Tag Archives: magistrate


Burning at the Stake – They died like men

16th Century – This bloody century continued to drink the blood of the Anabaptists in the heroic story of Jacob Dirks and his sons, Andrew and Jan.  Literally thousands had been put to death by the Roman Catholic State Church of Holland.  The blood of the aged was mixed with the blood of the youths.  Women were tortured with the same ferocity as were the men, but still the Whore was not satisfied.  Jacob, a tailor residing in Utrecht with his family, hearing that the magistrate was soon to arrest him fled to Antwerp in Belgium.  His wife, not sharing his doctrinal views, remained behind only to die from natural causes.  Upon arrival at the place of execution, Jacob said to his sons “How is it with you, my dear sons?”  They answered, “Dear father, all is well.”  Andrew was soon to be married, but he had forsaken his earthly bride and chosen that heavenly Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ.  These brave men were each strangled by the executioner, which was considered an act of mercy, before the fire was kindled and their smoke was offered up to God as a sweet smelling sacrifice.  These executions down through the centuries have given authority and validity to the gospel of Christ, as well as the sustaining grace of God, under the most trying circumstances.  In some instances the martyr would raise his hands toward heaven in a prearranged signal that God had truly provided supernatural strength to bear the flames.  Others would sing songs of praise and hymns until the flames silenced their voices.  The greatest trial was when the wood was green or the wind would blow the smoke away and cause death to come more slowly.  These acts demonstrate the utter depravity of man and the inadequacy of man’s religion which always has to be by force and not by persuasion.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 109.
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Beale Memorial Baptist


The issue was the Lordship of Christ

1774 – The Piscataway Baptist Church, located seven miles southwest of Tappahannock, Virginia, was founded, and on the same day a warrant was issued to arrest all the Baptist preachers at the meeting.  John Waller, John Shackleford, Robert Ware, and Ivison Lewis were taken before a magistrate.  Lewis was released because it could not be proved that he actually preached.  The others were sent to prison.  During their time there they preached twice per week, gave godly advice, read the scriptures, and prayed almost without ceasing.  John Waller in his journal wrote that they passed through various fiery trials, their minds being harassed by the enemy of souls.  The actual record has been preserved in the court record of the Essex County, VA, records book for the twenty-first of March, in the year of our Lord 1774.  The charge was, “for preaching and expounding the Scriptures contrary to law, and confessing the fact…”  Ware and Shackleford gave security (bond) and were released.  Waller was always doubtful about giving bond and was determined to go back to jail which he did and spent fourteen days with a bunch of drunken and profane rowdies.  He felt deserted by his brethren and scoffed and persecuted by his enemies.  He finally gave consent and bonded out.  The old brick courthouse building where those men were arraigned as lawbreakers is still standing on U.S. Route 17 in Tappahannock, and is now a Baptist church.  The members of the Centennial Baptist Church bought the old courthouse and used it as a house of worship.  The church changed its name in 1908 to Beale Memorial Baptist Church after Pastor Frank B. Beal who served as pastor for twenty-eight years.  This 234 year old church may be the oldest Baptist church in America.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 103.

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224 – Aug 12 – This Day in Baptist History Past

Baptists fight for Liberty in Virginia

1771 – The Following letter was written from Urbanna Prison, Middlesex County, Virginia. We find there were twelve Baptists in prison at one time.  Dear Brother in the Lord:   At a meeting which was held at Brother McCain’s, in this county, last Saturday, while William Webber was addressing the congregation from James 2:18, there came running toward him, in a most furious rage, Captain James Montague, a magistrate of the county, followed by the parson of the parish (Anglican) and several others who seemed greatly exasperated. The magistrate and another took hold of Brother Webber, and dragging him from the stage, delivered him with Brethren Wafford, Robert Ware, Richard Falkner, James Greenwood, and myself, into custody, and commanded that we should be brought before him for trial.  Brother Wafford was severely scourged, and Brother Henry Street received one lash from one of the persecutors, who was prevented from proceeding to further violence by his companions; to be short, I may inform you that we were carried before the above-mentioned magistrate, who with the parson and some others, carried us one by one into a room and examined our pockets and wallets for firearms, etc., charging us with carrying on a mutiny against the authority of the land. Finding none, we were asked if we had license to preach in this county; and learning we had not, it was required of us to give bond and security not to preach anymore in the county, which we modestly refused to do , whereupon after dismissing Brother Wafford, with a charge to make his escape out of the county by twelve o’clock the next day on pain of imprisonment, and dismissing Brother Falkner, the rest of us were delivered to the sheriff and sent to close jail, with a charge not to allow us to walk in the air until court day.  Blessed be God, the sheriff and jailer have treated us with as much kindness as could be expected from strangers. May the Lord reward them for it! Yesterday we had a large number of people hear us preach; and , among others, many of the great ones of the land, who behaved well while one of us discoursed on the new birth. We find the Lord gracious and kind to us beyond expression in our afflictions. We cannot tell how long we shall be kept in bonds; we therefore beseech, dear brother, that you and the church supplicate night and day for us, our benefactors, and our persecutors.   I have also to inform you that six of our brethren are confined in Caroline jail, viz Brethren Lewis Craig, John Burrus, John Young, Edward Herndon, James Goodrick, and Bartholomew Cheming. The most dreadful threatenings are raised in the neighboring counties against the Lord’s faithful and humble followers. Excuse haste. Adieu.  John Waller. [Lewis Peyton Little, Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia, (Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Co., 1938), pp. 275-76.]  Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon

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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.

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