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Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2005-12 > 1134461664-01

From: "David Lamb" <>
Subject: Re: Baptists [was: Help! Where would you look next?]
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 08:14:24 -0000
References: <000501c5ff7b$46d2d650$10d0ff3e@animausdjz8jw8>

----- Comments on Two extracts from Original Message -----
From: "La Greenall" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 12:22 AM
Subject: RE: [Ess] Help! Where would you look next?


I picked up two comparatively minor points from Lawrence's reply to Colleen,
though I assure you that in no way are my comments intended critcally:
> Firstly, don't forget that Burnham wouldn't have had a registration
> district in the 1790s - they weren't formed until 1837.

True, but weren't the Registration Districts based on the earlier

> or maybe they had all been Baptists, and as
> such unbaptised until adulthood, then decided one day to go back to the
> C of E, which would of course require a mass-dipping.

Although it is commonly thought that Baptists baptise only adults, that is
not true. Baptist believe that baptism is something which follows a
person's profession of faith. For example, the London Baptist Confession of
Faith (1689) says concerning baptism:

"Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and
obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this

And the statement of faith of a modern local Baptist church, dated 1999,
has similar wording:

"Baptism . . . shall be administered only to those who profess repentance
towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and whose lives bear
witness to the truth of their Christian profession."

There is no minimum (or maximum:-) age for baptism laid down in the above,
though the "candidate" for baptism would clearly need to be old enough to be
able to "profess repentance towards God" etc.

Perhaps I should add that Baptists operate at a "local church" level - there
is nothing equivalent to the diocese, bishop or archbishop of the Church of
England. Each local Baptist church has its own statement of faith. I say
this only because there might be a local Baptist church somewhere which does
stipulate a minimum age for baptism, but if so, it would be unusual.

Although theological, these things do have a relevance for us as family
historians. For example, if we think that Baptist churches only baptise
adults, we would conclude that someone baptised in a Baptist church in
(say) 1801 must have been born in or before 1780.

Lastly, sorry to Colleen - I can't think of any further answers to your
question than those already given by Lawrence (except perhaps the
possibility that Lizzie was not baptised at all).

David Lamb (Paignton, Devon, UK)

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