Confessional Cooperation the S.C. Baptist Way [Part 1]

On the national scene, the role of the confession of faith in our Baptist cooperation has generated much discussion. Are Baptists primarily a confessional people or a cooperative people? Is the tie that binds us shared doctrine or shared mission? A case can be made from history that the answer is yes — both. Baptists came confessing, and Baptists came cooperating. We are a confessionally cooperative people. The two are beautifully interwoven on every page of Baptist history.

In 1609, John Smyth separated from the Church of England on the conviction of credobaptism, baptizing himself and several others, fleeing to the Netherlands under persecution, and organizing the baptized refugees into an autonomous church. Within months, Smyth authored a confession of faith hoping to cooperate with the local Waterland Mennonites. This attempt was as ill-fated as his own Baptist convictions were short-lived. However, Smyth’s pioneering convictional courage and confessional concern set the stage for Baptist confessional cooperation for centuries to come.

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