Apr 15, 2005
By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:08 AM
I know I have several Baptists reading this, so perhaps one of you could straighten me out on an issue that is confusing me. How exactly are the Primitive Baptists and Free Will Baptists of the nineteenth century connected to the modern day ABC and SBC? At first, I thought perhaps the two present conventions descended from one or both of those groups, but I almost get the feeling that the precursor to the present mainline Baptists actually had the Primitive Baptists and Free Will Baptists split off from it.
Any light that can be provided would be appreciated.
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I really have no idea, but I do know that baptist history is rarely discussed. We tend, due to that undiscussed history, to be a very loose affiliation. As you dig back into our history the baptist tends to find that he was more liturgical than they might care to admit. I’ve only been learning about this as our current pastor has been digging it up and sharing.
For example, ever heard of the Baptist Confession of Faith? Most baptists haven’t.
This looks to be related, and an interesting read: http://www.founders.org/FJ27/article3_fr.html
Technically, SBC broke off from ABC. There was a rather ecumenical missions support group that met, but was rather loosely organized. Leadership was abolitionist, but the southern groups broke away during the Civil War era, over slavery and also to organize more efficiently. The modern ABC is actually ABCUSA, quite liberal and a member of several socialist religion organizations (WCC, NCC, etc.).
Primitive Baptists are more hard Calvinist and not very mission-minded at all, going from way back. They are left over from the earliest Baptist settlers from England, and represent the dominant Calvinist stream. There are actually serveral “free will” groups that come from a radically different tradition, and are quite Arminian. While the organizers broke off from more mainstream groups, their theology is traceable to some very old groups in England.
Thanks, Josiah and Ed. I shall look at that link, Josiah. Never hurts to finally admit a link to liturgy!
Ed, thanks for the history… that, I think, helps a lot.