If that’s a question you’ve been asking lately, you’re in the right place! For me as a Baptist, finding a good church that’s local and near enough to me was always a struggle. After reading this article, I hope that this process becomes a little easier for you. You’ll read about the history of the Baptists and most importantly discover an answer to that question, “How do I find a Baptist church near me?”
Finding a Baptist Church Near Me
How Did the Baptists Become a Church?
There is debate over whether the Baptist church began in the days of John the Baptizer and the Early Church or whether the movement started with the Anabaptists who emerged from the protestant Reformation in the 16th Century. It is most widely settled upon by scholars though that the denomination derives from the Puritanism movement of the 17th Century. In their early days, two predominant Baptist collectives existed: General Baptists and Particular Baptists.
The Particulars were heavily Calvinist, believing that God had predestined and elected only a specific group of people for salvation through Christ. The General Baptists held a less extreme belief that the atonement of Jesus Christ was a gift for all humanity. They were still shaped by Calvinist doctrine, however adhered to the reinterpreted Calvinism of Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius.
The Difference Between General and Particular Baptists
Both groups were governed by congregationalist beliefs, sharing the opinion that a church’s governance, beliefs, and practices should be shaped from within the congregation itself, as it was in the New Testament Early Church. A key difference between the two groups was that The General Baptist tradition was born from a separatist movement. This proposed that the Church of England was fraudulent and therefore must be disconnected from the wider Body of Christ.
The Particular Baptists though, believed in non-separatism which honored the unity of the Body and its fellowship. Although the non-separatists did not condemn the Church of England for their wayward practices, many did branch off and established independent worship liturgies.
So How do I actually find a Baptist Church Near Me?
Now we arrive at the answer to the question, “How do I find a Baptist church near me?” First of all, if you’ve come here without any recommendations, head over to this page and you’ll find an awesome tool to help minimize the stress of finding the right Baptist church near you. If after that you’re still thinking, “This isn’t for me,” then perhaps consider reading up on other denominations to see what they believe and what they stand for.
Baptist Growth in the American Revolution
The American Revolution impacted Baptist churches of America in an incredible way. Before the Revolution, just under 500 Baptist congregations were recorded as existing. Two decades later, it was estimated to be more than double, with 1152 congregations operating. The war necessitated the formation of regional associations as coming under one central authority had been made near impossible due to limitations in travel.
In 1845, the first Southern Baptist Convention was held in Georgia. The African-American churches born out of the war went on to play an important role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th Century. The diversity of the church led to many controversies surrounding the Baptists’ collective theologies, worship liturgies and practices. Today, the fellowship of Baptist believers is maintained by the Baptist World Alliance which was form in 1905.