What did Historic Baptists believe?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by whetstone, May 12, 2005.

  1. whetstone

    whetstone
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    By my understanding, historic Baptists have held a position not unlike that labelled 'Calvinism' despite Baptists being separate from mainline 'protestantism.' This is Baptist Board- so I have to ask the non-Calvinistic Baptists if they a) Realize their position is not in line with the historic Baptist position or b) Can offer evidence that Baptists have always believed a counter-Calvinistic position. Some cite the obscure General Baptists- but they fail to offer evidence that these Baptists came before Particular Baptists. Do any of the Baptists here have such proof? I'd be very interested to read it.
     
  2. OldRegular

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    Tomas J. Nettles in his book By His Grace and for His Glory states that the General Baptists separated from the Particular Baptists in England, apparently early in the 17th Century [page 55].

    This book, by the way, presents a good history of Baptists including the decline in the teaching of the Doctrines of Grace among Baptists in this country.
     
  3. El_Guero

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    Whetstone,

    That is the first that I have heard of your understanding. Where did you get that?
     
  4. TCassidy

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    The first General Baptist church under John Smyth was founded in Amsterdam in 1608. Its members were English refugees who had fled England to escape religious persecution.

    Smyth and Thomas Helwys, his assocate, fled persecution in England but were not yet baptists. While in Amsterdam they came into contact with Dutch Mennonites who were Anabaptists and taught baptism of believers only.

    By 1608 Smyth decided his dissenting church was not a valid church because most of the members had only been baptised as infants. Smyth disbanded the church 1608 and reformed it on the basis of a personal confession of faith in Christ, followed by believer’s baptism. However none of the members had been properly baptized as believers so Smyth baptized himself and then baptized the others.

    In 1611 Helwys led some of the people from that church back to London, where they set up the first Baptist church on English soil. They were General Baptists believing in a general atonement. The General Baptists also believed that it was possible for one to fall from grace or lose his salvation.

    The Particular Baptists came into existence later. The believed in particular atonement. In 1633 a group of believers withdrew from a dissenting congregation in London and were rebaptized as believers at that time.
     
  5. Bro. James

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    Beliefs of "Historic" Baptists:

    Are shrouded in conjecture. History is written by the conquerors--along with their biases.

    "The Baptists" is a misnomer. It is a generalization. True Baptists do not believe in a universal body--visible or invisible.

    "Baptistic practices" can be traced back to the shores of Galilee, when Jesus called out the first assembly. This became known as "The Faith" once for all given to the saints, Jude 3.

    This faith and practice has been handed to every generation--which fulfills Mt.16:18, 28:20; and Eph. 3:21. Tracing the truth is not about a name--it is a faith and practice tenaciously maintained by The Lord through The Holy Spirit which indwells every New Testament Assembly.

    This is the Bride of Christ--she has been in every generation--holy, without spot, wrinkle or any such thing--undefiled, the pillar and ground of the truth.

    To identify her in history, one must find those who contended for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. These are the ones who never bowed to Rome--nor her daughters. These are the ones who refused to baptize their infants and rejected baptismal regeneration in particular. This created many martyrs. Such people were burned and beheaded--their babies dashed and drowned.

    The war against God continues to rage.

    The Bride is still waiting for the Bridegroom. Her witnesses are still here.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  6. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    I can't imagine Nettles would say that the General Baptist originated by separation from the Particular Baptists. I haven't read Nettles in that book, but that doens't sound like him. Are you sure you read that correctly? For a historian of his caliber, that seems a bit strange. I think Thomas is correct, that the Particular Baptists came into existence later.

    John Smyth, IMO, eventually left the Baptistic position. Helwys carried on back to England, as Thomas said.

    Just a word about James' comment on the universal or invisible body. It is incorrect to say that Baptists do not believe in it. To be accurate, he should have said "some Baptists do not believe in it," or "Some Baptists do believe in it." Be careful not to make broad sweeping generalizations that are inaccurate. We can disagree about the issues, but don't pretend that one is the only correct position on matters of legitimate dispute.

    James is correct to say that the beliefs of historic Baptists are shrouded in some doubt, particularly since church history is clouded somewhat from a non-Catholic viewpoint until about 1500AD.

    One last comment, about Thomas statement that the Particular Baptists were rebaptized as believers. If memory serves me correctly, they would not have called it rebaptism, since they did not admit that their "infant baptism" was baptism at all. For us Baptists, "baptism" prior to belief is not baptism at all, and therefore believer's baptism is not rebaptism; it is the first baptism. Do you see it differently Thomas?

    [ May 13, 2005, 09:33 AM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  7. Bro. James

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    Generalizations...

    "Baptists" believe thus and such" is a generalization.

    That "True Baptists" do not believe in universal-visible(e.g. RCC) nor invisible(e.g."Protestants") is not a generalization.

    One step further: True Baptists are not "Protestants". Their Faith and Practice predates Luther, etal, by 1500 years. They also precede "Nicea" by several centuries--(Constantine's "in hoc signo vinces" nightmare--i.e. a revelation from Satan).

    These are not generalizations, Brother, they are biblical/historical facts--no more broad and sweeping than John 14:6. There is only one way--His name is not Allah. We just swept millions more into the abyss.

    Follow Mt. 16:18, Mt. 28:20, and Eph. 3:21 through world history--not according to the "Holy See"--it may change your paradigms for sure.

    It is fact: The Truth was not birthed in Rome/Constantinople; nor was it Rebirthed at Wittenburg.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  8. 4His_glory

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    The majority of early church planting efforts in America were accomplished by Cavlinistic Baptist churches.

    The Philedelphia Associtation was amongest the first associtations of Baptist churches in America. They were strong Calvinists. They labored extensivly in the America's early years to plant churches and "restore" general Baptist churches which were dying off since they were not involved in church planting.

    The first Baptist Chruch of Providence under the leadership of Pastor James Manning was instrumental of establishing many churches in colonies. In 1734 there were only 15 Baptist churches in the colonies, but by 1750 there were over 50 just in New England. The result of a Calvinistic Baptist Church.

    Whether one agrees with the doctrines of Grace or dose not, he can not deny the fact that the majority of Baptist chruches in early America at least were Calvinistic.
     
  9. OldRegular

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    Please note that I did not say that the General Baptists originated by sepration from the Particular Baptists. I stated: "Tomas J. Nettles in his book By His Grace and for His Glory states that the General Baptists separated from the Particular Baptists in England, apparently early in the 17th Century [page 55]." Actually Nettles states: “Baptist life began in England with a division between the Arminian and Calvinistic Baptists.” Since the Arminian Baptists were General Baptists and the Calvinistic Baptists were or would become Particular Baptists I took the unwarranted liberty of using those names. My apologies to this forum and Nettles.

    I believe that TCassidy is correct in his remarks concerning the General Baptists in Holland. His information sound familar [Source TCassidy?] but I cannot find a source giving that detail in my library. The split between Smyth and Helwys was apparently doctrinal [Nettles, page 55].
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    That statement is flatly wrong. Some true Baptists do believe in a universal-invisible church. That can be seen very easily by simply looking at Baptist doctrine. The fact that you don't does not mean that others do not. (It does mean that you have some serious exegetical/theological hurdles to overcome ;) ... but that is for another thread.)

    Whether or not modern Baptists arose out of protestantism is again, a matter of some debate. And depending on who is doing the writing, the perspective will change. But as with the universal/invisible church idea, one size doesn't fit all true Baptists. A very good theological case (insurmountable IMO) can be made for a universal/invisible church. A very good case (though not insurmountable, IMO) can be made for seeing the origins of Baptists connected with Protestantism. The point is that Baptists are not monolithic on these things, and it is misrepresentative to imply that we are. To put the origins of Baptists or the existence of a universal/invisible church on plane with John 14:6 is theological suicide. It should not be done. One is clearly revealed (John 14:6); one is has solid scriptural backing (the universal/invisible church); one is merely the reading of history (the Baptist-Protestant connection). Pretending that they are equal is unwise and misleading.

    4hisglory is correct, interestingly enough, that virtually all of the early church planting efforts in America were Calvinistic ... hard line Calvinistic. So much for the tripe that Calvinists don't evangelize, or do so according to an arminian gospel. Both are totally devoid of the truth.
     
  11. OldRegular

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    Speak for your self Bro. James!

    The Baptist Faith and Message adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta, Georgia on June 14, 2000 writes of the Church in Section VI as follows: “The New Testament speaks also of the Church as the Body of Christ which includes all the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.”

    That sounds like a Universal Church to me.
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    My apologies if I misunderstood what you said, and what you said Nettles said. I must confess that I am still not clear on it. About 6 years ago, in seminary, I did a considerable amount of study and a paper on the Origin of English General Baptists, with only a hat tip to the Particular Baptists, because of space. In it, I delved into the theological journey of Smyth and Helwys, with respect to their connection with the Waterlander Mennonites in Amsterdam. My position is based largely off that study.

    If memory serves, Stassen and Torbet argue that the Particulars arose from a non-separatist congregation under the leadership of Henry Jacob. I don't know how Nettles can say that the General Baptists separated from the Particular Baptists in England since I don't think they were ever connected. But I haven't read Nettles and am not clear on what you are saying he believes. Pardon my denseness on that. Doesn't he hold to the spiritual kinship theory of Baptist origins? Again, my memory fails and my recent study hasn't included this. When I did my study, I don't think he had written his book.

    Yes, in deed. Smyth and Helwys came under the influence of the Waterlander Mennonites in Amsterdam. At first, when Smyth concluded that his and his followers baptism had not been proper, and concluding that there was no true church in Amsterdam from which to seek Baptism, he baptized himself (se-baptism) and then the others. Later, in 1610, Smyth conluded that the Mennonites were a true church. He then repudiated his se-baptism and was baptized as a Mennonite because of what apparently was a belief in successionism. Helwys differed on this issue, and led the majority of the church to excommunicate Smyth and 8 or 9 others over this issue. Eventually, Smyth and 32 others petitioned the Mennonites for membership, and although Helwys wrote in opposition to it, they were accepted into membership, albeit after the death of John Smyth. By the time of their acceptance in 1615 in the Mennonites church, Helwys and Smyth's original congregation had already returned to England, where he wrote four books and was imprisoned for holding that the king had no spiritual authority over believers (argued for in A Short Declaration of the mistery of iniquity. Helwys most likely died in prison. His followers continued in his foosteps, and by 1644 there was 47 General Baptist congregations.

    My point was, after all that, that the Particular Baptist arose separately from the General Baptists, and to my knowledge (insert your own jokes here) there was no connection between them to merit separation. The Particulars originally poured, but a group of them led by Richard Blunt came to believe that baptism should be by "diping the Body in the Water, resembling Burial & riseing again" (Burrage, Early English Dissenters, I:302). They apparently went to the Netherlands and learned immersion from the Rhynsburgers or Collegiants (Mennonites) and returned to practice it. The London Confession of 1644 was the confession of the particulars, and Stassen argues that much of it was copied from the True Confession the Congregationalists led by Francis Johnson, influenced heavily by the Foundation Book of Menno Simons.

    Being far removed from my writing, and reading it now, makes me realize how many things are imprecise in it. On some things that made perfect sense back then, I am a little confused as to what I meant. Were I to have time, I would rework it to clarify some things, but it would take too much time at this point. But these comments are drawn from that study.
     
  13. TCassidy

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    Yes, I do see it a bit differently. The first "Baptists" were not Baptists by the way most of us think for even though they baptized only upon credible testimony of faith, for the first couple of decades they still practiced sprinkling or pouring. When I use the terms "baptize" and "rebaptize" I use them in the dictionary sense not the Baptist theological sense. [​IMG]
     
  14. OldRegular

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    PastorLarry

    You did not misunderstand what I said. I simply took poetic license with what Nettles wrote: “Baptist life began in England with a division between the Arminian and Calvinistic Baptists.” However, Nettles perhaps summarizes too much in that one sentence. Further information on the Baptists in 17th Century England can be found on the following site. From what little I read on this site there seems to be no definite connection between General Baptists and Particular Baptists.

    http://www.reformedreader.org/history/vedder/ch14.htm
     
  15. Bro. James

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    The Universal Assembly--

    When and where does such an assembly assemble?

    Does this Assembly include the saved in Israel? What about the saved not in Israel--e.g. Rahab?

    May as well go back to Rome--their universalism is visible--be ready to turn in the frock. Returning schismatics seldom get fully "welcomed". One may get an "arch-deacon" slot--if one compromises enough.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    It will assemble in heaven. Even the local church is not always assembled. Yet they do not cease to be the church when they leave to go their homes.

    Assuming you are referring to the OT (by virtue of your reference to Rahab), the church does not include these people. The Jews that are saved in this age are part of the church.

    I prefer to go back farther than that ... to the NT where the existence of the invisible church has substantial support. To try to tar and feather with the name of Rome is not a good tactic.

    But regardless, to pretend that "all True Baptists" have a monolithic position on this issue is misguided and misleading. True Baptists disagree.
     
  17. Bob Krajcik

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    These are certainly controversial matters, especially as regards Smyth. [​IMG]

    Is there a reference you could give that shows where Helwys received baptism?
     
  18. OldRegular

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    Baptists never were with Rome. In case you didn't understand it the first time I will repost it.

    The Baptist Faith and Message adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta, Georgia on June 14, 2000 writes of the Church in Section VI as follows: “The New Testament speaks also of the Church as the Body of Christ which includes all the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.” The statement is very clear; it includes all the redeemed of all the ages.

    The Apostle John speaks of this Church in Revelation 21:10.
     
  19. Bro. James

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    To be sure "true Baptists" have had nothing to do with Rome, Constantinople or Wittenburg. I believe I posted that observation several posts ago.

    This universal Church came out of Rome and was flipped from visible to invisible by the so-called reformers. This doctrine lead to the "holy see" and other state religions which have been spawned from the universal concept.

    This is about a faith and practice, not a name. The word "Baptist" is so ambiguous in our time, that a consistent confession is absurd. A church which practices "the Faith once for all delivered to the saints is a N.T. Church regardless of the name.

    The assembly in Rev. 21 has yet to be assembled.

    The basic disagreement is that many have heartburn with the concept that the New Testament Church has had a continuous existence since the First Church which Jesus started during His earthly ministry. He has also preserved His Church in every generation. She has never had need of "Reformation".

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  20. whetstone

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    thanx for the comments so far guys. they've been very enlightening. :D
     

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