Baptist Page

The Baptist History

We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the reformation, we were reformers before Luther and Calvin were born; we never came from the Church of Rome, for we were never in it, but we have an unbroken line up to the apostles themselves. We have always existed from the days of Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel under ground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents. Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect, yet there has never existed a Government holding Baptist principles which persecuted others; nor, I believe, any body of Baptists ever held it to be right to put the consciences of others under the control of man. We have ever been ready to suffer, as our martyrologies will prove, but we are not ready to accept any help from the State, to prostitute the purity of the Bride of Christ to any alliance with Government, and we will never make the Church, although the Queen, the despot over the consciences of men.

—Charles H. Spurgeon

Christian history, in the First Century, was strictly and properly Baptist history, although the word “Baptist,” as a distinctive appellation was not then known. How could it be? How was it possible to call any Christians Baptist Christians, when all were Baptists?”

—William Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881, p. 286.

Missions and Creeds
Baptist Confessions, Covenants, Catechisms
What is an Historic Baptist?
Reformation & Controversy in the SBC
Essential Baptist Doctrine
Baptist History Out of Focus
Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism
How does Calvinism affect Evangelism?
Will Calvinism Kill Evangelism?
Conserving Power of the Doctrines of Grace
A Primer on Baptist History
Baptists and the Ordinances
¿Qué es una Iglesia Reformada Bautista?
The Doctrines of Grace
Daily Devotions from Baptists of the past
Baptist Timeline
What is Catechism?
Baptists & the Sufficiency of Scripture
Southern Baptists at the Crossroads
Baptists and “Reforming A Local Church”
Southern Baptists & The Doctrine of Election
The Doctrines of Grace
Doctrines of Grace & Passion for Men’s Souls
A Collection of Historic Baptist Documents
An Encouragement to Use Catechisms
Baptists, The Bible and Confessions
Why Creeds and Confessions?
Are Creeds Appropriate for Baptists?


The First Known Baptist Congregations

The first known Baptist Congregation was formed by a number of these fleeing separatists in Amsterdam, Holland in 1608. It was largely made up of British persons led by John Smyth who along with Thomas Helwys, sought to set up the group according to New Testament patterns. As they saw it, it was important to ‘reconstitute’ and not just ‘reform’ the Church. There was emphasis placed on personal conversion and on baptism, which was to be given to individuals who had personally professed faith in Jesus Christ, that is, to believers only and on mutual covenanting between and among believers. Though taking some years to crystallize, the reconstituting efforts of Smyth, Helwys and others gave distinctive shape not only to the group’s belief and practice, but the various others which emerged from it. Some affiliated groups started when members of the Amsterdam group went back to Britain and took the name ‘Baptist’ to identify themselves. This had to do with the distinctive approach to the meaning and mode of baptism.

With the continuing religious and civil disturbances, and with the new awareness in Europe of North America, many persons, including those influenced by Baptists and related beliefs, practices and groups, crossed the Atlantic to build a ‘New World’. They sought not only to establish dwellings, but their faith as well. In time the entire continent, but particularly the Eastern section, was affected, Baptist Churches, being among the many institutions, which sprang up in the seventeenth century. All these shaped not only the new American Environment, but eventually impacted beyond it as well.

—William Cathcart, Baptist Historian/Author

The American Baptists deny that they owe their origin to Roger Williams. The English Baptists will not grant that John Smyth or Thomas Helwysse was their founder. The Welsh Baptists strenuously contend that they received their creed in the first century, from those who obtained it, direct, from the apostles themselves. The Dutch Baptists trace their spiritual pedigree up to the same source. German Baptists maintained that they were older than the reformation, older than the corrupt hierarchy which it sought to reform. The Waldensian Baptists boasted an ancestry far older than Waldo, older than the most ancient of their predecessors in the Vales of Piedmont. All these maintain that it ultimately reappears, and reveals their source in Christ and His apostles.”

—(pp. 34-35 – The Testimony of the Baptists, by Curtis A. Pugh quoting William Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881, pp. 620-621.)



St. Patrick (A Baptist?)

John Foxe
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

The Journal of Negro History 7, No.1
Evolution of the Negro Baptist Church

N. H. Pius, D.D.
An Outline of Baptist History, 1911

Walter H. Brooks D.D.
History of Negro Baptist Churches in America, 1910

Rev. J.A. Whitted, D.D.
A History of the Negro Baptists in North Carolina

E. K. Love, D.D.
History of the First African Baptist Church, 1888

James M. Simms
The First Colored Baptist Church in North America

Joanna P. Moore
“In Christ’s Stead”, Autobiographical Sketches, 1902 (mid to late 1800s Negro Baptist historical sketches)

H. C. Vedder
Click here for a short Bio of H. C. Vedder
A Short History of the Baptists

William C. Hawkins and Willard A. Ramsey
The Trail of Truth

Chris Traffensted
A Primer on Baptist History: The True Baptist Trail
Early historical summary of Baptists with a Reformed view. A more reliable and accurate history of Baptists than from the Baptist Successionists.

S. H. Ford
Origin of the Baptists

Joseph Ivimey
A History of the English Baptists, 1811

Thomas Armitage, D.D.
History of the Baptists (The American Baptists)

John T. Christian, A.M. D.D. LL.D
Professor of Christian History in The Baptist Bible Institute, New Orleans, Louisiana.
A History of the Baptists Together with Some Account of Their Principles and Practices
Volume 1
Volume 2

Did They Dip?
Introduction by T.T. Eaton, D.D. LL.D.

Gene Brooks
More Than We Asked:  Early Baptists of England

L. P. Brockett, M.D.
Bogomils of Bulgaria and Bosnia;An Attempt to Restore Some Lost Leaves of Protestant History. The Early Protestants of the East.

J. R. Graves
The Tri-lemma, or Death by Three Horns
Discusses the Presbyterian/Baptist view of the legitimacy of Romish “Baptism”

Christian Baptism
Examines “into what” were we baptised.

Old Landmarkism
The origin and history of the appelation “Landmarkism”

The Dispensational Expositions of the Parables and Prophecies of Christ

A Landmark Our Fathers Set
An examination of pedobaptism

The Relation of Baptism to Salvation
An obedient response to God’s love

Robert Boyt C. Howell
The Evils of Infant Baptism
The Covenants

John Q. Adams
Baptists, The Only Thorough Reformers
(an American Baptist pastor who was a contemporary of C.H. Spurgeon).   Spurgeon used “Baptists Thorough Reformers” as a text book in his Pastor’s College, regarding it as the best Manual of Baptist principles he had met.”

Phillip Schaff
History of the Christian Church, 8 Volumes
This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and amended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner’s Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.

J. H. Shakespeare
Baptist and Congregational Pioneers

J. M. Cramp
Baptist History

Joseph Banvard
Protestant Persecution of the Baptists in Early America

Elder J.H. Grime
Catechism of Ecclesiastical History
Blood Before Water and Christ Before the Church

John Henry
The Beliefs, Antiquities & Succession of Baptists

John Spittlehouse & John More
A Vindication of the Continued Succession of the Primitive Church of Jesus Christ (Now Scandalously Termed AnaBaptists) From the Apostles to the Present Time

The History of Baptists in Slovakia

David Benedict
A History of the Baptist Denomination
A Miniature History of Baptism



From the Baptist Reporter



From the Baptist Almanac




Daniel Kauffman
Mennonite History
© Copyright, Mennonite Publishing House

Dr. Francis Nigel Lee
The Anabaptists and Their Stepchildren

Elizabeth Scott
© Anabaptists:  Separate by Choice, Marginal by Force

William R. Estep
The Anabaptist Story

Stanley A. Nelson
The Anabaptist Story

Ronald J. Gordon
Anabaptism in 16th Century Europe

Beginnings of the Anabaptist-Mennonite
1517-1525: The Beginnings of Anabaptism
as told in The Chroncile of the Hutterian Brethren, Vol. 1, pp. 41-47.



Church of the Brethren History



Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) is a concern movement within the Church of the Brethren, seeking to call the Church to a firm stand for the authority of the Scriptures, and to an emphasis upon the teachings of the New Testament as historically understood by the Brethren.

The Brethren Card
Handbook of Basic Beliefs



Click here for a brief explanation of the Donatists

David Benedict, D.D.
Click here for a short Bio of David Benedict
History of the Donatists



J. A. Wylie
Click here for a short Bio of James A. Wylie
The History of the Waldenses

The History of Protestantism

“Wylie’s ‘The History of Protestantism’ is the best history extant. I welcome its republishing. Read it. Study it. Circulate it. And by so doing you will help to dispel the dark cloud of priestly superstition, popish idolatry and papal tyranny encircling our land.”
Ian Paisley

Thomas Williamson
The Waldenses Were Independent Baptists

John L. Waller
Were the Waldenses Baptists or Pedo-Baptists?

The Nobla Lecon, (Noble Lesson)
The “Noble Lesson” written in the Language of the ancient inhabitants of the Valleys (The Waldenses); in the Year 1100. Extracted out of a most authentic manuscript, the true original whereof is to be seen in the public library of the famous University of Cambridge. “The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piedmont.” by Samuel Morland. 1658. CHRAA. 1982. p.99



Andrew N. Dugger
History of the Church of God, Seventh Day Baptist

A Thumbnail Sketch of Seventh Day Baptists



J.V. Kirkland & C.B. Hassell
A Condensed History of the Church of God, 1896? [130k]

Elder Michael N. Ivey
A Welsh Succession of Primitive Baptist Faith and Practice



Mennonite Confession of Faith, 1963: a CMEO Source Document



J. R. Graves
Old Landmarkism
The origin and history of the appelation “Landmarkism”

J.M. Carroll
Trail of Blood
Trail of Blood Chart

Classic Landmarkist view of Baptist History

This little book is sent forth for the purpose of making known the little-known history of those FAITHFUL WITNESSES of the Lord Jesus, who, as members of the CHURCH JESUS BUILT, “Overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony: and they loved not their lives unto death,” Rev. 12:11.  (Historical events are entirely the work of the author and are not to be intended by The Reformed Reader as a definitive source for historical fact)

Curtis A. Pugh, Pastor, Southern Lakes Baptist Church
Three Witnesses for the Baptists



The popular designation of a Baptist denomination officially called “The Church of God.” The founder, the Rev. John Winebrenner, was a minister of the German Reformed Church, more.

John Winebrenner, V.D.M. Harrisburg, PA
History of the Church of God, 1854
Brief Scriptural View of the Church of God
, 1885
Brief Biography of John Winebrenner

S.G. Yahn, D.D.
History of the Churches of God, 1926



Baptist History Out Of Focus (Founders Online)
by Tom Ascol

A Critique of the English Separatist Descent Theory in Baptist Historiography
by Philip R. Bryan

Biblioteca de la Historia Cristiana (Spanish)

Early Church Fathers Collection (FREEWARE!)

The ‘Early Church Fathers Series in WinHelp Format’ is a 37-volume electronic collection of writings from the first 800 years of the Church. This collection is divided into three series, Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene Series I, and Nicene and Post-Nicene Series II.  These writings include apologetics, biblical commentary (mainly by St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom, the Golden Mouthed), sermons, treatises, letters, liturgies, poems and hymns, dialogues, ascetic writings, Church canons and history



History of the Papacy
by J. A. Wylie


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