General Baptists

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General Baptists are Baptists who hold the general or unlimited atonement view, the belief that Jesus Christ died for the entire world and not just for the chosen elect. General Baptists are theologically Arminian, which distinguishes them from Reformed Baptists (also known as "Particular Baptists" for their belief in particular redemption).[citation needed]

Free Will Baptists are General Baptists; opponents of the English General Baptists in North Carolina dubbed them "Freewillers" and they later assumed the name.[1][2][3]

General Baptist denominations have explicated their faith in two major confessions of faith, "The Standard Confession" (1660), and "The Orthodox Creed" (1678).[4]


The first Baptists, led by John Smyth and Thomas Helwys in the late 16th and early 17th century, were General Baptists.[5] Under Helwys' leadership, this group established the first Baptist church in England at Spitalfields outside London.[6] Helwys is credited with the formation of a general Baptist congregation in Coventry in 1614 or earlier when he gathered with Smyth and leading Coventry Puritans at the residence of Sir William Bowes and his wife, Isobel, in 1606.[7] Thomas Grantham, along with others, presented a confession of beliefs to King Charles II in 1660.[8] A respected Biblical scholar,[9] Dr. Charles Marie Du Veil, was baptized into the St. Paul's Alley congregation, published his new views, and helped the General Baptist influence after 1685.[10][11] In 1733 a case against a several Northamptonshire congregations was presented to the General Assembly of General Baptists for "singing the psalms of David or other men's composures" which determined no fixed rule on congregational singing, but deferred to the local church to set forth their own reasons as the general assembly had in 1689.[12]

The term is also used as a designation for specific groups of Baptists.[13]:35

In 1825, opponents of General Baptists in North Carolina dubbed them "Freewillers" and they later assumed the name Free Will Baptists.[3]

General Baptists who accepted the existence of a second work of grace during the Holiness Movement established denominations such as the Ohio Valley Association of the Christian Baptist Churches of God and Holiness Baptist Association.[14]

General Baptist denominationsEdit


  1. ^ Brackney, William H. (13 April 2009). Historical Dictionary of the Baptists. Scarecrow Press. p. 245. ISBN 9780810862821.
  2. ^ Garrett, James Leo (2009). Baptist Theology: A Four-century Study. Mercer University Press. p. 119. ISBN 9780881461299.
  3. ^ a b Jonas, W. Glenn (2008). The Baptist River: Essays on Many Tributaries of a Diverse Tradition. Mercer University Press. p. 151. ISBN 9780881461206. General Baptists in North Carolina (the Palmer/Parker heritage) were often called "free willers" by their Regular (Reformed) Baptist neighbors. The name was becoming popular by the beginning of the nineteenth century, and in 1828 the group there adopted the name "Free Will Baptists." The reference, of course, was to the doctrine of General Atonement taught by the General Baptists.
  4. ^ Chute, Anthony L.; Finn, Nathan A.; Haykin, Michael A. G. (2015). The Baptist Story: From English Sect to Global Movement. B&H Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-4336-8316-9.
  5. ^ William H. Brackney, Historical Dictionary of the Baptists, Scarecrow Press, USA, 2009, p. 243
  6. ^ Leonard, Bill J. (2005). Baptists in America. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 9. ISBN 9780231127028. Retrieved 2013-06-21. isbn:9780231127028.
  7. ^ "The City of Coventry: Protestant nonconformity, Introduction." A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 8, the City of Coventry and Borough of Warwick. Ed. W B Stephens. London: Victoria County History, 1969. 372-382. British History Online. Web. 28 April 2020.
  8. ^ Taylor, Adam. (1818). The History of the English General Baptists. Printed by T. Bore, London. pp. 359f. Google Books website Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  9. ^ Agnew, David Carnegie Andrew. (1886). Protestant exiles from France, chiefly in the reign of Louis XIV; or, The Huguenot refugees and their descendants in Great Britain and Ireland. Book one. Chapter VIII – Refugees being Converts from Romanism during the First Half of the Reign of Louis XIV. pp. 166f. Wikisource website Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  10. ^ Taylor, 1818, pp. 346-349.
  11. ^ WorldCat website Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  12. ^ Julian, John. editor. (1985)."Baptist Hymnody, English." Dictionary of hymnology : origin and history of Christian hymns and hymnwriters of all ages and nations. Grand Rapids, Michigan : Kregel Publications. Vol. 2, pp. 110f. Google Books website Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  13. ^ Garrett Jr., James Leo (2009). Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. ISBN 9780881461299. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
  14. ^ Lewis, James R. (2002). The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions. Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781615927388.
  15. ^ Robertson Co, TN. Turner Publishing Company. 1996. p. 183. ISBN 9781563113055.
  16. ^ McBeth, H. Leon (29 January 1987). The Baptist Heritage. B&H Publishing Group. p. 857. ISBN 9781433671029.
  17. ^ Kurian, George Thomas; Day, Sarah Claudine (14 March 2017). The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries. Baker Publishing Group. p. 82. ISBN 9781493406401.

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