Church Essay

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Worship Site Visit Angela Lee Professor Sheffield Religion and Philosophy December 12, 2010 Baptists are a group of Christian denominations, churches, and individuals who subscribe to a theology of believer's baptism (as opposed to infant baptism), salvation through faith alone, Scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local church. They practice baptism by immersion (as opposed to affusion or sprinkling) and disavow authoritative creeds. Baptists recognize two ministerial offices, pastors and deacons. Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestants, though some Baptists disavow this identity. Most Baptist churches or individuals identify with evangelicalism or fundamentalism while a minority embrace modernist views of Scripture. Diverse from their beginning, those identifying as Baptists today differ widely from one another in what they believe, how they worship, their attitudes toward other Christians, and their understanding of what is important in Christian discipleship.[1] Baptists are agreed that their belief system is based in the New Testament, "the whole New Testament, and nothing but the New Testament."[2] The Scriptures have been the foremost formative influence on Baptist belief and behavior. Historians trace the earliest Baptist church back to 1609 in Amsterdam, with English Separatist John Smyth as its pastor.[3] In accordance with his reading of the New Testament, he rejected baptism of infants and instituted baptism only of believing adults.[4] Baptist practice spread to England. Here, the General Baptists considered Christ's atonement to extend to all people, while the Particular Baptists believed that it extended only to the elect.[5] In 1639, Roger Williams established the first Baptist congregation in the North American colonies.[5] In the mid-18th century, the Great Awakening increased Baptist

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