Some who want liberty only want it for themselves
Thomas Patient migrated to America as a Congregationalist preacher after graduating from either Oxford or Cambridge University. Meeting Baptists he re-examined the Scriptures concerning Baptism and concluded that “infant baptism” had no foundation in Scripture.” However, because of severe persecution from his church he was forced to return to Great Britain. The Pilgrims had come to find religious liberty but there was not liberty for others. He served as co-pastor with William Kiffin in London in 1640 and was one of the Baptist leaders who signed the Particular Baptist Confession of Faith by seven Baptist churches in London in 1644. This was during the Commonwealth under Cromwell and the English Parliament voted to appoint six ministers to preach in Dublin, Ireland, and Patient accepted one of those positions. He spoke to large audiences and he acted as chaplain for Colonel John Jones, who was actually the Gov. of Dublin and Patient was invited to preach each Lord’s Day in the Council of Dublin and thus the aristocracy of the Anglo-Irish society heard the living gospel. Patient baptized a large group in Dublin and it is believed that he founded the First Baptist Church in Ireland following the Reformation in Ireland. He apparently assisted in establishing the Baptist church at Cloughkeating. All the congregation were tried for their lives, but in God’s providence the foreman died, and they were all acquitted. Because Patient was willing to accept government remuneration for preaching, it is evident that the Baptists of London distanced themselves from him. But to him is the honor of building the first Baptist meetinghouse in Ireland. The man of God fell asleep in Jesus on July 30, 1666 having paid the price for his convictions on Baptism.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 312-13.
The importance of church succession
On this date we have the record of the church-planting procedures of the “Particular Baptists” during the colonial era. The Baptist church in Boston granted a letter of approval to William Screven on Nov. 11, 1681, “to exercise his gift in ye place where he lives or elsewhere as the providence of God may cast him.” Some months later they sent the following letter of approval for the establishing of a Baptist church in Maine; following is a summary of that correspondence: “Upon serious and solemn consideration of the church about a motion…made by several members that lived at Kittery, [that] they might become a church…provided they were such as should be Approved for such A Foundacon work, the Church…did send severall messengers to make y strict inquiry and Examination as they ought in such A case who at their returne brought Coppys here inserted 26th of 7 mo 1682. The Church of Christ at Boston y(et) is baptized upon profession of faith having taken into serious consideration ye Request of our Brethren at Kittery Relating to their being A Church by themselves y(et) soe they might Injoy the precious ordinances of Christ which by reson of distance…they butt seldome could enjoy have therefore thought meet to make Choice of us whose names are und’written as Messengers to Assist them in ye same faith with us…of doctrine and practice and soe finding them one with us by their Conschiencous Acknowleldgm(ent) of ye Confession of faith putt forth by ye Elders an Brethren of ye churches in London and ye contry in England dated in ye year 1682…And they having given themselves up to ye lord & to one Another in A Solemn Covenant to walk as said Covenant may Express & also having Chosen theire officers whome they with us have Appointed and ordained, we doe therefore in ye name of ye lord Jesus & by the Appointment of his Church deliver them to be a Church of Christ in ye faith and order of ye gospel. Signed by us in ye name of ye Church the 25 of 7 mo 1682. Isaak Hull, Thomas Skinner, Phillipp Squire.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 306-07.
The Baptists of England, besides the physical persecution, had undergone vicious verbal attacks misrepresenting their profession of faith. Therefore they found it necessary to set forth a confession of faith to publicly declare their belief’s before all. The first was put forth in the name of seven congregations in 1643. By the year 1689 the seven churches represented had expanded to “upwards of one hundred baptized congregations in England and Wales (denying Arminianism) being met together in London, from the third of the seventh month to the eleventh of the same, 1689, to consider some things that might be for the glory of God, and the good of these congregations.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 284-85.
She Kindled the Fires to Burn the Anabaptists
Hendrick Terwoort was not an English subject but a Fleming by birth and of a fine mind. Persecuted in his own land for his love for Christ, he fled and asked protection of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth, the head of the English Church. Terwoort ultimately discovered that he had misplaced his confidence, for Elizabeth had him roasted alive at Smithfield, June 22, 1575. While in prison, Terwoort wrote a confession of faith that rejected infant baptism and held that a Christian should not make an oath or bear arms, that Anabaptists “believe and confess that magistrates are set and ordained of God, to punish the evil and protect the good,” that they pray for them and are subject to them in every good work, and that they revere the “gracious queen” as a sovereign. He sent a copy to Elizabeth, but her heart was set against him. At the age of twenty-five, Terwoort was put to death because he would not make his conscience Elizabeth’s footstool.
Terwoort was not a singular case. Bishop Jewel complained of a “large and unauspicious crop of Anabaptists” in Elizabeth’s reign. She not only ordered them out of her kingdom, but in good earnest, kindled the fires to burn them. Baptists were hated by the bishops, who falsely accused them of having no reverence for authority, seeking to overthrow government, being full of pride and contempt, being entirely interested in being schismatic, and desiring to be free from all laws. They were considered great hypocrites, feigning holiness of life.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 255-256.
Dutch Anabaptists Persecuted
Why our Founders in America Insisted on a Bill of Rights
On April 3rd 1575, a small congregation of Dutch Anabaptists convened in a private house outside the city of London. While they were at worship, a constable interrupted the service and took twenty-five people before a magistrate, who committed them to prison. They remained there for two days when, upon posting bond, they were released on giving promise to appear before the court when summoned.
Information was given to the Queen (Elizabeth I0, and a Royal Commission was issued to Sandys, Bishop of London, and some others to interrogate the parties and proceed accordingly. The Anabaptists appeared before the commissioners, where their confession of faith was rejected, and they were required to subscribe to four articles that condemned their own principles. Of course, these involved pedobaptism.
These staunch believers refused to subscribe to the articles presented to them.
Sandys said “that [their] misdeeds therein were so great that [they] could not enjoy the favour of God. . . . He then said to [them] all, that [they] should be imprisoned in the Marshalsea.” The Prison was later called the “Queen’s Bench.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 136-37.
“Baptists would have become a perfect dunghill in society.”
On Jan. 15, 1833, the copy of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith was presented to the Board and approved with slight modifications. In June of 1830, “the Baptist Convention of New Hampshire appointed a committee to prepare and present at the next annual sessions ‘such a Declaration of Faith and Practice, together with a Covenant, as may be thought agreeable and consistent with the views of all our churches in this state.” Calvinistic Baptists in the NH area had been considerably modified after 1870. They had followed after the Particular Baptists who believed that God would save the “elect” only. Andrew Fuller and Thomas Collier, though Particular Baptists had given rebirth to the missionary movement that had sent William Carey and others, etc. Fuller said: “had matters gone on but a few years the Baptists would have become a perfect dunghill in society.” On the Freeness of Salvation, the confession states: “We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it is the duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; and nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth except his own inherent depravity and voluntary refusal to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ, which refusal will subject him to an aggravated condemnation.” Adding a premillennial clause, fundamental Baptist groups throughout America soon adopted the Confession. In 1925 the Southern Baptist Convention adopted this Confession with slight modifications. It is reflective of the theological position of the majority of Bible-believing Baptists in America today.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 30-32.
On Jan. 03, 1644, the British Parliament passed a law making sprinkling mandatory for all, making outlaws of all who were not. This meant that they would be deprived of the “inheritance of the state, the right of burial, and of all the rights granted to other “sprinkled” citizens. The purpose of passing this law was to choke the Baptists that were prospering in the land. The law said that the minister, in the name of the “Father, of the son, and of the Holy Ghost”, was to pour or sprinkle water on the face of the child, “without adding any other ceremony.” Prior to the time that the Presbyterians gained power in Great Britain, the same law read by “immersion” but the members of the Westminster Assembly who presented the famed Presbyterian Westminster Confession of Faith, came within one vote of demanding immersion as the form of Baptism. Therefore “so goes the church, so goes the state”. Prior to that time all denominations in Great Britain practiced immersion except for the Roman Catholics. It was a novelty for any sect until the Presbyterians introduced it. Dr. W.H. King of London made a complete search of the subject of Baptism in the British Museum. He said that he had examined more than 7,000 pamphlets on the subject of baptism, or the opinions and practices of the Baptists. And that he can report that: “There is not a sentence or a hint…that the Baptists generally, or any section of them, or even any individual Baptist, held any other opinion than that immersion is the only true and scriptural method of baptism, either before the year 1641 or after it.” We know that baptism does not save us, in eternity, but is “an answer of a good conscience toward God” ( 1 Pet. 3:21).
A long and arduous ministry of over forty years
December 05, 1792 – Joseph Smedley was born in Westmoreland County, England. This is where he professed Christ and became a member of a Baptist church. After emigrating to the U.S., he applied to the Fifth Baptist Church of Philadelphia for membership, and a committee was appointed to investigate the matter and report to the church. Upon investigation, they discovered that he had been excluded by a church in England, and they would need time to determine the facts. On Aug. 23, 1834, in the absence of a letter, they decided to receive him into the church based on his confession of his Christian experience and on his approval of the church’s confession of faith and discipline. It shows the importance Baptist churches placed on church membership. The following month Smedley requested a letter of dismission in order to go west, where under the advisory counsel of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions and the employment of the U.S. Government, he became a teacher and missionary among the Indians. During this time his wife Mary Radcliff died in July of 1836 and left him in the care of seven children. In spite of this loss, he continued his ministry among the Choctaws, Creeks and Cherokees in an area of 80 miles west of Ft. Smith along the Arkansas and Canadian rivers. Smedley organized the first black Baptist church in Ft. Smith in 1856. He continued his missionary work, but the Civil War greatly curtailed his ministry. After the outbreak of hostilities, he was able to make only occasional visits to his churches. After a long and arduous ministry of over forty years, Smedley died on Aug. 27, 1877.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 507-08.