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The American Baptist Association was one of several groups of churches to separate from the Southern Baptist Convention after the SBC passed resolutions disavowing Landmarkism, which held that Baptist beliefs have existed in unbroken continuity since the apostolic period.

The American Baptist Association is a fellowship of Missionary Baptist churches that not only held to Landmark theology, but stood against the convention system in general, and the Southern Baptist Convention in particular. While the majority within the SBC were moving toward placing more control in the hands of the convention, Landmark Baptists argued that the power should be in the hands of the local congregation. They believed that missionary work was the responsibility of the local church rather than a convention board. In all matters regarding the church, they believed that the highest ecclesiastical authority should be the local congregation, and that placing the convention over the local church was unbiblical.

When the SBC approved resolutions disapproving of Landmark theology in 1859, this began a gradual withdrawal, as churches and associations were formed in the Landmark Baptist tradition. When attempts to persuade the SBC to adopt Landmark views failed, the American Baptist Association separated in 1924. Its founder was Benjamin M. Bogard, who was pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The American Baptist Association holds that the Bible is inspired by God, inerrant, and infallible. Members also believe that the Scriptures are the sole rule for faith and practice.

God is a personal triune being, and each of the three persons of the Godhead are equal. God the Father is the Creator. Jesus Christ is an absoluate Deity. He was born of a virgin, led a sinless life, died on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. The Holy Spirit convicts sinners, indwells within believers, regenerates them, and seals them for salvation.

Adam and Eve, humanity's parents, fell into sin through voluntary transgression. As a result, all humans are born in sin. Salvation is available by grace, and through faith in Christ. Those who trust in Jesus are secure in their salvation.

Jesus established the church during his ministry on earth. In keeping with their Landmark beliefs, the American Baptist Association holds that the church is always a local, visible assembly of baptized believers who are in a covenant relationship with God, and responsible for carrying out the Great Commission. Local churches and the kingdom of God are synonymous. They believe that only Baptist churches are true churches, and that a direct succession of Missionary Baptist churches stretches from the time of Jesus and the apostles to the current time, although these churches were known by different names.

Pastors may be ordained only in legitimate Baptist churches, and only valid pastors can baptize believers or administer the Lord's Supper. Each church is fully autonomous, responsible only to Christ. The only two divinely appointed officers of the church are pastors and deacons, both of which must be men who meet the qualifications set forth in Titus and 1 Timothy.

Baptism is by immersion, and is for penitent believers only. Baptisms performed by any other than a scriptural Baptist church is illegitimate. Participation in the Lord's Supper is restricted to church members.

One day, Christ will return personally, and visibly. Upon the return of Christ, the righteous will be resurrected. Following the millennium, the unrighteous will be resurrected and sentenced to eternal punishment in a lake of fire, known as hell.

Any associations, fellowships, and committees are under the control of the local churches, and exist to serve the local churches.

The American Baptist Association further holds to the right of freedom of worship without interference from the government, and that believers should obey and laws and regulations of the government that do not run contrary to the Scriptures.

The government of local congregations and the annual meeting of the association are congregational in nature. Missionary work is conducted through the local church on county, state, interstate, and international levels, and missionaries are supported by local sponsoring churches.

The American Baptist Association is strongest in the South, Southeast, Southwest, and West, although the association is making an effort to spread to the Northeast United States.

Topics related to the American Baptist Association are the focus of websites listed in this category. However, those representing local congregations or ministries should be placed in the appropriate Local & Global category.



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