Baptists have been known by various names through the centuries, but the doctrines to which they ascribe have always identified them. Baptists strive to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) and have maintained a belief in baptism by immersion only (Colossians 2:12) and salvation by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
Initially, only one group of Baptists existed in the U.S., with all holding similar beliefs concerning the basic doctrines of the Bible, especially as they relate to the salvation of sinners. Listen to these words by Elder Jesse Mercer (1769-1841), the first president of the board of trustees of Mercer University, which bears his name:
We are fully convinced that salvation is all of grace, or all of works; for they cannot be mixed in this business… Therefore, we believe it to be the duty of every gospel minister to insist upon this soul comforting, God honoring doctrine of predestination, as the very foundation of our faith. We cannot see how the plan of salvation can be supported without it.
About 1832, the first division of Baptists occurred, with one group becoming known as “Primitive Baptists” and the other as “Missionary Baptists.” Since that time, the Primitive Baptists have endeavored to preserve the original beliefs of Baptists while other Baptist groups have branched off, forming many Baptist factions.
Primitive Baptists have not flourished to the extent other denomination in the U.S have over the last century, but they remain true to the Faith and believe that when Christ comes again, he shall find the true Faith maintained in little houses of worship around the world. John G. Crowley, professor of history at Valdosta State University, concludes his book, Primitive Baptists of the Wiregrass South, with what may well be a prophetic statement.
The Primitive Faith, like some desert-adapted plant, may be only dormant, rather than dying. Indeed, a revival may well occur among Primitive Baptists. A period of great stress and uncertainty could drive people away from the “cheap grace” offered by popular denominations and back to the inscrutable yet comforting God of their ancestors. Critics of the Primitive Faith have been preaching its funeral since the 1830s, and today even its friends feel concern. But, like the bush Moses saw, though always burning, it was never quite consumed.
This website features resources and postings designed to promote an interest in Bay Branch Primitive Baptist Church, Claxton, GA. But primarily we desire to magnify the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “the head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22), which in the main is the ultimate factor that identifies His church, “Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22).