history of the baptists
We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the reformation, we were reformers before Luther and Calvin were born; we never came from the Church of Rome, for we were never in it, but we have an unbroken line up to the apostles themselves. We have always existed from the days of Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel under ground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents. Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect, yet there has never existed a Government holding Baptist principles which persecuted others; nor, I believe, any body of Baptists ever held it to be right to put the consciences of others under the control of man. We have ever been ready to suffer, as our martyrologies will prove, but we are not ready to accept any help from the State, to prostitute the purity of the Bride of Christ to any alliance with Government, and we will never make the Church, although the Queen, the despot over the consciences of men.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
Christian history, in the First Century, was strictly and properly Baptist history, although the word "Baptist," as a distinctive appellation was not then known. How could it be? How was it possible to call any Christians Baptist Christians, when all were Baptists?"
—William Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881, p. 286.
The First Known Baptist Congregations
The first known Baptist Congregation was formed by a number of these fleeing separatists in Amsterdam, Holland in 1608. It was largely made up of British persons led by John Smyth who along with Thomas Helwys, sought to set up the group according to New Testament patterns. As they saw it, it was important to 'reconstitute' and not just 'reform' the Church. There was emphasis placed on personal conversion and on baptism, which was to be given to individuals who had personally professed faith in Jesus Christ, that is, to believers only and on mutual covenanting between and among believers. Though taking some years to crystallize, the reconstituting efforts of Smyth, Helwys and others gave distinctive shape not only to the group's belief and practice, but the various others which emerged from it. Some affiliated groups started when members of the Amsterdam group went back to Britain and took the name 'Baptist' to identify themselves. This had to do with the distinctive approach to the meaning and mode of baptism.
With the continuing religious and civil disturbances, and with the new awareness in Europe of North America, many persons, including those influenced by Baptists and related beliefs, practices and groups, crossed the Atlantic to build a 'New World'. They sought not only to establish dwellings, but their faith as well. In time the entire continent, but particularly the Eastern section, was affected, Baptist Churches, being among the many institutions, which sprang up in the seventeenth century. All these shaped not only the new American Environment, but eventually impacted beyond it as well.
—William Cathcart, Baptist Historian/Author
The American Baptists deny that they owe their origin to Roger Williams. The English Baptists will not grant that John Smyth or Thomas Helwysse was their founder. The Welsh Baptists strenuously contend that they received their creed in the first century, from those who obtained it, direct, from the apostles themselves. The Dutch Baptists trace their spiritual pedigree up to the same source. German Baptists maintained that they were older than the reformation, older than the corrupt hierarchy which it sought to reform. The Waldensian Baptists boasted an ancestry far older than Waldo, older than the most ancient of their predecessors in the Vales of Piedmont. All these maintain that it ultimately reappears, and reveals their source in Christ and His apostles."
—(pp. 34-35 - The Testimony of the Baptists, by Curtis A. Pugh quoting William Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881, pp. 620-621.)
St. Patrick (A Baptist?)
The Journal of Negro History 7, No.1
N. H. Pius, D.D.
Walter H. Brooks D.D.
E. K. Love, D.D.
James M. Simms
Joanna P. Moore
William C. Hawkins and
Willard A. Ramsey
S. H. Ford
Thomas Armitage, D.D.
John T. Christian,
A.M. D.D. LL.D
L. P. Brockett, M.D.
J. R. Graves
A Landmark Our Fathers Set
The Relation of Baptism to Salvation
John Q. Adams
J. H. Shakespeare
J. M. Cramp
THE EARLY ENGLISH BAPTISTS
CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN (ANA-BAPTISTS)
BRETHREN REVIVAL FELLOWSHIP
SEVENTH DAY BAPTISTS
RECENT HISTORICAL REVIEWS
HISTORY OF THE PAPACY
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