Baptists are Protestant Christians who accepted the beliefs of the16-century Reformation, but have also added many other beliefs and practices, such as baptism. The Baptists are very important because they stress this belief and other beliefs. In the 1990's there was 162,000 churches and about 43 million Baptists worldwide. Some of the other countries where the Baptists are found are Russia, Romania, Canada, and even the United Kingdom.
The Baptists believe that the church made up of only new or changed individuals. The theological term is "a gathered church." They also believe that the individual has to voluntarily repent for his/her sin and proclaim that Jesus is Lord and the savior for their life. All individuals that are "born again" receive a baptism, which is a special ceremony that cleanses the individual from their sins by using water. The first baptisms were preformed by John the Baptist. He preformed these baptisms in the Jordan River. He also baptized Jesus. Baptists also follow the old tradition of the Lord's Supper or in todays term, communion. They have been following the doctrine of the church and the state being separated for many centuries which is still kept today. They also believe that the church should be free to make its own decisions, such as the church is free to get its own clergy and free to dismiss the clergy at any time. It is believed by many people that there is a universal guideline for the Baptist, but they have never really adopted one. .
The Baptist first began when the English separatists founded the first Baptist church in Amsterdam. Later on they started Baptist churches in Spitalfields near London. Eventually these two churches combined themselves around the 19-century. Baptists really began to grow in America, but they began to split over the issue of slavery in the 19-century. In 1907, the Baptist came back together and started missions and created educational societies.