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A Handbook of Church History
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A Handbook of Church History
Dean C Blackwell   
Church of God

Died: April 14, 2003
Member Since: 1952
Ambassador College: 1956
Office: ACE - Evangelist

Chapter V - Series: 4:

Articles of Ancient Confession of Faith

   The articles of their ancient confession of faith, they have listed here. Article one, we believe and firmly hold all that which is contained in the twelve articles of the symbols which is called the apostles' creed, accounting for heresy whatsoever is disagreeing and not consonant to said twelve articles.
   Article two, we do believe, there is one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We acknowledge for the holy cannonical scriptures, the books of the holy Bible. Here follows the books of the Old Testament which the Jews had received as inspired and the books of the New Testament as received.
   As for the Apocryphal books they say 'we read them for the instruction of the people but not to confirm the authority of the doctrines of the church.' Article four, the books above teach this, that there is one God Almighty, all wise, all good, who has made all things by His goodness and He formed Adam in His own image and likeness but that by the envy of the devil and disobedience of the said Adam sin has entered into the world and that we are sinners in Adam and by Adam.
   Article five, that Christ was promised to their fathes, who received the law, that so knowing by the law their sin.
   Notice! Knowing by the law their sin. They knew the law. The law points out your sin, it tells you what sin is.
   Knowing by the law their sin, unrighteousness and insufficiency, they might desire the coming of Christ.

Notice! Desire the coming of Christ, not going to heaven!

   To satisfy for their sins and accomplish the law by himself.
   So they certainly did not believe in "no law" as you can plainly see by the articles of their treaty.
   Article six, that Christ was born in the time appointed by God the Father, that is to say in the time when all iniquity abounded and not for the cause of good works for all were sinners, but that He might show us grace and mercy as being faithful.
   Article seven, that Christ is our life, truth, peace, righteousness. He is also our pastor, advocate and priest and who died for the salvation of all those who believed and is risen for their justification.
   Notice that! Mr. Armstrong has said you are not saved by the death of Christ, you are saved by His life. You are sanctified by the death of Christ; you are set apart from your past sins, but you are saved by His life. That says Christ is risen for our justification.
   Article eight, in the like manner, we firmly hold that there is no mediator with God the Father save Jesus Christ and as for the virgin Mary, that she was holy, humble and full of grace and in like manner do we believe for all the saints.

That all are holy, humble and full of grace.

   Namely, that being they wait for the resurrection of their dead bodies in the day of judgment.

Who believes this today?

   Article nine, we believe that after this life there are only two places, the one for the saved and the other for the damned the which two places we call paradise and hell and absolutely denying the purgatory invented by anti-Christ and forged contrary to truth.
   Notice what they call their doctrines the truth. They did not say our faith, or our beliefs or our ideas.
   Article ten, we have always accounted as unspeakable abominations before God all these inventions before man, namely, the feasts and vigils of saints, the water which they call holy as likewise to abstain from flesh on certain days and the like, but especially the masses.
   Article eleven, we esteem for an abomination and as anti- Christian all those human inventions which are a trouble or prejudice to the liberty of the spirit and produce distress.
   Article twelve, we consider the sacraments as signs of holy things as the visible emblems of invisible blessings. We regard it as proper and necessary that the faithful use the said invisible things when it may be done. Notwithstanding, which we believe that the said faithful may be saved, without these signs when they have neither place nor opportunity of observing them.
   So, if you were locked in jail and could not keep the Passover, that does not condemn you to the lake of fire. But any time you have the place or opportunity then you are required to observe these sacraments.
   Article thirteen, we acknowledge no other sacraments except baptism and the Lord's supper.
   Article fourteen, we honor the secular powers, with subjection, obedience, promptitude and payment.
   It is significant that they end with twice seven. These confessions of faith were formulated in the year 1120 A.D.

Sang Psalms

   They were acquainted with French, so far as was needul for understanding the Bible and the singing of Psalms.
   So! They had Psalms right out of the Bible set to music. That really is unusual, is it not? Yet, when you come in and pick up a Church of God hymnal, there it is, today, set to music. So did the Waldensians, so did David, and so does God's Church today!
   In the morning while the young Vaudois girl was preparing the breakfast table, we asked her if Psalms alone or hymnals were sung in the churches. She disappeared and brought back in her hand a neat gilt volume in a small leather case and with the honest pride which accompanies any illusions or explanations connected with their worship said we should find there the Psalms of David with the music and that they use no other. Their attachment to this part of the word of God was very striking. Milner says it was required of those who were to be ordained to the ministry, along with other scriptures, to commit to memory the writings of David, referred to the book of Psalms. Singing Psalms was not only a part of their worship, but also their recreation from labor and their solace at work. The women carrying their milk from pasturage and the laborer in the field, the shepherd on the mountainside and the mechanic in the workshop sang the Psalms of David.
   They committed them to memory in French and sang without book and were noted for Psalm singing that for anyone to be found singing Psalms was taken to be good proof he was a Vaudois.
   Anyone was happy enough to be going around singing church songs. What a happy, abundant life they must have been living!
   The papists have charged them with denying baptism to infants but their own writings from the 11th century disprove this position.

And they did change their belief about infant baptism.

   As to the claims of Milner on infant baptism, he has this to say, 'a small section of the people hearing the name of Waldenses, followers of Peter De Bruy.'
   You see all these titles go together. They were preceeded by the Petrobrusians, by Peter De Bruy people.

Avoid Pride in Dress!

   They did agree with the mass of this denomination in other matters, though they disagreed from them in the subject of baptism. They held that infants were not capable of salvation; that Christian salvation is of such a nature that none can partake but those who undergo a course of rigorous self denial and labour in its pursuit. But the Petrobrucians were a very small fraction of the great Waldensian body. [The inquisitor, Renier, in his book against the Waldenses, bears this testimony, 'the heretics may be known by their manner and their dress, the nature of which are neither expensive nor mean. It is evident that they understood the Bible to claim the prerogative to govern in the matter of dress.']
   Some people disagree with God's Church in this today and think that it is ridiculous to tell members what to wear on your lips, on your body, and how to wear your hair. Yet, very bluntly, this author writing about the Waldensians, and he was putting them to death, said that they undoubtedly regarded the Bible to claim the prerogative to govern in the matter of dress.

Balance is the Standard

   They avoid the two stresses of shabbiness and extravagance. They will be apt to dress in such a way as to hush the foolish, silly, idle talk about dress which now almost entirely absorbs the time and converse of many. They have learned also from the Word to be diligent in business. An idler was not tolerated among them. Says one persecutor, 'they labor constantly.' Says another, 'they never eat the bread of idleness but labor with their own hands for their livelihood.'
   So many in God's Church today ought to remember what Paul says in II Thessalonians:
   If a man does not work, neither should he eat.
   If a man does not work, but walks about idly, bumming off somebody else, he is a discredit to God's Church.

As he says,

   They did not tolerate among them an idler. They were chaste in their conduct, says Claude Disciko. For their lives and moral behavior the Vaudois are without reproach before men and do their utmost endeavors to keep the commandments of God.

So they were commandment keepers also.

   They were noted for their temperance, taking the Word in its broadest sense. I quote from Renier, an inquisitor, a rabid Catholic who bent his powers to the utmost to destroy them. In describing their manners, he says 'they were temperate in eating and drinking. They were on their guard against the indulgence of anger. They may be known also by their concise and modest discourse. They guard against indulging in jesting, slander or profanity. They, with reference to profanity, it was of the rarest occurrence and reverence for God's names, titles, ordinances, Word and works was such that the third commandment was scarcely ever broken.'
   So, these people had that much reverence for God's names, ordinances and Word.

Known by Pure Speech

   Their own historian, Legar, writes there are also ordinances against blasphemy and swearing but during the 23 years I have been minister and 12 years as moderator, no one instance of the kind has ever occurred and I am convinced in the whole century here one should not hear the name of God taken in vain.
   Thirty five years and this minister never heard a curse word from among the Waldensians.
   Legar relates of a supply of ministers from France and Geneva in 1630. He states that in consequence of this influx of foreign ministers we have changes, he carefully enumerates, which took place in the Vaudois church.
   Notice this is one of their own ministers! He said when they began to have this influx of trained ministers from other churches there were a number of changes in the church.

Unleavened Bread

   Among these changes was the giving up of the use of unleavened bread in the ordinance of the Lord's supper. It is not noted that any change took place in the government of the church.

Pagan Holidays

   Rinerius says, 'going on down now, they despised all ecclesiastical customs which are not read in the gospel such as Candlemas, Palm Sunday, the reconciliation of penitence, the adoration of the cross on Good Friday, the Feast of Easter, the festival of Christmas and the saints.'
   How plain and clear! This was written by a man who was martyring them, yet, he says they despised the adoration of the cross, Good Friday, the Feast of Easter and the festivals of Christmas and the saints.

Laying On Hands in Ordination

   The Ancient Discipline of the Evangelical Church in the Valleys of Piedmont, article two, says concerning pastors, 'all those who are to be received as pastors among us while they remain with their relations, they entreat us to receive them into the ministry and afterwards having good testimonials, they are by imposition of hands admitted to the office of preaching'.
   They cite according to the scriptures the epistle of Titus: 'For this cause I left you at Crete that you should set in order the things that were wanting and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed you.'24
   Strong also states they had ministerial conferences once a year at headquarters where one college was.
   A Waldensian minister went up into Germany and became the leader of like believers there. After being there a brief time, he went on over to England.

The Lollards

   Be careful, because two separate groups were termed Lollards. One group, the followers of John Wycliffe, were called Lollards. Also the followers of Walter Lollard were called Lollards. Some books distinguish them by calling one group Lolliards and the other Lollards.
   Fundamental information is gained from the Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, by Brown:
   Lollards: A Religious sect, differing in many points from the church of Rome, which arose in Germany about the beginning of the 14th century. So called as many writers have imagined, from Walter Lollard, their leader and champion, a native of Memtz and equally famous for his eloquence and his writings, who was burnt at Cologne. Others think that Lollard was no surname but merely a name of reproach applied to all heretics who concealed what was deemed error under the appearance of piety.
   And that is the name they used for the followers of Wycliffe; the name used in reproach to all heretics.

Singers Again of Note

   The monk of Canterbury derives the origin of the word Lollard from Lollium, a tare, as if the Lollards were the tares sown in Christ's vineyard. Abell says that the word signifies 'praising God' from the German word "lobin" to praise and hear, Lord, because the Lollards employed themselves in travelling about from place to place singing Psalms and hymns. Others much to the same purpose derived Lollard, Lullhard or Lollart, Lullart, as it was written by the ancient German word Lullin, Lollin or Lallin and the termination 'hard' with which many of the high Dutch words end. Lollin signified 'to sing with a low voice' and therefore, Lollard is a singer or one who frequently sings and in the vulgar tongue of the German it denotes one who is continually praising God with a song or singing hymns to His honor.

Waldensian Minister Famous in England!

   Fuller, however, informs us that in the reign of Edward III about A.D. 1315, Walter Lollard was a German preacher. Perin in his history of the Waldensians calls him, 'one of the Waldensian barbs of great reknown among them came into England and who was so eminent in England, that as in France, they called Beringarians from Beringarious and Petrobrucians from Peter De Bruys and in Italy and Flanders, Arnoldists from the famous Arnold of Brecia. So did the Waldensian Christians for many generations after, bear the worthy name of this man being called Lollards.
   Notice again that he also shows the predecessors to the Lollards! Petrobrucians, Arnoldists. He shows that the habit of the people in the world is to brand this sect by the name of their leader. So this Walter Lollard was one of the Waldenses ministers or barbs who went up into Germany and became a minister there and then went over into England!
   Bishop Newton, having mentioned the Lollards says, 'there was a man more worthy to have given name to the sect, the deservedly famous John Wycliffe, for the honor of his own and the admiration of succeeding times. In England the followers of Wycliffe by way of reproach were called Lollards, though the first English Lollards came from Germany.
   The first English Lollards came from Germany. Very plain and blunt. You will find as you read the life of John Wycliffe that a number of their doctrines were similiar to those of the Waldenses and Lollards and therefore, they used the name in a reproachful way for anyone who was a follower of Wycliffe.

Infant Baptism

   Lollard and his followers rejected the sacrifice of the mass, extreme unction, and pentitence for sin, arguing that Christ's sufferings were sufficient. He is likewise said to have set aside baptism as a thing of no effect but this happens to be a mistake founded on their rejection of infant baptism and their denial of its saving efficacy. From the laws made against them in the reign of Henry IV, among the articles by which the inquisitors were to examine them, one was, 'whether an infant dying unbaptized can be saved.' This the Lollards consequently asserted in opposition to the church of Rome which decreed that no infant could be saved without it. Fox says that among the errors they were charged with were these, 'that they spoke against the opinion of such things that children are damned who depart before baptism and said that Christian people be sufficiently baptized in their parents or baptized before them.' Fox thinks they were slandered in this matter. We think justly so far as the denial of believers' baptism is concerned, for the last of the three charges is itself a plain contradiction. Besides, Sir Lewis Clifford, who had been a friend of Wycliffe, calls him one of the seven heads that came out of the bottomless pit for denying infant baptism.


   The heresy of the Lollards of whom he was so great a ringleader, Fox said it was upon these charges that in the space of four years, 120 Lollards, men and women, were apprehended and suffered greatly, a number of them being burnt at the stake. William Sawtree, the parish priest of Setocife in London, was the first martyr in this English persecution. Rapin says, 'in 1389 the Wycliffites or Lollards began to separate from the church of Rome and appoint priests from among themselves to perform divine services after their way.' From this period to the Reformation, their sufferings were very great. More than 100 are recorded to have been burnt to death. The Lollard's tower still stands as a monument of their miseries and the cruelty of their implacable enemies. This tower is at Lambreth Palace and was fitted up for this purpose by Chickabee, archbishop of Canterbury, who came to see in 1414. It is said that he expended 280 pounds to make this prison for the Lollards. The vast staples and rings to which they were fastened before they were brought out to the street are still to be seen in the large lumber room at the top of the palace and ought to make Protestants look back with gratitude on the hour which marked the end of the bloody period.
   Actually, Walter Lollard was one of the Anabaptists, but he was the Waldensian minister who began this group up in Germany and later went over into England. When they began to call the people Lollards in England, then the Anabaptists back in Germany and Europe began to grow large in numbers and did like the Paulicians. They became a huge army. They finally led a peasant revolt and they were really mixed up in the peasant war there, and had long previously ceased being the True Church.
   Anabaptists: Those who maintain that baptism ought always to be performed by immersion. The word is compounded of Ana, new and Baptisous, Baptists, signifying that those who have been baptized in their infancy ought to be baptized anew.
   It is a word that has been indiscriminately applied to the Christians of very different principles and practices.
   Notice that! Just because you read something about an Anabaptist, do not assume that he is talking about the section of the Anabaptists that made up the true church.
   The English and Dutch Baptists do not consider the word at all applicable to their sect because those persons whom they baptize they consider as never having been baptized before although they have undergone what they term the ceremony of sprinkling in their infancy.25
   In the Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, by Sanford, under the section Lollards:
   A name given to the followers of Wycliffe, though the term previously had been applied to societies in Germany.
   So you notice here again that they admit and recognize that the term Lollards first was used of the followers of Walter Lollard in Germany and later applied to all the followers of Wycliffe and it was done in the way of reproach against them:
   Some think that the name as meaning idle babbler was used as a term of derision. Others derive it from the same root as lullaby, referring to their fondness of singing. The first itinerant preachers sent out by Wycliffe from Oxford were successful in making many converts.

Parliament Petitioned by Lollards

   After the death of Wycliffe, Lollardism represented a general spirit of revolt. During the absence of Richard II in Ireland in 1394, a petition was presented to Parliament by the Lollards in which they denounced the wealth and pride of the clergy, protested against special prayers for the dead, pilgrimages, oracular confessions, etc. The king considered the petition of such a nature that upon his return home, he demanded the Lollard leaders should take an oath abjuring their opinions. Archbishop Orundo who succeeded Courtney, used his influence by which in 1401 a clause was inserted in a statute for the year declaring the Lollards to be heretics. Under this statute, John Badby suffered martyrdom in Smithfield in 1410. While the persecution of the Lollards was continued with great vigor after the death of Salisbury, they found a leader in Sir John Oldcastle. The hope of getting Henry V to espouse their cause failed and a conspiracy was formed to take his life. This plot was discovered. Thirty-seven of those engaged in it were seized and executed. Four years later Oldcastle was captured and put to death. In 1414 a statute was passed by which the Lollards became amenable to common law. These severe measures did not entirely destroy them for as late as 1431 efforts were put forth to hinder their rising.
   It is difficult to determine in all respects what were the tenets of Lollardism. But in the mass of conflicting opinions, they held firm to faith of the authority of the Bible as the source of religious truth.
   They did not follow any traditions or any fables. They followed no Christmas or Easter or any of those things. They were firm to faith of the authority of the Bible as the source of religious truth.

Tertullian and Baptism

   From the same source, referring to the Anabaptists; and their beliefs concerning baptism they quote from Tertullian:
   Tertullian taught that, 'there is no difference whether one is washed in the sea, in a pool, in a river, or a fountain, in a lake or in a canal, there is no difference; now is there any difference between those whom John dipped in the Jordan and those whom Peter dipped in the Tiber?'
   Does not make any difference where you are baptized. But notice Tertullian believed in immersion! They were dipped in a river.
   The prime idea was that of the Baptists; namely, that the churches should consist of purely regenerate persons only. They were called Anabaptists, not because they re-baptized those who had been christened in infancy for infant baptism was not known at that time, but because they held that the Catholics were corrupt and hence not only re-immersed the lapse but also all who came from the Catholics.
   They had to be re-immersed, not considering how old they were when baptized, to be re-immersed!

Petrobrusians, Waldensians, Anabaptists

   The Cathari or pure of the 11th and two following centuries were not Baptists in all things but they were distinctly so in many things especially the Petrobrusians and large class of the Waldensians.
   Notice! A certain class of the Waldensians were among the Anabaptists type the same doctrines, as were the Petrobrusians.
   Peter De Bruy rejected the baptism of immersed infants and insisted on the immersion only of believers as early as 1104 and the followers of Henry his disciple were organized into the same beliefs.26

The Dictionary of Sects and Heresies, by Blunt:

   Lollards: the followers of Wycliff in the 14th and 15th centuries. The name seems to be identical with that of the German Lullards, but the name Lollards used in England simply in the sense of heretice had an overall meaning for heretics. They called them Lollards.
   Anabaptists: That name was given at the Reformation to a body of extreme anti-sacridotalists which came to the surface in the Northwest of Germany, in Holland and in Switzerland, contemporaneously with a movement headed by Luther in Germany and by Zwingley in Switzerland. Some of them also migrated from Holland to England about A.D. 1525 and formed the nucleus of a sect which gave the government of the country great trouble.27
   So you notice a little later he is talking about the anabaptists in England. About 1525 a number of them went from Holland to England.

Baptist, Mennonite Origins

   And among all such sects there was a more or less developed opposition to infant baptism. In the later part of the 16th century in Germany and in the following century, in England, the more sober sects of the Mennonites and Baptists originated among the Anabaptists of the two countries and gradually superseded them.

Two different leaders' beliefs of these Anabaptists are:

   That the baptism of infants is unlawful and that there must be a visible kingdom of Christ upon earth.
   Anytime you read that there must be a visible kingdom of Christ, that is called Chiliasm.
   Menno Simons adopted some unique beliefs from the Anabaptists, as we read in Kurtz's Church History.
   Two men of a wholly different character labored from 1536 to gather and reorganize the fragments. They were David Jories and Menno Simons, the latter by adopting prudent measures of reform, managed to perpetrate his party. He gave himself to the diligent study of the scriptures and soon was troubled with many doubts concerning Catholic doctrines. The martyr-like courage of an Anabaptist directed his attention to the subject and soon was induced to believe in the correctness of the views of the Anabaptists. In 1536 he resigned his priesthood and was baptized. He also forbade military and civil service, and the oath, and in addition to baptism and the Lord's supper, introduced foot washing.


   The first opponents of the doctrine of the trinity were German Anabaptists.
   Then mention is made of one leader among the Anabaptists who published even before Martin Luther made a German translation of the prophets and it was made available for the people.
   Another Anabaptist leader John Companous is said to have
   Studied at Wittenberg. He endeavored to harmonize the disputations about trans-substantiation and whether Christ was literally present in the supper. Returning to Wittenberg, he began to circulate Anabaptist views. He was expelled from Sacony in 1532 and imprisoned for preaching chiliastic sermons.
   Imprisoned for preaching the 1000 year rule of Christ on this earth!

No Immortal Soul!

   They labelled the beliefs in general of the Anabaptists under the term, Sicinian system. The Sicinian system is substantially the following: The Bible is the sole source of our knowledge of the plan of salvation. The doctrine of the trinity conflicts with the Bible. God is only one person. Jesus was rewarded for his perfect obedience by being exalted to divine majesty, and invested with authority to judge the quick and the dead. The Holy Sprit is only a power of God. Man's original likeness to God consisted in his dominion over all creatures. Man was mortal by nature, though if he had not sinned, God might by a supernatural operation have caused him to pass into eternal life without first dying.
   So, you see, they understood a great deal. That God might have allowed man, if he partook of the tree of life, to pass right into eternal life without even having to die. There was no likeness of man to God by a spirit, in having a spirit, or by being an immortal being, or anything else. The only likeness man had to God was in that he was given authority over the creatures.

No Original Sin

   There is no original sin, but original evil, and an hereditary inclination to sin which however involves no personal culpability.
   So you are not personally responsible for the fact that you are born susceptible or inclined to sin. The Bible says man is made subject to vanity, not willingly, but as God planned it.
   That the life of Christ and his doctrine pointed out the way of moral improvement. Conversion must be begun by personal effort, but it can not be completed without the aid of the Holy Spirit.

How plain! Could anything be more clear?

   George Fisher says in his History of the Reformation the Anabaptists were among the advocates of more radical changes who considered that the Protestant leaders had stopped halfway in their work.

Remember, that is what Carlstadt, a Sabbath keeper, said.

   Another prevailing feature of their system was a belief in immediate or prophetic inspiration, which if it did not supercede the written word, assimilated them to its author.

Notice even there, the test of a prophet was the written word!

   They gained over Carlstadt to their cause. Another of their tenets was a belief in the visible kingdom of Christ which was to be erected on the ruins of church and state.28

Sabbath Keeping Anabaptists

We learn from J. N. Andrews History of the Sabbath:

   The ancient Sabbath was retained and observed by a portion of the Anabaptists. Dr. Francis White, one of the public officials appointed by the government of England to write against the Sabbath argument that came up in the 13-1500's says, 'They which maintain the Saturday Sabbath to be in force comply with some Anabaptists.
   That was from an official document that he wrote about the Sabbath question in his day. So some of them kept the Sabbath, didn't believe in fighting, didn't hold public office. Can you imagine they are the Mennonites or Baptists of today?
   In harmony with this statement of Dr. White is the testimony of a French writer of the 16th century. He names all the classes of men who have borne the name of Anabaptists and of one of them he writes as follows. 'Some have endured great torments because they would not keep Sundays and festival days in despite of anti- Christ, seeing they were appointed by anti-Christ. They would not hold forth anything which is likened to him. Others observe these days but it is out of charity, thus it is seen that within the limits of the old Roman empire and in the midst of those countries that submitted to the rule of the pope, God reserved to Himself a people who did not bow the knee to Baal and among these, the Bible Sabbath was observed from age to age."29
   Much mis-information and error is put out in the Catholic Encyclopedia, article Anabaptists:
   From the Greek, ana, again, and baptizo, baptize. Rebaptizers. A violent and extremely radical body of ecclesiastical civil reformers which first made its appearance in 1521 at Zwikow in the present kingdom of Saxony and still exists in milder forms.
   There are a few unhistorical statements for you. They didn't originate in 1521. It wasn't in Zwikow. They weren't a violent and extremely radical body. Prepare now for the entire peasant revolt to be blamed on the Lutherans and Anabaptists.
   Name and doctrinal principles. The name Anabaptists, etimologically applicable and sometimes applied to all Christian denominations that practised re-baptism, is in general historical usage restricted to those who denied the validity of infant baptism, became prominent during the great Reformation movement in the 16th century. The designation was generally repudiated by those to whom it was applied.
   Notice that the Catholic Encyclopedia admits that they themselves repudiated being called by that name.
   The discussion didn't center around the question whether baptism can be repeated but around the question whether the first baptism was valid.
   You see they didn't believe you can be baptized twice, but they believed that maybe the first baptism wasn't valid. No, the Bible says there is one faith, one baptism.
   The distinctive principals upon which Anabaptists generally agreed were the following: One, they aimed to restore what they claimed to have been primitive Christianity. Two, this restoration included the rejection of oaths and capital punishment and the abstention from the exercise of magistry. In a more consistent manner, they, more than the majority of Reformers, maintained the absolute supremacy and sole sufficiency of canonical scriptures as a norm of faith. However, private inspiration and religious sacrament played an important role among them. Three, infant baptism and the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith alone were rejected as without scriptural warrant. Four, the new Kingdom of God which they propose to have found was to be the reconstruction of entirely different basis of both ecclesiastical and civil society. Origin of history. The question of the validity of baptism appears in two great phases in ecclesiastical history. The first controversy raged at an early date in the third and fourth centuries and regarded the minister of the sacrament baptism conferred by heretics. It was at a much later date that the second discussion originated in which the subject of infant baptism was the point controverted in the 11th and 12th centuries but the Petrobrusians rejected infant baptism and in many subsequent medieval heretics, the Henricians, Waldensians, Albigenses and Bohemian brethren. There is however little if any historical connection between the Anabaptists and its earlier sects except for the most ancient writer, Perin, who wrote about the Waldensians and who said Walter Lollard was a Waldensian who went up to Germany from among their own barbs.30
   From the valuable source, The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Edition, article Anabaptists:
   A name given them by their enemies to various sects.
   Notice! They didn't take that name themselves. They didn't call themselves by that name. Churches are always named by people according to their leader: Waldo Waldensians; Peter DeBruys Petrobrusians; Arnold Arnoldists; Henry Henricians. Some are denoted by their distinguishing doctrine, as Anabaptists.
   The Anabaptists were great readers of Revelation and of the Epistle of James, the latter perhaps by way of counteracting Luther's one-sided teaching of justification by faith alone. Luther feebly rejected this scripture as a 'right strawy epistle.' English Anabaptists often knew it by heart. Excessive reading of Revelation seems to have been the chief cause of the aberrations.
   They just read Revelation too much and got themselves in hot water by calling the church the harlot and by calling the others the daughters of the harlot.
   In Poland and Holland certain of the Baptists denied the Trinity, hence the saying that a Socinian was a learned Baptist.

Claim Descended from Waldensians!

   But this affiliation is hard to establish. The earliest Anabaptists of Zurich allowed that the Picardi or Waldensians had, in contrast with Rome and the Reformers, truth on their side, yet did not claim to be in their succession; nor can it be shown that their adult baptism derived from any of the older Baptist sects, which undoubtedly lingered in parts of Europe. Later on Hermann Schyn claimed descent for the peaceful Baptists from the Waldensians, who certainly, as the records of the Flemish inquisition, collected by P. Fredericq, prove, were wide-spread during the 15th century over North France and Flanders. It would appear from the way in which Anabaptism sprang up everywhere independently, as if more than one ancient sect took in and through it a new lease of life. Ritschl discerned in it the leaven of the Fraticelli or Franciscan Tertiaries.

Divine Healing

   In Moravia, if what Alex. Rost related be true, namely that they called themselves Anabaptists and went barefooted healing the sick, they must have at least absorbed into themselves a sect of whom we hear in the 12th century in the north of Europe as deferring baptism to the age of 30, and rejecting oaths, prayers for the dead, relics and invocation of saints.

"Lord's Supper" Once A Year!

   The Moravian Anabaptists, says Rost, went barefooted, washed each other's feet [like the Fraticelli] had all goods in common [a headquarters system of handling finances, maybe?] worked everyone at a handicraft, had a spiritual father who prayed with them every morning and taught them, dressed in black and had long graces before and after meals. Zeiler also in his German Itinerary [1618] describes their way of life. The Lord's Supper, or breadbreaking, was a commemoration of the Passion, held once a year.
   That kind of eliminates some of the ideas of some of the people who claim to go through Anabaptists and Waldensians. The Lord's Supper or breaking of bread that was a commemoration of the Passion held once a year. They sat at long tables, the elders read the words of institution and prayed, passed a loaf around from which each broke off a bit and ate, the wine being handed round in flagons.

Church Schools

   Children in their colonies were separated from the parents, and lived in the school, each having his bed and blanket. They were taught reading, writing and summing, cleanliness, truthfulness and industry, and the girls married the men chosen for them. In the following beliefs the Anabaptists resembled the medieval dissenters: They condemned oaths, and also the reference of disputes between believers to law courts. The believer must not bear arms or offer forcible resistance to wrongdoers, nor wield the sword. No Christian has the power of life and death nor the right to justly defend himself. Civil government belongs to the world, is Caesar's. The believer who belongs to God's kingdom must not fill any rank under government, which is to be passively obeyed. Sinners or unfaithful ones are to be excommunicated and excluded from the sacraments and from intercourse with believers unless they repent, according to Matthew 18:15. But no force is to be used against them.

Three Classes of Anabaptists!

We learn from the Mennonite Church History:

   "With regard to doctrine, the Anabaptists may well be divided into three classes. First, the Munzerites and Moonsterites who believed that the kingdom of God should be established by the sword if necessary. The latter were also a very low moral class of people."

They were the ones who had polygamy and unity of goods.

   "Second, those who though highly moral in their actions and charitable toward fellow men, believed that they with non- Christians, might exercise their right of citizenship, that they might hold any office to which they might be elected and that they might use the sword in self defence and for the welfare of their country."

That is the second class of Anabaptists.

   "Third, those who believed that government was a divine institution and that Christians should willingly pay their taxes and when its ordinances did not conflict with the laws of God, to fully obey and to render them due respect but were not to take part in making or enforcing the laws of the state. In speaking of this third class, Armitage says, 'as a magistrate must bind himself by civil oaths and use the sword, that a Christian should not be a magistrate because the apostles knew nothing of the church taxes imposed by the state, held no civil office and took no part in war.' Referring to Confession of Faith, he further says, 'the sixth article of the Schlithime confession contains a clear and distinct recognition of the divine sanction of civil government, its legitimate powers, duties and obligations. It fully defines the absolute separation of Christian discipline and denounced the use of the sword by Christian people for any purpose, enjoins abstention from law suits, worldly disputes and is so careful of the spirit of Christian action as to advise exclusive devotion to the Christian duty and refusal to assume the responsibility of civil office.'"

Too Much Made of Baptism?

   The following from Horsch's History of Christianity shows their true position:
   "From the name it might be inferred that the principle tenet of the Anabaptists was the one in regard to baptism or that they placed more weight on baptism than other churches of the same period. This however is far from correct and opponents in the state church did not find fault with them on the grounds that they made too much over baptism but rather that they did not think highly enough of it, rejecting as they did, the doctrine of baptismal regeneration and of the damnation of un-baptized infants."

Notice that. Rejecting the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

   "The magistrates saw that the Anabaptists would follow their conviction and if the so-called heresy was to be stopped, immediate action was necessary. All un-baptized children were commanded to be baptized within eight days and if the parents neglected this, they were to be banished. A large number refused to obey and were made to flee. They assembled once again for exhortation and prayer and to bid farewell, never to see each other again."
   "The martyrdom of loved ones simply because they claimed the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience was still fresh in the minds of the magistrates, as well as others. Regardless of all this an edict was passed in 1526 that anyone who would henceforth re-baptize anyone would be drowned without mercy, that everyone must attend a church in charge of a minister acknowledged by the state, and that no one would dare give reproach or comfort to a heretic. In the very face of such mandates, large assemblies would gather in forests and secret places in the mountains to hear the word of God. Probably the first one to suffer death under this sentence was Felix Manz in January 1527. He was delivered into the hands of the executioner with the following charge, 'bind his hands, place him in a ship and take him to the lower Whoitley, slip his hands down over his knees and thrust a stick of wood through between his arms and his thighs and thus bound, throw him into the water and let him die and decay and by this, sanctify the law and justice.' A prominent theologian describes his death as follows, 'As he was led down from Wellinberg to the fish market and below the slaughter house to the ship he praised God that he was to die for the sake of the Truth. In this manner he spoke much but he was opposed much by the priest who accompanied him. As he was led out, his mother and brother came to admonish him to remain steadfast.'"31
   "Go on and die son, but don't you dare recant." They knew he was better off dead for a few years and then eternally alive. His mother and brother came right along in this and admonished him to remain steadfast. Do you think you could do that?

Seventh Day Baptists:

   Facts about these people are gained from their Manual of the Seventh Day Baptists:
   "The TERMS Sabbatarian and Seventh Day Baptist are used to designate a body of Christians who observed the seventh or last day of the week as the Sabbath. The former term, Sabbatarian, was adopted by them in England soon after the Reformation when the word Sabbath was applied exclusively to the seventh day."
   So even at that time in England, they never did try to call Sunday the Sabbath at all. It was always the Lord's Day. Here the term Sabbatarian at the time in England soon after the Reformation was adopted by Sabbath keepers when the word Sabbath was applied exclusively to the seventh day "and when those who observed that day were regarded as the only Sabbath keepers." The others were observers of the Lord's day.
   "In the year 1818 the term Sabbatarian was rejected by the general council in America, on account of its supposed indefiniteness, and the term Seventh Day Baptist was retained as more distinctive of the opinions and practices of the people."
   They were not yet a denomination as we learn from Everybody's Cyclopedia, article "Sabbatarian': "In the 16th century, a sect." NOTICE! Not a denomination! And that is a very important statement because throughout Church history we found the particular stage of the church always designated as a sect and not in one case was it designated as a denomination. The Seventh Day Baptists today are a denomination. The Seventh Day Adventists today are a denomination. The true Church of God today is not a denomination! It is still listed by historians as a sect and can be found listed in the book, Small Sects of America. You can't find it in The Handbook of Denominations nor in the Guide to the Religions of America.
   "In the 16th century the word Sabbatarian applied to a sect who considered that the Christian Sabbath should be kept on the seventh day. In modern times the word Sabbatarian means one who holds that the Lord's day is to be observed among the Christians in exactly the same manner as the Jews were enjoined to keep the Sabbath."
   It was supposedly indefinite in its meaning and the term Seventh Day Baptists was retained as the more descriptive of the opinions and practices of the people. Of course at that time, the Seventh Day Church of God was beginning within the body and when the church began to form into a lot of conferences and began to make decisions as far as what doctrines they should use and what would mark their creed, then these people known as the Church of God among the Seventh Day Baptists refused to go along with these things and the name, and they kept the name, Church of God. "The Seventh Day Baptists differ from other Baptists mainly in the views they hold of the Sabbath." That was true in 1858 when this was written, but that isn't true today. The Baptists no longer anoint the sick, ordain by laying on of hands or follow the policy of government of Seventh Day Baptists.

No Sabbath Change in the New Testament

   "In regard to this they believe that the seventh day of the week was blessed and sanctioned as the Sabbath in paradise and was designated for all mankind, that it forms a necessary part of the decalogue which is immutable in its nature and universally binding. That no change as to the day of the Sabbath was made by divine authority at the introduction of Christianity. That those passages in the New Testament which speak of the first day of the week do not imply subtrofusion of that day for the seventh as the Sabbath or its appointment as a day of religious worship, that whatever respect the early Christians paid to the first day of the week under the idea of its being the day of Christ's resurrection, yet that was never regarded as the Sabbath but continued to observe the seventh day in that period until by the edict of emperors and the decree of councils, the first day was made gradually to supersede it."
   That is exactly a history of how Sunday came to be, and how the Sabbath began to be rejected: by edict of emperors and decree of councils. The first day was made gradually to supersede the Sabbath.

Become a Denomination

   "At what precise time the observance of the Seventh day took a denominational form it is not easy to say. According to Ross' picture of all religions they appeared in Germany late in the 15th century or early in the 16th. According to Dr. Chambers they arose in England in the 16th century. Assuming the beginning of the 16th century as the period of their ordain would carry them back nearly as far as any of the modern denomination of Christians today."
   See why he assumed that he was trying to get them as old as any of the other modern denominations. But when they organized as a denomination, God had already removed their lampstand to another area.
   "But whatever divinity there may be in fixing the precise time of their taking a denominational form, Seventh Day Baptists think there is no divinity in proving the antiquity of their sentiments."

The Church Name

   Further history for this church is traced in Everybody's Cyclopedia, article "Seventh Day Baptists":
   "A body of believers who hold that the command to observe the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath has never been abrogated and is binding on Gentiles as well as on Jews. They accordingly disregard the Christian Lord's day and keep Saturday holy, as do the Jews. They appeared in Germany about the end of the 15th century and in England a few years later."

A few years later, not a century later!

   "They were persecuted and many imprisoned. The churches in the United States were the result of immigration from England. The first Seventh Day Baptist Church in America was organized at Newport in 1671."
   They did not have the name Seventh Day Baptist at that time. They were known as the Seventh Day Church of God. Sabbatarians is what the people called them. The denominational writer himself admits that in 1818 they dropped the term people called them Sabbatarian. They took action to get away from people calling them Sabbatarians, and named themselves Seventh Day Baptists in 1818. They were by their own author's admission the Seventh Day Church of God up until 1818 in this country. Then because the term Sabbatarian no longer designated a seventh day keeper, they changed the name. They were not known as Seventh Day Baptists in 1671 when the first church was founded in Newport, Rhode Island by Stephen Mumford.
   "A second branch was founded near Philadelphia about 1700. The third branch of God's true church in America was founded in northern New Jersey in 1705. From these three points, the denomination has spread slowly west and south."

Church Conferences

   From this third church the Seventh Day Adventists learned the Sabbath day, as you will see from their own writings. In 1818 the general council adopted the name Seventh Day Baptist. What was the name before this? Church of God was their name before this. What did people call them before this? Sabbatarians. But that term no longer designated a seventh day keeper, so in 1818 the general conference adopted the name Seventh Day Baptist as the denominational title. Did you notice by then they were a denomination. Previously they were a sect. When they were known as Sabbatarians they were known as "a sect that arose in Germany and France." The General Conference adopted the name in 1818. How many general conferences had the true church of God held today? Not a one! The conference is composed of delegates from the churches. How many of you have ever been a delegate at the annual church conference? None of you because this church isn't organized after man's system of government. We have minister's meetings, but we don't have any general conferences. Yet you have the Southern Baptist conference, the Northern Baptist conference, this Nazarene conference, and that Methodist conference. You have all kinds of denominations branching off into conferences. That never was so in God's Church.

Seventh Day German Baptists

   From the same source we learn of the Seventh Day Baptists in Germany:
   "An offshoot of the Dunkers in Germany about 1728."
   So we see that some of the churches in Germany were influenced by these Sabbath keeping Anabaptists who were there in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. The Dunkers were Sabbath keepers, and the Seventh Day German Baptists were an offshoot of them.
   "Branches of this group were established in York and Bedford counties, Pennsylvania in 1763. The principal settlement of these Seventh Day German Baptists was Snowhill in Pennsylvania."
   Here a little and there a little we gather the facts of true church history.

Mother Church in England

   Now from the New International Encyclopedia, article "Baptists, Seventh Day":
   "They hold that the literal observance of the fourth commandment has never lost its obligation and maintain that the early Christians observed the Sabbath. The first church of this order was founded in Millyard, London in 1676."
   These were not the first Sabbath keepers in England, though. Histories show that there were Sabbath arguments, bickerings and debates all the way from the time of Walter Lollard down until this time. But the first church that the Seventh Day Baptists traced back through is the Millyard church over in London. I personally met a man in Milton, Wisconsin, who was baptized in the Millyard church in London. How interesting it was to talk to this person about the mother church to the United States churches.
   "In 1676, Millyard, London, the minister was Francis Bampfield, a graduate of Oxford. This church still survives in London today but others founded in the 17th and 18th centuries have become extinct. The first American church had an independent origin being founded by Stephen Mumford at Newport, Rhode Island in 1671. In this country they have increased steadily though not rapidly and are active in the propagation of their principles through tracts and books. In 1842 they formed a foreign missionary society which had its headquarters at Westerday, Rhode Island. They supported a tract and publishing house at Plainfield, New Jersey. They have a college at Alfred Center, New York and another at Milton, Wisconsin besides an academy at Salem, West Virginia."
   I have personally toured this college in Milton, Wisconsin. At one time the whole town of Milton, Wisconsin was Sabbath keeping so "the streets were rolled up" on Friday evening at sunset.
   "For 1905 they reported 97 churches, 8733 members distributed through 24 states a decrease of about 1000 members in the last ten years."
   Do you remember what God said of the Sardis Church in Revelation 3? "Hold fast to what you have...You have a few who haven't defiled their garments...You have a name that you are alive but are dead." You have a name that you are alive, Seventh Day Church of God, but you are dead. But there are a few among you who haven't defiled their garments. So that church is decreasing just as the Seventh Day Baptists. But the Adventists aren't decreasing, because they never have been a part of the true church. This is just another minor proof.

Judaizing Christians

   How widespread Sabbath keeping had been is noted in the Encyclopedia Americana, article "Seventh Day Baptists":
   "A body of Christians who observed the seventh day, Saturday, for the Sabbath. Such observance is very ancient both in Europe and in Asia. Previous to the Reformation, Christians who observed the seventh day as the Sabbath were called Judaizers."
   So up until the time of the Reformation you will find the true church designated as the Judaizing Christians. They were "subjected to persecution on the charge of trying to draw Christians into Jewish practices. During the Reformation in England the Sabbath keepers, as they called themselves, were punished with much severity." So you see they didn't call themselves Seventh Day Baptists! They were just Sabbath Keepers and the church name technically was Church of God.
   "Theopholis Brabourne wrote a plea in behalf of the Seventh Day Sabbath about 1630 which produced such an effect in England that King Charles I commanded Bishop Francis White to reply in defense of Sunday. Bishop White's answer was published in 1635. When Charles II obtained the English Crown and almost unlimited power, he dealt more harshly with the Sabbatarians than his father had. John James, Millyard, Lemon Street, London was cruelly executed in 1661. Also they did this to the man to strike terror into his fellow believers. A Seventh Day Baptist church still flourishes in the same spot. Probably this act of monstrous injustice had something to do with the immigration of Sabbatarians to the United States, and the establishment of a congregation at Newport, Rhode Island only ten years later in 1761. The Sabbatarian movement, while it has never made great progress, has advanced steadily and slowly. In 1818 the general conference adopted the title of Seventh Day Baptists instead of Sabbatarians. At the close of 1910 the denomination in the United States included 8000 communicants, 96 ministers, 82 churches."

Unbroken Chain of Sabbath Keepers

   An interesting link in Sabbath-keeping history is added by Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia, article "Seventh Day Baptists":
   "A denomination of Christians formerly called Sabbatarians. They hold to the immersion of adult believers and also to the observance of the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath, arguing that since the institution of the Sabbath at the close of creation and its formal annunciation as a part of the Siniatic code there has always been an unbroken chain for men who have kept the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath."
   Do you fully grasp their claim? Every stage of the true church knew that they didn't come through the Reformation, or out of the Catholic church. They claimed an unbroken chain of men who kept the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week "from the time of the apostles, according to its original institution and enjoinment and considering the introduction of the observance of Sunday in the middle of the second century as the first stage of apostasy. Traces of a peculiar practice of observing the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath among some of the early reformers are not a few." I'll say they aren't. Quite a number of traces of the early reformers. Notice, he didn't say the latter reformers, but among the early reformers. Notice also, they knew the introduction of Sunday observance began in the second century and labeled it the first stage of apostasy.
   "The first Sabbatarian church in America was organized under the care of Stephen Mumford. In 1818 they assumed their present name. In the United States they have three colleges, a number of academies and periodicals. The number of organizations in 1892 was 112, the members 9000."
   Notice, that's going down. In 1892, there were 9000; in 1905, there were 8000; in 1907, there were 7000. Truly they did die as God said they would.
   "In England they are at present few in number."

Bogomils Sabbath Keepers!

In the Chambers Encyclopedia, article "Sabbath":

   "In the reign of Elizabeth it occurred to many conscientious and independent thinkers as it had previously done to some Protestants in Bohemia that the fourth commandment required of them the observance, not of the first, but of the specified seventh day of the week and a strict bodily rest as a service then due God."
   Notice then, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth this same conviction had occurred previously to some Protestants in Bohemia. So right there he shows you these Bogomils were Sabbath keepers, as the other man showed the Paulicians were.

Sunday Governed by Sabbath Laws

   "While others, though convinced that the day had been altered by divine authority took up the same opinion as a scriptural obligation to refrain from work."
   They thought the laws pertaining to the seventh day in the Bible were now also applicable to the Sunday one, which the church had changed.
   "The former class, then strict seventh day keepers, became numerous enough to make a considerable figure for more than a century in England under the title of Sabbatarians, a word now exchanged for the less ambiguous appellation of Seventh Day Baptists."
   You see here why did they change the name? Because the name Sabbatarian had become rather ambiguous, and it might mean a man who keeps Sunday strictly by God's law that pertain only to Saturday.

Sundown to Sundown


   "the colonists in New England planted in that distant soil a rigid Sabbatarianism which still survives in Connecticut and Massachusetts and retains the Jewish peculiarities.
   Now this is talking of Sabbatarians as those who keep Sunday in a strict way and not of the seventh day.
   "And many in New England were strict in the Jewish peculiarity of keeping the day by observing it from sunset to sunset."
   So some of them even became convicted that Sunday ought to be kept from sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday.


24. C. H. Strong, A Brief Sketch of the Waldenses, (Lawrence: J. J. Boughton, 1893), p. 17-84

25. "Lollards," Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, p. 752-753

26. "Lollards," Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, p. 538

27. "Lollards," Dictionary of Sects and Heresies

28. Kurtz, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 394

29. Andrews, op. cit.

30. "Anabaptists," Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. I

31. "Anabaptists," Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. I, II, p. 903-905

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Publication Date: 1973
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