Benjamin Randall Organizes the Free Will Baptists
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Benjamin Randall
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Benjamin Randall was raised in the Congregational church, but struggled with certainty about his salvation until hearing English evangelist George Whitefield on his last preaching tour of the colonies in 1770. Randall left Congregationalism over the issue of infant baptism and founded a Baptist church in New Durham, New Hampshire in 1780. Local Calvinistic Baptists questioned Randall on his view of the doctrine of election, the traditional Reformed belief that God elects only certain people for salvation. Randall struggled again with doubts, but then reported a heavenly vision that confirmed his belief in Christ's universal atonement. The name "Free Will Baptists" pointed to their belief that each person had a will that was free to choose or reject salvation. Randall's churches were not the first non-Calvinistic Baptists in America (see Paul Palmer's Free Will Baptists), but it was the largest such group in the 19th century.
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Randall, Benjamin
Whitefield, George
The First Great Awakening

First Free Will Baptist Church, New Durham- Hathi Trust

Benjamin Randall portrait- Internet Archive

Benjamin Randall's New Durham house- Hathi Trust
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Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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