German Baptist

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The German Baptist movement was founded in 18th century Germany as a fusion of the Anabaptist and Radical Pietist movements. German Baptists are not to be confused with Primitive, Separate, Southern, Particular, and all other mainline Baptist denominations who, although generally unified on rudimentary doctrines such as baptism, would have conflicting views in other areas, such as non-resistance, etc. In addition, German Baptists are not to be confused with a recent, small, renewal movement of “Plain,” “Covered” Baptists, who, for all intents and purposes, have comparable beliefs and practice of the historic German Baptists for the most part (albeit in wide variance), but are of different origins.

The German Baptists and subsequent groups with the name “Brethren” are not to be confused with various other similar denominations such as the Plymouth Brethren, their respective variants, and the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, etc. See Brethren for more information.

German Baptist can refer to the German Baptist Brethren, or Fraternity of German Baptists, the American name of the Schwarzenau Brethren, or any of the several groups associated with them:

The "Progressive Dunkard" members split from their more conservative "Fraternity of German Baptists" (also called "Dunkards" in local communities). Today, however, these churches are more alike than different in their religious views, while the "Old German Baptist" and "Old Order German Baptist" churches remain more conservative.

"The Brethren" and "Grace Brethren" churches have no connection to the "Fraternity of German Baptists", aka "Church of the Brethren".



  • Brethren Encyclopedia, Vol. I-III, Donald F. Durnbaugh, editor (1983) The Brethren Encyclopedia Inc.
  • Brethren Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, Donald F. Durnbaugh and Dale V. Ulrich, editors, Carl Bowman, contributing editor (2006) The Brethren Encyclopedia Inc.
  • Encyclopedia of American Religions, J. Gordon Melton, editor
  • Handbook of Denominations in the United States (6th edition), by Frank S. Mead, Samuel S. Hill, and Craig D. Atwood
  • Profiles in Belief: the Religious Bodies of the United States and Canada, (Google Books, ISBN 0-06-066580-7), by Arthur Carl Piepkorn
  • Religious Congregations & Membership in the United States (2000), Glenmary Research Center
  • A History of the German Baptist Brethren in Europe and America, (Google Books), by Martin Grove Brumbaugh
  • The Dunkers: A Sociological Interpretation, (Google Books), by John Lewis Gillin
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "German Baptist Brethren". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.