Christian History Timeline: Baptists, 1600–2000

— 1609 Former Anglican John Smyth rebaptizes himself and 40 others by pouring in Amsterdam.

— 1612 Thomas Helwys forms the first Baptist church in London.

— 1638 Roger Williams forms the first Baptist congregation in America in Providence, Rhode Island.

— 1646 New England Puritans enact laws requiring attendance at Congregational churches.

— 1654 Henry Dunster, first president of Harvard, is forced to resign because of his Baptist views.

— 1661–1664 British parliament passes acts that exclude and penalize Baptists and other Nonconformists.

— 1665 Thomas Goold organizes the first Baptist church in Boston.

— 1682 First Baptist Church is formed in Kittery, Maine, then moves to South Carolina, becoming the first Baptist church in the South.

— 1707 Congregations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey unite to form the Philadelphia Baptist Association (PBA). 

— 1727 Free Will Baptists are founded in North Carolina.

— 1740s First Great Awakening prompts Baptist growth.

— 1750 Silver Bluff Baptist Church is founded in South Carolina, the US’s oldest African American church. 

— 1755 PBA organizes a home missions program, alarming Baptists who fear too much organization. 

— 1764 Baptists found the school later called Brown University, only the seventh institution of higher education founded in the colonies.

— 1773 Isaac Backus publishes An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty

— 1780 Another line of Free Will Baptists is organized in New Hampshire. 

— 1802 Thomas Jefferson writes to the Danbury Baptists.

— 1812 Adoniram and Ann Judson and Luther Rice leave for India as Congregationalists but become convinced of Baptist doctrine.

— 1814 Triennial Convention is formed in Philadelphia.

— 1815 Two black Baptist ministers, Lott Carey and Collin Teague, and a white deacon, William Crane, form the first black mission society. It sends Carey and Teague to Liberia.

— 1822 Baptist preacher William Miller announces the coming end of the world, beginning the Millerite movement.

— 1827 Kehukee Association Declaration signals the rise of Primitive or Hard Shell Baptists.

— 1832 Triennial Convention establishes Home Mission Society.

— 1833 Triennial Baptists approve New Hampshire Confession of Faith.

— 1840 American Baptist Missionary Convention, the first black Baptist convention, is formed.

— 1844 In the “Millerites’ Great Disappointment,” the world does not end on October 22.

— 1845 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is formed.

— 1846 Free Will Baptists license Ruby Knapp Bixby as the first licensed female Baptist preacher in the US.

— 1851 Landmarker Movement arises, arguing that Baptists trace back to the New Testament.

— 1854 Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon becomes pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London.

— 1866 AMBC and other black-led conventions form the Consolidated American Baptist Convention to help black Baptists set up state conventions free of white interference. 

— 1873 Lottie Moon goes to China. 

— 1891 Southern Baptists form a Sunday school board, today the Christian bookstore chain LifeWay.

— 1895 National Baptist Convention U.S.A. (NBCU) forms out of three smaller African American groups.

— 1900 Nannie Helen Burroughs delivers speech “How the Sisters Are Hindered from Helping.” 

— 1905 Baptist World Alliance forms in London.

— 1907 Northern Baptist Convention (NBC) is formed; pastor Walter Rauschenbusch publishes Christianity and the Social Crisis.

— 1909 Burroughs founds the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, DC.

— 1910 The Fundamentals begins publication.

— 1916 The NBCU splits over issues related to the Publishing Board.

— 1923 William Bell Riley, “The Grand Old Man of Fundamentalism,” sets up the Anti-Evolution League of Minnesota and the Baptist Bible Union.

— 1926 Pastor J. Frank Norris is acquitted of murdering Dexter Chipps on grounds of self-defense.




Buy Christian History #126 Baptists in America.

Subscribe to Christian History.


— 1933 Norris founds the Premillennial Missionary Baptist Fellowship to protest SBC modernism.

— 1935 Two different streams of Free Will Baptists form the National Association of Free Will Baptists.

— 1939 SBC, NBC, and NBCU jointly sign the American Baptist Bill of Rights as a statement of religious liberty.

— 1947 Billy Graham holds his first crusade; he will hold over 400 in 185 countries and retire in 2005.

— 1950 NBC renames itself American Baptist Convention (ABC).

— 1961 Pat Robertson founds Christian Broadcasting Network; Progressive National Baptist Convention leaves the NBCU; Ralph Elliott publishes The Message of Genesis.

— 1963 A bomb at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, kills four young girls; responses to Elliott prompt the Baptist Faith and Message statement by the SBC.

— 1964 Watts Street Baptist Church in North Carolina ordains Addie Davis, the first woman pastor ordained by the SBC.

— 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated.

— 1971 Jerry Falwell founds Liberty University.

— 1972 ABC changes its name to American Baptist Churches USA.

— 1976 Jimmy Carter is elected president after referring to himself as “born-again” while campaigning.

— 1979 At the SBC’s annual convention, conservatives are elected to key positions.

— 1984 SBC delegates pass a resolution against women pastors.

— 1987 Alliance of Baptists is formed by SBC liberals.

— 1991 Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is formed by SBC moderates.

— 1995 SBC issues 150th-anniversary resolution on racial reconciliation. 

By Association of Religion Data Archives, the Baptist History and Heritage Society, and other sources

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #126 in 2018]

Next articles

Attempting great things for God

Baptists spread the Good News around the world

Melody Maxwell

A trumpet call for China: Lottie Moon

Lottie Moon remains the most famous Southern Baptist missionary of all time.

Melody Maxwell

All for Burma: Adoniram and the three Mrs. Judsons

The legacy of Adoniram and the three Mrs. Judsons encouraged thousands of Americans to faithful Christian commitment.

Melody Maxwell

Multiplying by dividing (again)

Baptists wrestle with fundamentalism and liberalism

Bill J. Leonard
Show more

Subscribe to magazine

Subscription to Christian History magazine is on a donation basis

Subscribe

Support us

Christian History Institute (CHI) is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1982. Your donations support the continuation of this ministry

Donate

Subscribe to daily emails

Containing today’s events, devotional, quote and stories