Our baptists roots go all the way back to the early 16th century English Puritans. English Puritans were called the Puritans because they believed that the Protestant Reformation had not gone far enough in purifying the unbiblical Roman Catholic corruptions in the churches. Many of these puritans were also known as the separatists because they separated themselves from the corrupt state churches. In the early 17th century, an English separatist preacher named John Smyth influenced by the continental Anabaptists (Mennonites in Amsterdam) re-baptized himself establishing the first English baptist church. Anabaptists re-baptized adult believers because they rejected infant (pedo) baptisms. Anabaptists believed that the Bible only sanctions believer’s baptisms. It is important to note that up to this point the common modes of baptism were sprinkling or pouring. However, in 1644, the London Confession of Faith established immersion as the only valid mode of baptism.
In 1631, Roger Williams came to Massachusetts to escape religious persecution in England. In 1639, Williams founded the First Baptist Church in America in Providence, Rhode Island. Unfortunately, these early baptists in the New England area were persecuted by their Puritan counterparts who believed that all infants needed to be baptized. Over time, the small fringe baptists numbers grew and the baptists organized themselves around the common goal of missions. In 1814, the Triennial Convention, the first national baptist convention met for the first time. In 1845, the baptists in the 11 southern states broke away from the Triennial Baptist Convention to establish the Southern Baptist Convention. The major dividing issue came out of the issue of slavery. The Southern Baptists were upset that the Northern Baptists would not support missionaries who owned slaves. Today the Northern Baptists are called American Baptist Churches USA (about 5,000 churches with about 1.1 million members) and the Southern Baptists are called Southern Baptists Convention (about 47,000 churches with about 15 million members). In general, the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) is considered more theologically moderate to liberal while the Southern Baptists Convention (SBC) is considered more moderate to conservative. For example, ABCUSA tolerates LGBTQ+ affirming churches while SBC churches do not fellowship with LGBTQ+ affirming churches.
-Regional: Mission Northwest (ABC-NW)
-National: Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)
Note: Although our church is affiliated nationally with ABCUSA, we only work with Mission Northwest (ABC-NW), which is the regional biblically oriented branch of ABCUSA.
The baptist distinctives that came out of our roots includes but are not limited to the following:
1. biblical authority (inerrant/infallible)
2. local church autonomy (not centralized denominational governance like UMC, PCUSA, etc)
3. two ordinances (believer’s baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper)
4. regenerate church membership (only born again believers)
5. priesthood of all believers (every member minister)
6. two biblical offices of pastors and deacons
7. separation of church and state (free to practice our faith free from government interference)