Were there always Baptists?

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Jesus is Lord, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. Jesus is Lord

    Jesus is Lord
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    Everyone tells me that for many years, no one was allowed to read the Word of God and to believe in salvation by grace through faith only. It wasn´t permitted by the Roman Catholic "Church". Then Martin Luther "discovered" the Word again and the doctrin of salvation without works also.

    I have a hard time believing that there was no group of people (a "remnant")that believed in the true Gospel (and maybe even had parts of the Bible) during these times.

    Do you have any information on this?
     
  2. Bob Farnaby

    Bob Farnaby
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    Short answer is Yes, there have always been baptists.

    Longer answer ... not always n the organised baptist denominations. Just about any church that grows out of the new testament will be baptistic in principle, the divergences from this are essentially done for cultural reasons, not biblical ones.

    The RCC was in effect the state established church. Any survey of the different state churches will show that political and cultural elements cause divergance from scripture. ... a great reason for the true seperation of state and church ...

    Do not ever get caught in the lie that before the reformation the Roman Catholic Church was the only church around. There are a significant number of other 'orthodox' type churches wich have a history as long, and never accepted the RCC pope as head of the church. And always there have been independant churches around, either individual fellowships or smalll groups of churches of similar beliefs. Baptists by their nature usually fall into this type of grouping, and because of the changing nature often don't leave such a strong record of their history as a state church.

    Would suggest reading Phil Johnson's "Hall of Church History" as a start point on the net, plenty of other stuff if you search for it.

    Regards
    Bob
     
  3. mioque

    mioque
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    "Everyone tells me that for many years, no one was allowed to read the Word of God and to believe in salvation by grace through faith only."
    'Everyone' is wrong here!
    There weren't that many people who could read in say 10th century Northwestern Europe. Practically all of those however had acces to a Bible. A handcopied Bible written on parchment (That means you have to butcher a LARGE flock of sheep to collect the material for each copy). So private ownership of such a treasure was a bit rare.
    Those Bibles were ofcourse in Latin. But if you were learning to read in those days, you were learning how to do it in that language anyway.
    As for salvation by grace through faith only, Saint Augustinus of Hippo Regis basically formulated it like that first and he was (and still is) considered the greatest theologian of the Catholic Church by the leadership of that institution.

    "Do not ever get caught in the lie that before the reformation the Roman Catholic Church was the only church around. There are a significant number of other 'orthodox' type churches wich have a history as long, and never accepted the RCC pope as head of the church."
    The Eastern-Orthodox&Oriental-Orthodox will no doubt be vastly amused by the notion of their views being "...baptistic in principle".

    "And always there have been independant churches around, either individual fellowships or smalll groups of churches of similar beliefs."
    And this Churchhistorian has never seen any real trace of such a group.
     
  4. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    mioque,

    I don't know whether you're being disingenuous or whether you're just ignorant of church history.

    It is a fact that the Catholic hierarchy, especially before Vatican 2, discouraged reading of the Bible by the laity.

    If you don't know of any independent churches or Christians since New Testament times, may I mention the Montanists? This was one such group among many.

    Since you claim to be a "Church historian," I am amazed that you were not aware of these things. Perhaps you are suffering a temporary memory loss.
     
  5. Refreshed

    Refreshed
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    It seems that Baptist is just a title put on a certain set of beliefs. I am positive there have always been those that held to these beliefs, as they come from a literal interpretation of scripture. That does not prove anything historically, however.

    Jason
     
  6. mioque

    mioque
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    Here we go again...


    "I don't know whether you're being disingenuous or whether you're just ignorant of church history."
    That would have to be disingenuous because I got to much education in that field to be ignorant. [​IMG]

    "It is a fact that the Catholic hierarchy, especially before Vatican 2, discouraged reading of the Bible by the laity."
    I've got my doctorate researching the history behind the Bible translation created in 1929 by the Dutch Roman Catholic apologethic society "Petrus Canisius".
    That's decades before Vatican II and it was created to do the exact opposite of what you claim. That translation was made to stimulate Bible reading among the RC laypeople by translating from the original languages a readable accurate Bibleversion including the apocrypha.
    The RCC used to be extremely 'touchy' (yes that's an understatement) about 'unauthorized' translations of 'their' Holy Book, but they weren't actually opposed to lay people reading the Bible. It just had to be THEIR version and THEIR studymethods. Sort of like the KJVO movement.

    "If you don't know of any independent churches or Christians since New Testament times, may I mention the Montanists?"
    Know about them, they claimed at least 3 new prophets for starters.
     
  7. BrianT

    BrianT
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    Michael, are you saying Montanists were Baptists? Everything I've read about them would indicate otherwise.
     
  8. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Brian,

    I'm saying the question had to do with independent churches, of which the Montanists were one.

    Mioque,

    You said, "That would have to be disingenuous because I got to much education in that field to be ignorant."

    That's what I thought. [​IMG]

    If your education is as you claim it to be (and I have no reason to doubt you), then you know what I'm saying is true. I can put up some sources, but I really hate to take the trouble to dig them out. One excellent source is The Religious Bodies of America, by F.E. Mayer.
     
  9. mioque

    mioque
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    "I'm saying the question had to do with independent churches, of which the Montanists were one."
    I wouldn't describe the Montanists as an independant church.
    As long as a movement within a church is struggling for power in the hierarchy it is not an independant church.
    All those early 'independant' churches that are usually brought up have either such peculiar doctrines that you would not want to describe them as Christian (for example the manicheans), or they are competing with the mainline (?) Christians of the area and era for who get's to supply the next bishop (among others the Arians, but also the Montanists).


    By the way. Never heard of Mayer, but my education did take place on another continent, so that's not to surprising.
    The closest I came to indepth study of American Christian history was a course on the Anti-Catholicism of the SDA's and the Know Nothing Movement in the 19th and early 20th century. 2 credits worth and I still start twitching when anybody says Maria Monk. :D
     
  10. Michael Wrenn

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    The Montanists were certainly independent in that their conception of the church was very different from that of the Catholics. They believed that the church was defined as being where the Holy Soirit was and not where the bishop was. This was Tertullian's position after he joined the Montanists. I can give you a quote, but I'm at work, and my reference material is at home. Later...
     
  11. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    The Montanists are best compared to the sort of hyper-charismatics one encounters from time to time today. Once again, we are witnessing the error of 'not a Catholic'='must be good'.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  12. Baptist born Baptist bred

    Baptist born Baptist bred
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    It seems to me that there are two separate questions being discussed. Were there other groups besides the Catholics who held differing beliefs? Yes. Were they Baptist? Not exactly. If you want a brief glance at some differing viewpoints, read Vedder's "Short History of the Baptist" and if you want an opinion that says these groups were Baptist then read Carroll's "Trail of Blood."

    Personally, I don't think the Monatists, the Novationists, the Donatists, the Waldensians, the Anabaptist etc. were Baptist, but they certainly were not Catholic either. They could be described as baptistic because of various beliefs.
     
  13. BrianT

    BrianT
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    Which beliefs? Can you break it down a little?
     
  14. mioque

    mioque
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    I could have sworn I have read a text somewhere discussing a powerstruggle between a Montanist and for lack of a better word a 'Catholic' candidate for a bishophoric.
    Must have been one of about 2 dozen other movements. Apparently the 'Catholic' candidate had refused to die a martyrs death when he had the opportunity.

    Not yet 50 and already senility is setting in. :(
     
  15. rsr

    rsr
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    Perhaps here?

    http://www.gospelcom.net/dacb/stories/algeria/cyprian_.html

    Tertullian vs. Cyprian on the treatment of apostates.

    The Montanists, to me, seem to be the weakest link in the supposed chain of succession. Much we really know about them comes from either Tertullian or their enemies. And you only have to read Tertullian to realize that while he formulated the concept of the priesthood of the believer, he also believed that baptism was sacramental.


    As to whether there were "independent" churches ...

    The concept of the Latin Rite church as monolithic and strictly hierarchical is perhaps more myth than substance (until perhaps, the Reformation).

    Augustine, after all, was elected as bishop by his congregation, and the Irish church was not initially under Roman authority.
     
  16. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Only a guess, but isnt the Ethiopian church supposed to be the oldest church outside of Catholiscm still existing?
     
  17. Baptist born Baptist bred

    Baptist born Baptist bred
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    Which beliefs? Can you break it down a little? </font>[/QUOTE]Monanists: Had problems with being accused of schism and being accused of rejecting the Scripture in favor of new revelation. However, David Wright refutes this in his article "Why Were the Montanists Condemned?." They were ahead of their time in believing in a millenial reign of Christ and giving the title God to the Holy Spirit (according to C. Bigg, "Origins of Christianity.")

    Novationist: I can relate to them a little more because they sought to maintain the essential marks of a true church as purity and holiness. Furthermore, church discipline, which used to be a Baptist characteristic, was emphasized by the Novationists. I can relate to any group that supports a regenerate church membership and emphasizes holiness.

    Donatists: The Donatists did not agree with the placing those in charge who had given up the Scriptures while being persecuted. They sought to have a pure church of regenerate believers. The desire for a pure church relates well with Baptist.

    Waldensians: They relate better than most. They held the following: (1) The Holy Scriptures alone are sufficient to guide men to Salvation; (2) Against Catholic sacrements; (3) Claim Catholic Priests have no authority; (4) Everyone has the right to preach publicly; and (5) Purgatory is not real. They also sought a pure church, and I believe (although I am not sure) that they practiced believers baptism.

    The anabaptist: They are split into too many groups to generally characterize, but they did seek a pure church, reject the Catholic church, practice church discipline, and believe in salvation by grace through faith.

    With all of these, there are differences from Baptist but also some similarities. Vedder does a much better job if you have time to read him. And I apologize for advance for any typos, mistakes, or generalities. This should be a decent overview. God bless.
     
  18. Michael Wrenn

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    rsr,

    Good post.

    Yes, the early Celtic Church was very different from the RCC. And that difference and separateness lasted until the Synod of Whitby.
     
  19. mioque

    mioque
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    "Only a guess, but isnt the Ethiopian church supposed to be the oldest church outside of Catholiscm still existing? "
    Actually all those churches that fall under the headings of Catholicism, Eastern-Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy are collectively the oldest churches still existing.
    Those are the ones that can trace their organisations (as opposed to their doctrines) straight back to the New Testament era.
    Personally I never know if I'm supposed to be embarrassed, annoyed or amused by those baptists who claim otherwise.
     
  20. mioque

    mioque
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    before I forget.
    Thank you rsr, that was the text I was thinking of. [​IMG]
     

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