Baptists believe an individual's soul will go to either heaven or hell in the afterlife. Though they vary theologically from other Protestant denominations on the subjects of baptism, original sin and confirmation, they share the fundamentals of all Christian faiths -- namely, that Jesus Christ is the son of God who died so that humanity's sins may be forgiven. Liturgically speaking, the Baptists use only the King James Version of the Bible because they believe it to be the most accurate translation, which dates back to the origin of their Church.
History of the Baptist Church
The Baptist Church formed in the late 16th century in response to the parish churches of England. Everyone in a particular parish, or town, would attend the same church, regardless of personal religious convictions. The Church of England, believes that individuals are born with original sin and therefore baptizes its members in infancy. The followers of the Baptist faith believe that baptism should occur only after spiritual salvation and that individual churches should be able to make their own decisions, autonomous of any congregational polity.
One unique aspect of the Baptist Church is its emphasis on the need for personal salvation. Followers believe that without the realization that every individual needs to be saved by God's grace, they will not gain entrance to the kingdom of heaven. Baptism may not occur until the person wishing to be baptized has asked for God's forgiveness for past sins and acceptance. For this reason, many Baptists are not baptized until adulthood.
Baptists believe that the individuals who are saved and who live righteous lives will dwell forever with God in heaven after their death. Congregations may differ on their interpretation of heaven. Some may view it as a state of mind, rather than an actual, physical location.
Hell is the final resting place for the damned. Hell was created by God as a punishment for Satan, and he sends the wicked there for eternity. Though the Bible conjures images of fire and deep, dark caverns, some Baptists also believe that this "place" could exist as a state of mind.
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