Friday, August 03, 2012

Being Baptist: The birth of the Baptist movement

The Baptist movement began nearly 100 years after the birth of the Protestant Reformation and embodied the spirit of ecclesia semper reformanda est (Latin for “the church is always to be reformed”). This was one of the tenets of the Protestant Reformation.

There were Anglican Christians who believed that the Church of England had not gone far enough to correct the errors and abuses that had crept into the church. Some who felt strongest about this decided they must leave the Church of England and became known as Separatists.

Separatist John Smyth organized the first Baptist church in 1609. The name was given to them because of their practice of only baptizing believers. If salvation is by faith than the person being baptized must have faith. This is known as soul competency. Each person is free to accept or reject Christ.

These early Baptists contributed other significant reformations to the Christian faith. They believed in the autonomy of the local church; the Bible does not dictate any authority over the local church other than Jesus Christ. Baptists also championed religious liberty for all; the state should not interfere in the affairs of the church.

Other groups held these beliefs but it was this unique combination along with tenets inherited from the Protestant Reformation that continue to define Baptists. Following the principle of ecclesia semper reformanda est, Baptists throughout history have used the Bible to ensure that there doctrine and practice was pure. This led to many divisions among Baptists ever the years but the freedom to examine the scriptures and act accordingly still continues. This may explain why whenever you have two Baptists you get three opinions.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1


Diana said...

I usually get in trouble for having an opinion. It was much easier when I used to just agree with the opinion of everyone else. But of course then I was liked by everyone because I would never disagree with them. But now I guess I am Baptist and because I don't always agree with others; I am not liked much. It sure is hard to know when you should speak up and when you shouldn't. Is there a time when you should just keep your opinion to yourself? And how do you know when it is your opinion oppose to being a complaint???

Jorge Zayasbazan said...

I've noticed that people who speak last tend to be listened to more. Also, opinions are better received if they aren't seen as judgmental. As for me, I have rarely regretted keeping my mouth shut about stuff that did not impact me directly.