While this new faith, derogatorily referred to as Baptist, found unity in persecution, its adherents soon began to take issue with each other. One of the first points of debate was whether salvation was a free choice or was it limited to those whom God chose. General Baptists held the former position; Particular Baptists the latter. This subject often led to heated debates. I wonder if these Baptists ever looked forward to the future time when Baptists would finally settle this matter. Surely time would clarify the waters!
In the late 1630’s, while Colonel John and Lady Lucy Hutchinson became Particular Baptists, many common folk were becoming General Baptists. Did you ever stop to ask yourself why the elite who converted to the Baptist way of thinking would tend toward Particular Baptist teachings while the common man would tend toward General?
By the 1630’s, Baptists in England had grown in number and were extensively involved in the English Civil War which pitted Parliament against the King. Colonel John Hutchinson and his wife Lucie, as Presbyterians, served on the side of Parliament while Lucie’s brother served the King. John believed in the freedom of individuals to choose what they believed while his father was strictly Presbyterian and held no sympathy for those holding any other belief.
One night, the Presbyterian ministers that served the Colonel and his military troop, came to John late in the evening complaining about those loud and rowdy Baptists—who made up a large part of the men serving under him. The ministers wanted the Colonel to have them quit singing so boisterously. Such noise was unseemly at the late hour. After breaking up the Baptist meeting, John happened to pick up some Baptist literature left on a chair. Once read and considered, these pamphlets raised questions in the minds of the Hutchinsons. Needless to say, aside from the inner turmoil over baptism, issues arose with family and friends when John and Lucie took hold of Baptist beliefs.