Baptists were English separatists that came of the Puritan movement:
• majority view by Baptist historians see Baptists as developing out of English separatism.
We have already covered the issues in the English
• certain groups disagreed with views espoused by the Anglican Church
• Puritans were the main dissenting group.
• They wanted a pure church.
• They did not leave the church but wanted to purify it. • They divided into two groups:
• These Puritans are the ones who came to New England because the process of reform was so slow.
• Separatists: came to Plymouth Rock to flee religious persecution.
• The separatists divided into two camps:
Congregationalists - rejected the church of England but accepted their baptism as legitimate
Baptists - rejected the Anglican Church and their baptism in it.
• John Smyth and Thomas Helwys
Smyth was the pastor of a separatist church in England
• Smyth questioned the validity of his baptism in the Church of England.
• If the Anglican Church is false, then the baptism must be false.
• he began to question infant baptism because it was absent in the New Testament.
• He baptized himself and then other members of his congregation and they formally organized on the basis of a covenant.
• based on the Old Testament idea and is how Baptists organize themselves.
• A Baptists church is formed on the basis of a covenant and believer's baptism
•This church is often seen as the first Baptist church
Thomas Helwys, a church leader with Smyth, and others disagreed, excommunicated him and returned to England in 1612 forming the first Baptist church on English soil.
JLJ church (named for the initials of the first three pastors) in Southwark London.
• This was a Separatist congregation that began in
• first Particular Baptist church
• they concluded that immersion was the proper method of baptism.
• Baptists in England had two independent beginnings, the General Baptists coming from Smyth and Helwys, and the Particular Baptists arising from the JLJ church.
• The main issue for Baptists was not "who should be baptized" but rather the search for a pure church. This was and to a degree is still a distinguishing mark of Baptists.