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What denominations are closest to Baptist?

Postby Bob the Axe » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:48 am

hey Jim, within the lines of Christianity, what branches are closest to Baptist? I want to say Pentecostal, and Presbyterian, but I could be wrong.
Bob the Axe

Re: What denominations are closest to Baptist?

Postby jimwalton » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:58 am

Most of our American Baptist denominations are offshoots from the British Separatists (dissenters against the Church of England [Anglicans]) who came to America in the mid- to late 1600s (these were the Pilgrims and others). From them came Free Will Baptists, Northern, Southern (SBC), Conservative (CB), American (ABC), etc. There is a separate branch of European Baptists (from the mainland) that were the roots of the North American Baptist (NABC, formerly German Baptists) and the Baptist General Conference. So we have to go back into early colonial Europe to find which branches are closest to Baptist.

Let me try to put it this way. At the Protestant Reformation in 1517, the Lutheran Church was born. It wasn't long before the Reformed branched off, and from that the Anabaptist (1525) and the Anglican (1534). Baptists (British Separatists) broke off from the Anglicans in 1612 and came to America, as did the Methodists in 1787. Presbyterians broke off the Reformed line in about 1560. Here's a chart from Bob Walton's Church History book.


So, Baptists (in general) are fairly close to the Reformed theology and some Presbyterian persuasions (but only some since there are different kinds of Presbyterians). I would say Baptists are not very close to Anglicans or Lutherans; closer to Presbyterians (depending on the branch) than to Methodists (depending on the branch); fairly close to Wesleyans, but some notable differences; closer to Wesleyans than Methodists. Pentecostalism emerged mostly from the Methodist and Wesleyan traditions, although Baptist and CM&A (Christian & Missionary Alliance) churches also fed into the rise of the charismatic movement.

Nowadays, it's a mix and things are in flux. There are so many Baptist groups it's difficult to generalize. Baptists run the gamut of fundamentalist, to conservative evangelical, to liberal Baptist groups. Conservative Baptists are fairly close to evangelical Presbyterians, CMA (Alliance), Wesleyans, and more conservative charismatic groups than they are to Episcopalian, UCC, Lutheran, and Methodists. It's hard to pigeonhole and generalize, but I hope I've helped. If not, write again and I'll try again.

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