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Baptists

The Baptists’ sect evolved from the English "Puritans." The Peculiarity of it, is that Baptists reject baptism of infants. The first commune appeared in England circa 1633, and in 1639 transferred into North America with its center in Rhode Island, in which Roger Williams played a leading part. In the beginning this movement was not successful. At the end of the 18th century they created the "Missionary Union" whose aim was directed toward preaching among the American Negroes, and to be free from dogmas, rites and symbolism. This was received positively by the Americans, who supported it. Homes for orphans and aged, schools and hospitals, and a large number of volunteer missionaries appeared. At this time Baptists found new followers in England, Germany, China, Japan, India, Poland and later in Russia. Established in the U.S., the "Baptist Union," since 1814, began to have large financial resources and started propaganda (known as missionary) in the rest of the world. The sect drifted into Russia from Germany, where its center was established in Hamburg circa 1834, by J. G. Oncken.

As time went by, the Baptists were divided into many splinter-parties. Divisions started at the end of the 17th Century, when they split into two parts: "Particular" — that accepted Calvinistic teaching on unconditional predetermination, and "General" — (or Baptists of the Free Will) that accepted for everyone God’s Grace which saves, and is attracted by men’s free will. In pre-revolutionary Russia, "Particular" Baptists rejected oaths, military service, and courts; however, at the present time they do not have such an open rejection of government and civic authorities.

There exist some Baptists with an inclination toward Judaism: "The 7th Day Baptists," who celebrate Saturday (Sabbatarians)."The Christian Baptists" — reject the teaching of the Holy Trinity, hell, the devil, and holy days (as if they contradict the Holy Scripture). There are Baptists that teach about two offsprings of Eve: one of them being from the devil, as some Jewish books of the apocrypha have taught. Another offshoot of Baptists are the Evangelistic Christians, "Shtundists," (Hard shell) Evangelists and many others. Baptists are characteristic in their animosity toward Orthodoxy. All branches of Baptists are unified in the rejection of baptizing infants. As a reason for this rejection, they claim that infants (children of Christians) are clean by the blood of Christ, and therefore need not be baptized. They quote the words of Christ to His disciples: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the HolyGhost (Mat. 28:19; Mk. 16:16) In those words they say they were told to baptize only adults and not infants.

This teaching about baptism contradicts the Holy Scripture and the practices of the Early Church. Holy Scripture requires to baptize all people including infants. The Lord God said, that only those "born of the water and of the Spirit" can enter into the Kingdom of God (John 3:5), considering children, He ordered: "Forbid them not to come unto Me" (Mat. 19:14). The baptism of children has its beginning from the time of Apostles — as testified by Origen, a well known Christian writer of the 3rd Century. In the New Testament the Sacrament of Baptism replaced the Old Testament custom of circumcision which was a prototype of baptism. In the book of Acts, is an example where whole families were baptized, who undoubtedly had children. All people that were baptized, old and young, became members of the Church of Christ. The earlier a person accepted a baptism, the sooner he incorporated himself into the Church and was blessed in life. His spiritual and physical growth proceeded simultaneously.

The Baptists and Protestants do not have a clear and distinct teaching about the Church, instead they reject the Apostolic teaching about it. "I am unable to formulate our teaching about a church," said H. Phillips, one of the leaders in the Baptist church at the conference in Edinburgh in 1937. There are also similar statements from other Baptist leaders.

Confidence in the matter of salvation is the basic distinction of all Baptist preaching and its off-shoots. It follows from all Protestant off-shoots, a conviction that salvation is automatic as long as one believes in Christ. They support their conviction by citation, taken out of context from the Holy Scripture: "Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believes in Me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47). "These things have I written unto you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). Those sentences we cannot take out of context, since it makes a big difference between dead faith and the real faith. The faith that saves, and the faith that does not save. "What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not work? Can faith save him?…Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead being alone" (James 2:14-17). "The demons also believe and tremble" (James 2:19).

Therefore, it is not enough to believe in Christ’s sacrifice, one has to carry his cross and follow Christ (Luke 14:27), because it is said: "He that endureth to the end shall be saved" (Mat. 10:22).

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