Tennessee Free Will Baptists Then…
The earliest Baptists, as far back as Thomas Helwys in London in 1611, believed that the atonement of Jesus Christ was intended for all who would believe, rather than for a particular select group. Free Will Baptists came to America in the late 1600’s, and continue to this day in the belief that Christ died for all people, and that he provides eternal salvation for all who believe.
Free Will Baptists came to Tennessee in 1812. That’s right…when one of Tennessee’s favorite sons, Andrew Jackson, fought the Battle of New Orleans (1815), Free Will Baptists had already been working in Tennessee for three years.
Today, more than 20,000 members worship in 217 congregations spanning the Volunteer State from Mountain City to Memphis. Those congregations form the eight district associations that in turn comprise the Tennessee State Association of Free Will Baptists. Seven local churches have joined themselves directly to the state association without affiliations with a particular district association.
Tennessee Free Will Baptists feel a special kinship to their 314,000-member parent body, the National Association of Free Will Baptists, because it has chosen Middle Tennessee as the location for its home offices, a national publishing house, and a four-year accredited educational institution, Welch College. Tennessee churches continue to touch the world, through missions efforts around the globe, and their affiliation with the International Fellowship of Free Will Baptist Churches, Inc.
More information about the history of Free Will Baptists, as well as links to other similar groups, is available here.