The Early Particular Baptists were Protestant

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Martin Marprelate, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    The earliest English Particular (ie. Calvinistic) Baptist churches were founded around 1638. The founders of such churches, like William Kiffin and Hanserd Knollys, had departed from Independent or Congregational churches when they became convinced of credobaptism. In 1644, seven such churches in London published a 'Confession of Faith.' This document was not an original composition, but was based upon a number of earlier paedobaptist confessions and documents, most notably the True Confession of 1596, and William Ames' Marrow of Theology. The first PBs, therefore did not reject Puritan theology except where it conflicted with Believers' baptism. Indeed, their aim was not to exhibit their differences to other Christians, but their similarities. Religious toleration was virtually unknown in those times, and these new illegal congregations were being accused of holding similar views to the continental Anabaptists. The Confession was intended to convince their opponents of their peaceful orthodoxy.

    The P.B. message spread rapidly across England during the Civil War and during Cromwell's Protectorate. Cromwell himself was a Congregationalist, but wished to tolerate all expressions of Christianity except Romanism.. However, after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, there was a long period of persecution of all Dissenters until the Glorious Revolution of 1688. So Baptists, Congregationalists and Presbyterians all found themselves suffering together. It was partly for this reason that in 1677, a new Baptist Confession was published (also because the PBs were losing some members to hyper-Calvinism and Quakerism). Because of the persecution, it was not ratified until after the Act of Toleration in 1689, and so has become known as the 1689 Confession. It is based on the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647, and part of its aim was to show the level of agreement between the Dissenters. There are a few differences between the 1689 and the WCF apart from those concerning baptism and church government, but the level of agreement is overwhelming.

    There were also two Baptist catechisms published in the 17th Century. The first of these was the Orthodox Catechism of Hercules Collins, Pastor of the Old Gravel Lane Particular Baptist Church in London, published in 1680. This is based upon the Heidelburg Catechism of Zachary Ursinus. Collins wrote in his preface, "I concentre with the most orthodox divines in Fundamental Principles and Articles of the Christian faith." Once again, a PB leader was eager to express his essential unity with other Protestants. This catechism is not as well-known as the Baptist catechism below because Collins added the laying-on of hands as a third ordinance.

    The Baptist Catechism, often referred to as 'Keach's Catechism,' was in fact the work of William Collins. It is based upon the Westminster Shorter Catechism, sometimes supplemented by the Larger Catechism. Once again, the use of the older documents demonstrates the close doctrinal agreement between the early Particular Baptists and their paedobaptist friends.

    All these confessions and catechisms may be found at http://www.reformedreader.org/ccc/hbd.htm
     
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  2. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    This statement is not historically accurate. One may say that "a London" particular Baptist church may have been organized around 1633-38 but one cannot say that "English" Particular Baptist Churches began around 1638. There is plenty of historical evidence to the contrary.


    Although modern historians speculate that the English Particular Baptists may have originated with the Separatist movement in England between 1630-1645, the earliest known leaders denied they originated from the Separatists or any other denomination. The three earliest and most well known leaders were John Spilsbury, William Kiffin and Hensard Knollys. Both Kiffin and Knollys had been members of the Pedobaptist Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey Separatist Church but there is absolutely no proof that John Spilsbury was. The earliest information is that both Kiffin and Knollys left the Separatist church and joined the church organized by John Spilsbury. If anyone knew the denominational origin of John Spilsbury it would be Kiffin and Knollys. However, they deny that this church was gathered by a Separatist. Knollys says concerning the origin of the seven Particular Baptist Churches of London:


    I say that I know by mine own experience (having walked with them), that they were thus gathered; Viz., Some godly and learned men of approved gifts and abilities for the Ministry, being driven out of the Countries where they lived by the persecution of the Prelates [Episcopalians-R.E.P] came to sojourn in this great City, and preached from house to house, and daily in the Temple, and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ; and some of them having dwelt in their own hired houses, and received all that came unto them, preached the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concerns the Lord Jesus Christ. And when many sinners were converted by the preaching of the Gospel, some of them believers consorted with them, and of professors a great many, and of the chief women not a few. And the condition which these Preachers, both publicly and privately, propounded to the people, unto whom they preached upon which they were to be admitted into the church was by Faith, Repentance and Baptism. And whosoever. . . .did make a profession of their Faith in Jesus Christ, and would be baptized with water, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, were admitted Members of the church; but such as did not believe, and would not be baptized, they would not admit into Church communion.”- Hensard Knollys - A Moderate Answer Unto Dr. Bastwick's Book Called Independency not God's Ordinance; London, 1645. – (emphasis mine)

    Knollys specifically states that the particular Baptist Church in London was not self-constituted by former pedobaptists, but was constituted by qualified men from the country that entered into London and preached from house to house.

    Hensard Knollys could not have said this if John Spilsbury and the church at Wapping Street was of Separatist origin. William Kiffin says of these churches:


    “It is well known to many and especially to ourselves, that our congregations as they are now, were erected and framed according to the rule of Christ BEFORE WE HEARD OF ANY REFORMATION EVEN AT THE TIME WHEN EPISCOPACY WAS AT THE HEIGHT OF ITS VANISHING GLORY.” Wm. Kiffin: A Brief Remonstrance of the Reasons of those People Called Anabaptists for their Separation; London, 1645; page 6.

    Episcopacy was not in the "height of its....glory" during 1630-1640 but it was in its vanishing stage.

    Albert H. Newman supposed that Kiffin had intended the Presbyterian reformation begun in 1640. However, Dr. John T. Christian researched this quotation and found out that it had been written to a Mr. Joseph Richart who understood Kiffin to refer to the Episcopal Reformation in the time of Henry VIII:


    Mr. Joseph Richart, who says he wrote the queries to which Kiffin replied, affirmed that he understood the Episcopal and not the Presbyterian Reformation. ‘You allege,’ he says, ‘your practice, that your congregations were erected and framed in the time of the Episcopacy, and before you heard of any Reformation’ (Richart, A Looking Glass for Anabaptists, p,7. London, 1645)


    Here were Baptists churches, according to Kiffin, before the times of Henry VIII. And this fact was well known to the Baptists. Further on Kiffin makes the claim that the Baptists outdated the Presbyterians.” - John T. Christian, A History of the Baptists, Vol. II, p. 255.


    Moreover, all of these Baptists commonly used the same texts that later Landmark Baptists would use to prove the continued succession of Baptist Churches from the Apostles. As early as 1649 Edward Drapes said:


    “I shall now in the last place show you, how long the Ordinance of baptism was, and is to continue; wherein I shall also show, the continuance of Churches, and other Ordinances of Christ, which is, Till Christ come again the second time, without sin to salvation. Till he comes to raise up our vile natural bodies, and make them like his own glorious body, which I shall first evidence to you from the Scriptures, and then answer those objections that seem to have weight in them against it…..


    Again, consider what says the Scriptures, Matt. 16:18. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Now the Church of Christ were a company of Disciples baptized, professing the doctrine of the Gospel, as I shall show more clearly afterwards. Now against this Church the gates of hell should not prevail, because it was built upon a Rock…….


    And though we cannot see a Church successively from the Apostles, yet I shall prove there has been a Church in all ages, Eph. 3:21. Unto him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end, Amen. Behold here a Church, in all ages. The Churches, and so the Ordinances of the Churches were not to abide only in the Apostles days, but to the end of the world, in all ages” – Edward Drapes, Gospel Glory, pp. 33, 35, 1649. – (emphasis mine)


    Albert Garner as early as 1645 defended the doctrine of church succession and claimed that any teaching that denied it was Satanic:

    “The Scriptures do Not Teach the Cessation of the Church or Her Ordinances

    Sixthly, the Holy Spirit makes no mention in this Scripture of the not appearing of the Church, nor the loss of her Ordinances; neither will it agree to the condition of the Church of Israel in the wilderness, from whence (as I said) I conceive the allusion to be chiefly taken.

    Because the Church and Her Ordinances Have Not Been Lost - We Can Know and Do the Things of Christ

    Wherefore I see no reason why such a conclusion should be received: to wit, that the Church is lost, and her ordinances are lost, and therefore that we can neither know, nor do any thing until the consummation of that time of the churches being in the wilderness.

    Cessation of the Church and Ordinances is a Policy of Satan

    Surely such an opinion does arise, and is maintained from the policy of Satan, and not from the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Other things might have been spoken by way of answer to that objection, but what I have said (I conceive) may suffice.” – Albert Garner, A Treatise on Baptism, 1645. – (emphasis mine)

    Throughout the 1650’s there were printed defenses of Baptist Church Succession:


    John Spittlehouse, A Vindication of the Continual Succession of the Primitive Church of Jesus Christ, now scandesly called Anabaptists, London; 1652

    Daniel King, A Way to Sion Sought Out and Found for Believers to Walk In, London, 1650 and Edinburgh, 1656


    Samuel Fisher, "Christianismus Redivium, " London; 1655.
     
    #2 The Biblicist, Sep 4, 2016
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  3. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    John Spilsbury and other Particular Baptist’s accused their opponents (Quakers, Separatists, Presbyterians, Church of England, etc.) of originating their ordinances and ordination from the Great Whore and thus were polluted and invalid. John Spilsbury said:

    “All which grounds being well considered, I cannot see by any rule of truth to approve of the baptism administered in a false Antichristian church to be God's ordinance, instituted by Christ in his New Testament. That being there administered under a false power, by a false Ministry upon a wrong subject, in a false body, and yet the same God's ordinance, this is more than I can find by the Word of God from which rule I dare not go…” John Spilsbury, A Treatise Concerning the Lawful Subject of Baptism, London, 1652 pp. 53 & 54. – (emphasis mine)

    “Again, Secondly, God is said in the Scriptures to give or to send the vessels of His House to Babylon, as 2 Chron. 36:17, 18, 21; Jer. 27:21, 22; Dan. 1:2. Now let the like be showed, wherever God is said to give or send His ordinance of baptism unto Antichrist, until then the vessels of God's house remaining His ordinance in Babylon, shall make nothing for them to prove Antichrist's sprinkling of water on the face of an infant, to be God's ordinance of Baptism, and for her being the MOTHER OF HARLOTS IS TRUE, Rev. 17.5 WHO HAS ALL FOR HER DAUGHTERS THAT DERIVE HER BAPTISM FROM HER, AS DO ALL THAT UPHOLD HER DOCTRINE OF INFANT-BAPTISM…” John Spilsbury, A Treatise Concerning the Lawful Subject of Baptism, London, 1652, pg 58.

    “I speak in subjection, I think THE LAST CHURCH OR CHURCHES, THAT IS, ALL THE REFORMED CHURCHES, STILL RETAINING INFANT'S BAPTISM, ARE AS MUCH AGAINST THE RULES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AS THE FORMER…” – John Spilsbury, A Treatise Concerning the Lawful Subject of Baptism, London, 1652, pg. 62. – (emphasis mine)

    Their opponents seized upon this statement believing the Baptists had furnished evidence for their own demise. They challenged the Baptists to prove historically that they could bridge the gap between themselves and the Apostles without going through the church at Rome. If they could not, then they had placed themselves in a dilemma. Either they too came out of the Great Harlot or they were a “new” sect.

    In regard to the charge of being “new” they denied it and responded as described above in much the same way as do modern Landmarkers today. John Spilsbury and others approached this dilemma from a unique point of view. They conceded that they did not have historical evidence to connect them to the Apostles but denied they needed anything other than the Bible to support their claims. Using the Bible, they denied that the New Testament church went out of existence during the dark ages. They denied it apostatized, and interpreted Revelation 12 and the woman hid in the wilderness for 1260 days (which they interpreted as years) to furnish them support in lieu of historical evidences.

    However, at this period in history, Baptists had no written history to support their Biblical claim to perpetuity. Since they had no historical data to support their position, by way of concession, they approached the problem as though their opponents (especially the Seekers) were correct in affirming the true churches had been lost in the dark ages. Although they denied this was true, they conceded it and then went to demonstrate how the church and ordinances could be restored based upon the Biblical example of John the Baptist. Prior to John the Baptist there was no church and no ordinances. God used an unbaptized man to originate them in the world. Spilsbury and others responded to their opponents that this is exactly how God COULD restores the church and ordinances IF they ever died out, without going through the old Harlot. Spilsbury developed this unique response in great detail but perhaps the best presentation of this argument by concession was given by Daniel King in his published work entitled “A Way to Sion.” In this treatise, King made it clear that this was an argument by way of concession only and that in reality they never believed the churches ever completely died out.


    SOME CARP AND CAVIL AT THIS WORD LOST, BUT I WOULD HAVE IT NOTED, I MEAN, AS TO THE PURITY OF PRACTICE IN RESPECT OF THE SUBJECT, NOT IN RESPECT OF THE RULE; AND I SPEAK IN THE NOTIONIST'S SENSE, GRANTING IT BY WAY OF CONCESSION ONLY.” – Daniel King, a pamphlet: “A Way to SionSought Out and Found for Believers to Walk in, Printed in London, 1650; reprinted at Edinburgh by Christopher Higgins, 1656. – (emphasis mine)

    King made it clear that he used the term “lost” only by way of concession. None of the Baptists believed true churches had ever been “lost” during the dark ages and quoted scriptural promises concerning the perpetuity of the church. However, by way of concession, he demonstrated how the true ordinances and the church could be regained IF they had become lost in regard to practice. Just as God used an unbaptized man to originate baptism and then furnish baptized believers to form a church, so likewise, God could do it again without going through the Old Harlot IF the churches ever went out of existence. Their point was that the Scriptures were completely sufficient. They were sufficient as divine authority to repudiate the idea that the Lord’s churches went out of existence. They were sufficient to explain how God could restart the ordinances and churches apart from going through the Great Harlot IF true churches ever did go out of existence. Notice that these two propositions were contradictory to each other. They believed the former (church perpetuity), but being without historical confirmation to support the continued perpetuity of Baptists from the Apostles, they resorted to the latter in polemical debate by way of concession only. Either way, they contended that the Scriptures were sufficient or there was no excuse to trace the Lord’s churches through the Great Harlot of Rome.

    However, there were some among them that wanted to put to silence the historical charge of their enemies by going to the continent and get authority from those who were well recognized by all to have historical succession back to the Apostles. On the other hand, John Spilsbury and others rejected this believing they needed no other proof than the Bible.


    “Secondly, the ordinance of baptism instituted by Christ is so essential to the constitution of the Church under the New Testament that none can be true in her constitution without it… For the ground and pillar that bears up the truth, and that truth so born up, stands and falls together, as I Tim. 3:15. So that where there is not a true constituted Church, there is no true constituted Church-ordinance: and where there is a true Church ordinance in its constitution, there is at least presupposed a true Church also.” –John Spilsbury, A Treatise Concerning the Lawful Subject of Baptism, London, 1652, pg. 52. – (emphasis mine)

    He also made it clear that Particular Baptists did not believe that one could start up baptism among themselves by self-baptism when he said:

    “No Place For Schism Or Self-Baptism. I think by the same rule, I must disclaim them, and so separate away from them, if they do not repent, and not to leave a true Church, and true ordinances, and go apart and erect another Church, ordinances and worship of ourselves apart from it, in opposition to it, this in my judgment is as far from any Rule in the Gospel of Christ, as for a MAN TO BAPTIZE HIMSELF. Neither of which do I approve of”. – John Spilsbury, A Treatise Concerning the Lawful Subject of Baptism, London, 1652. pg 53. – (emphasis mine)

    When John Spilsbury spoke of the Great Commission as given by Christ in Matthew 28:19-20 he regarded it as the “rule and order which Christ left…for the constituting of His church.” In other words, Matthew 28:19-20 was designed and given by Christ for the purpose of constituting churches according to a given “rule and order.” He said:

    “Christ Left His Rule and Order For The Constitution of His Church, Faith and Baptism. And lastly, I dare not go from that RULE AND ORDER WHICH CHRIST LEFT IN HIS LAST TESTAMENT, FOR THE CONSTITUTING OF HIS CHURCH, AND TAKING MEMBERS INTO THE SAME, WHICH IS BY FAITH AND BAPTISM.” – John Spilsbury, A Treatise Concerning the Lawful Subject of Baptism, London, 1652, pg 53. – (emphasis mine)

    Moreover, it is just as clear, that Spilsbury did not need historical evidence to sustain his belief in the perpetuity of New Testament Churches. He believed the Bible alone was sufficient evidence for that and IF EVER true churches did go out of existence God could raise them up again apart from any harlot Christianity as he did by John the Baptist.
     
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  4. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    In addition to the above evidences, you have archeological evidences of dated tombstones in the cementary of such churches as "the church in the hop Garden" which date it back to the 14th century. There are other old English Baptist churches who also have graveyards dating back to the 15th century. You have laws enacted against Baptists in England during the reigns of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth.

    The earliest Baptist historians rejected their Protestant origin of Baptists unanmiously (Evans, Crosby, etc.). All early Baptist historians in America and Britian rejected the Protestant origin of Baptists. Only with the new breed of universal churchite Baptist historians does this theory arise.
     
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  5. The Biblicist

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    Baptists did not begin as Protestants and the ultimate evidence is that none of their earliest confessions included any belief in a universal invisible church consisting of all the elect in all denominations which is a Protestant flagship. Baptists reserved the concept of all elect in their view of the kingdom and in the glory church view. I will show that no confession by Baptist prior to 1689 expressed belief in a universal invisible church consisting of all the elect in all denominations on earth. Then I will shew that when section one in the 1689 is interpreted in its context and with the Westmnister Confession that it repudiates that very Protestant view of the church. It makes no difference if my opponents can find individual Baptists that professed such a theory because individual baptists came out of Protestantism with that theory. The fact is that Baptists as a whole when putting forth their confessions denied or completely ignored such a theory.

    A True Confession in 1562 states there is but "one church" but then defines that "one church" in local visible terms in sections 17-18 while distinguishing the church from the kingdom, which kingdom consists of all the elect in sections 15-16. In the introduction it states:

    That there is buta one God, one Christ, one Spirit, one Church, one truth, one Faith,b one Rule of obedience to all Christians, in all places.

    But then in the section where it defines the church it distinguishes it from the kingdom:

    15 That touchingq Kingdom, beeing risen, ascended, entred into glory, set at the right hand of God, al povvre in Heaven and earth giue vnto him; vvhich povvre heer novv exerciseth ouer all Angells and men, good and dad [bad], to the preservation and saluation of the elect, to the overruling and destruction of the reprobate;5 communicating and applying the benefits, virtue and frutes of his prophecy and Priesthood vnto his elect, namely to the remission, subduing, and takeing avvay of their sinnes, to their justification, adoption-of-sonnes, regeneration, sanctification, preservation & stregthning in all their spirituall conflicts against Sathan, the vvorld & the flesh &c. continually dvvelling in, governing & keeping their hearts in his tue [true] faith and fear by his holy spirit, vvhich havingt once give yt, hee never taketh avvay from them, but by yt still begetteth and nourisheth in them repentance, faith, loue, obedience, comfort, peace, ioy, hope, and all christian vertues, vnto immortallitie, notvvithstanding that yt be sometymes through sinne and tentation, interrupted, smothered, and as yt vvere overvvhelmed for the tyme. Againe on the contraryv ruling in the vvorld over his enimies, Sathan, and all the vessels of vvrath; limiting, vsing, restrayning them by his mightie povvre, as seemeth good in diuiue vvisdome and justice, to the execution of his determinate counsell, to vvit to their seduction, hardning & condemnation, delyvering them vp to a reprobate mynde, to bee kept in darcknes, sinne and sensuallitie vnto judgment.

    q r. Cor. 15, 4. etc. 1. Pet. 3, 21. 22. Mat. 28, 18, 20. r Josh. 5, 14. Zech. 1, 8. etc. Mark 1, 27. Heb. 1. 14. a Eph. 5, 26, 27. Ro. 5, and 6. and 7. and 8. Chap. Rom. 14, 17. Gal. 5, 22. 23. 1. Joh. 4, 13. etc. t Psal. 51, 10. 11. 12. and 89. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. Job. 33, 29. 30. Esa. 54, 8. 9. 10. Joh. 13, 1. and 16. 31. 32, with Luc. 22, 31. 32. 40. 2. Cor. 22, 7. 8. 9. Eph. 6, 10. 11. etc. Rom. 11, 29. Gal. 5, 17. 22. 23. v Job. 1, 6. and 2. Chap. 1. King. 22. 19. Esa. 10, 5. 15. Rom. 9, 17. 18. Rom. 1, 21. and 2. 4. 5. 6
    . Eph. 4, 17. 18. 19. 2. Pet. 3, 3. 1.. Thess. 5, 3. 7. Esa. 57, 20. 22. 2. Pet. 2, the whol Chapter.

    16 That this Kingdom shall bee then fully perfected vvhen hee shal thex second tyme come in glorie vvith his mightie Angells vnto iudgment, to abolish all rule, authoritie and povvre, to put all his enimies vnder his feet, to seperate and free all his chosen from them for ever, to punish the vvicked vvith everlasting perdition from his presence, to gather, ioyne, and carry the godly with himself into endlesse glory, and then to delyver, up the Kingdome to God, even the Father, that so the glorie of the father may bee full and perfect in the Sonne, the glorie of the Sonne in all his members, and God bee all in all.

    x Dan. 12, 2. 3. Joh 5, 22. 28. 29. Mat. 25, 31. 1. Cor. 15. 24. Mat. 13, 41. 49. 2. Thes. 1, 9. 10. 1. Thes. 4, 17. Joh. 17, 22. 23. 1. Cor. 15, 28.

    [xv] 17 That in the meane tyme, bisides his absolute rule in the world, Christ hath here in earth ay spirituall Kingdome and ?canonicall regiment in his Church ouer his servants, which Church hee hathz purchased and redeemed to himself, as a peculiar inheritance (notwithstandinga manie hypocrites do for the tyme lurk emongest the) bcalling and winning them by the powre of his word vnto the faith, seperating them from emongst vnbeleevers, from idolitrie, false worship, superstition, vanitie, dissolute lyfe, & works of darknes, &c; making them a royall Priesthood, an holy Nation, a people set at libertie to shew foorth the virtues of him that hath called them out of darknes into his meruelous light, dgathering and vniting them together as members of one body in his faith, loue and holy order, vnto all generall and mutuall dutyes, einstructing & governing them by such officers and lawes as hee hath prescribed in his word; by which Officers and lawes hee governeth his Church, and byf none other.


    y Joh. 18. 36. Heb 3, 6. and 10. 21. 1. Tim. 3, 15. Zach. 4, 17. z Act. 20, 28. Tit. 2, 14. a Mat. 13, 47. and 22. 12. Luk. 13, 25. b Mar. 16, 15. 16. Col. 1, 21, 1. Cor. 6 11. Tit. 3, 3. 4. 5. c Esa. 52. 11, Elr. 6, 21. Act. 2, 40. 2. Cor. 6, 14. Act. 17, 3. 4. and 19. 9. 1.Pet. 2, 4. 5. 9. 25. d Esa. 60, 4. 8. PsaI. 110, 3. Act. 2 41. Eph. 4, 16. Col. 2, 5. 6. e Esa. 62, 6. Jer. 3, 15, Ezek. 34. Zech. 11, 8. Heb. 12, 28. 29. Mat. 28, 20. f Mat. 7, 15. and 24. 23. 24. 2. Tim. 4, 3. 4. Jer. 7, 30. 31. and 23. 21. Deu. 12, 32. Reu. 2, 2. & 22. 18. 19

    18 That to thisi Church hee hath made the promises, and giuen the seales of his Covenant, presence, loue, blessing and protection:h Heere are the holy Oracles as in the side of the Arke, suerly kept & puerly taught. Heere arel all the fountaynes and springs of his grace continually replenished and flowing forth. Heere isk hee lyfted up to all Nations, hither heel inuiteth all men to his supper, his manage feast; hither oughtm all men of all estates and degrees that acknowledg him their Prophet, Priest and King to repayre, to been enrolled emongst his houshold seruants, to bee vnder his heauenly conduct and government, to leade their lyues in his walled sheepfold, & watered orchard, to haue communion heere with the Saincts, that they may bee made meet to bee partakers of their inheritace in the kingdome of God.

    g Lev. 26, 11. 12. Mat. 28, 19. 20. Rom. 9, 4. Ezek. 48. 35, 2. Cor. 6. 18 h Esa. 8, 16. 1. tim. 3, 15. and 4. 16. & 6. 3. 5. 2. Tim. 1, 15. tit. 1, 9. Deu. 31. 26. 1 Psal. 46, 4. 5. Ezek. 47, 1. etc. Joh. 38, 39. k Isa. 11. 12. Joh. 3, 14. Isa. 49, 22. 1 Esa. 55. 1. Mat. 6, 33. & 22. 2. Pro. 9, 4. 5. Joh. 7, 37. m Deu. 12, 5. 11. Esa. 2, 2. 3. Zach. 14, 16. 17. 18. 19. n Esa. 44. 5. Psal. 87, 5. 6. Can. 4. 12. Gal. 6, 10. Col. 1, 12. 13. Eph. 2, 19.


    The Short Confession of Faith in 1609 by John Smyth describes the church only in local visible terms:

    (12) That the church of Christ is a company of the faithful; baptised after confession of sin and of faith, endowed with the power of Christ.

    (13) That the church of Christ has power delegated to themselves of announcing the word, administering the sacraments, appointing ministers, disclaiming them, and also excommunicating; but the last appeal is to the brethren of body of the church.


     
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  6. rsr

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    First, there are a couple of questions being discussed in this thread: Did the early Particulars consider themselves Protestants and what did they mean by the usage of "The Church."

    On the first, there is really not enough evidence to know. The early Particulars were engaged in what was sometimes a life-and-death struggle with the Presbyterians, who had gained political ascendancy in the mid-1640s with the victory of the Parliament over King Charles. There are, indeed, writings that reject any connection with English Protestantism, but the fact is the Particulars endorsed a good many of the Presbyterians' and Congregationalists' positions, most especially on soteriology, but, of course, not on ecclesiology and baptism. It is hard to find common ground with a man when he wants to kill you or slap you into prison. It is worth noting that many, if not most, of the early Particular leaders came out of Separatist or Independent congregations, and some through Anglicanism. (The evidence on Spilsbury is inconclusive; there is no evidence to prove one way or the other.)

    As to the early Particulars' usage of "The Church," I am indebted to a prolonged conversation with Biblicist that made me expand my reading. I am especially indebted to a post by Matt Ward http://mattward97.weebly.com/articles/john-tombess-answer-1-the-context in which he examined what the early Particulars might have meant by "The Church," as opposed to churches.

    From this reading, you could surmise that the "universal church" was the sum total of baptized believers, i.e., Baptists. (Jessey would be an exception, but he's not considered by some to be a "real" Baptist, like Bunyan.) Yet the early Particulars were not of one mind on how this played out on this, except to stress that baptism was into the "The Church," not into a particular congregation.

    But this definition of "The Church" is not entirely satisfactory. The 1677/1689 London confession takes a different tack, as Biblicist has noted.

    This is a careful departure from the Westminster — "(with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible," The signers said that no one can determine the actual workings of the Holy Spirit within those who are members of visible churches (evidenced from the writings of the early Particulars), but that "The Church" consists of "the whole number of the elect." The early Particulars did not consider that only those who had been baptized properly were the only ones saved, but they did not necessarily consider those had not been properly baptized members of "The Church."

    Here is the difficulty: William Kiffin, Hanserd Knollys and William Collns were signers of the 1644/46 Confession and the 1677/1689 Confession. What made them agree to the latter wording when they had agreed to a different formulation previously?
     
  7. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    This is the problem: I don't think there is any historical evidence. Where are the church records of this Particular Baptist Church that Spilsbury pastored before coming to London? Where are the court records of any of its members being arrested? All we have are vague and off-hand references.Let me say that I would be delighted to find evidence of a PB church in England earlier than around 1638, and if you have any real evidence, I shall be pleased to hear of it.

    Notice that the title of the thread speaks of Particular (ie. Calvinistic) Baptists. I am aware of Anabaptists being in Britain from the 1530s. In March 1535, there is a Royal proclamation, warning that "of late many strangers, born out of the King's obedience, are arrived and come into this realm, which albeit that they were baptized in their infancy and childhood according to the ordinance of the universal Church of Christ........in contempt of that holy sacrament of baptism so given and received, they have of their own presumption and authority lately rebaptized themselves......
    The King's most royal majesty....minding above all things to save his loving subjects.....from falling into any erroneous opinions and damnable heresies......infected by the communion and conversation of such corrupt, seditious and erroneous persons: ordaineth and staitly chargeth and commandeth that all and singular strangers now being in his realm....that have or do hold or teach those or any other erroneous opinions or heresies against God and his Holy Scriptures shall within twelve days next after this present proclamation depart out of the realmand of all his other dominions on pain to suffer death........"

    We learn from various sources that around 20 Dutch Anabaptists had been arrested. Seven abjured their faith, the rest were burned- two in London, the rest being despatched around the country to be burned as a warning.

    However, these folk were followers of Melchior Hofmaan and held to various errors: " ....Whose opinions were: First that in Christ is not two natures, God and man. Secondly: that Christ took neither flesh nor blood of the virgin Marie [sic]: thirdly that children of infidels shall be saued: Fourth: that baptisme of infants is of none effect: Fiftly, that the sacrament of Christ's bodie is but bread onely: sixtly, that he who after his baptisme sinneth wittingly, sinneth deadly, and cannot be saued." (John Stow, The Annales of England).

    This is the earliest official record of Anabaptism or rebaptism in England

    It seems that almost every Anabaptist arrested in England over the next 30 years held to the 'Celestial flesh' Christology of Hofmaan. My reference here is Religious radicalism in England, 1535-1565 by C. J. Clement (a PhD thesis). Clement has the court documents and anything else he can find of every Anabaptist during those years. There is nothing that he has found that gives evidence of orthodox Particular Baptists being discovered over those years.
     
  8. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    I don't have the book "The Church in the Hop garden; a Chatty Account......" by John Stanley, but from all reviews that I've read, evidence for a Baptist church is purely anecdotal. The original conventical was Lollard.
    I am currently researching the Lollards for a series of blog articles I'm writing. I would be delighted to find evidence that Lollards were baptistic, but I haven't found it yet. I have read that Walter Brut and Sir John Oldcastle were Baptists and were at a Baptist church at a place called Ochlon Court on the borders of England and Wales. However, I have looked in vain for any evidence in their own writings or the court proceedings against them or their defense that would point to that and I can't find it. John Wycliffe had nothing in particular to say about baptism and nor did the early Lollards. I haven't finished my research in those who came later, but I have not found anything yet.
     
  9. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    I don't now whether Hercules Collins meets your criteria for an 'earliest Baptist,' but here is part of his preface to his 'Orthodox Catechism (1680).

    'Now albeit there are some differences between many Godly Divines and us in Church Constitution, yet inasmuch as these things are not the Essence of Christianity, but that we do agree in the fundamental Doctrine thereof, there is sufficient ground to lay aside all bitterness and prejudice, and to labour to maintain a spirit of Love each to other.

    Also, it must be remembered that all the early PBs were covenantal, and covenant theology was not a Baptist innovation. The PBs were pleased to adopt CT from the peadobaptists and adapt it to a credobaptist understanding. Nehemiah Coxe, the probable compiler of the 1677/1689 Confession, I the introduction to his book, A discourse of the Covenants, declares that he was 'happily prevented' from writing on the Mosaic Covenant because the Paedobaptist John Owen had just published his third volume of his commentary on Hebrews, and Coxe found himself in total agreement with it. He wrote, " I now refer my reader there for satisfaction about it which he will find commensurate to what might be expected from so great and learned a person."

    For his part, Owen was a great admirer of John Bunyan and helped him get his books published.
     
  10. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    Martin, I see that you are well enough studied on this subject to understand that prior to 1640 it was illegal to assemble separate from the state church. Putting anything into writing would be like writing your own death warrant. Do you really think Baptists would be that stupid? Do you think demanding that kind of evidence for that period of time is practical or reasonable?

    Whitsitt made similar mistakes because he was insufficiently acquainted with the historical period he was attempting to research. John T. Christian approached it much more scholarly and with much more common sense. Christian did not demand the impossible or the unlikely. He took statements made by those who were first hand observers and took them at their words that they had not self-organized, self-baptized. Spilsbury completely and utterly condemns self-baptism which could not be the case if an unbaptized person organized and constituted the asemblies in London as you suggest.

    All the available evidence clearly denies the protestant origin theory of Particular Baptists. Indeed, all the available evidence denies any specific point of Baptist origins in the 16th century or even the 15th century. If a person considers the time being examined, the laws that are in place, and uses just common sense rather than demanding unreasonable evidences for that period, then the conclusions by all early English Baptist historians and all early American Baptist historians is sound and solid scholarship.
     
  11. The Biblicist

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    What has this to do with protestant origins of Particular Baptists or what early English and American Baptist historians claim for our origins???? No Baptist believes that baptism or the church has anything to do with "the essence of Christianity." All Particular Baptists are in some sense covenant theologians in respect that we believe that salvation is the working out of God's eternal purpose or his everlasting covenant of redemption. John Bunyan was no friend to Baptists as he accepted accepted pedobaptized believers into his assembly and was thoroughly renounced by Particular Baptist Associations. The Puritans were no friends to Particular Baptists as their covenant theology was not the same in kind. Sure there was common agreement on the doctrine of grace but that is as far as it went.

    The friendly jestures made by Particular Baptists to pedobaptist should not be interpreted of approval or recognition of their congregations as New Testament churches but rather the desire to live in peace as they had been the objects of persecution by these pedobaptists for centuries.

    I can find a early Baptist to support any position I care to choose, but that is not the issue. The issue is what did the majority of Baptists, as represented by their early confessions and associational minutes approve and disapprove? They did not believe that John Bunyans' church was a scriptural church much less outright pedobaptist churches were New Testament churches.
     
  12. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    I not only have a copy but was the publisher of the last edition of this book in the states. You have a people that have lived in the same geographical area for hundreds of years. You are dealing with an era where it would be suicide to put into print anything that would identify you with illegal assemblying. You have gravestones in the same church cemetary for centuries. What else can one possibly demand for that era under that kind of circumstances when you have no dissenting voices of people in the same area???? That is about as solid evidence as one can possibly hope for in those circumstances.
     
  13. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    The problem is there is, for the reasons cited above by The Biblicist, a documentary black hole in regards to Anglo-American Baptist origins.
     
  14. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    What amazes me is that "scholars" who claim the "new scientific historical method" of research will enter into a period of history where the enemies of Baptists passed laws to eradicate them, make their assemblies illegal, openly perverted what they really believed, and then on the basis of the testimonies of such adversaries who in addition claim that Baptists were new and pedobaptist in origin believe them over the testimony of the persecuted and defamed which declare the very opposite simply because the outlawed, persecuted Baptists were not stupid enough to provide written documentation during the very period that such written documentation would have had them imprisoned or killed. Tell me there is no bias here?

    Early Baptist historians were more scholarly, sane and common sensed in their approach. They considered all of the historical climate (persecution, laws, perversions) and drew a common sense conclusion that such adversaries were the last ones to believe with regard to either the doctrines or the origin of Baptists.
     
  15. The Biblicist

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    Yes, historians can cite examples where a particular congregation may have originated but they have never been able to cite where Baptists have originated. Benjamin Evans without doubt believed the English Baptists were unquestionably rooted in the Anabaptists and quoted Mosheim's words about the origin of Anabaptists being hidden in the depths of antiquity.

    However, what I find amazing is that those who embrace the "new scientific historical method" willing embrace and call Roman Catholicism in their history books as "the church" when dealing with Constantine forward to the Reformation. Men like John MacArthur and former radio host of the Bible Answer Man Walter Martin would speak of Rome as "the church" during the pre-Reformation period.
     
  16. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    Yet we have all sorts of detail about the Independent church in Southwark. We know roughly when it was founded; we know who its Pastors were; we know who left it at various times. We know that eventually it became a Particular Baptist church. We know nothing about PB churches before 1633 (possibly) or 1638 (definitely).
    Yet we have lots of evidence. We know that 3 or 4 people were burned at the stake in Kent in 1511 for Lollardy, two in London in 1517, seven in Coventry in 1519 and six in Lincoln in 1521 We know what they were accused of and we know something of their sentence. Rebaptism never comes up. earlier, we have forty-odd surviving Lollard sermons, we have writings or sermons from Nicholas Hereford, Walter Brut and others; we have an account of a lengthy interrogation of William Thorpe by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Arundel. The question of baptism is not mentioned so far as I can see. I am open to correction. I am very much an amateur historian but I try to do my research thoroughly.
    Yet you will know that the first Anabaptists in 1525 were self-baptized. Conrad Grebel baptized George Blaurock, and then Blaurock baptized him and the others (both by pouring rather than immersion).
    Yet there is no eveidence that Spilsbury came from outside London. According to a scurrilous poem about him (which is all we have to go on since the extract from Knollys which you quote does not name him) he lived in Aldersgate, London and worked as a weigher of hay. He may also possibly have been a cobbler and a 'maker of Irish Stockings.' As for his baptism, I have no evidence and nor do you. In 1641, a Londoner, Richard Blunt, having come to the conclusion that baptism should be by immersion was sent off to Holland by his church to be baptized by a Mennonite group. In 1642, the Puritan Praisegod Barebones described immersion as 'a new way of baptizing.' The inference of this is that previous adult baptisms had been by affusion.

    Finally, I would like to lay out my own position once more. I am firmly of the belief that baptism of adults by immersion is the only correct way. However, I do not believe that baptism is of the essence of the Christian faith and I am happy to recognize all churches where the 5 solas of the Reformation are upheld and the word of God is faithfully preached. Sad to say, there are hundreds of Baptist churches in the UK where this is not the case and I will not hold them to be true churches merely because they have the ordinance correct. I therefore find myself more in agreement with Bunyan than with Kiffin and others on this matter.

    I shall not be contributing to this board from a week or two. I have a pile of work to do and am then taking a short holiday. I shall read through your posts again and will be very interested to read anything else you may wish to contribute. I am finding the conversation very interesting and am learning a lot. :)
     
  17. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    I should also have mentioned a Lollard book.
    In 1415, John Claydon, a currier in London, was burned at the stake for possession of a Lollard book, The Lanterne of Litz ['the Lantern of Light']. This is a booklet that sets out who Christ is and what is His work, and who Antichrist is and what is his work, showing the Pope to be antichrist. Some people attribute it to Wyclif, but there is no evidence. Once again, I have not found any mention of baptism. http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/dean-medieval-english-political-writings-lanterne-of-light
     
  18. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    ]

    Are you forgetting the law of the land prior to 1640?

    These legal records are the very reason churches did not keep written records or can't you see that?

    How do you know this was the "first" Anabaptists? Who says they are? A Pedobaptist Article? You know there is a great dispute over these so-called facts as well. Why are you and universal church historians so eager to believe Pedobaptists records over Anabaptists themselves????

    I just provided you first account testimony that said they were organized by preachers (plural) that came outside of London but you are more inclined to believe Pedobaptists than the Baptists that were involved directly in the organizations!!! Ask yourself why Martin? Why are you so willing to believe the enemies of the Baptists over the Baptists themselves. You can't get a more clearer testimony and more clearer denial of pedobaptist origin than I provided you with by an eye witness among these very Baptists but you refuse to believe him?



    What in the world are you talking about?

    Hensard Knollys - A Moderate Answer Unto Dr. Bastwick's Book Called Independency not God's Ordinance; London, 1645.

    Who are you now believing Martin? Pedobaptist writers or Baptists? You need to ask yourself why are you so eager to believe pedobaptist accusations over the Baptist themselves???

    And so you completely repudiate Spilsbury article on baptism and self-baptism?????? You are now going to build your historical premises on "inference" over Spilsbury's complete repudiation of affusion, self-baptism and rejection of pedobaptist churches as New Testament churches?????

    Again Martin, you need to ask yourself why are you so eager to take a position against Baptists and their own testimonies and believe the arguments from their enemies????


    No, apparently you do not believe this is the only correct way because your whole argument is based upon being a Baptist who originates from pedobaptism and how can anyone repudiate the origin of their own baptism (from affusion) without justifying affusion as an acceptable basis for church constitution. Spilsbury denied the very thing you are asserting. Remember Job's claim? Can a clean thing come out of an unclean? No, not one. You




    This is a canard! A false arguement as no true Baptist believes that baptism is essential to salvation - none! You are building a straw man that simply does not exist. The issue is not the Christian faith but what constitutes a true New Testament Church! Baptists believe one must be saved BEFORE membership and always have and so to argue against baptism on the basis of "christian faith" is a complete red herring! The true argument is what is essential to make a true New Testament church and Spilsbury has it right - where there is no true baptism there can be no true New Testament congregation!





    Martin, lets be clear! Saying that you recognize them as "Christians" is one thing, but saying you recognize them as "churches" of Christ is completely another thing UNLESS you believe salvation and church membership are inseparable????

    There are no churches that can be found in the pages of the New Testament composed of UNBAPTIZED believers. On the other hand there are believers that are found unbaptized outside of New Testament churches (Apollos). You are confusing the church with salvation in your argumentation. You have no scripture at all to support your Bunyan ecclessiology - none!

    The Associational Baptists repudiated Bunyan and all like him as true Baptists as they denied his church was properly constituted according to Scriptures on the very same premise that you are now embracing and identifying yourself with Bunyan.


    Well Martin, I hope hope you get your rest and work done and come back. Please don't misinterpret my passion for what I believe to be true as any form of personal animosity against you. I like you but I don't like your position. We of course do share lots in common in other areas.
     
    #18 The Biblicist, Sep 6, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  19. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    I have not been quoting from Paedobaptist books nor relying on them. I am trying to do proper historical research which involves evidence, and personal testimony is one form of that but it needs backing up with some form of other evidence. I started my research into the Lollards with the hope of finding that some of them were baptistic, but the evidence simply isn't there.
    Do you really not know where the account of the first Anabaptist baptism comes from?

    "After the prayer, George of the House of Jacob stood up and besought Conrad Grebel for God's sake to baptize him with the true baptism upon his faith and knowledge. And when he knelt down with such a request and desire, Conrad baptized him, since at that time there was no ordained minister to perform such work." [From the 'Large Chronicle of the Hutterian Brethren']
    After being baptized, George [Blaurock] baptized Grebel and the others present. Since he knelt down, the baptism must have been by affusion. Clearly they did not know of any baptized person to do the job for them. This event is quoted in all sorts of books including The Reformers & their Stepchildren which you recommended on this board recently.

    When I get back from my holiday I will review what you have written and try to give a more detailed response.
     
  20. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    Is this book still available for purchase, and, if so, how can it be ordered?

    Thanks!
     

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