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Bulloch History by Roger Allen
Baptists connect to associations
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    This is the third in a series of articles about the origins of the Baptist faith in Georgia and Bulloch County.
The “American Baptist Association” was organized by Landmark Baptists in 1924. The “Interstate and Foreign Landmark Missionary Baptist Association” came into being in 1950 after some of the Landmark Baptists split away.      More Landmarks split off to organize the “Faith Way Baptist Association” in Atlanta in the 1960s. Currently, there are some 160 churches in the associations, with some 20,000 members.
    The “Association of Reformed Churches” is the Reformed Baptists largest Association, with over 179 churches in at least 14 states. There is also another smaller organization, the “Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelical Churches”.
The “Conservative Baptist Association of America” was organized as a protest against the ABC’s modification of the Baptist Articles of Faith. In 1976, it was formed with three separate sections: the “Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society” (now called “World Venture”); the “Conservative Baptist Home Mission Society”; and “CBAmerica”, and has some 120 member churches with nearly 225,000 members.
    The “Conservative Baptist Fellowship” came about as a result of another split of Baptists from the SBC in 1991 over what was perceived as an abandonment of the original “Baptist Distinctives ” These are: B – Biblical Authority; A – Autonomy of local churches; P – Priesthood of all believers; T – Two ordinances (Believers Baptism and Lord’s Supper); I – Individual “Soul Liberty”; S – Saved church membership; T – Two offices (Pastor and Deacons); and S – Separation of Church and State.  It is estimated that there are some 1900 churches which are affiliated with the Fellowship.
    The “General Association of Regular Baptist Churches” was organized by those churches that split away from the ABC because of a disagreement over church direction. Originally known as the “Baptist Bible Union” when it was formed in 1923, it is otherwise unaffiliated. It has some 1400 member churches and some 190,000 members.
The “General Association of Separatist Baptists” trace their history to the "separation" of people from the Congregational Church in the early 18th century because of their acceptance of Baptist doctrines, and was organized in 1912. They claimed to have 100 churches with 8,000 members in 1992.
    The  “General Conference of German Baptist Churches in North America”, founded in 1865, changed its name to the “North American Baptist Conference” after it dropped its emphasis on its ethnic origins. Originally part of the ABC, it is now completely independent. There are some 330 member churches, with nearly 47,000 members. There is one church in Meriwether County.
    The “Holiness Baptist Association” was formed in the 1800s. In 1934 discontented Holiness members formed the “Baptist Purity Association”. In 1977, there was another split, with the end result being the formation of the “Calvary Holiness Association”.
    The “National Association of Free Will Baptists”, formed in Washington, D.C. in 1935, represents Free Will Baptists in this country. There are also two smaller groups of Free Will-ers: the “International Fellowship of Free Will Baptists” (with 264 churches); and the “Original Free Will Baptist Association” (with 236 churches).
    The “Northern Baptist Convention” in 1907, changed its name to the “American Baptist Convention” in 1950, and then changed it again to the “American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A (ABC).” in 1972. It has 5500 member churches, with nearly 1.6 million members. There is one church in Fulton County.
    The “Seventh Day Baptist General Conference” is the mother organization of this group, and there are currently some 4500 churches worldwide, with nearly three quarter of a million members around the globe.
    The largest Baptist Association in the United States is the “Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)”, formed in 1845 after a split developed between Northern and Southern Baptist churches over the issue of slavery. The SBC now has churches in every state in the Union, and is a founding member of the “World Baptist Alliance”. It adopted its formal Baptist Faith and Message (B.F. & M.) in 1925. This doctrine was modified in both 1998 and 2000 to add some more conservative elements to the B.F. & M. It has some 42,000 churches in its membership, with nearly 16 million members.
    The “Swedish Baptist General Conference” was started by Swedish immigrants to the USA who arrived in 1945, and was renamed the “Baptist General Conference” after they dropped the reference to their country of origin. It was originally part of the ABC but has now become totally independent. There are some 870 member churches, with nearly 141,000 members.
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger
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