Baptists and their Origins
Edited by B. Myron Cedarholm
PreservedWords.com are not ones to "beat a denominational drum,"
we are Independent Baptists by choice and believe fundamental Baptist
doctrines. However, we do not contend as some the name "Baptist" can be
directly traced to the time of Christ as the following quotes testify.
Historians testify that local
which hold the doctrines, beliefs, and practices of today's
Bible-believing, separatist Baptists; have had continuous existence
since the days of Christ. This cannot be said of any other church,
churches, or religious organization.
Here are a few statements by historians and religious leaders (only one
of them a Baptist) regarding the history of the Baptists:
Sir Isaac Newton said,
Baptists are the only body of known Christians that have never
symbolized with Rome."
SINCE THE APOSTLES
Ypeij and Dermout,
eminent historians of the Dutch Reformed Church said,
may be considered as the only Christian community that has stood since
the days of the apostles, and as a Christian society has preserved pure
the doctrine of the Gospel through all the ages."
the Campbellites (Christian Church or Disciples of Christ) who
rigorously opposed Baptists during the 19th century, wrote,
of Baptists and their practice of baptism from the apostolic age to the
present, have had a continued chain of advocates, and public monuments
of their existence in every century can be produced."
Robert Barclay, a
Quaker historian, says of Baptists,
afterward show that the rise of the Anabaptists 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."
John Clark Ridpath,
doubtlessly the greatest historian the world has ever produced and a
Methodist by denomination, said,
readily admit that there was a Baptist church as far back as 100 A.D.,
although without doubt there were Baptist churches then, as all
Christians were then Baptists."
outstanding Lutheran historian, said,
rise of Luther and Calvin, there lay secreted in almost all the
countries of Europe, persons who adhered tenaciously to the principles
of the modem Dutch Baptists... the origin of Baptists is lost in the
remote depths of antiquity... the first century was a history of
Presbyterian co-laborer with John Calvin, said,
institution of the Anabaptists is no novelty, but for 1300 years has
caused great trouble in the church."
President of the Council of Trent from 1545 to 1564, said,
for the fact that the Baptists have been grievously tormented and cut
off with the knife during the past 1200 years, they would swarm greater
than all the reformers If the truth of religion were to be judged by
the readiness and boldness of which a man or any sect shows in
suffering, then the opinions and persuasions of no sect can be truer
and surer than those of the Anabaptist, since there have been none for
the 1200 years past that have been more generally punished or that have
been more cheerfully and steadfastly undergone, and have offered
themselves to the most cruel sort of punishment than these people:'
"Crossing the Centuries"
edited by William C. King, says,
Baptists it may be said that they are not reformers. These people.
comprising bodies of Christian believers known under various names in
different countries, are entirely distinct and independent of the Roman
and Greek churches, and have an unbroken continuity of existence from
apostolic days down through the centuries Throughout this long perio
they were bitterly persecuted for heresy, driven from country to
country. disfranchised, deprived of their property, imprisoned,
tortured and slain by the thousands; and yet they swerved not from
their New Testament faith, doctrine, and adherence."
hitherto been written by our enemies, who never would have kept a
single fact about us upon the record if they could have helped it, and
yet it leaks out every now and then that certain poor people called
Anabaptists (Anabaptist was the name given to Baptists before the 16th
century. "Ana" means "again," but the entire name, Anabaptist, was
applied to those who believed and practiced what Bible-believing,
separatist Baptists do today) were brought up for condemnation. From
the days of Henry VIII to those of Elizabeth, we hear of certain
unhappy heretics who were hated of all men for the truth's sake that
was in them. We read of poor men and women, with their garments cut
short, turned out into the fields to perish in the cold, and anon of
others who were burnt at Newington for the crime of Anabaptism. Long
before your Protestants were known of, those horrible Anabaptists, as
they were unjustly called, were protesting for the 'one Lord, one
faith, and one baptism.' No sooner did the visible church begin to
depart from the Gospel than these m e n arose to keep fast by the good
old way The priests and monks wished for peace and slumber, but there
was always a Baptist or a Lollard tickling men's ears with Holy
Scriptures, and calling their attention to the errors of the times.
They were a poor persecuted tribe. The halter was thought to be too
good for them. At times, ill-written history would have us think that
they died out, so well had the wolf done his work on the sheep. Yet
here we are, blessed and multiplied, and Newington sees other scenes
from Sunday to Sunday As I think of the multitudes of your numbers and
efforts, I can only say in wonder, 'What a growth!' As I think of the
multitudes of our brethren in America, I can only say, 'What hath God
wrought!' Our history forbids discouragements."