Historical Baptists Calvinistic?

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by WallDoctor, May 30, 2004.

  1. WallDoctor

    WallDoctor
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    I have read that there were two groups of Baptists in the 1600's Particular Baptists being 100 % Calvinistic and General Baptists who were not.

    I also read that The 5 Point Calvinist Particular Baptist Churches were by far the majority view of all Baptists.

    I also read they held to a Baptist Confession of Faith written in 1689 which was extremely Calvinistic.


    What's the history of this flip flop where now most Baptists are not Calvinistic??
     
  2. Taufgesinnter

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    I thought most Baptists now do believe in eternal security (i.e., are Calvinists, if inconsistently). The original Anabaptists and later, the earliest Baptists, were Arminians.
     
  3. Major B

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    Without getting into an argument over successionism, most historians agree that a group of English Separatists became influenced by Mennonite views while taking refuge from persecution in Holland. This group became General, or Arminian baptists. It is unsure what happened to this congregation, except that several years later, there were a few General Baptist congregations in England. By 1638, there were also several Particular, or Calvinistic, Baptist congregations in England, and wherever these came from, these (consistently) Calvinistic congregations are the antecedents for all Baptists in the US and England today with the exception of the General Baptist and 7th Day Baptist groups, which are fairly small. A lot of this information comes from tracing the written records they left, especially their confessions of faith and other congregational records.

    One excellent example of these long-standing congregations is the congregation that was pastored by three prominent 17th-century English Baptists, Benjamin Keach, Hanserd Knollys and (not sure of his first name) Kiffin. This same congregation was pastored, in the 18th century, by John Gill for 52 years, in the overlap between 18th and 19th by John Rippon for 62 years, and by Charles Haddon Spurgeon in the latter 19th century for 38 years.

    In the US, most congregations remained 5-point calvinist in their doctrine up to the beginning of the 20th century. The list of Southern Baptist founders and 2nd generation leaders who were Calvinistic is very extensive and encompasses all of their first and second generation leaders.

    How this slipped is a long story indeed. "Baptist Confessions of Faith" by Lumpkin, Judson Press, is an excellent resource here, as is "By His Grace and For His Glory," by Dr. Tom Nettles, which explains the slide.

    Tauf, most Baptists today hold to one of the five points only, or may be two, which might qualify them to be a semi-semi-semi-semi Calvinist...
     
  4. WallDoctor

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    Calvinists don't teach Eternal Security the way Baptists today hold to it. True Calvinists call it "Perseverence of the Saints" and they basically mean, "Yeah, Eternal Security, but the proof is if you make it too the end as a believer, otherwise, you were never a christian to begin with" Isn't that right??


    So the slide isn't easily definable?? Why would baptists not want to stick to their roots?? Charles Spurgeon seemed evangelical enough and he was a Calvinist so it can't be because of evangelism.
     
  5. Major B

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    Wall, the slide had to do with a very complex set of personalities, historical events, and issues. Nettles' book addresses it better than any I've seen.
     
  6. Daniel Dunivan

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    The Baptist History and Heritage Society has dedicated their latest journal to this issue. Might be worth a look.

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  7. Squire Robertsson

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    This is my take on the topic at hand. In the 17th Century, Baptists were clearly divided between the Particulars and Generals. Over the course of the intervening years, our bedrock distinctive of the Bible being our only rule of faith and practice has molded our thinking. So, we are more than happy to agree with Brother Jean when he got his theology right but are more than willing to disagree with him when he got it wrong.

    As for the matter of "eternal security", in my sub-sector of the Baptist galaxy, we use the wording "the security of the believer in Christ".
     
  8. Hardsheller

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    A quote from that very journal:

    "There is strong evidence of a predominantly Calvinistic orientation among our Baptist Forebears. John Asplund's Annual Register of the Bapist Denomination (1790) showed that in the late eighteenth century, of thirty-five associations in the United States and ier territories, seventeen formallyl subscribed to the Westminister Calvinism of the Philadelphia Confession, and nine more held to the "Calvinistic system" or "Calvinistic sentiment." By the same token, Asplund showed that while there was a dominant pattern of Baptist life and belief, there was variety. Of the nine other associations, three each embraced "General Provision," the "Bible Alone," or did not adopt a confession because Calvinist and Arminian views existed together among the ministers." Dr. Philip E. Thompson, North American Baptist Seminary, Sioux Falls, SD, Pages 62-63
     
  9. R. Charles Blair

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    J. Davis' "History of the Welsh Baptists" has been reprinted by Church History Research & Archives, Gallatin TN, recently in hardback at a very reasonable price. It documents congregations immersing believers in Wales back to the First Century (scanty information until the 1300's), almost all holding the doctrines of grace (long before Mr. C). Plenty of documentation in late 1500's/early 1600's (before 1641). One quote:

    "In the year 1586, John ab Henry, called by the English John Penry, an Episcopalian minister,
    . . . dissented from the church of England and became a Baptist minister. Immediately he commenced preaching to his countrymen throughout the Principality [Wales - RCB]. He became the ringleader of those Baptists in Wales, who never had and never would, bow the knee to the great beast of Rome, nor any of his horns in England."
    (page 25)

    The section is much longer; that is the gist of it. There are many similar passages, and frequent references to the lack of Arminianism in that area. One in point, p. 153: ". . . Jacob Isaac . . . . was a good preacher,and a man of good moral character; but nonwithstanding all this, the congregation is very small,and very few added to the church. It appears that Arminianism
    cannot agree with the soil of this Principality."
    (This was the "church at Hengoed, imbibing the sentiments of the general Baptists" in the 18th century.) Many of the early Baptists in North America were from Wales; some entire churches moved to the new world.

    Why the "slide"? Possibly because some folks, when they recognize grace, can't talk about anything else, but must prove their point over and over. Salvation by grace, based in divine sovereignty, is the solid foundation of our faith but not the only doctrine! And a consistent discussion of any one doctrine tends only to make others reject it. Best - Charles Blair - Ro.8:28
     
  10. rsr

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    This genealogy of the Welsh Baptists, though accepted within some circles, is certainly not the mainstream view of Baptist history. John Penry is well within the Separatist tradition, going back to the Barrowists.
     
  11. WallDoctor

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    Whether correct or not, that is one of the best explanations I've ever heard. I can see how some churches over preach it. I have always tended to enjoy it -- you know, preaching to the choir. But if you are unsure--it could push you away. Our new church is calvinstic but they don't preach directly of it though it definately gives the sermons a certain flare still and because it's not overfocused, we have a lot of people who attend who are not calvinistic but might one day be one over by the biblical teaching.
     
  12. R. Charles Blair

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    Re: Welsh Baptists - Many of the early churches in North America were completely Welsh (Welsh Tract, Welsh Neck, etc. even in the names). The Baptists of Wales, while differing slightly among themselves, maintain the understanding that they have been there since the First Century with the same basic doctrines: Salvation by grace through faith, believer's immersion, local church self-government under Christ, distinctively Baptist views. Many were closed communion; some were (according to Jones) "formed on the basis of mixed communion," but not the majority.

    Sovereignty is the iron in the backbone, but iron can be hard to swallow. My conviction is that the elect will recognize it in an expository approach to Scripture, where it flows naturally from the text. We are to "adorn the doctrine," Paul says; doesn't that mean to make it look attractive where folks will want to accept it?

    (Of course there is a place for hard, straight preaching on specific subjects. Jesus did both, but he fed the thousands before He told some of them "that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father" Jn. 6:65 NKJV).
    And many turned back, v. 66. But some stayed! So will it ever be. For what 50 years of experience may be worth, it seems to me that we are best advised to preach through books of Scripture in an expository fashion. I'm in the middle of Exodus just now, probably headed for Galatians sometime this early fall. Best -Charles - Ro.8:28
     
  13. Mark Osgatharp

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    I have noticed that frequently in the annals of American Baptist history we encounter those who bemoan the "fact" that Baptists have left their Calvinistic roots. That makes Baptists and Calvinism somewhat like the drunkard who quits drinking every day!

    [​IMG]

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  14. Matt Black

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    Point of info for the good Major- it was William Kiffin (for whom I presume our illustrious BBmember of the same name is named)

    Interestingly, the Baptist minister father of a friend of mine has the first name Penry - presumably after the Welsh Baptist, "look you"

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  15. Baptistas

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    Russian Baptists is Arminian! John Smith were Arminian. Thomas Helwys were Arminian. I search for the adherents!
     
  16. WallDoctor

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    This comment is made by one who obviously did not pay too much attention to the original question asked. I was asking why the change, not bemoaning it's taking place. You also seem to presume that Calvinism is wrong to make a comparison to drunkeness. I find that most people who are against Calvinism are against it because they don't fully understand it and/or only see the abuses of HyperCalvinists----who are in no ways the same as true Calvinists.

    I am a true baptist---goto to a good baptist church, and yet our church is unashamedly Calvinistic and Evangelical. I see no reason why Calvinism is not compatible with Baptists since I am one and am curious from a historical standpoint for the change, not a doctrinal standpoint.
     
  17. dean198

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    Here's my take....
    The first groups from which Baptists derive were the sixteenth century Dutch Anabaptists in England and Holland. These became the foundation of the English General Baptists of the early 17th century. The Particular Baptists arose some quarter century later, in the 1630s. Though they were "Particular Baptists," and held the 'five points', they were not Calvinistic in the modern sense. For example they held strong views to the effect that believers are not under the law (I guess Gospel Standard Strict Baptists are their true heirs), and they believed that ministers should be Spirit taught and self taught in the Word, and they shunned seminary training. After the Act of Uniformity, Independent and Baptist churches of a more Protestant and Reformed Calvinism took shape. General Baptists are still in existence in England, and from my experience I would say that they probably outnumber Calvinist ones, though I cannot be dogmatic. In America, the Calvinist ones did become dominant, and I have no idea how they all flipped over to what they hold today (which I cannot in good conscience call 'arminianism', and 'easy believism' would probably offend, so I leave it blank). Then of course Dispensationalism got added to the mix, beginning in the latter part of the nineteenth century, mainly through the influence of the Scofield reference bible and the large schools like BIOLA and Moody. But the American Free Will Baptists are directly descended from the General Baptists.

    Dean
     
  18. rsr

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    Welcome to the board, Dean.
     
  19. dean198

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    Thanks rsr

    How do I put those little flags in the corner? Do you have the good ol' bonnie blue? otherwise the english st georges would be good.
    Regards
    Dean
     
  20. rsr

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    Dean, check your PMs.
     

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