Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Under Protest?

Baptizing a Baptist in Death
Unaware of their spiritual ancestry, many Baptist Christians believe that they are under protest to the Catholic Church---that they are Protestants. This is due to the influence of Reformed historians who have not represented our people in the history books and have influenced our schools, colleges, and churches. A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure to listen to James Beller speak about our Baptist history. It was invigorating to hear about people who believed just like us in centuries past.

Why is it that we identify Protestants as heroes of the faith? What happened to the Baptists? In the late nineteenth century, an ex-Confederate chaplain and Southern Baptist Seminary professor named William Whitsitt decided that the Baptists came out of the Protestant Reformation. According to him, the Baptists only began to immerse in England in 1641. The seminary threw Whitsitt out, but after he died, they accepted his unorthodox views.

While many Baptists continue to believe Whitsitt's theory, someone forgot to tell the Catholics. They were killing Baptists for immersing believers way before 1641. Catholic historian Stanislaus Hosius said in 1565, “There shall be no faith more certain and true, than is the Anabaptists, seeing there be none now, nor have been before time for the space of these thousand and two hundred years, who have been more cruelly punished, or that have more stoutly, steadfastly, cheerfully, taken their punishment....” (qtd. in Beller, Sacred Betrayal 3). According to our enemies, we have been around since at least 365. There is other evidence that suggests the early Christians immersed their converts. And how about John who baptized in the Jordan River (Matt. 3:6)?

The Catholic Church, to this day, teaches that baptism washes away the sins of infants and that grace is achieved through communion. The Reformers, such as Luther and Calvin, held similar beliefs. All these religions united with the state in order to crush their adversaries. Baptists, however, always held to the Biblical belief of salvation by grace through faith, that the two ordinances (Baptism and the Lord's Supper) were symbolic, and that the church must remain autonomous and avoid alliances with the government. In short, the Baptists have remained doctrinally pure.

Of course it is sometimes difficult to track Baptists through history. The Catholic church was merciless, not only in burning our people, but also burning our books. It is also hard because our name has never stayed the same nor our people in one place. We have been called Anabaptists, Waldenses, Albigenses, Paulicians. And, we were “called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).

It's time that Baptists stop being reformed and start becoming informed about their Bible. Christ said, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). To accept that the true church dissolved for 1400 years and somehow re-appeared is unthinkable.

1 comment:

Cora Beth said...

I'm glad to have found your blog and will be sure to show it to my brother, Andrew, as he always enjoys meeting new brothers in Christ... :)
My family and I used to be Baptists as well, until we read through our Bibles and were convicted that the Lord wants us to also follow Him in keeping the day Holy that He set for us to do so---the 7th day. Very sadly, the pastors that we've talked to about this important obedience issue have told my parents basically, "You're probably right, but I could never get my congregation to switch days..." If you're interested in learning the rather unknown/usually unresearched history of Sabbath keeping and how the Catholic church persecuted so many of these God-fearing people, I'd highly recommend a non-denominational series we just recently found, called "The Seventh Day". You can read about it here: http://www.sabbathtruth.com/free-resources/seventh-day-video-series/articletype/articleview/articleid/966/the-seventh-day-part-1.aspx , and, if you feel so led, you can purchase it here: http://www.prestostore.com/catalog.php/lltcatalog .

Wishing you joy and peace today,
Cora B. (http://maidenhouseofgod.blogspot.com/)