Pre-16th Century Reference To Baptists

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Mark Osgatharp, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Over and over in this forum, as well as abroad, the statement has been made that the English Baptists originated in the 16th century. Here is a quote from John T. Christian which proves otherwise. I posted it several months ago and the best "answer" that was made is that Christian probably fabricated the quote.

    Here it is. It is found in the 15th chapter of volume one of John T. Christian's "The History Of The Baptists." I would like for some of the advocates of the 16th century theory to harmonize these facts with your theory:

    "At best the distinction between the names Baptists and Anabaptists is technical; for the word Anabaptists is still used in England to designate the Baptists of today; and was long used in this country, even after the Revolution, in the same manner. It is now the legal name of the Baptists of New England. The word Baptists was used by a high official of the English government in the earlier days of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. That official was Sir William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burleigh, then the Secretary of State and especial adviser of the Queen. The date is March 10, 1569. It is found in a remarkable sketch drawn up possibly for his own use, as his habit was, to look everything square in the face; but more probably that he might place before Elizabeth the dangers that beset her government. At any rate, it is an official memorandum of the highest officer of state, and easily the most influential man under Elizabeth. It is a long document, covering many pages, but in this instance we are interested in only one of the alleged dangers enumerated. Secretary Cecil says:

    The next imperfections are here at home, which be these: The state of religion many ways weakened by boldness to the true service of God; by increase of the number and courage of the Baptists, and the deriders of religion; and lastly by the increase of numbers of irreligious and Epicures. (A Collection of State Papers relating to the Reign of Elizabeth. Transcribed from original Letters and other authentic Memorials, left by William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, and now remaining at Hartfield House, in the Library of the Right Honorable the Present Earl of Saulsbury, by Samuel Haynes, M. A., London, 1740.I. pp. 585, 586).

    It is therefore scientifically correct to call these people Baptists."

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  2. dean198

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    Yes, they were called Anabaptists....because anyone practicing re-baptism was an "anabaptist" - the 17th Century English Baptists were called "Anabaptists." The General Baptists in particular seem to have had a large Anabaptist influence upon them - but they were much different to the Baptists of today.

    The modern Baptist Church began in the 17th century, not the 16th. These "Anabaptists" referred to in your quotes were Dutch Mennonites who were settling in England during that time.
    Dean
     
  3. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Dean198,

    I don't have time to give a full answer to your post right now, but I do want to address one small part of it. You said,

    Which "Baptists of today" are you talking about? The General Baptists or Hardshells? The Freewills or German Baptist Brethren? The Landmarkers of Arkansas, the modernist queer marrying Alliance Baptists of the southeast, or the Holy Roller Full Gospel Black Baptists?

    Which of these "Baptists of today" were so much different from the "Anabaptists" of the 15th century. Oh yes, and from which of the, in Moshiems count, thirteen varieties of the Anabaptists are the "Baptists of today" different?

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  4. dean198

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    Mark, I was a member of the Old Baptist Union in England, and they were pretty much a reflection of what General Baptists believed and taught in the seventeenth century. Briefly, 17th cent. Baptists were not dispensational, did not believe in 'once saved always saved,' did not believe in either the 'invisible church', or deny that there was a visible, universal church, did not practice the altar call, believed in the baptism with the Spirit as something following water baptism, practiced love feasts, the anointing of oil for healing, church government by apostolic messengers, etc, etc.
     
  5. Archeryaddict

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    If I recall John was a Baptist
     
  6. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Dean198,

    For some clarification, let me correct my centuries above. I referred to the 15th and 16th which should have been the 16th and 17th. The restorationists claim the Baptists originated in the 17th; the quote from Christian which started this thread is from the 16th.

    Now you tell me that the "Baptists" referred to in that quote were different from the "Baptists" of the 17th century. Then you procede to tell me that the Baptists of the 17th century were different from the Baptists of today. If the differnces between the 16th century Baptists and the 17th century Baptists prove that one did not succeed from the other, why do not the difference between the 17th century Baptists and the 21st century Baptists prove that one did not succeed from the other?

    The fact is, there are inumerable differences among Baptist churches today, none of which prove anything about which church proceded from another. Any attempt to prove that one church did not succeed from another based on what one or the other believed is an exercise in futility, unless you start with the unreasonable and false premise that "no church or group of churches ever changes it's beleifs under any circumstances."

    You also said that the "Baptists" mentioned in the quote from Christian were "Dutch Mennonites" who were settling in England during that time." That is a bald assertion which may or may not be true. But assuming it is true, it does not prove that the "Baptists" mentioned in this document were not the progenators of the 17th century English Baptists.

    If everything that was ever claimed for the John Smyth church is true, it proves nothing about the many other English Baptist churches which cannot be proven to have originated with Smyth's church. In fact, we have this firsthand account of the origin of at least some of the Baptist churches in England which totally refutes the theory that they originated in English separatism. The following quote is from chapter 17 of volume one of John T. Christian's "History of the Baptists." I challenge you to deal with it candidly.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  7. dean198

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    It doesn't 'prove' it. If groups have differences, either they are not related, or one set of beliefs and practices gradually changed over the centuries. With regards to the 17th century 'General' Baptists.....I agree that there was a large Dutch Mennonite influence on them. The Helwys church and its offshoots may well have merged with the Dutch Anabaptist groups....providing some succession at least. There was certainly a kinship of doctrine and practice.....both of which long neglected amongst most Baptist groups today. But the Particular Baptists, through whom almost all American Baptists are descended, did come out of separatism, as we know from thier own records.

    But even the Anabaptists began in 1525, as we know from their own records, so even the English General Baptists, if you don't wish to have them commence with John Smyth, must then have their origins in Zurich, 1525.

    It is an indication - and where groups do change beliefs there is a clear and discernable path of departure. When does the changed group no longer represents the group? I am sure none of us would deny, for example, that liberals do not truly represent the faith they profess. It seems to me that you want to put all the groups in history under the banner of Baptist - irrespective of what they believe or practice. I am content to call them evangelical, but not specifically Baptist. And I deny that they succeeded from one another, because they themselves denied it. If you want to believe that the sacramentalist Waldenses were Baptist, I can't stop you, but are you being honest in calling them Baptist? How do you define Baptist? How can you differentiate Baptists from other groups which practice believer's baptism?
     
  8. Mark Osgatharp

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    Dean198,

    A. My last post proves that the Particular Baptists, at least some of them, did not originate in English separatism. You summarily ignored it, though it represents a primary source staggeringly destructive to the separatist origins theory.

    B. Almost all of the Baptist historians assert that the original American Baptists were General, not Particulars. Many of the Generals shifted to a more Calvinistic position through the influx of Presbyerians and Congregationalists into their ranks and through the influence of the Philadephia association. But that is quite a different thing from say that the American Baptists were descended from the Particular Baptists of England.

    Nice dodge! But the fact is that the 1525 theory is no more credible than the 1611 or the 1641 theory. Each of these theories, at very best, ascribes what happened in one church to the whole Baptist/Anabaptist movement. The fact is, that the Mennonites long claimed descent from the Waldenses, even up until the late 1800s when their history was subjected to the same modernist revisionism as Baptist history.

    Actually, it is no indication at all. Even the churches of the New Testament speedily departed from the doctrine on which they were founded.

    History is not concerned with who "represents the group." That is strictly in the realm of theology. History is concered with what happened and it has been abundandly proven by John T. Christian that, whatever else happened, the English Baptists did not originate with John Smith or the English separatists and that the Dutch Anabaptists did not originate with the German Reformation.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  9. dean198

    dean198
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    No I didn't ignore it, though it looked that way.....the Board would only let me post about half of my reply last night. So let me put it here. By the way, you never proved anything - you quoted from Christian who said that it could not be proved that a few of the seven Particular Bapitst churches did not originate prior to 1633. I believe he was very wrong, as I will seek to show.

    It is not a bald assertion but the testimony of history. Christian, whom you refer to, writes: "The interest of the king was not confined to Germany. In the same year a royal proclamation was issued, in which it is said that many strangers are coming into this realm, who, "though they were baptized in their infancy, yet have, in contempt of the holy sacrament of baptism, rebaptized themselves. They are ordered to depart out of the realm in twelve days, under pain of death" They did not return to the Continent and continued under the royal
    inspection."

    Dutch Anabaptists were put to death in London in 1535. Many of the 'Baptist' martyrs of that day held to the Hoffmanite view of Christ's flesh - taught by the Dutch Anabaptists.

    In chapter 15 of Christian, he quotes Froude concerning the death of Dutch Anabaptists in England. After quoting Froude's words, 'Poor Hollanders they were," Christian adds his own comments, calling them 'Baptists.' It was these Dutch Anabaptists who spread the Anabaptist message in 16th century England, as they had done on the Continent.


    Christian admits that the Wapping church did originate with the separatists. This is from the same chapter you quote from: "But some of the Particular Baptist churches originated in the Independent church of Henry Jacob. There is no proof that all of the seven Particular Baptist churches of London originated in this manner."

    What proof does he give that they were of different origins? None! He painfully admits that some of these came from a separatist church....because we know this from their records. He also admits that Crosby places the origin of the Particular Bapitst churches in Separatism. Crosby, a London based Particular Baptist writer, wrote only one century after these events. Don't you think he would know? These seven churches were Devonshire Square; Broad Street, Wapping; Great St. Helens; Crutched Friars; Bishopsgate Street; Coleman Street; and Glaziers Hall.

    We know the origin of around three or four of these.....there is no evidence that they existed before the original Wapping church - even when such an antiquity would have been mentioned (ie in connection with the Blount Mission etc.) These Particular Baptists did teach that there had always been true evangelical believers who had taught baptism, not that they were in a physical succession from them. That is why they could claim the right to RESTORE baptism and the ordinances 'from scratch,' as we read in their writings. You would be hard pressed to find Calvinistic Baptists holding to their particular ideas on the law (correct ideas in my opinion) before the 1630s.

    Can you provide any historians to this effect? I have only ever read that the American Baptist churches descended from the Particulars. And many, if not most, or even virtually all, Baptist associations originated from the Philadelphia one - including the Southern Baptists....correct me if I am wrong.


    It is not a dodge.....even the Hutterian Chronicle dates the Anabaptist movement back to 1525. If you have any info to the contrary let me know.....but the Dutch Anabaptists began under Obbe Philips, who in turn was taught and baptised by people who can be traced back to the work at Zurich. Please provide some evidence that the Dutch Anabaptists even claimed to be descendants of the Waldenses (that would push your succession back to 1170 to a group who believed in seven sacramentalists).


    You seem to deny altogether that doctrinal beliefs and practices can be an indication of one group's relation to another. You obviously believe that all groups from the fanatical Montanists through the sacramental Waldenses to the Anabaptists were 'baptist' even though their beliefs and practices were totally different. The Anabaptists taught a view of salvation which would be considered highly objectionable to most Baptists today. What makes somebody a 'Baptist' in your view? please don't dodge this one.

    Also, the churches kept the faith more or less until the time of Constantine...at which time they ceased to be true churches. Define what the marks of a true church, and a true baptist church, are.

    Mark, it certainly has not been proven either 1) that the General Baptists did not originate with Smyth - only that groups descended from Helwys probably merged with Dutch Anabaptist groups in England, or 2) that the Dutch Anabaptists in the Netherlands descended from the Waldenses - we have not even discussed this, and you have provided no evidence. Martyrs Mirror was written by a Dutch Anabaptist remember.
    Dean
     
  10. Mark Osgatharp

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    Dean 198,

    Well, you sure said a whole lot of stuff, but none of it addressed the last quote in which Hanserd Knollys explicitly said that he knew, by first hand experience, that the churches with which he was associated were founded on a Baptist platform by men sent to London from other countries. Please address this quote.

    So how does that prove that the above quote referring to the "Baptists" referred specifically or exclusively to Dutch immigrants? It very well may but I have no way of knowing. But even if it does it does not mean these were not the progenators of the English Baptists.

    So since some Dutch Anabaptists who came to England held a faulty view of Christ's flesh the later English Baptists did not descend from them? How do you make such a leap in logic? The Mennonites do not hold to the "Hoffmanite" view. Does this mean they are not the descendants of the Dutch Anabaptists?

    Have you ever read John T. Christian's history? It is full of information to this effect. Moshiem says that the Anabaptists claim to have descended from the Waldenses. I used to own a history of the Mennonites written in the 1800s and it claimed a succession of Anabaptist churches along the same lines as the Landmark Baptists do (I could kick myself for getting rid of it).

    I believe no such thing. I don't claim to be able to prove the existence of Baptist churches back to Christ. My only interest in the matter is to demonstrate that those who claimed to have proved the contrary are full of proverbial baloney.

    To which one of the, in Moshiem's estimation, thirteen varieties of Anabaptists are you referring?

    What makes someone a Baptist in my view has 100% nothing to do with the historical question of the origin of the Baptists. If the Baptist churches of England originated among the Dutch Anabaptists - which they apparently did - then that is a historical fact with which we must deal whether it fits my theological views or not.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  11. dean198

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    How can we discuss when the English Baptists originated if you are not willing to define what a Baptist is? This very relevant to the historical discussion of their origin.

    I took another look at this quote....it seems he is referring to Dutch Anabaptists who came to England throughout the 16th century, and set up churches without 'making any particular covenant' - which was the practice of the separatists with their 'local church' theories. John Christian makes it the origin of the Particular Baptist churches, but this can't be - first there are no records of Particular Baptists existing before the 1630s, not in England and certainly not in other countries. Secondly, because it is contrary to other testimony from the early Particular Baptists:

    John Spilsbury:

    Obviously they had a like occasion - none of them were baptised. Spilsbury denied that they needed to go to Holland to be baptised, instead asserting that they could RESTORE baptism themselves! Don't you think if one of the seven churches in London was ancient that they would simply have gone to them to be baptised and there would never have been any discussion about how to get baptised?

    Yes, they acknowledge that there were Baptist churches at the beginning of the Reformation and before....but they did not claim lineal descent from them. If they did, why would they need to even ask the question of who could administer their own baptisms?


    You quote from Christian, look it up! He uses the word specifically of the Dutch immigrants, though he mentions the spread of Baptists amongst English people as well.


    I made no leap in logic.....I was showing you that many, if not most, of the Baptists in 16th century England were from Holland, a point you seemed to doubt.


    I shall look into this, but it would seem strange that both the Martyrs Mirror, and the Hutterian Chronicles, would be ignorant of such an origin.

    I might get back to you on it. Right now I am reading a book on the historical connection between the Unitas Fratrum and the Moravian Anabaptists......if a link can be shown from this book, then that would show a possible connection between the Moravian (and possibly Dutch) Anabaptists and the Waldenses, though not an exclusive one - either way, the Anabaptists came from the Zurich movement, even if they merged with others later on.


    Do you have a reference to Mosheim? I am referring to Anabaptists like Balthasar Hubmaier, Pilgram Marpeck, and all of the major Anabaptist leaders.

    I believe the most important succession is succession in truth and faith, not a lineal, physical one. Most Baptist (so called) churches today do not hold to the teaching and practice of the early Baptists, and hence I do not consider them legitimate churches in the same sense as the early Baptist churches, even though they may have a lineal descent. You want to maintain the descent, even if it involves a large amount of belly flopping on important issues.


    Dean
     
  12. rlvaughn

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    Interesting - contemporaries Hanserd Knollys and John Spilsbury appear to assert different origins for the Particular Baptists.

    Here's an interesing article on the general subject:
    A Critique of the English Separatist Descent Theory in Baptist Historiography
     
  13. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Dean198,

    I don't have the time right now to respond to your last post; I will as soon as I can.

    Brother Vaughn,

    Spillsbury was not commenting on the origin of the Baptists. He was commenting on the propriety of the restoring baptism in the event it had been disused. There are Baptists today who believe the exact same thing as Spillsbury on the subject, but at the same time do not deny their historical connection with known Baptist movements.

    Knollys, on the other hand, was commenting on the origin of the Baptist churches and plainy asserts they were founded by men sent to London from other countries to preach the gospel.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  14. rlvaughn

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    Without access to the context of Spillsbury's comment, it seems to imply he thought there were no churches and baptism needed to be restored. On the other hand, as you say, Knollys was directly commenting on origin. I'm not sure why such an eyewitness would be dismissed out of hand.

    Your comment on Spillsbury made me think a little about R. B. C. Howell - he was "anti-Landmark" and "anti-J. R. Graves", but also a successionist, if i remember correctly. (not so much related to the discussion, just something I connected on)

    The topic is not nearly so cut and dry as many modern historians would make it.
     
  15. Mark Osgatharp

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    Brother Vaughn,

    Not necessarily. The Anglicans charged the Baptists with being new and upstart; and by new and upstart they didn't mean new in the 17th century, they meant new in the 16th century.

    Spillsbury's statement may well have been purely theoretical, meant to answer the Anglican rhetoric. There have even been some men in the Landmark ranks who have made similar assertions; that doesn't mean that they aren't historically connected with the Baptist movements.

    In any event, even if Spillsbury had experienced some sort of baptismal restoration, apparently Knollys had not. One of the greatest errors of revisionist Baptist historians has been to attribute what happened in once instance (such as John Smyth) to all Baptists.

    I have never seen the quote referenced in any Baptist history other than Christian. This is utterly amazing considering it's monumental ramifications for a subject that has otherwise been beaten to death by Baptist historians. That just goes to show shameful disregard for John T. Christian's valuable research.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  16. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Dean198,

    Well, it may have included the Dutch Anabaptists, but since he said countries it would seem that the men came from other countries as well.

    Your statement makes sense only if you start with the ridiculous premise that: "Every church that ever existed shall leave some written record of itself." The fact is, Knollys said that he knew from first hand experience that this was the origin of the churches with which he was associated. Do you presume to more about it than he did?

    So how do you know they were right and Knollys was wrong - assuming that there is some contradiction in their testimony (which is by no means proven)? Be careful not to make the mistake that so many Baptist historians have made - making universal application of what happened in one instance.

    All your speculation aside, it doesn't matter what Spilsbury or the seven churches did. It doesn't change what Knollys said about how the churches with which he was affiliated came to be.

    I did not deny the presence of Dutch Baptists in England. I simply asked how you know that the quote under consideration was speaking specifically or exclusively of them. I didn't say it didn't - I admit that I don't know and it doesn't matter anyway. Because, whatever their origin, the quote proves there were Baptists in England in 1569 - and yet by some strange logic you assume these are not the same Baptists we encounter in England in the 17th century.

    In a footnote in Moshiem's history he states that there were 13 varities of Anabaptists, each of which though their baptism alone was valid.

    How in the world can you draw any conclusions about the Anabaptists generally from the small handful of men who left any writings at all, and those very scant? For all I know some of those 13 varieties of Anabaptists may have thought Marpeck, Hubmaier, and Menno were heretics and in fact, if Moshiem is correct, they did.

    Here is where we leave the realm of historical inquiry into the realm of doctrinal teaching. The bottom line on this subject is that Jesus Christ promised to be with His people as they evangelized, baptized, and taught His commandments, even to the end of the world. That mandates an organic succession, whether you or I can prove ourselves part of it or not.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  17. R. Charles Blair

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    Dean 198 - Surely you jest in your post of 9 Nov when you say "17th Century Bapists did not believe 'once saved always saved.'" General Baptists did not, though they were later led toward this by the Particulars, but the First London (1641-46) is explicit: Article VI - "ALL the elect being loved of God with an everlasting love, are redeemed, quickened, and saved, not by themselves, nor their own works . . . that he that rejoiceth, might rejoice in the Lord." Art. XXVI - THE same power that converts to faith in Christ, carries on the soul through all duties, temptations, conflicts, sufferings: and whatsoever a believer is, he is by grace, and is carried on in all obedience and temptations by the same." (By the way, this is a "local church" statement, though recognizing that all true churches are "to walk by one rule of truth; so also they (by all means convenient) are to have the counsel and help one of another, if necessity require it, as members of one body, in the common faith,under Christ their head." (Art. XLVII)

    While I would not personally use the term "body" to refer to all the churches together, this is still a long way from the "universal church" idea;
    they were quite evidently thinking in terms of the seven churches in their association. Some today will use the word "body" to refer to an association or convention, especially in its time of meeting.
    Peace - Charles - Ro. 8:28
     
  18. dean198

    dean198
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    I've tried this thing twice now and lost both....here are some quick quotes:

    perseverance versus eternal security - one says you have to persevere to be saved. Defined well by Article 11 of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith of 1833 which states: “That such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from mere professors.”

    Universal Church - taught by Anabaptists, Papists and Reformed. English Separatism invented local church idea.

    The first London Confession of 1646 declared: “Jesus Christ hath here on earth a spiritual kingdom, which is His Church, whom He hath purchased and redeemed to Himself as a peculiar inheritance; which Church is a company of visible saints, called and separated from the world by the word and Spirit of God, to the visible profession of faith of the gospel, being baptised into that faith, and joined to the Lord, and each other, by mutual agreement in the practical enjoyment of the ordinances commanded by Christ their head and king."


    That might not be conclusive - The Records of the Particular Baptists to 1660 writes:

    ". . .there is the same relation between the particular churches each towards the other as there is betwixt particular members of one church, for the churches of Christ do all make up one body or church in general under Christ their head as Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:24; Eph. 5:23; I Cor. 12:13. As particular members make up one particular church under the same head, christ, and all the particular assemblies are but one mount Sion, Isa. 4:5; Song 6:9."


    Likewise the 1679 Orthodox Creed of the General Baptists states: “We believe the visible church of Christ on earth is made up of several distinct congregations, which make up that one catholick church, or mystical body of Christ.”

    The Second London Confession of 1677 reflects the change that came about among the Particulars. It says, “the Catholick, or universal Church, which […] consists of the whole number of the Elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof.” The view of the invisible church is standard among Baptists in our day."
     
  19. Mark Osgatharp

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    Dean198,

    This says that the universal church is made up of all the local churches, not all believers of all ages. I know many stout Landmarkers who hold this same view. Though I think they are wrong, it is a far cry from the universal invisible church idea of modern day interdenominational fundamentalism.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  20. R. Charles Blair

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    Dean198 - As to perseverance: "many professors, not all are possessors" - no "falling from grace" here, only a recognition of false professions.

    First London, your quote: "which church is a company of visible saints, etc." - clearly local, or "particular" as they said. Independence of each congregation was not the invention; the new notion was that of Constantine, Sylvester, etc. of external rule over local congregations. Tertullian, "Prescription Against Heretics," Chs. XX- XXVI, in which he speaks of churches (plural) (no need for lengthy quotes, pp. 252-256 in the Eerdmans' set), but note esp. p. 255, col. 2: "... it is incredible that these scould have been such as to bring in some other rule of faith, differing from and contrary to that which they were proclaiming through the Catholic churches . . ." (or, fn,
    "which they were bringing before the public in a catholic way." This is not "universal church," but "churches universally," all the same in basic doctrine and therefore apostolic. His appeal was (both pre- and post-Montanist views) always to Scripture and apostolic succession of doctrine. It is very close to J. R. Graves. In fact, Bishop
    John of Bristol ("The Ecclesiastical History of the Second and Third Centuries," pp. 116-117, sums
    up: "The passages already alleged sufficiently prove that, in Tertullian's estimation, all the apostolic churches were independent of each other,
    and equal in rank and authority." Surely Brother Mark O. would agree, as would I!

    Peace- Charles - Ro. 8:28
     

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