Have you noticed a Free Will Baptist church in your community? Maybe you have heard about “Baptists” all your life but never realized there are actually dozens of Baptist groups. But who are these Baptists with “Free Will” before their name? And how are they different from the other Baptist groups?
The Free Will Baptist denomination is a fellowship of evangelical churches that adhere to the Bible as the foundation of faith and practice. The denomination began in 1727, and for nearly 300 years has contributed to the moral and spiritual fiber of the nation. Bound by common beliefs, common worship, and a common mission, nearly 300,000 individuals from 2,500 congregations across 40 states have come together voluntarily to extend their impact throughout the world.
Free Will Baptists are fundamental in doctrine, that is, they share the historic Christian Faith with all other genuine Christians. They are, as the name indicates, Baptist in doctrine, teaching that immersion—not sprinkling or pouring—is the correct method of baptism. Finally, Free Will Baptists are free will in doctrine. Some Christian groups believe God predetermined who would be saved and lost, that Jesus died only for certain “elect” individuals, and the rest have no opportunity to be saved.
In contrast, Free Will Baptists believe God desires salvation for all and sent Jesus to die for everyone. Still, He has given man the freedom of choice to accept or reject Christ’s sacrifice. Those who put faith in Christ’s work are saved. Learn more about what Free Will Baptists believe.
Free Will Baptist churches are self-governing, own their own property, and call their own pastors. Yet these independent churches have chosen to work together to carry out various enterprises and programs beyond the scope of the local church. These efforts include several colleges and missions efforts both at home and abroad. The denomination supports missionaries in 20 international locations as well as the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Free Will Baptists enjoy an extensive publishing ministry headed by Randall House Publications.
The National Association of Free Will Baptists maintains an executive office building at 5233 Mt. View Road in Antioch, Tennessee. The Executive Office plays a vital role in providing direction to the denomination by correlating national ministries and administering denominational affairs.