Background of the Reorganization

The Decline of the Denomination

 From the
"Encyclopedia of American Religions",
Fourth Edition, 1993, J. Gordon Melton:

General Six-Principle Baptists

"In 1652, the historic Providence Baptist Church, once associated with Roger Williams, split. The occasion was the development within the church of an Arminian majority who held to the six principles of Hebrews 6:1-2: repentance, faith, baptism, the laying-on-of-hands, resurrection of the dead, and a eternal judgement. Soon other churches were organized, and conferences were formed in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

"The distinctive doctrine of the six principles is the laying-on-of-hands. This act is performed when members are received into the church, as a sign of the reception of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Polity is congregational, but the conference composed of delegates of the various churches retains specific powers. A council of the ordained ministers approves all ordinations. Decisions of the conference on questions submitted to it are final. Never a large denomination, the Six-Principle Baptists had dwindled to three congregations, all in Rhode Island, by 1969. There were 134 members."

The Six-Principle Baptists continued to decline throughout the 1970's and 1980's dwindling to only one congregation, Stony Lane Six-Principle Baptist Church, in North Kingston, Rhode Island. A major reason for this decline was that in 1954, the Rhode Island Conference had lifted their ban on communing with other Christians, preparing the way for their assimilation into the broader Baptist community. In the mid-1990's, the Six-Principle Baptist Church as a denomination virtually ceased to exist as Stony Lane became an independent Baptist congregation.

Reorganization and Revival of the Denomination

 Saddened by the dissolution of the historic Six-Principle denomination, a small group of Baptist ministers began a reorganization of the movement in 2001. This incorporated reorganization movement was officially renamed on July 10, 2003 as the General Association of Six-Principle Baptist Churches, Inc. It is also known as the General Association of Six-Principle Baptists which is  more descriptive of the fact that the General Association includes not only churches, but individuals, ministers, and ministries. 

Since its reorganization, the denomination has grown steadily. All of the ministers credentialed by the General Association serve as Missionaries of the General Association.