Like other Dissenting denominations, Baptists were on a quest to attain respectability. Both the General and Particular Baptists were keen, in some ways, to disassociate themselves from their radical seventeenth-century origins. Like Congregationalists, by the early nineteenth century there were moves towards more organizational infrastructure and a greater degree of denominational unity. Baptists also stressed the importance of the ‘gathered’ church as being at the heart of the Christian experience, with a local covenant often being the visible manifestation of their faith. Tensions between the importance of the independence of the local church and broader structures remained. Theological disagreements were also discernible, although Baptists were often just as concerned about the interpretation of Calvinism as about disputes between Calvinists and Arminians.
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