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Baptist Church

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Baptist Churches

Calvary Baptist Church, that’s the name of the church I recently attended, and although it was a lot different from my own catholic faith, I enjoyed it very much. The Pastor, Sergio Reyes, started out the service with an opening prayer which led us into a hymn about America and how wonderful our country is. Most of the songs we sang were about America, considering the fact that Independence Day was right around the corner. After a few songs and a few prayers Pastor Reyes got up to deliver his sermon, or message as he liked to put it. The message was one that hit me kind of hard, he was telling us how the majority of Americans don’t like to hear the truth, mainly because the truth hurts. He was also saying how we, as Americans, are very materialistic and take a lot of things for granted. He stated that we must not worry about all the “hub-bub” around us, because if we believe in god, pray, and know in our hearts that our prayers will be answered God will provide for us. The service wasn’t one of much length and ended in prayer instead of the normal communion. Although I am not a Baptist, I enjoyed this church service so much that I think I would attend this church again.

I did some research on the Baptist faith, to see what I was getting my self into, and here’s what I found out: The first identifiable Baptist group began in 1608-1609 it was led by John Smyth (1570-1612) and Thomas Helwys (1550-1615). They were puritan separatists and believed that Christ died for the entire world, not simply for an elect chosen before the worlds foundation. They called this a “general” atonement which meant that all people were potentially elected toward salvation and needed only to implement repentance and faith to realize it. Using individual free will cooperating that with divine grace to make salvation possible, but those who have the free will to choose faith also had the freedom to reject it, the result “falling away” from salvation. Because of their belief in a general atonement these believers were know as General Baptists.

A second group of Baptists began during the 1630s they were known as the Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey church, named for its first three pastors: Henry Jacob (1563-1624), John Lathrop (1653), and Henry Jessey (1601-1663). They were known as particular Baptists because of their belief that Christ died for a particular group of people “the elect” chosen out of gods mercy before the foundation of the world. They also believed that all people were born in total depravity worthy only of complete damnation by a just and righteous God. Yet God, in mercy, had “elected” some individuals to salvation unconditionally, a result of Gods sovereign choice, not because of any merit in the individual believer. All the elect would be saved through Gods irresistible grace and would persevere in Christian discipleship until the end. Therefore Christ death on the cross was “particular” to the elect and did not apply to the entire human race. Thus by the 1640s there were two distinguishable and diverse groups of Baptists in England. Each using a common set of practices but presenting totally different theological ideals.

By the 1650s another group of Baptists had appeared in England. These Baptists were known as Seventh Day Baptists because they insisted that Saturday was the divinely ordained Sabbath and should be observed by Christians everywhere. Seventh Day Baptists retained basic practices, and many remained members of the General Baptist congregation until their own churches took shape.

In 1641 Baptists began the practice of immersion baptism, as required of all members following a profession of their faith in Christ. Immersion involved the dipping of the entire body in water, the mode of baptism that they believed Jesus received from John the Baptizer in the Jordan river, and before long full immersion became the normative mode of baptism in Baptist churches. It remains the baptismal method used in Baptist churches worldwide.

The Shape of Baptist worship: Although congregations vary, a somewhat typical Sunday morning worship in many Baptists churches would involve the following:

Invocation (an opening prayer led by a minister or lay member of the church).

Hymns (sung throughout the service by the congregation or choirs)

Prayers (almost always including some type of pastoral prayer offering intercession for global, regional, and personal needs)

Anthems or “special music” (offered by choirs or groups, “praise bands,” orchestras, or soloists)

Offerings (money collected for the continuing work or the church and its varied ministries)

Scripture reading(s) (one or more texts read orally)

Sermon (the “proclamation of the word” by a minister or layperson)

Call to Christian commitment (inviting people to literally or figuratively “respond” to the Christian gospel, often by publicly “coming forward” from the congregation)




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