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PARTICULAR BAPTIST HISTORY

 

Welcome to the Particular Baptist History section of particularbaptist.com. This page is my portal for the exploration of Particular Baptist Church History and is an ongoing work in progress. Any additional information, photos, articles and books would be welcome. Please pass these on to me at nrbcpastorkev@yahoo.com.au

 

What's On This Page:

 

INTRODUCTION:

When speaking of 'Particular Baptists,' we are talking of those Baptists who hold to the essentials of Calvinistic doctrines or the Doctrines of Grace. In other words, Particular Baptists are those that believe in what has been called T.U.L.I.P. Particular Baptists hold to Total Depravity/Inability, Unconditional Grace, Limited/Particular Atonement/Redemption, Irresistible Grace and the Perseverance/Final Preservation of the Saints. General Baptists are those who hold to the Arminian understanding of salvation.

In reality Particular Baptists are not strongly linked to General Baptists, even though both practice Believer's Baptism as opposed to Infant Baptism. Particular Baptists are more strongly linked to other 'Calvinistic' brethren, though they be Anglican, Presbyterian, Congregational, etc. Calvinistic brethren (among whom are Particular Baptists) share a common sovereign grace gospel, which in reality is an infinite distance away from the gospel proclaimed by General Baptists and Arminian Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, etc. In reality the great gulf between Particular and General Baptists, is similar to that between Calvinistic Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, etc, and Arminian Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, etc. This is where the really important division stands in Christianity today, between Calvinistic and Arminian groups.

There are of course other important divisions, including those of Liberalism, Charismaticism, Catholicism, etc. However, my contention is that the major division is here - between a true gospel of grace and a false gospel of merit.

This page seeks to trace the history of that group of believers that have been known throughout history as Particular Baptists (now days known often as Reformed Baptists), especially since Reformation times. However, we will seek to find evidence of Pre-Reformation Particular Baptist congregations, believing of course that First Century Christianity is evidence of the Biblical Particular Baptistic Church, though we know it as the true Christian Church or Early Church, having decayed since those early days of the church and revived at various times throughout the history of the church.

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ENGLISH PARTICULAR BAPTISTS:

Some believe that there may have been some early Particular Baptist ministries during the reign of Edward VI (1547-1553).

However, it is generally agreed that Particular Baptists began to separate from other dissident/independent congregations in 1633 and began to form their own churches. A group of Calvinistic believers who could not agree on infant baptism sought permission to leave their Congregationalist church and form their own congregation. This was found agreeable to the church and so the brethren separated on peaceable terms on the 12th September 1633.

It is understood that this first church consisted of a least 20 believers who were re-baptised as believers, and others. Among these was William Kiffin (1616-1701). The pastor of this first church was John Spilsbury (1593-1668). The church was known to meet in Broad Street, Old Gravel Lane, Wapping.

This church later split over whether unbaptised men should preach in the church or not. Those that disagreed separated from the church and formed another church which met in Devonshire Square. William Kiffin was appointed to pastor the church, which he did until his death in 1701.

In 1644 there were at least seven Particular Baptist churches in London and these formulated together what has come down to us as the '1644 First Particular Baptist Confession of Faith.' Apparently Particular Baptists had suffered much slander from ignorant persons who had associated them with General Baptists and Anabaptists of continental Europe. The confession was put together as a defence against these attacks and did much to help put the record straight.

In 1689 a General Assembly of Particular Baptist was held in which the 1677 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith was upheld and became known thereafter as the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Some 100 churches sent representatives to the assembly.

Sadly, as Particular Baptists have experienced even today, any interest in working cooperatively was soon spent in the years following the 1689 General Assembly. However, several small associations were formed and continued for greater periods of time.

These early Particular Baptist churches believed strongly in the necessity of obedience to Christ as expressed through believer's baptism and as a result restricted participation in the Lord's Supper to those who had been Biblically baptised.

In a report compiled from 1715-1718, some 206 Particular Baptist and 122 General Baptist churches are listed.

For further information on English Particular Baptists visit the links below:

 

NOTE: As a Side-show, the following links are provided for further information on General Baptists:


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AMERICAN PARTICULAR BAPTISTS:

For further information on American Particular Baptists (or Reformed Baptists) visit the links below:


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PARTICULAR BAPTIST RESOURCES:

The following is a listing of Particular Baptist resources known to the author of this site. Where possible, online links to these works have been provided.

  • Association Records of the Particular Baptists of England, Wales and Ireland to 1660 (1974) - B. R. White
  • British Particular Baptists 1638-1910 Volume 1-3, The - Edited by Michael A. G. Haykin
  • Confession of Faith and Other Public Documents Illustrative of the History of Baptist Churches of England in the 17th Century (1854) - E. B. Underhill
  • From John Spilsbury to Ernest Kevan: The Literary Contribution of London's Oldest Baptist Church (1985) - Robert Oliver
  • Hanserd Knollys, "A Minister and Witness of Jesus Christ 1598-1691 (1895) - James Culross
  • History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches and Meeting Houses, in London, Westminster, and Southwark; Including the Lives of Their Ministers, from the Rise of Nonconformity to the Present Time (1808) - Walter Wilson
  • History of the English Baptists, A (1947) - A. C. Underwood
  • Ill News from New-England: Or a Narrative of New-Englands Persecution. Wherein is Declared that While old England is Becoming New, New-England is Become Old (1652) - John Clarke
  • Kiffin, Knollys, Keach: Rediscovering Our English Baptist Heritage (1996) - Michael A. G. Haykin
  • Life and Death of that Old Disciple of Jesus Christ and Eminent Minister of the Gospel, Mr. Hanserd Knollys - William Kiffin
  • London's Oldest Baptist Church (1933) - Ernest Keevan
  • Puritan Samson, The: The Life of David Crosley 1669-1744 - B. A. Ramsbottom
  • Sermon Occasioned by the Death of Elizabeth Gill (1738) - John Gill
  • Triumph of the Saints, The: The Separate Churches of London 1616-1649 (1977) - Murray Tomie

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UPDATED: 18 April 2014

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