(founded by John Smyth in 1609) Started
as a Puritan “Seperatist” movement from the Church of England or
Anglican Church in Lincolnshire and then moved to Holland. With his
colleague, Thomas Helwys chose to be “Baptised” as adults into Christ.
then moved back to England and joined the Waterlander Mennonites and
was thereafter identified with the Radical Reformation movement. His
colleague Helwys was disillusioned with Smyth’s choice not to break with
the past and Helwys moved back to England and formed the first Baptist
gathering on English soil in London in 1612. The earliest Baptists can
trace their roots to the teachings of John Wycliffe and were referred to
as General Baptists. They were staunchly Arminian in theology – making
it a core belief that Christ died for ALL and not just the Elect.
However, approximately 30 years after Helwys return to England, a branch
of his Baptist congregations emerged with Calvinistic theology (Christ
died only for the elect) under the leadership of Richard Blunt, who went
to Holland to confer with a group that stressed baptism by total
immersion. He returned to England and baptized himself and 53 others in
like manner. It is from this branch of Baptists that many of the
American Baptists owe their Calvinistic beginning.
most famous of Baptist preachers is John Bunyan (1628-1688) who was
arrested on a number of occasions in England for “preaching without a
license”. Bunyan is responsible for writing the second best-selling book
in history called “Pilgrims Progress” – an allegory about the journey
of discipleship for the everyday Christian. Bunyan believed in water
Baptism as a consenting Christian but had a sharp disagreement with many
in the Baptist movement in England over this same issue.
refused to “make an idol” of Baptism and fully accepted any who were
pedobaptists (believed and practiced the baptism of infants) i.e.
Presbyterians, and other Calvinists of the day. This was sharply
contested by two Baptist leaders named Kiffin and Paul who contended
that the Lord’s Supper should be refused to any who practice the baptism
of infants. Bunyan was not formally educated, but like the disciples,
he knew the Bible front to back better than any of his time. Bunyan died
in London in 1688 of a severe cold but Pilgrim’s Progress remains a
widely read primer on Christian discipleship to this day
Particular Baptists (Reformed Baptists)
Strict Baptists (Reformed Baptists – congregational)
Independent Fundamental Baptists