Baptism is accepted and practiced, and always has been, by just about every group in whatever place that has called itself Christian. Thus, it is somewhat ironic that a specific Christian group would emerge that would come to be identified as "Baptists." The issue of baptism—who should be baptized and by what method—would become important enough to them that they would endure persecution, social ostracization, even death, if necessary, to maintain their convictions.

Where did the Baptists come from? Why did their movement arise? The traceable historical roots of the Baptists as we know them today are to be found in the English church of the early 17th Century.

During the tumultuous 70-year period from the Act of Supremacy in 1534 and King Henry VIII's separation from Roman Catholicism, to the Hampton Court Conference in England in 1604 when the hopes of the Puritans were thwarted by King James I, the English church was inescapably intertwined with the shifting affairs of the state and monarchy. Intense and often violent struggles ensued as the reform movement progressed. Fundamental questions related to the nature of the church, its doctrine, polity, practice and relationship to the state were tested and debated in the crucible of a rapidly changing society.

It was the English Baptists and the European Anabaptists that would put the church and its whole self understanding to the a more severe test than any other group as they embraced a collection of doctrines and principles that shattered the old world synthesis.

The Baptists originated among the Separatist movement. The Separatists themselves had come from the Puritans. The Puritans were loyal members of the established church and sought to advance the reform movement ...

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