Definition: Baptists
A Protestant denomination centered around the belief that the sacrament of baptism should only be administered to adult members after a personal profession of belief in Jesus Christ. Baptism in this faith is usually done by full immersion.
Fast Facts on Baptists
History Emerged from the English Separatist movement in the 1600s. First Baptist church established in 1609 in Amsterdam.
Texts Bible (Old Testament and New Testament)

The Baptists are one of the largest Christian denominations. As indicated by their name, the primary Baptist distinctive is their practice of "believer's baptism" instead of infant baptism. Baptist churches tend to be evangelical in doctrine and Reformed in worship, but beliefs and practices can vary due to the autonomy of individual Baptist churches.

Historically, Baptists have played a key role in encouraging religious freedom and separation of church and state. In the United States, the two largest Baptist organizations are the Southern Baptist Churches (SBC) and American Baptist Churches (ABC), with the former being the more conservative branch. Notable Baptists have included Martin Luther King, Jr., Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan and Billy Graham.

At the turn of the 21st century, there were about 43 million Baptists worldwide with about 33 million of those in the United States and 216,000 in Britain. There are over 850,000 Baptists in South America and 230,000 in Central America and the Caribbean.


  • "Baptists." F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford UP, 1997), pp. 154-55.
  • "Baptist." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2005. <>.
  • "Baptist." Encyclop√¶dia Britannica. 2005. Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Premium Service <>.

Baptist Doctrinal Statements

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