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SOUTHERN BAPTISTS Common misunderstanding the phrase Southern Baptist is that there is a person who is a Baptist who also lives in the south However this is not true Southern Baptist describes a religious denomination not a geographic area At first Southern Baptists occupied the southern region of the United States however they now have spread throughout all fifty states They do mission work all over the world which makes them quite a global people too Southern Baptists makeup the largest non-Catholic denomination in America They have well over 40000 churches and more than 15000000 members in their religion Queen 26 The Southern Baptists do not always agree on some Biblical or doctrinal matters but they still have certian common beliefs that shape their identity Southern Baptists as a group began in May 1845 in Augusta Georgia But their beliefs root deeply in English and American religious life John Smyth formed the First Baptist church in Holland in 1609 and two years later Thomas Helwys organized the first English Baptist church Rosenberg 43 Later in 1639 Roger Williams founded the first Baptist church in America This church is in Providence Rhode Island It still exists and it is still in tact As the Baptist moved into the South they also brought their doctrines and styles of worship along with them In the late 17th century one group settled in Charleston South Carolina Later in the mid 1700s another group migrated to Sandy Creek North Carolina The group of Southern Baptists that settled in Charleston stressed an educated ministry and a structured worship The Sandy Creek Baptists emphasized evangelism revival and a freedom to express feelings during worship such as singing and clapping All these elements can be found among Southern Baptists today The American Baptists split in May 1845 Northern Baptist leaders resisted the appointment of slave holders as missionaries Baptist leaders of the South disagreed and resented the so-called unfair
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