- Baptists trace their origin to the seventeenth century and were once named "ANABAPTISTS." They believe that the BAPTISM of mature believers is the accepted mark of CHURCH membership. They strongly emphasize the independence of the local Church, although individual Churches are linked to associations of various kinds. Early on they split into two groupsGeneral Baptists which are ARMINIAN in THEOLOGY and Particular Baptists which are CALVINIST. Today, Baptists form a loose family of Churches with their main numerical base in the USA. Although there are international and national bodies many Baptist Churches belong to neither, hence the great diversity of belief and practice.
Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.
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