Does the history of the churches
of Christ establish the fact, disputed by Affiliationists,
that the ancient Baptists, by whatever name called, refused to
affiliate with, or in any way recognize, Pedobaptist societies as
scriptural churches, or their ministers as gospel ministers??The
teachings of history. "And I will give power [i.e.,
ability] to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy [preach
the gospel] a thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in
sackcloth" (Rev. 11:3).
"And the woman [church of
Christ] fled into the wilderness [obscurity] where she bath a place prepared by
God, that there they may nourish her a thousand two hundred and sixty days [each
day for a year]" (Rev. 12:6).
It is asserted with the utmost
assurance, by Affiliationists, that our policy of the non-recognition of human
and unscriptural societies as churches of Christ, and of their teachers as
ministers of the gospel, and our non-acceptance of their ordinances as valid, is
not sustained by the history of our denomination, and is, therefore, not an old
but a new landmark, and we, ourselves, are heretics and schismatics.
This is a serious charge, and if
it can be sustained by the Word of Cod and the facts of history. the most
effectual means should be employed to bring to us the knowledge of the truth,
and this failing, Old Landmarkers should be excluded as incorrigible and
dangerous offenders. Let us, then, patiently inquire?
are the teachings of ecclesiastical history
It will be admitted by the most
"liberal" of our brethren that all the churches of Christ, before the
"apostasy," which took place in the third and fourth centuries, and
gave rise to the Greek and Latin Catholic hierarchies, were what are now called
Baptist churches. It must then be granted that the falling away foretold by Paul
(2 Thess. 2:3), was a falling away from the doctrine and church form established
by Christ and His apostles, and which characterized all the scriptural churches
in the first century, and as a general thing a part of the
second?consequently, it was a falling away from Baptist doctrines, principles,
form of church organization and fellowship. All history unites in
testifying that a general defection from ?the primitive faith and church order
did take place throughout the entire Roman Empire, East and West, in the third
century, and a general withdrawing, according to the directions given by Paul,
of the pure and uncorrupted portions of the churches that adhered to the faith
at first delivered; and these steadfastly claimed, though often in the minority,
and often ruthlessly excluded by the corrupt majority, to be the scriptural
church, and pronounced the corrupt majority the "apostasy" or
apostates from the truth. These uncorrupted witnesses of Jesus were called
"Cathari" at first, the Pure, and afterwards by the names of their
most prominent ministers and leaders, as Novatians, Donatists; and after they
fled to the valleys of the mountains from the face of their implacable
persecutors, where for ages they were hid as in a "wilderness," they
received the general name of "Waldenses" and Vaudois, which meant the
inhabitants of "valleys" or "valleymen." Robinson says:
"From the Latin ?vallis,? came the English ?valley,? the French,
and Spanish ?valle,? the Italian ?valdeci,? the Low Dutch ?velleye,
the Provencal ?vaux,? ?vaudois,? the Ecclesiastical ?vallences,? ?valdenses,?
Peter of Lyons, a rich merchant,
embraced the doctrinal sentiments of these valley-men, and from them he received
the name "Waldus," valley-man, and not, as some have supposed, they
from him. While originally it only designated the inhabitants of certain
valleys, yet it ultimately was applied to all those Christians in all countries
who held the faith of these original valley-men. These persecuted saints who, in
the third and fourth centuries, fled into these valleys of the
mountains?places "prepared by God, that they"?i.e.,
these rich valleys?"may nourish her," I believe are the
successors of the apostolic churches, and from them received their constitution,
their baptisms, and ordinances, I can only give here the testimony of a few
distinguished and standard historians.
Bro. Alexis Muston, therefore,
truthfully says: "The Voudois (Waldenses) of the Alps are, in our
view, primitive Christians, or inheritors of the primitive church, who have been
preserved in these valleys from the alterations successively introduced by the
church of Rome into evangelical worship. It was not they who
separated from Catholicism; but Catholicism which separated from them
in modifying the primitive worship." (The Is. of the
Alps, p. 1, quoted in Baptist Succession).
With him agrees Waddington in his
"History of the Church," who, speaking of the Novatians,
whom he calls "Sectaries," says: "And those rigid principles
which had characterized and sanctified the church in the first century, were
abandoned to the profession of schismatic sectaries in the third" (p. 70).
This is precisely what is meant
by the falling away?i.e., abandoning the scriptural
principles of the gospel of Christ, and adopting a corrupt policy, order of
government, and human traditions. Those scriptural minorities in all those
countries, though overborne and excommunicated by corrupt majorities,
constituted the true and primitive churches of Christ.
Bro. Allix, in his "History
of the Churches of Piedmont," gives this account: "?For three
hundred years or more, the Bishop of Rome attempted to subjugate the church of
Milan under his jurisdiction; and at last the interest of Rome grew too potent
for the church of Milan, planted by one of the disciples; insomuch
that the bishop [pastor] and people, rather than own their jurisdiction, retired
to the valleys of Lucerne and Angrogna, and thence were called Vallenses,
Waldenses, or "the people of the valleys" (Encyclopedia Rel. Knowl.,
Cramp says: "We may safely
infer the Novatian churches were what are now called Baptist churches, adhering
to the apostolic and primitive practice," (p. 59).
These puritan churches were known
as Donatists in North Africa, and they were designated as Cathari and Paulicians
by the Council of Nice, A.D. 325.
These despised, oppressed, and
persecuted Cathari, Novatians, and Waldenses of the third and fourth and
following centuries, were our historical ancestors, and not the dominant and
corrupt hierarchies at Rome and Constantinople, which called themselves
Now these pure and primitive
churches did not in any way recognize other denominations than their own, as
scriptural churches, and, therefore, they did not acknowledge their ministers as
having any authority to preach or administer the ordinances; nor did they
receive their immersions as valid, but invariably baptized all who came over to
them, and from this fact they became known by the general name of Anabaptists (Rebaptizers).
Cardinal Hosius, president of the
Council of Trent (A.D. 1550), declared that the Anabaptists had for 1,200 years
past suffered generally, and the most cruel sorts of punishments. "The
Anabaptists are a pernicious sect, of which kind the Waldensian brethren seem
also to have been. Nor is this heresy a modern thing, it existed in the time of
Austin" (Rus. Reply to Wail, p. 20).
This concedes that, as
Rebaptizers, we had a separate church existence in the fourth century, and were
most cruelly persecuted. We claim these suffering Rebaptizers as our historical
ancestors, and not those who bathed their hands in blood. Whom do you claim,
Zwingle, the Swiss Presbyterian,
said (A.D. 1534): "The institution of Anabaptism is no novelty, but for thirteen
hundred years has caused great disturbance in the church," [i.e.,
the apostate part of it].
This concedes to us an organized
existence as Rebaptizers in the days of Novatian, and even before; and it is a
fact that fifty years before Novatian?s separation from the church at Rome,
the withdrawal of the Old Landmarkers from the churches that had become corrupt
had commenced. Says Robinson: "They call Novatian the author of the heresy
of Puritanism; arid yet they know that Tertullian had quitted the church near
fifty years before for the same reason; and Privatus, who was an
old man in the time of Novatian, had, with several more, repeatedly remonstrated
against the alterations taking place, and, as they could get no redress,
had dissented and formed separate congregations" (Ecel. Res., p.
Sir Isaac Newton, the great
astronomer, but still greater student of the Scriptures and ecclesiastical
history, declared to Whiston: "The modern Baptists, formerly called
Anabaptists, are the only people that never symbolized with the
papacy" (See Life of Whiston).
Mosheim?s testimony is to the
point, both as to the origin of our name and our great antiquity: "The true
origin of that sect which acquired the name of Anabaptists, by their
administering anew the rite of baptism to those who came over to their communion
. . . is hid in the remote depths of antiquity, and is, therefore, extremely
difficult to be ascertained" (Vol. 4, p. 427).
[The reader is referred back to
Chapter V, for the testimony of Bro. Ypeig and Prof. Dermout].
That the prime reason the
Anabaptists would not recognize the ordinances of the Catholic and other sects,
was that they did not admit them to be churches, and consequently utterly
without any authority to baptize or to preach, no intelligent man will doubt.
Bro. John Owen, who was born A.D.
1616, "a divine of such eminence as to eclipse all the regal honors
of his ancient house," says: "The Donatists rebaptized those who came
to their societies, because they professed themselves to believe that
all administration of ordinances, not in their assemblies,
was, null, and that they were to be looked on as no such
thing. Our Anabaptists do the same thing" (Works, vol. XIII,
Our "liberal" brethren
are extravagant in their praises of the reformers Luther, Calvin, Zwingle, and
Knox, and they speak of them as evangelical ministers; and of their societies,
now called Protestants, as evangelical churches; and it is with these
"churches," and these evangelical ministers, they have so great a
desire to affiliate, and in every way recognize, and seem to prefer them to
their own brethren, especially in their own brethren are Landmarkers. But not so
did our fathers?the hated Anabaptists of the days of the Reformation. Let the
reader mark well the testimony of a Presbyterian, who lived contemporary with
Calvin, and succeeded him, and wrote a history of the Reformation, and knew
whereof he testified, and then decide who are the "Old Landmarkers" of
this age?Affiliationists, or those strict Baptists they denounce as
Henry Bullinger, the successor of
Calvin, who wrote in the sixteenth century, says: "?The Anabaptists think
themselves to be the only true church of Christ, and
acceptable to God; and teach that they, who by baptism are received into their
churches, ought not to have communion [fellowship] with [those called]
evangelical, or any other whatsoever: for that our?[i.e., evangelical
Protestant, or reformed] churches are not true churches, any more than
the churches of the Papists."
And he bears this testimony to
the purity of these Anabaptists: "Let others say what they will of the
dippers: we see in them nothing but what is excellent; and hear from them
nothing else but that we should not swear or do wrong to any one; that every one
ought to live godly and holy lives; we see no wickedness in them."
Professor J. S. Reynolds, D.D.,
of the University of South Carolina, prepared, in 1848, an elaborate paper upon
the practice of Baptists in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the
conclusion I copy. There was not a man in the South whose opinion was worthy of
"The conclusion is
irresistible, that they did not consider even immersion valid, when it was the
act of an unimmersed administrator. The principle of action, doubtless, was,
that there could be no valid baptism unless the administrator was authorized to
baptize by a properly constituted church. Hence, in a vindication of the
Baptists of London, published in 1615, the ground is taken, that all baptism,
received either in the church of Rome or England, is invalid; because received
in a false church and from Antichristian Ministers? (Crosby,
vol. 1, p. 273). They refused to sanction the acts of any administrator, who
derived his authority from churches which perverted the ordinance of baptism.
This is firm Baptist ground, and the position is impregnable."
Wall testifies that there was a
body of Baptists in England as early as A.D. 1587, who would have no religious
intercourse with those teachers who perverted the faith of the gospel. He says:
"Many of them hold it necessary, as I said, to renounce communion with all
Christians that are not of their way. Many of them are so peremptory in
this, that if they be in the chamber of a sick man, and any Pedobaptist minister
or other, come in to pray with him, they will go out of the room. And if they be
invited to the funeral of any Pedobaptist, they will go to the house and
accompany the corpse with the rest of the people to the door; but there they
retreat?they call it the Steeple House. They seem to judge thus: Those that
are not baptized are no Christians [this is Wall?s misrepresentation, for
always and ever, we have held that a man must be a Christian before he is
baptized], and none are baptized but themselves [this is so]. So that they make
not only baptism itself, but also the time, or age, or way of receiving it a
fundamental, [to a church or church membership, we do]" (Wall?s
History, chapter VIII, section 7, part II).
Wall, like multitudes of
Pedobaptists, we fear, was but too willing to attribute wrong motives to these
English Baptists for not witnessing the religious ceremonies of these church and
state ministers. Those ministers did not pray with the sick, but read prayers
to them, and for this mummery they had no fellowship. They did not visit their
Steeple Houses, because they did not believe God was worshipped in them, but His
holy name and service profaned by the priests, by their senseless and popish
forms and ceremonies; for Christ had said, "In vain do they
worship me who teach for doctrines the commandments of men." Baptists
of that day thought they would be regarded as countenancing, in some sense, the
priests of the church of England should they attend their administrations. And
if we will only consider the influence of acts closely, we shall be forced to
conclude that they acted consistently.
That our historical ancestors did
not affiliate with Catholics, who, for twelve hundred years, endeavored to
exterminate them with fire and sword, no one will claim. That they could not, if
they had desired, affiliate with the early Protestants, Bro. Winkler has shown
in a ringing article in the Alabama Baptist: "They came into contact
with the Reformers everywhere. And they were reviled and persecuted by them
all?by Lutherans, and Episcopalians, and Puritans, and Presbyterians. Even the
Romanists did not denounce them so bitterly as did Melancthon and Luther, Calvin
and Zwingle, and Knox, Cranmer, and Ridley and Latimer. When Bishop Hall sneered
at them as ?sectaries, instructed by guides fit for them, cobblers, tailors,
felt?makers, and such like trash,? he gave expression to the Protestant
feeling of his own and of previous ages toward the Baptists. There was no sect
among which these outraged and long-suffering believers could find
refuge. They had to meet apart, baptize apart, commune apart. Their independent
church organization was necessitated by the spirit of the age. In all the world
?none were so poor as to do them reverence.?"
J. Newton Brown, of Philadelphia,
for many years editorial secretary of the American Baptist Publishing Society,
in an historical essay, says of the policy of the Baptists, with respect to the
Catholics and all corrupt churches: "They held that the Catholics had so
departed from the original constitution of the church, in this respect, as to
have forfeited their claim to that honor; and hence invariably baptized all who
joined them from the Catholic churches. Hence, they are the first in history who
are called Anabaptists, that is, rebaptizers; although,
of course, they denied the propriety of the appellation, as they believed the
baptism administered by a corrupt church to be null and void."
So we say today, and, therefore,
should no more invite the ministers of corrupt "churches"?human
societies?into our pulpits to preach for us, than we would papistical
The Donatists baptized all
persons coming from other professing [Christian] communities. This conduct
Augustine [Catholic] disapproved, and observes: "You [Donatists] say they
are baptized in an impure church, by heretics" (Orchard?s
History, p. 95).
These authorities indicate the
faith and practice of the Baptists for the first ten centuries. In the year
1120, we find a "Treatise Concerning Antichrist," etc., among the
writings of the Waldenses. In defining Antichrist, they say: "It is not any
particular person ordained to any degree, or office, or ministry, ?but a
system of falsehood,? [as a false ?church,? or ecclesiastical system,
etc.], opposing itself to the truth, covering itself with a show of
beauty and piety, yet very unsuitable to the church of Christ, as by names and
offices, the Scriptures and the sacraments, and various other things may appear.
The system of iniquity thus completed with its ministers, great
and small, [as we now find in the Romish, Episcopal, and Methodist
societies], supported by those who are induced to follow it with an evil heart
and blindfold?this is the congregation, which, taken together, composes
what is called ?Antichrist or Babylon,? etc.
"Christ never had an enemy
like this; so able to pervert the way of truth into falsehood, insomuch that the
true church, with her children, is trodden under foot."
One of the marks of an
Antichristian system, or Antichrist, these Waldensian Baptists declare to be?
"He teaches to baptize children into the faith, and attributes to this
[baptism] the work of regeneration, thus confounding the work of the Holy Spirit
in regeneration, with the external rite of baptism."
Do not all Pedobaptist sects do
this, as well as the mother church, of which they are branches, or the
The Romish church says that
"baptism is necessary to salvation.
The Greek, or Eastern church,
which finally separated from the Roman, or Western church, about 1054,
maintained that whoever is baptized by "immersion, is regenerated,
cleansed, and justified."
The Swiss church says that, by
baptism, we are "received into the covenant and family, and so
into the inheritance of the sons of God."
The Bohemian church says that, in
baptism, the Lord "washeth away sin, begetteth a man again,
and bestoweth salvation."
The Confession of Augsburg says,
"baptism is necessary for salvation."
The Confession of Saxony says,
"by this dipping the sins be washed away."
The Episcopal Church of England
says, by baptism we are "made members of Christ and children of God."
The Westminster Assembly say, in
their confession, baptism "is a seal of grace, of our engrafting
into Christ? of regeneration, adoption, and life eternal."
The Confession of Helvetia says
that, by baptism, the Lord "doth regenerate us and cleanse us from our
The Confession of France says
that, by baptism, "we are engrafted into Christ?s body."
The Methodist church, through Mr.
Wesley, says, "by baptism, we who are by nature the children of
wrath, are made the children of God."
The Campbellites teach that
regeneration and immersion are synonymous terms; and that actual remission of
sins, conferred in the act, is hut too notorious.
Now, how do these Baptists think
it became them to treat every such Antichristian sect. Hear them: "And
since it hath pleased God to make known these things to us by his servants,
believing it to be his revealed will, according to the Holy Scriptures, and
admonished thereto by the command of the Lord, we do, both inwardly and
outwardly, depart from Antichrist."
Had these Baptists affiliated
with Papists, by calling them "brethren," and recognizing their
priests as Christian ministers, by inviting them into their pulpits, or
"stands," to preach for them, would they have appeared to the world to
have "outwardly" departed from them as the ministers of
an Antichristian society?
What the descendants of these
Waldenses considered as "outwardly" departing from Antichrist, we
learn even after Luther, and Calvin, and Henry VIII, had set up their divisions
or kingdoms, by referring back to the testimony of Bullinger, (p. 173). The
descendants of those very Protestants who joined with the Catholics, in the
attempt to exterminate our churches from the earth, as too vile and pernicious
to exist, today authoritatively demand that we shall recognize their
societies as scriptural churches; their doctrine and ministers as evangelical;
and their ordinances as valid and scriptural as our own. I say they do not
reason to convince us; they do not courteously request it; but they imperiously,
arrogantly, and dictatorially demand it of us.
We quote but a paragraph from a
work on "Exclusivism," written by Albert Barnes, the great
Presbyterian, and author of Barnes? Notes, which so many
Baptists delight in:
"We claim and demand
of the Baptists that they shall not merely recognize the ministry of
other denominations, but their membership also?[i.e., infants,
seekers, sinners and all]; that while, if they prefer it, they may continue
the practice of immersion in baptism, as a part of their Christian liberty, they
shall concede the same liberty to others?[i.e., to
practice adult and infant sprinkling and pouring for baptism]; and
while they expect that their acts of baptism shall be recognized by
others as valid, they shall not offer an affront to the Christian
world by rebaptizing all who enter their communion, or by excluding from
their communion all who have not been subjected to the rite of immersion.
And we claim and demand of the Baptist Churches that they shall recognize
the members of other churches [every sect in Christendom that claims to be a
church] as members of the church of Christ. We do not ask this as a boon, we
claim it as a right" (pp. 66, 67).
Can any Baptist read this, and
doubt for one moment that Bro. Barnes, and all Presbyterians who indorse him,
would, by imprisonment, fines, and flames, attempt to compel us to
recognize their societies and human traditions, as Calvin and Luther, Zwingle
and Knox, did in the sixteenth centuries and their ancestors?the
Catholics?did for twelve hundred years before? In order to propitiate the
opposition of the Protestants of today, and to become popular with them and the
world they influence, our affiliating brethren are endeavoring, "by kind
and complimentary words, deceiving the hearts of the unsuspecting" (Rom.
16:18), and to influence them to grant this claim, and yield this
arrogant and intolerant "demand" of Bro. Barnes, who
speaks for all the sects of the age, and for the Evangelical Alliance. Brethren,
will you?can you yield it? Liberal Anti-Landmark Baptists say you ought, and
must, or they will make friends with your foes to persecute you. "Old
Landmark Baptists" say the claim is preposterous, and the demand opposed,
both to the teachings of the Scriptures and spirit of Christianity?is the very
spirit of Antichrist, and we will resist-it unto blood if it is necessary.
Reader, with whom do you stand?
and which of these two classes of Baptists do you think occupies the ground held
by our fathers from the third to the sixteenth century?
I think that even Bro. Jeter and
his "Pike" man will admit, that there was very little affiliation or
open communion of any sort practiced in those ages. Those saintly Reformers, the
ancestors of modern Protestants, who burnt, and drowned, and imprisoned without
mercy our fathers, were not quite so anxious to exchange pulpits, and hold union
meetings with Baptists as their children now are. And why? They are the same,
and Baptists hold the same principles today as then. What can the reader think
of the historical information or candor of the man, who will assert that
Baptists recognized those Protestant societies as churches, and their preachers
as ministers of the gospel of Christ, any more than they did those of the
Catholic church and her priests?
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