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The History of American Foreign Missions and the SBC Essay

The only way that religion could be spread to different areas was through foreign missions. This occurred between the 19th and 20th century and these efforts were geared towards spreading Christianity to different people. Most organizations, groups and denominations sent missionaries to different areas in order to achieve these goals. The missionaries built schools, hospitals and churches. They also engaged in other activities like translation of the bible and offering relief services. They especially fought for the rights of the oppressed (Hutchison, 1987).

The first missionaries were sent to India in 1812 by the American Board and this trend was followed by other denominations. Women also established their own groups and evangelized to other women. The women who were sent out were unmarried and they were involved in different areas such as health provision and teaching in schools. Towards the nineteenth century, the number of women evangelists was higher than that of the males. Other churches also began taking part in missions in many parts of the world (Hutchison, 1987).

John Smyth founded the first Baptist church in England in 1611. They believed that salvation is for everyone. In 1693, Roger Williams established another Baptist church which was the first one in Providence (Rhode Island). Later on, in 1648, John Clark founded this denomination in Newport, Rhode Island. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was founded in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia. It is one of the several denominations in the U. S. It was founded due to the fact that there had been a lot of conflict dealing with the issue of slaves.

It is made up of a large number of churches and is considered as a major group in the U. S. There are several theories that have been put forward to try and explain the origins of this denomination. These theories are; The Jerusalem-Jordan-John Theory, The Anabaptist Spiritual Kingship Theory and the English Separatist Descent Theory (Livermore, 2009). The Jerusalem-Jordan-John Theory argues that these denominations have always been there when people like John the Baptist were doing their work.

The Anabaptist Spiritual Kingship Theory believes that a connection exists between the current Baptists and the Anabaptist sects. This connection is a spiritual one and demanded that every person who had been baptized when he or she was young was to be re-baptized when they became adults. However, this theory has been dismissed since there is a major difference between the doctrines of these two. Lastly, the English Separatist Descent Theory asserts that Baptist originated from the English Separatists. There is a connection between these two since their doctrines have a certain similarity.

Therefore, this theory has been considered as being true due to this fact (Livermore, 2009). However, slave owners were never allowed to be missionaries although most of them felt that this was their right. This restriction was put in place by the American Home Baptist Board. As a result of this, the Southern slave owners broke ranks with the rest and formed their own board that allowed them to be missionaries. The SBC also rejected racism in 1945 although this was not the main reason why they were established.

The basis of their formation was issues dealing with slavery. Most of the current churches have a high number of African-Americans. The SBC has spread and covered many states in the U. S. (Livermore, 2009). In conclusion, the establishment of foreign missions was of great help since it was the only way to spread religion to other areas of the world. The missionaries also assisted in different areas in that they built schools and hospitals in these places. This improved the lives of the people and enabled them to learn how to read and write.


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