This article has sought to provide an historical overview for the Historic Affirmations of the Baptist witness in England. An attempt has been made at identifying not only the Baptist witness in general, but also tracing the origins of the distinctive features belonging to the Strict and Particular Baptists in particular. These features are not unique to Baptists in England, for there are churches scattered worldwide which embrace the same faith and practice, although they may be identified by names other than “Strict” and “Particular”.

There is an urgent need for Baptists to understand their historical roots in order to grasp the complexities with which they are now faced in modern society. Remaining current with the times does not mean Baptist churches have to abandon their traditional values.

More than sixty years since the Second World War, and the Historic Affirmations that once unified Strict and Particular Baptists have largely been sidelined.(1) The Authorised Version has been readily replaced with modern translations; Restricted Communion has been gradually opened to a wider community; the approach to corporate worship and Christian service has conformed to an Arminian philosophy of ministry; and church polity has been replaced with an experimental form of government. Indeed, when viewed from an historic perspective, these modifications reach beyond the cosmetic to an alteration in the personality of the Strict and Particular Baptist witness.

Forthcoming articles will concentrate on specific aspects of the Historic Affirmations based upon Scriptural evidence, historic precedent and pragmatic issues.

(1) Kenneth Dix, A Sketch of Baptist History, Conclusion


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