Baptist History

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Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Here's a really interesting quote by Spurgeon. "We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the reformation, we were reformers before Luther or 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 very days of Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel underground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents.

What are your thoughts about this?
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Kinda makes me not wanna say "Reformed" Baptist. If I am to believe that Baptist are in fact the original Christians, than calling Baptist Reformed feels a little strange. Maybe thats just me.
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
I may be able to guess his meaning but the assertion is, as expressed, historically untenable.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
After reading a few websites as to why we are called Reformed Baptist, I guess I can see why the title is more appropriate to describe ourselves. I have been reading a few Primitive Baptist sites trying to get an idea of what they believe, and I found that they have a problem with being called protestants and reformed. I also find it strange that they reject the clear commands in scripture to preach the Gospel to all nations. I personally think (I could be wrong) that this is more of a rejection of scripture than hyper calvinism.
 

yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
Landmark Baptists continue to teach this history of Baptists. D. M. Carroll's history of Baptist Churches down through the ages is entitled The Trail of Blood. James Robinson Graves, an early Landmark Baptist leader, popularized this theory of Church history.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Since the first Baptist was named John and was 6 months older than Jesus, I say Spurgeon is spot on! ;)
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Since the first Baptist was named John and was 6 months older than Jesus, I say Spurgeon is spot on! ;)

Catholics and others have remedied this by now referring to John as the "baptizer" as opposed to "baptist". I guess we will have to go back to being like all the other denominations
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
Spurgeon goes on in that sermon to say

“You, as a denomination,
what great names can you mention? what fathers can you speak of?” we
may reply, “More than any other under heaven, for we are the old apostolic
Church that have never bowed to the yoke of princes yet; we, known
among men, in all ages, by various names, such as Donatists, Novatians,
Paulicians, Petrobrussians, Cathari, Arnoldists, Hussites, Waldenses,
Lollards, and Anabaptists, have always contended for the purity of the
Church, and her distinctness and separation from human government.

Allowing that he was not yet thirty years old when he said this we may suppose that he would not have said the same when he was fifty. But as a Baptist, and one who holds tenaciously to Baptist ecclesiology, I must hasten to say that it is possible to have a correct doctrine of who ought to be baptized and brought into the membership of the church and yet be heretical in the doctrine of salvation, Christology, and any number of other doctrines. Thus I would not be willing to draw a straight line through some of the sects which some Baptists would include.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Baptist Perpetuity was a very common teaching in the 19th Century. It was so prevalent that many Baptists who were not Landmarkers affirmed it and it seems to have been a staple of Baptist history works of that era. Perpetuity (that there have always been more or less orthodox baptistic churches in existence somewhere since the Apostolic Age that were independent of Romanism) is not the same as "chain-link succession" i.e. an unbroken succession of churches that can be traced a la Apostolic Succession. Despite the terminology employed, I doubt that Spurgeon was asserting the latter. As I understand it the early Landmarkers didn't even tend to go that far and that that was a somewhat later view.

I too would be interested to know if and to what extent Spurgeon's views may have changed later in his ministry. I have a book on latter day Landmarkism and the succession theory that likely has some Spurgeon quotes that contradict that view. If I remember, I may try to look at it later. I'm 99.999999% sure he affirmed the universal church, which Landmarkers and those with similar views deny, at least as a present reality.

I would say that if any Baptist disagrees with Spurgeon's first sentence in the quote, (not the specific term Baptist but that the first Christians were essentially baptistic) then he needs to rethink things. ;)
 

Rufus

Puritan Board Junior
Spurgeon unfortunately was convinced of (at least some aspects) of Landmarkism. Landmarkism isn't a historical accurate view, but we shouldn't hold it against Spurgeon, we all can be convinced of errors just as we are all capable of sin.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Spurgeon unfortunately was convinced of (at least some aspects) of Landmarkism. Landmarkism isn't a historical accurate view, but we shouldn't hold it against Spurgeon, we all can be convinced of errors just as we are all capable of sin.

Are you 100% sure it's not historically accurate?
 

Rufus

Puritan Board Junior
Spurgeon unfortunately was convinced of (at least some aspects) of Landmarkism. Landmarkism isn't a historical accurate view, but we shouldn't hold it against Spurgeon, we all can be convinced of errors just as we are all capable of sin.

Are you 100% sure it's not historically accurate?

Yes. Some of the "Baptist" groups the Landmark defense uses were otherwise heretics, and theirs just little evidence that such a thing happened.
 

SolaSaint

Puritan Board Sophomore
I had heard that statement (OP)before, bt didn't know it came from CHS. Interesting. I too will dig a little deeper if possible.
 

Gavin

Puritan Board Freshman
Speaking of Landmarkism, has anybody read Orchids History oh the Baptists up to the 1600s I think?
 

KaphLamedh

Puritan Board Freshman
Wasn't it so that Spurgeon was influenced by Calvin and Calvin by Augustine? Was the Church of Rome established after Augustine? So, the doctrine that reformators discovered, mainly Calvin in this case, wasn't nothing but the old doctrine that already was there, but because oppression of the Rome, it was not spread so much?
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
On Page 102 in the Bob L. Ross' book Old Landmarkism and the Baptists (Pasadena: Pilgrim Publications, 1979) that I mentioned earlier, we find the following words of Spurgeon's from a review of Thomas Armitage's History of the Baptists:

This is a marvellous book . . . No claim is set up for a continuous church of Baptists after the manner of the Roman and Anglican communities; but yet it is shown that the true and only baptism in water has always had some to practice it. When a church has nothing left in which to rejoice it falls back on its pedigree, and cracks itself up as "the one and only"; but our friend Dr. Armitage sees nothing desirable in such romancing. He does, however, rejoice to trace the fine red line which has kept the heights for Jesus and his word.

This appeared in The Sword and the Trowel in 1887 and is thus, we trust, indicative of Spurgeon's mature views.

So it would appear that my educated guess given above was accurate. Like many Baptists of his day (and ours) Spurgeon believed in a somewhat mild or limited form of Baptist Perpetuity insofar as that is taken to mean the idea that there have always been baptistic churches in existence. (Of necessity, this idea is conjectural as many of those who affirm it would admit.) However, he clearly rejects Baptist Successionism i.e. an unbroken chain of churches.

Moreover, many of Spurgeon's practices would be anathema to Landmarkers, perhaps causing some to reject him as not being a Baptist at all (or not being a good one) were they to be consistent. These include his lack of ordination, his practice of a modified or limited form of open communion, his reception of so-called "alien immersion", his affirmation of a universal or invisible church, cooperating with the non-Baptist D.L. Moody's evangelistic campaign (i.e. "Unionism"), practicing "pulpit affiliation" with evangelical ministers of other denominations (Ross, pp. 28-29) and, if memory serves, having a Presbyterian oversee his pastor's college.

With regard to the terms of communion and alien immersion (i.e. non-Baptist immersions) Spurgeon was less of a "Landmarker" than are some noted members of the current faculty at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
 
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Rufus

Puritan Board Junior
Wasn't it so that Spurgeon was influenced by Calvin and Calvin by Augustine? Was the Church of Rome established after Augustine? So, the doctrine that reformators discovered, mainly Calvin in this case, wasn't nothing but the old doctrine that already was there, but because oppression of the Rome, it was not spread so much?

Technically, according to my view and many others, the Church of Rome began at Trent (after the Reformation had begun). The Western "Catholic" (universal) Church existed as one body until they refused to Reform and excommunicated the Reformers. The "Catholic" Church still exists, it's just not synonymous with Rome.
 

KaphLamedh

Puritan Board Freshman
As I'm not too familiar with the church history, I have think that Church of Rome is just same as Catholic church.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
Technically, according to my view and many others, the Church of Rome began at Trent (after the Reformation had begun). The Western "Catholic" (universal) Church existed as one body until they refused to Reform and excommunicated the Reformers. The "Catholic" Church still exists, it's just not synonymous with Rome.

There were group of orthodox belivers outside of the Roman Church prior to the Reformation, this has been acknowledged by most Reformers, the Waldenses is the most common example. We should be carefull to label every group of believers outside of the Roman Church prior to the Reformation as heretics. The term "Manicheans" is being used very often to accuse some of these group of being heretics. The facts is Rome is the one who documented that history and Rome has a history of forging documents and historical records in her advantage. I for one am not willing to call all of these believers heretics unless I have documentation out of their own hands confirming unorthodox beliefs.

On the other hand we also cannot confirm if all these believers were credo or paedo baptist (at least according to what I have researched so far) due to the limited amount of written records of their theological understanding, therefore this Landmark baptist theory from what I have seen so far does not have a solid foundation if not complete speculation (at least the affirmation that those groups were all credo baptist).

I for one believe Rome apostacy can be traced to the early centuries when the church went from a somewhat presbyterian form of church government to an episcopalian/state church government. I believe there were orthodox believers who seperated from this morphing Roman Church from the early centuries as well. I you believe that the Roman church was the only true church during the medieval times until the reformation you are falling for Rome revisionist version of history. I recommend taking a look a J.A Wylies "History of Protestanism".
 
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Gavin

Puritan Board Freshman
I picked it up at a second hand bookshop sometime ago and read It through.
I don't think all the sects he mentions are orthodox, but he must have done a fair bit of homework. He was going to write a history off the English
baptist after the 1600s but I don't honk he made it.
 

Rufus

Puritan Board Junior
There were group of orthodox belivers outside of the Roman Church prior to the Reformation, this has been acknowledged by most Reformers, the Waldenses is the most common example. We should be carefull to label every group of believers outside of the Roman Church prior to the Reformation as heretics.

To clear up any confusion, that is not what I meant. A lot of the groups given as examples of pre-Reformation Baptists, shouldn't be paraded around by Baptists. Nor do I believe that the Roman church was the only true church during medieval times, I don't believe the Roman church existed during medieval times, they formalized at Trent. There was one Western "Catholic" church (technically there still is just "one" catholic church) that was split by the Reformation, the Reformers came out on the purer side of things.
 
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