Rise of the English Baptists Term Paper

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But the Bible is clear that Esau, Judas, and anyone else who does not believe in Jesus Christ is condemned to an eternity in hell, separated from God forever, never to be redeemed. (Himes R.)

The Particular Movement was founded by Henry Jacob (1563-1624). Although he never in fact became a Baptist his views strongly influenced the development of the Separatist Movement. Jacob also attempted to reform the Church of England rather than condemning the Church outrightly. At this time there was a distinct and sharp difference between the particular and general Baptists.

Being stern Calvinists, the Particular Baptists reject any relationship with John Smyth, or the early General Baptists who advocated Arminian or "free will" theology with its popish overtones. The early Particular Baptists rejected any historical relationship with John Smyth and his movement. Some early Baptist authors even postulated a historical tradition in Britain dating as far back as the New Testament. (ibid)

However scholars also point out that the distinction between General and Particular Baptists was not a critical division but rather a difference in point-of-view which did not divide the Baptist movement.

Yes, it is true that the two groups held differing views on atonement and doctrine in general, but they did not divide. Rather, they emerged as two separate groups. As with the General Baptists, the Particular Baptists came out of the Separatist movement. (a Primer on Baptist History) it has also been asserted that modern Baptists Churches have theoir origins in the Particular movement rather than in the General. (ibid)

The issue of baptism was also to prove a contentious but central issue in the creation of the Baptist ethos. For the later Separatist movements only a "valid' church could administer a baptism that could be considered authentic. The earlier view that baptism was valid even if the Church itself was seen to be corrupt was challenged by the later Separatists. "This view would gradually changed among later Separatist congregations that would question or reject all baptisms even their own." (English Dissenters) the issue of infant baptism becomes a highly contentious issue in many English congregations during the seventeenth century.

The first Baptist Church congregations were established by Separatists who had to feel to Holland in 1608. These congregations were comprised of English people under the guidance of John Smyth and Thomas Helwys. Their objective was to "reconstitute' and not just 'reform' the Church." (Traffanstedt C)

There was emphasis placed on personal conversion and on baptism, which was to be given to individuals who had personally professed faith in Jesus Christ, that is, to believers only and on mutual covenanting between and among believers.

4. Conclusion: different views.

The General Baptists experienced numerous doctrinal problems during the Seventeenth Century; even questioning the deity of Christ. As a result the movement began to decline. While this crisis was remedied by various Ministers, the final result was the decline and disappearance of the General Baptists. This was due "... To the fact that the General Baptists had enlisted into their ranks less than knowledgeable pastors and leaders. It only took about one more generation for the General Baptists to largely depart from history." (ibid)

There are numerous views of the origins and development of English Baptism. One view that has been propounded by writers such as a.C. Underwood and William R. Estep is the influence of the Anabaptists. This view states the accepted view that English Baptists developed from the Separatist Movement, but adds that this development was largely determined by the influence of the Anabaptists.

According to this view, some early Baptist were influenced by some Anabaptists. The Dutch Mennonites (Anabaptists), for example, shared some similarities with General Baptists (believer's baptism, religious liberty, separation of church and state, and Arminian views of salvation, predestination and original sin). (Gourley B.)

Another view is that of the continuation of Biblical teachings. This view states that the Baptist Church is a continuation of the early Christian Church and is therefore a true reflection of valid and authentic doctrine. This view has a large number of advocates such as the early Baptist historian Thomas Crosby as well as a.H. Newman and David Benedict.


Allen, J.W. English Political Thought, 1603-1660. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1938.

Gourley B. A Very Brief Introduction to Baptist History, Then and Now. Accessed November 8, 2004. http://www.yellowstone.net/baptist/history.htm

Primer on Baptist History. Accessed November 7, 2004.

BAPTIST CONNECTIONS. Baptist History. Accessed November 7, 2004. http://home.sprintmail.com/~masthewitt/baptists/history.html

Colish, Marcia L. "Imagining Peace: A History of Early English Pacifist Ideas, 1340-1560." Renaissance Quarterly 52.2 (1999): 538+. Questia. 9 Nov. 2004 http://www.questia.com/.

Cornish, Francis Warre. The English Church in the Nineteenth Century. Vol. 1. London: Macmillan, 1910.

English Dissenters. ExLibris. 2004. Accessed November 7, 2004. http://www.exlibris.org/nonconform/engdis/baptists.html

Himes R. Particular Atonement. Providence Church. Accessed November 8, 2004. http://users2.ev1.net/~providencechurch/particular_atonement.htm

Hentoff, Nat. "A Baptist Case for Separation." Free Inquiry Spring 2002: 19+. Questia. 9 Nov. 2004 http://www.questia.com/.

Landis H. A Brief Baptist History of Origins. Accessed November 8, 2004. http://www.geocities.com/landmarkbiblebaptist/History/ann.html

Traffanstedt C. A Primer on Baptist History. The Reformed Reader. 2003. Accessed November 2004. http://www.reformedreader.org/history/pbh.htm[continue]

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