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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). The first Baptists, led by John Smyth and Thomas Helwys in the late 16th and early 17th century, were General Baptists. Under Helwys' leadership, this group established the first Baptist church in England at Spitalfields outside London.:9-10
The term is also used as a designation for specific groups of Baptists.:35 Some General Baptist organizations include:
- General Association of General Baptists
- General Six-Principle Baptists
- Marianas Association of General Baptists
- New Connexion of General Baptists
- Old Baptist Union
- Some Independent Baptist churches
In addition, Free Will Baptists are General Baptists; opponents of the English General Baptists in Carolina dubbed them "Freewillers" and they later assumed the name. Freewill Baptist associations include:
- National Association of Free Will Baptists
- Original Free Will Baptist Convention
- United American Free Will Baptist Church
- United American Free Will Baptist Conference
- Evangelical Free Baptist Church
- Leonard, Bill J. (2005). Baptists in America. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231127028. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
- Garrett, Jr., James Leo (2009). Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. ISBN 9780881461299. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
- Brackney, William H. (13 April 2009). Historical Dictionary of the Baptists. Scarecrow Press. p. 245. ISBN 9780810862821.
- Robertson Co, TN. Turner Publishing Company. 1996. p. 183. ISBN 9781563113055.
- Garrett, James Leo (2009). Baptist Theology: A Four-century Study. Mercer University Press. p. 119. ISBN 9780881461299.
- 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.
- McBeth, H. Leon (29 January 1987). The Baptist Heritage. B&H Publishing Group. p. 857. ISBN 9781433671029.
- 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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