Baptist, in the broadest sense of the term, refers to any system of church that interprets baptism in the Bible as the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour (Jesus Christ), the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. In a more restricted sense, Baptist refers to people who are associated with Baptist churches.
"So those who received his word were baptized",Acts 2:41
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a United States-based, mostly conservative Christian denomination. The name "Southern" stems from its having been founded and rooted in the South. The SBC became a separate denomination in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, following a regional split with northern Baptists over the issue of slavery in the US South.
It has become the world's largest Baptist denomination and America's largest Protestant body with over 16 million members and more than 42,000 churches. Southern Baptists put a heavy emphasis on the individual conversion experience including a public immersion in water for baptism and a corresponding rejection of infant baptism. Hence, membership statistics do not include infants or children who have not received believer's baptism. SBC churches are evangelical in doctrine and practice. Specific beliefs based on biblical interpretation can vary somewhat due to the congregational governance system that gives autonomy to individual local Baptist churches. Historically, Baptists have played a key role in encouraging religious freedom and separation of church and state.
Since the 1940s, SBC churches have spread to all the states and has lost some of its regional identity. While still heavily concentrated in the US South, the SBC has member churches across America and has 42 state conventions. (More...)