Early Baptists Required Faithful Church Attendance
Republished May 16, 2017 (first published July 10, 2001)
Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061

Church members today often display an amazingly cavalier attitude toward church attendance. It is not uncommon for churches that run 200 in attendance on Sunday mornings to have only half of that number back on Sunday night and even fewer for the mid-week service. Church membership was treated much more seriously in Baptist churches four hundred years ago.

The following is from Adam Taylor’s
The History of the English General Baptists (sample pages) [London: 1818], Volume I which is available as part of the Fundamental Baptist Digital Library (see below):

The general Baptists of the 16th and 17th centuries so respected the nature and importance of assemblies for public worship that the wilful neglect of them was considered as disorderly conduct, which called for the censure of the church. A constant inspection was exercised over the attendance of the members: persons were appointed to take down the names of the absentees, and report them to the elders; and nothing but reasons of obvious importance were admitted as a sufficient apology for their non-attendance. When the societies grew numerous, the members were ranged into districts, according, to the proximity of their habitations: and proper persons appointed to superintend each district. If any member did not appear in his place, on the Lord’s-day, he was certain of a visit, in the course of the week, from one of the inspectors of the district, to call him to account for his absence. These regulations were rendered effectual, by being acted upon with steadiness, impartiality, and decision; and, for nearly a century, contributed much to the order and prosperity of the general baptist churches.

In 1655, an “Order” was made, by the general consent of the congregation at Fenstanton, that “if any member of this congregation shall absent himself from the assembly of the same congregation, upon the first day of the week, without manifesting a sufficient cause, he shall be looked upon as an offender, and proceeded with accordingly. At the same meeting, it was devised, that, if any member should, at any time, have any extraordinary occasion to hinder him from the assembly, he would certify the congregation of the same before hand, for the prevention of jealousy.” And, in 1658, the same society, after considering the case of a wife who had been kept back, by the threatenings of her husband, concluded “that, unless a person was restrained by force, it was no excuse for absenting himself from the assemblies of the congregation.” Resolutions of a similar purport are frequent in the records of these churches: and numbers of cases prove that they were constantly enforced.

Taken from Adam Taylor’s
The History of the English General Baptists (See Sample pages). [London: 1818], Volume I which is available as part of Fundamental Baptist Digital Library

You may also be interested in:
15 Bible Reasons a Christian Should Join a Bible-Believing Church
Church Membership
Faithfulness to the Church
Families That Neglect the Church and The Great Commission
Keys to Fruitful Church Membership
What if There is No Sound Church?

- Receive these reports by email
- www.wayoflife.org


Sharing Policy: Much of our material is available for free, such as the hundreds of articles at the Way of Life web site. Other items we sell to help fund our expensive literature and foreign church planting ministries. Way of Life's content falls into two categories: sharable and non-sharable. Things that we encourage you to share include the audio sermons, O Timothy magazine, FBIS articles, and the free eVideos and free eBooks. You are welcome to make copies of these at your own expense and share them with friends and family. You may also post parts of reports and/or entire reports to websites, blogs, etc as long as you give proper credit (citation). A link to the original report is very much appreciated as the reports are frequently updated and/or expanded. Things we do not want copied and distributed are "Store" items like the Fundamental Baptist Digital Library, print editions of our books, electronic editions of the books that we sell, the videos that we sell, etc. The items have taken years to produce at enormous expense in time and money, and we use the income from sales to help fund the ministry. We trust that your Christian honesty will preserve the integrity of this policy. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward" (1 Timothy 5:18). Questions? support@wayoflife.org

Goal:Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc., the Fundamental Baptist Information Service is an e-mail posting for Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. Our primary goal with the FBIS is to provide material to assist preachers in the edification and protection of the churches.

Offering: Offerings are welcome if you care to make one. If you have been helped and/or blessed by our material offerings can be mailed or made online with with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Paypal. For information see: www.wayoflife.org/about/makeanoffering.html.

Bible College
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
Way of Life Bible College