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Featured Baptist's forefathers who refused to baptise infants; A.D. 1764, back to A.D. 33.

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Alan Gross, Mar 30, 2023.

  1. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    "The Origin of the Baptists"
    By Israel Robords, Pastor
    The First Baptist Church
    New Haven, CT., 1838

    "It was not the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, the Episcopalians, the Congregationalists or the Methodists, who endured the Romish persecutions; for none of these denominations existed earlier than A.D. 1560.

    "Hence the oldest of these sects is but 318, and the last mentioned but 101 years old.

    "From these unassailable facts you will perceive how vain it is for either of the above denominations to plead that they are the first true church.

    "The Mormons or any other sect that has sprung up within five or ten years past, could as well attempt to trace the chain of their history to Christ and the apostles.

    "Whenever they have attempted it, they all uniformly acknowledge themselves the recent offspring of that church which they call the mother of harlots and enemy of God;

    "and in attempting to prove their faith and practices correct, they quote her laws and usages as authority.

    "It is not expected that we should give a church history in this limited essay.

    "All that will be done is to glance at the existence of the church in each successive century; and we shall only be able to notice where the true church flourished in one or two places at the same time.

    "...but in tracing their history through preceding ages, we are obliged to learn their existence and condition mostly from the concessions of Roman Catholics, and other opposers;

    "for, during the Pagan and Papal persecutions, which continued from A.D. 66, to A.D. 1700, it was the constant aim of the Catholics and their allies to destroy the writings, as well as the persons of the true church.

    "Owing to the different languages of those nations where the followers of Christ have lived. and to the asperities of their opposers, the church has been known by the name of Baptists.

    "Anabaptists, Wickliffites, Lollards, Hugonots, Mennonites, Hussites, Petrobrusians, Albigenses, Waldenses, Paulicans,
    &c;

    "and to oppose image worship, infant baptism, transubstantiation, and the unwarrantable power of the Pope, have ever been characteristics of this people.


    Therefore Roman Catholics have heaped upon us names as above, and persecuted us as heretics;

    "and the pedobaptists, who are the offspring of the Romish church, as we have shown, have adopted the same course,

    "realizing that if the true church can be traced down to the apostles, independent of the Romish church, it will set the origin of their denominations in no favorable light.


    "Hence the calumny and reproach which Milner, Cave, Moshiem, &c.,

    "have cast upon Servetus, Wickliff, Muncer, Huss, Jerome, Waldo, Hugo, Claude, Constantine, Tertulian. Novatian, &c.,

    "and the unwarrantable encomiums which they constantly heap on Martin Luther and John Calvin, who were but imperfect imitators of the above named reformers..."

    "... as none but the ignorant can be made to believe that the Baptist church had its origin in the sixteenth century, we pass to notice that, in A.D. 1764, there was a history of religion published in London, in four volumes, in which it was written: -

    "It is clear from many authors that Wickliff rejected infant baptism, and that on this doctrine his followers agreed with modern Baptists."

    "His followers were called Lollards, and Waldenses, and persecuted as heretics.

    "In the eighteenth century we find John Howard, the philanthropist, and multitudes of others in England and other nations of Europe, decided Baptists.

    "About A.D. 1655. the Duke of Savoy dreadfully persecuted the Baptists in the South of France and the vallies of Piedmont, whom he called Waldenses, Valdenses and heretics.

    "At this time Oliver Cromwell was Protector of England, and John Milton, the poet, was Secretary of State.

    "The intelligence of the Waldensian massacre reached London, May 20, A.D. 1655, upon which Milton wrote a thrilling sonnet, of which this first verse is a specimen:

    "Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones,
    Lie scat'ered on the Alpine mountains cold:
    Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
    When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones."

    "That Cromwell and Milton favored the Waldenses, or Baptists, in sentiment, is equally evident from the letters which Milton wrote to the Christian Princes of Europe, (see Jones' Church History, vol. 2, pp. 319-336,)

    "the influence of which moved the Duke of Savoy to stop the persecution;

    "but he renewed it again A.D. 1663, and thus persecutions continued until A.D. 1686, when he issued orders to remove or kill all the Waldenses in his territory, which resulted in destroying many and removing more into Switzerland and other countries.

    "See Burnett's Letters from Italy, Letter 1, pp. 57, 58."

    "But, as it is well known that the Baptists were numerous in all Europe and America in the sixteenth century, we pass to notice that, in this century Martin Luther, John Calvin and some others, broke off from the Catholics.

    "Luther took with him the doctrine of consubstantiation, which is but another name for transubstantiation, and the doctrine of infant baptism, together with other errors;

    "and Calvin brought with him not only the doctrine of infant baptism, but the spirit of persecution, which was too manifest in the murder of Servetus and other acts of the kind.

    "From A.D. 1250, up to A.D. 1400, the Waldenses suffered dreadful persecutions in France, Germany and Netherlands; and a small number of them fled to Calabria, where they formed a church and lived in the apostolic faith until A.D. 1560, when the Calabrian Waldenses formed a union with the Calvinists at Geneva, and so far conformed to the Romish religion that they baptized their infants.

    "To this, with a few instances of the kind, modern pedobaptists refer, to prove that the Waldenses were not Baptists; but we could as well say because one Baptist church in America became corrupt in faith, therefore they all had.

    "The few individuals who were drawn into infant baptism and the like errors, by Luther and Calvin, are but slight exceptions."


    more here: "The Origin of the Baptists" By Israel Robords, 1838
     
  2. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Fails to mention how the New Testament itself is the true Apostolic succession . . . Which defines what it is to be Baptist from the first century.
     
  3. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    I shall be very interested if either you or the writer can show me anywhere in Wycliffe's writings, or those of his followers, where he so much as mentions baptism. I have looked quite diligently and cannot find any such thing.
    Also, the Waldensians came from a different root to that of the Lollards.
     
  4. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    I only found a couple of things. His views against the Catholics on other subjects dwarfed baptism out. Other than judging from the beliefs and position on baptism of his followers, this is all I found right off.

    John de Wycliffe’s views:—

    “On baptism, his expressions are at times obscure; but, according to his general language, the value of a sacrament must depend wholly on the mind of the recipient, not at all on the external act performed by the priest; and, contrary to the received doctrine, he would not allow that infant-salvation was dependent on infant-baptism.1 Connect with this the charge brought against him by the Council of London, in 1391, as contained in one of the “ articles” extracted from his “Trialogus,” and which was to this effect,—that those who held that infants dying without baptism could not be saved, were “presumptuous and foolish.”2 Now, if Wycliffe believed that the ordinances of Christianity require faith in those who observe them, he would necessarily see the futility of infant-baptism, and the expression of even a doubt respecting the connection between infant-baptism and; salvation, would be regarded in that age as equivalent to a denial of the Divine authority of the rite. That great man, however, lived and died a priest of the Roman Catholic Church.

    CHAPTER V.

    Heretics of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries—Wycliffe’s Sentiments on Baptism—

    The Bohemians—Baptism among the Waldenses—Church Government—Immersion.
    ...

    "It is clear that "the Morning Star of the Reformation," John Wycliffe, believed that faith was required by those who were baptized, and those who held that infants dying without baptism could not be saved, were regarded by him as "presumptuous and foolish." It is also certain that many of the Lollards, perhaps the majority of them, strongly opposed infant baptism. They were persecuted for this by the Paedobaptists, for it was held to be a grievous departure from the truth to believe that infants could be saved if unbaptised. There has been considerable diversity of opinion among historians as to the Waldenses, and both by those who assert that they were Baptists and by those who maintain that they were not, it has been forgotten that they were not distinguished by any uniformity of belief. "If," says Dr. Cramp, "the question relate to the Waldenses in the strict and modern sense of the term, that is, to the inhabitants of the valleys of Piedmont, there is reason to believe that, originally, the majority of them were Baptists, although there were varieties of opinion among them, as well as among other seceders from the Romish church." One of their earlier confessions, has this distinguishing belief, that it is proper and even necessary that believers should use the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper, but that believers may be saved without either. Immersion in any case was still the mode, and incontrovertible facts, which no one has ventured to dispute, go to prove that it was the universal practice.

    Review of J. M. Cramp's Baptist History
    The Sword and Trowel
    , 1868
    By C. H. Spurgeon

    ...


    "In the year 1371, in the reign of Edward III, the famous John Wickliffe began openly and successfully to oppose the corruptions of the church of Rome, and witnessed against infant baptism. It is therefore worthy of observation that the FIRST ENGLISH REFORMER WAS A BAPTIST IN SENTIMENT.+ Among the followers of this great man in Bohemia and England were many Baptists."
    + Baptist Magazine, No. I, p. 11.

    Brief Memoirs of the English Baptists
    Section II (March 1810)
    From the Introduction of Popery to the Commencement of the Reformation

    From The Baptist Magazine, 1810, pg. 93
     
  5. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Let me start by saying that I would be very happy if real evidence could be found that Wycliffe and/or the Lollards practised Believers' baptism. However, having done quite a lot of research into the matter, I can find nothing that would substantiate such a view.
    This does not seem to me to be supported by any facts. Most of Wycliffe's works are still extant, and I have read nothing that would lead me to suppose that he was a proto-Baptist. Likewise, there is nothing in Lollard literature that I can find that tells us that any of them, let alone the 'majority,' opposed infant baptism. Perhaps they did, but they kept it jolly quiet!

    Nor does an examination of the charges made against the Lollards reveal that any of them were accused of re-baptizing converts. The main reason that Lollards were burned was for denying the doctrine of Transubstantiation.

    There also seems to be very little evidence that there was ever a man called Walter Lollard, let alone that he ever came to Britain. Lollards seem to be so-named as a term of abuse after a word meaning 'mumbler.'

    If one wants to find Baptists before the Reformation, the best candidates would be the Petrobusians, named after their founder Peter do Bruys who was burned at the stake in 1126. One of their Romanist opponents accused them of
    1. Denying infant baptism, baptizing only those who professed faith.
    2. Denying the holiness of church buildings and altars.
    3. Refusing to venerate the sign of the cross.
    4. Denying the doctrine of Transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the mass.
    5. Denying that any prayers or good works done on earth could help those who had already died.
    6. Opposing the celibacy of the clergy.
    7. Rejecting singing as a true act of worship.

    Other groups like the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars and Albigensians all seem to be gnostic, denying all water baptism and the Lord's Supper. The Waldensians were much better. We have a quote from one of their opponents, dating from 1260, saying that, "As to baptism, some err, claiming that little children are not saved by baptism, for, they declare, the Lord says, 'He that believes and is baptized shall be saved,' but little children do not yet believe."

    I have another quotation, from a German historian concerning the Hussites of Bohemia. Meeting in 1463 and 1467, there were meetings of 'United Brethren,' where they considered afresh the principles of the Church. One of the first things they did was to baptize those present , for the baptism of believers by immersion was common among the Waldensians, and to most of the brethren in different parts, though it had been interrupted by the pressure of persecution. They also formally declared their separation from the Church of Rome. They called themselves Jednota Bratruska (Church of the Brotherhood) or Unitas Fratrum (United Brethren).

    These United Brethren survived until 1620, when Popish forces utterly defeated them at the Battle of the White Mountain outside of Prague.
     
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  6. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    There is some info on this here from one of my best teachers;

    Baptist History Notebook
    By Berlin Hisel

    Chapter 21
    THE LOLLARDS


    [p. 179]

    Their Doctrines

    David Benedict, in his History of the Baptists (page 308) says that Walter Lollard "was in sentiment the same as Peter de Bruis." We refer our readers to the chapter on the Petrobrusians for Peter's doctrinal beliefs. To say Walter and Peter believed alike is to say Walter Lollard was a Baptist.

    John T. Christian writes: "It is certain that the Lollards, who had preceded Wycliffe and had widely diffused their opinions, repudiated infant baptism. The testimony of Neal is interesting. He says: 'That the denial of the rights of infants to baptism was a principle generally maintained among Lollards, is abundantly confirmed by the historians of those times, (Neal, History of the Puritans, II, 354).'"

    "The followers of Wycliffe and Lollard united and in a short time England was full of the 'Bible Men.' ' 'Tis, therefore, most reasonable to conclude,' said Crosby, 'that those persons were Baptists, and on that account baptized those that came over to their sect, and professed the true faith, and desired to be baptized into it.'"

    [p. 184]
    "Lollards practiced believers' baptism and denied infant baptism. Fox says one of the articles of faith among them was that faith ought to precede baptism.' This at least was the contention of a large portion of those people."
    "The Lollard movement was later merged into the Anabaptist, and this was hastened by the fact that their political principles were identical. The Lollards continued to the day of the Reformation."6

    J. M. Cramp writes: "Some of them, perhaps the majority, opposed infant baptism. Indeed, it is expressly affirmed by several historians that they refused to baptize their new-born children, and that they were charged before the ecclesiastical authorities with maintaining that infants who died unbaptized would be saved. This was an unpardonable sin in the eyes of the Pedobaptists, and the Lollards suffered grievously for it."7

    This should be ample examples that their ancient doctrine was the 'faith once delivered to the saints' and the doctrine of true Baptists today.

    6 A History of the Baptists, Volume 1, page 187.
    7 Baptist History, pages 143-144.
     
  7. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Here's a little more, on Wycliffe:

    From: John Wickliffe and the Lollards
    By Samuel H. Ford, 1860

    John De Wickliffe, rector of Lutterworth, was the chosen instrument to
    --------------------
    * Bancroft.

    39
    announce that truth, and bear aloft that flame-torch through the world’s valley of the shadow of death.

    On the banks of the Tee, in Yorkshire, John Wickliffe was born, in 1324. With Bradwordine, and Occam, and Dunn, and Scotus, the luminaries of the age, he passed his early manhood in Oxford University. He entered the clerical order, and beheld before him the highest honors in the "Church." But, like Luther, God’s Word had found entrance into his soul, and, in obedience to its teaching he tore away from his heart the webs and wrappages of error which incased and deadened it. On, step by step, he struggled into light, until on the Bible and the Bible alone, he took his sublime and defiant position. Among the principles he advocated were, that the church consisted only of believers - the saved; that baptism was a "sign of grace received before," and consequently should be administered to those only who professed to have received "grace."

    "It was in 1371." says Walsingham, "that Dunn and Wickliffe read the accursed opinions of the Berengerians, one of which undoubtedly was the denial of infant baptism."* Thomas Walden, who was familiar with his writings, called him "one of the seven heads that rose out of the pit, for he denied the baptism of infants, that Heresie of the Lollards of which he was so great a leader." And further, Wickliffe, in the eleventh chapter of his Trialogues, as quoted by Danvers, states that "believers are the only subjects of baptisms."

    In his adherence to the Bible as his only rule of faith and practice; in his denial of grace or pardon communicated in baptism; in his rejection of infant and avowal of Christian baptism; and in his clear definition of a church as an assembly of baptized believers - WICKLIFFE WAS A BAPTIST. Among Baptist heroes
    --------------------
    * [Daniel] Neal’s History of the Puritans.

    40
    and martyrs must his name be enrolled.
     
  8. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Regarding the Lollards, and Waldenses, I'm not sure that Consubstantiation is the Baptist view. I'm also not sure that Baptists believe tithing is against the gospel (even those who place tithing as being under the Law and favor offering).
     
  9. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Here's Lollard, again;

    Compendium of Baptist History
    By J. A. Shackelford
    Chapter XII

    A. D. 1315. In the beginning of the fourteenth century, Walter Lollard, a Dutchman, conveyed the doctrines of the Waldenses into England, and from him the Waldenses, in the localities of his labors, were sometimes called Lollards. He was a man of great learning and eloquence, and was a laborious and successful preacher among the Baptists who resided on the Rhine; but his converts were said to have spread over all of England. In 1320, Walter Lollard was apprehended and burned.20

    I here repeat that Mosheim says: "Before the rise of Luther or Calvin, there lay concealed, in almost all the countries of Europe, particularly in Bohemia, Moravia, Switzerland, and Germany, many persons who adhered tenaciously to the doctrine of the Dutch Baptists."21

    We have now found Baptists existing continually for fifteen centuries. They have been known by the names of Montanists, Donatists, Novatians, Paterines, Puritans, Cathari, Paulicians, Petrobrusians, Arnoldists, Henricians, Bulgarians, Lollards, Montenses, Albigenses, Poor of Lyons, and Anabaptists. All of these were subsequently called Waldenses, but we have found the Waldenses to exist prior to some of these people. They were all, however, characterized by the same principles. They all held:

    First. To the doctrine of salvation by grace.

    Second. To the independence of the churches and a democratic form of church government.

    Third. To freedom of conscience.

    Fourth. To equality of membership in the churches.

    Fifth. That the elders, or bishops, were subject to the discipline of the local churches.

    Sixth. That believers only should be baptized.

    Seventh. Baptism by immersion only, and rebaptism of all who had not been baptized by proper authority.22

    "The Waldenses," says Orchard, "were, in a word, so many distinct churches of anti-Paedo-baptists."23 These were all Baptist churches.

    Mosheim says: "The true origin of that sect which acquired the denomination of Anabaptists by their administering anew the rite of baptism to those who came over to their communion, is hidden in the depths of antiquity and is of consequence extremely difficult to be ascertained."23

    21 "Let it be remembered that Baptists in all ages have rebaptized, not because Catholics did not immerse, or because those who came from the Catholics were baptized in their infancy, but because they regarded all ordinations administeed in a corrupt or anti-Scriptural organization to be null and void." Note in Orchard's A Concise History of Baptists, p. 235.
    22 Ibid., 307.

    23 Mosheim, Volume 2, p. 127.
     
  10. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    8
    No Consubstantiation is not a Baptist view, however, there can probably be unearthed any number of things that any of them or us believed. I don't know of too many things I haven't been accused of!

    Later, you know John Wickliffe spoke out long and hard and heavy against the belief that the substance of the bread and wine coexists with the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

    So, the emphasis on their histories are one with baptism and the other with the Lord's Supper.

    Here is from:

    The Origin of the Baptists
    By George B. Taylor
    From The Baptist Challenge Magazine

    Dr. Cramp, who seems to me to excel in soberness and impartiality as a historian, thus refers to the Waldenses: “Some have represented them as being originally all Baptists.

    Others, on the contrary, persist in affirming that they were all Pedobaptists.

    Neither statement is correct . . . A number of them, particularly in the early part of their history, judged that baptism should be administered to believers only, and practiced accordingly; others entirely rejected that ordinance, as well as the Lord’s Supper; a third class held pedobaptism.

    If the question relates to the Waldenses in the strict and modern sense of the term, i.e., to the inhabitants of the valleys of Piedmont, there is reason to believe that originally the majority of them were Baptists . . . The language of some of their confessions cannot be interpreted except on Baptist principles. One of them, ascribed to the twelfth century, contains the following article: ‘We consider the sacraments as the signs of holy things, or as the visible emblems of invisible blessings. We regard it as proper, and even necessary, that believers use these symbols of visible forms, when it can be done. Notwithstanding which, we maintain that believers may be saved without these signs, when they have neither place nor opportunity of observing them.’ Here, the use of sacraments is limited to believers; and they add in another article: ‘We acknowledge no sacraments as of divine appointment but Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.’” Dr. Cramp adds: “It is sufficiently manifest that their views harmonized with ours in the early stages of their history.”
     
  11. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    It seems that we pick aspects of other non-Catholics and claim them "like us" by ignoring their differences.

    For example, the Waldenses teaching against Catholic sacraments is something we would agree with. They didn't view Communion or Baptism as contributing to salvation and they didn't baptize infants. But at the same time they held what became akin to Luther's view of Communion (they held to Consubstantiation as a part of their faith).

    Don't get me wrong here. I do not think holding a Consubstantiation view would exclude one from being Baptist any more than holding the Supper as merely a symbol would.

    My point is throughout history these "Baptists" held as essential doctrines we may not hold at all (and vice versa).

    For example, look at the early Mennonites (as you mentioned them and I am very familiar with their theology).

    Mennonites would not view us as brethren in doctrine for our stance of Christians voting, serving in the military, holding public office, and non-pacifism (Baptists leave this up to "soul liberty"). They would not agree with the most typical view of the Cross (the Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement) but would view Baptists as holding a false gospel. Mennonite theology also insists strongly on the free-will of man in salvation and that Christ died so that all men may be saved (as an essential part of their faith).

    So is it really fair to consider them "Baptists" akin to our Baptist churches? I wonder. We may not consider them heretics (IMHO they would meet the "Baptist distinctive" as each church determines what is left to "soul liberty") BUT they would consider today's Baptists as heretics (most Baptists, anyway....I'm actually largely in agreement with their theology).
     
  12. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    "This thesis takes the form of a survey of all known incidences of popular lollard activity between 1382 9 when the persecution of Wycliffe l s followers began in earnest, and 1428, when rumours of a new lollard rising brought about a wave of investigations and prosecutions of heretics."

    from:

    THE EARLY LOLLARDS
    A Survey of Popular Lollard Activity in England, 1382-1428
    by CHARLES KIGHTLY

    Again, their doctrines in history are often gathered from their former, current, and future associates and associations with their beliefs and teachings.

    A good source for preserved records is court records, etc.

    However, usually their
    'crimes' are only mentioned mostly in court records,

    not their specific doctrines; (there is info on "the sect of Lollards who denied the truth of the Eucharist", on below.

    Their crimes recorded;


    "preaching lollardy",

    "local heretic was imprisoned in Nottingham castle, "at suit of certain lieges upon pretence that he preached divers heresies":,

    "the crime of which they were accused is not mentioned, but later events prove that it was in fact lollardy",

    the 'Lollard Knights' of their alleged support for heretical doctrines"

    'venomous doctrines'

    "...and also I shall never more meynten ne techen ne defend errours conclusions ne techynges of ye lollardes ne sWych conclusions and techynges yat men clopith Lollards doctrin, ne I shall her bokes ne swych bokes ne hem or ony suspeit or diffamede of lollardery resceyve or company..."


    They were, of course, given "threats" (and more than 'threats') "of burning, drowning or torture", (and beheading, etc.)


    from pg. 25; https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/9848107.pdf .

    "This set off a long argument, during which the lollard urged that every priest was bound by the law of God to preach the gospel, (1) and backed his argument with quotations from the Bible and the Doctors. Skirlaw now changed his tack, and, declaring that Wyche was suspected of being one of the sect of Lollards who denied the truth of the Eucharist, he demanded to hear his views on that subject. Another long discussion ensued, with the Archdeacon of Durham insisting that the Sacrament was the Body of Christ 'in specie panis' and Wyche (who admitted to having been unsettled by the question) insisting that it was Christ's body 'in forma panis'(2) : by adopting this frequently-employed lollard formula, (3) Wyche was in fact covertly defending the doctrine of remanence, and accordingly he was once again returned to prison. He appeared again at Christmastide, this time before the Prior of the Newcastle Augustinians, and others acting as the Bishop's ministers : the argument concerning the Eucharist continued (with two knights who were present agreeing with Wyche) and subsequently the lollard asserted the doctrine that a sinful priest could not consecrate the Eucharist, though he admitted that auricular confession was necessary to the salvation of the soul.(4)"
     
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  13. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to say.

    The Lollards have always held to Consubstantiation. I'm not sure they were wrong to do so, if that is your argument. But, like you point out, it is not a Baptist doctrine (although I'd add it does not remove a church from being Baptist...it just removes most Baptists from holding a doctrine akin, as a whole, to the Lollards.

    And there are many things that would separate many contemporary Baptists from those who have gone before.

    The Lollards, Waldensians, Mennonites, Amish...among others...held a theology that stood in direct contrast to the Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement. Yet most Baptist theologies today hold that theory as a foundation to many other doctrines.

    Take Particular Baptists. This group is directly related to English Separatists who rejected the KJV as a corruption of Scripture by the Church of England, who adopted the Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement (and Calvinism) and would be considered heretics by sects like the Lollards, Waldensians, and Mennonites (so much so that Mennonites viewed them as Roman Catholic to a great extent).
     
  14. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    "In the first place I believe the Mennonites are not altogether in the wrong, when they boast of a descent from these Waldenses, Petrobrusians, and others, who are usually styled witnesses for the truth before Luther. Prior to the age of Luther, there lay concealed in almost every country of Europe but especially in Bohemia, Moravia, Switserland and Germany, very many persons, in whose minds were deeply rooted that principle which the Waldenses, Wyclifites, and the Husites maintained, some more covertly and others more openly; namely, that the kingdom which Christ set up on the earth, or the visible church, is an assembly of holy persons; and ought therefore to he entirely free from not only ungodly persons and sinners, but from all institutions of human device against ungodliness. This principle lay at the foundation which was the source of all that was new and singular in the religion of the Mennonites; and the greatest part of their singular opinions, as is well attested, were approved some centuries before Luther's time, by those who had such views of the Church of Christ (Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, III. 200)."

    That's what Sir Isaac Newton called them.

    "Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest men who ever lived, declared it was "his conviction that the Baptists were the only Christians who had not symbolized with Rome" (Whiston, Memoirs of, written by himself, 201).

    "The statements of these writers have been dwelt upon since they exhibit the spirit of the new learning by experts who have applied the principles of an investigation by the scientific method to the history of the Baptists."

    Specifically, we're not insisting on every variety of belief, to pinpoint, such as:

    our stance of Christians voting,
    serving in the military,
    holding public office,
    and non-pacifism (Baptists leave this up to "soul liberty")
    the Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement)

    And, Specifically, there may very well be some sects among the different groups that can be found to hold goofy things, like:

    "foot-washing"
    "Consubstantiation as a part of their faith",
    "the free-will of man in salvation",
    "that Christ died so that all men may be saved", etc., etc.

    However, you know these groups of believers, all down through recorded history, that were, "Christians who had not symbolized with Rome", loved and championed Religious Liberty,
    and vouchsafed and duplicated the Bible as sacred, etc., etc.,
    at the cost of the torture and death of them and their families, had to come from somewhere.

    I say they were perpetuated by God,
    as a direct fulfillment of His Promises.


    ( Then, they were often very Generally identified by their enemies such as the Inquisition of the Medieval Church, etc.), as they saw;

    "themselves as having the apostolic succession"
    "said to prize the Scriptures"
    "to accept the Apostles' Creed"
    "of their intimate connection with so and so, etc."
    "Christians who had not symbolized with Rome"
    "...an unrestrained, unembargoed liberty of exercising the conscience freely upon all subjects respecting religion",
    "...If the truth of religion were to be judged by the readiness and boldness of which a man of any sect shows in suffering..."
    "The Romian Catholics were in active opposition to the Baptists, through the Inquisition they had been dealing with them for some centuries".

    We just need to be sure and see, Generally speaking vs Specifically speaking are two different viewpoints or approaches to the subject.


    Specifically, as you know, the identity of a 'Baptist', from the standpoint of our historical inquiry are, "Salvation by faith, alone" and "believer's baptism".

    If we put these two qualifiers against all current professing 'Christian' religious organizations, what percentage would we lose?

    99%(?)

    "Salvation by faith, alone" and "believer's baptism" are held by precious few.

    I say they are Supernaturally held.

    And, we actually look for more and often find them.

    Specifically, again, it requires much more digging, but we actually use the following 8 'marks' or characteristics to identify a 'Baptist', historically.

    So, if we used to following to currently identify a 'Baptist' and we do, with regard to considering other churches, "Baptist', it is also going to eliminate an enormous percentage of them, nowadays, and we do, from any standpoint of being sister churches, based on what we (and they should ) understand from the Book.

    Baptist History Notebook
    Chapter 2
    JESUS ESTABLISHES HIS CHURCH


    "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" (Matthew 16:18).

    "The word "church" means assembly. The Lord said He would build "His" (My) church. This was to distinguish it from all other kinds of assemblies.

    "He built His "kind" of assembly. That which distinguishes His from all the rest are the doctrines He gave to it. Those doctrinal peculiarities make it His kind of church.

    "What are those marks or doctrinal peculiarities? Dr. J. R. Graves in his book "Old Landmarkism" lists seven. Dr. Clarence Walker, in his introduction to the "Trail of Blood" (page 5) lists seven. Dr. D. B. Ray, in his "Baptist Succession"
    lists seven. To these could be added or subtracted, depending on the historian and what his purpose might be. Where one would list two doctrines under one head the next may list them separately. I will list eight but treat primarily three in this Notebook.

    (1) The church's Head and Founder is Jesus Christ
    (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:18).

    (2) Its only rule of faith and practice is the Bible
    (II Timothy 3:15-17).

    (3) Its members are to be only saved people
    (Acts 2:41).

    (4) Its government is congregational
    (Acts 1:23-26 - equality).

    (5) Its teaching on salvation is that it is by grace
    (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    (6) It has but two ordinances; Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and these are symbolic
    (Matthew 28:19-20; I Corinthians 11:24).

    (7) Its commission is inclusive
    (Matthew 28:16-20).

    (8) It is independent
    (Matthew 16:19; Matthew 22:21).

    "Wherever, in history, in whatever age, you find churches teaching these doctrines, you have a Baptist church, no matter what name it may go by.

    "It matters not if we cannot, from church to church, trace it back to the First Church of Jerusalem. The succession is there but records may hinder or stop our search.

    "What it teaches is the important thing.


    "Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against His church so He guaranteed perpetuity."

    ...
    con't
     
  15. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Generally, we can often let our enemies locate them, initially, as below;

    "The author of the "Successio Anahaptistica," says of the Anabaptists:

    "I am dealing with the Mennonites or Anabaptists, who pride themselves as having the apostolic succession, that is, the mission and the extraction from the apostles. Who claim that the true Church is found nowhere, except among themselves alone and their congregations, since with them alone remains the true understanding of the Scriptures. To that end they appeal to the letter of the S. S. [Sacred Scriptures - jrd] and want to explain them with the S. S. And thus they sell to the simple folks glass rubies for precious stones. . . If one charges them with the newness of their sect, they claim that the "true Church" during the time of the dominion of the Catholic Church, was hidden in her (Cramer and Pyper, Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica, VII. 510).

    "The point of this inquiry is that the Swiss Baptists wrote a letter, in 1522, on the apostolic origin of their churches in reply to one they had received the year before from the Baptists of the Netherlands, and that a Roman Catholic condemned them on that account."

    "The one stem is the succession of the Brethren, a Medieval anti-clerical body of Christians whose history is written only in the records of the Inquisition of the Medieval Church, where they appear under a variety of names, but are universally said to prize the Scriptures and to accept the Apostles' Creed."

    Who Wrote the Apostles’ Creed?
    By Staff Writer

    "The Apostles’ Creed was written by a group of Christians who wanted to provide those of other faiths a chance to be baptized, and it gave them this list of “rules” to follow. The earliest record of the Creed’s existence came about in a letter written in 390 A.D. by the Council of Milan.

    "Many people are still under the assumption that the Apostles’ Creed was written by the 12 Apostles, but theologians now know this to be false. The Apostles’ Creed is slightly different in every translation. The most common one known in the United States is the English Language Liturgical Consultation version. It covers in detail what the Apostles believed as far as the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, Jesus’ role as a judge, the role the church is expected to play, and the role of the Trinity."

    Not any current or Catholic version of the Apostles’ Creed, of course.


    "The Anabaptist movement was the continuation of the old evangelical faith maintained by the Waldenses and other Mediaeval Christians.

    "Limborch, the historian of the Inquisition, says:

    "To speak my mind freely, if their opinions and customs were to be examined without prejudice, it would appear that among all of the modern sects of Christians, they had the greatest resemblance to that of the Mennonites or Dutch Baptists (Limborch, The History of the Inquisition, 1.57.London, 1731).

    "This opinion of Mosheim, expressed in 1755, of the ancient origin of the Baptists and of their intimate connection with the Waldenses, and of other witnesses of the truth, meet with the approval of the most rigid scientific research of our own times.

    "Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest men who ever lived, declared it was "his conviction that the Baptists were the only Christians who had not symbolized with Rome" (Whiston, Memoirs of, written by himself, 201). William Whiston, who records this statement, was the successor of Newton in Cambridge University, and lectured on Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. He himself became a Baptist and wrote a book on infant baptism.

    "Alexander Campbell, in his debate with Mr. Macalla, says:

    "I would engage to show that baptism as viewed and practiced by the Baptists, had its advocates in every century up to the Christian era and independent of whose existence (the German Anabaptists), clouds of witnesses attest the fact, that before the Reformation from popery, and from the apostolic age, to the present time, the sentiments of Baptists, and the practice of baptism have had a continued chain of advocates, and public monuments of their existence in every century can be produced (Macalla and Campbell Debate on Baptism, 378, 379, Buffalo, 1824).

    "Again in his book on Christian Baptism (p. 409, Bethany, 1851), he says: There is nothing more congenial to civil liberty than to enjoy an unrestrained, unembargoed liberty of exercising the conscience freely upon all subjects respecting religion.

    "Hence it is that the Baptist denomination, in all ages and in all countries, has been, as a body, the constant asserters of the rights of man and of liberty of conscience. They have often been persecuted by Pedobaptists; but they never politically persecuted, though they have had it in their power.

    "Robert Barclay, a Quaker, who wrote largely upon this subject, though not always free from bias, says of the Baptists: We shall afterwards show the rise of the Anabaptist took place prior to the Reformation of the Church of England, and there are also reasons for believing that on the Continent of Europe small hidden Christian societies, who have held many of the opinions of the Anabaptists, have existed from the times of the apostles. In the sense of the direct transmission of Divine Truth, and the true nature of spiritual religion, it seems probable that these churches have a lineage or succession more ancient than that of the Roman Church (Barclay, The Inner Life of the Societies of the Commonwealth, 11, 12. London, 1876).

    "These statements might be worked out in circumstantial detail. Roman Catholic historians and officials, in some instances eye-witnesses, testify that the Waldenses and other ancient communions were the same as the Anabaptists.

    "The Augustinian, Bartholomaeus von Usingen, set forth in the year 1529, a learned polemical writing against the "Rebaptizers," in which he says that "Anabaptists, or Catabaptists, have gone forth from Picardism" (Usingen, Contra Rebaptizantes, Cologne, 1529). The Mandate of Speier, April 1529, declares that the Anabaptists were hundreds of years old and had been often condemned (Kelle; Die Waldenser, 135. Leipzig, 1886).

    "Father Gretacher, who edited the works of Rainerio Sacchoni, after recounting the doctrines of the Waldenses, says: "This is a true picture of the heretics of our age, particularly of the Anabaptists;" Baronius, the most learned and laborious historian of the Roman Catholic Church says: "The Waldenses were Anabaptists" (D'Anvers, Baptism, 258). Baronius has a heavy and unreadable chronicle, but valuable for reference to original documents.

    "Cardinal Hosius, a member of the Council of Trent, A. D. 1560, in a statement often quoted, says:

    "If the truth of religion were to be judged by the readiness and boldness of which a man of any sect shows in suffering, then the opnion and persuasion of no sect can be truer and surer than that of the Anabaptists since there have been none for these twelve hundred years past, that have been more generally punished or that have more cheerfully and steadfastly undergone, and even offered themselves to the most cruel sorts of punishment than these people.

    "That Cardinal Hosius dated the history of the Baptists back twelve hundred years, i.e. 360, is manifest, for in yet another place the Cardinal says: The Anabaptists are a pernicious sect of which kind the Waldensian brethren seem to have been altough some of them lately, as they testify in their apology, declare that they will no longer re-baptize, as was their former custom; nevertheless, it is certain that many of them retain their custom, and have united with the Anabaptists (Hosius, Works of the Heresatics of our Times, Bk. I. 431. Ed. 1584). [See Stephen duBarry's essay here].

    "From any standpoint that this Roman Catholic testimony is viewed it is of great importance. The Romian Catholics were in active opposition to the Baptists, through the Inquisition they had been dealing with them for some centuries, they had every avenue of information, they had spared no means to inform themselves, and, consequently, were accurately conversant with the facts. These powerful testimonies to the antiquity of the Baptists are peculiarly weighty. The Baptists were no novelty to the Roman Catholics of the Reformation period."
     
  16. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I appreciate Anabaptist theology much more than I do Baptist theology. I believe they had a much firmer grasp on the work of Christ and how Christ manifests Himself in our daily life.

    Why do you view foot washing as "goofy"?
     
  17. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    In 2023, bathing is cool and there is plenty of soap and water.

    Washing someone's feet is also entirely cool if they need it.

    However, I don't view our Lord as having Instituted foot-washing as a Divine Ordinance of His churches, to picture His Activity in the Eternal Covenant and Plan of Salvation, the way baptism and the Lord's Supper do, as shown below.

    And, I'm not the only one according to dozens
    of BAPTIST CONFESSIONS OF FAITH.

    You can try to find it in them.

    But, just because I can't get from here to there, doesn't mean I should have used a word that just came up somewhere as I was writing and that I threw in, without much thought (I went with a fleshly impulse).

    It is not that I have a habit of making fun of what people sincerely believe, or of calling anyone goofy, or lost, I just lumped foot-washing in with those couple of other (shortsighted or non-Spiritually derived) beliefs, I listed as goofy, instead of calling those other two something that seems lost people apparently believe, as much as anyone (considering their lack of a testimony indicating a right interpretation of the experience which they have had with Christ and are having with Him daily as they grow in His grace, like baptism and the Lord's Supper picture, below).

    That would really have been taboo. I just can't help but think that there may be something more to people who can't be taught anything, other than they have 'a different interpretation', and yet, never come to the knowledge of a nickles worth of Bible Truth, while leaving hundreds of obvious contradictions behind.

    So, I guess I name-called didn't I? JUST LIKE FOURTH GRADE.

    I should have called them all 'uncool, according to me', or something.


    THE PURPOSE OF THE ORDINANCES.

    "We assume that it is generally believed that the two ordinances of a scriptural church are baptism and the Lord's supper. Through these ordinances, the church requires its members to give a right interpretation of the experience which they have had with Christ and are having with Him daily as they grow in His grace. We also declare in these ordinances our hope of the resurrection.

    "These ordinances were given as the symbolic interpreters of the full salvation. They were given to the churches because they (the churches) are the institutions through which our Lord chose to preach to this lost world His message of salvation. See how they work with God's purposes in His churches.


    They make the gospel plain.

    "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism in (unto) death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4)...

    "By the Lord's Supper, we preach that the death and resurrection of Christ is working in us to save our lives. This is the continued experience of what was once for all declared in baptism. That is why we take the Lord's supper again and again, to declare that we are dying in the old life and living in the new as an actual experience every day. Thus, we keep on declaring "the Lord's death until he come" (I Corinthians 11:26)...

    "By these two ordinances, we preach both the initial experience of a once-for-all salvation as it is written on God's record in Heaven and the living of that experience as it works in our lives daily here on earth."
     
  18. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I also don't view following our Lord's example in washing feet an ordinance. The reason is the practice had a purpose in the first century that is lost today (with the exception of humility).

    Unfortunately it does seem what foot washing expressed has been lost today. Christians are anything but humble. We seem quite the opposite as today there are numerous examples of a sense of entitlement.

    The Mennonites hold the washing of feet as an ordinance (along with Baptism and the Supper). I understand the reasoning and am in no way objecting to the practice.

    Anyway, thanks for the response. I agree it is not an ordinance.
     
  19. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    I don't hold any ill felling for those who don't wash feet as I do... Humility as you say is hard to understand, like you say Christians are anything but humble... You're not so boastful at your brothers feet... I even washed my Daddy's feet and he washed mine... Maybe after foot washing you would take care of how you walked and how you handled other things with your hands that you used to wash feet... Some brethren on here could do with some foot washing... Stop being lord over others and take the place of a servant... Like Jesus did!... The only thing that will get wounded is your pride... Brother Glen:)
     
  20. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Strange thing is I wouldn't mind washing feet. I just don't want people to wash mine (same reason I don't wear flip flops at the beach....ugly feet that make me self conscious).

    Did I ever show you the testimony of the nurse from an Anabaptist book (washing the homeless man's feet)?

    I'll try to find it. I read it years ago and it has really stuck with me. In fact, that testimony has had more an impact on how I view others than most anything I have encountered.
     
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