Articles, Commentary and Resources

































 An introduction to the people called Baptists, focusing on history and beliefs.





Baptist beliefs, it must be noted, are diverse, although a core set of beliefs (including Christ-centric faith; freedom of conscience; full religious liberty and complete separation of church and state; the priesthood of all believers; believer's baptism by immersion; authority of the Bible rather than creeds; and local church autonomy) traditionally defines Baptists, who emerged from the Protestant Reformation and trace their beginnings to 1609

Represented by over 250 distinct groupings worldwide today, Baptists are not easily pigeon-holed. Baptist groups, churches and individuals range the theological and ideological spectrums from fundamentalist to liberal and Calvinist to Arminian (and many points in between). The Baptist family in America of the 20th and early 21st centuries includes such notable individuals as John D. Rockefeller, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Walter Rauschenbush, George W. Truett, E. Y. Mullins, Frank Norris, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Carlyle Marney, Will Campbell, Marian Wright Edelman, Billy Graham, Jimmy Carter, Jerry Falwell, Bill Clinton, Fred Phelps, Martin Luther King, Jr., Al Gore, Adrian Rogers, and Tony Campolo. 

Although the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the most prominent Baptist group in America, they represent a minority of Baptists in the United States, and are rivaled in size by African American Baptist conventions (the largest of which is the National Baptist Convention, USA). American Baptist Churches USA represent another large group of Baptists in the United States.

However, the majority of Baptists in the world are now located in the southern hemisphere. The Baptist World Alliance is the single largest Baptist organization, representing a significant majority of Baptists in the world (their web site provides links to many member Baptist groups). In addition, the BaptistLife.Com site maintains links to Baptist groups worldwide.

Recommended Baptist History Survey Books
Pamela and Keith Durso -- The Story of Baptists in the United States
Bruce T. Gourley -- A Capsule History of Baptists
Bill Leonard -- Baptist Ways
Leon McBeth -- The Baptist Heritage

Walter Shurden -- Four Fragile Freedoms (a short introduction)
Douglas Weaver -- In Search of the New Testament Church

Baptist Theology
Lectures by Fisher Humphreys (Former Professor of Theology, Beeson Divinity School)
Calvinism and Traditional Baptist Theology
Open Theism and Theology Today
Fundamentalism and Theology Today
Forgiveness and Theology Today

Recommended Baptist Theology Books
Systematic Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Evangelical.  (James Leo Garrett)
Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study (James Leo Garrett)
A Capsule History of Baptist Principles
(William H. Brackney)

Baptists and Religious Liberty
The single most important contribution Baptists have made to America and the world is religious liberty and separation of church and state. Unfortunately, many modern Baptists have forsaken this heritage.
Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty based in Washington, D.C.
An Excellent, Extensive Collection of Church/State Primary Documents
Baptists on Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State by Walter B.
           Shurden, Executive Director, The Center for Baptist Studies
The Christian American Citizen by Brent Walker, Baptist Joint Committee
Baptists and Religious Liberty by George W. Truett
Baptists and Religious Liberty in Early Connecticut  by George W. Grisevich
Religion and the State Governments (Library of Congress)
Historical Baptist Quotes on Separation of Church and State
Outline of Baptist Persecution in Colonial America by Bruce Gourley
History of Religious Liberty in America by the First Amendment Center
Thomas Jefferson, Baptist Ally, An Atheist? by Bruce Gourley
1832 Presbyterian Sermon Condemning America as a Secular Nation

Select Primary Sources
The Baptist Catechism, Charleston Association (1813)
The Baptist Mission in India by William Staughton (1811)
"A History of Clear Creek Church, and Campbellism Exposed" by John Taylor (1830)
London Confessions of Faith (1644, 1646, 1651, 1652)
The Millennial Harbinger, Volume 1 by Alexander Campbell (1830)
Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches by Francis Wayland (1857)
A Short History of the Baptists by H. C. Vedder
William Carey's Works

An Online Collection of Hundreds of Primary Sources (Baptist History Homepage)
Baptist Studies Online Primary Source Collection (Southeastern Baptist Theo. Sem.)

Baptist History Websites

American Baptist Historical Society -- the official website
BaptistHeritage.Com -- from the Baylor University Baptist Studies Department
Baptist Historical Society (UK) -- the official website
Baptist History and Heritage Society -- pamphlets, books and more
BWA Heritage and Identity Commission -- from the Baptist World Alliance
Center for Baptist Heritage and Studies -- by the Baptist General Convention of VA
Center for Baptist Studies -- publications, resources, conferences and more
Documenting the American South -- primary documents (search for "Baptist")
First London Confessions of Faith -- text of early Baptist confessions with annotations
Founder's Journal -- devoted to the Calvinistic dimension of Baptist history
Independent, Fundamentalist Baptist History -- a brief survey
Primitive Baptist Web Station --  contains text of doctrinal abstracts and creeds of faith
A Selection of Primitive Baptist Materials -- an electronic library
Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives -- an official SBC site
Strict Baptist Historical Society -- British Baptist resources
Texas Baptist Historical Collection -- important Baptist resources from Texas
The Triumph of the Southern Baptists -- a brief history of Southern Baptists