John Smyth formed one of the first
Separatist churches in England, having renounced Anglicanism and
became minister at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, to a group of
Separatists who had similarly abandoned the Church of England.
Obadiah Holmes was born in England (year approximate).
Smyth’s congregation fled to
Holland to avoid Anglican persecution. Met Mennonites (one of
several Anabaptists groups)
Smyth became convinced that believer's baptism was biblical and
infant baptism was not and after having adopting Baptist
principles in Holland, Smyth baptized first himself and then
others, including Thomas Helwys, later an influential London
Organization of first General
Baptist church in England by Thomas Helwys and Murton.
Thomas Helwys led a group opposed to the merger back to England
and established the first Baptist church in England.
Thomas Helwys rejected particular
atonement, free will and partial depravity.
John Smyth publishes his confession of 1611 and was the first
Baptist confession among English speaking believers.
This movement grew into the General
Baptists who held to Arminian theology. Initially baptized by
pouring, later by immersion.
Lost members to the Quakers and the Unitarians.
Thomas Helwys, formerly of Smyth’s
congregation, returns to England and forms the first General
Baptist church. His classic, A Short Declaration of the Mistery
of Iniquity, is the first claim for freedom of worship in the
Plea to James I for religious freedom.
After returning to England, Helwys
was thrown into Newgate Prison by order of King James I probably
for what was in his plea to the (Christian) James I; The King is
a mortall man and not God, therefore hath no power over ye
immortall soules of his subjects to make lawes and ordinances
for them and to set spirituall Lords over them.
Death of Thomas Helwys, one of the
founders of the Baptist faith while in prison under King James'
Henry Jacob began another Baptist
movement of non-separatists. This movement became Particular
Baptists and held to hyper-Calvinist theology.
Henry Browne set up a Congregational Society in Norwich before
being forced to flee with his followers to Holland. The movement
was re-established in London. Societies, known as Independents,
were founded in different parts of the country. Like the
Baptists, each church was a separate body supporting its own
minister, but might belong to a voluntary district association.
The Independent congregation of
which Henry Jacob was pastor, having become very numerous, a
division took place, and that portion which had adopted the
opinions 'of the Baptists, chose Mr. Spilsbury for their pastor.
This was the first separate Baptist Church holding the
hyper-Calvinistic doctrine (An Analytical and Comparative View
of all Religions Now Extant Among Mankind, p.381, 1838, Josiah
July 22, Under the leadership of
John Robinson, English Separatists, began to emigrate to North
America - eventually, they came to be known as the Pilgrims.
September 16, The Mayflower left
Plymouth, England with 102 Pilgrims aboard. The ship would
arrive at Provincetown on November 21st and then at Plymouth on
The Baptists present to King James
I, Loyal subjects, unjustly called Anabaptists, and to
Parliament as the confession of their faith.
Birth of John Bunyan in the parish
of Elstow, in Bedfordshire, to Thomas Bunyan and Margaret
Bentley (Thomas's first wife, Anne Pinney, had died the year
before without any surviving children).
September 6, Puritan colonists landed at Salem and started the
Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Roger Williams accepted the post of
chaplain to Sir William Masham at his manor house at Otes in
Essex. His courtship of Jane Whalley was brought to an abrupt
termination by the disapproval of her aunt, Lady Barrington.
Stung by the rejection, the young clergyman became ill of fever
and was nursed back to health by Mary Barnard, a member of Lady
Masham's household. She is believed to have been the daughter of
the Rev. Richard Barnard in Nottinghamshire. Rogers Williams and
Mary Barnard were married at High Laver Church in Essex on
Williams became a chaplain in the
household of a wealthy family.
Samuel Skelton was elected the
first pastor of Salem, Massachusetts. The church covenant
created by Skelton made his congregation the first
non-separating congregational Puritan Church in New England.
Two groups of Baptists emerge. Both
believe that only those who put their trust in Christ can be
saved, but while the so-called General Baptists believe that
anyone can have such faith, the Particular Baptists believe that
the only people capable of having such faith are those few who
have already been pre-chosen by God.
After fifty-seven days of a
storm-wracked voyage, Roger Williams and his wife anchored off
Nantasket on February 3 and arrived in Boston on the 5th. His
arrival in America was duly noted by the MA Bay Colony Governor,
John Winthrop, in his carefully kept diary. Winthrop described
Williams as a "godly minister" and it is certain the young
clergyman was welcome in the new colony in Boston.
Williams refused an invitation to
become the minister of the church in Boston because he opposed
its ties to the Church of England.
The General Court of the
Massachusetts issued the decree that "no man shall be admitted
to the body politic but such as are members of some of the
churches within the limits" of the colony.
Roger Williams was ordered by the
General Court (MA Bay authorities) to be banished from
Massachusetts and threatened with deportation to England if he
did not renounce his convictions. "Whereas Mr. Roger Williams,
one of the Elders of the church of Salem, hath broached and
divulged new and dangerous opinions against the authority of
magistrates, as also written letters of defamation, both of the
magistrates and churches here, and that before any conviction,
and yet maintaineth the same without any retraction; it is,
therefore, ordered that the said Mr. Williams shall depart out
of this jurisdiction within six weeks now next ensuing," etc.
Williams publicly proclaiming that the MA Bay charter was
invalid, since the king (James I) had no right to give away
lands belonging to the Indians. He also denounced them for
forcing religious uniformity upon the colonists. He believed in
what he called "soul-liberty", which meant that every man had
the complete right to enjoy freedom of opinion on the subject of
An attempt was made to seize Roger
Williams and transport him to England, and he, forewarned,
escaped from his home at Salem and proceeded alone to Manton's
Neck, on the east bank of the Seekonk river.
September 8, Harvard College (later
University) was founded by the Massachusetts Puritans at New
Towne. It was the first institution of higher learning
established in North America, and was originally created to
train future ministers.
The first Particular Baptist church
organized by John Spilsbury.
Organization of the first Baptist
church in America; at Providence, R. I., by Roger Williams, or
in Newport, R. I., by John Clarke.
March 22, Religious dissident Anne
Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony as
punishment for heresy.
Roger Williams joined the Baptist
faith and founded the first Baptist church in America. However,
within a few months he withdrew from this group and became a
Baptists persuade Roger Williams and Ezekial Holliman to accept
their view of the church, and thus the first Baptist
congregation in America is formed, in Providence, Rhode Island
At the request of Massachusetts, Williams' mediation prevented a
coalition of the Pequots with the Narragansetts and Mohegans. He
wrote of this service in later years: Three days and nights my
business forced me to lodge and mix with the bloody Pequot
ambassadors, whose hands and arms me thought reeked with the
blood of my countrymen murdered and massacred by them on
June 21, American theologian
Increase Mather was born.
Particular Baptist church founded
in Newport, RI.
Southwark church became convinced
of believer's baptism and were baptized by immersion, pastored
by Henry Jessey.
Roger Williams went to England to
obtain a charter to unite Providence with the settlements of
Warwick, Newport and Portsmouth, which were coveted by MA Bay,
Plymouth and CT. On the voyage wrote his Key to the Indian
Languages. In his dedication he says, "A little key may open a
box where lies a bunch of keys." The charter he obtained proved
to be very important as it was indisputable for the next 20
London Confession of 1644:
Calvinistic, emphasized baptism by immersion and religious
Organization of Association of
London Particular Baptists.
John Bunyan enlists in the
Parliamentary army, joining with the Newport Pagnell garrison,
at the regulation age of sixteen.
General Baptists published a
pamphlet "The Fountain of Free Grace Opened" which defended free
will and general atonement.
Newport Pagnell garrison moves to
Leicester. Most probably, it was here that Bunyan's comrade was
shot. "When I was a soldier, I, with others, were drawn out to
go to such a place to besiege it; but when I was just ready to
go, one of the company desired to go in my room; to which, when
I had consented, he took my place; and coming to the siege, as
he stood sentinel, he was shot into the head with a musket
bullet, and died." - John Bunyan, from "Grace Abounding".
John Tombes, BD, a man of great
ability and a native of Bewdley, was appointed Curate of St.
Anne's. He entertained very strong objections to infant baptism,
and so, while still retaining his office in the Church, he
founded a separate Baptist society, which numbered 20 persons.
George Fox tells us that Tombes
said he had a wife, and he had a concubine ; and his wife was
the baptized people (Baptists) and his concubine was the world.
A confession of faith of seven
Baptist Churches in London is published.
New England Puritan theocracy enacts laws requiring church
attendance and belief in the Bible.
Charles executed; Oliver Cromwell
rules England as Protector of Commonwealth.
The first Baptist church in Wales was established at Ilston on
the Gower peninsula in 1649. Baptist churches are generally
self-governing within a Baptist Union. There are separate
Baptist Unions for English and Welsh speaking congregations.
The colony of Maine passed
legislation creating religious freedom for all citizens, but
only on the condition that those of "contrary" religious beliefs
Midland Association of thirty
General Baptist churches formed.
Confessions, signed by some of the
General Baptists, were published in 1651 by thirty churches in
the Midland counties.
Cirencester Baptist Church founded.
In the month of July, in company
with Dr. John Clarke and Mr. Crandall, Obadiah Holmes made a
visit to William Witter, A Baptist, who resided at Lynn,
Massachusetts. The day after their arrival being the Sabbath,
they arranged to have a religious service at Witter's home.
While Dr. Clarke preached, two constables presented to him the
following warrant: "By virtue hereof, you are required to go to
the house of William Witter, and to search from house to house
for certain erroneous person, being strangers and them to
apprehend, and in safe custody to keep, and to-morrow morning at
eight o'clock to bring before me. Robert Bridges."
September 5, Obadiah Holmes Whipped
for writing a catechism, among other Baptist beliefs.
John Bunyan joins St. John's church
in Bedford, where he meets Mr. Gifford, the pastor.
First meeting of the General Assembly of General Baptists at
London. Baptists are prominent in Parliament and Cromwell’s New
John Bunyan moves to Bedford and
becomes a deacon of St. John's church.
First wife dies soon after move,
leaving John with four motherless children. Mr. Gifford dies in
September of the same year.
Publishes first work entitled "Some
Gospel Truths Opened".
Henry Jessey visits
July 1, The first Quakers (Mary
Fisher and Ann Austin) to arrive in Boston are arrested. Five
weeks later they were deported back to England.
August 5, Eight Quakers arrived in
Boston. They were immediately imprisoned by the Puritan
authorities because Quakers were generally regarded as
politically and religiously subversive.
Publishes second work entitled
"Vindication of Gospel Truths" (year is approximate).
John Bunyan is formally recognized as a preacher.
Roger Williams contributed to Rhode
Island's decision to provide refuge for Quakers who had been
banished from other colonies, even though he disagreed with
their religious teachings.
John Bunyan is scheduled to preach
at the hamlet of Lower Samsell (November 12). Upon his arrival,
he is informed that a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
After a lengthy interview with Mr. Francis Wingate, and another
with Wingate's brother-in-law, William Foster, (who
unsuccessfully tries to persuade Bunyan into a concession), John
was placed in Bedford prison. He was charged with "devilishly
and perniciously abstaining from coming to Church to ear Divine
Service, and for being a common upholder of several unlawful
meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and
distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom, contrary to
the laws of our sovereign lord and king." Within approximately
eight days of John's arrest, his wife gives birth, only for the
infant to die soon after. "I am but mother-in-law to them,
having not been married to him yet full two years. [Elizabeth,
John's second wife, spoke this in 1661.] Indeed, I was with
child when my husband was first apprehended; but being young,
and unaccustomed to such things, said she, I being smayed at the
news, fell into labour, and so continued for eight days, and
then was delivered, but my child died." - John Bunyan's wife,
from "A Relation of My Imprisonment"
Organization of General Assembly of all Associations of General
Baptists in London.
Beginning of the time known as the
Great Persecution and the Restoration of the Monarchy (through
1688). Baptist women especially come under persecution.
General Baptists publish their
confession of faith.
On July 26, the Baptist churches of
Lincolnshire, in their petition to Charles II., say: "We have
been much abused as we pass in the streets, and as we sit in our
houses, being threatened to be hanged if but heard praying to
our Lord, in our own families, and disturbed in our so waiting
upon Him by continual beating at our doors and sounding of
horns; stoned when going to out meetings ; taken as evil-doers,
and imprisoned when peaceably met together to worship the Most
High in the use of His most precious ordinances.
The Bloody Theater or Martyrs
Mirror , was published by Herald Press.
There were more than 200 Baptist
churches in England (about 130 Particular Baptist, and 110
General Baptist), with more in Wales.
Members of the Seventh Day Baptist
congregation at Bull-Stake-Alley in London are jailed at Newgate
Prison and their pastor, John James, is hung, drawn, and
Parliament passes a series of acts
that exclude Baptists and other Nonconformists from holding
public offices, forcing them out of schools and penalizing them
for not attending Anglican services and for preaching without a
The Assizes of 1662. John Bunyan
endeavors to have his name entered in the calendar of offenders,
so his case would come before the judges. However, the Clerk of
the Peace alters John's entry, thus making it possible for
Bunyan to remain in prison for the next four years.
John Bunyan Writes "I Will Pray
With the Spirit and With the Understanding Also, or a Discourse
John Bunyan publishes "A Discourse
John Bunyan writes "Christian
John Myles, founder of the first
Baptist church in Wales, persuades most of his congregation to
emigrate to the colonies, and they settle at Swansea,
John Bunyan publishes "One Thing Is
Needful" on single sheets to be sold by his wife and children,
to aid them financially (date is approximate.
Isaac Backus arrives in New England
and at once joined with Dr. Clarke's First-day Baptist Church at
Newport, though his views favored the observance of the seventh
March 24, Roger Williams was
granted a charter to colonize Rhode Island.
May 27, At the age of 24, colonial
theologian Increase Mather became the minister of Boston's
Second (Congregational) Church. He would serve there until his
death in 1723.
John Bunyan writes "The Holy City",
and "The Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment" from
John Bunyan writes a poem entitled
"Prison Meditations" in response to a letter he received,
exhorting him to hold his head above the flood.
Thomas Goold refuses to allow his
children to be baptized in the Puritan church and is banished
from the colony. Later in the year he helps to organize the
first Baptist church in Boston.
John Bunyan publishes "Grace
Abounding to the Chief of Sinners".
A brief period of freedom follows
re-incarceration "He was let out again, 1666, being the year of
the burning of London, and, a little after his release, they
took him again at a meeting, and put him in the same jail, where
he lay six years more."—Charles Doe, A friend and biographer of
Organization of the first Seventh
Day Baptist church in America at Germantown, Pennsylvania.
John Bunyan is released from
Bedford prison, after twelve years of imprisonment. His formal
pardon is dated September 13, 1672, but he received a royal
license to preach five months earlier.
John Bunyan writes "The Pilgrim's
Progress" during six months of incarceration. After being
released the same year, he resumes his pastorate in Bedford.
May 3, Massachusetts passed a law
that required church doors to be locked during services -
evidently to keep people from leaving before the long sermons
Confession of 1677, a revision of
the Westminster Confession.
Some' Baptists felt a need to
identify themselves with a large body of non-Anglicans.
John Bunyan publishes "The
Pilgrim's Progress". Second edition of "The Pilgrim's Progress"
is published in the autumn.
The first Baptist meetinghouse in
the colonies is raised in Boston.
English General Baptists produce
the Orthodox Creed that seeks to unite all Protestants against
the Catholic tendencies of King Charles II.
John Bunyan publishes "The Holy
War". Publishes the eighth edition of "The Pilgrim's Progress",
and makes last improvements. Publishes "The Barren Fig Tree".
Obadiah Holmes dies, his sufferings
having made a lasting effect upon the lives of many, (William
Cathcart, Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881)
May 11, After two years, two key
laws were repealed by the General Court of Massachusetts: one
which prohibited people from observing Christmas and another
that set capital punishment for Quakers who returned to the
colony after being banished.
Baptist beginnings in Middle
Colonies of America(?)
John Bunyan publishes ninth edition
of "The Pilgrim's Progress". Publishes the second part of "The
Pilgrim's Progress". Publishes "Seasonable Counsel".
Elder Thomas Dungan from Ireland
left his native home to escape persecution, and coming to Rhode
Island he joined himself to the First Baptist Church of Newport,
Rhode Island, where Doctor John Clark was the pastor.
Elder Dungan and a small group of
members left the church at Newport to organize the Cold Spring
Baptist Church in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
John Bunyan publishes tenth edition
of "The Pilgrim's Progress". Bunyan is in danger of returning to
Forced Out of New England, Baptists
Thrive in Carolina – Somerton, South Carolina
John Bunyan publishes "The Water of
Life". Publishes "The Jerusalem Sinner Saved" in a pocket volume
of eight sheets. Preaches his last sermon from John 1:13 (August
Bunyan travels through drenching
rain on behalf of a young man, whose father was angry with him.
After succeeding his mission, he returns to his lodging on Snow
Hill. After enduring ten days of violent fever, he dies and is
buried in Bunhill Fields.
"The Barren Fig Tree" is reprinted
a few months after John's decease.
Elias Keach came to Pennsylvania
and posed as a minister. While preaching he came under terrible
conviction and had to stop. He confessed his lost condition and
the people sent him to Elder Thomas Dungan pastor of the Cold
Spring Baptist Church in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Elias Keach
was saved there by the grace of God. He was baptized and
ordained by the Cold Spring Baptist Church and as a missionary
out of the Cold Spring Baptist Church he organized the Pennepeck
Baptist Church (also known as the Lower Dublin Baptist Church)
at Pennepeck, Pennsylvania.
Even after William and Mary of
Orange ascended to the throne and abolished oppressive laws,
Baptists still had to pay taxes to support the state church.
General Assembly of General
Baptists threatened by Arian teachings of Matthew Caffyn.
Congregational Singing 'Unsafe' – General Baptist Convention
Rules – London, May 23.
London Confession of Particular Baptists is published.
General Assembly of Particular
Baptists organized in London.
The Piscataway Baptist Church of
Shelton, Middlesex County, New Jersey was organized as a
separate, or independent church. Until that time in history, it
had been a branch of the Lower Dublin Baptist Church under the
ministry of Elias Keach.
General Six Principle Baptists, who
practice the laying on of hands, organize the first Baptist
association in America in the environs of Providence, Rhode
Bunyan's "The Jerusalem Sinner
Saved" is reprinted (3rd Edition).
Charles Doe publishes "An
Exposition on the First Ten Chapters of Genesis, and Part of the
Eleventh", an unfinished commentary on the Bible, found among
John Bunyan's papers after his death, in his own handwriting.
John Bunyan's "Of Antichrist and
His Ruin", "Christ a Complete Saviour", "A Discourse of the
House of the Forest of Lebanon", and "The Saints' Knowledge of
Christ's Love", are published.