In contrast to English General Baptists, however, Particular Baptists believed in a predestined atonement for a “particular” or limited number of elect and “perseverance of the saints,” that is, the belief that once one is saved, one is always saved.
Thought to be the first group of English Baptists to practice baptism by immersion around 1640, Particular Baptists held to the 1689 London Confession of Faith and earlier related documents. Calvinist in theology, they influenced significantly the Regular Baptist movement in South Carolina beginning in the late seventeenth century. In contrast to English General Baptists, however, Particular Baptists believed in a predestined atonement for a “particular” or limited number of elect and “perseverance of the saints,” that is, the belief that once one is saved, one is always saved. Like most Baptists, Particulars practiced believer’s baptism, while insisting, unlike in the General tradition, that only the elect would experience conversion. Both groups affirmed religious liberty, but unlike the General Baptists, Particulars insisted that each congregation was complete and independent. In colonial South Carolina, the influence of both English Baptist traditions was felt, and at times it was divisive. The congregation at Stono, founded about 1728 as a branch of the Particular Baptist Church at Charleston, underwent a schism around 1735. Fights ensued over property, but in the end the Particular tradition dominated there and elsewhere, at least in most historical interpretations. As with other Calvinists in the New World, under the influence of eighteenth-century Great Awakening revivals, the Calvinism of Particular Baptists was modified enough for them to say that in God’s predetermination of redemption, the salvation of all was sought. By the time of the Revolutionary War, most Baptists had grown away from their English background and had assumed their own identities.
King, Joe M. A History of South Carolina Baptists. Columbia: General Board of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, 1964.
McBeth, H. Leon. The Baptist Heritage. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman, 1987.