Tag Archives: anabaptists

LANDMARKS OF BAPTIST FAITH


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
LANDMARKS OF BAPTIST FAITH

Baptist Churches lay claim to continued existence since the days of the apostles. They are the only community of churches with such origin. They have not been called by the same name, but were known variously as Paterines; Novations; Paulicians; Albigenses; Waldensians; Petro-brusians; Donatists; Anabaptists, etc.
These names, and others, were put upon them usually by the population of their location throughout the centuries. However there is a common thread running through them all by which they are identified as one and the same people. That thread is a core of common beliefs. Recognizing that fact, scholars of various Protestant faiths including Methodists, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Catholic, too, have verified their continued existence since the apostles, and the only community of churches which have never symbolized with Rome.
These churches were often nomadic of necessity because of persecution from the religious wife of Rome which was most zealous to unite all religion in the empire or else put it out of business via taxation, confiscation of property, burning of houses of worship, imprisonment and execution of the people espousing Biblical views and practices.
There were things about them in different countries and in different times that were uncommon, but the common thread was there exemplified as in a statement of Faith dated 1120 A.D. in THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCHES OF THE VALLEYS OF PIEDMONT written in 1654 by Samuel Moreland.
The Landmarks which have always identified the people presently known as Baptists who are the legitimate successors of those earlier named, but all of whom were generally known as Anabaptists are 1) The depravity of the total man, that is, all of mankind are sinners by nature, and practice. 2) Spiritual salvation is effected by grace through faith plus nothing else. 3) There is eternal security of the believer in Christ, since all who believe in Jesus as personal Savior are granted everlasting life. 4) Baptism is effected by total immersion in water of a professed believer by the authority of a bona fide New Testament Church.
Of course, there are quite a number of other doctrines which make up historic and modern confessions of faith. All of them are important, but those four core doctrines are consistently identified as present and foundational among the Lord’s churches wherever, and whenever they are found. They truly are landmarks of the first church and its successors.
Solomon said it well in Proverbs 22:18, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” Today, a shallow people is giving way to marginalization by the world’s humanistic religions. Let the wisdom of Solomon be heard for when the landmarks are gone the ship of church is perished.

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194 – July 12 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


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Catholics and Protestants both engaged in burning Baptists

Protestant reformers were sometimes as guilty of atrocities as the Romanists against the Baptists

and Anabaptists. Catholics and Protestants taught that tradition, reason and Scripture made it the

pious duty of saints to torture and burn men as heretics out of pure love for their holiness and

salvation. Protestantism told them that it was a sacred duty to slaughter those as schismatics ,

sectaries, malignants, who corrupted the Church and would not live in peace with the Reformed.

The sad instances of persecution practiced against the Baptists by the Protestants in King Edward

VI’s reign are in the Latin version of Foxe’s Book of Martrs but were left out of his English

edition in order to protect the reputation of some of the martyrs of Queen Mary’s day who had

persecuted the Baptists during Edward’s reign. John Rogers, one of Foxe’s friends, called for

the death of those who opposed the baptism of infants. It was reported that Rogers declared

“That burning alive was no cruel death, but easy enough.” It is believed that Foxe responded

that Rogers himself may be the first to experience this mild burning. And so it was, Rogers was

the first to be burned when the Catholic Queen Mary came to the throne. During the last year

of Edward’s reign Humphry Middleton was cast into prison by the Archbishop. After Bloody

Mary arose to power, the bishops were cast into prison and Middleton was burned at Canterbury

on July 12, 1555. The time of baptism as well as the mode was debated at this time because

some of the Protestants immersed. So the issue was believer’s baptism v infant baptism. During

Mary’s reign the prisons were crowded because both of these positions were anathema to the

Catholic Mary. None was recorded by Baptists.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 285-86.

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161 – June 10 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Targets of Persecution

 

“On the 10th of June, 1535, a furious edict was published at Brussels. Death by fire was the punishment on all Baptists who should be detected and should refuse to abjure. If they recanted they were still to die, but not by fire; the men were to be put to death by the sword, ‘the women in a sunken pit.’ Those who resisted the operation of the edict by failing to deliver up Baptists [Anabaptists] to the authorities, were to suffer the same punishment as accomplices.”What a troublesome time in which to live! Religious freedom was unknown to Anabaptists, and they were forced to worship covertly, everywhere because informers were promised one-third of the confiscated estates of the dreaded Anabaptists!

 

Perhaps the actual wording of a portion of the edict might prove enlightening as to the pressures that our forefathers experienced.

“In order to provide against and remedy the errors and seductions which many sectaries and authors of mischief, with their followers, have dared to sow and spread in our possessions, in opposition to our holy Christian faith, the sacraments and commands of the holy church our mother; we have at various times decreed…many mandates containing statutes, edicts, ordinances, together with punishments that transgressors should suffer; in order that by such means the common and simple people might guard themselves against the aforesaid errors and abuses, and that their chief promoters might be punished and corrected as an example to all.

 

And it having come to our knowledge that…many and various sectaries, even some who are denominated Anabaptist or rebaptizers, have promoted…their said abuses and errors, in order to mislead the same…to the great scandal and contempt of the sacrament of holy baptism, and of our edicts, statutes, and ordinances:

Therefore, being desirous to provide against and remedy the same, we summon and command, that, from this time…you make proclamation in all the parts of limits of your jurisdiction, that all who are, or shall be found to be, infected by the cursed sect of Anabaptists, or rebaptizers, of what state or condition they may be, abettors, followers, and accomplices, shall suffer the forfeiture of life and estate, and shall without delay, be brought to the severest punishment.”

 

There are several other paragraphs of the edict, but this example is typical of the many edicts issued by the Roman Catholic and even Protestant leaders who harmonized only at the point of persecuting the re-baptizers. Catholics and some reformers believed that “re-baptism” was a repudiation of the baptism by the state church, which they considered salvation. Anabaptists did not accept “sacramental grace” and “infant sprinkling.” They denied that they were re-baptizers at all! Thank God for grace in Christ and the privilege of obeying His ordinance as a testimony! Praise the Lord for our glorious freedom of religion and liberty of conscience to serve Him without man’s dictates!

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/ Cummins) p. 239.

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38 – February 07 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

 

Blaurock, GeoGeorge Blaurock

A man that they could not silence

1525 – ANABAPTISTS IN SWITZERLAND ARRESTED AND BURNED AT THE STAKE FOR REFUSING TO BAPTIZE THEIR CHILDREN IN THE EARLY 16TH CENTURY – George Blaurock was arrested on February 7, 1525, along with Felix Manz and 24 other Swiss Anabaptists for refusing to have their children  baptized. He was held for a week in the Augustinian cloister and then released. On Nov. 6 he was rearrested and placed in chains. On the 18th he was sentenced to imprisonment in the New Tower, to be kept on a diet of bread and water. On Jan. 5, 1527, the day of Felix Manz’s glorious martyrdom, the following report is given of Blaurock: His hands were bound, his body stripped to the waiste, and he was made to walk along the street, while being beaten with rods until the blood flowed from his wounds. When he was finally released, as he left Zurich, he shook the dust from his blue coat and shoes as a testimony against his persecutors. Blaurock a man of conviction who could not be silenced continued for two years to carry on the work of the Anabaptists in Switzerland. On September 6, 1529, when he was the pastor of a small flock of believers in Tyrol, Blaurock was burned at the stake. The little church’s former pastor had also been burned three months prior. Blaurock had been born in Bonaduz, a village in Grisons, Switzerland in 1491.  He was therefore only 38 years of age when he was called home to meet the Lord Jesus.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 51.

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31 – January 31 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

 

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1777 – DUTCH SCHOLARS AT THE REQUEST OF THE KING ESTABLISH APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION OF BAPTISTS IN THE 19TH CENTURY – Isaac Johannes Dermout was born on January 31, 1777. Mr. Dermout was one of two Dutch scholars, Dr. Anne Ypeij being the other that the king of the Netherlands commissioned to investigate the claim of Dutch Baptists to an apostolic origin. Ypeij was the chaplain to the king and Professor of Theology in Gronigen. The results of their research is found in a book in the Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI. It is entitled, Geschiedeins der Nederlandsche Hervormde Kerk. It says: “We have now seen that the Baptists who were formerly called Anabaptists, and in later times Mennonites, were the original Waldenses, who have long in the history of the church have received the honor of that origin. On this account the Baptists may be considered as the only Christian community which has stood since the days of the apostles, and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrine of the gospel through all ages…” (The statement continues on pg. 42). Baptists have always taken the position that a Baptist by any other name is never the less a Baptist.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from:  Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/   pg. 41.

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25 – January 25 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

 

Bunyan, John

A time for survival for Baptists

1661 – BAPTISTS SUFFERED GREAT PERSECUTION IN ENGLAND IN THE MID 17TH CENTURY – On January 25, 1661 a petition entitled “The humble petition and presentation of the 1sufferings of several peaceable subjects, called by the name of Anabaptists, inhabitants in the county of Kent, and now prisoners in the jail at Maidstone, for the testimony of a good conscience” was presented. 1660 to 1688 was a time for survival for Baptists rather than expansion. John Bunyan began his 12 year term in Bedford jail. On Oct. 19, 1661, John James, a Sabbatarian Baptist, was dragged from his pulpit in Bulsrake Alley, Whitechaple in London, and committed to the Newgate jail. On Nov. 26, he was taken to Tyburn to be hanged. King Charles II was unmoved. The Baptists had no recourse but to write publications. One was by John Sturgion, a member of the baptized people,” entitle, A Plea for Toleration of Opinions and persuasions in Matters of Religion, differing from the Church of England. Another was, Sion’s Groans for Her Distressed: or, Sober Endeavors to Prevent Innocent Blood. Seven Baptist ministers affixed their names to the document. Joseph Wright, Thomas Monck, George Hammon, William Jeffrey, Francis Stanley, William Reynolds, and Francis Smith. Joseph Wright spent no less than 20 years in prison for the sake of truth. They said that they were willing to be loyal subjects to the king in civil matters but that they must obey God in religion.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from:  Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/   pg. 33.

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16 – January 16 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Adorned to please her bridegroom

 

1553 – Felistis Jans Resinx approached the scaffold on which she was burned, adorned in a clean dress and white apron as if to show by her outward dress how purely and uprightly a Christian maiden ought internally to be adorned to please her heavenly bridegroom. Jesus Christ. The testimony and execution of Felistis are recorded from the records deposited with the secretary of the city of Amsterdam, Holland. What was her crime? She had assembled with a sect of Anabaptists and thus doing had separated from the obedience and beliefs of the so called holy (that is Roman) church. She judged erroneously the sacrament of the altar and had entertained and shown hospitality to Anabaptists. She seduced certain people from obedience to the Romish church and was unwilling to forsake her errors. All of these things were opposed to the ordinances of the state church and the proclamations of his imperial majesty. The sentence was that Felistis should be executed by fire and that all her worldly goods should be confiscated to the use of the emperor. While imprisoned, she was condemned to the torture of the rack, which she bore faithfully. She also demonstrated her kind servant spirit by assisting the jailer’s wife in the household. We should also remember Janson another faithful martyr of Christ, who on the same occasion, at the same place, and for the same reason was burned alive and was added to that great number who gave their lives to the truth of God’s Word.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 21-22.

 

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334 – Nov. 30 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Zwingli persecutes the Anabaptists

 

1525 – The following proclamation was published against the Anabaptists in Zurich, Switzerland by the Zwinglians: “…we ordain…that…all men, women, young men, and maidens, abstain from rebaptism, and from this time practice it no more; and that they bring their children to be baptized.” It went on to say that whoever refused to obey this public order would be punished by a fine of silver. Five years later harsher penalties were levied, including torture and death. The Anabaptists became the target of such inhuman abuses that defy description from both Rome and the Reformers. William Jones, In his History of the Christian Church wrote, “They were publicly whipped, drawn by the heels through the streets, racked till’ every bone was disjointed, had their teeth beat out, their noses, hands, and ears cut off, sharp pointed spears run under their nails, melted lead thrown on their naked bodies, had their eyes dug out, limbs cut off, ground between stones, broiled on gridirons, cast by heaps into the sea, crucified, scraped to death with shells, torn in pieces by boughs of trees, etc. When Peter Sager was burned, the town records recorded the following: “Paid to Master Garnancie for burning Peter Sager, 20 Shillings; for cords and stake, 10 shillings; for the pains of the executioner, 28 shillings; special watchmen during the execution, 17 shillings, 6 pfennigs; other amounts for twelve wagon loads of fuel and twenty-eight measures of wine for the dance at the court-house, in honor of the Count of Zil.” Our Anabaptist forefathers truly found themselves in a pincer movement between Rome on one side and the Reformers on the other. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 655-56. Joseph Meyer, Baptists Establishers of Religious Liberty (Chicago: Private Printing, 1923), pp. 101-2.]    Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

 

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324 – Nov. 20 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Never forget that bloody year – 1527

 

1527 – Weynken Claes, was burned to death in the Hague, Holland, for her testimony of the Anabaptist faith. At her arraignment, Weynken was asked, “Do you then, not fear death, which you have never tasted?” Her answer: “This is true, but I shall never taste death, for Christ says: ‘If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.’ The rich man tasted death, and shall taste it forever.” Also in 1527, some Anabaptists were burned in the house where they met. A young maiden, about sixteen, would have been spared if she had but recanted her faith which she refused to do. The persecutors took her by the arm, pushed her head under the waters of a horse trough until she drowned, and then burned her corpse. The Anabaptists of 1527 must have thought that they were in the Great Tribulation because of how many leaders were required to seal their faith with their blood. George Wagner of Emmerich, Germany, was bound into the fire on the eighth day of Feb. because he did not believe that water baptism held any saving power. Melchoir Vet was burned at Drache, for the divine truth which he boldly confessed. In May of that same year, a former Roman Priest, Michael Sattler was burned to ashes as a heretic after having his tongue cut out. Several of his brethren in the faith were executed with the sword, and two sisters in the faith were drowned. His wife too was drowned. He had dared to declare that infant baptism “is of no avail to salvation.  Geo. Baurock, a former Priest Leonhard Keyser, Thomas Hermann and 67 of his followers suffered martyrdom as well. Let us never forget this bloody year – 1527 A.D.  [Thieleman J. Van Braght, The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror (Scottsdale, Pa. : Hearld Press, 1987), p. 416. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp.  634-36]   Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

 

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200 – July 19 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

They named him “Christmas”

 

Perhaps the greatest Baptist preacher that Great Britain ever produced was the Welsh preacher Christmas Evans. Born on Christmas Day 1766 into an impoverished home, he lost his father when only nine years old, and spent the next few years with a disreputable uncle. When he was 15 he still couldn’t read but when he was 18 he was converted and joined the Presbyterians. He was six feet tall and His very presence spoke of leadership and they urged him to preach. The development of his untrained mind is an amazing story. He learned to read his Welsh Bible in one month. He read every book in the scant local libraries. “He became skilled in Hebrew, Greek and English.” With a desire to expose the Anabaptists, he studied the New Testament carefully and came to the conclusion that there were no verses that taught infant sprinkling and at least forty for baptism on profession of faith. In 1788 Christmas was immersed in the River Duar by the Rev. Timothy Thomas. He began a pastoral ministry until he was called to the Isle of Anglesea in 1791. There were two chapels and 8 preaching stations. Spiritual deadness prevailed when he began his 35 year ministry. In a short time the Isle was revived, and by 1826 the preaching stations multiplied to scores, and 28 preachers flooded the Isle with the message of grace.  He traveled to Velin Voel for an associational meeting in 1794. After two ministers had addressed the assembly in the heat of the open air, Christmas Evans was asked to speak. He spoke for 3 hours on the Demoniac of Gadara. This became his landmark sermon. He lost an eye early in life but the one eye it was said was like a brilliant star, it shined like Venus. On his death bed, he waved his hand as if with Elijah in the chariot of fire, and cried the words of an old Welsh hymn: “Wheel about, coachman, drive on!”

 

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 295-97.

 

 

 

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