The first Seventh Day Baptist Church was formed in Mill Yard, England in 1650, and our first Church in America began in 1671 in Newport, Rhode Island. Today, there are Seventh Day Baptist churches in over twenty countries and more than seventy churches in the United States. While Seventh Day Baptists hold to ten basic beliefs, there are a number of distinctives that make this denomination so unique.
As is the case with Baptist churches, we believe in the autonomy of the local congregation. While churches must meet basic requirements for membership within the Seventh Day Baptist denomination, the conference exists to assist, not to rule. Local churches are responsible for calling their pastors and leaders, purchasing and maintaining property, maintaining the ministry of the church, etc. This is one of the unique aspects of our Sabbath keeping denomination. While most Sabbath-keeping denominations practice a hierarchal denominational structure, we believe that the autonomy of the local church is practiced and emphasized throughout the New Testament.
Seventh Day Baptists consider liberty of thought under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be essential to Christian belief and practice. Therefore we encourage the unhindered study and open discussion of Scripture. While we hold fast to our basic beliefs, we uphold the individual’s freedom of conscience in seeking to determine and obey the will of God. We maintain the priesthood of all believers, signifying that each person has the same opportunity and responsibility to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance.