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From this point on, the various Anabaptist churches gradually lost their ancient names and assumed the name “Baptist,” though they retained their historic independence and self-rule.
The first English Baptist church was founded in 1612 by Thomas Helwys and John Murton, who had come under the influence of the Dutch Puritans in Amsterdam.
These Anabaptist congregations grew and prospered throughout the Holy Roman Empire, even though they were almost universally persecuted by the Catholic Church.
By the Reformation, Martin Luther's assistants complained that the Baptists in Bohemia and Moravia were so prevalent, they were like weeds.
Thus, the characteristics that defined the earliest churches are the same that most Baptist churches identify with today. While many churches surrendered themselves to this new structure, there was a substantial number of dissenting churches who refused to come under the growing authority of the bishops.
For at least 100 years, this model remained the standard for all churches. 250, with the intense persecutions under Emperor Decius, a gradual change began to take place as the bishops (pastors) of certain notable churches assumed a hierarchical authority over the churches in their regions (e.g., the church of Rome).
At this time, the Roman Empire encouraged their bishops to actively oppose the dissenting churches, and even passed laws condemning them to death.
The re-baptizers became known as Anabaptists, though the churches in various regions of the empire were also known by other names, such as Novatianists, Donatists, Albigenses, and Waldenses.
The truth is that the answer depends on whether you are examining a particular group or the fundamental doctrines of that group.
Each Baptist group can trace its history to a particular starting point as an organization, but the roots go back to the very beginning of the Christian faith.This was called by Luther Rice to address the need of raising funds and workers to carry out the missionary mandate in foreign countries.