Talk:Baptists/Archive 1

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There is a reference to "working out one's salvation with fear and trembling." Is that a bit perjorative? It seems a little insulting. -Anon

    • Each person is responsible before God for his or her own understanding of the Bible and is encouraged to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Does ANYONE have an EXPLANATION to this? Seems a little skeptical. I am not a Baptist but have grown up in close communion with a Baptist church and Baptist school and do not understand where that comment is coming from. I'm going to remove with fear and trembling as being a bias opinion. --Ari89 15:47, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
This is a quotation from Philippians 2:12 - "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (KJV) Nevertheless, I agree with removing the phrase "with fear and trembling" from the article because it doesn't really contribute to the meaning, and would be confusing to those not already familiar with the Bible. Roachmeister 01:23, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

This is a pretty good entry! I do wonder if we need to retitle it Baptists, in line with some of the other belief-group headings (note Anabaptists, Separatists, Puritans in the text of this very article). I removed Expository Sermons from the list of Baptist distinctive characteristics. That is a characteristic of almost all churches. Most churches practice some form of linear readings/exposition that move through scripture in a sequential fashion. --MichaelTinkler

Actually, Expository Sermons are not just a sermon spoken by a minister to the congregation, as is implied by Michael above. Expository sermons are those which are not written down, or rehearsed before hand. There may be notes about specific meanings of words, or possible explanatory examples, but not

the full text of the sermon. Prior to modern recording devices, expository sermons could not be published since the verbatim text did not exist anywhere, however notes of listeners might be combined to have a rough transcript of the sermon. I do not know of any denominations that encourage this type of 'off the cuff' preaching style other than Baptists.

Oh, dear. Is that what I've been listening to in the Catholic church, thinking it was called a 'homily'? Believe me, the spirit moves all sorts, not just Baptists. Or maybe I should say that all sorts let the spirit move them. I will say that I've never heard this use for 'expository,' though it wouldnt' surprise me.--MichaelTinkler
 :Hm.. I thought the point of a homily was that it was short, (only ten minutes or so). I certainly know some preachers don't think an expository sermon is time-limited. (although almost all stop before three hours, very few stop after ten minutes)
yes, homilies are short, which is why we only have to worry about beating the Methodists to the Sunday buffets...
Perhaps expository sermons have been confused with "extemporaneous" sermons. Whether a sermon is written out, outlined, or preached without notes has nothing to do with whether a sermon is expository. An expository sermon is a type of textual sermon in which the main points and sub-points are taken from and relate to the text being taught. For example, one could take II Timothy 3:14-4:5 as a text, use "preach the word" as the main thought, and show that a preacher should preach the word [1] because it is inspired (3:16,17); [2] becuase he must give account before God (4:1), and [3] because others will attempt to turn Christians from the truth (4:3,4), etc. That's the idea, roughly. Sometimes extemporaneous preaching is thought of as 'off the cuff', but usually extemporaneous is reserved more for the idea of preaching without notes, though there could have been hours of preparation. Impromtu preaching is probably the best name for 'off the cuff' preaching which is absolutely spontaneous. All three of these types of preaching (and more) can be found among Baptists. Billy Graham preaches from a written manuscript. See the links for further info:
Truth about Expository Preaching
Hints on Extemporaneous Preaching Rlvaughn 21:04, 13 Oct 2003 (UTC)


Some histories of American religion I've read make it clear that Baptists had a serious influence from Calvinism theologically, though not necessarily in terms of church order. --MichaelTinkler

I:'m not sure which title is better. In Naming conventions it says the singular form is preferred over the plural (horse instead of horses), but I would interpret that as applying to nouns. I see Baptist use as an adjective more than a noun, but Baptists is clearly a collective noun. Perhaps best taken up on talk:Naming conventions --Alan Millar

In either case, the singular noun and adjective are both "Baptist", and that's clearly the most useful link. If you're entering a biography of some clergyman, it's clearly easier to type "...was a Baptist minister from..." than the awkward piping that would be required with a plural title. This should be a no-brainer. --LDC
A good point, but given that we're typing in English, no-brainerdom is somewhat remote. Nomenclature is a big issue, Lee, and the fact that there is disagreement shows that there are brainful opinions on the subject. I'd love to shift Catholicism to Catholic, myself, but someone started the entry with the abstract noun. Wikipedia is full of inconsistencies. --MichaelTinkler
"Baptist" and "Catholic," while singular nouns, are nouns meaning something other than the subject you want to talk about (i.e., the Baptist church or Baptist doctrine, or the Catholic church or Catholic doctrine), namely, people. That's why I would favor either something like Catholicism or Catholic church and, since something analogous to the former is not available for the Baptist church, just Baptist church. But these are just my initial thoughts. --LMS
But there's not just one "Baptist church" the way there is just one Catholic church. There are many different Baptist denominations, many of which place a high value on local autonomy. It would probably be more accurate to refer to the Baptist movement, or say "Baptists believe..." rather than "the Baptist church believes..." --Wesley
I totally agree that there's not just one "Baptist church". If no one objects, I will reword the opening paragraph to either "Baptist churches" or "Baptist denomination". User:samw

External links

The external links section is getting quite long and specialized. The Baptist Association of Israel? We can come up with one of these for EVERY country in the world. Is it notable enough for inclusion? I think not. More generally: this list of links contains a LOT of links to each of the associations, but without ANY description of what they are.

Either these links need to be notable (e.g. mentioned IN THE TEXT itself) or they need to be removed. Otherwise this is going to continue getting longer and longer. --ABQCat 00:45, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I agree. There are a few links that do not seem notable enough for inclusion as a link on this page, such as the association in Israel and the local church in Fort Worth. They perhaps could be appropriate links in other articles (for example, something on Baptists in Israel). - Rlvaughn 22:16, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I removed the link to the Grace & Truth congregation in Israel, and moved it for now to Reformed Baptist (I looked at the site; it is a Reformed Baptist congregation in Israel). Many of the links in the Baptist article can also be found in articles about specific conventions and associations, which is probably a more appropriate place for them. As the article is expanded, many of these links that are redundant could gradually be weeded out. - Rlvaughn 23:06, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Baptist: Protestant or not?

The first time I read this entry, the intro paragraph claimed that the Baptist denomination had existed before the Catholic church, and was therefore not in the Protestant branch of Christianity, as Protestantism was a reaction against, and a splitting-off from Catholicism. A later edit restored the assertion that the Baptist denomination was a Protestant one. This assertion has now been modified to say that the Baptist denomination is "often regarded" as a Protestant denomination. This is a pretty indefinite way of putting it, and seems to imply that the Baptist denomination is not really a part of Protestantism, yet fails to back up this implication with any citation.

I wonder if there is any definitive evidence one way or the other, or if it can be shown that perhaps modern Baptists are the heirs of both Protestant and pre-Protestant (and non-Catholic) believers. In any case, the present statement about Baptists' relationship with Protestantism is wishy washy and not befitting an encyclopedia. Perhaps someone could offer support for one or both positions on the matter? Rohirok 05:06, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think perhaps the article on Protestantism sums this up in the introductory material: :

Some Western, non-Catholic, groups are labeled as Protestant, even if the sect acknowledges no historical connection to Luther, Calvin or the Roman Catholic Church. These sundry groupings, i.e. Lutherans, Calvinists, and other sectarians, are characterized in part by a lack of apostolic succession, in the sense that their founders are not anointed successors of St. Peter.

Thus, Baptists are not an off-shoot of Luther, Calvin, or the Roman Catholic Church, but are considered protestant and referred to as such in popular usage. Also, the article lists the general families of protestantism: Anglican, Calvinist/Reformed/Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Unitarian. Thus, to be Protestant (technical definition) requires a connection to the reformation movements - which the Baptist Church lacks. I think the only clarification that the article needs is a strict definition of "Protestant" and a delineation of reasons the Baptist denomination is NOT protestant. Also common usage that Baptists are protestants should be included to explain the confusion. --ABQCat 05:17, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I was thinking about this for a while and I think I have come up with an answer. It's funny because a News story triggered it. The media seems to categorize Baptists now under the category of Evangelical Christian. people view Baptist as more outspoken and Evangelical. This seems to be the same for people who have been calling themselves non-denominational Christian recently. I think the non-denominational people could be considered Evangelical because of the style of their preaching. I think this style has a more church-seeker orientated approach.

I don’t think Protestant could be considered evangelical but maybe somewhere in between Catholicism and Evangelical. Protestant means protesting the Catholic church style and seems similar to the catholic style without the major strictness of its rituals. I wonder why they like that tem (Protestant) since it sounds so abrasive. More people are leaving the Protestant church today and going into the Non-denominational category. I think around 20 percent in 10 years. The Protestant church is definatley shrinking quickly. Because of the Baptist church and Non-Denominational style being more free style in nature with the least amount of ritualistic preaching styles I would consider them both under a more general category of a pure Evangelist sect.

I would support classifying Baptists as an Evangelical Christian group because almost all current Baptists would fall under that categorization. However, one difficulty with using Evangelical as a classification is that the all origins view of Baptist (including the Separatist origin view) predate the term "evangelical". I am thinking about composing an entire section to address this Protestant/non-Protestant issue. Gold Dragon

I think it's worth noting that Baptists are not (necessarily) evangelical by definition. Many may be, but the strict definition of a Baptist church doesn't have to coincide with evangelical churches also. I'd support a very explanatory section that makes the point that "many Baptists are evangelical Christians" (describe what that means)... "but Baptists are not necessarily Evangelical by definition." or something to that effect. --ABQCat 00:56, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I'm wondering if we need an entire section discussing controversial classifications for Baptists such as Protestant, Denomination and Evangelical. Explaining the different sides of these terms could take a while. Maybe it is better simply to mention that these terms are used by some Baptists and non-Baptists to describe Baptists but are objected to by others and explain in general on the Protestant, religious denomination and Evangelical pages why some groups have difficulty with those classifications, since the baptist objections/acceptance of those terms are not unique to Baptists. Gold Dragon 16:07, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I added a Difficult Labels section to start us off. It is really quick and dirty but I think it provides a good start for us to work off of. Gold Dragon 17:12, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I removed the Historical Problems section from the Origins section because it added very little useful information to the article. Gold Dragon 21:41, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think the origins of the Baptist Church should be given at least a cursory reference. Who founded it? When? Where? paulistano 02:59 12 Aug 2006

"Distinctives" - vocabulary as a barrier to understanding

The first paragraph after the TOC uses a word which was unfamiliar to me as a practicing Baptist. I consider myself educated and have a fairly average vocabulary for a college student. Even so, "Distinctives" used as a synonym for "central beliefs" was a word that I had to look up in order to understand the paragraph. From the context, the defintion may be inferred, but it is my belief that Wikipedia articles should be easily understood such that vocabulary is not a barrier to understanding. Can anyone suggest an alternate word to use here, or perhaps add the appropriate definition to Wictionary so that we can link to it? Thanks! --ABQCat 05:43, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

To Do List

Here is a list of additions I plan to make to this document

  • Baptist practice of communion (done)
  • Two offices of pastor and deacon (done)
  • History from separatists puritans to current day
  • Trail of Blood and groups mentioned in Landmarkist theory (done)
  • General worship and sermon style (done)

Gold Dragon 21:14, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC) Gold Dragon 19:14, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC) Gold Dragon 14:54, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

I wrote a paragraph on the practice of communion. I also made mention of the two offices of pastor and deacon in that paragraph, though more obviously needs to be said. I hope these additions will dovetail with your intended work. Rohirok 01:29, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Thanks Rohirok. Although if you don't mind, I would like to eventually move that paragraph to the Beliefs section with information of why Baptists believe it is symbolic in comparison to other views and incorporate more detail about opened and closed communion that the footnote discusses. I would also like to have a different section for the two offices in the beliefs section that discuss them in more detail in comparison to other commonly used structures. Great additions! Gold Dragon 13:13, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Don't forget that there are Baptists who hold to Three Ordinances (the third being foot-washing), as well as Baptists who hold to Three Offices (the third being Elder). Too much can easily be made of the BAPTIST acrostic, but at least in this case the minority view uses the same initial letters ;-) --Haruo 4 July 2005 08:42 (UTC)

Famous Baptists

For the time being, I have restored several names that were deleted from the list of "Famous Baptists" - Jimmy Carter, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Jr. That edit seemed to show a kind of disapproval of what kind of Baptists they were. I would personally have quite a few theological disagreements with all four of the above mentioned men, but that doesn't change the fact that they are/were "famous" and "Baptists". Perhaps we should discuss some kind of criteria for inclusion in this list. Is it just that they are famous and happen to be Baptists? Or should their fame be something that is related to their being Baptist? For example, it would be easy to see that Charles Spurgeon's fame is directly related to his being a popular Baptist minister. In distinction, Jimmy Carter's fame was brought about by his being elected President of the United States. While President, though, Carter's Baptist connection gained some notoriety, possibly making him fitting for the list. Thoughts?? - Rlvaughn 22:27, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I would agree with your first suggestion that they simply need to to be famous and happen to be Baptist and not necessarily because they were Baptist. The inclusion of Bill Clinton seems to get removed quickly because of a difficulty of many Baptists in identifying with him. Gold Dragon 16:59, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think we have to be careful about adding people who are famous and happen to be Baptist. If we go too far with that line of thinking, we'll have Britney Spears and no telling who else! I wouldn't think that was really the intent. - Rlvaughn 12:58, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Good point. Although, I don't have that much problem with putting Britney Spears on this list if it is well known that she is a Baptist. Since I started the Famous Baptist section on this page, does my intent matter? ;) Kidding. I think Baptist ministers who may have been famous for other things shouldn't be a problem. That leaves Jimmy Carter and Patrick Henry on the chopping block. I just did a search on Patrick Henry and according to this essay on his national memorial site, he was baptised as an Anglican and attended a Presbyterian church but was never a Baptist. Jimmy Carter is the only outlier right now and I'm inclined to keep him. Gold Dragon 20:14, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Carter should absolutely be kept. He is a devout Baptist, not just someone who happened to be born in a Baptist family. Funnyhat 22:02, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I have edited this article so as to remove St. Francis from the famous Baptist list. 29, Jan 2005 -- Ken Myers.

Ken, I think that was St. Patrick instead of St. Francis. There is a line of thought that St. Patrick was a Baptist or baptistic in theology, but since that it a controversial issue, I think your edit is a good one, encyclopedically. - Rlvaughn 12:58, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Considering the vast diversity of Baptists, I think showing that diversity is nothing but good. Baptists have liberals and conservatives, "Protestants" and "Landmarkists," Calvinists and Arminians...and you get the picture. Reflecting that diversity shouldn't be a bad thing -- if it gets too big, why not create a new article just for the list? SighterGoliant 2:47, 25 Apr 2006 (UTC)

Separation of Church and State

In the line

..., Roger Williams (who was a Baptist for a short period but became a seeker), ...

What is a 'seeker'? This seems ambiguous. Is it a Baptist technical term, does it denote lack of affiliation, or something else? Ashmoo 01:42, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Roger Williams became a Baptist, then left the Baptist church/denomination to seek for the truth/true church (which he never seems to have found). I don't think it's a Baptist technical term, just means one who is searching - in this case, for the truth (and, yes, denotes lack of affiliation). Here's what the Dictionary of Baptists says: "...a few months later, Williams withdrew from the Baptists and pronounced himself a Seeker, one who had not yet discovered 'the true church' as constituted by Jesus Christ in the first century...For the remainder of his life, Williams would be a religious loner, searching for a church that he could recognize as created in the image of the first apostles...he died an independent evangelical Christian without a denomination." I'm including this lengthy quote as it might help if someone wants to rewrite the statement into something less ambiguous. - Rlvaughn 03:26, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC) Hello my dear Brothers in Christ. What is wrong with Britney Spears in list from Famous Baptists?. Includes to sisters in Christ Jessica and Ashlee Simpson also. And to Shannen Doherty,Steve Martin,and Anne Heche. And I want to add Latin Americans as Venezuelan Martyr Antolìn Tovar. You can writes to Baptist Venezuelan Convention to get info on him

The list should definitley contain people who are famous because they are Baptist, not famous but happen to be Baptist. What would be the point of putting up famous people who happen to be Baptists anyways? Famous Baptists indicates in the title that they are famous Baptists, not famous Presidents who are baptists, or celebrities who happen to be Baptist.Gotmesomepants 22:33, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Southern Baptists

I wonder if some mention should be made of the fact that many Baptists have accused the SBC of violating some of the traditional principles of Baptism, especially with regards to increasing central control of the Church. Given that the SBC is the largest Baptist group, such criticisms would seem a propos. john k 15:33, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Some mention should perhaps also be made of the SBC's withdrawal in 2004 (I think) from the Baptist World Alliance,

Number of Baptists

In the very first section of the article there is a statement that in the late 1990s there were some 43 million Baptists worldwide, 33 million of them in the United States. BWA statistics for late 2004 show slightly more than 13.5 million BWA-affiliated Baptists outside North America. Although the withdrawal of the SBC from the BWA, and SBC efforts to encourage overseas Baptists to do likewise, make it a bit harder to come up with an overall picture, there have always been a large number of Baptists in the United States whose churches are either completely independent of "denominational" structures, or affiliated with conventions or associations that do not belong to the BWA; presumably there are also a certain number (hard to pin down, but obviously real) of similarly unaffiliated Baptists in other countries. I would suggest an effort to arrive at an updated figure for the opening section, and whatever it asserts about the US, it should show at least 14 million more outside the US. --Haruo 4 July 2005 08:27 (UTC)

Haruo, probably the most accurate count of Baptists worldwide was done by Dr. Albert W. Wardin, Jr., and published in 1995 as "Baptists Around the World". It was sponsored by the Heritage Commission of the Baptist World Alliance. Unfortunately, it is now ten years old. His count, then, broke down this way (rounded off):

  • United States and Canada almost 30 million
  • Africa over 3 million
  • Asia and Oceania almost 3 million
  • Latin America and the Caribbean almost 2 million
  • Europe/Eurasia about 1 million

There seems to be quite a lot of growth in the areas outside the US over the past ten years. Of course, he didn't get them all back then. The latest US count is probably the 2000 Religious Congregations and Membership in the United States, conducted by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies and Glenmary Research Center. Unfortunately in this case, several Baptist bodies did not participate and are not included. Dr. Wardin is working on a new book about the different Baptist groups in the US. Perhaps that will be out sometime soon and help us with these figures. - Rlvaughn 4 July 2005 20:57 (UTC)

First time I write ...

Hi, I'm a french speaking man, so I may make some mistake in my writing.

I've seen this thing about "How do I know that the preacher is preaching the gospel ?"

I have kind of a suggestion for this one : Why not do as the Bible exemple of the pepeol of Berea ?

"Actes 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

Search the Scriptures and find out for your self.

Ulrick :)

Article size warning

We have hit the 32K article size warning and I do think the article is getting a little too long. I believe the Origins section is a natural one to break off into a separate page with more information on Baptist history between the separatist puritans and modern day Baptists.

While the Beliefs section seems to be the meat of the article, it is getting too long and should be moved to a separate page with short summaries remaining. Should there be one large page for Baptist beliefs or does each section deserve its own page?

I feel that some of the lists at the bottom half of the page are getting out of hand and need to be pruned for encyclopediac value.

Any other thoughts? Gold Dragon 15:01, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

I moved all references and external links to associations and baptist subgroups to the List of Baptist Sub-denomination page. Gold Dragon 15:58, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I moved the Baptist Doctrinal Statements and Famous Baptist sections to their own pages, List of Baptist Confessions and List of Baptists respectively. I expanded the List of Baptist Confessions page. I believe many of the list of people pages in Wikipedia sort by date of birth and include dob and dod information which I will begin to include. I believe the next logical move would be the Origins section into a general Baptist History page and expanding it to include history from the English Separatists to current day. Much of this information already exists in Wikipedia on various pages so it is primarily a matter of compiling and summarizing into one general Baptist History page. Gold Dragon 15:12, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

List of Baptist suggests that because our List of Baptist is not comprehensive, it should be labeled as "List of Famous Baptists" instead of "List of Baptists". I would agree that our list of baptists is not comprehensive. However, there are many other lists of people on Wikipedia which are not comprehensive and they do not require the "Famous" adjective. See "List of Scientists" or "List of Roman Catholics" for examples. Every list of active groups will never be comprehensive and will constantly be undergoing changes. The title "List of ________" does not normally imply every single person who would accept that label is on the list. Gold Dragon 13:51, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Comparisons with other denominations

The article had this line:

"For the most part, Baptists strongly disagree with Pentecostal and charismatic teachings, specifically the practice of speaking in tongues."

which was added by an anonymous IP (which at the same time made many constructive contributions). It makes it sound as if there is disharmony between Baptists and Pentecostal & Charismatic Christians. In my experience (which includes 22 years' attendance of Baptist Churches in New Zealand, and a fair amount of mixture with my brothers and sisters in Christ who belong to other denominations), there is very little such disharmony. Indeed, I would say that there is agreement on all the "most important" issues (from certain points of view), and even agreement on a fair proportion of the Baptist distinctives given at the top of the page. This suggests a change to include "some" or "a few" before "Pentecostal and charismatic teachings".

However, I'm not sure about the specific example of speaking in tongues, either. Although I've heard that it used to be the case that some Charismatics taught that anyone who had the Holy Spirit could speak in tongues, I can't remember coming across anyone claiming this in my 22 years. The teaching I've come across in Baptist Churches in New Zealand (specifically, usually in Lower Hutt) is that speaking in tongues is a Gift of the Holy Spirit that is given to some people (sometimes only temporarily), just like any other Gift of the Spirit.

What does everyone think? What does that sentence add to the article? Should we try to rework it and put it back, or should we just leave it out? T J McKenzie 10:40, 25 November 2005 (UTC)