The Ecclesiological Contributions of Thomas Helwys’s Reformation in a Baptist Context

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Abstract

The English Separatist movement provided the background for which John Smyth and Thomas Helwys emerged to reconstitute a biblical ecclesiology. Through the study of the New Testament, they came to the position that infant baptism and covenantal theology could not be the foundation for the New Testament church. Both men embraced believer’s baptism as the basic foundation in which a recovered church should be built. Unfortunately, Smyth defected to the Mennonites, leaving Thomas Helwys to continue the fledging work known as Baptists. This article will examine the life of Thomas Helwys and his contribution to Baptist ecclesiology; it will also review selected literary works that contributed to the recovery of a New Testament church and the founding of Baptist ecclesiology.

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