According To The Scriptures



Many of the writings and records of the Lord's congregations have been burned, and often the writers have been burned with them. Much of their history has been written by their enemies, and some by those with no affiliation with, or affection for, either. That is both good and bad. It is good in that the fact that the enemies wrote of people whom we consider the Lord's congregations proves that they existed (and we do have such writings from nearly every decade since Jesus built His first congregation). It is good in that we have proof of their doctrine by the accusations and persecutions against them. It is good in that those writings, being written by enemies, have been preserved. It is bad that their doctrines, being recorded as accusations or by the spiritually ignorant, have often been misinterpreted and misrepresented. Much historical research is available concerning the Lord's congregations, in the writings of apostates and protestants trying to "claim kin" or to justify some false doctrine. While such writings can be very useful, it is important to beware of the bias of the writer.

For example, the Ecclesiastical History written by Eusebius records some important history, but as Berlin Hisel pointed out in his Baptist History Notebook (p.32):

It is my opinion that Mosheim and others relate certain charges against the Montanists because they follow the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius. Eusebius was born about 275 A.D. and died about 339 A.D. He was bishop of Caesarea in Palestine and is revered, by most, as the father of church history. He was a close friend to Constantine, the ruler of the Roman Empire who united false churches to the state power. It is believed by many that Constantine commissioned him to write this history and financed his travel and investigatons. Knowing what Constantine did to our Baptist ancestors should make us leary of him. Knowing he was a friend of Eusebius should make us careful of Eusebius too.

In the study of the history of the Lord's congregations, they are found to have been known by many different names at various times and places. Those names have usually been assigned them by their enemies and in derision. It can be found that apostate and false congregations sometimes bore the same names as did those of Christ's. Such is clearly the case at the present time, and probably more prevalent than in any other period.

Some writers have picked out those apostate and false congregations of the past, and cite their irregular faith and practice as representative of all who were known by the same name. That seems usually to be done in effort to find credibility for their own heresy, or to try to discredit those congregations that have remained true to Christ.

The same tactics are being used today by many to advance their agenda of unionism, and sad to say, many true congregations, being ignorant of their own heritage, are falling for it. It is no more sensible nor honest to make false allegations or charges by sweeping generalization against the faithful congregations than it would be to say that all American wives are unfaithful to their husbands, just because some have been found so to be.

From the time of Cain and Abel, those who have taught and stood for the truth of the true Christ have found themselves caught in a fierce, bitter, and often bloody, ongoing battle that started when Lucifer said in his heart, "I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:13).

With his offering to God, Abel was teaching, with typology, salvation by grace through faith in Christ. Cain changed the message with the typology of his offering (Genesis 4:1-8). Rather than repent and accept the truth, Cain killed the true messenger, Abel.

Read in Luke 11:49-52, what Jesus said to some religious leaders about the subject:

Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

In Matthew 23:33-35, Jesus said:

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

John the Baptist was beheaded for declaring the truth.

Following their Savior in rapid succession fell many other martyred heroes: Stephen was stoned, Matthew was slain in Ethiopia, Mark dragged through the streets until dead, Luke hanged, Peter and Simeon were crucified, Andrew tied to a cross, James beheaded, Philip crucified and stoned, Bartholomew flayed alive, Thomas pierced with lances, James, the less, thrown from the temple and beaten to death, Jude shot to death with arrows, Matthias stoned to death and Paul beheaded.      (The Trail of Blood by J.M. Carroll)

The same bloody battle has continued in every period of time since, in varying intensity.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.     (Ephesians 6:12)

In the introduction of his book, Martyrs Mirror, Thieleman J. van Braght wrote:

Those who suffered among the pagans were, for the most part, examined concerning the first article of the Christian faith, wherein we confess: "I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth," etc.; and if the apprehended Christians confessed only this, viz., that they believed in one God, they were condemned to death: for the pagans recognized many gods.

Those who suffered among the Jews or Mohammedans were examined concerning the second article, wherein we confess: I believe "in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, our Lord, who was conceived of the holy Ghost," etc. When they had confessed this, they had also forfeited their lives; for the Jews and the Mohammedans do not acknowledge Christ as the Son of God, much less as His only-begotten (or own) Son, and that He was conceived of the Holy Ghost.

On account of this article many believers were killed among the Arians.

Those who suffered among the false Christians, especially among the Romanists, were examined concerning nearly all the articles of faith, in regard to which difference of opinion existed between us and them, viz., the incarnation of Christ, the office of the secular authorities, the swearing of oaths, etc., but above all others, the article of holy baptism, namely, whether they were denied infant baptism? or, whether they were rebaptized? which latter principally caused their death; as sentence of death was immediately passed upon them, and their life taken.

Martyrs Mirror, written in 1660, is a large 8x10 book of almost 1200 pages of small print, listing and documenting thousands of the names and dates of martyrdom of, as the title page declares, "The Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only Upon Confession of Faith, and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus, Their Saviour, From the Time of Christ to the Year A.D. 1660."

Of the persecutions of the first three hundred years after Christ's death, Augustus Neander wrote:

The Christians were often victims of the popular rage. The populace saw in them the enemies of their gods; and this was the same thing as to have no religion at all. The deniers of the gods, the atheists, was the common name by which the Christians were designated among the people; and of such men the vilest and most improbable stories could easily gain belief: - that in their conclaves they were accustomed to abandon themselves to unnatural lust; that they killed and devoured children; - accusations which we find circulated, in the most diverse periods, against religious sects that have at once become objects of the fanatic hatred of the populace. The reports of disaffected slaves, or of those from whom torture had wrung the confession desired, were next employed to support these absurd charges, and to justify the rage of the populace. If in hot climates the long absence of rain brought on a drought; if in Egypt the Nile failed to irrigate the fields; if in Rome the Tiber overflowed its banks; if a contagious disease was raging; if an earthquake, a famine, or any other public calamity occured, the populace rage was easily turned against the Christians. "We may ascribe this," was the cry, "to the anger of the gods on account of the spread of Christianity." Thus it had become a proverb in North Africa, according to Augustine, "If there is no rain, tax it on the Christians."

(Volume 1, p.92 of 5 volume 9th edition History of the Christian Religion and Church, published by Crocker & Brewster, Boston).

On page 79 of Martyrs Mirror, van Braght says:

The innocent Christians were accused not only of the burning of Rome, but also of every wickedness imaginable; that they might be tortured and put to death in the most awful manner. To this the Roman Tacitus (according to the translation of J. Gysius, and not that of Fenacolius)* refers, saying: "Then, Nero, in order to avert this report from himself, caused those called Christians by the common people, to be accused and exceedingly tormented.

Later, on page 79, van Braght wrote:

Touching the manner in which the Christians were tortured and killed at the time of Nero, A. Mellinus gives the following account from Tacitus and other Roman writers: namely, that four extremely cruel and unnatural kinds of torture were employed against the Christians:

Firstly, that they dressed them in the skins of tame and wild beasts, that they might be torn to pieces by dogs or other wild animals.

Secondly, that they, according to the example of their Saviour, were fastened alive on crosses, and that in many different ways.

Thirdly, that the innocent Christians were burned and smoked by the Romans, with torches and lamps, under the shoulders and on other tender parts of their naked bodies, after these had been cruelly lacerated with scourges or rods. This burning was done also with shavings and fagots, they (the Christians) being tied to stakes worth half a stiver. [about one cent] Therefore they called the Christians sarmenticii, that is, fagot people, and semissii, that is, half stiver people; because they stood fastened to half stiver stakes, and were thus burned with the slow fire of fagots.

Fourthly, that these miserable, accused Christian martyrs were used as candles, torches, or lanterns, to see by them at night.

van Braght then describes how the candles were constructed of those Christians, and set on fire, and used for light in the theatre for the circuses.

Those martyrs could easily have escaped their persecution by compromising their religious beliefs, and participating in paganism. They chose, instead, to follow "fully after the LORD."

Polycarp was given a choice, before he was set on fire and burned to death during a pagan festival at Smyrna in A.D. 155. Encyclopedia Britannica (1957) gives this account:

The proconsul Statius Quadratus was present on the occasion, and the asiarch Philip of Tralles was presiding over the games. Eleven Christians had been brought, mostly from Philadelphia, to be put to death. The appetite of the populace was inflamed by the spectacle of their martyrdom. A cry was raised, "Away with the atheists. Let search be made for Polycarp." Polycarp took refuge in a country farm. His hiding-place, however, was betrayed and he was arrested and brought back into the city. Attempts were made by the officials to induce him to recant, but without effect. When he came into the theatre, the proconsul urged him to "revile Christ," and promised, if he would consent to abjure his faith, that he would set him at liberty. To this appeal Polycarp made the memorable answer, "Eighty and six years have I served Him and He hath done me no wrong. How then can I speak evil of my King who saved me?"

Shame on those today who will compromise their faith and practice just to be more popular, or in order to gain or retain some "influential" person or family in their membership.

The persecution and martyrdom of Christians continued almost daily, varying in intensity and location, and is documented by many historians. Encyclopedia Britannica (1957) says:

Decius was the first Roman emperor to institute an organized persecution of the Christians throughout the empire. Previous persecutions had been sporadic and local in character.

Eusebius says, in his Ecclesiastical History:

Philip, after a reign of seven years, was succeeded by Decius, who, in consequence of his hatred to Philip, raised a persecution against the church, in which Fabianus suffered martyrdom, and was succeeded as bishop of Rome by Cornelius.

In A Manual of Church History (p.164) Alfred H. Newman wrote:

The fact that Christians had been especially favored by the predecessor probably led Decius to suspect them of disloyalty to himself. It may be assumed from what we know of this ruler that his exterminating measures against Christianity did not proceed from sheer wantonness, but were from his point of view a political necessity.

Of this imperial edict which was issued in the year 250 to suppress Christianity, Newman says:

In each official district all Christians were required within a definite time to offer sacrifices to the gods. The flight of Christians before the expiration of time allowed was not hindered, but the property of fugitives was confiscated and death was the penalty of returning. Those who were not in a position to prove that they had fulfilled the requirement were brought before a commission composed of officials and citizens. First they were threatened with the direst punishments in case of obstinacy. Threats were followed by torture. This failing, imprisonment and repeated tortures, including hunger and thirst, were resorted to as means of breaking down the wills of the victims. All the influence and machinery of the imperial government were employed to prevent laxity on the part of the officials. The magistrates were enjoined to use special severity toward bishops and other influencial leaders. Immunity from persecution had brought into the churches multitudes of people who had no proper idea of the obligations of the Christian life and many who cannot be regarded as possessing a saving knowledge of the truth. Lamentable worldliness characterized many of the clergy, who were spending their energies in secular pursuits rather than in the ministry of the word. The imperial edict struck terror to the hearts of all whose faith was weak. "Before the battle," writes Cyprian, "many were conquered, and without having met the enemy, were cut down; they did not even seek to gain the reputation of having sacrificed against their will. They indeed did not wait to be apprehended ere they ascended, or to be interrogated ere they denied. Many were conquered before the battle, prostrated before the attack. Nor did they even leave it to be said for them that they seemed to sacrifice to idols unwillingly. They ran to the market place of their own accord." Many were so impatient to deny their faith that they could hardly wait their turn. Cyprian himself retired before the fury of the persecution and thereby greatly injured his reputation among the stricter sort. Many who would neither flee nor sacrifice suffered the most terrible tortures and died in prison or were at last cruelly executed. Some by bribing the officials procured certificates of having sacrificed without committing the overt act. Some allowed others to say that they had sacrificed or to procure certificates for them. Holders of these fraudulent certificates were called libellatici and were regarded as scarcely less culpable than the Lapsi or those who actually denied their faith.

Eusebius gives this account of a woman named Quinta, sometimes called Cointha, who stood firm in her profession of faith:

Next they led a woman called Quinta, who was a believer, to the temple of an idol, and attempted to force her to worship; but when she turned away in disgust, they tied her by the feet, and dragged her through the whole city, over the rough stones of the paved streets, dashing her against the millstones, and scourging her at the same time, until they brought her to the same place, where they stoned her.

Another woman who was also martyred in Alexandria in the same year (252) was Apollonia. Martyrs Mirror gives this account:

Apollonia was an aged virgin, whom the enemies of truth apprehended, and with their fists and blows in the face, knocked every tooth out of her head. In the mean time a large fire of wood was kindled, and they threatened to burn her alive, if she would not worship the gods, and forsake Christ. But notwithstanding this miserable death, she would rather go into the fire, and lose her temporal life, than save it by abandoning Christ and losing her soul. Touching the manner of her death, and her great willingness to die, A. Mellinus makes this statement: "This virgin was sentenced to be burned, or to blaspheme the name of Christ; but as she abhorred the latter, she wished to show that she was ready and willing to die for Christ."

Eusebius says, of Apollonia, that:

She appeared at first to shrink a little, but when suffered to go, she suddenly sprang into the fire and was consumed.

Another period of intense persecution came during the rule of Diocletian. On pages 172-173, of Martyrs Mirror, T.J. van Braght wrote the following in 1660, ". . . ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF P.J. TWISCK, FROM VARIOUS ANCIENT AND CELEBRATED AUTHORS":

These two Emperors (namely, Diocletian and Maximian) jointly governed the empire, in harmony and constancy, and remained undivided. However, when they had reigned about ten years, they took counsel together, and resolved to exterminate the Christians, because the discord of religion caused great dissensions, both in the households and in the Roman Empire.

Then, from his quotation of P.J. Twisck:

". . . in the nineteenth year of his reign, which coincides with A.D. 302, issued a public decree (as was done in the days of Antiochus), that everyone, in every place, should sacrifice to the gods of the Emperors; and that he who should refuse to do so, should be punished with death; also, that the churches or meeting places, and the books of the Christians should be utterly destroyed. Yea, there was scarcely a large city in the empire, in which not daily a hundred Christians, or thereabouts, were slain. It is also recorded that in one month seventeen thousand Christians were put to death in different parts of the empire, so that the blood which was shed colored red many rivers. Some were hanged, others beheaded, some burned, and some sunk by whole shiploads in the depths of the sea."

As touching the fearful tortures inflicted, he then writes thus: "These tyrants had some of them dragged through the streets, tied to the tails of horses, and after they were mangled and bruised, they had them put back into prison, and placed upon beds of potsherds, so that rest might be more excruciating for them than actual torment. Sometimes they bent down with great force the branches of trees, and tied one leg to one branch, and the other to another, and then let the branches spring back into their natural position, so that their limbs were shockingly rent in pieces. They cut off the ears, noses, lips, hands, and the toes of many, leaving them only the eyes, to inflict still more pain upon them. They sharpened wooden pegs, which they inserted between the flesh and the nails; and had lead or tin melted, and poured as hot as possible over their bare backs."

Many who professed Christianity in that period did compromise with paganism during the times of most severe persecution, and then when times were better, sought to return to Christian worship in the fellowship of the Lord's congregations. When they were accepted back, they often brought some of the pagan ways with them. Some refused to admit those who had departed the faith back into the fellowship of the Lord's congregation. That, in fact, is the main thing that led to what is known as the Novation rupture.

In Ecclesiastical Researches (1792) Robert Robinson says (p.126):

The case in brief, was this: Novation was an elder in the church at Rome. He was a man of extensive learning, and held the same doctrine as the church did, and published several treatises in defense of what he believed. His address was eloquent and insinuating, and his morals were irreproachable. He saw, with extreme pain, the intolerable depravity of the church. Christians, within the space of a very few years, were caressed by one emperor, and persecuted by another. In seasons of prosperity, many rushed into the church for base purposes. In times of adversity they denied the faith and ran back to idolatry again. When the sqall was over, away they came again to the church, with all their vices, to deprave others by their example. The bishops, fond of proselytes, encouraged all this, and transferred the attention of Christians from the old confederacy for virtue, to vain shows at Easter, and a thousand other Jewish ceremonies, adulterated, too, with paganism. On the death of Bishop Fabian, Cornelius, a brother elder, and a vehement partisan for taking in the multitude, was put in nomination. Novation opposed him; but as Cornelius carried his election, and he saw no prospect of reformation, but on the contrary, a tide of immorality pouring into the church, he withdrew, and a great many with him. Cornelius, irritated by Cyprian, who was just in the same condition, through the remonstrances of virtuous men at Carthage, and who was exasperated beyond measure with one of his elders named Novatus who had quitted Carthage and had gone to Rome to espouse the cause of Novation, called a council, and got a sentence of excommunication passed against Novation. In the end, Novation formed a church and was elected bishop. Great numbers followed his example and all over the empire Puritan churches were constituted, and flourished through the succeeding two hundred years. Afterward, when penal laws obliged them to lurk in corners, and worship God in private, they were distinguished by a variety of names, and a succession of them continued till the Reformation.

Notice the statements that "Great numbers followed his example and all over the empire Puritan churches were constituted, and flourished through the succeeding two hundred years," and that a succession of them continued till the Reformation."

On page 163 of volume 1 of his 5 volume A Compendium of Ecclesiastical History, John Gieseler states:

Though the other bishops, and especially Cyprian at Carthage, and Dionysius at Alexandria, were on the side of Cornelius, great numbers in all parts joined the stricter party.

Under "Carthage," Encyclopedia Britannica (1957) says that in A.D. 311 the Donatist "heresy," was supported by 270 African bishops.

These congregations that refused to apostatize and had withdrawn from the disorderly, as well as those that remained intact and sided with them, became known as Novations, Cathari, Puritans (not to be confused with those of more recent times), and Paterins. At about the same time, in other places there were congregations that had taken the same, or similar stands, and became known as Cataphrygians, Quintillianists, Pepuzians, Montanists, and Donatists.

Do not assume that every congregation that was called by one of these names was, or remained, true bodies of Christ. I believe that there has hardly been a time since Jesus built His first congregation, that there has not been a counterfeit or apostate congregation using the same names as the true ones. The Devil is a copy-cat.

About the year 200, baptismal regeneration began to be taught by some, and in 370, or earlier, infant baptism began to be practiced. Along with these false doctrines, the hierarchical ambitions of some, which we considered in a previous chapter, had been developing. As should be expected, those false doctrines and practices had little trouble finding acceptance among the apostate congregations. The political ambitions of a hierarchical system necessitated a "universal church" concept, and thus the term "catholic" (with a small "c") began to be used.

Writing of the Novations, on page 55 of A Concise History of Baptists, G. H. Orchard says:

On account of the church's severity of discipline, the example was followed by many, and churches of this order flourished in the greatest part of those provinces which had received the gospel. Many advenient rites had been appointed, and interwoven with baptism, with a threefold administration of the ordinance, in the old interests, which obscured the original simplicity and design of the institutor. To remove all human appendages, the Novationists said to candidates, "If you be a virtuous believer, and will accede to our confederacy against sin, you may be admitted among us by baptism, or if any catholic has baptized you before, by rebaptism." They were at later periods called anabaptists. The churches thus formed upon a plan of strict communion and rigid discipline, obtained the reproach of PURITANS; they were the oldest body of Christian churches, of which we have any account, and a succession of them, we shall prove, has continued to the present day. Novation's example had a powerful influence, and puritan churches rose in different parts, in quick succession. So early as 254, these Dissenters are complained of, as having infected France with their doctrines, which will aid us in the Albigensian churches, where the same severity of discipline is traced, and reprobated.

Constantine came to the throne in 306, and in 312, after allegedly seeing Christ in a dream and being victorious in a battle, inquired and was instructed by some of the leaders of the apostate "Christianity." Constantine then embraced and became affiliated with their so called "Christianity." In 313, the "Edict of Milan" was issued by Constantine and Licinius, granting religious liberty to all. That edict stated, in part:

. . . we have granted liberty and full freedom to the Christians, to observe their own mode of worship; which as your fidelity understands absolutely granted to them by us, the privilege is also granted to others to pursue that worship and religion they wish. Which it is obvious is consistent with the peace and tranquility of our times; that each may have the privilege to select and to worship whatsoever divinity he pleases. But this has been done by us, that we might not appear in any manner to detract any thing from any manner of religion, or any mode of worship. And this, we further decree, with respect to the Christians, that the places in which they were formerly accustomed to assemble, concerning which also we formerly wrote to your fidelity, in a different form, that if any persons have purchased these, either from our treasury, or from any other one, these shall restore them to the Christians, without money and without demanding any price, without any superadded value, or augmentation, without delay or hesitancy. . . .                         (Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, book X chapter V)

The change in situation brought temporary relief to the true Christian congregations as well as the apostate ones. Encyclopedia Britannica (1957) says of Constantine:

His claim to greatness rests mainly on the fact that he divined the future which lay before Christianity, and determined to enlist it in the service of his empire . . .

The leaders in the apostate congregations, having already been in pursuit of hierarchical ambitions, were eager to "enlist" in the service of Constantine's empire.

World Book Encyclopedia (1985) says:

Constantine made many gifts to the Christian church, including huge estates which he gave to the church in Rome. He built the first great Christian cathedral, the Lateran Basilica in Rome. He built other famous churches in and near Rome; and in Antioch, Syria (now Antioch, Turkey); Constantinople; and Jerusalem.

On page 31 of The History of Romanism, John Dowling wrote:

Soon after Constantine professed conversion to Christianity, he undertook to remodel the government of the church, so as to make it conform as much as possible to the government of the state. Hence the origin of the dignities of patriarchs, exarchs, archbishops, canons, prebendaries, etc., intended by the Emperor to correspond with the different secular offices and dignities, connected with the civil administration of the empire. Taking these newly constituted dignitaries of the church into his own special favor, he loaded them with the wealth and worldly honors, and richly endowed the churches over which they presided, thus fostering in those who professed to be the followers and ministers of Him who was "meek and lowly of heart" a spirit of worldly ambition, pride,and avarice.

Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History lists a "Copy of an Epistle in which the Emperor grants money to the churches," in book X, chapter VI, which states, in part:

CONSTANTINE AUGUSTUS to Cecilianus bishop of Carthage. As we have determined, that in all the provinces of Africa, Numidia, and Mauritania, something should be granted to certain ministers of the legitimate and most holy catholic (universal) religion, to defray their expenses, I have given letters to Ursus, the most illustrious lieutenant- governor of Africa, and have communicated to him, that he shall provide, to pay to your authority, three thousand folles.* [If the follis be estimated at 208 denarii, according to the usual computation, this sum would amount to about 10,000 dollars.]

The apostate congregations were now developed into a "universal church" and married to the state. The true Christians, the Lord's congregations, previously considered as "the atheists" under paganism, were now known as "heretics." Constantine's main concern being the strength and greatness of his empire, and his recognition of religion as being a valuable tool in accomplishing his goals, religious unity became a high priority to him. The leaders of the apostate congregations which had become the "state church," still angered at the true congregations of Christ for their stand for truth, and no doubt desirous of bringing their numbers under their own power and control, were easily employed in an effort to subdue those true congregations which they called heretics. Those true congregations were considered trouble-makers and disruptive to unity because they would not conform and compromise. They were hated because they went "fully after the LORD." That has always been the case, and will be until the end of the age. I have found that the uncompromising, true worshipers of God, are almost always considered as divisive. In Acts 17:6, Paul and Silas were accused of turning the world upside down. In Matthew 10:35-39, Jesus said:

For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

In Luke 14:25-27:

And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

In Matthew 10: 16-18 and 22, Jesus said:

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

John, in I John 3:12-13, speaking of Cain killing Abel, said:

. . . And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

Here are two of Constantine's letters, recorded in Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, that show the early development of authority given to the "State church" by Constantine. In book X, chapter V, is the following "Copy of the Emperor's Epistle, in which he ordains a council of bishops to be held at Rome, for the unity and peace of the church":

CONSTANTINE AUGUSTUS, to Miltiades bishop of Rome, and to Marcus. As many communications of this kind have been sent to me from Anulinus, the most illustrious proconsul of Africa, in which it is contained that Caecilianus, the bishop of Carthage, was accused, in many respects, by his colleagues in Africa; and as this appears to be grievous, that in those provinces which divine Providence has freely entrusted to my fidelity, and in which there is a vast population, the multitude are found inclining to deteriorate, and in a manner divided into two parties, and among others that the bishops were at variance; I have resolved that the same Caecilianus, together with ten bishops, who appear to accuse him, and ten others, whom he himself may consider necessary for his cause, shall sail to Rome. That you, being present there, as also Reticius, Maternus, and Marinus, your colleagues, whom I have commanded to hasten to Rome for this purpose, may be heard, as you may understand most consistent with the most sacred law. And, indeed, that you may have the most perfect knowledge of these matters, I have subjoined to my epistle copies of the writings sent to me by Anulinus, and sent them to your aforesaid colleagues. In which your gravity will read and consider in what way the aforesaid cause may be most accurately investigated and justly decided. Since it neither escapes your diligence, that I show such regard for the holy catholic church, that I wish you, upon the whole, to leave no room for schism or division. May the power of the great God preserve you many years, most esteemed.

And then, a "Copy of the Epistle in which the Emperor commanded another council to be held, for the purpose of removing all the dissension of the bishops":

CONSTANTINE AUGUSTUS to Chrestus bishop of Syracuse. As there were some already before who perversely and wickedly began to waver in the holy religion and celestial virtue, and to abandon the doctrine of the catholic (universal) church, desirous, therefore, of preventing such disputes among them, I had thus written, that this subject, which appeared to be agitated among them, might be rectified, by delegating certain bishops from Gaul, and summoning others of the opposite parties from Africa, who are pertinaciously and incessantly contending with one another, that by a careful examination of the matter in their presence, it might thus be decided. But since, as it happens, some, forgetful of their own salvation, and the reverence due to our most holy religion, even now do not cease to protract their own enmity, being unwilling to conform to the decision already promulgated, and asserting that they were very few that advanced their sentiments and opinions, or else that all points which ought to have been first fully discussed not being first examined, they proceeded with too much haste and precipitancy to give publicity to the decision. Hence it has happened, that those very persons who ought to exhibit a brotherly and peaceful unanimity, rather disgracefully and detestably are at variance with one another, and thus give this occasion of derision to those that are without, and whose minds are averse to our most holy religion. Hence it has appeared necessary to me to provide that this matter, which ought to have ceased after the decision was issued by their own voluntary agreement, now, at length, should be fully terminated by the intervention of many.

Since, therefore, we have commanded many bishops to meet together from different and remote places, in the city of Arles, towards the calends of August, I have also thought proper to write to thee, that taking a public vehicle from the most illustrious Latronianus, corrector of Sicily, and taking with thee two others of the second rank, which thou mayest select, also three servants to afford you services on the way; I would have you meet them within the same day at the aforesaid place. That by the weight of your authority, and the prudence and unanimity of the rest that assemble, this dispute, which has disgracefully continued until the present time, in consequence of certain disgraceful contentions, may be discussed, by hearing all that shall be alleged by those who are now at variance, whom we have also commanded to be present, and thus the controversy be reduced, though slowly, to that faith, and observance of religion, and fraternal concord, which ought to prevail. May Almighty God preserve thee in safety many years.

The oppression continued to escalate, and soon, those who refused to compromise truth and refused to unite with the State church or recognize their baptisms and authority, were again being severely persecuted, this time by the catholic church with State authority.

Constantine's oppressive measures prompted many to leave the scene of sufferings, and retire into more sequestered spots. Claudius Seyssel, the popish archbishop, TRACES the rise of the Waldensian heresy to a pastor named Leo, leaving Rome at this period, for the Valleys.    (A Concise History of the Baptists, G.H. Orchard, p.58)

In History of the Donatists, David Benidict quotes from Augustine's record of a local council held in Carthage in 404, in which it was stated:

It is now full time for the emperor to provide for the safety of the Catholic church, and prevent those rash men from terrifying the weak people, whom they cannot seduce.

In 413, an edict was issued by emperors, Theodosius and Honorius:

. . . declaring that all persons rebaptized, and the rebaptizers, should be both punished with death. Accordingly, Albanus, a zealous minister, with others, was punished with death, for rebaptizing. . . . . . . . . . These combined modes of oppression led the faithful to abandon the cities, and seek retreats in the valleys of Piedmont, the inhabitants of which began to be called Waldenses.

(A Concise History of Baptists, G.H. Orchard, p.60-61)

Augustine wrote much against the Donatists, and pope Gregory the Great wrote against them as late as 604. Orchard says of the Novationists, "That they subsisted towards the end of the sixth century, is evident from the book of Eulogius, Bishop of Alexander" (p.63).

We can be certain that there were true congregations of the Lord dwelling in the valleys of Piedmont from the time of Constantine, having gone there to flee persecution. I believe that there were true congregations already established there.

On page 28 of The Waldenses: Sketches of the Evangelical Christians of the Valleys of Piedmont, A.W. Mitchell wrote:

Their own account of the matter uniformly has been, that their religion has descended with them from father to son by uninterrupted succession from the time of the apostles. There certainly is no improbability in the conjecture that the gospel was preached by some of those early missionaries who carried Christianity into Gaul. The common passage from Rome to Gaul at that time lay directly through the Cottian Alps, and Gaul we know received the gospel early in the second century at the latest, probably before the close of the first century. If the apostle Paul ever made that journey into Spain (Rom. 15:28) which he speaks of in his epistle to the Romans, and in which he proposed to go by way of Rome, his natural route would have been in the same direction, and it is not impossible that his voice was actually heard among those retired valleys. The most common opinion among Protestant writers is, that the conversion of the Waldenses was begun by some of the very early Christian missionaries, perhaps by some of the Apostles themselves, on their way to Gaul, and that it was completed and the churches more fully organized by a large influx of Christians from Rome, after the first general persecution under Nero. The Christians of Rome, scattered by this terrible event, would naturally flee from the plain country to the mountains, carrying with them the gospel and its institutions.

The mountains and valleys of the Alps and the Piedmont area were a natural refuge for the persecuted Christians from surrrounding territories in every age. In the words of Samuel Morland:

These Valleys, especially that of Angrogna, Pramol, and S. Martino, are by nature strongly fortified, by reason of their many difficult Passages, and Bulwarks of Rocks and Mountains, as if the All-wise Creator had from the beginning designed that place as a Cabinet, wherein to put some inestimable Jewel, or (to speak more plainly) there to reserve many thousands of souls, which should not bow the knee before Baal.

[The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piemont, book 1, ch.1, p.3]

These persecuted Christians, given various nick-names in derision at various places and times, fled to the Valleys of Piedmont, and in time became generally known as Waldenses. Ever trying to rob Jesus' true congregations of their heritage and discredit them, the Romish persecutors invented the allegation that the Waldensian Christians originated with Peter Waldo, and got their name from him. The History of the Ancient Christians by Jean Paul Perrin, written in 1618, and The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of the Piemont by Samuel Morland, written in 1658, contain various documents, writings, and confessions of faith, dating back to 1120, which describes their faith and practice, as well as their well established existence, fifty years before Peter Waldo (almost four hundred years before the time of Luther or Calvin). Samuel Morland's book records "a certain Epistle of the Waldenses, inscribed":

An Epistle to the most serene King Lancelau, the Dukes, Barons, and most ancient Nobility of the Realm. The little troop of Christians falsely called by the name of poor people of Lions, or Waldenses. By which it is most evident, that they had not their original from the said Waldo, but that this was a meer nick-name or reproachfull term put upon them by their Adversaries, to make the world believe, that their Religion was but a Novelty, or a thing of yesterday. . . . . . . . . [book 1, ch.3, p.12]

Of the etymology of the name, Waldenses, most historians agree with Robert Robinson, who says, in his Ecclesiastical Researches, written in 1792:

From the Latin word vallis, came the English word valley, the French and Spanish valle, the Italian valdesi, the Low Dutch valleye, the Provencal vaux, vaudois, the ecclesiastical Valdenses, Ualdenses, and Waldenses. The words simply signify vallies, inhabitants of vallies, and no more. [p.302]

Reinerius Sacco was one of the first employed in the Inquisition by Rome, for the purpose of detecting and punishing the "heretics." Reinerius testified often against the Waldenses and, in 1254, wrote a book of accusation against them. Samuel Morland (p.28) quotes this from Reinerius:

Amongst all the sects which are or ever were, there is none more pernicious to the Church of God, than that of the poor people of Lyons, for three Reasons, First because it is of a longer duration. Some say that it has remained from the time of Silvester, others, from the time of the Apostles.

In History of the Ancient Christians, Jean Paul Perrin, in "History of the Waldenses, book II, ch.I, quotes Reinnerius' second reason given:

Because that sect is universal, for there is scarce any country where it hath not taken footing.

In chapter XVI of the same book, Perrin says:

In the year 1229, the Waldenses had already spread themselves in great numbers throughout all Italy. They had ten schools in Valcamonica alone, and sent money from all parts of their abode into Lombardy, for the maintenance and support of the said schools. Rainerius saith, that about the year of our Lord 1250, the Waldenses had churches in Albania, Lombardy, Milan, and in Romagna, likewise at Vincence, Florence, and Val Spoletine. In the year 1280, there were a considerable number of Waldenses in Sicily, as Haillan observes in his History.

In the next chapter, XVII, Perrin says:

The monk Rainerius, in his book of the form or method of proceeding against the heretics, in that catalogue that he made of the Waldenses, or poor of Lyons, observes, that in his time, in the year 1250, there were churches in Constantinople, in Philadelphia, Sclavonia, Bulgaria, and Diagonicia.

From these statements, we can see that the inquisitor, Rainerius Sacco, expressed no doubt about the continuance of these "heretics" from the time of the apostles. It is also evident from this, the testimony of their bloody persecutor, that there was, in his words, "scarce any country where it hath not taken footing." That is definitely not a situation that would develop overnight, but had come about as results of earlier scattering by persecutions and the fact that they had been obedient in the mission to:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.            (Matthew 28:19-20)

The inquisitor, Rainerius Sacco, also wrote extensively of the "heresies" that these faithful congregations were guilty of. I will quote a few of those accusations here which tell us some important facts about their doctrines in the words of the enemy. In volume II, pages 21-27 of The History of the Christian Church, William Jones gives the English translation of those charges which can be seen in the original Latin, in the Ecclesiastical History of Ancient Churches of Piedmont and the Albigenses (original page numbers 188-191) by Peter Allix, written in 1690. Rainerius wrote:

Their first error is a contempt of ecclesiastical power, and from thence they have been delivered up to Satan, and by him cast headlong into innumerable errors, mixing the erroneous doctrines of the heretics of old with their own inventions. And being cast out of the Catholic church, they affirm that they alone are the church of Christ and his disciples. They declare themselves to be the apostles' successors, to have apostolical authority, and the keys of binding and loosing. They hold the church of Rome to be the whore of Babylon, (Rev. ch. xvii.) and that all that obey her are damned, especially the clergy that have been subject to her since the time of pope Sylvester. They deny that any true miracles are wrought in the church, because none of themselves ever worked any. They hold that none of the ordinances of the church, which have been introduced since Christ's ascension, ought to be observed, as being of no value. The feasts, fasts, orders, blessings, offices of the church, and the like, they utterly reject. They speak against consecrating churches, church-yards, and other things of the like nature, declaring that it was the invention of covetous priests, to augment their own gains, in spunging the people by those means of their money and oblations. They say, that a man is first baptized when he is received into their community. Some of them hold that baptism is of no advantage to infants, because they cannot actually believe. They reject the sacrament of confirmation, but instead of that, their teachers lay their hands upon their disciples. They say, the bishops, clergy, and other religious orders are no better than the Scribes and Pharisees, and other persecutors of the apostles. They do not believe the body and blood of Christ to be the true sacrament, but only blessed bread, which by a figure only is called the body of Christ, even as it is said, "and the rock was Christ," &c. Some of them hold that this sacrament can only be celebrated by those that are good, others again by any that know the words of consecration. This sacrament they celebrate in their assemblies, repeating the words of the gospel at their table, and participating together, in imitation of Christ's supper. . . . . . . . According to them there is no purgatory, and all that die, immediately pass either into heaven or hell. That therefore the prayers of the church for the dead are of no use, because those that are in heaven do not want them, nor can those that are in hell be relieved by them. And from thence they infer, that all offerings made for the dead are only of use to the clergymen that eat them, and not to the deceased, who are incapable of being profited by them. They hold, that the saints in heaven do not hear the prayers of the faithful, nor regard the honours which are done to them, because their bodies lie dead here beneath, and their spirits are at so great a distance from us in heaven, that they can neither hear our prayers nor see the honours which we pay them. They add, that the saints do not pray for us, and that therefore, we are not to entreat their intercession, because, being swallowed up with heavenly joy, they cannot attend to us, nor indeed to any thing else. Hence they deride all the festivals which we celebrate in honour of the saints, and all other instances of our veneration for them. Accordingly, wherever they can do it, they secretly work upon holy days, arguing, that since working is good, it cannot be evil to do that which is good on a holy day. . . . . . . . .

Looking in the Encyclopedia Britannica (1957), under "COUNCIL," it is found that the subject of the third Lateran council, called in 1179, was "Albigensians; Waldensians." Under the article, "LATERAN COUNCILS," the same encyclopedia says, of the fourth Lateran council, that:

The seventy decrees of the council begin with a confession of faith directed against the Cathari and Waldenses, which is significant if only for the mention of a transubstantion of the elements in Lord's Supper. A series of resolutions provided in detail for the organized suppression of heresy and for the institution of the episcopal inquisition (Canon 3). On every Christian, of either sex, arrived at years of discretion, the duty was imposed of confessing at least once annually and of receiving the Eucharist at least at Easter (Canon 21). . . . . . .

Under the heading, "ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH," Encyclopedia Britannica has this:

At the fourth Lateran council (1215) Innocent III (1198-1216) published a definition of the faith which, after affirming the doctrine of the Trinity, the Incarnation and the Judgement, says:

"There is moreover one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no man at all is saved, in which the same Jesus Christ is both the priest and the sacrifice, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the peices of bread and wine, the bread being transubstantiated into the body and the wine into the blood by the divine power, in order that, to accomplish the mystery of unity, we ourselves may receive of His that which He received of ours. And this thing, the sacrament to wit, no one can make (conficere) but a priest, who has been duly ordained, according to the keys of the Church, which Jesus Christ Himself granted to the apostles and their successors.

But the sacrament of baptism, which is consecrated in water at the invocation of God and the undivided Trinity, that is of the Father, and of the Son and Holy Spirit, being duly conferred in the form of the Church by any person, whether upon children or adults, is profitable to salvation. And if anyone, after receiving baptism, has fallen into sin, he can always be restored (reparari) by true penitence.

Not only virgins and the continent, but also married persons, deserve, by right faith and good works pleasing to God, to come to eternal blessedness" (cited by Alexander Hamilton Thompson, Cambridge Medieval History, vol. vi, p.635).

The last article of the definition quoted above refers to the Catharist or Albigensian heresy, which in the 12th and 13th centuries threatened large areas of Hungary, Germany, Italy and France. It rejected infant baptism, purgatory, the communion of saints, the use of images and the doctrine of the Trinity. Above all, the Cathars attacked the institution of marriage, which was the basis of all social custom and law, sacred and secular, in the west. Catharism was anarchy and heresy at once. It implied the complete subversion of the social structure and the complete denial of the Christian faith. . . . . . . .

Most of those charges of Catharist/ Albigensian/ Waldensian "heresy," when using the Bible as the final authority for all faith and practice, sound very complimentary to me. It is to be noted that the statement by Encyclopedia Britannica, that they rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, does not agree with the preponderance of evidence. Not only was there agreement in matters of faith and practice between the Cathars, Albigenses, and Waldenses, but the Roman Catholic persecutors, as well as the encyclopedia at issue, as we have seen, considered the heresy of each as synonymous. In book I, chapter VI, of The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piemont, Samuel Morland exhibits a discourse which he labels, "The noble Lesson written in the Language of the ancient Inhabitants of the Valleys, in the Year 1100. Extracted out of a most authentick Manuscript, the true Original whereof is to be seen in the publick Library of the famous University of Cambridg." "The noble Lesson" is there given in the original, and in the Old English (which the entire book is written in). I will quote a few lines with modern spelling. "The noble Lesson" says, "There are already a thousand and one hundred years fully acomplished, Since it was written thus, For we are in the last time." That statement dates "The noble Lesson" at about a hundred years previous to the fourth Lateran council. On the next page, after mentioning "God the Father," "his glorious Son," and "the Holy Ghost," it says, "These three (the holy Trinity) as being but one God, ought to be called upon." The third reason given by Rainerius as to why "there is none more pernicious" to the Roman Catholic Church was:

Because all others beget in people a dread and horror of them by their blasphemies against God. But this on the contrary hath a great appearance of godliness, because they live righteously before men, and believe rightly of God in all things, and hold all the articles contained in the Creed, hating and reviling the church of Rome; and in this they are easily believed of the people. (Perrin, book II, ch.I)

Had the "heretics" rejected the Trinity, Rainerius would not have said that they, "believe rightly of God in all things." The Creed that Rainerius claimed, in 1254, that they "hold all the articles contained in," says:

1. I believe in one God, the Father, the almighty Creator of heaven and earth.

2. And in Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, our Lord.

3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin Mary.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(Martyrs Mirror p.27)

Note, also, that the encyclopedia article, quoted earlier, stated that "the Cathars attacked the institution of marriage." The true Christians were often charged with that accusation. The truth is, they did not attack the institution of marriage; in fact, they believed strongly in the institution of marriage. The Roman Catholics insisted that only their own clergy had the authority to perform a valid wedding ceremony. They held that the "heretic" pastors had no legal authority to marry anyone, and as a result, those married by them were adulterers. The members of the Lord's congregations, of course, refused to submit to the Catholics, and thus were charged with attacking or rejecting the institution of marriage. Representative of their position at that time, is the following statement, in book I, chapter V of The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Piemont. In what is labeled, "The ancient Discipline of the Evangelical Churches in the Valleys of PIEMONT. Extracted out of divers Authentick Manuscripts, written in their own Language several hundreds of Years before either Calvin or Luther," ARTICLE VIII states:

Marriage ought to be performed according to the rules prescribed by God, and not within those degrees which he hath forbidden. And there need no scruple of conscience be made concerning what the Pope hath forbidden, although we give him no money for a dispensation; for that which God hath not forbidden may very well be done without his permission.

The bond of holy marriage ought not to be made without the consent of friends on both sides, for as much as children ought to be wholly at the disposal of their parents.

Many of those true congregations of Christ's continued to earnestly contend for the faith through good times and bad. Besides the names already mentioned, some were called Arnoldists, Henricians, Paulicians, and other names. All came to be commonly called Ana-Baptists (rebaptizers). During times of most severe persecution, they were forced to take refuge in the mountains, living in caves and among rocks, and meeting in secret. In times of less severe persecution, missionaries were sent throughout the world. Wherever they went, they were hated and persecuted.

William Jones' The History of the Christian Church (volume I, p.486-488) tells this story:

Towards the middle of the twelfth century, a small society of these Puritans, as they were called by some, or Waldenses, as they are termed by others, or Paulicians, as they are denominated by our old monkish historian, William of Neuburg, made their appearance in England. This latter writer speaking of them, says, "they came originally from Gascoyne, where, being as numerous as the sand of the sea, they sorely infested both France, Italy, Spain, and England." The following is the account given by Dr. Henry, in his History of Great Britain, vol. viii.p.338. Oct. ed. of this emigrating party, which, in substance, correspondence with what is said of them by Rapin, Collier, Lyttleton, and other of our writers.

"A company, consisting of about thirty men and women, who spoke the German language, appeared in England at this time (1159), and soon attracted the attention of government by the singularity of their religious practices and opinions. It is indeed very dificult to discover with certainty what their opinions were, because they are recorded only by our monkish historians, who speak of them with much asperity. They were apprehended and brought before a council of the clergy at Oxford. Being interrogated about their religion, their teacher, named Gerard, a man of learning, answered in their name, that they were Christians, and believed the doctrines of the apostles. Upon a more particular inquiry, it was found that they denied several of the received doctrines of the church, such as purgatory, prayers for the dead, and the invocation of saints; and refusing to abandon these damnable heresies, as they were called, they were condemned as incorrigible heretics, and delivered to the secular arm to be punished. The king, (Henry II.) at the instigation of the clergy, commanded them to be branded with a red hot iron on the forehead, to be whipped through the streets of Oxford, and, having their clothes cut short by their girdles, to be turned into the open fields, all persons being forbidden to afford them any shelter or relief under the severest penalties. This cruel sentence was executed in its utmost rigour; and being the depth of winter, all these unhappy persons perished with cold and hunger. These seem to have been the first who suffered death in Britain, for the vague and variable crime of heresy, and it would have been much to the honour of the country if they had been the last."

It appears that there remained many of the true congregations of the Lord in the Piedmont valleys and surrounding mountains up to the sixteenth century. Let me not be mistaken to imply that all congregations up till that time, or at any time, going by the names previously mentioned, were the Lord's true congregations. Many were, but many were not. Rainerius Sacco, the thirteenth century inquisitor, quoted earlier, wrote that some of those "heretics":

. . . frequent our churches, are present at divine service, offer at the altar, receive the sacrament, confess to the preists, observe the church fasts, celebrate festivals, and receive the priest's blessing, bowing their heads, though in the meantime they scoff at all these institutions of the church, looking upon them as profane and hurtful. They say it is sufficient for their salvation if they confess to God, and not to man.

(The History of the Christian Church by William Jones, vol.II, p.26-27)

Those were not true disciples. They disliked and disapproved of Papal authority, but were willing to compromise their faith and practice for social acceptance. Such practice led to the existence of many irregular congregations among the Waldenses of the Piedmont valleys. Those irregular congregations had little problem unionizing with the protestants of the Reformation, and were soon practicing infant baptism. In the year 1655 came a very intense and severely bloody perscution to the Piedmont valley area. Many cases, giving specific names, dates, locations, witnesses, and gory details of martyrdom, are catalogued in The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piemont, by Samuel Morland. Probably most, if not all, the congregations remaining true to the Lord in that area were exterminated or driven out at that time.

Not only was the truth preserved among many of Jesus' true congregations in the Piedmont area and taken by them into surrounding countries, but it is often found that the Lord already had true congregations established in those places. That should not be surprising when we consider the territory covered by the apostles, as recorded in the New Testament. Not only that, but most of the other members of those first congregations were preaching the gospel everywhere they went. Throughout most of the centuries, Jesus' congregations have usually been small, scattered, and through the world's eyes, pretty insignificant. Much of the time they have had only very modest, or no, meeting houses; and when they did, they have many times been dispossessed of their buildings through persecution. Sometimes that dispossession has come by violent persecution, and sometimes, as in more recent times, by simply being "rooted out" by an apostate or unregenerate element of the membership. The world would have us think, "You can't have a church without a building," but I have concluded from history and from personal observation, that the Lord's congregations are often their most effective when they do not have a building. I do not mean that they should not have a building, or that it should not be a nice one, but it should definitely not be a top priority, or be considered a requirement. The New Testament certainly lists no such requirement.

Let us now back up to the first century and study briefly the existence of believers in another locality that has been used by Christ to plant His congregations throughout the world. On page 6 of History of the Welsh Baptists, published in 1835, J. Davis wrote:

That the apostle Paul also preached the gospel to the ancient Britons, is very probable from the testimony of Theodoret and Jerome; but that he was the first that introduced the gospel to this island cannot be admitted; for he was a prisoner in Rome at the time the good news of salvation through the blood of Christ reached this region. That the apostle Paul had great encouragement to visit this country afterwards, will not be denied.

Continuing, on pages six and seven, Davis says:

About fifty years before the birth of our Saviour, the Romans invaded the British Isle, in the reign of the Welsh King, Cassibellan, but having failed in consequence of other and more important wars, to conquer the Welsh nation, made peace with them, and dwelt among them many years. During that period many of the Welsh soldiers joined the Roman army, and many families from Wales visited Rome, among whom there was a certain woman of the name of Claudia, who was married to a man named Pudence. At the same time, Paul was sent a prisoner to Rome, and preached there in his own hired house, for the space of two years, about the year of our Lord 63.

Acts 28:30-31 says:

And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

Back to Davis, on page seven:

Pudence and Claudia, his wife, who belonged to Ceasar's household, under the blessing of God on Paul's preaching, were brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, and made a profession of the Christian religion. These together with other Welshmen, among the Roman soldiers, who had tasted that the Lord was gracious, exerted themselves on the behalf of their countrymen in Wales, who were at that time vile idolaters.

Paul mentioned Claudia and Pudens in the closing of a letter, written while he was imprisoned at Rome, to Timothy, in II Timothy 4:21, which says:

Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.

Of this verse, Matthew Henry says, in his Commentary:

One of the heathen writers at this time mentions one Pudens and his wife Claudia, and says the Claudia was a Briton, whence some have gathered that it was this Pudens, and that Claudia here was his wife, and that they were eminent Christians at Rome.

In his introduction to the "Memoirs" in Sermons and Memoirs of Christmas Evans, Joseph Cross, gives the same account as Davis.

In the second preface to his The History of the English Baptists, published in 1738, Thomas Crosby said:

Now amongst the converts of the natives of this island, in the first age to Christianity, Claudia surnamed Ruffina, is refuted a principle; she was the wife to Pudence, a Roman senator; and that this is the Claudia, a Briton born, mentioned by St. Paul, then living at Rome.

In the account in the previously mentioned memoirs of Evans, Joseph Cross wrote:

About a century after this, Faganus and Daminicanus went to Rome, were converted there, and became "able ministers of the New Testament." In the year of our Lord 180, they were sent back to Wales, to preach to their own countrymen. They were zealous and successful laborers. They opposed the pagan superstitions of the Welsh with wonderful energy. They pursued Druidism to its dark retirements, and poured upon it the withering blaze of the gospel. Through their preaching, Lucius, king of Wales, was brought to embrace Christianity.

Bede, a Catholic priest who wrote the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, in 731, wrote:

After the days of Lucius, the Britons preserved the faith which they had received, whole and inviolate, in a quiet and peaceable manner, until the reign of Diocletian.

Tertullian wrote that in 209, "those parts of Britain into which the Roman arms never penetrated have yielded subjection to Christ."

Encyclopedia Britannica (1957), under "WALES," says:

As to the coming of Christianity, there is nothing to associate it with Roman rule in Wales.

Back to Davis' History of the Welsh Baptists, on page nine, he says:

About the year 300 the Welsh Baptists suffered a terrible and bloody persecution which was the tenth pagan persecution under the reign of Diocletian. All history bearing on the subject testifies that the action of baptism in those times among these martyrs, was "immersion only."

Diocletian's strict orders were to burn up every Christian, every Meeting house, every scrap of written paper belonging to the Christians, or that gave any account of their rise and progress, and, no doubt many valuable documents were burnt that would have been very interesting to the present generation; and it is a wonder that any of them were preserved from the flames.

The Welsh Christians stood firm, resisting the inventions and innovations of the Roman Catholics under the rule of Constantine.

On page 190, volume I, of A General History of the Baptist Denomination, printed in 1813, David Benedict wrote:

About sixty years after the ascension of our Lord, christianity was planted in Britain, and a number of royal blood, and many of inferior birth, were called to be saints. Here the gospel flourished much in early times, and here also its followers endured many afflictions and calamities from pagan persecutors. The British christians experienced various changes of prosperity and adversity until about the year 600. A little previous to this period, Austin the monk, that famous Pedo-baptist and persecutor, with about forty others, were sent here by pope Gregory the great, to convert the pagans to popery, and to subject all the British christians to the dominion of Rome. The enterprise succeeded, and conversion (or rather perversion) work was performed on a large scale. King Ethelbert and his court, and a considerable part of his kingdom, were won over by the successful monk, who consecrated the river Swale, near York, in which he caused to be baptized ten thousand of his converts in a day.

Having met with so much success in England, he resolved to try what he could do in Wales. There were many British christians who had fled hither in former times to avoid the brutal ravages of the outrageous Saxons. The monk held a synod in their neighbourhood, and sent to their pastors to request them to receive the pope's commandment; but they utterly refused to listen to either the monk or pope, or to adopt any of their maxims. Austin, meeting with this prompt refusal, endeavoured to compromise matters with these strenuous Welshmen, and requested that they would consent to him in three things, one of which was that they should give christendom, that is, baptism to their children; but with none of his propositions would they comply. "Sins therefore," said this zealous apostle of popery and pedobaptism, "ye wol not receive peace of your brethren, ye of other shall have warre and wretche," and accordingly he brought the Saxons upon them to shed their innocent blood, many of them lost their lives for the name of Jesus.

Joseph Cross, in the previously mentioned introduction to the memoirs of Christmas Evans, wrote:

Twelve hundred ministers and delegates were slaughtered, and afterward many of their brethren. Their leaders being slain, the majority of the survivors reluctantly purchased peace at the sacrifice of conscience, submitting to the creed and usages of Rome. Yet there were some who repudiated the doctrine of the pope's supremacy, and maintained for a season the simplicity of the gospel. But they lived among the mountains, in seclusion from the world, like the inhabitants of the vale of Piedmont.

Let us now continue with the quotation of David Benedict, on page 191, vol. I. The memoirs he refers to here, are the "Memoirs of the English Baptists," written by Josiah Taylor of Calne, Wiltsshire, England, in the English Baptist Magazine. Benedict says:

The Baptist historians in England contend that the first British christians were Baptists, and that they maintained Baptist principles until the coming of Austin. "We have no mention," says the author of the Memoirs, "of the christening or baptizing children in England, before the coming of Austin in 597; and to us it is evident he brought it not from heaven but from Rome. But though the subject of baptism began now to be altered, the mode of it continued in the national church a thousand years longer, and baptism was administered by dipping, &c." From the coming of Austin the church in this island was divided into two parts, the old and the new. The old or Baptist church maintained their original principles. But the new church adopted infant baptism, and the rest of the multiplying superstitions of Rome.

Austin's requesting the British christians, who opposed his popish mission, to baptize their children, is a circumstance which the English and Welsh Baptists consider of much importance. They infer from it, that before Austin's time, infant baptism was not practised in England, and that though he converted multitudes to his pedobaptist plan, yet many, especially in Wales and Cornwall, opposed it; and the Welsh baptists contend that Baptist principles were maintained in the recesses of their mountainous Principality all along through the dark reign of popery.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . William the Conqueror ascended the British throne in 1066. During his reign, the Waldenses and their disciples from France, Germany, and Holland, began to emigrate to and abound in England. About the year 1080, they are said to have propagated their sentiments throughout England; so that not only the meaner sort in country villages, but the nobility and gentry in the chiefest towns and cities, embraced their doctrines, and of course adopted the opinions of the Baptists, for we have no information that any of the Waldenses at this period, had fallen off to infant baptism. For more than a hundred years, that is from 1100 to 1216, during the successive reigns of Henry I. Stephen, Henry II. Richard I. and John, the Waldenses increased and were unmolested.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We must now pass on to the reign of Edward II. in 1315, when Walter Lollard, a German preacher of great renown among the Waldenses, and a friend to believers baptism, came into England and preached with great effect. His followers and the Waldenses generally in England for many generations after him were called Lollards . . . .

Just as with all the other names, not all that were called Lollards were true congregations of Christ's, but many were.

Although it was no little matter to be an Ana-baptist, or even express agreement with their beliefs, there is good evidence of their continuous existence during this time throughout England and Wales. We are no doubt deprived of much of their history from the 1300s to the 1600s, because of the persecution which forced them to live simple, inconspicuous lives in "out of the way" places. Not only would records and writings have likely been avoided, many probably were destroyed by the enemies. Much of their meeting was done in hiding, and in secret. There were at least some regular "meeting houses" maintained and used when possible. One is that known as Hill Cliffe. In History of the Baptist Church at Hill Cliffe, James Kenworthy wrote:

We cannot go back to the foundation of the Hill Cliffe Church, but at the time that the earliest reference is made to it, it is then in a flourishing condition, and the very reference itself points to its earlier existence.

The selection of Hill Cliffe as a place of meeting for Christian worshippers can only be accounted for on the ground that the great object in view was concealment from their persecutors. It would be impossible to have chosen a better place for the purpose. Surrounded as it was until recent times by woods, at a safe distance also from the public highways, and very near the boundary of the counties of Lancaster and Chester, it was as safe a place as could possibly have been found in those dark days of persecution. Whenever the persecuting spirit was strong in Lancashire, then the people would worship at Hill Cliffe, but when the persecuting spirit in Cheshire was the stronger, the people worshipped in Warrington, there being at the earliest time of which there remain any records of the existence of Hill Cliffe Chapel, a meeting-house in connection therewith at Warrington.

On page 31, Kenworthy says:

The earliest evidence of the existence of Hill Cliffe is found on a stone in the burial ground and bearing date 1357. Another stone has been found with the date 1414. Another has the date 1523, another 1599, but the dates of the greater portion of the old stones are lost.

The following are copied from stones in the burial ground:-

















Many others are then listed, up to about the time the book was written, the last of which is:





AUGUST 3RD, 1892.


On page 39, Kenworthy says:

During the rebuilding of the chapel in 1800 a stone baptistery, well cemented, was found in the ground. As no one at the time knew of its existence and it was evidently of great age, it is likely that as the more troublous times had passed, it fell into disuse, and the baptism of believers in the brooks and streams in the neighborhood took place. (From the ministry of the Rev. John Thompson up to recent times, the chief places of baptisms were at Lower Walton, near the brook that ran through the centre of the village, and in Cann Lane, Appleton.) This stone baptistery points to the great age for the chapel and the practice of immersion there.

The first minister of Hill Cliffe of whom anything is known was Mr. Weyerburton. . . He remained with the people to the end of his days, his death taking place in 1594.

In Bye-Paths in Baptist History, published in London, in 1871, J.J. Goadby, on pages 22-23, says:

Although Mr. Weyerburton is the first minister of Hill Cliffe of whom anything is known, he is not necessarily to be regarded as the earliest minister of the congregation. Mr. Dainteth succeeded Mr. Weyerburton. The graveyard contains the tomb of his successor--Thomas Slater Leyland, "a minister of the Gospel," as the inscription tells us. He was buried in the year preceeding the death of Queen Elizabeth. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Mr. Tillam was the minister of Hill Cliffe. Oliver Cromwell worshipped at the chapel when his army lay at Warrington, and one of his officers occupied the pulpit. . . . . . . . . . The earliest deeds of the property have been irrecoverably lost, but the extant deeds, which go back considerably over two hundred years [this was published in 1871], describe the property as being "for the use of the people commonly called Anabaptists."

Also, on page 23, Goadby says:

The church at Eythorne, Kent, owes its origin to some Dutch Baptists, who settled in this country in the time of Henry the Eighth. They were, doubtless, tempted to make England their home by the brisk trade that sprang up between this country and Holland, soon after the marriage of Henry with Anne of Cleves (1540).

On the next page, he says:

In the Calendar of State Papers (Domestic Series, 1547--1580), under the date of October 28th, 1552, we have this entry: "Northumberland, to Sir William Cecill. Wishes the King would appoint Mr. Knox to the Bishopric of Rochester. He would be a whetstone to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a confounder of the Anabaptists lately sprung up in Kent." It would be historically inaccurate to regard this as the first intimation of the existence of Baptists, as a separate community in England. Apart from the probabilities about the still earlier origin of Hill Cliffe Church, it should not be forgotten that Henry the Eighth had long before 1550 proclaimed to the nation how, "like a good Catholic priest, he abhorred and detested their (the Anabaptists') wicked and abominable errors and opinions;" that in his second proclamation, he had warned all Anabaptists and Zwinglians to depart out of the country, under pain of death; and that in the third proclamation, when Cranmer was a Protestant archbishop, Cranmer and eight others were authorized to make diligent search for Anabaptist men, Anabaptist letters, and Anabaptist books, full power being put into Cranmer's hands to deal capitally with each offender. The Baptists, in King Edward's days, might have lately sprung up in Kent, but these proclamations show that they were not then known for the first time in England.

Goadby also speaks of a John Knott, who, "became the pastor of Eythorne somewhere between 1590 and 1600."

In The Church in the Hop Garden, "A Chatty Account of the Longworth-Coate Baptist Meeting: Berks and Oxfordshire (Ante 1481-1935) and its Ministers," John Stanley tells of an Anabaptist meeting-place being at Longworth, in England, about fourteen miles west of Oxford, in the year 1481, and then its history up to 1934. In chapter V, Stanley tells of the "first-known definite fact of the history of the Meeting":

A member of the family, Benjamin Williams, F.S.A., a keen antiquarian, a hundred years ago compiled the annals of his family, and some very full geneological tables. He spent many years and much labour on his researches. He starts with an original Parchment Lease, still in the archives of the family. This is the lease of the Homestead and Farm in Aston (Coate is now a hamlet of Aston) granted to Richard Williams in the twenty-first year of Edward IV. (1481), a hundred years after the death of Wycliffe. From 1547, when Thomas Cromwell made the keeping of Parochial Records compulsory, there is a continuous flow of the family name in the Bampton registers, and the local Court of Probate.

So Richard Williams, the farmer, of the days of Edward IV., is regarded as the founder of the family. The story of the settling is this. A religious persecution in Wales drove out two brothers named Williams. They were sheep farmers, and brought their flocks with them. They wandered on until they came into the neighborhood of Witney-- into a high road between Witney and Bampton. Here is the field known for a thousand years as Kingsway Field, the great field that Alfred the Great crossed to hold his Parliament at Shifford. Tempted by the fresh, sweet grass, the sheep broke through the great boundary hedge into the field. The break is still known as the Welshman's Gap. The Gap is mentioned in a Bishop's Terrier (an Episcopal "Doomsday Book," now in the Bodleian Library) as a well-known landmark, in 1577--ninety-six years after one of the emigrants had obtained the lease at Aston. They crossed the field into Aston. Hungry, weary and perplexed, they knelt down and besought the Divine Guidance. After the sign-seeking manner of the times, they threw a straw into the air, determined to follow its direction. It flew in the direction of Coate. At Coate they came across a friendly farmer, and settled there. One of the Welshmen married the farmer's daughter and became the progenitor of John Williams, the Martyr-Missionary. This would be Richard Williams, who leased the Homestead at Aston. The other brother remained unmarried.

The friendly farmer was an Anabaptist, and worshipped with the Anabaptist Meeting at Longworth, across the river.

The point to be noted is this: that an Anabaptist Meeting is found at Longworth about a hundred years after Wycliffe's death, and fifty years before Henry VIII. formed his new Church of England.

Another congregation that should be mentioned here was organized in London, in 1633. The following is from pages 138-139 of D.B. Ray's Baptist Succession, where he quotes from volume I of Thomas Crosby's four volume History of the English Baptists, published in 1738. Ray says:

Mr. Crosby introduces the testimony of William Kiffen as follows: "This agrees with an account given of the matter in an ancient manuscript, said to be written by Mr. William Kiffen, who lived in those times, and was a leader among those of that persuasion.

This relates, that several sober and pious persons belonging to the congregations of the dissenters about London, were convinced that believers were the only proper subjects of baptism, and that it ought to be administered by immersion or dipping the whole body into the water, in resemblance of a burial and resurrection, according to Colos. ii:12, and Rom. vi:4. That they often met together to pray and confer about this matter, and consult what methods they should take to enjoy this ordinance in its primitive purity: That they could not be satisfied about any administrator in England to begin this practice; because, though some in this nation rejected the baptism of infants, yet they had not, as they knew of, revived the ancient custom of immersion. But, hearing that some in the Netherlands practiced it, they agreed to send over one Mr. Richard Blunt, who understood the Dutch language: That he went accordingly, carrying letters of recommendation with him, and was kindly received both by the church there, and Mr. John Batte, their teacher: That upon his return he baptized Mr. Samuel Blacklock, a minister, and these two baptized the rest of their company, whose names are in the manuscript to the number of fifty-three.

So that those who followed this scheme did not receive their baptism from the aforesaid Mr. Smith, or his congregation at Amsterdam, it being an ancient congregation of foreign Baptists in the low countries to whom they sent." Crosby, vol.I,pp.101, 102; see also, Ivimey, vol.I,p.143; Neal's Hist. Pur., vol.II, p.361; Orchard, vol.II, p.260.

Here we have the undisputed historic fact, that the Baptists of London were so careful to obtain valid baptism that they delegated Richard Blunt, formerly a Pedobaptist minister, to visit a regular Baptist church at Amsterdam, in Holland, which belonged to the old Waldensean succession. And after the baptism of Richard Blunt by John Batte, by the authority of said church, he returned to London and baptized Samuel Blacklock, and they baptized the rest of the company, to the number of fifty-three members; and thus was formed a Baptist church, which was afterward recognized as a Particular Baptist church.

After examining Richard Blunt and the letters he brought with him, the congregation in the Netherlands baptized him and sent him home to London with the authority, approval, and express purpose of baptizing the fifty-three others and organizing them into a true congregation. It may seem strange that they did not know of a congregation in England or Wales from which they could obtain scriptural baptism, but we must remember the situation of the time and place. The climate of persecution from the Church of England of those who would not conform dictated that the Lord's congregations not be very well known about. That they were the same kind, or of like faith and order, is evident in their fellowship, shortly after, with the other Sovereign Grace Ana-Baptist congregations of England and Wales, already in existence. The American Baptist Heritage in Wales, transcribed from the manuscript of "History of the Baptist Churches in Wales" by Joshua Thomas, a Baptist preacher in Wales who lived from 1719-1797, on pages 28-29, speaking of the congregation at Olchon, in Wales, says:

No doubt the aged people there well remembered the former troubles, before 1640. From 1660 to 1688 they were much persecuted despised, yet a remnant continued through the whole.

They met to worship in various places where they could; sometimes in a friend's house and often out. One day or night they would meet in some retired place of the Black Mountain, but when they understood that the informers had heard of the place; then they would change it and fix upon another spot; thus they shifted from place to place. A noted rock, they frequented for the purpose, is called, Y Darren ddn, on the west side of Olchon, and well known still. A little below it, there was then a large wood, there is part of it now; that wood was often their meeting place. That was the estate of Mr. Hugh Lewis, a gentleman of property and influence but no persecutor. His son, Mr. Nathan Lewis, was a strong advocate for the persecuted Baptists. Mr. Thomas Lewis, another son, was a Baptist after and lived at Abergavenny. There was also a daughter, who was a member. So on the whole they had favor and interest there.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Notwithstanding all favors and cautions, the good people were often taken, beaten, abused, fined, and imprisoned. They were hunted like David, through woods, through mountains, and the rocks of wild goats. Of whom the world was not worthy, they wandered in desert, mountains, dens and caves. At times when they met to worship at friends' houses, it was running great risk and hazards.

We have traced the history, continuation, and existence of some of the true congregations of Christ up to the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain , now we will see their migration into America. At this point, someone may ask, "Where does John Smyth fit in?" The answer is that he does not. If the records of history are accurate about his religious activities, there is no way that we can consider the congregation gathered by him, or any of its offspring, as a congregation of Christ's, according to our interpretation of the New Testament. But, because many are so fond of perpetuating the myth that the Baptists in England originated with Smyth, I suppose the matter should be addressed here.

As sources, I will use the encyclopedias, and various "Baptist histories," as well as books of general history. Those things such as names, dates, and places, commonly agreed upon, I will simply present as fact, rather than be overly cumbersome with quotations.

In 1600, John Smyth became a lecturer or preacher of the city of Lincoln, in the established Church of England. After dispute and debate about the discipline and ceremonies of the Church of England, Smyth either left, or as some think, was thrown out of, the Church of England. He then became the pastor of one of the Brownist congregations in Lincolnshire. In 1606, or 1607, Smyth, Thomas Helwys, John Murton, along with Robinson and Clifton, who were co-pastors of another Brownist congregation nearby, and others, left England to escape religious persecution, and went to Amsterdam in Holland. In Amsterdam, these exiles joined a congregation of Brownist where F. Johnson was pastor, and H. Ainsworth was a teacher. After some time, controversey arose between Smyth and the Brownists there. J.J. Goadby, on pages 30-31 of Bye-Pathes in Baptist History, says:

The New Testament churches, with their simple order and discipline, seemed strangely unlike the half Jewish society at Amsterdam, with which he was united. He felt, moreover, that he could no longer hold the doctrines of personal election and reprobation. His faith was also shaken in some other points "assuredly believed among" the Amsterdam Separatists. He had ceased to be a Calvinist, and had become an Arminian. Much talk arose about these changes in his opinions. Meanwhile, Smyth adopted new views on the subject of baptism.

The last question came up in reviewing his dissent from the Establishment. He and his Brownist friends had rejected the ordination of the State Church, but they still retained her baptism. Smyth now made the subject his special study, and was speedily led to adopt believers' baptism as alone consistent with New Testament teaching. With his usual frankness he openly and zealously advocated his new opinions.

This was more than the charity of his associates could bear. Arminianism was bad enough; but believers' baptism was worse; at least so thought Robinson, Clifton, and others. Smyth, and those who sympathised in his opinions, were cut off from the church.

The exclusion of John Smyth, Thomas Helwys, and others who agreed with him, resulted in their proceeding to form a congregation of their own. In The Early English Baptists, B. Evans, whose account agrees with that of Goadby's, above, says, in volume I, pages 203-204:

Upon the very threshold of their enterprise a formidable difficulty presented itself. Who should baptize them? There were Baptists in Holland, those who administered the ordinance by immersion, as well as those who adopted the mode at present practised by our brethren in the Netherlands. From some cause or other, application was not made to any of them, and the story goes that after much prayer Smith baptized himself, then Helwys, and then the remainder of the company.

Now that the dust has settled, most who have studied the matter are in agreement, rather than John Smyth "baptizing" himself, as he was accused of, it is most probable that Smyth "baptized" Helwys, Helwys "baptized" Smyth, and then the two "baptized" the rest. It does not matter which way they did it, if the information we have is correct, because neither had any authority to baptize. Since God had not given either of them authority to baptize, as He did John the Baptist, and neither had Jesus or any of His congregations given them that authority, we must conclude that what took place was not baptism.

Most think that the mode of "baptism" used by Smyth and Helwys was pouring, and the weight of evidence agrees. That does not matter either, since they were grossly in error anyway. The Bible does not teach of any such thing as "plan A, plan B, and plan C," for baptism. It is either scriptural and valid, or unscriptural and of no benefit. They were no more able to baptize (with a baptism acceptable unto God) than Mother Goose, Humpty Dumpty, or Donald Duck.

There is no doubt in my mind why the Smyth/Helwys congregation didn't go to the Baptists in Holland who "administered the ordinance by immersion," mentioned in the above quotation from Evans. Those Baptists believed in the Sovereignty of God, and the total depravity of man. They would not have approved of the Arminian profession of faith of Smyth and his followers. It was in 1609 or 1610 that the Smyth/Helwys congregation was founded, and very shortly after, a difficulty arose and John Smyth and others were excluded from it. They then joined a congregation of Mennonites, who by then were practicing baptism by pouring and sprinkling, and had fallen into other error. As Encyclopedia Britannica (1957) says, "The Arminianism of the Mennonites and their rejection of infant baptism appealed to Smyth." Evans, on page 208, vol.I, of Early English Baptists, says:

It is admitted, on all hands, that from some cause or other, the church over which Smith and Helwys presided was divided, but the cause of the division is not so manifest. Smith, with some twenty-four persons, was excluded from the church, and these sought communion with one of the Mennonite churches in the city. It is more than probable that it was one of the Waterland, one of the most liberal of the Mennonite churches, and their mode of baptism was by sprinkling, or affusion.

On page 209, Evans gives the confession and appeal for membership to the Mennonites, and in the appendix on pages 244 and 245, the names of Smyth, his wife Mary, and thirty others who signed it:

The names of the English who confess this their error, and repent of it, viz., that they undertook to baptize themselves contrary to the order appointed by Christ, and who now desire, on this account, to be brought back to the true church of Christ as quickly as may be suffered.

We unanimously desire that this our wish should be signified to the church.

The Smyth party was accepted by the Mennonites, who concluded that:

The said English were questioned about their doctrine of salvation, and the ground and the form (mode) of their baptism." "No difference was found between them and us. (Evans, p.208)

Thomas Helwys continued as sole pastor of the remaining congregation until 1614, when he and some of the rest returned to London. The few remaining then joined the Mennonites in 1615. John Smyth died in Holland of consumption in August, 1612. Helwys and those returning with him formed yet another congregation after they settled in London. Some insist that that was the start of the General Baptists of England, who were of Arminian persuasion. I find no evidence or indication that any of the Particular Baptists of England received their baptism or origin from the Helwys congregation. The preponderance of the evidence indicates that even the General Baptists did not receive their baptism from the Helwys congregation, even though it may have been the first to have claimed the name of "General Baptist church." I believe Thomas Crosby's four volume History of the English Baptists, published in 1738, well supports that opinion. It appears to me that the congregations that showed the most evidence of being Jesus' kind of congregation have been the slower, and more reluctant to give themselves a name. They would describe themselves as "the baptized congregation at _____," or "the baptized church of Christ meeting at ____," or some similar description. Representative of their terminology in the late 1600s is in this inscription on the tombstone of Thomas Lowe, buried at Hill Cliffe:


(History of the Baptist Church at Hill Cliffe. James Kenworthy, p.53)

On page 105 of Baptist Piety, "The Last Will and Testimony of Obadiah Holmes," Edwin S. Gaustad explains:

Obadiah Holmes addresses his letter simply to "the Church of Christ at Newport . . . who are baptized upon the professing of their faith. . . ." Letters from the Newport Church to the Boston Baptists often said merely, "To the Church of Christ gathered at Boston," while John Russell, the pastor of that church in 1680, described it as "a Church of Christ in Gospel Order." But gradually the word "baptized" became less a verb and more an adjective. In 1719 a letter from the Boston fellowship, which began "The Church of Christ in Boston Baptized Upon Profession of their Faith," was shortened that same year in a Newport letter to "We, the baptized Church of Christ meeting at Newport." The distinguishing tag "Baptist," or earlier "Anabaptist," was meant -- like most tags in the history of Christianity -- to be a pejorative one thrust upon the despised sect by its enemies. The sect itself -- like most new groups in the history of Christianity -- saw no need for any label at all since it was only re-creating the true and pure church of Jesus and the apostles. But history is more powerful than logic, and denominational names are the result.

As to the General Baptists of England originating with the Smyth/Helwys affair, I believe the most probable case is that a few may have recieved their baptism from Helwys, but for the most part, the strongest connection is that existing congregations were seduced and corrupted by the propaganda and teaching of the Helwys organization, and thereby fell into their errors and accepted their name. Either way, if they were corporately and consciously preaching a gospel that involves a God that is less than completely sovereign, and man that is not totally depraved, they were administering a defective "baptism." Remember that baptism is picturing or preaching in typology.

Of the John Smyth organization, Thomas Crosby says, on page 99, volume I of his History of the English Baptists, that:

If he were guilty of what they charge him with, 'tis no blemish on the English Baptists; who neither approved of any such method, nor did they receive their baptism from him.

Dr. John Clarke, who was a Baptist preacher in London, came to Boston, Massachusetts, probably in 1636, with his wife Elizabeth. Due to religious persecution, John and Elizabeth Clarke, and others left Boston. In the second edition of The First Baptist Church in America, by J.R. Graves and S. Adlam, Conrad N. Glover writes, on page 219:

John Clarke was respected as a man of great learning. He bore high repute for scholarship and ability in languages, including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Law, Medicine and Theology. He was by profession a physician and a Baptist minister. He possessed the qualifications of a leader, and a leader he became.

The conditions in Massachusetts Bay Colony became so intolerable in 1637 that John Clarke and some three hundred with him entered into a compact to remove themselves out of the colony.

They traveled to New Hampshire, but, being dissatisfied with the colder climate, returned south to a place named, by the Native Americans, Pocasset. On page 220 of the above named book, C.N. Glover says:

The land settled by John Clarke and his followers was purchased from the Indians. The date of the transaction was March 24, 1638.

Later in the same year, a congregation was organized with John Clarke as the pastor. On page 235, Glover says:

There are historic statements which lead me to believe that John Clarke began his ministry with the people of his colony immediately after they settled at the north end of Aquidneck Island, first called by its Indian name, Pocasset, and in 1638 changed to Portsmouth, and a meeting house built. Then during the next year in April, 1639, Dr. Clarke and others moved to the present site of the city of Newport and founded Newport where another meeting house was erected. It is believed by historians that the church begun at Portsmouth in 1638 was moved along with the settlers to Newport, where it has continued in active service ever since, with the exception of a period of interruption during the Revolutionary War when the British occupied the town of Newport.

The lengthy inscription on John Clarke's tombstone gives this informative and authoratative account:

To the Memory of


One of the original purchasers and proprietors of this island and one of the founders of the First Baptist Church of

Newport, its first pastor and munificent benefactor; He was a native of Bedfordshire, England, and a practitioner of physic in London. He, with his associates, came to this island from Mass., in March, 1638, O.S., and on the 24th of the same month obtained a deed thereof from the Indians. He shortly after gathered the church aforesaid and became its pastor. In 1651, he, with Roger Williams, was sent to England, by the people of Rhode Island Colony, to negotiate the business of the Colony with the British ministry. Mr. Clarke was instrumental in obtaining the Charter of 1663 from Charles II., which secured to the people of the State free and full enjoyment of judgement and conscience in matters of religion. He remained in England to watch over the interests of the Colony until 1664, and then returned to Newport and resumed the pastoral care of his church. Mr. Clarke and Mr. Williams, two fathers of the Colony, strenuously and fearlessly maintained that none but Jesus Christ had authority over the affairs of conscience. He died April 20, 1676, in the 66th year of his age, and is here interred.

Of his visit to the site of John Clarke's grave, in 1854, J.R. Graves, on pages 14 and 15 of The First Baptist Church in America, wrote:

The worn appearance of the stone testifies to its extreme age, and the language and style of the epitaph witness that it has come down to us from "former generations"--the centuries past.

I unhesitatingly accepted this mural witness as unimpeachable, and studied it, examining and cross-examining it for the utmost syllable of its testimony.

On page 162 of The First Baptist Church in America, J.R. Graves wrote:

In the course of my reading I met with the following statements in Crosby, and in the history of the Philadelphia Association, to which I called the attention of Elder Adlam:

"When the First Church in Newport was one hundred years old, in 1738, Mr. John Callender, their minister, delivered and published a sermon on the occasion." Note on page 455.

That statement, made in a note at the bottom of page 455 of Minutes of the Philadelphia Association, published by the American Publication Society, is further evidence as to the correctness of the 1638 date.

In 1663, a congregation was organized in Massachusetts, with John Miles as pastor. John Miles was pastor of a Baptist congregation at Swansea, in Wales, who came to America to escape persecution under Charles II. Page 61 of The American Baptist Heritage in Wales says:

It does not appear when Mr. Miles sailed for America, when he landed in that country, nor what family, friends, or neighbors accompanied him. The first account we have of him west of the Atlantic is in Mr. Backus' History [A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists. Isaac Backus] above referred to, Vol. 1, Page 353, naming Mr. Miles among the ejected ministers, it is added, "upon which, he and some of his friends came over to our country, and brought their church Records with them. And at Mr. Butterworth's in Rehobath, in 1663, John Miles, elder, James Brown, Nicholas Tanner, Joseph Carpenter, John Butterworth, Eldad Kingsley, and Benjamin Alby, joined in a solemn covenant together."

This was the first Baptist church in that part of America as noted above. It seems the men members of it were only seven. What number of women members there were we know not. It does not appear that any of the men members went with Miles to America, but Mr. Nicholas Tanner, said in the records to have been baptized on the 11th of the 11th month, 1651. This young church was then in Plymouth Colony; where they had quiet about four years: but at a court holden at Plymouth, 2nd July 1667, the society was fined in a considerable sum of money, and ordered to remove from that place. On the 30th of October ensuing, that court made them an ample grant in another place, which Mr. Miles and his friends called Swanzay. It seems they so spelled Swansea in Wales then. "There they made a regular settlement which has continued to this day . . . . Their first meeting house was built a little west of Kelly's Ferry, against Warren; but Mr. Miles settled the west side of the great bridge which still bears his name," Page 354.

But what about Roger Williams? That is a situation similar to the John Smyth story. All reliable sources are in agreement with the following account of what happened in 1639 (one year after the organization of the congregation at Newport), from page 475, volume I, of A General History of the Baptist Denomination by David Benedict:

Being settled in this place, which, from the kindness of God to them, they called PROVIDENCE, Mr. Williams and those with him, considered the importance of Gospel Union, and were desirous of forming themselves into a church, but met with considerable obstruction; they were convinced of the nature and design of believer's baptism by immersion; but, from a variety of circumstances, had hitherto been prevented from submission. To obtain a suitable administrator was a matter of consequence: at length, the candidates for communion nominated and appointed Mr. Ezekiel Holliman, a man of gifts and piety, to baptize Mr. Williams; and who, in return, baptized Mr. Holliman and the other ten.

It has been much alleged that the Baptists in America began with Roger Williams, and that Williams was the founder and first pastor of the First Baptist Church in Providence, but the facts, and the older records show that not to be the case. The whole mess, at least in great part, appears to have originated with the manufacture of history at the hand of John Stanford, who was pastor of "The First Church in Providence." Benedict says, on page 485, vol.I:

Thus far the history of this church has been transcribed from its records, which were set in order in 1775, by Rev. John Stanford, now of New-York, who was then preaching with them. This account, up to Dr. Manning's beginning in Providence, is found almost in the same form as here stated in Morgan Edward's MS. History, &c. prepared in 1771. It was published in Rippon's Register in 1802, and as it is well written, I have chosen to copy it without scarce any alteration.

J.R. Graves visited Benedict at his home in Pawtucket, R.I., and on page 21 of The First Baptist Church in America, wrote:

Touching the conflicting claims of the Newport and Providence churches above referred to, and his verdict in favor of Providence, expressed in his History, he remarked, that "it was his rule not to go behind the records of the churches. His verdict was in accordance with the records of the Providence church. If he had erred he had been misled by those records, and with no intention to disparage the claims of the Newport church. He admitted the growing perplexities that had for years confused and unsettled his mind as to the correctness of Mr. James [John] Stanford's history of the Providence church, compiled without any church record, and a full century after its origin. It would not be strange, but indeed probable, that errors, and not a few, would occur."

John Callender was called as the sixth pastor of the First Baptist Church of Newport in 1731. In 1738, concerning the First Baptist Church at Providence, Callendar wrote:

The most ancient inhabitants now alive, some of them above eighty years old, who personally knew Mr. Williams, and were well aquainted with many of the original settlers, never heard that Mr. Williams formed the Baptist Church there, but always understood that Brown, Wickenden, or Wigginton, Dexter, Olney, Tillinghast, etc., were the first founders of that church.

[The First Baptist Church in America. J.R. Graves and S. Adlam, pages 137-138]

On pages 22 and 23 of A History of the Baptists in New England, Henry S. Burrage says:

Mr. Williams was baptized by Ezekiel Holliman, and he in turn baptized Holliman and "some ten more." But Williams remained only a few months in connection with the church. He had doubts in reference to the validity of his own baptism, and the baptism of his associates on account of the absence of "authorized administrators." For him there was no church and no ministry left. The apostolic succession was interrupted and apostolic authority had ceased. It was the baptizer, and not the baptism about which he doubted. He was a high church Anabaptist. He went out of the church, left his little congregation behind, preached when and where he could, and became a "seeker" the rest of his days. And during the rest of his days he never came to a "satisfying discovery" of a true church or ministry.

In A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists, Isaac Backus wrote:

Mr. Williams had been accused before of embracing principles which tended to Anabaptism; and in March, 1639, he was baptized by one of his brethren, and then he baptized about ten more. But in July following, such scruples were raised in his mind about it, that he restrained from such administrations among them.

On pages 162 and 163 of The First Baptist Church in America, J.R. Graves introduced a quotation of Cotton Mather, from Thomas Crosby, with this:

This is Cotton Mather's testimony as to the perpetuity of Williams' informal society. If it was in existence when Mather wrote, he well knew it. If it dissolved when Williams left it, and repudiated it as a scriptural church, he knew it; and he says it "came to nothing," there was nothing left for even Mather to reproach, and Mather died in 1727-8:

The quotation of Mather, from Crosby (Vol.I, p.117) says:

One Roger Williams, a preacher, arrived in New England about the year 1630; was first an assistant in the church of Salem, and afterwards pastor. This man, a difference happening between the government and him, caused a great deal of trouble and vexation. At length the magistrates passed the sentence of banishment upon him, which when he removed with a few of his own sect and settled at a place called Providence. There they proceeded," says Mr. Mather, "not only unto the gathering of a thing like a church, but unto the renouncing of their infant baptism." After this, he says, "he turned Seeker and Familist, and the church came to nothing."

(Ecclesiastical History of New England, p.7, Cotton Mather).

It is conclusive that the Roger Williams organization "came to nothing" within about four months. Although it is known that there were members of the Newport congregation living at Providence, there are no known records, or hint of the existence, of a Baptist congregation at Providence until about 1652. In 1653 or 1654, there was a division in that congregation (the one organized at Providence in 1652), and a new one was organized with Gregory Dexter as pastor. Wickenden and Browne were apparently co-pastors, also. In The Baptist Succession, D.B. Ray says:

Gregory Dexter was a Baptist preacher in London, who came over to Providence, Rhode Island, in 1644. He was associated with Wickenden and Browne, as one of the founders of the present Providence first church.

The original congregation (organized in 1652) continued until about 1715 or 1718, when, "becoming destitute of an elder, the members were united with other churches," (Callender) and became extinct. The congregation of whom Dexter, Wickenden, and Browne were pastors, has continued to the present at Providence.

Now, let us go back to the congregation at Newport, where John Clarke was pastor. History shows that many, many congregations throughout the country are descendants of that congregation. Another evil myth (like those of the Baptists being started with John Smyth or Roger Williams) is that effective mission work among Baptists is of modern origin. Effective in man's eyes, or God's? How much more effective can you get than doing something God's way? With even the very minimal amount of history I have related here in this book, it is clearly seen that members of Jesus' congregations, in every era, have gone into all the world, preaching the gospel, baptizing those whom God saves, and organizing them into true bodies of Christ, by His authority.

In A Brief History of the First Baptist Church of Harrison, Ohio, Larry L. Burton and Berlin Hisel traced the geneology of the First Baptist Church of Harrison, step by step, back to the First Baptist Church of Newport, Rhode Island. After a paragraph about the organization of the First Baptist Church of Newport, Burton and Hisel wrote:

In about the middle of the 17th century, a Baptist minister, Elder Thomas Dungan from Ireland, left his native home to escape persecutions under King Charles II, and coming to Rhode Island, joined himself to Dr. Clarke's church. In 1684, Elder Dungan and a small group of members from the church in Newport came south to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and established as a church body there. This was the Cold Spring Baptist Church, and it was about three miles north of Bristol, Penn., not too far from Trenton. Elder Dungan was old when he came to America, and he died in 1688. But something he did just prior to his death has had lasting results.

That "something he [Dungan] did" was to be used of God to instruct and counsel Elias Keach, who was baptized and ordained at the Cold Spring Baptist Church. The circumstance, as recorded by Morgan Edwards in his Materials Toward a History of the Baptists of Pennsylvania, can be found on page 91, volume II, of A History of the Baptists by John Christian, or on pages 581 and 582, volume I, of A General History of the Baptist Denomination by David Benedict, and elsewhere. On pages 581 and 582, Benedict's History says, of Elias Keach:

He was son of the famous Benjamin Keach, of London; arrived in this country a very wild youth, about the year 1686. On his landing, he dressed in black, and wore a band, in order to pass for a minister. The project succeeded to his wishes, and many people resorted to hear the young London Divine. He performed well enough, till he had advanced pretty far in the sermon; then stopping short, he looked like a man astonished. The audience concluded he had been seized with a sudden disorder; but on asking what the matter was, received from him a confession of the imposture, with tears in his eyes, and much trembling. Great was his distress, though it ended happily; for from this time he dated his conversion. He heard of Mr. Dungan. To him he repaired to seek counsel and comfort, and by him he was baptized and ordained. From Coldspring, Mr. Keach came to Pennepek, and settled a church there as before related; and thence travelled through Pennsylvania and the Jersies, preaching the Gospel in the wilderness with great success, insomuch that he may be considered as the chief apostle of the Baptists in these parts of America. He and his family embarked for England, early in the spring of the year 1692, and afterwards became a very famous and successful minister in London.

About the year 1702, the congregation at Cold Spring dissolved. In 1688, a congregation was organized at Pennepeck, in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, called the Lower Dublin Baptist Church. It is often referred to as "the Pennepeck Church." Elias Keach, missionary out of the congregation at Cold Spring, was called as their first pastor. Page 90 of volume II of A History of the Baptists by John T. Christian says:

The records of the church state that "by the good Providence of God, there came certain persons out of Radnorshire in Wales, over into this Province of Pennsylvania, and settled in the Township of Dublin, in the County of Philadelphia, viz.: John Eatton, George Eatton and Jane, his wife, Samuel Jones, and Sarah Eatton, who had all been Baptized upon Confession of Faith and Received into Communion of the Church of Christ meeting in the Parishes of Llandewi and Nantmel, in Radnorshire, Henry Gregory being Chief Pastor. Also John Baker who had been Baptized and was a member of a congregation of Baptized believers in Kilkenny, in Ireland, Christopher Blackwell, pastor, was in the providence of God settled in the township aforesaid. In the year 1687 there came one Samuel Vaus out of England, and settled near the aforesaid Township and went under the denomination of a Baptist and was so taken to be."

The next year Elias Keach came from London and baptized some persons. [There was two years interval between Keach's coming from London in 1686 and his settling at Pennepeck, in 1688, in which he was a member of the congregation at Cold Spring, as described previously. S.F.] Twelve entered into church relations and chose Mr. Keach as pastor. Soon after, a few Baptists from this province and West Jersey joined them, also some persons baptized at the Falls, Cold Spring, Burlington, Cohansey, Salem, Penn's Neck, Chester, Philadelphia and elsewhere united with the church. These were all in one church, and Pennepeck was the center of the union, where as many as could met to celebrate the Lord's Supper. Quarterly meetings were held in other places to accommodate the members there. From this church went out many others. . . . (Horatio Gates Jones, The Baptists in Pennsylvania. Being a sketch of the Pennepeck or Lower Dublin Baptist Church. The Historical Magazine, August, 1868. New Series, IV. 76).

Benedict adds, on page 581, that:

Thus, for some time, continued their Zion with lengthened cords, till the brethren in remote parts set about forming themselves into distinct churches, which began in 1699. By these detachments it was reduced to narrow bounds, but continued among the churches, as a mother in the midst of many daughters.

In 1701, sixteen people were organized as a Baptist congregation in South Wales, and came, as a complete body with Thomas Griffith as pastor, to America on the ship named "James and Mary." In History of the Welsh Baptists, J. Davis says, on page 72:

In the year 1701, he [Thomas Griffiths] and fifteen of the members of the church went to America in the same vessel. They formed themselves into a church at Milford, in the county of Pembroke, South Wales, and Thomas Griffiths became their pastor in the month of June, 1701. They embarked on board the ship James and Mary, and on the 8th day of September following, they landed at Philadelphia. The brethren there treated them courteously, and advised them to settle about Pennepeck. Thither they went, and there continued about a year and a half. During that time twenty-one persons joined them, but finding it inconvenient to abide there, they purchased land in the county of Newcastle, and gave it the name of Welsh Tract, where they built a meeting-house, and Thomas Griffiths labored among them as their pastor till he died, on the 25th of July, 1725, aged eighty years.

On pages 106 and 107 of The American Baptist Heritage in Wales, we have, preserved by Joshua Thomas, the following account of the "extracts" translated into English by later members of that congregation from their records which were kept in Welsh until 1732:

"In the year 1701, there was a number of the members of the Baptist churches in the counties of Pembroke, Carmarthen, and Cardigan inclined to emigrate to Pennsylvania. Having consulted among themselves, they laid the case before the churches, who agreed to grant them leave to go. But the churches considered that as they were sixteen members and one of them a minister, it would be better for them to be constituted a church in their native land; they agreed and did so. Being thus formed into a church, they gave them a letter of recommendation for their reception as brethren, should they meet any Christians of the same faith and practice. They sailed from Milford-Haven in June that year, and arrived in Philadelphia in September.

They met with kind reception from the church meeting at Pennepec and Philadelphia. They spent about a year and a half in that vicinity, in a dispersed way. These new comers kept their meetings weekly and monthly among themselves: but held Christian conference with the other church, with which they wholly agreed but in the article of Laying on of hands, to which the newcomers strictly adhered: but the majority of the other church opposed it. In the year and a half that way they had two and twenty added to them, which probably made 38. But at the end of this term, these with others from Wales, purchased a large tract of land in Newcastle county on Delaware, which in their own language, they called Rhandiry cymrn, but being turned into English, Welshtract. This was in the year 1703, and in the same year they built their meeting house. In the extract the names of the sixteen are given, there Thomas Griffiths is called pastor; and Elisha Thomas is called Elijeus Thomas. There also they give the names of the two and twenty added, as above. . . .

And on the next page:

"There were thirteen added to them the first after their abode at the Tract, two by letters from Wales, and eleven by Baptism, and in a few years they became numerous, many were added to them from different churches in Wales, and large additions yearly by personal profession before the church; so that in a few years a hundred and twelve were added to the first thirty-eight, and many of these were gifted brethren, in all 150." But probably some had died.

Also on page 108, Thomas says:

Mr. Morgan Edwards, author of the Materials [Materials Toward a History of the Baptists of Pennsylvania], in a letter to the writer of this dated 5th Nov. 1784, says "Mr. Joshua Edwards was born in Pembrokeshire Feb. 11th 1703, landed (in America) about 1721, was ordained July 15th 1751, was alive in 1772, had eleven children, but had not the particular care of any church." Then in the same letter he informs, that about the year 1737, about thirty members from Welshtract removed to Peedee, in South Carolina, and there formed a church in 1738, which church is now (said he then) shot into five branches, that is Cashawa, Catfish, Capefear, Linches Creek, and Mar's Bluff or Cliff. Mr. Joshua Edwards is one of the ministers who served those churches lately.

Mr. (now Dr.) J. Jones, in a letter of June 1784, said that he assisted at the constitution of a branch of Welshtract church, in Nov. 1780. That new church is called London tract; the minister Mr. Thomas Fleeson. He mentions another church formed out of it, but does not give the name.

For several years, many Baptists came to America from Wales and England. Many Baptist preachers were sent from the congregations there, to work in America. From pages 76 and 77 of The American Baptist Heritage in Wales is the following letter of reccomendation, which is a sample of the order practiced among the Lord's congregations:

South Wales in Great Britain

The church of Jesus Christ meeting at Swansea, in Glamorganshire, teaching believers baptism, laying on of hands, the doctrine of personal election, and final perseverance. To any church of Christ Jesus in the province of Pennsylvania, in America, of the same faith and order to whom this may concern. Send Christian Salutation: Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied unto you from God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dearly beloved, Brethren in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Where as our dearly beloved brethren and sisters by name, Hugh David, an ordained minister, and his wife Margaret, Anthony Matthew, Simon Matthew, Morgan Thomas, Samuel Hugh, Simon Butler, Arthur Melchoir, and Hannah his wife, design by God's permission to come with Mr. Sereney to the fore said province of Pennsylvania: This is to testify unto you, that all the above names are in full communion with us, and we commit them, all of them to your Christian care, beseeching you therefore to receive them in the Lord, watch over them, and perform all Christian duties toward them as becometh Christians to their fellow members. So we commit you and them to the Lord, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you and them up in the most holy faith. May the God of peace ever sanctify you wholly, and that your, and their spirits, souls, and bodies, may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be the earnest prayers of your brethren in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel.

Dated the 30th of the 7th month 1710: signed at our meeting by a part for the whole:

Morgan Jones, John David, William Matthew, Jacob Morgan, Owen Dowle, Morgan Nichols, John Howell, Hugh Matthew, Robert Edwards, John Hughs, Philip Matthew, Thomas Morgan, William Morgan, (and another name not legible).

According to the minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association (1707-1807), Morgan Edwards, J. Davis, Joshua Thomas, and others, Hugh Davis (spelled David in the above letter) and fifteen others organized a congregation at Great Valley, Chester County, Pennsylvania, April 22, 1711, and chose Hugh Davis as pastor.

In 1710, Nathaniel Jenkins, who was born in Cardiganshire, Wales, in 1678, came to America, and became the first pastor of a congregation of Baptists constituted in 1712 at Cape May, New Jersey. (A General History of the Baptist Denomination by David Benedict, vol.I, p.570)

Abel Morgan, born in 1637 at Llanwenog, in Carmarthen County, Wales, began preaching at nineteen years old. He was ordained at Blaenegwent, in Monmouthshire, and arrived in America on February 14, 1711, and pastored the congregation at Lower-Dublin, at Pennepek, Pennsylvania (mentioned earlier), until he died December 16, 1722. (Benedict, vol.I, p.583)

By migration, sometimes by choice and many times by persecution, and the mission efforts of these and other congregations and their descendant congregations, God used them to take the truth into New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, the Carolinas, and other surrounding territories. People who were saved by God's grace and baptized under the authority granted these congregations by Jesus, covenanted themselves together and were organized into new congregations of Jesus' after the New Testament pattern.

Robert Nordin and Thomas White were ordained in London, and sent by the General Baptists to Virginia in 1714. Benedict says:

But White died by the way, and Nordin arrived in Virginia, and gathered a church at a place called Burley, in the county of the Isle of Wight. [vol.II, pages 23-24]

Robert Nordin died in 1725. In 1727, Richard Jones and Casper Mintz came from England to Burley, and Jones became their pastor.

On page 25, Benedict says:

In 1756, the church at Burley sent the following letter to the Philadelphia Association:

"The church of Jesus Christ in Isle of Wight county, holding adult baptism, &c. to the Reverend and General Assembly or Association at Philadelphia, send greeting. We the above mentioned church, confess ourselves to be under clouds of darkness, concerning the faith of Jesus Christ, not knowing whether we are on the right foundation, and the church much unsettled; wherefore, we desire alliance with you, and that you will be pleased to send us helps, to settle the church, and rectify what may be wrong; and subsribe ourselves, your loving brethren in Christ, Casper Mintz, Richard Jones, Randal Allen, Joseph Mattgum, Christopher Atkinson, Benjamin Atkinson, Thomas Cafer, Samuel Jones, William Jordan, John Allen, John Powell, Joseph Atkinson.--Dec. 27, 1756."

Shortly afterwards, according to Morgan Edwards, the congregation at Burley "was broken up, partly by sickness, and partly by the removal of families from hence to North-Carolina, where they gained many proselytes, and in ten years became sixteen churches." [Benedict, vol.II, p.24] Of them, Benedict says, on page 98 of vol.II, that:

These people were all General Baptists, and those of them who emigrated from England, came out from that community there. And although some of their ministers were evangelical and pure, and the members regular and devout; yet, on the whole, it appears to have been the most negligent and the least spiritual community of Baptists, which has arisen on the American continent. For so careless and indefinite were they in their requisitions, that many of their communicants were baptized and admitted into their churches; and even some of their ministers were introduced into their sacred functions, without an experimental acquaintance with the gospel, or without being required to possess it. It does not appear that they extended the bounds of their communion to any but those of their own order; but so loose and indefinite were their terms in other respects, that all, who professed a general belief in the truths of the gospel, submitted to baptism, and religiously demeaned themselves, were admitted to it.

In this situation, this cluster of churches continued, until more orthodox principles were introduced, and a spirit of reformation began to prevail, which finally leavened nearly the whole body, and transformed it into an Association of Calvinistick, or as they were then called, Regular Baptists.

John Gano, Benjamin Miller, and Peter P. Vanhorn were instrumental in that transformation. On page 99, Benedict says:

Mr. Gano was sent out by the Philadelphia Association, with general and indefinite instructions, to travel in the southern States, &c. He, on his return, represented the melancholly condition of this people to the Association, who appointed Messrs. Miller and Vanhorn for the special purpose of instructing and reforming them. Mr. Gano appears to have shaken the old foundation, and begun the preparation of the materials which Messrs. Miller and Vanhorn organized into regular churches.

Probably, the first Baptist congregation in North Carolina was organized more than twenty years earlier, about 1727. It was gathered by Paul Palmer at a place called Perquimans, on Chowan-river. He was born in Maryland, and baptized at Welsh tract.

In 1683, some Baptists moved to near Charleston, South Carolina, from Piscataway, in Maine, to escape persecution by the Pedobaptists of New England. They organized a congregation, with William Screven as pastor, and about the same time were joined by some emigrating from England, who were Particular Baptists. [Benedict, vol.II, p.120] On May 24, 1736, twenty-eight members of that Congregation at Charleston were organized into a separate congregation at Ashley River. [Benedict, vol.II, p.125] The following year, in 1737, thirty members moved from Welsh Tract church [mentioned earlier], to South Carolina, and constituted the third congregation of Baptists in that state. David Benedict gives the following account on page 130, vol.II, of A General History of the Baptist Denomination:

This church was at first called Pedee, from the circumstance of its being situated on the Great Pedee-river, 60 miles north of Georgetown; but when other branches were settled on the same river, it became necessary to give this a more special name, and accordingly the compound name of Welsh-Neck was selected, which is descriptive of the people who founded the church, and of its local and peninsulated situation. This church originated in the following manner: In the year 1737, the following Baptist members of the Welsh-Tract church, which was then in the province of Pennsylvania, but now in the State of Delaware, arrived here; viz. James James, Esq. and wife, and three sons, Philip, who was their minister, Abel, Daniel, and their wives; Daniel Devonald and wife, Thomas Evans and wife, one other of the same name and his wife; John Jones and his wife, three of the Harrys, Thomas, David, and John and his wife; Samuel Wilds and wife, Samuel Evans and wife, Griffith Jones and wife, and David and Thomas Jones and their wives. These thirty members, with their children and households, settled at a place called Catfish, on Pedee-river, but they soon removed about fifty miles higher up the same river, where they made a permanent settlement, and where they all, except James James, Esq. who died at Catfish, were embodied into a church, Jan. 1738.

Now, let us go back to Virginia, where a congregation was organized on Opeckon Creek in 1751. Volume II, pages 26 and 27, of Benedict's History says:

In the year 1743, a number of the members of the General Baptist church at Chesnut Ridge, in Maryland, removed to Virginia, and settled in this place; the most noted of whom were Edward Hays and Thomas Yates. Soon after their removal, their minister, Henry Loveall, followed them, and baptized about fifteen persons, whom he formed into a church on the Arminian plan. Mr. Loveall, becoming licentious in his life, was turned out of the church [Life of Gano, pp.40 and 50], and returned to Maryland; and the church was broken up, or rather transformed into a church of Particular Baptists, in 1751, by the advice and assistance of Messrs. James Miller, David Thomas, and John Gano, who was, at that time, very young. Mr. Miller had visited this church in some of his former journies, and had been instrumental of much good among them; and when they, in their troubles occasioned by Loveall's misconduct, petitioned the Philadelphia Association for some assistance, he and Mr. Thomas were appointed by the Association for the purpose. Mr. Gano, though not appointed, chose to accompany them. The account of this transaction is thus given by Mr. Gano: "We examined them, and found that they were not a regular church. We then examined those who offered themselves for the purpose, and those who gave us satisfaction, we received, and constituted a new church. Out of the whole who offered themselves, there were only three received. Some openly declared, they knew they could not give an account of experiencing a work of grace, and therefore need not offer. Others stood ready to offer, if a church was formed. The three beforementioned were constituted, and six more were baptized and joined with them.

The congregation at Opeckon united with the Philadelphia Association soon afterwards, in the same year. Congregations in the Philadelphia Association continued to send missionaries to Virginia, as well as many other places. Some of those emigrating from England were Particular Baptists. As the population grew, and evangelistic efforts continued, new congregations were organized. In 1760, the above mentioned David Thomas moved, permanently, from Pennsylvania to Virginia, where he worked for thirty years, and then moved to Kentucky. Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia, by Lewis Peyton Little, says, on pages 76 and 77, that:

David Thomas was the first Baptist preacher to carry the gospel into Orange County. This occurred in 1763. Then came Samuel Harriss in 1765. James Read became an early co-laborer with Samuel Harriss, and by the labors of these three many converts were made, among whom were Lewis Craig, Elijah Craig, Nathaniel Saunders and Lewis Conner.

"When Mr. Harris left them he exhorted them to be steadfast and advised some in whom he discovered talents, to commence the exercise of their gifts, and to hold meetings among themselves. * * * The young converts took his advice, and began to hold meetings every Sabbath, and almost every night in the week, taking a tobacco house for the meeting house." (Semple's History (1810),p.8)

On November 20, 1767, a congregation was organized with twenty-five members, called Upper Spottsylvania. In November, 1770, Lewis Craig was ordained and became pastor at Upper Spottsylvania. [A History of Kentucky Baptists by J.H. Spencer, p.27, vol. I.] Baptist preachers were regularly whipped, jailed, fined, and otherwise persecuted in Virginia at that time. On page 29 and 30, vol.I, of A History of Kentucky Baptists, Spencer says:

As has been stated, Mr. Craig was ordained to the pastoral office, in November, 1770. But this did not prevent his preaching abundantly in all the surrounding country. In 1771, he was arrested in Caroline county, where he was committed to prison and remained in jail three months. Before he left Virginia, he was instrumental in gathering at least three churches in Dover Association-Tuckahoe, Upper King & Queen, and Essex. During a revival in Upper Spotsylvania, in 1776, over one hundred were added to its membership. This church prospered as long as Mr. Craig remained with it in its first location. . . . . . . . . . .

Mr. Craig continued to serve Upper Spottsylvania church as pastor, till 1781, when he moved to Kentucky. So strongly was the church attached to him, that most of its members came with him. At exactly what time in the fall they started has not been ascertained. But Mr. Craig was on the Holsten river on the road leading from his former home, by way of Cumberland Gap, to his destination in Kentucky, on the 28th of September, 1781; for on that day, he aided in constituting a church at that point, then in the extreme western settlement in Virginia.

Dr. S.H. Ford, in the Christian Repository of March, 1856, says of Craig and his traveling charge: "About the 1st of December, they passed the Cumberland Gap, . . . and on the second Lord's day in December, 1781, they had arrived in Lincoln (now Garrard Co.), and met as a Baptist church of Christ at Gilberts Creek. Old William Marshall preached to them, with their pastor, the first Sunday after their arrival."

That congregation at Gilberts Creek was, as far as is known, the third of its kind in Kentucky. The first, Severns Valley, (near Elizabethtown) had been constituted earlier the same year, on June 18, 1781, with 18 members, and on the same day ordained John Gerrard as pastor. On page 21, vol. I, of A History of Kentucky Baptists, Spencer quotes Samuel Haycraft in the Christian Repository of April, 1857, in which he says:

When this present wide-spread and favored country was but a wilderness; when not a human habitation was to be found between Louisville (then called the Falls of the Ohio,) and Green river, save a few families, who had ventured to Severn's Valley--a dense forest, and unexplored--and commenced a rude settlement far from the haunts of civilized man; there the lamented John Gerrard, a minister of God, came like John the Baptist, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness," and finding a few desciples of the Lord Jesus Christ like sheep without a shepherd, on the 18th day of June, 1781, they were collected together under a green sugar tree; and in the fear of God, in church covenant gave themselves to the Lord and to one another, and were constituted a Baptist Church, named after Severns Valley and the creek which flows through it.

Sixteen days later, another was organized. On page 23, vol. I, Spencer says:

Cedar Creek church was the second organized in Kentucky. It was gathered by Joseph Barnett who was assisted in its constitution by John Gerrard, July 4, 1781. It is located in Nelson county, about five miles south-west from Bardstown.

Now, back to the congregation at Gilberts Creek, of which, on page 31, vol.I, Spencer says that:

It continued to prosper under the care of Mr. Craig, till 1783, when he and most of the members moved across Kentucky river, and formed South Elkhorn church. . . .

Immediately after moving to Fayette county, in 1783, Mr. Craig gathered South Elkhorn church, and was chosen its pastor. He occupied this position, about nine years, laboring abundantly in all the surrounding country. During this period, Elkhorn Association was formed, and many other preachers moved to that region of the country.

During the years that followed, many other congregations were organized. One of the most sound congregations in existence today was organized just five years later at Bryants Station, now written Bryan Station. On page 112, vol.I, of A History of Kentucky Baptists, J.H.Spencer says:

The church at this point was probably gathered by Augustine Eastin, and was constituted by Lewis Craig and other "helps," on the third Saturday in April, 1786. The following eight persons were in the constitution. Augustine Eastin, Henry Roach, Wm. Tomlinson, Wm. Ellis, sr., Joseph Rogers, Ann Rogers, Elizabeth Darnaby and Elizabeth Rice.

About a month later, Ambrose Dudley became the first pastor at Bryants Station. Ambrose Dudley came from Spottsylvania County, Virginia. On page 113, vol.I, Spencer says, of Dudley, that:

After preaching with much acceptance several years he moved with his young family to Kentucky, arriving at his destination, six miles east of Lexington, May 3, 1786. Within a few weeks after his arrival he took charge of the church at Bryant's. Here and at David's Fork church, and perhaps at other points, he ministered till the Master took him to himself.

About two months later, a congregation was organized nearby, at Town Fork. On page 115, vol.I, Spencer says:

It was constituted of about ten members, in July, 1786, by Lewis Craig, John Taylor, Ambrose Dudley and Augustine Eastin.

John Gano, who has been earlier mentioned, became the first pastor at Town Fork. These congregations, and others, continued to multiply, both near and far. Page 220 of A General History of the Baptist Denomination by David Benedict, vol.II, says:

The church at the Mouth of Sulphur Fork is the oldest now in existence [1813] in West-Tennessee. It was constituted in 1791, by the assistance of Elder Ambrose Dudley and John Taylor, from the Elkhorn Association in Kentucky. These ministers by request of the brethren in this place travelled not far from two hundred miles, mostly through a wilderness, where they were continually exposed to be destroyed by the Indians. This church was at first called Tennessee; it united with the Elkhorn Association, where it continued until the Mero District Association was formed. This church remained alone in the wilderness, having no other within more than a hundred miles of it, until 1794, when that on White's Creek in Davidson county, about six miles to the north of Nashville, was gathered.

Lengthy as it has become, this is but a very brief sketch of history of some of Jesus' congregations, hopefully arousing an increased awareness and appreciation of how that He has propagated them, just as He promised, almost two-thousand years ago. Although they have been despised, persecuted, and most of the time seen in the world's eyes as insignificant, there has been a continued existence of Jesus' kind of congregation ever since He built the first one as a pattern and declared, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). It is very clear that it was Jesus' intention that His kind of congregation continue until the day that all the saved are called up to meet Him in the air. Matthew 16:18 sounds like Jesus was confident in His ability to preserve His kind of congregation. He surely would not make such a bold statement and undertake something that He would not be able to accomplish. To have done so would have been to ignore His own advice in Luke 14:28-31, where He said:

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

The counterfeiters of Christianity have assailed and taunted Jesus' congregations with John Smyth and Roger Williams fables, "universal church" theories, and other such absurdities, until the day has come when most, unaware of their own heritage, and weak in the faith, have sold, or are about to sell, their birthright for a mess of unionism and compromise.

If God is able to create man, and accomplish a continued existence of the human race by procreation, through fire, flood, famine, and disease, for six thousand years without any change of method, and is able to save lost sinners and keep them saved throughout all eternity without any change of method, He is surely able to accomplish the perpetuity and baptismal succession of His congregations without any change of method for two thousand years! Is God sovereign or not? He is not just partly sovereign, He either is, or is not. My God is sovereign! "He's got the whole wide world in his hands."

Rather than be repetitious of matters already discussed in this and previous chapters, allow me to simply re-state some conclusions drawn that are relative to the subject at hand.

*Jesus built something that He called His ekklesia, which can best be translated in English as assembly, or congregation.

*Jesus built His congregation as a pattern by which He would build all others.

*Jesus' kind of congregation is spoken of as a body, is compared to a human body, is claimed to be a body of Christ, with Him and no other as its head.

*Jesus has given a commission exclusively to His bodies, with the promise of perpetuity.

*A congregation ceases to be Jesus' congregation when He is no longer its head or when it is no longer declaring the true gospel, in word or in picture, regardless of its past virtue or the name over its door.

In following these conclusions, we are immediately led to the fact that when one of Jesus' congregations compromises the truth of the gospel in its preaching, either verbally, or in its practice or typology, regardless of man's opinion or designation, that congregation forfeits its status as one of Jesus' congregations, as well as its authority to administer a baptism that is acceptable to God. Now, this brings it down to the point that we begin to feel uncomfortable, and many will say that that is drawing the line too close, but what does God say? Has God passed some ammendments to His Word, or is the Bible still to be our final authority for all faith and practice?

When a congregation receives a person as a member, whose baptism was administered by another congregation, organization, or individual, that congregation is declaring that that baptism in its entirety (administrator, mode, candidate, authority, and design and purpose) is acceptable. When they declare that it is acceptable, and it is not, they are declaring a lie. People often take offense at the "L" word, but it is a Bible word. The receiving and approving congregation is declaring that the "picture preaching" of the administrator is acceptable, and in doing so, declaring that they are alike, that they are fellows, that one is as good as the other in that respect. Any congregation knowingly, without repentence and rectification of the matter, making such a false declaration, CANNOT be Jesus' kind of congregation, though they may have been yesterday.

The same conclusion must be drawn concerning pulpit affiliation. When a congregation knowingly and willfully places someone in their pulpit who, by their affiliation with some denomination, professes belief in, or allowance for, a salvation that is not wholly of grace (obtained by praying through, holding on, holding out, baptism, membership, sacraments, easy believism, or any other works of man), that congregation is showing approval of the same and is partaker of the evil deeds. To be consistent, I believe we must say the same for those who "minister in song." The same reasoning must be applied in the sending and supporting of missionaries. Participation and dabbling in such practices must be considered as spiritual adultery, just as the idolatry of the Israelites. Any carelessness, compromise, and indiscretion in those regards should be considered as conduct unbecoming of any engaged to be the bride of Christ.

Whenever those practices surface within a body, where there still exists a congregation of true disciples who are committed to going "fully after the LORD," there will be a reaction. The true disciples will rebuke and try to counsel and correct those in error. If the counsel is accepted, repentance and rectification will take place. If the admonition is not accepted, those in error are to be rejected (Titus 3:10, Romans 16:17, and II Timothy 3:5). If the true disciples find themselves the minority, and their admonition rejected, they must "come out from among them," and be separate (II Corinthians 6:17), and the Head, and the authority will go with them. That is what happened to the Novations, Donatists, and others, in the third century. Their refusal to accept the defective baptism of those in error resulted in the label of Anabaptist, which has been given the Lord's congregations all the way into the nineteenth century.

Study Revelation 2:1-7, with the interpretation given in Revelation 1:20. In those verses, Jesus dictated a letter addressed to the pastor of the congregation at Ephesus. In that letter, Jesus made the accusation that, "thou hast left thy first love." The first love of any person that has been saved by the grace of God should be a love for God and all that He is. I John 4:19 says, "We love him, because he first loved us." We can not really love the real Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God, without a jealous and fervent love for truth. In John 14:6, Jesus declared that He, Himself, is the truth. The love for truth, especially in regard to salvation and the gospel, will be directly proportional to our love for God. The plea and advice given to that pastor was, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works" (preach and uphold all the truth). The consequence of not doing so was that Jesus would remove His congregation from that place, "quickly," and we can be sure that Jesus, and its authority, went with it.

Just the fact someone calls something "the gospel" does not make it the true gospel. Just the fact that someone calls something "baptism" does not make it acceptable to God. Just the fact that someone calls something "a church" does not make it the Lord's.

So, what happens when a true congregation of Jesus' shows its approval of the preaching or the baptism of something that claims to be the same, uses the same name, and claims to be of like faith and order, but are known to be guilty of the errors discussed above? I believe the answer is obvious. Irregular congregations are not to be given approval or recognition by Jesus' congregations. We are to "mark" them, and "avoid" them. The scriptural reaction is:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

(Romans 16:17-18)

Before going this far with the subject, someone will usually say, "Perhaps you have not considered all the implications of this." I have. I have seriously considered the implications (and there are many) of this stand for the past fifteen years, and have made an intense study of the subject for five years. We had better be concerned with the implications of rejecting and disobeying an unchanging God's instructions in such an important matter! What will be God's reaction to those who are willing to advance a false gospel? "The pillar and ground of the truth" (I Timothy 3:15) must uphold the truth. We must take side with God, even if it causes the sky to fall on the front steps, and causes the creek to run backward.

Truth cannot be altered. Our fear of implications or disregard for reality does not change the truth. It appears that these doctrines are often shunned or rejected out of fear that one's own baptism will be proven irregular. If such information were to ever be made manifest that would indicate that my baptism is improper, I pray that God will grant me the soundness of mind to get it done right and to not worry about implications.

Congregations finding their garments dirtied by their affairs with false religion and false doctrine must "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works." For disciples finding themselves in unrepentant company, it is high time to "come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. . . ."

Many have assumed that Jesus has given His congregations all power in heaven and in earth, but He has not. Jesus declared, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," but He has never transferred or assigned all power to anyone or anything. He has given much power to His kind of congregation, but He is still the head. Jesus certainly has not authorized His congregations, or anyone else, to disobey, or to change the rules as we go. As already seen, Jesus not only gave His congregations the exclusive authority to teach and to baptize, but has commissioned them to. They are, of course, by design, authorized to do such things as purchase and own buildings and property, use electricity, choose furniture, have a bank account, and other things of expediency, but never to disobey, or to teach false doctrine. Jesus' congregations have the authority to bind only in accordance with what has been bound in heaven. They have the authority to loose only in accordance with what has been loosed in heaven. Our binding and loosing must be confined to the limits predetermined by God in heaven (Matthew 16:19, 18:18).

Many, many congregations and pastors have been seduced into apostasy by peer pressure, association, pride, and ambition, resulting from participation in various schemes that men have invented for the execution of mission work, training, pension plans, and other programs by boards, or co-operative arrangements rather than adhering to Jesus' method. Jesus authorized His congregations, exclusively, as the only kind of organization authorized to do His work. They are His bodies. Jesus has not given His congregations the authority, nor permission, to delegate, or re-assign that authority to anything other than one of His congregations.

To be consistent with the belief in an unchanging God, with unchanging ways, and an unchanging plan of salvation, we are forced to admit that the qualifications, consequences, and implications of apostasy are the same today as they were when the New Testament was written. God has not issued a "grandfather clause", nor does He make any exceptions just because someone continues to use (abuse) a good name. Those who refuse to have Christ as their head today are just as much in error as those from whom the Novations and Donatists withdrew in the third century.

Since the succession of authority is lost in apostacy, and in consideration of the facts of history, it is conclusive that the only true congregations of Jesus in existence today are found among those known as Baptists, and sadly, we must say, most congregations by that name have also fallen away.

If we use the New Testament as the "measuring stick," the latest date that we could credit the Catholics, either Roman or Greek, with any possibility of having any succession of authority is about the year 251, before they were ever known as catholic, when the irregular and apostate congregations, being rebuked for their errors, refused to repent and submit to Christ as their head and choosing, instead, to do as they pleased. In 313, only sixty-two years later, they openly acknowledged Constantine as their head rather than Christ.

None of the Protestant denominations existed until the sixteenth century, with whatever authority they may claim coming from the Roman Catholics who had no authority from God, and possessing a "baptism" that was no baptism.

The Lutheran Church was started in 1520 by Martin Luther, with Roman Catholic "baptism." The Episcopal, or Church of England, was started in 1534 by King Henry VIII, with Roman Catholic "baptism." The Presbyterian Church was started two years later, in 1536, by John Calvin, also with Roman Catholic "baptism." The Reformed Churches originated late in the sixteenth centuy, being, as the name would suggest, a product of the Reformation, with a "baptism" received from the Roman Catholics or Presbyterians. Congregationalism was started in 1580 or 1581, by Robert Browne, in Norwich, England, with Church of England "baptism." The Methodist Church was started sometime around 1740, by John and Charles Wesley, with Church of England "baptism."

It was noticed earlier, the presence of those who were called General Baptists, in England, who were of Arminian persuasion, and the earlier appearance of some in Virginia, but, as David Benedict wrote, in 1813, on pages 410 and 411, volume II, of A General History of the Baptist Denomination:

. . . there has always been some churches and many individuals, who have objected to some of the strong points of Calvinism, or adopted them with some peculiar modifications; but no very considerable party of this character arose, until a little more than thirty years ago, when one was founded by Elder Benjamin Randal, of New Durham, New-Hampshire. This Elder Randal, as his biographer observes, was led, about 1780, "to object against the whole doctrine of John Calvin, with respect to eternal, particular, personal, unconditional election and reprobation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A number soon fell in with his views, broke off from the Calvinistick churches in New-Hampshire and the District of Maine, and from a small beginning they have arisen to a large community, which is scattered in different parts of Maine, New-Hampshire, Vermont, New-York, the Canadas, and in some other places.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This party was as strenuous for believers' baptism as before; they were, like all new sects, very sanguine in their new discoveries, and from a distinguished article in their doctrinal system, they were denominated Free-will Baptists.

They, in teaching that salvation is obtained or lost as much or more by man's will and works, reject the salvation taught by Jesus and the apostles, and thereby teach a "gospel" that is no gospel, and administer a "baptism" that is no baptism.

The Christian Church, or Disciples of Christ, was started in the early 1800's by the work of Alexander Campbell. World Book Encyclopedia (1985) says, with a note that the article was "Critically reviewed by the Disciples of Christ," that:

Disciples of Christ is a Protestant denomination that developed in the United States during the early 1800's. Its full name is the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Its founders included three men of Presbyterian background--Thomas Campbell and his son Alexander in Pennsylvania and Barton W. Stone in Kentucky. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thomas and Alexander Campbell were Presbyterians who came from Scotland, to Pennsylvania, and, adopting immersion as the only proper mode of baptism, sought and recieved a supposed Baptist baptism. In 1823, Alexander Campbell began the monthly publication of The Christian Baptist by which he sowed much discord and false doctrine, especially throughout Pennsylvania and Kentucky. On pages 609 and 610 of A History of Kentucky Baptists, volume I, J.H. Spencer says:

Up to August, 1829, Mr. Campbell was a member of a society, recognized as a Baptist church. This church was a member of Mahoning Baptist Association. Mr. Campbell's influence was so great, both in the church of which he was a member, and the small association to which it belonged, that, notwithstanding his known and publicly avowed heterodoxy, neither had he been disciplined by his church for heresy, nor his church by its association for retaining him as a member. The Baptist denomination was therefore, held responsible for his teaching. The Baptists, generally, were becoming very restless under this exceedingly odious responsibility, while his disciples were daily multiplying in the Baptist churches, and becoming more bold and confident in proclaiming his heresies,under the pseudonym of the "ancient gospel."

In August, 1829, Beaver Association, a small Baptist fraternity in Pennsylvania, met at Providence meeting-house, near Pittsburg, and, after discussing the subject of Mr. Campbell's teaching, resolved to withdraw fellowship from Mahoning Association, on account of its maintaining, or countenancing, the following sentiments, or creed:

1. They maintain that there is no promise of salvation without baptism.

2. That baptism should be administered to all who say that Jesus Christ is the son of God, without examination on any other point.

3. That there is no direct operation of the Holy Spirit, on the mind, prior to baptism.

4. That baptism produces the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

5. That the Scriptures are the only evidence of interest in Christ.

6. That obedience places it in God's power to elect to salvation.

7. That no creed is necessary for the church but the Scriptures as they stand.

8. That all baptized persons have a right to administer the ordinance of baptism.

This is believed to have been the first official declaration of nonfellowship for Mr. Campbell and his followers. The other associations corresponding with Mahoning, withdrew fellowship from it, during the same, and the following month.

The following pages of Spencer's History relate the like action taken by congregations and associations throughout Virginia and Kentucky, where the Campbellite heresy had infiltrated some of the Baptist congregations in their areas. Although Campbell and his disciples practiced the proper mode (immersion only), and some of the congregations might have once had authority, in teaching and practicing the immersion for obtaining salvation, they rejected Jesus' salvation by grace through faith alone, and in so doing, rejected His authority as well. In immersing a person thinking himself to be a lost sinner until the act was completed, they were immersing an improper candidate. They were and are, therefore, immersing an improper candidate for an improper purpose with improper authority.

At about the same time,  the "Hard-Shell Baptists" were started in much the same way as the Campbellites by the work of Daniel Parker. Not only is being "missionary" an integral and inseparable part of the commission given by Jesus to His congregations in Matthew 28:19-20, mission activity is seen to have been practiced in every age by His true congregations. Spencer, speaking of the Baptists in Kentucky in regard to this subject and period of time, on page 581, volume I, says that in 1820, "The spirit of missions had been greatly revived and the churches were contributing more liberally to Foreign Missions than those of any other portion of the United states." In 1820, and again in 1824, Daniel Parker published a 38 page Pamphlet titled, "A Public Address to the Baptist Society," in opposition to the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. Two years later, about 1826, Parker published a pamphlet on his "Doctrine of the Two-Seeds," and in 1829, he began a monthly publication called The Church Advocate, devoted to the opposition of missions. [Spencer, pages 576-578, volume I.] The spread of Parker's propaganda resulted in the splitting of some congregations and associations, about the year 1832, with the seceders adopting the Anti-mission, Two-seedism, and Non-resurrectionism doctrines of Parker. In The Baptist Succession, D.B. Ray says, on page 94, that:

In Tennessee the separation occurred later. Dr. John M. Watson, says: "After our painful separation from the Missionaries in 1836, a number of churches, in the bounds of the Old Concord Association, met together and formed the Stone River Association. We had then, as was generally supposed, a strong and happy union; but, alas! there was an element of heresy incorporated in that body as bad, if not worse, than that from which we had just withdrawn." [Old Baptist Test.,p.36, By Dr. John M. Watson,

They, in departing from the "one faith,"departed from the "one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5) as well.

The Mormon Church was founded by Joseph Smith in Fayette, New York, on April 6, 1830. In 1834, after two name changes, they settled on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [Mormonism by Kurt Van Gorden, page 11] They believe that God continues to reveal and inspire new truths having equal authority with, and even superseding or amending the Bible and previous revelations. They believe and teach that the atonement of Jesus Christ alone is not sufficient for salvation, but must be obtained by works of man. Page 670 of Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie says:

Full salvation is attained by virtue of knowledge, truth, righteousness, and all true principles. Many conditions must exist in order to make such salvation available to men. Without continuous revelation, the ministering of angels, the working of miracles, the prevalence of gifts of the spirit, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

That must be a different "Jesus Christ" than the one who said:

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.   (John 14:6)

In 1863, the Seventh-day Adventists were organized by followers of William Miller, a so-called "Baptist minister," who had predicted that the second coming of Christ would occurr in the spring of the year 1844. [The World Book Encyclopedia. "Critically reviewed by the Seventh-day Adventists"] Regardless of the background of William Miller, or any of his followers, they, in believing and teaching of man's works for the obtaining of salvation, rather than works as a result of salvation, teach another "gospel" which is no gospel.

The Pentecostal and Holiness denominations have originated in the present century, within the lifetime and memory of persons still living. As The World Book Encyclopedia (1985) says:

Pentecostal churches trace their origins to revivals of tongue-speaking that occurred at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kans., in 1901, and at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles in 1906. Similar revivals also took place in Great Britain and in Europe, Asia, and Latin America during the early 1900's. Since the 1930's, the Pentecostal denominations have grown rapidly. The Pentecostals are sometimes called Christianity's "Third Force," alongside Roman Catholicism and traditional Protestantism.

Also, The World Book Encyclopedia, in an article titled "Assemblies of God," which it says was "Critically reviewed by the Assemblies of God," says:

Assemblies of God is the largest Pentecostal religious denomination in the world. The church developed from a revival movement in the early 1900's and was organized in Hot Springs, Ark., in 1914.

Of "Churches of God," The World Book Encyclopedia says:

Churches of God consist of about 15 religious groups in the United States that use the same name--Church of God--but differ in faith and practice. Most of these groups trace their origins to the Pentecostal, Holiness, or Adventist movements.

And, The World Book Encyclopedia says, of "The Church of God in Christ," that it:

. . . is a Christian denomination that bases its faith on the doctrines of the apostles as recieved on Pentecost (Acts 2:4). Bishop C.H. Mason and others founded the church in 1895. They began preaching that there could be no salvation without holiness. The Baptist Church expelled them because of this teaching. Members believe that the church name was revealed to the bishop in 1897 from a reference in I Thessalonians 2:14. In 1907, a church meeting in Memphis, Tenn., formed the First General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ.

Notice that although they profess and teach some sort of belief in Jesus as the Son of God and Saviour, each of these denominations adds some kind of works for the obtaining of salvation. That makes their faith a different faith. Things cannot be different and still be the same. Ephesians 4:5 teaches that there is but "one faith" that is acceptable to the "One God and Father of all" (v.6), and only "one baptism" that can declare that faith in a manner that God will approve. That "one faith" and "one baptism" are the only ones we should approve of, also. I am not saying that there are none saved that are affiliated with one of those denominations. The contention is that if they are saved, they are not declaring it properly. They are not giving God all the glory, and by that improper declaration, people are being misled about a matter of eternal life or death. Certainly, those who believe what they claim, that their faith is not in Jesus alone, but in Jesus plus their own works, or the works or merit of their "church," or any other formula, do not possess a saving faith. I realize that the making of such a statement will procure much hatred, but I would rather be hated for just a little while for telling the truth, than to be hated for eternity for concealing the truth.

I wish that this narrative of departure from the faith could be concluded here, but it cannot. Although the Lord's true congregations have for many years been found among those called Baptists, the present situation is that most have departed rather than to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). Observation and investigation will show that many congregations who still hang on to the name of Baptist are filled with teachers, deacons, and even pastors who will concede that "we are all (denominations) pretty much alike, and have only minor differences." Many insist that, "The Baptists started with John Smyth, in the seventeenth century." Most have accepted a "universal church" theory, and many insist that one immersion is as good as another. Many will agree that some other congregation of the same name teaches false doctrine, or "don't know what they believe," but are eager to recognize their baptism. Most will accept the baptism of anything called a "Baptist church," even though it recognizes and accepts the baptisms administered by other denominations. Many send all their mission money to unscriptural and ungodly missionaries, schools, and programs which they have no control of. Many praise and glorify their adulterous and scandelous members, instead of disciplining them. Many show no reservation or hesitation about inviting someone from another denomination to fill their pulpit. If the Bible means anything at all, if it is worth the paper it is written on, that is not Jesus' kind of ekklesia. We can see in the New Testament that Jesus' congregations can sometimes be terribly in error about some things, and ignorant about some things, and still be His; but when God's simple plan of salvation gets changed, it becomes the congregation of someone else.

The authority to baptize must come from God. God gave John the Baptist the authority to baptize. God could have given direct authority, if He wanted to, to Philip to baptize the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, (we can certainly see that He made all the other arrangements for the occasion), but I believe that Philip had been granted the authority by the congregation of which he was a servant and member, to conduct such a matter in that manner. The same can be said about Ananias, who baptized Paul. Acts 9:17-18 says:

And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

But, I believe that in this case, also, the most probable is that Ananias was pastor of Jesus' congregation at Damascus, and had been granted the authority by that congregation to baptize those he thought to be proper candidates. As has already been shown, Jesus gave His kind of congregation the authority to teach and baptize. If the Bible is to be our final authority for all faith and practice, we must reject any and all revelation or authority claimed to have been received contradictory to the Bible, or since it was written. The fact that obedience in following our Lord in proper baptism is basic and elementary to any further following or walk with Him insists that only properly baptized persons can properly be a member of one of Jesus' congregations. If a congregation must consist of saved and properly baptized persons joined together and teaching the true gospel in order to qualify as one of Jesus' congregations, then any congregation that is made out of persons who obtained their "baptism" from an improper source cannot be one of Jesus' congregations, no matter how saved they may be, nor how sound their teachings are otherwise. And, a true congregation can never evolve from it. That is a conclusive fact, and no quantity of time or variety of circumstance and opinion can change it.

It is important that the doctrine of baptismal succession be taught. The consequence of neglect is disaster. A doctrine that is neglected by one generation will be abandoned, ridiculed, and rejected by the next. The result will be a congregation that is highly susceptible to the ever intensifying efforts of counterfeit Christianity to seduce and defile them. Where Baptist succession is not taught and defended, alien immersion is likely to soon be accepted. Someone may say, "As long as I'm there, it will not." That brings up a good point. You may not be, and if you are, you may be so much in a minority that it will be the occasion of your departure. Baptist succession must be taught, not just on Wednesday night, not just to a fourth of the congregation, not just to the older folks, and not just once in fifteen or twenty years.

Notice that each of the Protestant denominations (Jesus' congregations are not Protestant) have held on to "something old" from the Roman Catholics, some sort of works for salvation. All, except Jesus' congregations that have earnestly contended for the faith once delivered to the saints, have invented "something new" that is contradictory to God's Word. Most, even many that I believe are still Jesus' congregations (if they will repent and turn from their error), have "something borrowed" from the Roman Catholics, and that is the "Christian" holidays that were adopted from paganism, and change the truth of God into a lie. It seems that there are a blue million gimmicks, plans, programs, methods, and devices that have come along to distract congregations from doing "the first works" (Revelation 2:5). There is much talk these days about the bride of Christ. The bride of Christ will not be dressed in "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue"!

All "guests" (Matthew 22:11-13) will be required to have on a "wedding garment" which is the imputed righteousness of God (Romans 4:6). No one will be present except those whom God has clothed with the work of Christ. All efforts of our own to cloth ourselves will be worthless, as far as gaining admittance into heaven and attending the wedding. But, notice in Revelation 19:7-8, that, the bride of Christ will not only be clothed in the righteousness of God, but will have additional clothing, also. It is seen in verse 7, that, the Lamb's wife will have "made herself ready." Not only will the bride be clothed in the righteousness of God, but it is seen in verse 8 that she will "be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white," which "is the righteousness of saints." If we look at the "Textus Receptus" (the original Greek), or in Strong's Concordance, it is seen that the word translated, "righteousness" in Revelation 19:8 to describe "the righteousness of saints" is different to the Greek word translated, "righteousness" to describe "the righteousness which is by faith," as in Hebrews 11:7. The Greek word in Revelation 19:8 is dikaioma (Strong's # 1345), which Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines:

1. that which has been deemed right so as to have the force of law; a. what has been established and ordained by law, an ordinance. . . .

The Greek word in Hebrews 11:7 is dikaiosune (Strong's # 1343), which Thayer's Lexicon defines:

1. in the broad sense, the state of him who is such as he ought to be, righteousness (Germ. Rechtbeschaffenheit); the condition acceptable to God. . . .

Berry's Interlinear Greek-English New Testament translates the word in Revelation 19:8 as "righteousnesses" (plural). The bride of Christ will be made up of persons who not only have been saved by God's grace, but have also, by God's grace, gone "fully after the LORD," no matter what the cost.

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In 1554, Cardinal Hosius, a Catholic, and chairman of the Council of Trent, wrote:

If the truth of religion were to be judged of by the readiness and cheerfulness which a man of any sect shows in suffering, then the opinions and persuasions of no sect can be truer or surer than those of the Anabaptist, since there have been none for these twelve hundred years past that have been more grievously punished.

(My Church by J.B. Moody, p.314)

Cardinal Hosius was admitting that the Anabaptists had existed since at least 354 A.D.

John Clark Ridpath, a Methodist who was Professor of History at DePauw University, and author of the three volume Cyclopaedia of Universal History, A History of the United States, and Ridpath's History of the World wrote, in a letter to W.A. Jarrell, author of Baptist Church Perpetuity or History, that:

I should not readily admit that there was a Baptist church as far back as A.D. 100, though without doubt there were Baptists then, as all Christians were then Baptists.

(Baptist Church Perpetuity or History by W.A. Jarrell, p.59)

In 1819, two men, both members of the Dutch Reformed Church, were appointed by the King of Holland to write a history of the Dutch Reformed Church. They were J.J. Dermout, the Kings chaplain, and A. Ypeij, a professor of theology in Groningen. They wrote History of the Dutch Reformed Church, which, on page 148 of Volume I, says:

. . . the Baptists may be considered as the only Christian community which has stood since the days of the apostles, and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrines of the gospel through all ages.

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