How far were the Donatists Baptists?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by CarpentersApprentice, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. CarpentersApprentice

    CarpentersApprentice
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    I ran across something interesting recently (not a recent article, just a recent discovery for me) from The Baptist Quarterly Review (1884)...

    " ...(I)n view of the fact that many of our Baptist brethren, with more zeal than discretion, have thought to find in the Donatists (as in the Montanists and Novatians), links of an unbroken chain of Baptist churches from the apostolic time till the present, it may be worth while to present a summary statement of the points in which they agreed and the points in which they were at variance, with apostolic (and Baptist) doctrines and practices.

    (1.) How far were the Donatists Baptists?

    First: In as far as they insisted on rigorous ecclesiastical discipline and, ceremonially, pure Church membership.

    Secondly: In as far as they rejected, ceremonially, unworthy ministers.

    Thirdly: In as far as they rejected civil interference in matters of religion.

    (2.) How far were the Donatists at variance with the Baptists ?

    First: In practicing episcopacy. Yet the dioceses of Catholic and Donatist bishops alike must have been very small, as there were something like four hundred altogether in Northern Africa.

    Secondly: In believing in baptismal regeneration and in the necessity of baptism to salvation. In this they went beyond the Catholics themselves, maintaining that the human nature of Christ himself needed to be cleansed by baptism. Their most prominent characteristic, that of baptizing anew those that had already been baptized, whether in infancy or not, by those whom they regarded as unworthy, is evidence of the fact that they regarded the salvation of the soul as depending on the administration of the ordinance by a blameless person.

    Thirdly: In practicing infant baptism. This they were probably more scrupulous in doing than the Catholics, in accordance with their more vivid sense of its necessity.

    Fourthly: In their intolerance and bigotry. This, however, was, in a large measure, due to the harsh treatment that the Donatists received at the hands of their opponents.

    The points of agreement are thus seen to be more seeming than real; the points of divergence are radical."

    Extract from a book review of Der Ursprung des Donatismus nach den Quellen Untersucht und Dargestellt. Von Lie. Dr. Daniel Voelter (Tubingen, 1883) in The Baptist Quarterly Review, Volume VI. (Cincinnati, J.R. Baumes, 1884) page 530.
    ***************************

    Your thoughts?

    CarpentersApprentice
     
  2. Matt Black

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    IMO the study's about as useful as asking "How far were the Donatists like the Methodists?" or "How far were the Donatists like the presbyterians?" - there are doubtless points of similarity and divergence between the Donatists and all modern Christian denominations but to conclude from the points of similarity that the Donatists were 'proto-'anything is IMO ludicrous.
     
  3. Eliyahu

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    How far from what ?

    If we want to evaluate sincerely and accurately on the Donatists, we must hear from them directly, not from the accusers and haters of them.

    Does anyone have the writings by the Donatists, by their own?, not by the accusers and opponents?

    If not, it's the Judgment by Default, in the absence of the suspects.

    We have the sufficient record of the Bible which dates back to earlier times. Why don't we have the writings of Donatists by their own?

    In the history, so-called majority used to kill the minority and then burnt the writings by the minority, then wrote the history quoting the invented, fabricated quotations by them. Accusers writings about the victims usually condemn them as Heretics, with the fomulated quotations which the victims never claimed.

    I have had the lengthy arguments with Roman Catholic about Theotokos, then I asked him to summarize what I claimed in the discussion. He simply stated that I was like a monophysite,
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10489b.htm
    and a heretic.
    He could never mention any verses of Bible veses, hundreds of verses which I referred to in the discussion.

    Which Bible verses did Donatists refer to and mention in their arguments?

    If anyone cannot bring them, their arguments are nothing more than a hoax. Such history is human manufactured, pagan invented and absolutely useless.

    Check the Catholic sites about Donatists.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05121a.htm

    Could you find any single Bible verses in the site quoted as the claims by Donatists?

    Did Donatists never read the Bible? Why couldn't Catholic record any Bible verses referred by Donatists?

    From time to time, new discoveries such as Bazaar Heraclides about Nestorius, Key of Truth about Paulicians, Inquisitor Reinerius about Albigenes, etc. are made about so-called Heretics and we can have some glimpse on those heretics.
     
    #3 Eliyahu, Aug 10, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2007
  4. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu
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    The Donatists
    The Donatists were named (again, by their enemies) after Donatus, who died in 355 A.D. He was a north African pastor and one of the leaders of the schism that began in Carthage in 311. A large group in the church protested at the ordination of Caecilianus as Pastor. This ordination was presided over by Felix of Aptunga, a man who had wavered badly during the Diocletian persecutions. Both Felix and Caecilianus were considered to be "traditores" - men who had surrendered the Scriptures to be burned in Imperial persecutions. The protesting group ordained Majorinus as their pastor, then, following his death shortly hereafter, they ordained Donatus in 316. Donatus at first appealed to Emperor Constantine, but to no avail. The Emperor ordered their suppression - a move which fired them into a great separatist movement which covered the whole of North Africa and lasted until the Moslem conquest of that region. The doctrines of the Donatists were very similar to the Novations in that they believed in church purity; separation of church and state; scriptural baptism; independence of the local churches; and freedom of conscience. The charges made against the Donatists are few, but need to be addressed. The Donatists were accused of being Circumcelliones. The Circumcelliones were a fanatical group of Christians in North Africa, existing around the same time as the Donatists, who sought a martyr's death as a means of grace, often provoking this death wish through violent behavior. Mosheim writes: "...nor were their lives less exemplary than that of other Christian societies, if we accept the enormous conduct of the Circumcelliones which the greater part of the sect regarded with the utmost detestation and abhorrence." It has also been said that the Donatists arose only through a personality conflict, but history teaches us that a very important issues was, in fact, at stake - the qualifications of bishops. It has also been charged that the Donatists practiced infant baptism. The writings of both Augustine and Optatus - both strong opponents of the Donatists - disprove this charge. Both writers charge that the Donatists insisted on rebaptism of those who came to them from the "established" churches, and further insisted on baptism of believers only by total immersion. The Council of Milevi in 416 A.D. passed the following edict against the Donatists: "Whosoever denies that newly-born infants are to be baptized...let him be accursed." This edict proves that the Donatists denied the practice of infant baptism. It has been charged by others that the Donatists sought a Church - State relationship. This accusation is based on Donatus' appeal to Constantine in 316 and a later appeal to the Emperor Julian in 384. These appeals were to the Emperor in his capacity as protector of life and property, and sought the lifting of decrees against them. The Donatists are credited with the following statement: "What has the emperor to do with the church? What have the bishops to do with the palace? What has Christianity to do with the kings of the world?" (J.W. Griffith, A Manual Of Church History, Volume II, page 40). It has also been charged that the Donatists formed their own church "hierarchy." Jarrel states: "Long, an Episcopalian historian: 'The Donatists rejected the Catholic liturgy and set up for themselves a more congregational way.'" Reports of Donatist pastor's meetings indicate large numbers of pastors in attendance, something that would be foreign in a hierarchical arrangement. The Donatists suffered great persecution, and were the first Christians to feel persecution at the hands of the State-Church. In 377 Gratian published edicts against Donatists, depriving them of their buildings and prohibiting their assemblies. They were noted for the fact that they patiently bore suffering for Christ, and did not retaliate with any persecutions of their own against Catholics. By the end of the 4th Century, their teachings had spread abroad to Italy and Spain. The Donatists were often also called Puritans and Anabaptists.

    http://www.baptistpillar.com/bd0547.htm
     
  5. Eliyahu

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    How far from what?

    Donatists might have been far from Infant Baptism, from Paganism seeking big buildings, many multitude of people, but sticking to the Bible teachings.
     
  6. CarpentersApprentice

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    Perhaps so...

    It has been my experience, however, that - of those who care - Baptists seem to be at the forefront in searching for traceable elements that demonstrate apostolic origins.

    And, after all, this is the "Baptist" board.

    CA
     
  7. Agnus_Dei

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    Coming from a former Baptist, I would’ve thought that if the Baptist could in fact trace their origins to the Apostles, it would’ve been soundly demonstrated by now. Where are the Early Baptist Church Fathers and where’s their writings? The excuse is they were destroyed by the mean ‘ol Catholics, but Christ said He would send the Holy Spirit to protect His Church (singular) and that the gates of Hell will never prevail against it.

    I don’t want some Baptist pastor wanna be “historian” telling me what to believe. Show me the Apostolic writings from the Early Church Fathers that supports Baptist theology.

    Peace
     
  8. Eliyahu

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    Still the Believers are flourishing, and the right history is posted above, not in the form of Catholic way, despite all the persecutions by Catholics.
    God has never failed in preserving His people and will continue until He comes.
     
  9. CarpentersApprentice

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    I have always found this quote from the Baptist historian H. Leon McBeth interesting...

    "A devout Christian may assume that 'God has always had His people' or that 'Wherever people have the Bible in their language, they will follow a biblical faith'; but one should distinguish between faith assumptions and historical evidence."

    CA
     
  10. Agnus_Dei

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    Of course from a Baptist historian perspective the “faith assumptions” would trump the “historical evidence” simply b/c the “historical evidence” of a Baptist succession is virtually non-existent.

    -Peace
     
  11. Eliyahu

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    One of the reasons why the early writings by the non-Catholic, evangelical Christians of early times do not exist may be because their opponents burnt their writings.

    This is not uncommon because even today I heard this morning that Burmese government prohibit any publication of Christian Bibles. It was on today's news at CTS. Cambodian government officially anounced that they porhibit Christians preaching and any of their evangelical activities.
    The persecution of Christians is not a myth but always targetted on the True believers throughout the history.

    We can see the glimpse of it thru the opponents writings or councils.

    For example, Milevi Council prohibited the any arguments against Infant Baptism in 416 AD. Why if there were no Believers opposing Infant Baptism? Catholic documents prove that they brutally persectuted the Baptists who opposed Infant Baptism.

    Find it here:

    The Council of Milevi in 416 AD taught the necessity of baptism for infants. This same position has been reaffirmed at the Fourth Lateran Council as well as the Councils of Vienne, Florence, and Trent.

    http://www.freewebs.com/acatholiclife/baptism.htm
     
  12. Agnus_Dei

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    That’s odd Eliyahu, if the mean ‘ol Catholics were in the habit of burning writings, why didn’t writings that were deemed heretical by the Early Church not burned, like the “Gospel of Judas”or the writings of other Gnostics?

    Your reasoning based on the Burmese Government holds no weight in this argument and in a court room would be thrown out.

    Name me one Apostolic Church Father that the Baptist call their own…just one…
     
  13. BobRyan

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    This is kinda funny.

    A "baptist" chooses to join the group that admittedly slaughtered and tortured millions of the saints - millions of christians -- and as the "excuse" says that the Baptist claim to be true Christians is refuted by the fact that the RCC slaughtered so many of them and wiped them out of the church-run-states where the RCC held sway??

    Don't worry - no one here will burn you at the stake the way the RCC claims to have tortured and burned the saints during the dark ages.

    You are free to believe as you choose.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  14. BobRyan

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    In fact even "bible burnings" were common just as they burnt the writings of Luther and others.

    What is amazing is that someone would LEAVE the FREEDOM of the Baptist church and choose to join in defense of such horrific actions in this age of light!

    Malachi Martin claims that the RCC held sway over "every detail of civilian life" during the dark-ages reign of the RCC "to a much greater extent than the pagan Roman empire ever did".

    How sad that the would-be-RC defense here seeks to turn a blind eye to the VERY RC facts so proudly displayed "in other contexts".

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  15. Eliyahu

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    Roman Catholics didn't burn the Heretics, but so-called Heretics and their writings which opposed Roman Catholic.

    Rather Roman Catholic were tolerant or condoning the heresies and idolatries because they themselves are the Idolatry.

    But the True Christians were condemned as Heretics by RCC, while RCC protected most of the pagan Idolatries.

    Novatian, Donatus, Montanus, etc.
     
  16. Eliyahu

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    Why did Milevi Council condemned the people opposing Infant Baptism if there was no opponents to it?

    The typical way of Roman Catholics writing the History about the Christian believers:

    - They were like Manichaeans which was absolute cults.
    - They were like Arius which denied Trinity
    - They were like Nestorius who was condemned at Ephesus Council
    - They denied the deity of Jesus,
    - Therefore they were Heretics.

    Which Bible verses did they bring to defend their stance? No record.

    Do you know why the Church history written by RCC is like that?

    - RCC hate Bible in their hearts.
    - RCC cannot understand the true and deep meaning of the Bible.
    - They are not interested in the Bible.
    - RCC just utilize the Bible to develop their pagan theory for the goddess worship, Mary worship, and the pagan priest system, idolatry.
    - All the Bible study by RCC is focussed on how to fabricate the goddess worship, how to protect and defend the Papacy and the whorish Catholic system, Purgatory etc.
    - They are not interested in preaching the Salvation thru Being Born Again as their concept of salvation is different.

    What did Donatists say about the Prayer to Mary? How did they reject it?
    What was the stance of Donatists about the Purgatory if such theory existed then?

    So many people in the world are cheated by the whorish Idolatry as were deceived at the time of Elijah who killed 400 priests for the Baal and Ashera.

    Throughout the history, Idol worshippers were the absolute majority in the world as they are even today, who have made the secure reservation in the Lake of Fire.
     
    #16 Eliyahu, Aug 11, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2007
  17. CarpentersApprentice

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    A thought provoking observation...

    CA
     
  18. Eliyahu

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    I don't trust Wikipedia very much but in this case I think it addressed the issues surrounding the schism at that time correctly at least.

    As for the beliefs and practices it doesn't tell very much, but we can notice they also emphasized the Holy Spirit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donatist

    The primary disagreement between Donatists and the rest of the early Christian church was over the treatment of those who renounced their faith during the persecution of Roman emperor Diocletian (303305), a disagreement that had implications both for the Church's understanding of the Sacrament of Penance and of the other sacraments in general.
    The rest of the Church was far more forgiving of these people than the Donatists were. The Donatists refused to accept the sacraments and spiritual authority of the priests and bishops who had fallen away from the faith during the persecution. Many church leaders had gone so far as to turn Christians over to Roman authorities and had handed over sacred religious texts to authorities to be publicly burned. These people were called traditors ("people who had handed over"). These traditors had returned to positions of authority under Constantine I, and the Donatists proclaimed that any sacraments celebrated by these priests and bishops were invalid.
    The first question, therefore, was whether the Sacrament of Penance can effect a reconciliation whereby the apostate, or in some cases specifically the traditor, may be returned to full communion. The Catholic position was that the sacrament was for precisely such cases, though at the time the Church still followed the discipline of public penance whereby a penitent for such a grievous offense would spend years, even decades, first outside the doors of the church begging for the prayers of those entering, then kneeling inside the church building during services, then standing with the congregation, and finally receiving the Eucharist again in a long progress toward full reconciliation. The Donatists held that such a crime, after the forgiveness of Baptism, rendered one unfit for further membership in the Church, a position of extreme rigorism.


    Do you think the traditors ( or Traitors) can still perform the Sacraments after they once denied the faith then repented after the Persecution was over?

    I don't deny that they can be re-accepted by the church after their repentance, but can they recover the leadership positions such as Elders or Overseers after they had denied the Lord for many years, enjoying the secular life while the true believers were persecuted ?
     
  19. BobRyan

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    The principle you have highlighted is valid. You do not go to the culprit - the perpetrator of these crimes against humanity and ask THEM to be the "trusted and objective character witness" for their victims.

    That is simply insane.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. CarpentersApprentice

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    Eliyahu, or anyone else who knows:

    What are the original source documents that lead you to believe this is a true statement?

    (I am a little bit familiar with Optatus' and Augustin's writings against the Donatists. I do not recall any sections there that would lead to the above conclusions.)

    CA
     

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