Baptists & Southern Baptists: Baptist Churches, Beliefs, History
Southern Baptist Battles: Changing the Nature of Faith
Baptists can trace the roots of their denomination back to some of the earliest groups of the Reformation. One of the oldest characteristics of Baptist groups is rejecting the idea of a 'creed' which all members must sign in order to be in good standing. Baptists have always held firm to the idea that each person is responsible for deciding what to believe - at least, until recently.
History of Baptist Christianity
Baptists make up the third largest Protestant denomination in the world (after Anglicans and Presbyterians/Reformed/Congregational). Their history can be traced back to the early days of the Protestant Reformation - specifically, the radical wing of the Reformation which was rejected by major Protestant leaders like Luther and Zwingli.
Basic Baptist Beliefs
Although Baptist churches have been continually fractured and divided over the centuries, there are a number of broad characteristics which are common to most if not all. These characteristics include adult baptism through full immersion, evangelism, pietism, and sectarianism. All of these are intimately related to another characteristic: radical volunatrism and the independence of local churches.
Divisions Among Baptist Churches
Baptists have traditionally been suspicious any ecumenical movements designed to mediate theological differences between denominations, even when it comes to other Baptists. Because of this Baptists have fractured into numerous divisions, sects, and groups. They may agree on many things, but their differences are enough to keep them apart.
Creation of the Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptists Convention may be very vocal and public, but they do not represent the only face of Baptism in America - indeed, the history of Baptism is much more liberal and tolerant than you might imagine. Key to understanding that is understanding how the Southern Baptist Convention first developed.
Southern Baptists vs. Baptists
We need to keep in mind that â€œSouthern Baptistsâ€? are not representative of all Baptists in America. Too often that basic fact gets lost, perhaps due to the fact that non-fundamentalist, non-authoritarian Baptists just donâ€™t make the news quite as often.
Converting Jews and Mormons
Converting Jews and Mormons is an important goal for the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention. These two groups represent major challenges to Southern Baptists. The Jews, of course, have long resisted the truth-claims of Christian salvation while the Mormons challenge the Southern Baptist' claims to represent family values and conservative Protestant Christianity.
Southern Baptists on Disney & Politics
Southern Baptist leaders do not restrict their conservative pronouncements to decisions about what should happen within their own religious organization. They also seek to have similar influence throughout society - both in the private sector (corporations) and the public sector (government).
Southern Baptists: Wives Must Submit to Husbands
One issue that has been great fodder for critics of the Southern Baptist Convention has been their attitudes toward and treatment of women. In the 1998 convention they revised the Baptist Faith and Message to state that wives must submit to their husbands. In 2000, they passed rules to prevent women from serving as pastor. This has put them out...
Southern Baptists: Women Shall Not Teach?
Not content to simply limit women's role in the home and in marriage as they did during the 1998 meeting, the Southern Baptist Convention has tried to make sure that women do not play an important role in religious matters either. During the 2000 meeting they passed new rules that women should not serve as pastors.
Southern Baptists and Women: Reactions
Christian groups have been dismayed at what has come out of the Southern Baptist Convention. Most Protestant groups allow for women to have a role in church affairs, refusing to take literally the biblical command that women should not have authority and should submit to their husbands. The Southern Baptist Convention is out of step with American society and American Protestants.