committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs






In the preceding chapters, evidence has been presented to demonstrate that the English Separatist descent theory of Baptist origins is basically a denial of two earlier theories: the successionist and the Anabaptist spiritual kinship theories. Methodology and sources used, as well as arguments and historical data given to substantiate the Separatist descent theory, have also been discussed. Concluding questions to be considered, aiding evaluation of the theory, are: (1) Do the historical facts substantiate these claims and denials? (2) Is the methodology employed valid? (3) To what extent are the advocates of the theory free of theological biases and presuppositions? (4) Does the validity of the theory necessarily preclude former theories? In the present chapter four areas of discussion are utilized to determine probable answers to these questions. The first area consists of an analysis of the methodology and sources of Separatist descent advocates. The following two areas summarize and evaluate the affirmations and denials employed in the theory. The final area is a concluding assessment in which both positive and negative judgments are delineated.


Methodology and Sources


English Separatist descent historians have all maintained that the Baptist historian must approach his subject without a priori theological presuppositions. They have affirmed that their studies have been objective, utilizing a scientific, critical methodology. Their theory, they have maintained, meets the requirements and tests of such methodology, To what extent they have accomplished such a worthwhile goal awaits consideration.

The aim of objectivity and insistence on primary sources by these historians have been generally the chief assets of their methodology. Following the early efforts of Benjamin Evans in working with Mennonite historians, William H. Whitsitt and George A. Lofton presented the crucial historical data upon which the theory rests. While George Gould was the first to use constructively the important Stinton Repository statements about Spilsbury and Blunt, Whitsitt justifiably has merited recognition of being the first modern Baptist historian in America to incorporate these findings in a theory of Baptist origins. His corroborative data, moreover, were primarily from seventeenth century Baptist writers. Lofton has deserved credit for answering opponents' questions and removing many of the loose ends originally involved in Whitsitt's interpretation. Lofton has had strong arguments to show that Crosby had actually made the same appraisal, although he had inadvertently neglected citing the date of the restoration of believer's immersion. By conducting special research in England and citing definite primary documents in their books, rather than relying on tradition, Whitsitt and Lofton, therefore, laid the foundation upon which the denial of organic identification of Baptists with Anabaptists rests. John H. Shakespeare added to this denial by relating the origin and growth of early Separatist or Congregational churches and how their origin was separate from Anabaptism.

Winthrop Hudson has not written so much specifically about Baptist origins as the aforementioned historians. On the basis of what he has written, however, his methodology seems to be basically sound. A special feature of his approach was an appeal to early seventeenth century English Baptist literature. Particular attention was given to an examination of confessional statements of both General and Particular Baptists. Hudson has presented more evidence to substantiate the denial of theological identification of Baptists with Anabaptists than any of the other Separatist descent historians.

Robert Torbet's extensive bibliography and his willingness to recognize differences in interpretation among leading Baptist historians, as well as his admission that certainty is impossible in several situations, have made his volume very valuable to the interpretation of

Baptist literature. Numerous references to sources, both agreeing and disagreeing with his interpretation, indicate his attempt at objectivity. In short, such a critical methodology, seeking objectivity and the truth, merits the admiration of all.

These historians, however, have not been without their weaknesses in methodology. While one must admire their advocating and generally using a scientific methodology, he met also note that they have been subject to the same type of errors that have been characteristic of earlier successionist historians. Their errors fall into three general areas: sources, documentation, and terminology.


Errors Pertaining to Sources

The English Separatist descent historians have occasionally used doubtful sources. According to Albert H. Newman, some of Whitsitt's secondary sources are open to question as to historical objectivity. Regarding de Hoop Scheffer, he wrote that "it must be admitted that de Hoop Scheffer has had a certain polemical interest in showing that early English Baptists practiced affusion"; but he further observed that "his reputation as a scholar and a Christian are too high to admit of his testimony being cast aside as worthless."(1) Concerning Dexter, Newman noted that Dr., Dexter's reputation for painstaking accuracy has been so great that one might well be excused for relying on his quotations from rare books. He has long been known to have been intensely partisan, however, and the comparison of some of his quotations with original works by opponents of Dr. Whitsitt has not redounded to the credit of the great Congregational historian. . . .  Dr. Whitsitt's fault in this respect cannot be regarded as other than venial.(2) Likewise, Lofton's thesis that Crosby is a reliable source regarding the restoration of immersion has been questioned by other English Separatist descent advocates.(3)

The greatest weakness in Torbet's methodology is his over dependence upon Champlin Burrage, E. Belfort Bax and Henry E. Dosker as authorities and sources for many of his statements relative to sixteenth century Anabaptism in England.(4) Although he contrasted differences of opinion between these men, Torbet designated Bax and Dosker as "relatively recent students of Anabaptist history" in contrast to Burrage.(5) Bax's work, Rise and Fall of the Anabaptists, which has a decidedly polemical approach, was published in 1903; Dosker's volume, The Dutch Anabaptists, was published in 1921. Burrage's two volumes, The Early English Dissenters (1912), is antedated, therefore, by Bax. Except for a few references to Franklin H. Littell and Ernest Payne, Torbet apparently neglected modern Anabaptist studies, especially those of Mennonite scholars. This oversight is unexpected since Torbet so recently rewrote the first two chapters in the revised edition of his history.(6) Furthermore, Torbet's use of the above sources reveals several inconsistencies. Citing Bax as his source, he referred to "an Anabaptist book entitled The Sum of Scripture" which was condemned "in 1530 by an assembly of bishops and other theologians."(7) Burrage, however, denied that this book Is an Anabaptist document.(8) Torbet should have indicated this disagreement; moreover, Burrage's appraisal was more consistent with Torbet's view that believer's immersion was not practiced among English anti-pedobaptists before the 1640's. The document has been cited by successionist and Anabaptist spiritual kinship historians to substantiate the view that believer's immersion was practiced in sixteenth century England.(9) The book definitely advocates baptism by immersion, using the expression "and therefore be we plonged [sic] under the water."(10) Burrage has said: "'The summe of the holy scrypture' seems to have been in considerable demand, for copies of at least three editions before 1550 are still in existence.(11) If Bax and Torbet were correct in calling this document an Anabaptist book, then Whitsitt's argument needs modification. If they were incorrect, then Torbet must admit that, in using an older source (Bax) and overlooking the opposing view of a later source (Burrage), he has failed at the point of historical objectivity. Torbet, therefore, is in a methodological dilemma. This problem of Torbet's is also a good example of a historian's lack of knowledge of the contents of a source and reveals unfamiliarity with the views of a man cited as an authority.(12) Either this is true or he deliberately evaded this issue by failing to comment upon the problem involved.

Torbet's dependence upon Burrage has led to another error in methodology. As has been demonstrated above, to a large extent, Torbet depended upon the work of Burrage for his assessment of the Stinton Repository, Torbet, however, did not include Burrage in his classification of the three theories of Baptist origins as an advocate of any of the three, much less the English Separatist descent theory. Burrage might be classified as an advocate of the Anabaptist spiritual kinship theory because of the general approach of his book. His term "Anabaptists" by which he described General Baptists before 1640(13) was something that Torbet would not use in his 1963 edition of his history, for its use would be inconsistent with his denial of Anabaptist kinship. While both Anabaptist spiritual kinship advocates and Separatist descent advocates have agreed in denying organic succession of Baptists from Anabaptists, Torbet should, nevertheless, have admitted that his final interpretation of Baptist origins and that of Burrage were not in agreement. Torbet, therefore, (1) used the work of a historian who arrived at a different interpretation of the data and (2) did not indicate that difference.(14)


Errors of Documentation

Vedder and Shakespeare generally failed to document their statements. Shakespeare occasionally referred to a source in the text; Vedder seldom made use of footnotes. Both men, however, claimed to use primary sources for their interpretations.(15) Furthermore, Lofton, Whitsitt, Vedder, and Shakespeare did not include a bibliography in their works.(16)

Besides failing to give adequate documentation, Separatist descent historians have frequently failed to give due credit to one another. Whitsitt and Lofton actually laid the foundation for the other men during the "Whitsitt controversy" by exhaustively covering seventeenth century materials. Through their books, they actually beat out and formed the crucial elements of the Separatist descent theory on the hard anvil of debate. Torbet and Hudson certainly owe them more credit than they have given.

Whitsitt himself, however, was not immune from the same weakness. Newman said that Whitsitt

has shown an excessive desire for the reputation of being an original discoverer., . . . He was supposed to have been the discoverer of what was .clearly set forth in a not very scarce book published as recently as 1860 (Gould's "Open Communion and the Baptists of Norwich").(17)

Newman, however, did commend Whitsitt, saying that "it is true that without the help of the documents contained in this book he reached the probable conclusion that immersion was introduced at about the time indicated by a document contained therein, and for this he deserves credit."(18)

A third error in documentation consists in occasional misquoting and misinterpreting of documents. Hudson's error in quoting Helwys has already been noted.(19) Newman has criticized Whitsitt for attributing "the really important passages [in the Stinton Repository] to the wrong document ["Numb: 1"]."(20) In his discussion of the Repository, Whitsitt put together selections from two different documents, as if they were from the same document, and indiscriminately attributed them to the Jessey Records (designated "Numb: 1"). The selection relating Blunt's trip to Holland in 1640 and his subsequent return to restore believer's immersion in 1641 is actually from a document (designated "Numb: 2") which Crosby and Ivimey called the Kiffin Manuscript. This mistake, wrote Newman, "consists in his crediting the notices that are derived from the manuscript Gould regarded as identical with the so-called 'Kiffin Manuscript' used by Crosby to the 'Jessey Records.'"(21) While this error really does not detract from the reliability of the documents, such manipulations in documentation detract from the objectivity of the historian.

Shakespeare misquoted Champlin Burrage in attributing Anabaptist origin to a book which Shakespeare said influenced Robert Browne.(22) Shakespeare also misinterpreted one of his sources relating to sixteenth century Anabaptists in England. He ascribed to John Knox an anonymous book which Knox in reality was refuting.(23)


Errors in Terminology

Whitsitt has been accused of inconsistency in terminology. Newman wrote that "his statement that the 'earliest organized Baptist church' belongs to the year 1610 or 1611 is, of course, inconsistent with his claim that the English Anabaptists first became Baptists in or about the year 1641."(24)

Some contradictory statements relative to the restoration of believer's immersion appear in Torbet's history also.(25) According to the Kiffin Manuscript, Torbet said:

Thus, it appears that Blunt baptized Blacklock, their leader, who then baptized him, and the two together baptized the rest. . . . By January, 1642, there were fifty-three members in two congregations, one under Bunt the other under Blacklock. By 1644, the number of churches had increased to seven.(26)

In a later brief recapitulation, however, Torbet wrote:

As the full significance of believer's baptism became uppermost in their minds, English Baptists, as we have seen, practiced immersion exclusively, The first Baptist church to specify that mode was Spilsbury's Particular Baptist church in London, in 1638. Six years later, seven such churches drew up a document known as the London Confession, which defined the mode of baptism as immersion. Since then, there has been among Baptists general agreement on that subject.(27)

In the appendix to his history, he said that Spilsbury began to emphasize immersion in 1641.(28) Torbet, therefore, wrote that (1) the year in which immersion was restored was: (a) 1638, (b) 1641, and (c) 1642; and (2) the church was: (a) Blunt's, or (b) Blacklock's, and (co) Spilsbury's.



In the light of criticisms delineated in this chapter, the conclusion is that, while English separatist descent historians have generally followed their goal of objectivity and scientific methodology and are due commendation for it, they have occasionally committed errors of the same type as earlier historians. Errors are to be found in: (1) their use or sources--by using doubtful sources, by showing unfamiliarity with the views of men cited as authorities, by omitting material seemingly contrary to their hypothesis, and by depending heavily upon the research or others without accepting their ultimate appraisals; (2) documentation--by failing to document references or give bibliographies, by failing to give due credit to their sources, and by misquoting and misinterpreting documents; and (3) terminology.


Denial of Organic Identification of Baptists with Anabaptists

Basic Affirmations

The following outline indicates chronologically basic affirmations of Torbet's conception of the Separatist descent theory:



First English General Baptist church formed in Holland under John Smyth



Organization of first General Baptist church in England by Helwys and Murton,



The first Particular Baptist church organized by Spilsbury.



Organization of the First Baptist church in America at Providence, R. I., by Roger Williams, or in Newport, R. I., by John Clarke.



Baptism by immersion. emphasized by John Spilsbury.



London Confession of 1644: Calvinistic, it emphasized religious liberty and baptism by immersion.



Organization of Association of London Particular Baptists.(29)


To these must be added the following: (1) Baptists originated with certain English Separatists who were congregational in polity and had come to consider, according to the Scriptures, believer's baptism alone to be valid;(30) (2) from about 1609 or 1610 to the present there has been a succession of Baptist churches established by "indubitable documentary evidence"; and (3) from at least 1641, Baptist doctrines and practice (especially immersion) have remained the same in all essential features.(31)


Basic Denials

The following denials are correlatives to the above affirmations: (1) English General Baptists were connected neither by baptism nor ordination with either Continental or English Anabaptism because they originated their own baptism with John Smyth;(32) (2) English Particular Baptists were not connected organically with Continental or English Anabaptists because they originated in the Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey church and subsequently restored believer's immersion which was not practiced among English anti-pedobaptists before the 1640's;(33) (3) Baptist origins other than in the Separatist churches of Smyth and Jessey are not historically demonstrable.(34)


Evaluation of the Denial

Based upon the affirmations and denials which form the hypothesis of the English Separatist descent theory, one should expect to find positively the following documented information substantiating the theory: (1) an account of some members leaving an English Separatist church of congregational polity to form a Baptist church--a church different only in advocating believer's baptism--both in 1609 or 1610 and in 1638; (2) "indubitable documentary evidence" from 1610 to a reasonable subsequent time of a succession of Baptist churches in England and later in America; and (3) evidence that only since 1641 have Baptist doctrine and practice had the same essential features they have today--that is, chiefly evidence of the restoration of believer's immersion. Negatively, one should not expect to uncover data indicating: (1) any organic connection between Baptists and earlier groups practicing believer's baptism, especially Anabaptists; or (2) any church or groups practicing believer's immersion among English anti-pedobaptists before the seventeenth century or 1641 specifically.

As outlined above,(35) historical evidence has been presented, indeed, indicating an account of certain English Separatists leaving a Congregational church to form a church advocating believer's baptism (c. 1610). From this church, which John Smyth and Thomas Helwys organized, came the first English General Baptist churches, Separatists, also, who had separated from the non-separatist Congregational Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey church eventually began advocating baptism by immersion (Spilsbury's and Blunt's followers). After they related their theories of Baptist origins, Vedder and Torbet described in their histories the story of those who succeeded Smyth and Spilsbury. They assumed apparently an organic continuity between modern Baptists (especially in America) and the immediate followers of these early English Baptists. No "indubitable documentary evidence," however, showing a succession of modern American Baptist churches from these early English churches has been produced by either Torbet or Vedder. Vedder seldom documented anything in A Short History of the Baptists. Torbet wrote that "some Baptists" influenced Roger Williams to be rebaptized (1639).(36) Whitsitt's hypothesis of Mark Lucar's influence in beginning the practice of immersion in John Clarke's church in Newport, Rhode Island, comes closest to demonstrating continuity between American and English (37) Whitsitt maintained that Williams was probably sprinkled, but Vedder and Newman asserted that he probably was immersed.(38) If he was immersed and if Torbet is correct, then (1) "some Baptists" were immersing prior to 1641, and (2) no succession has been shown between American and English Baptists. Whitsitt's and Lofton's evidence substantiating the restoration of immersion by Particular Baptists in the 1640's appears to be valid generally, and, except for a few inconsistencies, the general argument remains the same.(39) Shakespeare, said, however, and Whitsitt agreed, that Particular Baptists were the real founders of the modern Baptist denomination.(40) The 1609 or 1610 date is, therefore, from Shakespeare's and Whitsitt's viewpoint irrelevant to the English Separatist descent position and should logically for them be revised to the 1640's.

With the exception of scant documentary evidence connecting American Baptists with Smyth's church (1609) or Blunt's church (1640), the expected substantiating evidence has been presented, showing that some Baptist churches, at least, had an English Separatist origin.

Other data, however, which should be unexpected if the Separatist descent theory is valid, have been uncovered. Although no organic connection between Baptists and Anabaptists is specifically demonstrated by this unexpected evidence, existence of such evidence and the following considerations bring doubts about the validity of the Separatist descent hypothesis:

1. The denial of organic connection is chiefly an argument from silence as is the denial of traditions among Baptist churches claiming earlier origins.(41) Vedder admitted :

It is possible that with further research such proof may be brought to light: one cannot affirm that there was not a continuity in the outward and visible life of the churches founded by the apostles down to the time of the Reformation. To affirm such a negative would be foolish, and such an affirmation, from the nature of the case, could not be proved. What one may say, with some confidence, is that in the present state of knowledge no such continuity can be shown by evidence that will bear the usual historic tests.(42)

2. Even the statements of the Stinton Repository are too sweeping. Newman wrote that

the unqualified statement that none had at that time (1641) practiced [believer's] immersion in England . . .  is too sweeping, The writer should have qualified it so as to have admitted the possibility of instances of the practice unknown to these brethren.(43)

3. The English Separatist descent theory is not the only theory consistent with present known facts, for other hypotheses also can explain the unexpected evidence. The following hypothesis accounts for several facts inconsistent with the English Separatist descent theory; however, it is only one of several hypotheses which might be formulated consistent with the present state of knowledge:

The widespread popularity of the Sum of Scripture indicates that baptism by immersion was not non-existent among anti-pedobaptists in sixteenth century England. As indicated above, scholarship does not agree about the origin of this document.(44) An article, however, in The Mennonite Encyclopedia adds further information relative to the book, A German edition, not mentioned by Burrage, was published in Leipsig in 1520. As in the later French and English versions authorship was anonymous. The encyclopedia article makes the following assessment: "Since the booklet maintains that it would be better if no one were baptized until maturity and that war is contrary to the Gospel, it can be assumed that it originated in circles akin to the Anabaptists."(45) Believer's immersion, therefore, may have been secretly practiced in England in the late sixteenth century although conclusive proof is lacking.

Consideration of Leonard Busher (1614) shows that at least one General Baptist was aware of the New Testament doctrine of believer's immersion prior to the 1640's. Arguments denying his advocacy without actual practice are at the most weak.(46)

Burrage said that the question of whether any "English General Anabaptist" practiced immersion before 1641 "must be answered in the affirmative, but thus far only one passage has been found to demonstrate that fact."(47) He then quoted from William Britten's Moderate Baptist (1654) to demonstrate the fact. Britten declared his belief In organic succession:

And for the further information of the manner, note the word . . .[baptizo], immergo,  to plunge, dip, in, or overwhelm. . . . Some object, that now there ought to be no water-baptism, neither of infants nor Beleevers, alledging that the Ordinance is ceased, for want of a succession of Administrators from the Primitive times. . . . It is hard to prove a succession of Administrators in a Gospel-way; for the enemy having power a long time, then the poore Saints durst write little to keep it upon records, when themselves were persecuted from City to City. . . . Yet I question not but there was a Church continued under the same ordinances, although obscure and hid from the eyes of the world. . . .

    Although the right Gospel frame did not visibly appeare to the world in the time of Popery, Prelacy and Presbytery, so that great Congregations could not be gathered; yet if two or three, Christ hath promised to be amongst them, (as a Church in his name)(48).

Britten also gave an account of immersion prior to 1641:

    In the yeare 1635, [sic] when Prelacy had so great power that it overtopt the tender giants, yet then I found one Baptist, who declared so much unto me, that I perceived in those tyrannical times there was a Church of Christ under his Ordinances accorinding [sic] to Gospel manner; and why not formerly under other persecutors also? for we never read of a total cutting off the Church of Christ, but a wildernesse estate, . . .  yet all this while as the word was preserved, so I question not but the Saints were hidden in that measure whereby God had alwayes a Church upon the Earth, from Christ unto this present.(49)


Burrage wrote in his footnote:

    This sentence without doubt means that this anonymous (English) Anabaptist in 1635 baptized his converts by immersion, or "dipping". Evidently he was an Arminian, with whom or whose converts the Particular Baptists would have nothing to do, when they later adopted this mode of baptism. More probably, however, they had not heard of him.(50)

The statements are significant also because Britten was answering the charge of non-validity in baptism "for want of a succession of Administrators" with the claim of succession.

Whitsitt asserted that, since tracts written during the baptismal controversy did not answer the charge by claiming succession, early Baptists must not have believed in succession. Here is at least one document making such a claim and thereby showing that Whitsitt's argument from silence is not entirely correct. Since the belief of succession is not through the Collegiants, Lofton's thesis of Blunt's successionist movement's being assimilated by non-successionists, does not apply here, for Britten was evidently not part of Blunt's movement.(51)

According to Whitsitt, the first Baptist tract advocating immersion was written by a General Baptist, Edward Barber (1642).(52) Many tracts were subsequently written by Particular Baptists in their lengthy baptismal controversies with Congregationalists and Presbyterians. If Particular Baptists actually revived a practice which General Baptists had not been practicing, they would logically, one would think, have been the first Baptists to take advantage of the relaxed printing restrictions in England in the early 1640's and immediately have sought converts through that medium.(53)

The lifting of certain restrictions on printing in the early 1640's can account for the sudden surge of tracts on baptism then. The "King's Pamphlets," compiled by Thomason, cover the period of 1640-1660. The Westminster Conference to revise the Thirty-Nine Articles by composing the Westminster Confession of Faith (1643), the lessening of printing restrictions, and the interest of Particular Baptists in gaining toleration at that time can account for the multitude of extant baptismal tracts in the 1640's, if not earlier, and also for the first Baptist confession of faith stipulating believer's immersion.(54)

If Particular Baptists immediately adopted a confession in 1644 in order to show their new belief immersion, why did the General Baptists wait until 1654? The answer might be that General Baptists had already been practicing immersion.(55)

If John Smyth and others practiced se-Baptism, and If Roger Williams either was influenced by some Baptists or came unassisted to the conclusion of believer's baptism (either by sprinkling or immersion), then other churches whose records are not extant could have had connection with earlier anti-pedobaptist groups, either Continental Anabaptists or indigenous English churches.(56)



The conclusions or the evaluation of the English Separatist descent advocates' denial of organic identification of Baptists with Anabaptists is that (1) evidence has been presented demonstrating John Smyth's Separatist and Henry Jessey's non-Separatist churches as the origins of some Baptist churches; but (2) evidence has not been produced proving that all Baptist churches (especially American) originated in them or from their immediate descendants. To the contrary, evidence has been shown indicating the presence of others (Busher, Williams, Britten, and the anonymous The Sum of Scripture), separate from these two movements, advocating believer's baptism, even by immersion, prior to 1641. While there is much evidence supporting the denial of organic continuity by the English Separatist descent theory, a large portion of the evidence consists in the argument from silence. A safer approach would be less dogmatic and absolute, for the lack of expected data and presence of certain unexpected data indicate certain weaknesses in the theory.


Denial of Theological Identification of Baptists with Anabaptists

Because of diversity in the approach of the historians themselves, evaluations will be made of Shakespeare, Hudson, and Torbet individually.

John Howard Shakespeare

Shakespeare's statements(57) about Anabaptists have indicated his bias and lack of appreciation. His explanation of the term "Anabaptist" to describe a "semi-social and semi-religious movement," as well as "fanatical sects that infested Germany," and his description of "its rejection of civil authority and order" have shown that his knowledge of Anabaptism was limited to books based upon writings of the Anabaptists' enemies. In short, Shakespeare thought of Anabaptism in terms of the M?ster uprising. He was, of course, using the best materials available to him. Modern historians. however, using primary sources, know that the M?ster uprising was not representative of the Anabaptist movement.(58) Shakespeare's denial of theological identification between Baptists and Anabaptists is, therefore, irrelevant to the question, for it was based upon false premises.


Winthrop Still Hudson

Hudson revealed prejudice against and lack of understanding of Anabaptists when he said that they "stemmed from the activity of a few university-trained humanists . . . and represented . . .  [the] faith . . .  characteristic of the Northern Renaissance."(59) Don B. Smucker, a Mennonite scholar, has said that "Hudson's view is rejected by a number of impressive scholars" and that he has uncovered no less than nine other interpretations of who the Anabaptists were.(60) Hudson's basic premise of who and what the Anabaptists were, which is not generally recognized by representative historical scholarship, has colored his appraisal of Anabaptism and its relationship to early English Baptists.

Ernest A. Payne, an English Baptist historian, said that Hudson has appeared to deny all similarity or connection between Baptists and Anabaptists; he disagreed, however, with Hudson's thesis and has given several reasons for doing so. The following is extracted from Payne's rebuttal of Hudson printed in The Baptist Quarterly:(61)

     (1) The Anabaptist movement on the continent was a much wider and more complex one than Dr. Hudson's brief characterization suggests. . . . Though they took the Bible as the norm of faith and life, they were certainly not all "Biblical literalists." They differed, indeed, on a number of matters. . . . What was common to almost all the left-wing groups was a belief in a gathered church of believers, a repudiation of infant baptism and a claim for toleration and freedom of conscience. These were the distinctive ideas. . . .

    (2) The origins of early English Separatism remain in considerable obscurity. Can it really have been accidental that the first gathered churches appeared in Kent and East Anglia where in the middle of the sixteenth century there were colonies of Dutch refugees, some of whom are known to have been Anabaptists? . . . That many seventeenth-century Baptist churches grew out of the soil of Stuart Separatism . . . , is of course true, But that does not dispose of the likelihood that they and their predecessors had been influenced by the continental radicals. . . .

    (3) Dr. Hudson plays down the influence on Smyth and Helwys of the Dutch Mennonites. . . .  It was the General Baptists who were the earliest champions of the three distinctive ideas already noted: the church as a gathered fellowship, believers' baptism and freedom of conscience. Further, not only were many of them emphatically Arminian, but they included not a few who believed in the sleep of the soul after death; whose Christology was of a Hoffmanite kind; and who held other views which had been put forward on the continent two or three generations later. . . . 

    (4) In the late and early seventeenth centuries the name "Anabaptists" had become one of abuse, wildly used and suggesting violence and antinomianism. . . . That the early English Baptists were anxious to repudiate the name . . . was natural. It was repudiated on the continent [as well] on theological as well as prudential grounds. . . .

    (5) I do not know the grounds on which Dr. Hudson makes the assertion that "practically all of the early Baptists had been Congregationalists before they became Baptists." . . . But even if Dr. Hudson is right . . .  it does not prove that Baptists are merely an offshoot from the Congregationalists or that their history can be rightly understood without any reference to the left wing of the continental Reformation.

    (6) Dr. Hudson makes much of the adaptations of the Westminster Confession . . . .  by the Particular . . . and . . .  General Baptists . . . .  There are significant differences in the three Confessions. . . . But these Confessions are not evidence of the almost complete identity of Baptists and Congregationalists. William R. Estep, a Southern Baptist historian has agreed with Payne's appraisal.(62) He said that de Hoop Scheffer, who was one of Hudson's sources, "was convinced of the indebtedness of English Separatism to the Anabaptists."(63)

A Swedish Baptist historian, Gunnar Westin, has made a similar evaluation of Hudson's thesis. He said:

I am not sure that he [Hudson] gets to the real point of modern research. I don't know of any historian who ever would try to make such an identification, and to give arguments against an identification is an easy task. . . . In the same way one would not be able to show any identification of the General Baptists with the Particular Baptists in England, but in spite of that one must admit, that both were of the Baptist movement, with the basic characteristics in common.(64)

Westin maintained that the problem of Baptist-Anabaptist relations cannot be solved by stressing special or peculiar differences between the two movements. In agreement with Payne, he said that even Continental Anabaptists repudiated the name, citing in particular Balthasar Hubmaier as an example. English Baptists, moreover, "only followed the example of the many Dutch Mennonite refugees in England during the sixteenth century."(65) An example of why the minor variations of theology between Anabaptists and Baptists should not be emphasized is that "in several Baptist unions today there are conscientious objectors to military service, and many who refuse to take oaths or go to court to get their rights, but they do not cease to be Baptists because of that."(66) The distinctive characteristics of Baptists are, however, the distinctive features that "we in the whole family of Baptizers have held since Balthasar Hubmaier . . . in 1527 wrote the following clear statement about the order of the 'gathered church': 'This is the sequence: first, Christ; second, the Word; third, faith; fourth, confession; fifth, baptism; sixth, church.'"(67) Westin's following statements are most significant:

    Let me also emphasise the historical fact, that the "spiritual pilgrimage" of Puritans into the Baptist camp did not take place until Puritan Congregationalism had settled in a country (Holland), where the Baptizer's movement (Anabaptists) had been active for more than seventy years. A historian . . . always must remember the old saying, that "life precedes literature." If John Smyth did not agree with the Dutch Mennonites in all details and Helwys and Murton openly disagreed with them, still they had in common the distinctive features, that Hubmaier already had laid stress on: a living faith, individual confession, Baptism, the gathered church, and the Lord's Supper.(68)

Glen H, Stassen has said that recognition of (1) a "basic orientation" among Particular Baptists, which was "non-separatist Congregational Calvinist[ic]," and (2) Anabaptist influence upon them can preserve Hudson's emphasis that Baptists were the Left-wing of English Puritanism and also account for their similarity with Anabaptism in many areas.(69) He attributed this influence to Menno Simons' Foundation-Book:

The development from non-separatist Congregational Calvinism to the London Confession of 1644, with the aid of Menno Simons' Foundation-Book, is so straightforward that we need not go into further detail, The Foundation-Book provides a straightforward explanation for the origin of every detail of the Baptist innovations. No other influences upon the London Confession need to be postulated besides the True Confession, William Ames, and the Foundation-Book.(70)

According to Stassen, it was possible for Baptists to have been influenced by an Anabaptist and yet not adopt "the distinctive features of Anabaptist life and thought" that Hudson mentioned.(71) Although most of these "distinctives" were found in Menno Simons' book, they were not emphasized. "Except for the voluntarist and separatist aspects of that gospel, the features which Menno stresses are the features which seem to have impressed the Baptists."(72) Stassen concluded that "the evidence seems to suggest that the Baptists did in fact remain Calvinists while being influenced by a Mennonite who, if he was not Menno himself, was a disciple so true that the difference is hard to discern."(73) The indebtedness of Baptists to Anabaptists includes the following doctrines basic to Baptist and Anabaptist theology: "believer's baptism, the meaning of baptism as signifying the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, immersion, Christology, and that large area we have called the application of the gospel to the believer."(74)

Proper evaluation of Hudson's denial of theological identification of Baptists with Anabaptists evidently approximates a synthesis of the criticisms and views of Payne, Westin, and Stassen. Probable reasons for Hudson's denial of theological identification between these two movements are discussed in the final section of the chapter.


Robert G. Torbet

In an earlier chapter, the statement was made that "a change has apparently occurred in Torbet's view in the past twenty years concerning the origin of Baptists."(75) The Anabaptist spiritual kinship theory probably approximates Torbet's position in 1944, judging from the following quotation:

Thus it was in this respect [immersion] that they [Baptists] came to be distinguished from their spiritual forefathers, the Anabaptists, who existing in various parts of Europe since the eleventh century, had taught adult baptism without insisting upon immersion. This was also the distinguishing feature between the Baptists and the Mennonites, . . . who revived Anabaptist principles under a new name in the sixteenth century.(76)

The following extracts from Torbet's Social History and A History of the Baptists (1963 ed.) show differences between his 1944 and 1963 positions:






Upon Smyth's death . . . several followers [Helwys and Murton] returned to England and established the first Anabaptist church on English soil.(77) 

The organization of General Baptist churches . . . on English soil dates . . . when Thomas Helwys and his handful of followers returned to London.(78)


[Knollys] was an Anabaptist pastor in the New Hampshire Colony at that time [1638], but became a Baptist after his return to England in 1641.(79)

In time, he [Jessey] accepted believer's baptism and was baptized by Hanserd Knollys, . . . an Independent. Knollys had migrated to New England in 1638. . . . Returning to London in 1641, he  . . .  accepted Baptist principles. . . . (80)


The first indications of Torbet's shift from Anabaptist spiritual kinship orientation to the English Separatist descent theory are evidently in the first edition of A History of the Baptists (1950), for here he classified himself as such;(81) he also claimed agreement with Vedder. His approach was, indeed, similar to Vedder's, for Torbet's first two chapters, entitled "Roots of Baptist Principles" and "Anabaptist Heritage,"(82) are reminiscent of the first section of Vedder's history, "Part I: History of Baptist Principles."(83) Morgan Patterson, however, has classified Vedder as an Anabaptist spiritual kinship advocate.(84) Such disagreement in classification indicates that even in 1950 Torbet was not prepared to take the radical step that Hudson has taken.(85) In 1958, however, Torbet maintained a position almost identical with Hudson's in an article, "The Beginning of Baptist Churches."(86) There were frequent quotations from and references to Hudson's 1953 article in The Chronicle and similar conclusions were affirmed. The year 1958, therefore, possibly marked the beginning of Torbet as a thoroughgoing advocate of the Separatist descent theory. As should be expected, Torbet's 1963 revised edition of his history eliminated most of the material inconsistent with his new approach. The first two chapters were thoroughly revised. Whereas the earlier edition spoke of "Roots of Baptist Principles" and "Anabaptist Heritage," the revised edition discussed "Baptists and the Reformation Heritage" and "Baptists and the Free Church Principle."(87) The approach was different, yet not so extreme as his 1958 position when he agreed so completely with Hudson. Torbet retained his agreement with Vedder while agreeing with Payne in the debate with Hudson. (88) A few vestiges of his earlier Anabaptist spiritual kinship advocacy remained also. He not only called John Smyth an Anabaptist(89) but also "the founder of the modern Baptist churches."(90) The expression "Anabaptist forebears," which is the equivalent of Torbet's statement about Baptists' being "the spiritual descendants of some" of the Anabaptists,(91) occasionally persisted in the 1963 text.

The above analysis denotes an evident shift in Torbet's position regarding Baptist origins between 1944 and 1963. Since 1958 he has denied theological identification of Baptists with Anabaptists, yet occasionally he has drawn conclusions inconsistent with such a denial. For example, the view that Baptists "are spiritual descendants of  . . .  only  . . .   those Anabaptists who taught believers' baptism, regenerate church membership, and the supremacy of the Scriptures" is one that both successionist and spiritual kinship advocates would also maintain.(92) Likewise his "seeing [Baptists]  . . . as a part of  . . .   the Free Church movement"(93) is consistent with the successionist and Anabaptist spiritual kinship orientations since both could make basically the same assessments. His designation, therefore, seems to be begging the question.(94) Torbet's uncertainty and shifting of position have placed him in a most inconsistent and compromising position which cannot be logically maintained.

The discussion to follow is a concluding assessment of the theory. How must the questions which began this evaluation be answered?


A Concluding Assessment

The Question of Historical Substantiation

The question is: Do the historical facts substantiate the claims and denials of the English Separatist Descent theory? Speaking positively, historical facts, hitherto discovered, substantiate some of the affirmations and denials of the theory. The historical data, however, could substantiate other interpretations, for facts not consistent with the hypothesis have been uncovered. Data needed to corroborate conclusively the theory have not been presented by English Separatist descent historians.


The Question of Methodology

The question is: Is the methodology employed valid? The historians studied have honestly searched for the truth and have sought objectivity by using acceptable, scientific methodology. Negatively, however, they have been occasionally guilty of the same errors which characterized earlier Baptist historians. The fact that they supposedly used the same historical data and same methodology as historians of the Anabaptist spiritual kinship orientation (for example, A. H. Newman and Champlin Burrage), and yet arrived at a different theory of Baptist origins indicates that another element has influenced their conclusions. One wonders what that other element is.


The Question of Theological Presuppositions

The question is: To what extent are the advocates of the theory free of theological biases and presuppositions? The denial of the successionist and Anabaptist spiritual kinship theories is in itself an attempt to eliminate theological presuppositions which characterized earlier Baptist historians. The attempt is commendable, but, by denying a theological position such as the Anabaptist spiritual kinship theory, Separatist descent advocates have made a theological value judgment and have taken by necessity a theological position of their own. This leads to a negative judgment. Criticisms of these men for having theological presuppositions are not based merely on the logical necessity outlined above. Specific theological biases can be discovered in the presentation of each.

Albert H. Newman, who did not engage in the Whitsitt controversy, came to the conclusion that Whitsitt's interpretation of Jesus' statement about building his church was the basis of Whitsitt's published statements about baptism. Newman wrote:

    I am of the opinion that back of Dr, Whitsitt's published statements bearing on the history of doctrine and practice regarding believers' baptism, and of the antagonism that has been aroused thereby, there is a radical difference of view between Dr. Whitsitt and his critics touching our Lord's words: "On this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."(95)

Lofton's pro-Whitsitt, polemical writings automatically involve him with the same indictment. Vedder, moreover, revealed his theological presuppositions when he devoted nearly all of the "Introduction" of his history to refuting the successionists' interpretation of Jesus' statement.(96)

Shakespeare's role as "one of the leading advocates of the union of all the Churches"(97) shows an ecumenical conviction which no doubt influenced him in attempting to show the common origin of Baptists and Congregationalists. Underwood wrote that this conviction was so strong that Shakespeare "looked forward to reunion with the Church of England and asserted his readiness to accept episcopacy and reordination."(98)

Hudson's contention that Baptists must be seen as Left-wing Puritans rather than as Anabaptists "if unnecessary obstacles are not to be placed in the way of ecumenical discussions" reveals most clearly his theological bias.(99) William R. Estep has criticized Hudson sharply on this point. Estep has written:

Hudson's position seems to have been taken out of consideration for something other than historical evidence. He admits this fact.  . . . 

    Does not this admission on Hudson's part seriously jeopardize his position? As St. Amant has insisted, the historic can never allow the message of history to create historical facts. Nor can he ignore or distort those facts in the interest of his own bias. Neither ecumenical interests nor theories of Baptist succession should be allowed to alter the historical record in the least(100)

Involvement in ecumenical dialogue does not necessitate advocating the Separatist descent theory. A very good example of a historic who has not arrived at such a radical position is Ernest A, Payne, who has been quite active in dialogue with other denominations and is rather ecumenically oriented himself, being Vice-Chairman of the World Council of Churches.

Torbet's reasoning in maintaining that a proper understanding of Baptist background is needed by Baptists was in essence the same as Hudson's.(101) Torbet, however, did not use the word "ecumenical." Recent articles and his speech at the 1966 American Baptist Convention reveal his ecumenical interests. He said at the Convention:

I would call attention to the persistent expressions of disappointment on the part of many of our convention that we are not participants in the Consultation on Church Union. Their concern to be a part of this significant movement to reduce divisions within Protestantism and to make Christian unity more visible must not be overlooked if we wish to hold these pastors and churches within our fellowship.(102)

Torbet's sympathy for the position of "many" led him, no doubt, to write earlier that

    WE RESOLVE to develop a deeper understanding or our role as Baptists with other Christians. . . . 

    Let us seek the basis of our Baptist unity, not in the past but in the present, wasting no time in futile efforts to reconstruct patterns of polity which belong to another age.  . . . 

    Let us discover our identity as Baptists, not in "distinctives" which are now shared by numerous other Christians, but in our witness to the essential values of the free-church tradition.  . . . 

    Let us concede that Baptist unity is not an end in itself, but a means to the relating of ourselves to the larger Christian family, so that the prayer of our Lord may be fulfilled--that we may all be one.  . . . 

    Let us develop a mature understanding of the contribution we can make as free churchmen in the ecumenical movement. While, where possible, we enjoy and cultivate fellowship among Baptists, let us be deeply concerned for a wider Christian unity in we shall have an increasingly effective role.(103)

The ecclesiological presuppositions delineated above probably serve as the extra elements which influenced these men in reaching conclusions different from those reached by other theories of Baptist origins. Enough theological biases are present to modify the results of even a scientific methodology. A final question demands consideration.


The Question of Unique Validity

The question is: Does the validity of this theory necessarily preclude former theories? The conclusion is negative for several reasons:

1. The classifications consistently overlap: (a) Whitsitt's thesis of showing a succession of baptisms through the Collegiants and Polish Anabaptists, as well as his constant use of the word "succession," could lead to his classification as a type of successionist.(104) (b) Lofton and Shakespeare could be classified as Anabaptist spiritual kinship advocates because of their statements about what constitutes the "essence" of being a Baptist. Lofton wrote that

wherever the principle of believers' baptism has been maintained by any people, the earlier writers have always called them "Baptists"; and so we naturally do at the present time.  . . .  The Antipedobaptist is essentially a Baptist, other things being equal, even when he practices affusion.(105)

Shakespeare said that "the term Baptist [is] . . .  used as to the essence of the Baptist contention  . . .  that the proper subject is the believer, and not as to the mode of Baptism."(106) (c) Discussion above has shown that even Vedder and Torbet may be classified as Anabaptist spiritual kinship advocates also.(107) (d) A more acceptable solution is that each historian must be evaluated on the basis of his own premises, methodology, and theological biases and not on some arbitrary classification superimposed upon him by others.

2. Theological presuppositions have influenced advocates of all the theories discussed in this study.

3. The hypothesis of this study has not been the advocacy of any theory of Baptist origins. To the contrary, the author's hypothesis has been that, because of basic ecclesiological presuppositions, the question will remain, not merely historical, but also theological. Discussion and controversy based upon theories of church perpetuity will no doubt continue: (a) successionists will continue to believe that various Free Church movements historically substantiate organic perpetuity; (b) Anabaptist spiritual kinship advocates, with emphasis upon the visible church, will continue to believe that these movements demonstrate historically that God has not left himself without witness; and (c) English Separatist descent historians, with emphasis upon the invisible or catholic church, will continue to maintain that, since God's family has continued throughout history in all Christian movements, questions of organic perpetuity and spiritual kinship are unnecessary and irrelevant. A wise course, therefore, would be for advocates of these theories to admit that, granted the validity of their theological convictions, their theory of Baptist origins only approximates historical fact.



1. Albert H. Newman, "The Whitsitt Controversy," included in Lofton, A Review of the Question, p. 178.

2. Ibid., p. 212; see pp. 199-200 also.

3. Above, p. 17. The author's opinion, however, is that Lofton justified his thesis. For statements indicating other appraisals of Crosby, see J. H. Shakespeare, p. 180; Torbet, A History of the Baptists, p. 528; and Hudson, The Chronicle, XVI, pp. 177-78. The weakness in methodology consists in the fact that Crosby is not a generally recognized reliable source.

4. Torbet, A History of the Baptists, pp. 25-29.

5. Ibid., p. 26.

6. See below, pp. 92-94.

7. Ibid.

8. Burrage, I, 42-46. Torbet, A History of the Baptists, p. 26, n. 24, did not include these pages in his footnote citing Burrage's views of Anabaptists in sixteenth century England.

9. See Christian, A History of the Baptists, I, 115-16, 190, 194, 201; and Armitage, p. 409.

10. Burrage, I, 43, quoting The Summe of the Holye Scrypture.

11. Ibid., p. 46.

12. See below, p. 81, for another example of Torbet's omission of material in Burrage seemingly contrary to his view.

13. Below, pp. 80-81.

14. See below, pp. 87-86, for an example of Hudson's making the same type of error.

15. See above, pp. 18-20.

16. Whitsitt did include one with his article in Universal Cyclopaedia, I, 492-93.

17. Newman, A Review of the Question, pp. 211-12; see p. 161 also.

18. Ibid., p. 212.

19. Above, p. 56, n. 41. Although the error was no doubt unintentional, and the correct form does not detract from Hudson's thesis; however, for such an error to reappear, after a three year interlude, tends to reflect upon Hudson's scholarship in the area of research.

20. Newman, A Review of the Question, p. 212.

21. Ibid.; see Whitsitt, A Question, pp. 81-83. See above, p. 32, n. 26, for a discussion of these two documents. See the Appendix, below, pp. 103-107, for the key passages from them.

22. Burrage, I, 76-77, 77, n. 1; see J. H. Shakespeare, pp. 37-38.

23. Burrage, I, 62-63, 63, n. 3; see J. H. Shakespeare, p. 16.

24. Newman, A Review of the Question, p. 158; see pp. 153-55 also. Newman's quotations apparently are from an earlier edition of Whitsitt's encyclopedia article than the one the present author has, Whitsitt, Universal Cyclopaedia, I, 489-90, for in it Whitsitt consistently used the term Anabaptist to describe the General Baptists prior to 1641. The author was unable to locate the edition used by Newman.

25. Several inconsistencies indicating a shift in Torbet's position are discussed in the section on the denial of the Anabaptist spiritual kinship theory.

26. Torbet, A History of the Baptists, p. 43; emphasis is mine.

27. Ibid., p. 486; emphasis is mine.

28. Ibid., p. 507.

29. Ibid.

30. Above, pp. 5, 24-46.

31. As indicated above, pp. 19 and 58, this is the phraseology of Vedder and Torbet.

32. Above, pp. 30-31.

33. Above, pp. 34-35 and 40.

34. Above, pp. 40-45.

35. Above, pp. 25-40.

36. Torbet, A History of the Baptists, p. 202. Torbet also has said that John Clarke was a Baptist when he came from England; see above, p. 44, n. 71.

37. Above,, pp. 43-45.

38. Vedder, p. 291; Newman, A Review of the Question, pp. 209-11; Whitsitt, A Question, pp. 147-64.

39. See Newman, A Review of the Question, pp. 198-206, for a discussion of these corroborating arguments, in which he accused Whitsitt of misquoting and misinterpreting some of his sources.

40. J. H. Shakespeare, p. 180; Whitsitt's thesis in A Question was that English Anabaptists became Baptists when they restored immersion in 1641.

41. Even the Stinton Repository's statement and Whitsitt's "monuments" were largely based on silence.

42. Vedder, p. 9.

43. Newman, A Review of the Question, pp. 195-96. See Burrage, II, 303; and Whitley, Transactions of the Baptist Historical Society, I (1908-1909), 233, for similar assessments.

44. Above, pp. 67-68.

45. "Summa der Heiligen Schrift," The Mennonite Encyclopedia, IV (1959), 654.

46. Above, pp. 42-43.

47. Burrage, I, 378.

48. Ibid., pp. 378-79; quoting William Britten. It is strange that Torbet, who depended so heavily upon Burrage, did not cite this passage.

49. Ibid., p. 379; quoting William Britten.

50. Ibid., n. 1. Since this book is the earliest extant Baptist document in which the word "Baptist" is used as their name, the book is no insignificant book. Vedder, p. 3; and Robert B. Hannen, "Historical Notes on the Name Baptist," Foundations, VIII (January, 965), 68.

51. Whitsitt, A Question, p. 111-27; Lofton, see above, pp. 36-37.

52. Whitsitt, Universal Cyclopaedia, I, 490.

53. Whitsitt, A Question, pp. 6-7.

54. Ibid.

55. William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions of Faith (Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1959), p. 191. The Midland Confession of 1651, ibid., pp. 173, 182, implies it, but does not use the words "immersion" or "dip."

56. Torbet, A History of the Baptists, pp. 28-29; Vedder, p. 291. John Clarke could have been a member of one of these other churches if he was a Baptist when he came from England in 1638. See above, p. 44, n. 71.

57. Above, pp. 48-49.

58. See Harold Bender, "State, Anabaptist-Mennonite Attitude Toward," The Mennonite Encyclopedia, ed. Harold S. Bender and Others, IV (1959), 612.

59. Above, p. 49.

60. Don E. Smucker, "Walter Rauschenbusch and Anabaptist Historiography," The Recovery of the Anabaptist Vision, ed. Guy F. Hershberger (Scottsdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1957), pp. 330, 304.

61. Payne, The Baptist Quarterly, XVI, 339-42. The analysis is so penetrating and succinct, the author feels justified in including such a long quotation here.

62. W. R. Estep, The Anabaptist Story (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1963), pp. 200-201.

63. Ibid., p. 202.

64. Westin, The Baptist Quarterly, XVII (April, 1957), 56.

65. Ibid., pp. 56-57. Hannen, Foundation, VIII, 64, said that early Baptists did use the name "Anabaptist" in certain situations.

66. Westin, The Baptist Quarterly, XVII, 57.

67. Ibid., p. 57.

68. Ibid., p. 58.

69. Glenn H. Stassen, "Anabaptist Influence in the Origin of the Particular Baptists," The Mennonite Quarterly Review, XXXVI (October, 1962), 324, 348. In the same issue is an article with the thesis that General Baptists were not influenced by Anabaptism. These two articles would seem to transpose exactly what usually has been the appraisal of the two movements. See Lonnie D. Kliever, "General Baptist Origins: The Question of Anabaptist Influence," ibid., pp. 291-321.

70. Stassen, The Mennonite Quarterly Review, XXXVI, 348.

71. Hudson lists these, above, pp. 51-52.

72. Stassen, The Mennonite Quarterly Review, XXXVI, 348.

73. Ibid.

74. Ibid. Stassen's inclusion of immersion might be questioned by many. Estep, p. 222, indicated sympathy with Stassen's general thesis.

75. Above, p. 57.

76. Ibid., p. 57.

77. Ibid.

78. Torbet, A History of the Baptists, p. 37.

79. Torbet, Social History, p. 11.

80. Torbet, A History of the Baptists, p. 41.

81. Torbet, A History of the Baptists (1950), pp. 60-62.

82. Ibid., pp. 25-34, 35-55.

83. Vedder, pp. 13-198.

84. Patterson, p. 10.

85. Above, pp. 49-57.

86. Above, pp. 57-58. In another article in 1958, however, Torbet appeared closer to his 1963 position when he stated regarding Anabaptists that "we cannot dismiss lightly the influence of their insights upon  . . . English Separatists." See Torbet, Foundations, I, 19.

87. Torbet, A History of the Baptists, pp. 21-25, 29-32.

88. Above, pp. 58-60. The quotation form Vedder, however, is in both editions of the history and in What Is the Church/

89. Ibid., p. 35.

90. Ibid., p. 33.

91. Ibid., p. 43, and above, p. 59.

92. Above, p. 59. Successionists do not prefer the word "spiritual" in this context, however.

93. Above, pp. 60-61.

94. Compare Torbet with Westin, Christian, and Newman, to see the similarity among the specific religious groups mentioned in the Free Church tradition.

95. Newman, A Review of the Question, p. 147; see p. 161 also.

96. Vedder, pp. 3-10.

97. Underwood, p. 252.

98. Ibid. Underwood, p. 253, cited frank statements of Shakespeare stating this.

99. See also W. S. Hudson, "The Ecumenical Spirit of Early Baptists," Review and Expositor, LV (April, 1958), 182-95.

100. Estep, pp. 200-201.

101. Compare Torbet's statements, above, pp. 57-58, with Hudson's, above, pp. 49-50.

102. Kyle Haselden, "Baptist Ambivalence," The Christian Century, LXXXIII (June 1, 1966), 706; quoting Torbet.

103. Robert Torbet, "American Baptists Resolve in 1966," Missions: American Baptist International Magazine, CLXIV (January, 1966), 15. For earlier articles in which Torbet presented similar views see Robert Torbet, "Baptists and Protestantism in America," Southwestern Journal of Theology, VI (April, 1964), 94-110; Robert Torbet, "Baptists and the Ecumenical Movement," The Chronicle, XVIII (April, 1955), 86-96; and Torbet, Foundations, I, 32-37.

104. See his articles in The Religious Herald and the Universal Cyclopaedia for this practice. Of course, he may have been facetious in his use of the word "succession" if Newman's assessment of his theological presuppositions is accurate; above, pp. 96-97.

105. Lofton, English Baptist Reformation, p. 254.

106. J. H. Shakespeare, p. 179.

107. Above, pp. 91-95.

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