The Baptist tradition is one of the most important of the Protestant Christian denominations. Most Baptist churches agree with basic Protestant doctrines, but they insist on the belief that only Christian believers should be baptized (called “believer’s baptism”) and that such baptism should take place by immersion, a practice which they trace back to the early Church. Baptist churches have autonomy from the local church but are linked to each other by various associations. Most Baptists trace their heritage back to the early 17e-th century CE differences with the Church of England and the subsequent decision to form Christian communities with local autonomy, an emphasis on the baptism of believers, and an understanding of the church as primarily a community of believers. The Baptist tradition will see massive growth in the United States during the Great Awakening in the mid-18th century, followed by increased interest and effort in foreign missions. In the Baptist tradition there are several branches. In the United States, a significant split occurred within the Baptist tradition along a north / south distinction in 1845 with the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention. There are still significant differences between northern and southern Baptists in theology, missions, and worship. The Baptist Church also has a strong tradition within black communities. Most Baptist churches tend to have evangelical doctrine and vary widely from extremely conservative to socially and politically liberal.