The first national Baptist organization

The first national organization of Baptists was the Triennial Convention which was formed at Philadelphia in 1814. This entity came together when 33 delegates from 11 states and the District of Columbia formed “The General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States of America for Foreign Missions.” It consisted of no more than two delegates from each Baptist missionary society who contributed at least $100 a year to the work of the convention. It was called by the shorter name “Triennial Convention” simply because it met every three years. Luther Rice was the primary promoter, Richard Furman (1755-1825) of South Carolina was the first president and Thomas Baldwin (1753-1826) of Massachusetts was the first secretary.

The First Baptist missionaries from America

There were three missionaries who must be considered the first Baptist foreign missionaries from the United States. Adoniram Judson (1788-1850), Ann Hasseltine Judson (1789-1826) and Luther Rice (1783-1836) set sail for India in 1812 as Congregationalists. All three were personally called, sincerely sent and remarkably obedient. The Judsons went out as Congregationalists to India and ended up as Baptists in Burma. Luther Rice went out as a Congregationalist to India and soon became a Baptist missions promoter and fundraiser in the United States.

William Carey: The first Baptist missionary

William Carey (1761-1834) is the “Father of Modern Missions.” Born in England, Carey gave 41 years of his 73 year life to mission service in India. Baptist children and teenagers can thrill today at the highly trained, devoted and disciplined life of a man that became world renowned in scholarship, organization and service.

The first Baptist university in America

The first Baptist college in America was Rhode Island College founded in 1764, now known as Brown University. The school was begun at Warren, Rhode Island, but moved to Providence in 1770. It became Brown University in 1804 and was named for Nicholas Brown, an alumnus.

America’s first Baptist association: Philadelphia 1707

The Philadelphia Baptist Association was the first Baptist association formed in America. The association was organized on July 27, 1707, and was composed of five small Baptist churches. In 2007, there were 28 million Baptists in the United States numbering 95,000 congregations. In 2007, there were 3,141 counties in the United States and 3,036 of those counties had at least one Baptist church. Baptist churches need each other. Regardless of size, organization or goals, most Baptist churches soon realized that they could do what they are called to do better in cooperation with others.

Oldest Baptist church in the South was First Baptist Charleston, 1682

The oldest Baptist Church in the South was organized in Maine. It is not unusual for Baptists to define a local church as a body of baptized believers, and that describes this congregation very well. The church was organized September 25, 1682, and eventually became the First Baptist Church of Charleston, S.C. William Screven was the primary person who led this church start at Kittery and due to persecution, personal appeal and probably shipping interests, Screven and his congregation moved to Charleston.

The First Baptist Church in America

The oldest Baptist congregation in the United States is The First Baptist Church in America at Providence, Rhode Island. First Baptist claims 1638 as its organizational date when believers met in the home of Roger Williams for prayer, worship, and fellowship.

The First Baptists: John Smyth and Thomas Helwys

Editor’s note: This article series will briefly introduce important developments in Baptist history, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Baptists throughout 2009. The series, authored by Jerry Windsor of the Florida Baptist Historical Society, will run in every issue of the Witness in 2009.

The First Baptist in America: Roger Williams

The earliest Baptists in America stemmed from a group of like-minded individuals who surrounded Roger Williams. It was on Feb. 5, 1631, that Roger Williams (1603-1683) and his wife sailed from Bristol on the ship Lyon and landed at Nantasket, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.