Do you know why you are a Baptist?
You probably do not know that the Baptist faith was not started by John the Baptist. The earliest Baptist church is traced to Amsterdam, Dutch Republic in 1609 where the separatist John Smyth served as pastor. Separatist means that this church rejected the doctrines of infant baptism and began the practice of believers’ baptism by complete immersion.
- General Baptists believed that Jesus died to save all who would believe.
- Particular Baptists believed that Jesus’ death was for the elect alone.
Baptist doctrine was a major break away from the Catholic church in those days.
Later on, John Helwys added to the Baptist doctrinal expression the notion that the church and state should remain separate in matters of law in order that believers might remain free to express their faith according to the leading of their conscience.
The first Baptist church to be founded in this country dates back to Roger Williams who began the first Baptist expression of faith in 1638 among the American colonies.
The most profound belief that separates the Baptist Faith from others is its insistence that salvation is by faith alone. “Sole Fide” was the slogan that was used to promote this belief based on Ephesian 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works lest anyone should boast.”
Equal to this great teaching of scripture was the Baptist insistence on the sole competency of the Bible as the only adequate rule of faith and practice. The expression of faith the Bible as one’s only guide was “Sole scriptura.” These two major doctrines set Baptists apart from all other forms of evangelical Christianity.
We have two more Sundays to go before ending our year-long emphasis on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Beginning February 20, we will kick-off our new emphasis “2022, THE YEAR OF OUR FAITH.” During this year, we will emphasize the 21 doctrines and biblical practices that make us Baptist. I can’t wait to get started.