General Association of General Baptists

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The General Association of General Baptists is a group of Baptists holding the doctrine of general atonement (that Christ died for all persons), whose membership is located mostly in the Midwestern United States.

Though theologically similar to the General Baptists in England and early America, this body of General Baptists arose in the Midwestern United States in the 19th century through the work of Benoni Stinson (1789-1869), a United Baptist minister first in Kentucky and then in Indiana. Stinson was ordained in Kentucky in 1821, and evidently was already leaning toward or embracing Arminian theology. Shortly after he moved to Indiana, in 1822 the Wabash District Association decided to divide into two bodies, for convenience sake. Stinson's church would be in the new body, and he labored to have a statement that "the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man shall be no bar to fellowship" would be included in the articles of faith. The next fall, in 1823, the Liberty Baptist Church of Howell, Indiana was organized with 33 members, and Elder Stinson was called as pastor. Three other churches were soon organized, all in the Evansville, Indiana area. In October 1824, representatives from these four churches came together and organized the Liberty Association of General Baptists. This appears to be the first time the name "General" was officially associated with this movement. A number of General Baptist local associations were organized from 1824 to 1870. During this period, some attempts were made by the Liberty Association to correspond with the northern Free Will Baptists, but this appears to have eventually proved unsatisfactory to both parties. In 1870, a convention was called to meet with Harmony Church, Gallatin County, Illinois, with the idea of organizing a general association comprising all the annual General Baptist associations. Delegates from Liberty, Mt. Olivet and Ohio associations gathered and formed the General Association of General Baptists. This body has grown and developed until it now embraces about 60 associations, 816 churches and more than 73,000 members. The denominational headquarters are located in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where they operate Stinson Press. The official denominational publication is The General Baptist Messenger. The General Association oversees publication of Sunday School literature, a home mission board, a foreign mission board, and the Oakland City University in Oakland City, Indiana. The General Association is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals and the Baptist World Alliance.

Doctrinal Statement[edit]

I. GOD We believe that there is only one true, living, and eternal God and that the Godhead is revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (A) One True and Eternal God: Deut. 6:4; 33:27; Jer. 10:10; Matt. 3:15-16; 28:19; Mk. 12:29; Jn. 14:9-11; 10:30; Rom. 8:9- 11; I Cor. 8:4-6; II Cor. 3:17; I Thess. 1:9; I Tim. 1:17; 2:5; 6:17; Heb. 1:1-13; 3:12. (B) The Godhead: 1. God as Father: Gen. 1:1; Matt. 6:9; Eph. 4:6. 2. God as Son: Isa. 9:6; Matt. 16:16; Jn. 1:1; 3:14, 16; 14:28; I Cor. 15:28; Heb. 1:8. Virgin Birth of Jesus: Matt. 1:18-25; Lk. 1:26-38. 3. God as Holy Spirit: Jn. 14:16, 26; Acts 1:5, 8; 2:1-4; Rom. 8:16.

II. THE BIBLE We believe that the Holy Scriptures are the Old and New Testaments, the inspired and infallible Word of God, and therein is found the only reliable guide of Christian faith and conduct. (A) The Inspired Revelation: Lk. 24:44-46; Rom. 16:25-26; II Tim. 3:15-17; Heb. 1:1-2; II Pet. 1:20-21. (B) The Infallible Word: Isa. 40:8; Lk. 21:33; Jn. 17:17; Titus 1:2; I Pet.1:25. (C) The Reliable Guide: Deut. 6:6-9; Ps. 19:7-10; 119:105, 140; Jn. 5:39; Acts 17:11-12; Rom. 10:14-15; 15:4; II Tim. 3:16-17.

III. MAN We believe that God created man in His own image to bring Him honor through obedience, and that when man disobeyed, he became a fallen and sinful creature, unable to save himself. We believe that infants are in the covenant of God's grace and that all persons become accountable to God when they reach a state of moral responsibility. (A) Man's Origin: Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7; Ps. 8:5. (B) Man's Purpose: Gen. 1:28-31; 2:15-25; Isa. 43:7. (C) Man's Sin: Gen. 3:1-24; Ps. 51:5; Jer. 13:23; Rom. 1:18-3:23; 5:12-21; 7:1-25. (D) Man's Accountability: Matt. 19:13-15; Rom. 4:15; 5:13; 6:16; Heb. 11:24-26.

IV. SALVATION We believe that salvation (regeneration, sanctification, justification and redemption) has been provided for all mankind through the redemptive work (life, death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession) of Jesus Christ, and that this salvation can be received only through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord

VI. CHRISTIAN DUTIES We believe that Christians should live faithfully by serving in and through the local church, praying diligently, witnessing earnestly, practicing tolerance, showing loving kindness, giving as God prospers, and conducting themselves in such a way as to bring glory to God. (A) Faithful Service: I Chron. 16:11; Ps. 101:6; Matt. 28:18-20; Jn. 15:7-14; Rom. 12:14; I Cor. 13; II Cor. 8, 9; Eph. 4, 6; Heb. 12:1. (B) Prayer: II Chron. 7:14; Dan. 6:10; Matt. 6:1-13; 26:41; Lk. 18:1; I Thess. 5:17. (C) Witnessing: Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8. (D) Tolerance: Matt. 18:15-17; Lk. 10:27; Gal. 5:22-23; II Pet. 1:5- 9. (E) Loving Kindness: Jn. 13:35; I Jn. 3:11; 4:7, 11-12. (F) Financial Stewardship: Matt. 23:23; I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 9:6-7.

VII. THE CHURCH We believe that the Church Universal is the Body of Christ, the fellowship of all believers, and that its members have been called out from the world to come under the dominion and authority of Christ, its head. We believe that a local church is a fellowship of Christians, a part of the Body of Christ, voluntarily banded together for worship, nurture, and service. (A) The Church Universal: Matt. 16:18; Jn. 10:10; I Cor. 3:16; 12:12-14, 27; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18, 24; Heb. 12:23. (B) The Local Church: Matt. 18:17; Acts 2:38-47; 11:19-30; Rev. 1:4; 3:22. 1. (C) Worship and Service: Rom. 12:1; I Cor. 14:12, 23-25; Heb. 10:25; Ja. 1:26-27. 2. Nurture: Eph. 4; II Pet. 1:2-8; 3:18.

VIII. ORDINANCES We believe that baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances instituted by Christ to be observed by Christians only. We also believe that the Biblical mode of baptism is immersion and that participation in the Lord's Supper should be open to all Christians. (Note: Several associations and local churches recognize feet-washing as an ordinance. We believe that this should be left to the individual, and that neither the practice nor the non-practice of it should be any bar to fellowship, either in the church, the local association, the Presbytery, or the General Association. Jn. 13; I Tim. 5:10.) (A) Baptism: 1. Instituted: Matt. 3:13-15; 28:19. 2. Subjects: Acts 2:41; 8:12, 37-38; 10:47-48; 16:30-33; 19:5. 3. Biblical Mode: Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12. 4. Purpose: Matt. 3:14; I Pet. 3:21. (B) Communion: 1. Instituted: Matt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:19-20; I Cor. 11:23-25. 2. Subjects: I Cor. 11:27-29. 1. Jesus Christ. Salvation: Heb. 5:9; I Thess. 5:9; I Pet. 1:9; Heb. 7:25. Regeneration: Jn. 3:3-8; 1:11-13; I Pet. 1:23; Eph. 2:1-10; II Cor. 5:17; II Pet. 1:4; Titus 3:5. Sanctification: I Cor. 1:30; Eph. 5:26; Heb. 10:9-10, 29; II Tim. 2:21; Heb. 13:12; Rom. 12:1-2; I Pet. 1:2. Justification: Rom. 3:20-24; 5:1-2, 18; 8:30-33; Acts 13:38-39; I Cor. 6:11; II Cor. 5:21. Redemption: Matt. 20:28; Isa. 53:6; Col. 1:14; Titus 2:14; I Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 5:9. Christ's Redemptive Work: Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Heb. 2:9; Rev. 22:17; II Pet. 3:9; Jn 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9. Life and Death: Rom. 5:10; Heb. 9:12-15; Jn. 10:11; I Jn. 3:16. Resurrection: Rom. 4:25; I Pet. 1:3; I Cor. 15:14, 17. Ascension: Heb. 4:14-16, 6:19-20; 9:24; 10:11-12. Intercession: Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:15; Isa. 53:12; I Tim. 2:5. Repentance: Isa. 55:6-7; Lk. 24:47; Lk. 13:3-5; Acts 2:38; I Thess. 1:9-10. Faith: Jn. 3:16-18; Heb. 11:1, 6; I Pet. 1:5.

V. ASSURANCE AND ENDURANCE We believe that those who abide in Christ have the assurance of salvation. However, we believe that the Christian retains his freedom of choice; therefore, it is possible for him to turn away from God and be finally lost. (A) Assurance: Matt. 28:20; I Cor. 10:13; Heb. 5:9. (B) Endurance: Matt. 10:22; Lk. 9:62; Col. 1:23; Rev. 2:10-11; 3:3-5. (C) Warnings: Jn. 15:6; Rom. 11:20-23; Gal. 5:4; Heb. 3:12; 10:26-29; II Pet. 2:20-21. (D) Finally Lost: Jn. 15:6; I Cor. 9:27; Heb. 6:4-6. Purpose: I Cor. 11:26.

IX. THE LORD'S DAY We believe in the Sanctity of the Lord's Day, the first day of the week, and that this day ought to be observed by worshiping God, witnessing for Christ, and ministering to the needs of humanity. We believe that secular work on Sunday should be limited to cases of necessity or mercy. (A) Sanctity: Ex. 20:8; Isa. 58:13-14. (B) Observance: Mk. 2:27:28; Lk. 4:1-16; 14:1-6; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10.

X. LAST THINGS We believe in the personal return of Jesus Christ, and in the bodily resurrection of the dead. We believe that God will judge all mankind by Jesus Christ; that He will reward the righteous with eternal life in heaven, and that He will banish the unrighteous to everlasting punishment in hell. (A) Return: Matt. 24, 25; Lk. 12:40; Jn. 14:3; Acts 1:11; I Jn. 3:2; Rev. 1:7. (B) Resurrection: Jn. 5:25, 28-29; 6:40; 11:24-25; Rom. 8:11; I Cor.15; Phil. 3:21; I Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-6. (C) Judgment and Reward: Matt. 25:21; Mk. 9:43-48; Jn. 5:27; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:16; 14:12; II Cor. 5:1, 10; Col. 3:24; II Thess. 1:7- 10; Heb. 9:27; II Pet. 3:8-13; Jude 21; Rev. 2:7; 14:13; 20:10-15; 22:12.

External links[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • History of the General Baptists, by Ollie Latch
  • History of the General Baptists, by T. A. Laslie
  • Baptists Around the World, by Albert W. Wardin, Jr.
  • Dictionary of Baptists in America, Bill J. Leonard, editor