New Book: “To Follow the Lambe Wheresoever He Goeth: The Ecclesial Polity of the English Calvinistic Baptists 1640–1660” by Ian Birch

To Follow the Lambe Wheresoever He Goeth
The Ecclesial Polity of the English Calvinistic Baptists 1640-1660

by Ian Birch

Paperback $24 | Kindle $9.99

About:

This book explores the doctrine of the church among English Calvinistic Baptists between 1640 and 1660. It examines the emergence of Calvinistic Baptists against the background of the demise of the Episcopal Church of England, the establishment by Act of Parliament of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, and the attempted foundation of a Presbyterian Church of England. Ecclesiology was one of the most important doctrines under consideration in this phase of English history, and this book is a contribution to understanding alternative forms of ecclesiology outside of the mainstream National Church settlement.

It argues that the development of Calvinistic Baptist ecclesiology was a natural development of one stream of Puritan theology, the tradition associated with Robert Brown, and the English separatist movement. This tradition was refined and made experimental in the work of Henry Jacob, who founded a congregation in London in 1616 from which Calvinistic Baptists emerged. Central to Jacob’s ideology was the belief that a rightly ordered church acknowledged Christ as King over his people. The christological priority of early Calvinistic Baptist ecclesiology will constitute the primary contribution of this study to the investigation of dissenting theology in the period.

Details:

  • Pages: 248
  • Publication Date: Jan. 2017
  • Publisher: Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled

Author:

Ian Birch is Principal of the Scottish Baptist College where he lectures in Theology and Baptist Studies. He contributed to The Plainly Revealed Word of God? Baptist Hermeneutics in Theory and Practice (2011) and Mirrors and Microscopes (2015). He was winner of the Payne Memorial Essay Prize for “‘The Counsel and Help of One Another’: Origins and Concerns of Early Particular Baptist Churches in Association” in 2012.

[HT: Baptist History & Thought]

The Appendix to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith [1677/1689]

1689

Dr. James Renihan

Dr. James Renihan @ Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies writes:

When the Second London Confession was published in 1677 (2 editions in 1677) and again in 1688, it included an Appendix seeking to provide further reasons why the Baptists considered it important to form their own churches based on the practice of believer’s baptism. They had been stung by criticism implying that such actions were divisive; that they should have been content to remain in the paedobaptist churches. The Appendix was an irenic attempt to express their convictions about baptism in greater detail than the text of the Confession itself would allow. We publish this appendix here; the only changes we have made are to modernize most of the spelling to conform to contemporary (American!) English standards.

The Baptists address 4 points: (1) ‘Sponsor Baptism’; (2) Baptism on the basis of Covenantal relation to parents; (3) The ‘holiness’ of children in 1 Cor. 7:12ff.; and (4) ‘Household baptisms’. Several other matters are briefly mentioned at the end. Their comments are of great interest. One will notice, for example, that they do not reject the possibility that the children of believers may be considered, in some sense, as covenant children.

We hope that ready access to this Appendix will further understanding of our great Confession of Faith.

AN

APPENDIX

Whosoever reads, and impartially considers what we have in our forgoing confession declared, may readily perceive, That we do not only concenter with all other true Christians on the Word of God (revealed in the Scriptures of truth) as the foundation and rule of our faith and worship. But that we have also industriously endeavored to manifest, That in the fundamental Articles of Christianity we mind the same things, and have therefore expressed our belief in the same words, that have on the like occasion been spoken by other societies of Christians before us.

This we have done, That those who are desirous to know the principles of Religion which we hold and practice, may take an estimate from our selves (who jointly concur in this work) and may not be misguided, either by undue reports; or by the ignorance or errors of particular persons, who going under the same name with our selves, may give an occasion of scandalizing the truth we profess.

And although we do differ from our brethren who are Paedobaptists; in the subject and administration of Baptism, and such other circumstances as have a necessary dependence on our observance of that Ordinance, and do frequent our own assemblies for our mutual edification, and discharge of those duties, and services which we owe unto God, and in his fear to each other: yet we would not be from hence misconstrued, as if the discharge of our own consciences herein, did any ways disoblige or alienate our affections, or conversation from any others that fear the Lord; but that we may and do as we have opportunity participate of the labors of those, whom God hath indued with abilities above our selves, and qualified, and called to the Ministry of the Word, earnestly desiring to approve our selves to be such, as follow after peace with holiness, and therefore we always keep that blessed Irenicum, or healing Word of the Apostle before our eyes; if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you; nevertheless whereto we have already attained; let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing, Phil 3. v. 15, 16.

Let it not therefore be judged of us (because much hath been written on this subject, and yet we continue this our practice different from others) that it is out of obstinacy, but rather as the truth is, that we do herein according to the best of our understandings worship God, out of a pure mind yielding obedience to his precept, in that method which we take to be most agreeable to the Scriptures of truth, and primitive practice.

It would not become us to give any such intimation, as should carry a semblance that what we do in the service of God is with a doubting conscience, or with any such temper of mind that we do thus for the present, with a reservation that we will do otherwise hereafter upon more mature deliberation; nor have we any cause so to do, being fully persuaded, that what we do is agreeable to the will of God. Yet we do heartily propose this, that if any of the Servants of our Lord Jesus shall, in the Spirit of meekness, attempt to convince us of any mistake either in judgment or practice, we shall diligently ponder his arguments; and account him our chiefest friend that shall be an instrument to convert us from any error that is in our ways, for we cannot wittingly do any thing against the truth, but all things for the truth.

And therefore we have endeavored seriously to consider, what hath been already offered for our satisfaction in this point; and are loth to say any more lest we should be esteemed desirous of renewed contests thereabout: yet forasmuch as it may justly be expected that we show some reason, why we cannot acquiesce in what hath been urged against us; we shall with as much brevity as may consist with plainness, endeavor to satisfy the expectation of those that shall peruse what we now publish in this matter also.

Read the rest


For more on this check out:

Preface to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith [1677/1689]

1689

Dr. James Renihan

Dr. James Renihan @ Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies writes:

While many who visit our site will be familiar with the Second London Confession (often called the 1689 Confession), usually they have only seen the text of the Confession itself. But when it was first published, it also included a letter to the reader as well as an appendix. Here, we present this Letter. It is our hope that these materials will further the understanding of this wonderful document.

TO THE

Judicious and Impartial

READER

Courteous Reader,

It is now many years since divers of us (with other sober Christians then living and walking in the way of the Lord that we professe) did conceive our selves to be under a necessity of Publishing a Confession of our Faith, for the information, and satisfaction of those, that did not throughly understand what our principles were, or had entertained prejudices against our Profession, by reason of the strange representation of them, by some men of note, who had taken very wrong measures, and accordingly led others into misapprehensions, of us, and them: and this was first put forth about the year, 1643. in the name of seven Congregations then gathered in London; since which time, diverse impressions thereof have been dispersed abroad, and our end proposed, in good measure answered, inasmuch as many (and some of those men eminent, both for piety and learning) were thereby satisfied, that we were no way guilty of those Heterodoxies and fundamental errors, which had too frequently been charged upon us without ground, or occasion given on our part. And forasmuch, as that Confession is not now commonly to be had; and also that many others have since embraced the same truth which is owned therein; it was judged necessary by us to joyn together in giving a testimony to the world; of our firm adhering to those wholesome Principles, by the publication of this which is now in your hand.

And forasmuch as our method, and manner of expressing our sentiments, in this, doth vary from the former (although the substance of the matter is the same) we shall freely impart to you the reason and occasion thereof. One thing that greatly prevailed with us to undertake this work, was (not only to give a full account of our selves, to those Christians that differ from us about the subject of Baptism, but also) the profit that might from thence arise, unto those that have any account of our labors, in their instruction, and establishment in the great truths of the Gospel; in the clear understanding, and steady belief of which, our comfortable walking with God, and fruitfulness before him, in all our ways, is most neerly concerned; and therefore we did conclude it necessary to expresse our selves the more fully, and distinctly; and also to fix on such a method as might be most comprehensive of those things which we designed to explain our sense, and belief of; and finding no defect, in this regard, in that fixed on by the assembly, and after them by those of the Congregational way, we did readily conclude it best to retain the same order in our present confession: and also, when we observed that those last mentioned, did in their confession (for reasons which seemed of weight both to themselves and others) choose not only to express their mind in words concurrent with the former in sense, concerning all those articles wherein they were agreed, but also for the most part without any variation of the terms we did in like manner conclude it best to follow their example in making use of the very same words with them both, in these articles (which are very many) wherein our faith and doctrine is the same with theirs, and this we did, the more abundantly, to manifest our consent with both, in all the fundamental articles of the Christian Religion, as also with many others, whose orthodox confessions have been published to the world; on behalf of the Protestants in divers Nations and Cities: and also to convince all, that we have no itch to clogge Religion with new words, but do readily acquiesce in that form of sound words, which hath been, in consent with the holy Scriptures, used by others before us; hereby declaring before God, Angels, & Men, our hearty agreement with them, in that wholesome Protestant Doctrine, which with so clear evidence of Scriptures they have asserted: some things indeed, are in some places added, some terms omitted, and some few changed, but these alterations are of that nature, as that we need not doubt, any charge or suspition of unsoundness in the faith, from any of our brethren upon the account of them.

In those things wherein we differ from others, we have exprest our selves with all candor and plainness that none might entertain jealousie of ought secretly lodged in our breasts, that we would not the world should be acquainted with; yet we hope we have also observed those rules of modesty, and humility, as will render our freedom in this respect inoffensive, even to those whose sentiments are different from ours.

We have also taken care to affix texts of Scripture, in the margin for the confirmation of each article in our confession; in which work we have studiously indeavoured to select such as are most clear and pertinent, for the proof of what is asserted by us: and our earnest desire is, that all into whose hands this may come, would follow that (never enough commended) example of the noble Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily, that they might find out whether the things preached to them were so or not.

There is one thing more which we sincerely professe, and earnestly desire credence in, viz. That contention is most remote from our design in all that we have done in this matter: and we hope the liberty of an ingenuous unfolding our principles, and opening our hearts unto our Brethren, with the Scripture grounds on which our faith and practise leanes, will by none of them be either denyed to us, or taken ill from us. Our whole design is accomplished, if we may obtain that Justice, as to be measured in our principles, and practise, and the judgement of both by others, according to what we have now published; which  the Lord (whose eyes are as a flame of fire) knoweth to be the doctrine, which with our hearts we must firmly believe, and sincerely indeavour to conform our lives to. And oh that other contentions being laid asleep, the only care and contention of all upon whom the name of our blessed Redeemer is called, might for the future be, to walk humbly with their God, and in the exercise of all Love and Meekness towards each other, to perfect holyness in the fear of the Lord, each one endeavouring to have his conversation such as becometh the Gospel; and also suitable to his place and capacity vigorously to promote in others the practice of true Religion and undefiled in the sight of God and our Father. And that in this backsliding day, we might not spend our breath in fruitless complaints of the evils of others; but may every one begin at home, to reform in the first place our own hearts, and wayes; and then to quicken all that we may have influence upon, to the same work; that if the will of God were so, none might deceive themselves, by resting in, and trusting to, a form of Godliness, without the power of it, and inward experience of the efficacy of those truths that are professed by them.

And verily there is one spring and cause of the decay of Religion in our day, which we cannot but touch upon, and earnestly urge a redresse of; and that is the neglect of the worship of God in Families, by those to whom the charge and conduct of them is committed. May not the grosse ignorance, and instability of many; with the prophaneness of others, be justly charged upon their Parents and Masters; who have not trained them up in the way wherein they ought to walk when they were young? but have neglected those frequent and solemn commands which the Lord hath laid upon them so to catechize, and instruct them, that their tender years might be seasoned with the knowledge of the truth of God as revealed in the Scriptures; and also by their own omission of Prayer, and other duties of Religion in their families, together with the ill example of their loose conversation, have inured them first to a neglect, and then contempt of all Piety and Religion? we know this will not excuse the blindness, or wickedness of any; but certainly it will fall heavy upon those that have thus been the occasion thereof; they indeed dye in their sins; but will not their blood be required of those under whose care they were, who yet permitted them to go on without warning, yea led them into the paths of destruction? and will not the diligence of Christians with respect to the discharge of these duties, in ages past, rise up in judgment against, and condemn many of those who would be esteemed such now?

We shall conclude with our earnest prayer, that the God of all grace, will pour out those measures of his holy Spirit upon us, that the profession of truth may be accompanyed with the sound belief, and diligent practise of it by us; that his name may in all things be glorified, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.


For more on this check out The Purpose of the 1689 London Confession of Faith [James Brown Jr.’s 3-part Audio Podcast]To The Judicious & Impartial Reader: Charity & Clarity [Reformed Baptista]

AUDIO from the 2016 SB Founders Conf SW “Baptist History” now online feat. Robert Oliver, J. Renihan, Hendrickx, Montgomery, Downs

sbfc sw

AUDIO:

Alt Links:

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016:

1 – DevotionJarrett Downs | 26 min

2 – FoundationsRobert Oliver| 56 min

3 – SBC Origin |Dave Hendrickx | 66 min

4 – English Baptist Bio | Robert Oliver | 47 min

Friday, Sept. 23, 2016:

5 – Benjamin BeddomeJason Montgomery | 66 min

6 – English Particular Baptists | Robert Oliver | 57 min

7 – Questions & Answers | Robert Oliver | 70 min

8 – Trouble in PhiladelphiaJames M. Renihan | 52 min

9 – American Baptist BioRobert Oliver | 52 min

Radio interview w/ Michael Haykin on “The Baptist Story: From English Sect to Global Movement” [Iron Sharpens Iron]

IronSharpens

From a recently posted Iron Sharpens Iron Radio from July 5, 2016 with Chris Arnzen:

michael haykinDR. MICHAEL HAYKIN,
Professor of Church History & Biblical Spirituality (2008),
Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies at
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
& author of
Baptist Story BookTHE BAPTIST STORY: From English Sect to Global Movement

2 hour audio [mp3]:

Now on Kindle $4.99: “Faith and Life for Baptists: The Documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694” [RBAP]

Faith and Life Cover

Faith and Life for Baptists:
The Documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694

Edited by James M. Renihan

$4.99

Description:

The documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694, are contained in this book. Each General Assembly published a Narrative of its acts, and several supporting documents were also released. The 1677Confession of Faith (2LCF) was promoted, a defense of the necessity of financial support for pastors printed, a Catechism authorized, and other subordinate but important papers ordered. All of these documents are incorporated here, so far as the editor knows, some of them for the first time in print since the seventeenth century.

Details:

Print Length: 462 pages
Publisher: Reformed Baptist Academic Press
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Lending: Enabled

Foreword by Larry K. Kreitzer.

Endorsements by Crawford Gribben, Tom Nettles, Michael Haykin, Robert Oliver, Sam Waldron, Jonathan Arnold, Barry Howson, and Steve Weaver.

New Book: “Faith and Life for Baptists: The Documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694” [RBAP]

Faith and Life Cover

Faith and Life for Baptists:
The Documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694

Edited by James M. Renihan

Description:

The documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694, are contained in this book. Each General Assembly published aNarrative of its acts, and several supporting documents were also released. The 1677Confession of Faith (2LCF) was promoted, a defense of the necessity of financial support for pastors printed, a Catechism authorized, and other subordinate but important papers ordered. All of these documents are incorporated here, so far as the editor knows, some of them for the first time in print since the seventeenth century.

Details:

462 pages
Published 2016 {Reformed Baptist Academic Press]

Foreword by Larry K. Kreitzer.

Endorsements by Crawford Gribben, Tom Nettles, Michael Haykin, Robert Oliver, Sam Waldron, Jonathan Arnold, Barry Howson, and Steve Weaver.

ARBCA 2016 General Assembly audio now online. Feat. Miller, J. Renihan, D. Lindblad, Crosby, Hodgins, Slate, Waters

arbca gaAudio from the 2016 Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA) General Assembly [which took place on April 26-28, 2016 at Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Rockford, Illinois] , is now online:

Devotional John 17:1-5 | Thomas Waters [mp3]:

Redemption Accomplished | Pastor Jerry Slate [mp3]:

A Defense of Confessionalism | Arden Hodgins [mp3]:

A Tale of Two Associations Revisited | James M. Renihan [mp3]:

Devotional John 17:6-19 | Rob Cosby [mp3]:

Propitiation Accomplished | Don Lindblad [mp3]:

Associational Churchmanship: LBC 26:12-15 | James M. Renihan [mp3]:

Devotional John 17:20-26 | John Miller [mp3]:

New Book: “The Baptist Story: From English Sect to Global Movement” by Haykin + more [B&H Academic]

This book that we got word about back in Dec. 2014 is now out:

TheBaptistStory_CVR

The Baptist Story
From English Sect to Global Movement

by Anthony L. Chute, Nathan A. Finn, Michael A. G. Haykin

[ $37.48 | £37.63 ]

Description:

The Baptist Story is a narrative history spanning over four centuries of a diverse group of people living among distinct cultures on separate continents while finding their identity in Christ and expressing their faith as Baptists. Baptist historians Anthony Chute, Nathan Finn, and Michael Haykin highlight the Baptist transition from a despised sect to a movement of global influence. Each chapter includes stories of people who made this history so fascinating. Although the emphasis is on the English-speaking world, The Baptist Story integrates stories of non-English-speaking Baptists, ethnic minorities, women, and minority theological traditions, all within the context of historic, orthodox Christianity.

This volume provides more than just the essential events and necessary names to convey the grand history. It also addresses questions that students of Baptist history frequently ask, includes prayers and hymns of those who experienced hope and heartbreak, and directs the reader’s attention to the mission of the church as a whole. Written with an irenic tone and illustrated with photographs in every chapter, The Baptist Story is ideally suited for graduate and undergraduate courses, as well as group study in the local church.

Details:

Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: B&H Academic (August 15, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches

Media:

B&H Academic Blog:

In the video interview below recorded at the 2014 Annual ETS Conference in San Diego, CA, authors Anthony L. Chute, Nathan A. Finn and Michael A. G. Haykin discuss their recently released volume, The Baptist Story: From English Sect to Global Movement.

6 min.  vid.:

Download a sample chapter here [46 page pdf]:

Download (PDF, 2.51MB)

Read an excerpt of The Baptist Story here.

Michael Haykin wrote the chapters on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Baptists, Anthony Chute authored the section on nineteenth-century Baptists, and Nathan Finn concluded with the twentieth century and beyond.

Reformed Baptist Piety [Dr. Michael Haykin | RBS | 3 VIDEOS]

Reformed Baptist Seminary:

HaykinReformed Baptist Seminary asked Dr. Michael Haykin to deliver three lectures on the practical piety exemplified in the teaching and practice of early English Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries. In the first lecture, Dr. Haykin demonstrates how the 17th and 18th century Calvinist Baptists stressed the importance of the “means of grace” for promoting spiritual growth in the church.

65 min. vid. The Means of Grace in English Baptist Piety, 1660s – 1810s:

Baptist theologian Andrew Fuller’s teaching on the spirituality of baptism is the topic of lecture two.

33 min. vid. “A Garden Enclosed”: The Spirituality of Baptism in Andrew Fuller:

Finally, Dr. Haykin focuses on the life and ministry of Samuel Pearce, a contemporary and friend of William Carey and Andrew Fuller.

51 min. vid. “A Mind Wholly Given to God”: The Piety of Samuel Pearce:

These lectures constitute part of the curriculum for RBS’s course PT 501 Call & Cultivation. If you’d like to audit the lectures of the entire course, click here.

 

New Book: “Orthodox, Puritan, Baptist: Hercules Collins (1647-1702) & Particular Baptist Identity in Early Modern England” by Steve Weaver [V&R]

Weaver Collins Book

Orthodox, Puritan, Baptist
Hercules Collins (1647–1702) and Particular Baptist Identity in Early Modern England

by G. Stephen Weaver, Jr.

[V&R: Hardcover 69,99 €  | PDF eBook 59,99 € | AMZ: $88 (currently showing out of stock)]

Description:

Steve Weaver
Author Steve Weaver

The life and writings of Hercules Collins provide a window into understanding how seventeenth-century Baptists viewed themselves in relationship to historic Christianity and Puritan orthodoxy: Collins was not only a respected member of the Particular Baptist community, but was also a faithful representative of that community. G. Stephen Weaver Jr.’s examination of Collins’ commitment to historic Christianity and Protestant orthodoxy serves as an opportunity to understand better the doctrinal commitments of seventeenth-century English Particular Baptists.

Table of Contents & Foreword by Crawford Gribben [10-page PDF]:

Download (PDF, 84KB)

Details:

Hardcover: 238 pages
Publisher: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co KG


Related Resources:

We previously interviewed Pastor Steve Weaver on Hercules Collins’ life and his “An Orthodox Catechism”:
PodcastPromo28PodcastPromo Steve Weaver Hercules Collins An Orthodox Catechism


See all post related to Hercules Collins:
Hercules Collins

 

Aug. 18-28, 2015 “Baptist Symbolics” [IRBS class] feat. James Renihan in Escondido, CA

Symbolics-Flyer-2015

[source: The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies]

Baptist Symbolics? Here is the description of the class from the 2013 class notice:

Baptist Symbolics Header 1689Baptist Symbolics is a study of the importance of confessions of faith in Baptist life. It begins with some historical material, considers various views of confessional subscription, and then focuses on the First London Confession of 1644/46 and the Second London Confession of 1677/89. We will expound both of these Confessions in detail.

 

“John Owen, baptism & the Baptists” by Crawford Gribben [46 min. video & audio]

This past Friday (March 20, 2015) Dr. Crawford Gribben (Professor of Early Modern British History at Queen’s University Belfast) was the guest lecturer at the Strict Baptist Historical Society Annual Lecture which took place in Kensington Place, London. His lecture was titled, “John Owen, baptism & the Baptists”.

Gribben
Dr. Crawford Gribben giving the lecture

Pastor Gary Brady, who attended, provided a summary:

…Gribben is a John Owen expert, well read in the great man’s works and his careful, erudite paper was something of an encouragement to Baptists, given how highly respected the Congregationalist theologian is. The basic idea was that Owen generally avoided the baptism question and especially so as he matured and actually met Baptists such as Henry Jessey. He appears to have moved from an advocacy of baptismal regeneration to a more middle of the road infant Baptist position. A posthumous work that appears to look at the subject is probably spurious. Sadly, Dr Gribben was unable to cast any light on the relationship between Owen and Bunyan…

You may watch the 46 minute video (with PowerPoint) below:

Update March, 25, 2015: Audio now available via 1689Federalism [mp3]:

What is the Relationship of Anabaptists to Baptists? [Ask A Reformed Baptist]

Drowning of [Anabaptist] Maria von Monjou, 1552.
Drowning of [Anabaptist] Maria von Monjou, 1552.
A common question that comes up is, “What is the relationship of Anabaptists to Baptists?”

Paedobaptists will tell you Baptists are Anabaptists. and it doesn’t help  that some Arminian Dispensational (SBC) Baptists will trace their roots to Anabaptists.

On a surface-level view it would be easy to think they are one and the same – but a simple look at history and doctrine reveals otherwise.

Phil Johnson
Phil Johnson

From Phil Johnson’s, “The Anabaptists“:

Many Anabaptist ideas made invaluable contributions to the Reformation. For example, these five tenets might be identified as Anabaptist distinctives:

Sola Scriptura—Anabaptists were sometimes more consistent than the Magisterial Reformers in their insistence on biblical authority for certain practices in matters of church polity and worship.

Separation of Church and State—Anabaptists correctly saw the church as the assembly of the redeemed, antithetical to the world and sometimes antagonistic to society as a whole. For this reason they advocated separation of church and state.

Freedom of Conscience—because of the Anabaptists’ convictions about the role of the secular state, they believed that the ultimate remedy for heresy was excommunication. They steadfastly opposed the persecution that was so characteristic of their age. They denied that the state had a right to punish or execute anyone for religious beliefs or teachings. This was a revolutionary notion in the Reformation era.

Believers’ Baptism—The anabaptists were the among the first to point out the lack of explicit biblical support for infant baptism. Most of them made no issue of the mode of baptism, and practiced affusion (sprinkling), however, so they were not true baptists in the modern sense of the word.

Holiness of Life—Anabaptists gave much emphasis to spiritual experience, practical righteousness, and obedience to divine standards. They had no tolerance for those who claimed to be justified by faith while living unfaithful lives. Anabaptists pointed out that Scripture says, “Faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:20).

On most of those points we would strongly agree with the Anabaptists’ thrust (though not necessarily with the extreme conclusions they sometimes came to).

Nevertheless, there is very good reason to approach the Anabaptist movement with a healthy dose of caution. While acknowledging our very real debt to the Anabaptists on the matters enumerated above, we must also recognize an unhealthy tendency in Anabaptist doctrine: Anabaptists rejected the Reformed understanding of justification by faith alone. They denied the forensic nature of justification and insisted that the only ground on which sinners can be acceptable to God is a “real” righteousness wrought within the justified person.

For further reading on Anabaptist theology see the recommended resources (links) on Phil Johnson’s site.

Also at Phil Johnson’s Spurgeon.org is Chris Traffanstedt’s piece, “A Primer on Baptist History: The True Baptist Trail“:

Burning of [Anabaptist] Anneken Hendriks, Amsterdam, 1571.
Burning of [Anabaptist] Anneken Hendriks, Amsterdam, 1571.
Anabaptist Influence

Most Baptists are fooled into thinking that we come from the Anabaptists just because the word “baptist” is found in their name. But we must use great caution here. We must explore who the Anabaptists really were and ask the all-important question: Are they truly representative of Baptist beliefs?Who are these people called “Anabaptist”? This group refers to a community of rebels during the Reformation period; they were considered to be the radical wing of the Reformation. Even within this group there were various views and camps. Two main separate camps can be identified: the “revolutionary Anabaptist” and the “evangelical Anabaptist.”[11] We really do not want to spend too much time on the revolutionary group for they hardly reflect a biblical approach to Christianity. They actually took on the form of a cult, holding to an extreme mystical experiential view and believing their leaders to be prophets (future-tellers). They were also quick to use violence to get their way.However, the “evangelical” Anabaptists were a movement of a different type. And it is from this group that many say the Baptist movement was born. Thus, we need to take some time to examine them. This group, first of all, rejected the orthodox Christian view of sin. Instead of holding to sin as a bondage both of the nature and actions of mankind, they held that sin was “a loss of capacity or a serious sickness.”[12] The Anabaptists, in following Rome’s view of justification, held that God makes us righteous and then accepts us on the basis of our righteousness. They also believed that Christ did not take His flesh from Mary but held to a heavenly origin for His flesh. When it came to the world, the Anabaptists believe we were to totally separate ourselves from it (although they did dip into it with a zealous evangelism on occasion). The Anabaptists rejected infant baptism and held to believer’s baptism, but their mode for the most part was sprinkling, not pouring or immersion. Their view of interpreting Scripture was that of just strict imitation which led to large movements of legalism.[13]When we look at the Anabaptists we must agree that there are some similarities with the early General Baptists, but overall these similarities are slight and not always relational. In the end, we must come to say that this group of Christians does not reflect the historical teaching of the Baptists. The large portion of Baptist history shows us that Baptists held to a strong position on sin, both in our nature and in our actions, not as just some mere sickness. Baptists have also held to a belief in the virgin birth and see that this is what points to the doctrine of the God-Man, not just some heavenly illusion. As well, Baptists have held strongly to the Reformation’s recovery of justification – that it is based upon Christ’s righteousness alone and not our righteousness because we have none. And finally, Baptists have always seen that the Scriptures are to be studied and applied to everyday life through the power of the Holy Spirit and are not to be followed just in blind imitation or by a leap of faith. So we must clearly reject, as history does, that the Baptist origins flow from the Anabaptists.

The fact of history is that three “Believer’s-Only” groups arose independently of each other and with a few similarities, but even more dissimilarities. The Continental Anabaptists (who did not immerse), the English General Baptists, and the English Particular Baptists.

1644, The First (Particular Baptist) London Confession of Faith

The Confession of Faith, Of those Churches which are commonly (though falsly ) called Anabaptists;

[ see also “Were the Particular Baptists Anabaptists? Paedobaptists Answer”]

1644 anabaptist

1660, The (General Baptist) Standard Confession

A Brief Confession Or Declaration Of Faith. Set forth by many of us, who are (falsely) called Ana-baptists…

For more on Particular Baptist History, read and listen to:

Baptist Symbolics Header 1689CONFESSING THE FAITH IN 1644 AND 1689
Dr. James M. Renihan

PodcastPromo007The Confessing Baptist Interview with Dr. James Renihan on Particular Baptist History

Dr. James Renihan BowtieThe Reformation and the Baptist [AUDIO]
Dr. James M. Renihan

Haykin PinkWhere Did Baptists Come From? [AUDIO]
Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin

So if Baptists are not the heirs to the Anabaptists, who are? The Amish, The Brethren, and the Mennonites.

In 2006 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and in 2008 the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) apologized for the Lutheran persecution of Anabaptists. To whom did they apologize? SBC, or any Baptist group? No. They apologized to Mennonites. (see ELCA and LWF)

Lyn & Erroll Hulse
Lyn & Erroll Hulse

I’ll end with a quote from Erroll Hulse,

As Professors James McGoldrick [Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History] and Michael Haykin [Kiffin, Knollys, & Keach: Rediscovering English Baptist Heritage] have shown, historical evidence is lacking to prove a connection between the Continental Anabaptists of the sixteenth century and the English Baptists.

Hulse, Erroll. Who Are the Puritans?: And What Do They Teach? Darlington (England): Evangelical Press, 2000. Print. Page 188.

Deal: $0.99/£0.77 ‘Outside the Camp: John Spilsbury, the Pioneer of English Particular Baptists’ [Kindle] by Michael A. Thompson

Spilbury

Outside the Camp: John Spilsbury, the Pioneer of English Particular Baptists
by Michael A. Thompson
[ $0.99 | £0.99 ]

Description:

Michael A. Thompson is an elder at Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Kingwood, TX, a retired US Army officer from Texas, a veteran of the business world, and now a full-time educator, teaching philosophy, systematic theology, and the New Testament. He has a PhD in theology and church history. He and his wife, Cindy, are the proud parents of three children and eight grandchildren.
Michael A. Thompson is an elder at Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Kingwood, TX., a retired US Army officer from Texas, a veteran of the business world, and now a full-time educator, teaching philosophy, systematic theology, and the New Testament. He has a PhD in theology and church history. He and his wife, Cindy, are the proud parents of three children and eight grandchildren.

John Spilsbury was one of the prominent leaders of the newly emerging Particular Baptist churches in early 17th century England. Despite having no real formal education, he became the doctrinal heart and soul and the pastoral guide for a movement that would eventually comprise the largest evangelical body of believers in the world. This Baptist founding father is an enigma to most church historians, but to those who know of his commitment to biblical authority and truth, of his rejection of popes and ecclesiastical hierarchy, of his commitment to clear confessions of faith, of his staunch reformed theology, and his belief in credo-baptism—for those who know the historic John Spilsbury, they know him not only as the Pioneer of the Particular English Baptists, but as a Protestant evangelical willing to surrender his life for the sake of Jesus Christ, His word, and His church. John Spilsbury was a bright shining star in a world of darkness and persecution.

Details:

Print Length: 130 pages
Publisher: Charis Publications (January 7, 2011)
Text-to-Speech: Enabled

[HT: Jonathan Bennett]