|Primitive Baptist Churches|
|Region||United States, mainly in the southern states|
Primitive Baptists – also known as Hard Shell Baptists or Old School Baptists – are conservative Baptists adhering to a degree of Calvinist beliefs that coalesced out of the controversy among Baptists in the early 1800s over the appropriateness of mission boards, tract societies, and temperance societies. The adjective "Primitive" in the name conveys the sense of "original".
This controversy over whether churches or members should participate in mission boards, Bible tract societies, and temperance societies led the Primitive Baptists to separate from other general Baptist groups that supported such organizations, and to make declarations of opposition to such organizations in articles like the Kehukee Association Declaration of 1827.
African-American Primitive Baptist groups have been considered a unique category of Primitive Baptist. Approximately 50,000 African Americans are affiliated with African-American Primitive Baptist churches as of 2005. Approximately 64,000 people were affiliated (as of 1995) with Primitive Baptist churches in the various other emergences of Primitive Baptists.
Since arising in the 19th century, the influence of Primitive Baptists has waned as "Missionary Baptists became the mainstream".
Despite having emerged as a recognizable group in the early 19th century, Primitive Baptists trace their origins to the New Testament era, rather than to John Calvin. In fact, they oppose elements of Calvin's theology, such as infant baptism, and avoid the term "Calvinist". However, they are Calvinist in the sense of holding strongly to the Five Points of Calvinism and they explicitly reject Arminianism. They are also characterized by "intense conservatism". One branch, the Primitive Baptist Universalist church of central Appalachia, developed their own unique Trinitarian Universalist theology as an extension of the irresistible grace doctrine of Calvinist theology. They were encouraged in this direction by 19th century itinerant Christian universalist preachers of similar theological bent to Hosea Ballou and John Murray.
A cappella singing
Primitive Baptists generally do not play musical instruments as part of their worship services. They believe that all church music should be a cappella because there is no New Testament command to play instruments, but only to sing. Further, they connect musical instruments in the Old Testament with "many forms and customs, many types and shadows, many priests with priestly robes, many sacrifices, festivals, tithings" which they see as having been abolished; "had they been needed in the church Christ would have brought them over". African-American Primitive Baptists may not share the general Primitive Baptist opposition to musical instruments, however.
Family integrated worship
Primitive Baptists reject the idea of Sunday School, viewing it as unscriptural and interfering with the right of parents to give religious instruction to their children. Instead, children are expected to attend at least part of the church service.
Informal training of preachers
Primitive Baptists consider theological seminaries to have "no warrant or sanction from the New Testament, nor in the example of Christ and the apostles".
Primitive Baptists perform foot washing as a symbol of humility and service among the membership. The sexes are separated during the ritual where one person washes the feet of another. The practice is credited with increasing equality, as opposed to hierarchy, within Primitive Baptist churches.
- List of Primitive Baptist churches
- Primitive Baptist Universalism
- Progressive Primitive Baptists
- Reformed Baptists
- Strict Baptists
- Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists
- Jonas 2006, p. 158.
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- Crowley 1998, p. 10.
- McGregory, Jerrilyn (2010). Downhome Gospel: African American Spiritual Activism in Wiregrass Country. University Press of Mississippi. p. 55. ISBN 1-60473-782-4.
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- Crowley 1998, p. 167.
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- Crowley, John G. (2006). "The Primitive or Old School Baptists". In Jonas, William Glenn. The Baptist River: Essays on Many Tributaries of a Diverse Tradition. Mercer University Press. ISBN 0-88146-030-3.
- Guthman, Joshua. Strangers Below: Primitive Baptists and American Culture (U of North Carolina Press, 2015).
- Mathis, James R. The Making of the Primitive Baptists: A Cultural and Intellectual History of the Antimission Movement, 1800–1840 (Psychology Press, 2004).
- Wyatt-Brown, Bertram. "The Antimission Movement in the Jacksonian South: A Study in Regional Folk Culture". Journal of Southern History Vol. 36, No. 4 (Nov., 1970), pp. 501–529. JSTOR 2206302.
|Wikisource has the text of a 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article about Primitive Baptists.|
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