A home-grown religious movement had its beginnings in the 1820s in Evansville, Indiana. General Baptists came into existence because of the revival preaching of Elder Benoni Stinson. He boldly and frequently proclaimed the good news of the gospel that “Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for everyman” with the result that “whosoever will may be saved”. This preaching from texts found in the New Testament books of Hebrews and Romans resulted in the planting of new churches, a networking with other like-minded groups, and the birthing of a national organization in 1870.
But why General Baptist? The name is actually a summary of the core theology of the movement reflecting belief in a general atonement that anyone who is willing to trust Jesus as Savior may be saved. This theological name stood in contrast to those groups of the 19th century who advocated a particular or limited atonement for in their theology only a few, not the many, could be saved.
Though the term “atonement” is not in the General Baptist Statements of Faith, few terms are more important to our historical identity. The “general” in General Baptist is derived from our position on atonement. Atonement can mean the compensation, the restitution paid, or expiation given by God through Jesus Christ for our sin. Atonement can describe the actions of Jesus to secure our salvation, and thus the redemptive work of Jesus can be described as the atonement.
Many Protestants continue to disagree over whether atonement is general (i.e., for all) or particular (i.e., only for those who are “elect”). General Baptists argue that the atonement is for all, but the benefits of the atonement “can be received only through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Statement of Faith IV). Because we believe in a general atonement we are naturally evangelistic and intentionally missionary. How else will our world hear the Good News?
Why General Baptist Ministries
General Baptist Ministries, based in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, exists to unite the efforts of various local General Baptist churches and regional associations. Policies are set and initiatives are approved by regional representatives to the Council of Associations. The Leadership Team of General Baptist Ministries then develops plans and programs to carry forward those policies and initiatives from the Council.
This unified effort allows human, spiritual, and financial resources to be pooled with the result that we are able to do together what otherwise would never be done alone.
General Baptist Ministries exists to extend the ministry of local General Baptist churches and to assist them in winning people to Christ at home and abroad while helping to develop believers to their highest potential in Christian service. We will maximize Kingdom impact by starting, equipping and inspiring local churches to accomplish the Great Commission.
Housed in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, our ministry center provides a base of operations for missions, church resourcing and communications. Because of our collective work missionary outreach to the world is coordinated in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Jamaica, The Marianas Islands, India, Niger, and The Philippines as well as through other partnerships with organizations in many other parts of the world.
State-side our national missions department coordinates church plants and ethnic ministries in a number of states..
Church resourcing comes from conferences and events, local and regional training, coaching networks and consultation services.
Print communication comes from the General Baptist Messenger as well as through various promotional pieces. Digital communication occurs through social media outlets, a weekly blog, various websites that are maintained and a weekly e-mail news release.
For more information contact us by phone 573-785-7746 (switchboard hours 8 a.m.-4 p.m. M-F, Central Time) or through our website www.GeneralBaptist.com or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.