In 1639, Roger Williams established the first Baptist congregation in the North American colonies. In the mid-18th century, the Great Awakening increased Baptist growth in both New England and the South. Baptist missionaries have spread their church to every continent. Most Baptist churches or individuals identify with evangelicalism or fundamentalism while a minority embrace modernist views of Scripture.
Since there is no hierarchical authority and each Baptist church is autonomous, there is no official set of Baptist theological beliefs. However, there are a few basic doctrines shared by many Baptist churches.
- The Bible is the final authority. It was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man.
- There are two ordinances: the believer's baptism and the Lord's supper.
- A New Testament church of the Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of believers. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes.
- Church and state should be separate.
- The scriptural officers of the church are pastors and deacons.