After the Hampton Court Conference, little groups of believers began to meet for worship as they felt the Bible taught them — not according to bishops and prayer books. This movement was identified as separatism because the groups were intent upon leaving the Church of England. One of these groups was in Gainsborough in northern England. By 1608 this group had moved to Amsterdam, Holland for safety and freedom of worship. John Smyth was the pastor of this flock. A Cambridge graduate, he studied his Greek New Testament with care and discovered that the practice of baptizing babies never appeared in its pages. If babies were not included in the covenant of grace — only mature believers in Jesus Christ — then shouldn’t churches be constituted by confession of faith rather than ties of covenants? Smyth and forty members of the Amsterdam congregation answered, "yes", and were baptized upon the profession of their personal faith in Jesus Christ. Thus the first English Baptist church was born in 1609.
[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, Church-of-England, ChurchRodent, Hampton-Court-Conference, history, Jesus, John-Smyth[/tags]