Why Helwys?

There are plenty of websites that provide the type of content that the Helwys Society Forum provides—essays, book reviews, interviews, and so forth. However, most of the sites whose namesake is associated with a distinguished theologian, author, or historical figure, use a name that possesses some mainstream appeal. This tends not to be the case as often with those who see the name “Helwys”. So again,

“Why Helwys? For starters,” many of you have said, “his name is difficult to pronounce. And what is more, hardly anyone seems to know who he is or what he did.”

We will now turn to these questions and concerns. To begin, his name is properly pronounced ‘Hell-wiss’. Regarding who he is and what he did, readers may consider Matthew Bracey’s helpful historical sketch of Helwys. Additionally, several Forum contributors have written an accessible review of some of Helwys’ more recently published writings.

In short, Thomas Helwys (c. 1575 – c. 1616) was an English attorney and theologian who made numerous important contributions in both English and American religious history, especially with the emergence of the General Baptists. Thus, as Free Will Baptists, the Helwys Society is very interested in operating within the spirit and legacy of Thomas Helwys, as well as communicating his important contributions to our readers.

That said, it does not limit or constrict the breadth of the subjects we address. Helwys himself wrote on subjects ranging from religious liberty to the nature of the atonement to the specifics of believer’s baptism. In this same way, the Helwys Society seeks for the Forum to consist of essays, book reviews, interviews, and more that will help readers think more clearly about the way theology informs all of our cultural, spiritual, and ministry experiences.


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