If Goodwin could help us hear the women who were marginalized by Elder, the dissidents who were expelled by Crandall, and the long-suffering Baptists who were bored by Tupper, we would likely have quite a more dynamic perspective on what was important to the Calvinistic Baptists
of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
This paper will attempt to show specifically the ways in which the Calvinistic Baptists of the late seventeenth century sought to differentiate themselves from their fellow dissenters while still affirming their similarities.
I will then conclude with a summary statement of the themes present in those differences and, perhaps, what the Calvinistic Baptists saw as the distinctive foci that made them the most faithful adherents to the Christian faith.
In 1946, historian George Levy wrote The Baptists of the Maritime Provinces, 1753-1946 to help his denomination celebrate its fortieth anniversary as a union of Arminian and Calvinistic Baptists. During the period from 1905 to 1906 three denominations, the Maritime Convention of Maritime Baptists, the Free Baptists of New Brunswick, and the Free Baptists of Nova Scotia, merged to create the UBCMP.
In 1846, the Calvinistic Baptists of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick joined their respective denominational institutions to create a convention in order to build denominational structures cooperatively.
In America, the so-called First Great Awakening divided Calvinistic Baptists between Regulars and Separates, less over the need for conversion of all church members than over the nature of that conversion and its related "religious affections."
For these Calvinistic Baptists, election was as certain as the atonement of Christ was limited.
Thus for Calvinistic Baptists the order of salvation involves regeneration by the Holy Spirit infused into the heart of elect individuals, thereby awakening the free will of sinners and enabling them to repent and believe in Christ.
William Brackney writes "that although most Six Principle Baptists were Arminians, some Calvinistic Baptists, especially the Welsh and German, also practiced [dual] laying on of hands," in keeping with the six-fold list of doctrines in Hebrews 6:1-2.
Missions had served as a rallying cry for Arminian and Calvinistic Baptists
in Scotland as it had for Baptists in England in previous years.
(46) Later, Calvinistic Baptists
reverted to an emphasis similar to that of earlier Separatists, namely, that ministry was the essence of the church.
Most directly, the General Baptists adopted the idea of general atonement, hence their name "General" as opposed to the later developing Calvinistic Baptists
labeled "Particular" due to their emphasis upon particular atonement.
In his 1827 History of the General or Six Principle Baptists, Richard Knight held that "this rite" was "of equal authority with baptism." Whether all Baptists considered it of equal authority with baptism is highly debatable, but it is not debatable that General Baptists, Calvinistic Baptists
, and Separate Baptists at various time practiced "this rite."
Many Calvinistic Baptists
were convinced that God alone was the agent of grace to be offered irresistibly to the elect in God's own way.
Those who attended were members of the unions from across Canada hat had their roots in the Regular or Calvinistic Baptists
. Baptists had experienced remarkable expansion in the nineteenth century as they grew from several hundred members in 1799 to over 100,000 in 1901.