What is a General Baptist?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by tinytim, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I have been reading the minutes of our church lately, trying to get prepared for our upcoming 125th anniversary this spring...

    And I keep noticing that in 1883, when our church was founded, there is a lot of talk about being a General Baptist church.

    What does this mean? What is opposite a General Baptist... a Major, or Corporal Baptist? :laugh:

    Seriously, what is the opposite, I am thinking a Regular Baptist, but what was the differences back then, and why were they so adament about being a General Baptist..

    Also, I have found some rather peculiar things.. like one time the church voted to buy the pastor a horse an buggy... but then after raising the money and buying it, they charged the pastor rent for using it...

    The pastor's salary was $25 a yr...
    The rent was $5 a month!!!

    HMMmmm...I hope the rest of the church doesn't read this, and get some ideas!!!

    Wow.. I just hijacked my own thread in the OP!!

    Ok, back on topic...
    What is a general Baptist?
     
  2. EdSutton

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    The top ranking Baptist??

    Above Colonel Baptists, I'd guess. :D :laugh: :laugh:

    Ed
     
  3. abcgrad94

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    I think there was a thread about this recently. I believe General Baptist were more Armenian and the Particular Baptists were calvinistic.
     
  4. tinytim

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    Since this is a "General Baptist Discussion" forum... does that mean that only General Baptists can discuss here?!! lol

    Sorry Bro. Bob!!!
     
  5. tinytim

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    That's right!!! I remember that... I did do a search, but didn't find this topic...

    Thanks....

    So the opposite of a General is a Particular, not a regular...

    Hmmm...
     
  6. npetreley

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    A General Baptist believes in Corporal Punishment and Private Property.
     
  7. SaggyWoman

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    A General Baptist is a Major Pain.
     
  8. tinytim

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    Hey!!! Can we court marshal Saggy?
     
  9. SaggyWoman

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    Anyone can want to court me, but not all have that privilege. hehehehehehe.
     
  10. ReformedBaptist

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    Here is some solid historical info. You can read the full article here http://www.reformedreader.org/history/pbh.htm


    I am a Particular Baptist.

    "Let us start with the basic premise about Baptist history: the modern Baptist denomination originated in England and Holland in the early seventeenth century. This origin has been debated down through history, but our goal here is to show that our premise is closer to the true historical facts than the other positions being held. From the early 1600's, we see two major groups emerging in England that we can classify as Baptist: General and Particular Baptist."

    General Baptists

    This group came to be known as General Baptists because they believed in a “general” atonement.4 The General Baptists also had a distinct belief that Christians could face the possibility of “falling from grace”. The two primary founders of the General Baptist movement were John Smyth and Thomas Helwys.

    The earliest General Baptist Church was thought to be founded about 1608 or 1609. Its chief founder was John Smyth (1570-1612) and it was located in Holland. Smyth’s history begins in England where he was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1594. Soon after his ordination, his zeal landed him in prison for refusal to conform to the teachings and practices of the Church of England. He was an outspoken man who was quick to challenge others about their beliefs but was just as quick to change his own positions as his own personal theology changed. Smyth continually battled the Church of England until it became obvious that he could no longer stay in fellowship with this church. Thus, he finally broke totally from them and became a “Separatist”.

    In 1609, Smyth, along with a group in Holland, came to believe in believer’s baptism (as opposed to infant baptism which was the norm at that time) and they came together to form the first “Baptist” church. In the beginning, Smyth was on track with the typical orthodox church position; but as time passed, as was so typical, he began changing his positions. First, Smyth insisted that true worship was from the heart and that any form of reading from a book in worship was an invention of sinful man. Prayer, singing and preaching had to be completely spontaneous. He went so far with this mentality that he would not allow the reading of the Bible during worship “since he regarded English translations of Scripture as something less than the direct word of God.”5 Second, Smyth introduced a twofold church leadership, that of Pastor and Deacon. This was in contrast to the Reformational trifold leadership of Pastor-Elder, Lay-Elders, and Deacons.

    Third, with his newfound position on baptism, a whole new concern arose for these “Baptists”. Having been baptized as infants, they all realized that they would have to be re-baptized. Since there was no other minister to administer baptism, Smyth baptized himself and then proceeded to baptize his flock. An interesting note at this point that should be brought to bear is that the mode of baptism used was that of pouring, for immersion would not become the standard for another generation. Before his death, as seems characteristic of Smyth, he abandoned his Baptist views and began trying to bring his flock into the Mennonite church. Although he died before this happened, most of his congregation did join themselves with the Mennonite church after his death.

    Now we turn our attention to Thomas Helwys. He had a somewhat rocky relationship with Smyth, but after Smyth began moving away from the General Baptist belief, Helwys carried on the Baptist beginnings. Helwys led his small group to England in 1611 and this was considered to be the first Baptist Church on English soil. This group held to believer’s baptism, they rejected Calvinism for a free will position (which included falling from grace), and they allowed each church to elect its officers, both elders and deacons.6 By 1624, there were five known General Baptist churches and by 1650 they numbered at least 47.7 Even though some might see the modern-day Baptist movement in this group, we must understand that the beliefs of this group are far from the reformed heritage that shaped modern-day Baptist belief.


    Particular Baptists

    It is often said that the Baptists in England divided over the doctrine of the atonement, but this is not a true historical reflection. 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. This group emerged in the 1630's. This group was influenced by the great reformer John Calvin and held strongly to a “particular” atonement.8 The first church was thought to be founded around 1633 or 1638, according to some. Regardless of this datum, however, it is clear that by 1644 the Particular Baptists numbered at least seven churches. One amazing point about this small and very young group is that in 1644 these churches acted together to issue a confession of faith called the First London Confession of Faith. This confession preceded the widely known Westminster Confession of Faith by two years. As we will see, the present-day Baptist churches can be traced back to these early Baptists.

    Although typical Baptist history is given more to the General Baptist movement, it is actually the Particular Baptists to which most modern-day Baptists owe their doctrine and practices. As one historian reminds us, General Baptists:

    always represented a small part of Baptist life in England, and an even smaller part in America. Their influence upon the main currents of Baptist life in either country appears to have been slight.9

    The history of the Particular Baptist movement starts with Henry Jacob (1563-1624). Although Jacob never became a Baptist, he was a basic influence to what would become the Particular Baptists. We could call Jacob a moderate Separatist. Jacob was not willing to call the Church of England the antichrist; thus, he worked continually to reform her. In 1603, Jacob signed a document that called for reform in the Church of England. This document was to be thwarted by King James I. Although Jacob did not call for separation, he did write a treatise entitled Reasons taken out of Gods Word and the best humane Testimonies proving a necessitie of reforming our Churches in England. With the publication of this book, Jacob was thrown in prison for a short time. Upon his release, he went into exile in Holland as did most of the Separatists. Even though he was reluctant to come down radically on the Church of England, he did come to make a distinction between true and false churches of the Church of England. This new mindset moved him to call for freedom to form different types of churches with alternate kinds of worship.

    In 1616, Jacob was able to return to England and formed the JLJ Church, as it is known today.10 It was this church that would later give rise to Particular Baptists. This church had several debates arise in its midst about baptism, debates which led to several different breaks in the JLJ church. One such break came in 1633 when sixteen persons asked the church to let them step away from the JLJ church to form a separate church. The reasons for this break were twofold. The first was out of necessity. The JLJ church was becoming too big and in danger of being “found out” (since it was illegal to be outside of the Church of England). The second reason was cited as too much conformity to the Church of England. In 1638, another break came when six people left the JLJ church on the issue of believer's baptism, which they held to strongly. Thus, the first Particular Baptist Church can be traced to either or both of these churches.
     
  11. SaggyWoman

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    We are being serious about this???? Oh so sorry!
     
  12. Bethelassoc

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  13. A2J

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    Depends, are they 4-Star General Baptists?

    :laugh:
     
  14. Bethelassoc

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    I also would like to add the following: http://www.generalbaptist.org/

    Since I live in MO, the "headquarters" is located in Poplar Bluff, if I understand correctly.

    David
     
  15. Baptist Believer

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    Well that's the convention of General Baptists...

    As it was mentioned earlier, the distinction between views of the atonement makes Baptists either "General" (as in general atonement) or "Particular" (as in particular atonement). Particular Baptists are almost always Calvinists. General Baptists may be anything from full-blown Armenian (rarely) to softened Calvinists (often).

    My own convention (one that has historically been closely associated with the Southern Baptist Convention) is called the Baptist General Convention of Texas, reflecting our beginnings as believers in a general atonement.
     
  16. Bible Believing Bill

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    Actually david the correct web address for The General Association of General Baptists is http://www.generalbaptist.com the .org address is to a site with links to General Baptist Chruches.

    Tim,

    I am a member of Rockford United General Baptist Church, so maybe I can shed some light on your question. Here are the basics of our Statement of Faith:


















     
  17. Jerome

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    Actually, the terms "General Association" and "General Convention" often used by national and state Baptist groups have nothing to do with belief in a general atonement.
     
  18. Bible Believing Bill

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    Tim here is some history on the General Association of General Baptists for your.

    Let me say most of what I am about to say is from memory. I can't find my notes from the workshop I attended this summer on General Baptist history. If I can find it I will expand and provided citations.

    In 1823 Benoni Stinson organized Liberty Church in Howell Indiana (the church is now know as Howell General Baptist Church. One of the main tenets of faith for Stinson was that "Christ tasted death for all men" You may be interested in this site ( http://www.gospeltruth.net/Hume_Stinson_atonement/hume_stinson_entiretext.htm ) for the text of a debate on atonement between Rev. Stinson and Rev. Joel Hume from 3/31/1863 to 4/4/1863.

    After forming Liberty Church Rev. Stinson began to associate with other like minded churches in Southern Indiana and in 1824 the Liberty Association of General Baptists was formed. In the formative years of the denomination there was some talk and several meetings between the General Baptists of Southern Indiana and the northern Free Will Baptists. The efforts to merge seemed to fall apart due to mis-information printed in The Christian Freeman a newspaper published (I think) in Chicago. If this merger had happened I would now be a member of an American Baptist church rather than a General Baptist church. In 1870 the Liberty, Mt. Olivet and Ohio Associations met in Galletin County, IL and formed the General Association of General Baptists. The GAGB is now headquartered in Poplar Bluff, MO and has Churches all over the US, mostly in the mid-west, General Baptist International Missions has extensive missions work in Mexico, Honduras, the Philippines, and China among other areas, The General Baptist National Missions has committed to opening 160 new churches between 2006 and 2016. To date in this champaign 43 new churches have been opened.


    Tim feel free to ask any questions you may have.


    Bill :godisgood:
     
  19. Bible Believing Bill

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    Yes it does NOW GET OUT OF MY FOURM!

    It'g gonna be lonely when all the rest of you leave so maybe I will losen the rules and let just any ole Baptist post here. :tongue3:

    Bill :godisgood:
     
  20. thomas15

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    Tim,

    A little off topic...

    You mentioned Regular Baptist in your OP. One of my early mentors (In college 1979 salem WV) became a pastor in your group I believe--- American Baptist Churches in the USA. I, on the other hand, after years of trial and error settled into a GARBC church (General Assocaition of Regular Baptist Churches). To my American Baptist brother, I'm a ittle over the edge and to me, my American Baptist brother is a little on the liberal side.

    The GARBC broke off from the Northern Baptist Convention back in the 1930s to protest liberal trends. The American Baptist Churches in the USA is basically what is left of the Northern Baptist Convention.

    here is a link on the GARBC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Association_of_Regular_Baptist_Churches

    GARBC churches stress the autonimy of the local group, so you can find calvinistic tendencies, but I doubt you will see much armenian doctrine. Most GARBC churches that I know are conservative/fundamental, SOME are KJVO (but the approved seminaries and colleges are not KJVO) and they are mostly dispensational. My old GARBC church in NJ did not require head coverings or dresses for ladies, short hair on men and so forth. However, they are very biblical with respect to elders and deacons, for example.

    My childhood church in NJ is an American Baptist Church. This church now has female pastors which would never fly in GARBC. My American Baptist friend mentioned above likes Tony Campolo for example, GARBC folks do not like him one bit.

    I'm not saying any of this to be insulting-- if anyone is ofended, I will delete this post.

    Tom
     

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