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"A History of The Baptists", by John T. Christian (.PDF)

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Alan Gross, Jun 1, 2021.

  1. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    http://gracebiblebaptistds.com/FTP_...stian_a_history_of_the_baptists_volume_01.pdf

    PREFACE IN BEGINNING to write a history of the Baptists no one is more aware of the embarrassments surrounding the subject than the author. These embarrassments arise from many sources. We are far removed from many of the circumstances under survey; the representations of the Baptists were often made by enemies who did not scruple, when such a course suited their purpose, to blacken character; and hence the testimony from such sources must be received with discrimination and much allowance made for many statements; in some instances vigilant and sustained attempts were made to destroy every document relating to these people; the material that remains is scattered through many libraries and archives, in many lands and not always readily accessible; often, on account of persecutions, the Baptists were far more interested in hiding than they were in giving an account of themselves or their whereabouts; they were scattered through many countries, in city and cave, as they could find a place of concealment; and frequently they were called by different names by their enemies, which is confusing. Yet it is a right royal history they have.

    It is well worth the telling and the preserving. It must be borne in mind that there are many sources of Church History. Broadly speaking we have Eastern and Western; and a want of discrimination in these sources, and frequently an effort to treat Eastern and Western churches as identical, has caused much confusion. A right understanding of these sources will clear up many dark corners.

    For example it is undoubtedly true that the Waldenses originated in the West and the Paulicans in the East, and that they had a different history. In later centuries they came in contact one with the other, but in origin they were diverse. Any effort to treat them as one and the same people is misleading. In my judgment both parties were Baptists. The above distinction will account for many minor differences, and even today these sources will be found coloring Baptist history.

    It may be thought by some that on account of its length the chapter on “The Episode of John Smyth” is out of proportion with the rest of the hook. It must be remembered, however, that any information in regard to the complicated history of the Nonconformists of that period is welcome. As a matter of fact, several subjects are here grouped; and as all of them require notice it is believed that unity of thought, as well as length of discussion, is preserved by the method here adopted.

    Many questions were then raised for the first time among English Baptists which find expression today among all schools of Baptists. The question has often been asked: “Were all of the ancient parties mentioned in these pages in absolute or substantial accord with all of the doctrines and customs of modern Baptists?” The question can be answered with unerring accuracy: certainly not. Nor is there anything strange in the reply. It is well known that Baptists, Mennonites, and Quakers in their history have much in common, but while they agree in many particulars there are essential differences. There are marked differences among modern Baptists.

    Even a superficial examination of the views and customs of Russian, English and American Baptists would reveal to an observer this fact. We need not go beyond the history of American Baptists for a convincing example.

    At first, Arminian doctrines largely prevailed in this country; at a later date, Calvinistic principles prevailed. Oftentimes the same persons have changed their opinion. Many of the Baptists in Virginia were Arminians, but after passing over to Kentucky some of them became rigid Calvinists. Inside the Baptist denomination today there are persons, and doubtless churches, who are Arminian, and there are other persons and churches who are Calvinists. There are also Unitarians and Higher Critics, as well as Evangelicals among Baptists. One who has a mind for such things could magnify these differences to an indefinite extent. Adequate reasons might be assigned for all of this. Baptists have never had a common creed, and it is equally true that they have never recognized any authoritative creed. They desire no such standard. Their attitude toward free speech and liberty of conscience has permitted and encouraged the largest latitude in opinions. Yet none of us would care to increase these differences or make more acute the variations......
     
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  2. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    Volume 1 of Christian was my textbook in Baptist History at MBBC under Dr. Richard Weeks.
     
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  3. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    all right!
     
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