1. Baptists and Congregationalists started out as one church in middle England. Half of these (about forty people) rejected infant baptism and became known as Baptists. The other half got on the Mayflower and sailed to America, where they were known as Pilgrims, establishing Congregationalist churches in the New England area. Baptists are still “congregational,” that is, democratic, like their cousins.
2. Roger Williams was kicked out of Boston by the Congregationalists, and he went south to uninhabited lands and established the first Baptist church in America at Providence - and also the first state allowing complete freedom of religion.
3. Statements of belief in the early Church always put belief in God as the first article of faith. Presbyterians were the first to set belief in the Bible ahead of belief in God in their Westminster Confession of Faith, issued when they were in control of Parliament after 1649. Since Baptists wanted to be in their favor, they also put the article on the Bible first in their statement of faith. This was a big mistake, because it led to Fundamentalism in both of these denominations.
4. In the architecture of a Baptist church, the part of the sanctuary that occupies the place taken by the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple is the baptistry.
5. “Hardshell” Baptists are extreme Calvinists who teach that every soul is inside an impenetrable shell and predestined to either heaven or hell. A few of these survive in what are called Primitive Baptist churches.
6. It is wrong to use the term “the Baptist Church,” because this implies a central ruling organization or head. Baptists are organized as independent churches who cooperate with each other but who take orders from no higher organization. One may say “a Baptist church,” “the Baptist denomination,” or “First Baptist Church,” but never “the Baptist Church.”
7. A concept called “the trail of blood” was once popular with some Baptists who believed that their denomination could be traced from New Testament times by an unbroken line of martyrs - a trail of blood. In fact, in history, they were a part of the Protestant Reformation. Anabaptists began in Europe in 1525, and Baptists began in England in 1611.
8. The largest seminary in the world is the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
9. Some Seventh Day Baptists who predicted the end of the world in 1844 became the modern denomination of Seventh Day Adventists.
10. So-called Campbellite churches (Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ) originated when Alexander Campbell split off from Kentucky Baptists. The main difference between them and Baptists is their belief in baptismal regeneration, i.e., no salvation without being immersed in water.
11. In more centralized denominations a grouping of churches is called a diocese, a synod, or a ward. The term Baptists use is an association, but such an organization has no governing powers. Each Baptist church is autonomous, that is, independent and self-governing.
12. Two beliefs are held in common by all types and varieties of Baptists in the world, and these are believer’s baptism and the priesthood of believers (also called soul competency).
13. King James I of England authorized the Bible version that bears his name. Many Baptists now hold that Bible in high esteem. But they are unaware that King James was the enemy of Baptists and that he put the first English Baptist pastor, Thomas Helwys, into prison. The KJV Bible was prepared by Anglican scholars strictly for use by the Church of England. This can be seen in those Bibles that carry the Dedication, which says it is to be used against “popish persons” (Catholics) and “self conceited brethren” (Baptists and other Separatists).
14. Two momentous events occurred in England in the year 1611: the founding of the first English Baptist church and the publication of the King James Bible.
15. The most popular book in England in the 1600s was The Pilgrim’s Progress. This great religious allegory was written by a Baptist pastor, John Bunyan, while he was in prison for preaching his beliefs.
16. The first president of the ivy league college, Harvard, was Henry Dunster, a Baptist. One of the buildings on that campus is named for him.
17. Baptists established Rhode Island College in 1764. This school now goes by the name of Brown University.
18. Richard Furman, 1755-1825, was the president of the first Baptist convention in America, and the Furman University in South Carolina bears his name.
19. The Baptist emphasis on being “born again” was popularized in America by President Jimmy Carter, himself a Baptist.
20. Baptist evangelist Billy Graham has preached to greater numbers of people than any man in history.
21. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Baptist pastor who led the civil rights movement in America, won the Nobel Peace Prize, and had a national holiday set aside on his birthday.
22. The Suwon Central Baptist Church in South Korea, founded by pastor Billy Kim, now retired, is one of the largest churches in the world.
23. The largest Baptist church in America is the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas.
24. Christian emphasis on social issues got started in New York City’s slums by a Baptist pastor, Walter Rauschenbusch, who worked there from 1886 to 1897.
25. The modern missionary movement started in 1792 when an English cobbler named William Carey felt called to preach in India.
BAPTIST WORSHIP TERMINOLOGY
1. Baptist worship is usually on Sunday morning, but in rare cases it is held on Saturday night. Worship can actually take place any time during the week.
2. Baptist worship is not liturgical and can be changed and varied in any sequence and using different forms of prayer, praise, song, etc.
3. Worship is expected to be spontaneous and extemporaneous, not fixed or “canned;” this allows the Holy Spirit to lead freely in what is said.
4. Lay people often lead in worship, song, and prayer.
5. There is no prayer book, and seldom are there written prayers.
6. There is no automatic response of the people to the pastor at certain times during the service, although sometimes written responsive readings based on Scripture are used. There is no recital of a Creed.
7. Seldom are there any processionals by the choir and never by the clergy. The only exception is at a baccalaureate service when the clergy may march in with the graduates.
8. The main feature of the worship service is the sermon. The pulpit is squarely in the center of the raised platform up front. And the Bible is squarely in the center of the communion table up front - when there is not a flower arrangement at that spot.
9. An offering is usually taken at some point by passing plates.
10. The Lord’s Supper is not taken every Sunday, but is usually once a month or once a quarter.
11. There are two or more hymns or choruses sung by the people.
12. A service can consist entirely of music.
13. The first song may be designated as a “call to worship.”
14. The last song may be designated as a “benediction.”
15. The first English Baptist churches had no music and no musical instruments.
16. The first song book was used in England in 1691.
17. In formal services a hymnbook is used, but in informal services the words may be projected upon a screen or sung from memory.
18. There is usually an anthem sung by the choir or a solo or duet or instrumental piece.
19. Larger churches may have orchestras.
20. Musical instruments are usually a piano and/or an organ.
21. Guitars and drums may be used in informal worship.
22. The Bible text is read from either Testament and usually matches the sermon topic.
23. In American churches, and especially in the South, the pastor gives an invitation, at the close of the service, for people to join the church. In old time churches this was designated as “the altar call.”
24. An invitation hymn is usually sung, during which people may walk to the front and make their profession of faith to the pastor.
25. A typical order of service is: organ prelude, welcome/announcements, informal greeting of guests and members, call to worship by the choir, first hymn, second hymn, offertory prayer, offering collection, pastoral prayer, pastor’s sermon, invitation to accept Christ and join the church, hymn of commitment, choral benediction, final pastoral prayer of blessing, organ postlude.
BAPTISTS AND THE SACRAMENTS
1. Baptists do not use the term “sacrament.”
2. A sacrament is a religious rite that is essential to salvation and that must be observed to keep a person in good standing with his church.
3. A sacrament is a mandatory religious act that bestows saving merit.
4. Baptists do not believe that any ceremony or ritual has the magical or mystical power to keep a person in the Faith or get him into heaven.
5. Instead of the term “sacrament,” Baptists use “ordinance,” which carries the meaning of “orders” or “commands” issued by Jesus to His followers.
6. Jesus gave only two such orders: to baptize new converts and to eat a meal in His memory. This meal has no set times since Jesus said “as often as you do it.” Some churches add another ordinance, that of foot washing.
7. There are two ordinances. There are not seven sacraments, as with the Catholic tradition, which specifies baptism, confirmation, penance, ordination, marriage, extreme unction, and the mass.
8. The first ordinance for Baptists is baptism, which is a symbolic washing away of sins. It is also a dramatization of resurrection to a new life, which can only be portrayed by being immersed and then coming up out of the water.
9. Baptism is not mandatory to salvation, else the thief on the cross could not have been saved without it.
10. The word baptism comes from the Greek baptizo, which means “dip” or “immerse.” This precludes the use of sprinkling or pouring (affusion).
11. Jesus went down into the Jordan River to be immersed by John the Baptist. The Jews had baptismal pools in their houses in which they immersed themselves prior to worship. The Essenes immersed themselves at least once a day and before writing Scripture texts.
12. Pouring or sprinkling came into use at a later time as a convenience when there were death-bed conversions. Also, the first Christian emperor, Constantine, had his troops march beside a river where they were sprinkled by means of branches dipped in the water.
13. The “method” of baptism, immersion, is done for accuracy, but the “motivation” is more important. The correct motivation for baptism is the desire to perform an act of faith following conversion and commitment to Christ.
14. Infant baptism (pedobaptism) is done without the baby’s conscious commitment to Christ, and so Baptists believe that this is an invalid ceremony.
15. The Baptist name derives from an earlier form, Anabaptist, which means “Re-baptizer.” The Anabaptists took persons who had been baptized as infants and re-baptized them into their churches.
16. A person who has been baptized is a full member of the church, able to take communion and to vote on congregational issues.
17. Baptists believe that a baby or an insane person is not accountable for his sins. But after a person comes to know right from wrong and to realize that he is a sinner, then he is in jeopardy of his soul and must accept God’s gift and offer of salvation.
18. The second ordinance for Baptists is the Lord’s Supper.
19. The Supper is also called the Lord’s Table, Communion, or the Eucharist. Fasting before partaking is not required.
20. The Lord’s Supper is symbolic of eating a sacrificial lamb, in this case, the body and blood of Christ.
21. Baptists reject ideas of the literal changing of bread to flesh and grape juice or wine to blood in a magical way. In fact, the priest’s statement, “Hoc est corpus meum” (“This is my body”) has been corrupted by magicians into a formula, “hocus pocus.”
22. Both elements, usually unleavened bread and simple grape juice, are taken by the people. These are taken from plates that are passed in the pews.
23. Some Baptists practice “closed communion,” which only allows local church members to partake. Most Baptists now practice “open communion” and allow any Christian to share in the meal.
24. The Lord’s Supper is not a part of every worship service, as with those of the Catholic tradition. Its observance times may vary from one church to another. Generally it is held once a month.
25. In the ceremony the deacons of the church serve the people, and then the pastor serves the deacons.
BAPTISTS AND VESTMENTS
1. Baptist clergymen dress no differently than ordinary people in their congregations.
2. Baptist chaplains wear military uniforms with proper insignia of office.
3. There are no vestments in the Baptist pulpit - no tunic, no scapular, no medallion, no chasuble, no pectoral.
4. There is no mitre, crosier, rosary, or missal. There is only a Bible in a pastor’s hand as he preaches or ministers outside the church.
5. No vestments mean that there is no special place called a “vestry” or a “sacristy.”
6. There is no skull cap or tonsure specific to the clergy.
7. There is no turned-around collar outside the church.
8. Baptists do not make a large distinction between clergy and laity.
9. Baptists have a saying that “at the foot of the Cross the ground is level.”
10. There is no hierarchy of presbyters, priests, friars, deans, bishops, priors, abbots, or cardinals - and certainly not a pope at the top.
11. Baptists recognize only two biblical offices in the church: pastor and deacon.
12. The words pastor, elder, bishop, preacher, and undershepherd of Christ all refer to the same office.
13. Clerical titles like Father, Rector, or Venerable are not used by Baptists. They do allow Reverend, but the most common form of address is Brother.
14. Moderate Baptists allow women to serve as pastors and deacons. They wear ordinary dress.
15. The only time a pastor puts on a special garment is when he may don rubber pants to perform a baptism. Also at a baccalaureate service he may wear his seminary graduate regalia.
16. The choir members in a formal worship service usually do wear robes. This is for the sake of uniformity, since various styles of clothing would be a distraction from their singing.
17. The Baptist faith has become popular in America because it is based on democratic ideals.
18. Every member of the congregation has an equal voice and an equal vote. Part of this emphasis results in not allowing clergymen to wear distinctive clothing and thus be set above the members.
19. Americans are jealous of their freedoms, and they do not want anybody telling them what they must believe.
20. The only place most Americans see robes of office is in courtrooms, and this is done in the legal profession to give dignity to the law and to elevate the judge so tht his edict appears to be handed down from a superior place. Also, he is addressed as “Your Honor.”
21. Baptists do not think this is necessary in the church.
22. We are all brothers and sisters in the family of God.
1. In 1525 Anabaptists in Zurich performed the first believer’s baptism since New Testament times.
2. In 1582 Robert Browne published his “Treatise of Reformation,” which led to a large separation of dissenters from the Church of England. Many of these later became Baptists.
3. In 1607 John Smyth led a group of dissenters to Holland where they could find freedom of religion.
4. In 1609 John Smyth, influenced by Dutch Anabaptists (Mennonites) rejected infant baptism and set up the first English speaking Baptist church. They went by the name “Ancient Brethren.”
5. In 1611 Thomas Helwys led the exiled group back to England and established the first English Baptist church. The King James Bible was dedicated for use against the people who called themselves “Brethren.”
6. In 1612 Thomas Helwys was sent to prison by King James I for advocating religious freedom. Helwys died in prison.
7. In 1635 Roger Williams was banished by the Congregationalists of Boston. He founded the state of Rhode Island and the first Baptist church in America.
8. In 1642 the English Civil War began, in which Baptists participated in overthrowing King Charles, the son of King James.
9. In 1644 the name “Baptist” was first used in England. London Baptists published the First London Confession of Faith.
10. In 1649 King Charles was beheaded and Oliver Cromwell became Lord High Protector of England. He refused the crown and allowed religious freedom. During this period Baptists multiplied and prospered. However, Presbyterians controlled Parliament and tried to impose their form of worship. This became distasteful to the English people.
11. In 1660 England restored the monarchy. King Charles II allowed freedom of religion at first, because he was sympathetic to Catholics.
12. In 1662 the Parliament, again controlled by the Anglican Church, required conformity to the Church of England. Two thousand left the ministry.
13. In 1673 the Parliament passed the Test Act to bar Catholics and non-conformists from public office. John Bunyan and other Baptist pastors were put into prison. While in jail in Bedford, Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress. It became the most popular book in England.
14. In 1740 the Great Awakening revival in America causes the Baptists to gain members.
15. In 1774 Isaac Backus, a Baptist, condemned state control of religion before the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
16. In 1788 John Leland, a Baptist pastor, persuaded James Madison to introduce a bill in Congress to give religious liberty. This later became the First Amendment to the Constitution.
17. In 1792 William Carey, the first English missionary, went to India.
18. In 1800 the Great Frontier Revival began in America, and its “camp meetings” resulted in Baptist growth.
19. In 1814 the first American Baptist missionaries, Adoniram and Ann Judson, left for India and Burma. Baptists organized a national convention to support them.
20. In 1833 Massachusetts granted full religious liberty, the last state to yield.
21. In 1845 the Southern Baptist Convention was formed over the slavery issue.
22. In 1905 the Baptist World Alliance was organized.
23. In 1979 the Southern Baptist Convention was the largest Protestant denomination in America. In that year it elected a Fundamentalist president. As that group remained firmly in control in later years, moderate leaders were forced to resign or were fired. In this period narrow, militant Fundamentalism was rampant throughout the world. It took over Islam and began threatening the world.
24. In 1991 moderate Baptists organized the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Jimmy Carter aligned himself with them.
25. In 2004 the Southern Baptist Convention withdrew from the Baptist World Alliance and began building a global Fundamentalist organization - based on militancy, intolerance, and anti-scientific mentality.