Definition of the word „Baptist“
“Baptists” comes from the Greek word “baptizein” which is related to the
verb “to immerse or dip” and in figurative sense has the meaning “to
The name "Baptist" was not a self-chosen one. In the early HYPERLINK
"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformation" \o "Reformation" Protestant
Reformation time this particular group of HYPERLINK
"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian" \o "Christian" Christians
made HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism" \o "Baptism"
baptism on a profession of faith a condition of church membership. This
rejection of HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_baptism"
\o "Infant baptism" infant baptism and this insistence on HYPERLINK
"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Believer%27s_baptism" \o "Believer's
baptism" believers' baptism were so distinctive of these Christians
that they were stigmatized with the pejorative "Baptists."
History of Baptismus
During the final years of the 16th century radical groups emerged in the
Anglican church impatient with the church's slow pace of reform. Many of
these broke away from the established church and became known as
Separatists. One such group was established in Gainsborough,
Lincolnshire under the leadership of Thomas Helwys and John Smith, a
former Anglican preacher.
In 1608 this group moved to Amsterdam in order to escape persecution in
England. In Amsterdam Smith became convinced that baptism should be
available only to those who are convinced believers. Smith baptised
himself and his followers, thus forming the first Baptist church. In
1611 Thomas Helwys and some of his followers returned to London and
established the first Baptist church in England. These came to be known
as General Baptists because they believed that Christ died for everyone,
and not an elect few.
In 1638 a Baptist church was formed in Southwark, London whose theology
was Calvinistic. Those churches that followed this theology came to be
known as Particular Baptists because they believed that only a
particular elect group would be saved.
The Baptist church grew steadily during the first half of the17th
century. However, the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660 led to
renewed persecution of dissenting churches. During this time the Baptist
preacher John Bunyan spent 12 years in prison.
The 18th century saw renewed growth in the church. In 1792 the English
Baptist Missionary Society was organised under the leadership of William
Carey, planting Baptist churches in India and other parts of Asia.
Church membership continued to grow throughout the 19th century.
Concomitant with this growth was the quest to establish cooperation
among different Baptist churches. In 1891 the General and Particular
Baptists were united in the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
Baptist churches were also set up throughout central and eastern Europe.
The twentieth century has witnessed a growth in international
cooperation among Baptist churches. In 1905 the World Baptist Alliance
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