Concerning Seventh Day Baptists......

In Great Britain

The Seventh Day Baptist Church of Mill Yard, London, is confidently believed to have it's origin in 1617 and said to have been founded by John Trask and his wife - two school teachers, who were both imprisoned for their views on the Sabbath. This Church contains in it's membership role among the multitude of names those of the following : Dr Peter Chamberlen, royal physician to three Soveriegns of England; John James the martyr; Nathaniel Bailey, William Tempest, William Henry Black and many others.

The Seventh Day Baptist Church of Pinners Hall Broad Street, London was organised March 1676 by the Reverend Francis Bampfield at his home. His brother, the honourable Thomas Bampfield, Speaker of the House of Commons, under Richard Cromwell was also a Seventh Day Baptist

Samuel Stennett is considered the most famous preacher who ever represented the Seventh Day Baptists in England, he was a man of pre-eminent influence, not only among his own people, but among those of other faiths as well. Dr Stennett was personally known to His Majesty King George iii, and was held in high esteem, and for this reason was the mediator through whom the Baptists of New England appealed sucessfully to the king in 1771 for relief from oppressive measures of the colonial government

In America

Roger Williams, the first Baptist in America after his banishment form the Massachusetts Colony in 1636, settled at once in company with a few kindred spirits at Providence, Rhode Island. After two years the first Baptist church in America was founded at Providence. in 1664 there was organised at Newport, Rhode Island a second Church under the leadership of Dr John Clarke.

In 1664 Stephen Mumford, a Seventh Day Baptist  from London, England settled in Newport. His observance of the Sabbath naturally attracted attention and several members of the Newport Church adopted his views and practice. They did not alter their Church relations however until December 1671, when after some correspondence with the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Bell Lane ,London and with Dr Edward Stennett, the Pastor of the Church of the same faith, at Pinners Hall, London. There followed the organisation at Newport of the first Seventh Day Baptist Church in America.

Some thirteen years after the organisation of the Newport Church, Abel Noble presented claims of the Sabbath to his Baptist neighbours, with the result that some half a dozen Seventh Day Baptist Churches were organised in and near Philadelphia by the year 1700. In 1705 Edmund Dunham and other Baptist members through the examination of the Holy Scriptures, established the Piscataway Seventh Day Baptist Church.

Extension to all Continents

Emigration from these three small independent fellowships has resulted in giving over 100 Seventh Day Baptist Churches in almost every part of America in the 20th century including a number of Colleges. Besides Churches in England and the United States, there are Churches throughout Europe, China, India, South America, Central Afica, West Indies, Australia and New Zealand.

New Zealand and Australia

The work in New Zealand commenced in Auckland and Christchurch in the 1930's, with affiliation to the General Conference in America. These Churches were committed to missionary work, with fields in Malawi, Nigeria and India. The Australasian Conference, which became a member of the Baptist World Alliance in 1983, consisted of churches both in New Zealand and Australia.

Liberty

Since the days of John the Baptist there have always been Seventh Day Baptists, and the denomination now known by that name dates back to the Reformation. The oldest Church extant is the Mill Yard Church in London, England 1617. Seventh Day Baptists stood with other reformers especially with the Baptists, in the stuggle for religious and civil liberty and Godly living. They suffered imprisonment and martydom, and respectfully noted some of the foremeost men of the Reformation were Seventh Day Baptists.

In doctrine, Seventh Day Baptists are evangelical and except for a knowledge and conviction of the Sabbath instruction from both Old and New Covenant Scripture stand alongside, in harmony with Baptists believers. They stand with Baptists on the basis of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Baptism by full immersion on the confession of faith. Liberty of thought and understanding under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the right of everyone to interpret biblical instruction and teaching for working out one's salvation with fear and trembling, and humbly acknowledge the independence of local Church fellowships with Christ as the head and sole Master.

Distinction

People often fail to distinguish between Seventh Day Baptists and Adventists. Seventh Day Baptists are not Seventh Day Adventists. The Baptists had their origin in the Reformation, Adventists grew out of the Millerite movement in the middle of the 19th century and recieved the example of Sabbath keeping from the Seventh Day Baptist practice.

The Church polity of the two denominations is far apart, they differ to the interpretation of Scriptures, the inspiration of Mrs White, the Atonement, the nature of man, and many other beliefs and practices.

The polity of the Seventh Day Baptist Churches consists of pure democracy, which determines the nature of their organisation and fellowships, as well as the form of the Church itself. Every Church is independent in it's affairs and all union for work is voluntary. Although Baptists have proclaimed their distinctive doctrines, they have laboured cheifly to get ment to accept Christ and to lead Godly lives

Relations

From the date of their beginning, as a separate denomination in England, Seventh Day Baptists have co-operated with other Chirstians. From Francis Bampfield and Edward Stennett in the 17th century with appeals to King charles ii, against the persecutions of Baptists, through to Rev Joseph Stennett in the early 18th century, who at the request of the Baptists, drew up and presented an address to William iii. And continuing through to his son Joseph Stennett, a Seventh Day Baptist minister who addressed the King on behalf of Congregationalists, Baptists and Presbytarians. For more than a century and a half Seventh Day Baptists were among the most influential non-conformist Christians in England.

In America, Seventh Day Baptists were present at a meeting in New York city in 1905,  to consider the question of closer co-operation among the Protestant Churches of America. In Philadelphia 1908 a second meeting of the representatives of Churches was held, where agreement for the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America was established. Seventh Day Baptists were present and their voice was heard in the organisational meeting, and from that time until the present, the denomination has been a member of the Council, electing delegates, and being represented on it's commissions and committees. From the inception of these movements, they were represented at the World Conference in 1925, 1927 and 1938 when an official constitution was prepared for a World Council of Churches. Seventh Day Baptists are affiliated, also officially with the Baptist World Allaince.

Thus it is seen that, while possessing a firm faith in the truths which distinguish them from other denominations, and which for almost four hundred years now they have faithfully practised and consistently proclaimed.  Seventh Day Baptists have always exercised a spirit of Christian fellowship, and have co-operated to a marked degree with various religious bodies.

While this speaks well for the Seventh Day Baptists, it is something, also for the larger Christian bodies who recognise and appreciate this spirit in a small denomination, and who welcome it into the larger fellowship, perceiving their place in any ecumenical movement.

index : exerts from handbook of information of Seventh Day Baptists 1948