Baptist Churches

As with most denominational names, the term Baptist began as a pejorative nickname. It first appeared as Anabaptist, or "rebaptizer," because in the sixteenth century, when this group arose in Western Christendom, virtually all persons had already been baptized as infants. Thus, these rebaptizers were scandalously denying the validity of that first baptism, setting themselves up as a truer church, if not indeed as the true church. Gradually, as infant baptism became less prevalent and as alternative modes of worship grew more widespread, this still young denomination adopted the shortened form of Baptist, both as a convenient distinction and as a point of honor. (New England churches in the seventeenth century and early eighteenth century gradually progressed from simply "the Church of Christ" to "the Church of Christ in Gospel Order" to "the Church of Christ Baptized upon Profession of Their Faith" to "the Baptized Church of Christ" to, finally, the Baptist Church.) 

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