Baptist Church

Baptists are one of the world’s largest Christian groups, with nearly 48 million adherents worldwide in 2016, according to the Baptist World Alliance. However, Baptists are so diverse that they can be difficult to categorize and count. This entry identifies Baptist distinctives, examines the role of theological diversity and local authority in the formation and fragmentation of the Baptist tradition, provides a brief history of Baptists, and offers an overview of the global Baptist population.

Unity, Diversity, and Local Authority

Because not all Baptist groups report membership numbers to the Baptist World Alliance, the global estimate of 48 million believers worldwide underrepresents Baptists. In particular, the largest Baptist group in the United States—the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)—does not participate in the Baptist World Alliance census. The challenge ...

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