John Smyth: Root of the Baptists

by James M. Hill


     John Smyth was one of the founders of the Baptist church movement as a whole and was the impetus for the later founding of the General Baptists under his protégé Thomas Helwys. Smyth also made major contributions to later Baptist denominations and influenced the founding of America through colonies fleeing religious oppression in Europe. Tull put John Smyth’s name foremost in his book on the major influencers of Baptist thought. He said, “John Smyth’s life was profoundly influenced by the tortuous course of the English Reformation. Smyth, in turn, was a leader in one stream of that Reformation which flowed through Puritanism and Separatism to the beginnings of Baptist life.”[1]