Topic and Bibliography: Influence of History of General and Particular Baptists in England on Formation of Contemporary Baptist Doctrine
The present day theological doctrine of the Baptist church was formed by the history of its development – both external persecutions from the side of the English government in the 17th century, and further disputes and opposition between the General and the Particular Baptists contribute to the image and the views of the contemporary congregation.
SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
The current research aims at analyzing of the historical background of the General and the Particular Baptists in England from the moment of their appearance. It is necessary to mention that the external factors such as the governmental persecutions of the Baptists, the evangelistic activity and the geography of the dissemination of the baptist faith are of equal importance in the process of the doctrine formation as the internal religious disputes and division of power within the church. These reasons determine the choice of the themes that are payed attention to in this research.
The paper consists of the following parts: the introduction, the appearance of the Baptists in England, the appearance of the Particular Baptists in England, the historical background, that consists of the investigation into the beginning of the development of the Baptist church, further decline of the General and the Particular Baptists in England, their revival, and the results of the development and the conclusion. The question of the theological disputes that were the important part of the development of the Baptist doctrine will be also covered in the current research.
The appearance of the Baptists in England can be explained by the reactionary religious situation in the country. The first Baptist congregations made all possible attempts to draw attention of the authorities and the official Church of England to this problem, but their claims were the absolutely ignored. The revolutionary ideals and the desire to spiritual freedom became the most important components of the Baptist doctrine, and the sufferings that the baptist congregation had to overcome in that time have strengthened their faith, and gave them the understanding that they are on the right way to reform the existing Christian church.
The current research aims at showing that the modern Baptist doctrine is a compromise between the theological principles of the General and the Particular Baptists. It is possible to assume that many issues that form the modern Baptist practices were taken from the Particular Baptist tradition, but it is not right to pay less attention to the General Baptists than they deserve.
The history of the Baptist church is full of struggle, as it was mentioned earlier. Constant fighting for the freedom of their faith, the ability to serve Jesus in the way the Baptists considered to be the most authentic are among the key desires that the Baptists tried to pursuit the beginning of their development in England. It started from the desire of John Smyth to let the Christians understand the words of the Holy Scripture in their own way, and this aim, that provoked years of persecutions, was finally achieved in the comparatively nearest past. The path of the Baptists, both the General and the Particular ones, showed, that there is no objective need in the supervision of the local church, and which is even more important, such governing from any authority over the religious practices of the congregation deprives them of the spiritual freedom and provokes revolutions. The history of the development of the Baptist church in England showed, that God and the Gospel are the highest authorities for the faithful, and only their words are worth of fighting for, and God will bless everyone who lives with the true love to Jesus.
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Bradstock, Andrew. Radical Religion in Cromwell’s England: A Concise History from the English Civil War to the End of the Commonwealth. London: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2011.
Briggs, John. The English Baptists of the Nineteenth Century. London: Baptist Historical Society, 1994.
Bustin, Dennis. Paradox and Perseverance: Hanserd Knollys, Particular Baptist Pioneer in Seventeenth-Century England. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Pub, 2006.
Crosby, Thomas. The History of the English Baptists. From the Reformation to the Beginning of the Reign of King George I, Volume 1. London: sold, 1738.
Clifford, John. The origin and growth of the English Baptists. From The English Baptists. Oxford: Oxford University, 1883.
Durso, Keith. No Armor for the Back: Baptist Prison Writings, 1600s-1700s. Macon, Georgia:
Mercer University Press, 2007.
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Knight, Richard. History of the General or Six Principles Baptists in Europe and America. Providence RI: Smith and Parmenter, 1827.
Volf, Miroslav. Exclusion and Embrace. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.