Baptist history has been characterized by a lot of intrigues .Quite a number of churches go by the name the “First Southern Baptist Church”, which makes one to wonder how all these churches can be first. This article will take a critical look at the origin of this denomination and the development of the First Southern Baptist Church.
It is not easy to determine the origin of this denomination. Various proponents have different views about the origin of this fellowship. On one hand, some historians and theologians are of the view that Baptists have existed since the time of Christ and that it was a separate denomination from the Catholic Church and the Protestants group. The second group claims that the fellowship emerged from other Protestant denominations. It is a fact that Baptist churches existed in Europe specifically in England and the church doctrines was spread to the New World. In America, the first Baptist churches were established in the early years of the seventeenth century.
The first church in South Carolina was established towards the end of the century. The South Carolina church gave rise to other churches including the renowned Atlanta’s First Baptist Church among others. The membership of the church increased progressively in the U.S and currently the number is estimated to be at 16 million people.
The Baptist church grew in membership and many more churches were established in America. During the civil war era there was a sharp division amongst the congregations. The issue of slavery was a major cause of the division in the church. The Southern states churches supported slave holding where as the Northern states churches were against this. This led to the formation of the Convention of the Southern Baptist. The Southern Baptist Convention later became the Augusta’s first Baptist Church.
Currently the denomination exist in most parts of the United States therefore the name Southern was proposed to be removed because of this particular reason but the proposal did not pass.
In conclusion, the word “first” refers to the first church of the denomination to be established in a particular area. Therefore, any town could have a First Southern kind of Baptist Church. However, one can occasionally find a “second” church within the same area.