The Baptists: Did You Know?
Baptists were at first erroneously called the “Anabaptists” because they called for believer’s baptism. and their enemies wanted to associate them with the behavior of the sixteenth-century Münster radicals.
As of 1985 there are over 45 million Baptists in over 175 groups worldwide. In the United States alone there are over 30 recognized groups claiming the name “Baptist.” Together they form the largest category outside of the Roman Catholics.
One of the reasons why King James I called for a new version of the Bible was to put an end to the use of the Geneva Bible, which the king felt contained translations that led to political criticisms of his authority by the Baptists and Independents!
The first Baptist college was founded at Bristol, England in 1679. Graduates of Bristol helped to found the College of Rhode Island (now Brown University), in 1764, the oldest Baptist college in the United States.
Harvard College president, Henry Dunster, was fired from his position in 1654 and his house confiscated because of his Baptist beliefs!
Baptists do not celebrate the sacraments as many other Christians do. Instead, the two ordinances, the Lord’s Supper and believer’s baptism, are administered. Many Baptists also practice a service of infant dedication but without the use of water.
Most early Baptists preferred to be baptized in “living waters,” that is, water that flows in a river or stream as opposed to water in a pond or baptistry.
In the Baptist tradition each church has a preacher. There are no bishops or superintendents. The leader is bishop, shepherd, elder, and pastor. The congregation calls the leader and may terminate the leader’s services.
Some churches may form groups or clusters for fellowship, service, and/or advice. Baptists ...