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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Baptists, Freewill

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BAPTISTS, Freewill, originated in New Hampshire in 1780, as a strongly anti-Calvinistic body. Benjamin Randall, a Congregationalist, left that body and advocated open communion. He was influenced in this step by the prominence given by the Methodists to various of the ideas advocated by him. Randall's first Freewill Baptist Church was in New Durham, N. H. In 1841 the Free-Communion Baptists of New York State united with the Freewill Baptists. In 1870 the Freewill Baptists numbered about 60,000, and in 1895 over 86,000. For some years past they have been officially known as “Free Baptists.” In 1910 the Free Baptists and the Regular Baptists of the United States consolidated their missionary societies and work and made it possible for the local churches to unite, if they saw fit. In 1912 the Free Baptists had still 1,110 churches and over 65,000 adherents. The “Original Freewill Baptists,” a distinct organization, similar to the General Baptists of England, date their origin from 1729. In 1912 they had 834 churches and over 57,000 members,