Thank you to the Rev. Bob Hart
Baptists are one of the largest Protestant groups. They are rooted in the radical movement called Anabaptists that sprung up as a result of the teachings of Martin Luther, the great Reformation leader in the 1500s. Anabaptists rejected, however, infant baptism practiced by most Protestants and adopted believers’ baptism that required a person to be of age and make a public confession of or witness to his or her conversion to faith in Jesus Christ. The form of the Baptist movement that has led to all modern Baptist churches probably began in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1609, among a group of English Protestant exiles. They stressed adult, believer baptism and a congregational or local form of church organization. Baptists stress preaching in worship and the Bible as the only guide to faith and practice. In frontier America, Baptists raised up their own clergy locally from within their congregations and were leaders in the great spiritual revivals that swept America from time to time. Baptists like most Protestants have been active missionaries. Baptists cherish their congregational independence but do meet in periodic conventions to plan Christian education and missionary strategy. There are numerous Baptist groups. The largest Baptist church is the Southern Baptist Church.