Will the real church please stand up I am a ardent student of Philip Schaff and his history of the Christian Church. He has no axe to grind and simply reveals the truths of the matter. Actually, there was NO Baptist church in existence until at the time of the reformation.The primary church for over a thousand years was the CATHOLIC church divided into the west and the east. The BEGINNING church in Jerusalem was made up of Jews who still held to their heritage, but trusted in Jesus as their Lord and Messiah.God chose Paul as a minister to the GENTILES. Because of his efforts many, many gentile churches were established. Even so, whether assemblies of Jewish believers or gentile believers there were NO NAMED denominational churches, ONLY where they were located. The title CATHOLIC was a Latin term meaning "universal" and so the whole church LATER ON was thereafter called was the CATHOLIC CHURCH. Even in the Nicene Creed the phrase "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church" appears. So the there was only ONE name church and that was the Catholic or universal church. Originally, this primitive church held to the doctrines of grace and practiced believers' baptism, but as pagans flooded the church just a couple centuries later they brought in false teachings INTO the once primitive and pure church. Then in the 3rd century the Emperor Constantine LEGALIZED Christianity and so Christianity BECAME A STATE CHURCH. A religious-political state run church. After that the Papacy arose with great power and Maryology,as well as images were erected and even more heresies entered the church. Few people know that a great pagan philosopher who converted to Christianity had a powerful influence on the dogmas of the state run church. His name was Augustine. His writings were revered as much as the bible. Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk at one time and John Calvin borrowed much of his theology from Augustine. The Albigensian and Waldensian were prominent during the time of Luther, but were not Baptist in their total beliefs. The Baptists started in ENGLAND under Roger Williams. Williams’s criticism of the existing authorities, coupled with his outspoken demeanor, resulted in his banishment from New England in 1635. He fled southward in January of the following year, where he bought land from the Indians and founded the colony of Rhode Island. He named its first settlement Providence in recognition of God’s help and guidance. Soon after this time he founded America’s first Baptist church in 1639 Now one can deny all these truths, but true history cannot lie. One poster claimed John the Baptist was a member of the church. No, he wasn't. He was a chosen prophet of God's choosen to preach to the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL baptism and repentance and to herald the wonderful news of their coming Messiah. What we call the church did not really come into being until Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was first given. That was the church's birthday. Christ and the apostles are the FOUNDATION of the church and John the Baptist was not an apostle. Now some Baptist brethren feel the church didn't begin until after Paul's ministry began which would be after the first dispersion of the Jewish church. This was believed by O Hare, E.W. Bullinger and now C.R.Stam and the Grace brethren movement of today. Irregardless, the church BEGAN after Pentecost and not before. I just wanted to post this because I feel a lot of folks read misleading books that deny the real truth of church history. That's all.