the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC); National Baptist Convention (NBC); National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. ; (NBCA); American Baptist Churches USA (ABC); and Baptist
Baptist
Bible Fellowship International (BBFI).

QUALIFICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP

Membership policies vary due to the autonomy of churches, but the traditional method by which an individual becomes a member of a church is through believer\'s baptism , which is a public profession of faith in Jesus, followed by water baptism.

Most baptists do not believe that baptism is a requirement for salvation, but rather a public expression of one's inner repentance and faith. Therefore, some churches will admit into membership persons who make a profession without believer's baptism.

In general, Baptist
Baptist
churches do not have a stated age restriction on membership, but believer's baptism requires that an individual be able to freely and earnestly profess their faith. (See Age of Accountability )

BAPTIST BELIEFS AND PRINCIPLES

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Main article: Baptist beliefs

PROTESTANTISM

REFORMATION

GREAT AWAKENINGS

HISTORY

CULTURE

DEMOGRAPHICS

Persecution -------------------------

MAJOR BRANCHES:

* Adventism
Adventism
* Anabaptism
Anabaptism
* Anglicanism
Anglicanism
* Baptist
Baptist
churches * Calvinism
Calvinism
* Lutheranism
Lutheranism
* Methodism
Methodism
* Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism

MINOR BRANCHES -------------------------

Transdenominational movements:

* Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism
* Charismatic movement * Neo-charismatic movement

RELATED MOVEMENTS:

* Nondenominational churches * House churches

* v * t * e

Baptists, like other Christians, are defined by doctrine—some of it common to all orthodox and evangelical groups and a portion of it distinctive to Baptists. Through the years, different Baptist
Baptist
groups have issued confessions of faith—without considering them to be creeds—to express their particular doctrinal distinctions in comparison to other Christians as well as in comparison to other Baptists. Most Baptists
Baptists
are evangelical in doctrine, but Baptist beliefs can vary due to the congregational governance system that gives autonomy to individual local Baptist
Baptist
churches. Historically, Baptists
Baptists
have played a key role in encouraging religious freedom and separation of church and state.

Shared doctrines would include beliefs about one God; the virgin birth; miracles; atonement for sins through the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus
Jesus
; the Trinity
Trinity
; the need for salvation (through belief in Jesus
Jesus
Christ as the son of God, his death and resurrection, and confession of Christ as Lord); grace; the Kingdom of God; last things (eschatology) ( Jesus
Jesus
Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth, the dead will be raised, and Christ will judge everyone in righteousness); and evangelism and missions. Some historically significant Baptist
Baptist
doctrinal documents include the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith , 1742 Philadelphia Baptist Confession, the 1833 New Hampshire Baptist Confession of Faith , the Southern Baptist Convention 's Baptist Faith and Message , and written church covenants which some individual Baptist
Baptist
churches adopt as a statement of their faith and beliefs.

Most Baptists
Baptists
hold that no church or ecclesiastical organization has inherent authority over a Baptist
Baptist
church. Churches can properly relate to each other under this polity only through voluntary cooperation, never by any sort of coercion. Furthermore, this Baptist
Baptist
polity calls for freedom from governmental control.

Exceptions to this local form of local governance include a few churches that submit to the leadership of a body of elders , as well as the Episcopal Baptists
Baptists
that have an Episcopal system .

Baptists
Baptists
generally believe in the literal Second Coming
Second Coming
of Christ. Beliefs among Baptists
Baptists
regarding the "end times " include amillennialism , dispensationalism , and historic premillennialism , with views such as postmillennialism and preterism receiving some support.

Some additional distinctive Baptist
Baptist
principles held by many Baptists: :2

* The supremacy of the canonical Scriptures as a norm of faith and practice. For something to become a matter of faith and practice, it is not sufficient for it to be merely consistent with and not contrary to scriptural principles. It must be something explicitly ordained through command or example in the Bible. For instance, this is why Baptists
Baptists
do not practice infant baptism—they say the Bible
Bible
neither commands nor exemplifies infant baptism as a Christian practice. More than any other Baptist
Baptist
principle, this one when applied to infant baptism is said to separate Baptists
Baptists
from other evangelical Christians. * Baptists
Baptists
believe that faith is a matter between God and the individual (religious freedom ). To them it means the advocacy of absolute liberty of conscience. * Insistence on immersion as the only mode of baptism. Baptists
Baptists
do not believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. Therefore, for Baptists, baptism is an ordinance , not a sacrament, since, in their view, it imparts no saving grace.

BELIEFS THAT VARY AMONG BAPTISTS

Since there is no hierarchical authority and each Baptist
Baptist
church is autonomous, there is no official set of Baptist
Baptist
theological beliefs. These differences exist both among associations, and even among churches within the associations.

Some doctrinal issues on which there is widespread difference among Baptists
Baptists
are:

* Eschatology
Eschatology
* Calvinism
Calvinism
versus Arminianism * The doctrine of separation from "the world" and whether to associate with those who are "of the world" * Speaking-in-tongues and the operation of other charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
in the modern church * How the Bible
Bible
should be interpreted (hermeneutics ) * The extent to which missionary boards should be used to support missionaries * The extent to which non-members may participate in the Lord\'s Supper services * Which translation of Scripture to use (see King-James-Only movement ) * Dispensationalism versus Covenant theology * The role of women in marriage . * The ordination of women as deacons or pastors. * Attitudes to, and involvement in the ecumenical movement . In Britain the majority of Baptist
Baptist
churches take a pragmatic and positive view, but some church groupings (not always bearing the name Baptist but Baptist
Baptist
in practice) take a strong negative line.

CONTROVERSIES THAT HAVE SHAPED BAPTISTS

Baptists
Baptists
have faced many controversies in their 400-year history, controversies of the level of crises. Baptist
Baptist
historian Walter Shurden says the word "crisis" comes from the Greek word meaning "to decide." Shurden writes that contrary to the presumed negative view of crises, some controversies that reach a crisis level may actually be "positive and highly productive." He claims that even schism, though never ideal, has often produced positive results. In his opinion crises among Baptists
Baptists
each have become decision-moments that shaped their future. Some controversies that have shaped Baptists
Baptists
include the "missions crisis", the "slavery crisis", the "landmark crisis", and the "modernist crisis".

MISSIONS CRISIS

Early in the 19th century, the rise of the modern missions movement, and the backlash against it, led to widespread and bitter controversy among the American Baptists. During this era, the American Baptists were split between missionary and anti-missionary. A substantial secession of Baptists
Baptists
went into the movement led by Alexander Campbell , to return to a more fundamental church.

SLAVERY CRISIS

United States

Leading up to the American Civil War
American Civil War
, Baptists
Baptists
became embroiled in the controversy over slavery in the United States . Whereas in the First Great Awakening , Methodist
Methodist
and Baptist
Baptist
preachers had opposed slavery and urged manumission, over the decades they made more of an accommodation with the institution. They worked with slaveholders in the South to urge a paternalistic institution. Both denominations made direct appeals to slaves and free blacks for conversion. The Baptists particularly allowed them active roles in congregations. By the mid-19th century, northern Baptists
Baptists
tended to oppose slavery. As tensions increased, in 1844 the Home Mission Society refused to appoint a slaveholder as a missionary who had been proposed by Georgia. It noted that missionaries could not take servants with them, and also that the board did not want to appear to condone slavery.

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed by nine state conventions in 1845. They believed that the Bible
Bible
sanctions slavery and that it was acceptable for Christians to own slaves. They believed slavery was a human institution which Baptist
Baptist
teaching could make less harsh. By this time many planters were part of Baptist
Baptist
congregations, and some of the denomination's prominent preachers, such as the Rev. Basil Manly, Sr. , president of the University of Alabama
University of Alabama
, were also planters who owned slaves.

As early as the late 18th century, black Baptists
Baptists
began to organize separate churches, associations and mission agencies, especially in the northern states. Blacks set up some independent Baptist congregations in the South before the American Civil War
American Civil War
. White Baptist
Baptist
associations maintained some oversight of these and, after a slave rebellion, required a white man to be at church services.

In the postwar years, freedmen quickly left the white congregations and associations, setting up their own churches in order to be free of white supervision. In 1866 the Consolidated American Baptist Convention, formed from black Baptists
Baptists
of the South and West, helped southern associations set up black state conventions, which they did in Alabama
Alabama
, Arkansas
Arkansas
, Virginia
Virginia
, North Carolina
North Carolina
, and Kentucky
Kentucky
. In 1880 black state conventions united in the national Foreign Mission Convention, to support black Baptist
Baptist
missionary work. Two other national black conventions were formed, and in 1895 they united as the National Baptist
Baptist
Convention . This organization later went through its own changes, spinning off other conventions. It is the largest black religious organization and the second-largest Baptist
Baptist
organization in the world. Baptists
Baptists
are numerically most dominant in the Southeast. In 2007, the Pew Research Center 's Religious Landscape Survey found that 45% of all African Americans identify with Baptist
Baptist
denominations, with the vast majority of those being within the historically black tradition.

Caribbean Islands

A healthy Church kills error, and tears evil in pieces! Not so very long ago our nation tolerated slavery in our colonies. Philanthropists endeavored to destroy slavery, but when was it utterly abolished? It was when Wilberforce roused the Church of God, and when the Church of God addressed herself to the conflict—then she tore the evil thing to pieces! -- C.H. Spurgeon an outspoken British Baptist
Baptist
opponent of slavery in 'The Best War Cry' (1883)

Elsewhere in the Americas, in the Caribbean in particular, Baptist missionaries and members took an active role in the anti-slavery movement. In Jamaica, for example, William Knibb , a prominent British Baptist
Baptist
missionary, worked toward the emancipation of slaves in the British West Indies
British West Indies
(which took place in full in 1838). Knibb also supported the creation of " Free Villages " and sought funding from English Baptists
Baptists
to buy land for freedmen to cultivate; the Free Villages were envisioned as rural communities to be centred around a Baptist
Baptist
church where emancipated slaves could farm their own land. Thomas Burchell , missionary minister in Montego Bay
Montego Bay
, also was active in this movement, gaining funds from Baptists
Baptists
in England to buy land for what became known as Burchell Free Village.

Prior to emancipation, Baptist
Baptist
deacon Samuel Sharpe , who served with Burchell, organized a general strike of slaves seeking better conditions. It developed into a major rebellion of as many as 60,000 slaves, which became known as the Christmas Rebellion (when it took place) or the Baptist
Baptist
War . It was put down by government troops within two weeks. During and after the rebellion, an estimated 200 slaves were killed outright, with more than 300 judicially executed later by prosecution in the courts, sometimes for minor offenses.

Baptists
Baptists
were active after emancipation in promoting the education of former slaves; for example, Jamaica's Calabar High School , named after the port of Calabar
Calabar
in Nigeria, was founded by Baptist missionaries. At the same time, during and after slavery, slaves and free blacks formed their own Spiritual Baptist
Baptist
movements - breakaway spiritual movements which theology often expressed resistance to oppression.

MEMORY OF SLAVERY

In the American South the interpretation of the American Civil War, abolition of slavery and postwar period has differed sharply by race since those years. Like other peoples, Americans have often interpreted great events in religious terms. Historian Wilson Fallin contrasts the interpretation of Civil War and Reconstruction in white versus black memory by analyzing Baptist
Baptist
sermons documented in Alabama. It should be noted that, soon after the Civil War, most black Baptists
Baptists
in the South left the southern Baptist
Baptist
Convention, reducing its numbers by hundreds of thousands or more. They quickly organized their own congregations and developed their own regional and state associations and, by the end of the 19th century, a national convention.

White preachers in Alabama
Alabama
after Reconstruction expressed the view that:

God had chastised them and given them a special mission – to maintain orthodoxy, strict biblicism, personal piety, and "traditional" race relations. Slavery, they insisted, had not been sinful. Rather, emancipation was a historical tragedy and the end of Reconstruction was a clear sign of God's favor.

Black preachers interpreted the Civil War, Emancipation and Reconstruction as: "God's gift of freedom." They had a gospel of liberation, having long identified with the Book of Exodus
Book of Exodus
from slavery in the Old Testament. They took opportunities to exercise their independence, to worship in their own way, to affirm their worth and dignity, and to proclaim the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Most of all, they quickly formed their own churches, associations, and conventions to operate freely without white supervision. These institutions offered self-help and racial uplift, a place to develop and use leadership, and places for proclamation of the gospel of liberation. As a result, black preachers said that God would protect and help him and God's people; God would be their rock in a stormy land.

The Southern Baptist Convention supported white supremacy and its results: disenfranchising most blacks and many poor whites at the turn of the 20th century by raising barriers to voter registration, and passage of racial segregation laws that enforced the system of Jim Crow . Its members largely resisted the Civil Rights Movement
Civil Rights Movement
in the South, which sought to enforce their constitutional rights for public access and voting; and enforcement of midcentury federal civil rights laws.

On 20 June 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention voted to adopt a resolution renouncing its racist roots and apologizing for its past defense of slavery. More than 20,000 Southern Baptists
Baptists
registered for the meeting in Atlanta. The resolution declared that messengers, as SBC delegates are called, "unwaveringly denounce racism, in all its forms, as deplorable sin" and "lament and repudiate historic acts of evil such as slavery from which we continue to reap a bitter harvest." It offered an apology to all African Americans for "condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime" and repentance for "racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously or unconsciously." Although Southern Baptists
Baptists
have condemned racism in the past, this was the first time the convention, predominantly white since the Reconstruction era, had specifically addressed the issue of slavery.

The statement sought forgiveness "from our African-American brothers and sisters" and pledged to "eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist
Baptist
life and ministry." In 1995 about 500,000 members of the 15.6-million-member denomination were African Americans and another 300,000 were ethnic minorities. The resolution marked the denomination's first formal acknowledgment that racism played a role in its founding.

LANDMARK CRISIS

Southern Baptist
Baptist
Landmarkism sought to reset the ecclesiastical separation which had characterized the old Baptist
Baptist
churches, in an era when inter-denominational union meetings were the order of the day. James Robinson Graves was an influential Baptist
Baptist
of the 19th century and the primary leader of this movement. While some Landmarkers eventually separated from the Southern Baptist
Baptist
Convention, the movement continued to influence the Convention into the 20th and 21st centuries. For instance, in 2005, the Southern Baptist
Baptist
International Mission Board forbade its missionaries to receive alien immersions for baptism.

MODERNIST CRISIS

The rise of theological modernism in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries also greatly affected Baptists. The Landmark movement, already mentioned, has been described as a reaction among Southern Baptists in the United States against incipient modernism . In England, Charles Haddon Spurgeon fought against modernistic views of the Scripture in the Downgrade Controversy and severed his church from the Baptist
Baptist
Union as a result.

The Northern Baptist
Baptist
Convention in the United States had internal conflict over modernism in the early 20th century, ultimately embracing it. Two new conservative associations of congregations that separated from the Convention were founded as a result: the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches in 1933 and the Conservative Baptist
Baptist
Association of America in 1947.

Following similar conflicts over modernism, the Southern Baptist Convention adhered to conservative theology as its official position. In the late 20th century, moderate Southern Baptists
Baptists
who disagreed with this direction founded two new groups: the Alliance of Baptists in 1987 and the Cooperative Baptist
Baptist
Fellowship in 1991. Members of both groups originally continued to identify as Southern Baptist, but over time the groups "became permanent new families of Baptists."

SEE ALSO

* Baptist
Baptist
portal

* List of Baptist confessions * List of Baptist denominations * List of Baptists

REFERENCES

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Bumstead, JM (1984), Henry Alline, 1748–1784, Hantsport, NS: Lancelot Press . * Christian, John T (1926), History of the Baptists, 2, Nashville: Broadman Press . * Kidd, Thomas S. and Barry Hankins, Baptists
Baptists
in America: A History (2015) * Leonard, Bill J (2003), Baptist
Baptist
Ways: A History, Judson Press, ISBN 978-0-8170-1231-1 , comprehensive international History. * Torbet, Robert G (1975) , A History of the Baptists, Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, ISBN 978-0-8170-0074-5 . * Wright, Stephen (2004), Early English Baptists
Baptists
1603–49 .

FURTHER READING

* Bebbington, David. Baptists
Baptists
through the Centuries: A History of a Global People (Baylor University Press, 2010) emphasis on the United States and Europe; the last two chapters are on the global context. * Brackney, William H. A Genetic History of Baptist
Baptist
Thought: With Special
Special
Reference to Baptists
Baptists
in Britain and North America (Mercer University Press, 2004), focus on confessions of faith, hymns, theologians, and academics. * Brackney, William H. ed., Historical Dictionary of the Baptists (2nd ed. Scarecrow, 2009). * Cathcart, William, ed. The Baptist
Baptist
Encyclopedia (2 vols. 1883). online * Gavins, Raymond. The Perils and Prospects of Southern Black Leadership: Gordon Blaine Hancock, 1884–1970. Duke University Press, 1977. * Harrison, Paul M. Authority and Power in the Free Church Tradition: A Social Case Study of the American Baptist
Baptist
Convention Princeton University Press, 1959. * Harvey, Paul. Redeeming the South: Religious Cultures and Racial Identities among Southern Baptists, 1865–1925 University of North Carolina Press, 1997. * Heyrman, Christine Leigh. Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible
Bible
Belt (1997). * Isaac, Rhy. " Evangelical Revolt: The Nature of the Baptists' Challenge to the Traditional Order in Virginia, 1765 to 1775," William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., XXXI (July 1974), 345–68. * Life & Practice in the Early Church: A Documentary Reader, New York University press, 2001, pp. 5–7, ISBN 978-0-8147-5648-5 . * Kidd, Thomas S., Barry Hankins, Oxford University Press, 2015 * Leonard, Bill J. Baptists
Baptists
in America (Columbia University Press, 2005). * Menikoff, Aaron (2014). Politics and Piety: Baptist
Baptist
Social Reform in America, 1770-1860. Wipf and Stock Publishers. * Pitts, Walter F. Old Ship of Zion: The Afro- Baptist
Baptist
Ritual in the African Diaspora Oxford University Press, 1996. * Rawlyk, George. Champions of the Truth: Fundamentalism, Modernism, and the Maritime Baptists
Baptists
(1990), Canada. * Spangler, Jewel L. "Becoming Baptists: Conversion in Colonial and Early National Virginia" Journal of Southern History. Volume: 67. Issue: 2. 2001. pp. 243+ * Stringer, Phil. The Faithful Baptist
Baptist
Witness, Landmark Baptist Press, 1998. * Underwood, A. C. A History of the English Baptists. London: Kingsgate Press, 1947. * Whitley, William Thomas A Baptist
Baptist
Bibliography: being a register of the chief materials for Baptist
Baptist
history, whether in manuscript or in print, preserved in Great Britain, Ireland, and the Colonies. 2 vols. London: Kingsgate Press, 1916-22 * --do.-- --do.--(reissued) Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1984 ISBN 3487074567 * Wills, Gregory A. Democratic Religion: Freedom, Authority, and Church Discipline in the Baptist
Baptist
South, 1785–1900, Oxford.

PRIMARY SOURCES

* McBeth, H. Leon, ed. A Sourcebook for Baptist
Baptist
Heritage (1990), primary sources for Baptist
Baptist
history. * McKinion, Steven A., ed. Life and Practice in the Early Church: A Documentary Reader (2001) * McGlothlin, W. J., ed. Baptist
Baptist
Confessions of Faith. Philadelphia: The American Baptist
Baptist
Publication Society, 1911.

EXTERNAL LINKS

Wikisource has original works on the topic: BAPTISTS

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