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Sovereign Grace Baptists

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 Current Status
3 External Links
4 Sources


Sovereign Grace Baptists in the broadest sense are any "Calvinistic" Baptists that accept God's sovereign grace in salvation and predestination, including Primitive Baptists, Reformed Baptists, Continental Baptist Churches (org. 1983) and Strict Baptists. Certain churches and groups have preferred "Sovereign Grace" in their name, especially those who dislike the terms "Calvinism" and "Calvinist". Yet all of these generally agree with the Five Points of Calvinism - Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. Evangelist Rolfe P. Barnard (1904-1969), Pastor Henry Mahan, and the Sovereign Grace Bible Conference in Ashland, Kentucky were pioneers in the resurgence of Calvinism among Baptists in United States, though all groups designated as Sovereign Grace are not necessarily connected to them.

Current Status

Groups presently using the term Sovereign Grace include the Sovereign Grace Baptist Association, the Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Canada, and numerous independent Baptists, as the Sovereign Grace Landmark Independent Baptists and others.

Sovereign Grace Baptist Association of Churches (SGBA) - organized circa 1984, the SGBA sponsors an annual national conference and churches cooperate in missions, publications, retreats, camps and other activities. The Missionary Committee serves under the Executive Committee to screen candidates and recommend them to the churches for support. They currently (2003) are supporting two missionary endeavours. The Publication Committee reviews and approves submissions, and supplies literature to the churches. Grace News is published quarterly. A Confession of Faith was adopted in 1991. Membership in the SGBA is open to any Baptist church subscribing to the Constitution and Articles of Faith. There are 15 member churches, with the largest concentration in Michigan.

Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Canada (SGF) - a fellowship for Baptist churches in Canada holding to either the Baptist Confession of 1644 or 1689. Leigh Powell, Bill Payne, and Roger Fellows started this loose association of churches in the 1970's as a Reformed Baptist witness in Ontario, Canada. SGF claims to be Baptistic, Evangelistic, and Sovereign Grace. Churches hold the authority of Scripture in all matters of faith and practice, the autonomy of the local church, a regenerate church membership, believer's baptism by immersion, liberty of conscience, and separation of church & state. Churches believe that God has chosen certain individuals for salvation, but also believe that God uses means to save His elect. The purpose of the SGF is to promote cooperation between member churches, especially in the areas of world missions, church planting, evangelization, & education, and to assist churches in maintaining sound doctrine. Any church requesting membership that agrees with the doctrinal stance and constitution of the SGF may be received by a 2/3 majority vote of the delegates of the Sovereign Grace Fellowship. The governance of the Fellowship is committed to a Board of Directors, General Coordinator, and Treasurer, chosen by the delegates in general assembly. The General Assembly is held annually, and each member church is allowed 3 delegates, who must be either elders or deacons of the church they represent. Sovereign Grace Fellowship had 10 member churches in 2003, located in New Brunswick and Ontario.

Sovereign Grace Landmark Independent Baptists - no established organization; exist only as fellowship and cooperation between like-minded autonomous churches. This group consists of many churches and pastors that held a modified (two-point) Calvinism and rediscovered and regained the "Calvinistic" heritage of their Particular Baptist forebears, as well as churches established through their labors. In 2000, a survey discovered at least 417 of these churches in the United States and Canada.

External Links