Classic Baptist Beliefs

The English and Welsh Baptists of the Seventeenth century who gave birth to most of the worldwide Baptist movement originated from two main streams, the General Baptists and the Particular Baptists. The key issue of distinction between these two streams was over the question of the extent (or intent) of the Atonement. General Baptists believed in ‘General Redemption’. Particular Baptists believed in ‘Particular Redemption’ or ‘Definite Atonement’. General Baptists were broadly speaking Arminian in their theological orientation. Particular Baptists were decidedly Calvinist. Both streams had no difficulty in expressing their theological views in Confessions of Faith. Partly due to the onset of the Enlightenment, pietism, the questioning of creedal tests in the wider culture, and a growing sense of pan-evangelical unity Baptists tended to progressively lay less and less stress on their historic doctrinal statements. Clearly statements of belief are derived from, subordinate to, and subject to the test of Scripture but the anti-doctrinal ethos of much of today’s Baptist movement is to be deeply regretted. A faithful yet critical re-appropriation of our doctrinal heritage is much to be desired.

We provide links here to a sample of some of the most important classic statements of Baptist belief. Even though most of these links are provided by the “The Reformed Reader”  the confessions themselves represent both Arminian and Calvinist views:

General Baptist Statements

The Standard Confession (1660)

The Articles of Religion of the New Connexion of General Baptists (1770)

Particular Baptist Statements

London Baptist Confession of 1644

Second London Confession of 1677 (aka The 1689 Confession)

The Baptist Union (UK) – 1813

‘That this society of ministers and churches be designated “The General Union of Baptist ministers and churches” maintaining the important doctrines of

  • “three equal persons in the Godhead;
  • eternal and personal election;
  • original sin;
  • particular redemption;
  • free justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ;
  • efficacious grace in regeneration;
  • the final perseverance of real believers;
  • the resurrection of the dead;
  • the future judgement;
  • the eternal happiness of the righteous, and the eternal misery of such as die in impenitence,
  • with the congregational order of churches inviolably.”’

 

A North American Statement

The Second London Confession of 1677/1689 was very influential in Colonial North America and the early US and it or modifications of it were adopted by a number of Baptist Associations. The most influential North American Statement was The New Hampshire Confession which was later to influence not only Northern and Western US churches but the Southern Churches also.

The New Hampshire Confession (1833)