A Thumbnail Sketch of Seventh Day Baptists

A Thumbnail Sketch of Seventh Day Baptists

Oct 22, 2013

A Thumbnail Sketch of Seventh Day Baptists 1650 – Present by Don A. Sanford Seventh Day Baptist Historian From 1987-2005   Seventh Day Baptists are a covenant people based on the concept of regenerate membership, believer’s baptism, congregational polity, and scriptural basis for belief and practice. Seventh Day Baptists have presented the Sabbath as a sign of obedience in a covenant relationship with God and not as a condition of salvation. They have not condemned those who do not accept the Sabbath but are curious at the apparent inconsistency of those who claim to accept the Bible as their source of faith and practice, yet have followed traditions of the Church instead. Seventh Day Baptists date their origin with the mid-17th century separatist movement in England. With the renewed emphasis on the Scriptures for Free Church doctrine and practice, men such as James Ockford, William Saller, Peter Chamberlen, Francis Bampfield, Edward and Joseph Stennett concluded that the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath was an inescapable requirement of biblical Christianity. Some maintained membership within the Baptist fellowship and simply added the private Sabbath observance to their other shared convictions. As the power of the state was used to enforce conformity to a common day of worship, separation became necessary. The first separate church of record was the Mill Yard church founded about 1650 in London.     The study of the Scriptures in America brought Samuel and Tacy Hubbard to the Baptist principle of believer’s baptism in 1647, and membership in the First Baptist Church of Newport, Rhode Island. Beginning in 1665, their family and several others became convinced of the seventh day Sabbath and joined in fellowship with Stephen Mumford and his wife who had held Sabbath convictions while members of a Baptist church in Tewksbury, England. When two couples gave up their Sabbath convictions, the others found it difficult to share communion with them within First Baptist. Thus five members joined with the Mumfords in a covenant relationship, establishing the first Seventh Day Baptist Church in America in December, 1671. Even after this seperation, close fellowship with other Baptists remained. A similar separation occurred in 1705 in Piscataway, New Jersey, when a deacon...

More questions? Some of our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

More questions? Some of our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Oct 22, 2013

More questions? Some of our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) As found at sdbhistory.org     Q: Seventh Day Baptist? Don’t you mean Seventh-day Adventist? A: Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists are two distinct groups with very different historical and theological backgrounds. Historically, SDBs precede SDAs by more than 200 years and arose out of the events following the Protestant Reformation in England. Theologically, SDBs have different opinions than SDAs about many issues, including church polity and organization.   Q: When did the Seventh Day Baptist movement start? A: It is difficult to place an exact date on the beginnings of the SDB movement, because it was dangerous in England to be known as a Seventh Day Baptist in the 17th century. At the same time, we can confirm that by 1653 or 1654, groups of Sabbatarian (Sabbath-observing) Baptists were meeting in London. The first of these congregations, known as Mill Yard, is still in existence today. Likewise, a book by John Ockford that advocated Seventh Day Baptist principles was published in 1650 and subsequently confiscated and banned by the English crown. Prior to these dates, we cannot confirm on the basis of the data that SDBs existed, although it is possible.   Q: When and where did SDBs make inroads in North America? A: The first SDB congregation in North America was founded in 1671 in Newport, Rhode Island. Members who left John Clarke’s First Baptist Church joined in covenant with two SDBs who had emigrated from England to comprise that first body. Subsequently, other SDB groups began in Piscataway, New Jersey and the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area by about 1700.   Q: Do Seventh Day Baptists believe you must keep the Sabbath to be a Christian? A: No. Seventh Day Baptists have not advocated that observance of the Sabbath is compulsory for all those who have received salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.   Q: How do Seventh Day Baptists differ from other Baptists? A: Seventh Day Baptists share much with other Baptists, including the doctrinal distinctives of believer’s baptism by immersion, regenerate church membership, the priesthood of all believers, and the authority of Scripture to guide our faith and practice. In addition,...

The Story of Seventh Day Baptists

The Story of Seventh Day Baptists by Nicholas J. Kersten Librarian-Historian SDB Historical Society   All Christians with traditions rooted in the Protestant Reformation share the conviction that the Bible is the Word of God and the only guide to faith and practice. When the Reformation reached England, one group of believers, the Baptists, came to believe (around 1611) that only those who have professed faith should be baptized and that baptism should be done by immersion. These conclusions are related to one of the other touchstones of Baptist life and thought: personal responsibility before God for our life and beliefs. As those bodies of early Baptist believers gathered together they studied the Scriptures in community, came to their conclusions, and joined together in local covenant groups. As one might expect, having such challenging beliefs at the center of Baptist life has created, through the years, a robust and diverse tradition—all centered on individual convictions and the teachings of the Scriptures. One portion of this diverse tradition has been lived out by adherents to the seventh day Sabbath (Saturday) for more than 350 years. Known today as Seventh Day Baptists, they continue to live out the dictates of their faith in dedicated covenant communities around the world. For nearly as long as there has been Baptists, there have been Sabbath-keeping Baptists. Even before 1611, books circulating in England advocated for the keeping of a Sabbath. Nicolas Bownde, a Puritan, wrote in 1595 advocating for observance of a first day (Sunday) Sabbath. Bownde’s book sparked lively discussion about the Sabbath, drawing Puritans, Anglicans and Dissenters to the broader discussion. Advocates for seventh day Sabbath observance are known as early as 1617, though there is no known connection between these early Sabbath keepers and the first Seventh Day Baptists. In 1650, Sabbatarian Baptist John Ockford wrote in favor of the seventh day Sabbath, representing the first known book advocating both Sabbath and Baptist principles. By 1657, there were several churches organized and meeting on the Sabbath in the greater London area. In 1671, the first SDB church in North America was organized in Newport, Rhode Island. Other churches in the American colonies soon followed in Philadelphia,...

The Seventh Day Baptist Statement of Belief

The Seventh Day Baptist Statement of Belief   Introduction Seventh Day Baptists consider liberty of thought under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be essential to Christian belief and practice. Therefore we encourage the unhindered study and open discussion of Scripture. We uphold the individual’s freedom of conscience in seeking to determine and obey the will of God. The following statement is not intended to be exhaustive, but is an expression of our common belief, which is derived from our understanding of Scripture.   2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 2 Timothy 2:15; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:3-6, 15; Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.   I. God We believe in one God, infinite and perfect, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe who exists eternally in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and desires to share His love in a personal relationship with everyone.   1 Timothy 1:17; Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Kings 8:27; 1 John 1:5; Genesis 1:1-2; Acts 17:24-25, 28; Psalm 90:1-2; Matthew 28:19; John 3:16; Isaiah 57:15; 2 Peter 3:9.   —The Father We believe in God the Father, who is sovereign over all, and is loving and just as He forgives the repentant and condemns the unrepentant.   1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8; John 5:24; John 3:16-18.   —The Son We believe in God the Son, who became incarnate in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He gave Himself on the cross as the complete and final sacrifice for sin. As our Risen Lord, He is the mediator between God the Father and mankind.   John 1:34; Hebrews 1:3; John 1:14-18; Romans 1:3-4; 1 John 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 10:10-14; 1 Corinthians 15:20-21; 1 Timothy 2:5; John 14:6; 1 John 2:1-2.   —The Holy Spirit We believe in God the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who gives spiritual birth to believers lives within them, and empowers them for witnessing and service. We believe the Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures, convicts of sin and instructs in righteousness.   John 14:16; 3:5-8; 14:17; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 12:4-7; 2 Peter 1:20-21; John 16:7-11.   II. The Bible We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and is our final authority...