The Results Are In!
Surprise! We know very little about Baptist history.
The importance of learning Baptist history is that when we see how God has worked in the past we gain courage for today and hope for tomorrow. Though we may uncover some failures and excesses along the way, my hope is that this survey of Baptist history will build the confidence of Baptists, and help others to see and understand our rich heritage as well. As we discover the development of Baptist beliefs and practices in church history, we also learn to value more highly the convictions for which faithful men and women have lived and died.
Organizationally those who have been called Baptists can not really be traced to a period before the sixteenth century. However, it is important to note that Bible believing Baptists do have the same spiritual truth that early New Testament churches had. We possess the completed revelation, which is the final authority from God to man, the Bible.
Baptist history differs from Protestant denominations.
Historians generally agree that reliable Baptist history differs greatly from the history of major Protestant denominations. For example during the Reformation, many Protestant groups sought merely to reform the Roman Catholic (RC) religious machine, thus the name “Reformation.” The attempt to just reform this state-church was viewed by RC leaders as protesting, thus the name “Protestant.” These Reformed or Protestant denominations often have some form of the state-church model and/or denominational hierarchies and/or other RC traditions. This is true to this present hour. That is why this writer eschews the name “Reformed” and “Protestant” especially when applied to Baptists.
Perhaps from this post you have all ready learned something about Baptist history in the posts to follow I hope to present more information to substantiate my personal analysis in the hope that we continue to come along in a better understanding of the biblical distinctives of Baptists.