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Baptists before John Smythe

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Bro. James, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. Bro. James

    Bro. James Well-Known Member
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    This is a continuation of some historical considerations regarding Baptist origins. There seems to be a lot of misinformation regarding: John Smythe and Baptists, Baptists and Anabaptists, Cardinal Hosius and Anabaptists, Council of Trent and Anabaptists...

    The floor is open for discussion.

    Bro. James
     
  2. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I can see how Anabaptists could fall within the definition of Baptist as they seem to hold to what is normally considered to be a Baptist distinctive within Protestant belief (I say Protestant because the movement…the Reformation….included those who had been outside of the RCC). The problem is that I do not see how Baptist churches could be defined along the lines of traditional Anabaptist theology because what they held as distinctive of their faith exceeds Baptist theology.

    In other words, I can see how a Baptist church could welcome an Anabaptist into fellowship, but I can’t fathom an Anabaptist as welcoming into their fellowship a typical Baptist.
     
  3. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    Why not?
     
  4. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    From my experience most Baptists reject the typical Anabaptist doctrine of separation and nonviolence. Many Baptists also hold views of the Atonement contrary to the extremes (in terms of non-violent Atonement) of many Anabaptist churches.
     
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  5. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    So you are saying you see Anabaptists as a fairly cohesive group?

    If I remember correctly (and I do, of course) even Martin Luther was called an "anabaptist" by the Counter Reformation (Council of Trent, 1545–1563).

    Just about every dissenter from Rome was called an "anabaptist" at some point in their existence, including Wycliff and Lollard, regardless of whether or not their doctrine was compatible with the actual biblical groups.

    I tend toward a form of the Spiritual Kinship theory of William Kiffin and others.

    1. There has been a continuity of baptistic forms of the faith through the centuries

    2. Not an unbroken succession of organized Baptist churches, but a continuity of baptistic teachings

    3. Dissenting groups outside the Roman Catholic Church maintained teachings of New Testament throughout the ages of ecclesiastical history

    4. These teachings have been similar to modern Baptist faith and practice

    I also accept the theory of Duel Ancestory.

    1. Agree that Baptists emerged from English Separatism

    2. But also believe that Anabaptism prepared the way for Separatism both in England and on the continent

    3. Anabaptist refugees settled in London as evidenced by persecution under Henry VIII & “Bloody Mary”

    4. Anabaptists influenced English Separatists by input into teachings of Henry Barrow & Robert Browne
     
  6. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    No, I don't see them as being one united group. Just like Baptists, I think that they had different "denominations" (as an example, the Amish and Mennonites are very different today). But there was a consistency of doctrine that formed the distinctive "Anabaptist". While it was used as a derogatory term, as a distinctive it was not the same as Baptist.
     
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  7. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    But how? There certainly were baptists who were pacifists, as there are today, and there are baptists today who accept, and some who deny, penal substitution (as your own obsession on the subject testifies). :D
     
  8. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    :Laugh Not an obsession....a preoccupation :D (actually I have been studying the theories of Atonement and hoped I could put this board to some use).

    You are right, of course, that there are baptists who could fall into many categories (as the Baptist pastor who engaged in infant baptism testifies). I suppose my point here, as with the PSA thread, is that when we start generalizing doctrine by widening its borders our terms lose meaning. If a man tells me today that he is a Calvinist, I really know very little of what he believes. Knowing that what Martin Luther and Justin Martyr taught is regarded as PSA the term itself becomes pretty much meaningless. And if we regard Anabaptist doctrine as Baptist doctrine then the term "Anabaptist" is less distinct than is commonly reflected in contemporary Anabaptist theology. I guess I'm getting old and just like those hard lines.:(

    I agree with you in leaning towards spiritual kinship.
     
  9. Bro. James

    Bro. James Well-Known Member
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    Part of understanding this subject is examining the term: Anabaptist. It is a religious term of derision for those who would re-baptize those who had Romish baptism. In actuality, Anabaptists considered their baptisms to be scriptural and the infant baptisms inscriptural. They further infuriated the holy see by calling all their religious rituals to be without authority from God. The authority thing is what really got them martyred by the thousands, some say millions. Vatican says not that many by the church but rather by the overzealous state clerics. The papacy has asked forgiveness for all the wrongs they may have done. So everything is nice and ecumenical--with Rome still at the top of the Christian pyramid.

    It is interesting to trace the term "Anabaptist" through a Cardinal Hosius and the Council of Trent. There are still some active anathemas for those would rebaptize.

    I think it is really important to show that Baptist distinctives did not originate with John Smythe, the Anglican who apparently had trouble with his infant baptism from Henry VIII, an excommunicated English King and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    The fact that Baptists are not Protestant has been watered down, ignored, and denied. Our heritage is very important.

    It is wonderful to see how Jesus has been faithful to never leave nor forsake His little flock.

    Even so, come Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James
     
  10. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I'm not sure we can say Baptists are not Protestants. The reason I say this is that not all groups that were a part of the Protestant movement came from within the Catholic Church. Some, like Menno Simons, had been Catholic priests. But many protested the Catholic Church without ever having been a part of it's organization.

    Personally, I appreciate our Protestant heritage as we share a kinship with those Anabaptists who spoke out against the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation period as well as those who continued to speak out against the teachings of the Reformers.
     
  11. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    Technically there are only three Protestant Churches: Lutheran, Anglican (CoE), and Presbyterian (Dutch, French, or Scots Reformed). They "protested" and eventually came out of the Church of Rome.

    The others did not protest and come out of the Church of Rome but came out of the churches which came out of the Church of Rome.

    Methodists came out of CoE.
    Wesleyan our of the Methodists.
    Congregationalists came out of CoE.
    Pentecostals out of Wesleyans.
    Evangelical Free Church out of Lutheranism.
    Unitarian Universalist out of Presbyterian

    Baptist are not Protestants in that they were never in the Church of Rome, never Protested it, never tried to Reform it, and never had to come out of it.

    But some Baptists came out of the CoE while others trace their roots through the various anabaptist groups on the continent.

    The Particular Baptists under John Spilsbury, who was a Separatist (Congregationalist), are 3rd generations removed from the Protestant Reformation.

    The General Baptists, under John Smyth, who had been an Anglican (CoE) clergyman who was influenced by the anabaptists and left the CoE and became a "Se-Baptist" (one who baptized himself). In later life he regretted doing so and sought baptism from a Mennonite group (anabaptists). For doing so he was excommunicated from his Baptist church by then pastor Thomas Helwys. Smyth eventually drifted off into confusion and denial of original sin and other bible doctrines.
     
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  12. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire Well-Known Member
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    Errrrr......are you suggesting that Baptists are Protestants? I'm not looking for a arguement, but..... No to being linked to them and the RCC.
     
  13. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    By contemporary definition, absolutely. Baptist are indebted not only to the Anabaptists but also to the Reformers. Your aversion to that link does not change the fact it exists.
     
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  14. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    It is interesting that Menno Simons came out of the Roman Catholic Church. Sometimes we see these things moving in isolation from one another (at least until we get to Zwingli).

    Anyway, I do not see how we can claim a kinship with the Anabaptist yet reject one with the Reformers.
     
  15. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire Well-Known Member
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    Yes in your mind, not in mine....there was a time prior to that filth of a church existed.... before Constantine, before the Teutonic King Karl, before the corrupt popes, bishops, Cardinals etc., existing & mostly hiding away. And those that didn't get crushed by that filthy RCC or suckered into some "ism" stayed humble and pure. And here is the cool thing....it still exists as a small remnant
     
  16. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    Because even though Menno Simons had been a Priest of Rome, when he left he did not start the anabaptist movement. It was already there. He simply joined it. Some time ago we had a JW lady get saved and join our church. But that does not mean our church came out of the JWs. :)
     
  17. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Yes, the true church has existed from its beginning. I disagree, however, that it has existed along the lines of the Catholic church in type. We have a spiritual kinship with all believers, to include those who came our of the RCC. But a true church need not look for a physical lineage of true churches.
     
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  18. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I agree.

    My disagreement is that Baptists have a kinship to the Anabaptists but not the Reformers.
     
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  19. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    Agreed.
     
  20. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    I agree.
     
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