Thursday, June 27, 2019

Being Baptist: Lesson 3 - First Purist Protests (150 AD - 1000 AD)

Being Baptist: Lesson 3 - First Purist Protests (150 AD - 1000 AD)


Introduction: During this time a slow but sure separation was taking place.  The name Christian would now have to be qualified by the particular beliefs of individual pastors and churches.

 We look back to this time to find our ancestors but should realize that much is muddled by time and the writings of those who in opposed them.  Some of these forefathers would shock us with their practices, though probably not their doctrine.  On the other hand, we would appear worldly and compromising to them. Here, we are looking for "threads of gold" woven through the torn and soiled fabric of history which at times is almost impossible to clearly follow.  However, we are not dependent upon a crystal clear history or the men who recorded and sometimes distorted it, to know the true church, instead our faith is in the promises of the founder of the church Jesus Christ. He promised that the church he founded would stand against the gates of hell, therefore we know that His church, the true church would never cease.

The threads of gold or trail of blood that we search for are the Baptist distinctives that mark the church that Jesus promised would not cease until he came back and claimed it for His bride.

Baptist Distinctives

Biblical Authority
Autonomy of the Local Church
Priesthood of the Believer
Two Ordinances
Individual Soul Liberty
Saved, baptized church membership
Two Offices
Separation of Church and State

Death of Ignatius, pastor of Antioch

Ignatius was arrested and transported to Rome where he was killed in the arena by wild beasts around 140 AD. As he was transported by ten soldiers, who bulled and mistreated him, he wrote letters to the church along the way and to his friend Polycarp. When he was condemned and waiting for his death it is said that his guards could hear him repeating the name Jesus (Jesu in Latin) over and over again.

When they asked him why he answered, “My dear Jesus, my Saviour, is so deeply written in my heart, that I feel confident, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece.”


Baptist History: Early Ancestors and Lines of Descent.

Monatists (159-722?)

Beliefs: True Baptism, strict separation from world, leadership of Holy Spirit. Rebaptism of those coming into the true faith from Catholicism.

Issues: Separation from the state and worldliness of the church at large.

Questions or problems: Some claim the Monatist believed in divine revelation. They were strenuously asceticism.

Leaders: Montanaus (156 AD) and Tertullian (197 AD) but who later broke with the Montanists)


Novatians also called the Cathari (the pure) (250 AD - 1500's )

Beliefs:  Independence of the churches, equality of pastors, rebaptism of those coming from worldly churches.  Separation from world.

Questions or problems: Novatian was baptized by effusion while on his sick bed, though he was later immersed.  Some say that later he also declared himself as a rival to Pope Cornelius. Novation was martyred about 290 AD.

Issues the drove them: The worldliness of the Roman Church and clerics. 

Donatists (311 AD - 1000 AD)

Beliefs: Separation of Church and State, baptism by immersion of believers, independence of the church.

Leaders:  Donatus bishop of Carthage in North Africa.

Questions: Donatus was at willing to be subject to Constantine the 1st until he split with him over the issue of ordination.

 Issues:  Faithfulness of Christians and infant baptism.

The Paulicians: 100 AD - 1000 AD

Origin of the name: it was given to them by their enemies because of their attachment to the writings of Paul

Beliefs: Orthodox view of Trinity, baptism of believers by immersion, separation from the world.

Issues:  They opposed infant baptism, orders in the clergy, and opposed image worship.

Leaders: Constantine 660 AD, who renamed himself Silvanus and called the churches he founded after congregations in the book of Acts.


The Bogomils: a branch of Paulicians in Thrace

 Origin of name: from one of their leaders or the word which means "Beloved of God."

 Beliefs: Baptism of believers by immersion, symbolic Lord's supper

 Issues: Opposition to Pedobaptism, church hierarchy, Mariolatry, saint worship, and a belief in church independency.

The Albigensians: probably descended from Paulicians

 Origin of name: from city of Albi and region of Albigeiois in Southern France.

 Beliefs: Church should consist of good people, with no power to frame any constitutions, they could not take oaths, it was not lawful to kill, not right to persecute. They also believe that the law of Moses was not for Christians.

 They felt no need of priests and practiced baptism by immersion.


Issues:  Opposition to infant baptism, superstition and Catholic church hierarchy.


The Petrobursians:

Origin of name: named for Peter of Bruys, preacher in France about 1100 AD.

Beliefs: That the Gospel was literal, Scripture was the only accepted truth. In baptism of believers by immersion and that the Lord's supper was not sacramental.

Issues:  They stood against infant baptism, and the universal (catholic) church

Leaders: Peter of Bruys, burned in St. Gilles 1126.


The Henricians: sprung from Petrobrussians.

Origin of name: Followers of Henry of Lausanne.

Beliefs: Baptism of believers by immersion,

Issues: Rejection of infant baptism,

Leaders: Henry of Lausanne 1116- 1148 AD a disciple of Peter of Bruys.  Died in prison after being hunted down by Bernard of Clairvaux, a famous and ruthless inquisitor, on orders from Pope Eugene III.


The Arnoldists:

Origin of name: from Arnold of Brescia

Beliefs: orthodox Baptist doctrine

Questions: They led a rebellion against the Pope in Rome.

Issues:  rejected infant baptism, 

Leaders: Arnold of Bresicia 1100 AD to 1148 AD.  Taken prisoner in the rebellion, he was hanged, his body burned and ashes thrown into Tiber River.


The Berengarians:

Origin of name: from their leader, Berengarius

Beliefs: Baptistic

Questions: Berengarious taught in Catholic school until he was condemned by a Catholic council.

Issues: Spiritual independence and opposition to Rome. No infant baptism.


Baptist History: The Waldensian Churches.

The Waldensians were churches of the mountains of northern Italy and France.  They were descended from the early movements of the Albigensians, Arnoldists and Paulicians. 

Duration:  Last of 10th Century to 18th Century.

Survived in the Alps and Piedmont Mountains for centuries when persecuted as heretics.

Origin of name: from the Italian word "Valdese or Waldesi” which means a valley.  These were people who lived in mountain valleys.

Beliefs: Baptist beliefs, strong evangelism, spreading of Bible in native language, no taking of oaths.

Questions: Peter Waldo was a Roman Catholic for many years after his conversion, sent his daughters to a convent.  They often had women as teacher-preachers.  After the reformation the Waldensians willingly joined the "Reformed" church and began to baptize infants.

Issues: Obedience to God rather than man, the Bible as only rule of faith and practice, and the importance of preaching. 

Leaders: Peter Waldo, a rich citizen of Lyon, France.  Who upon conversion, believed that all should hear the word of God.  He published the Bible in the native French tongue and sent out itinerant preachers two by two to preach in houses and on street corners.  The were know as the "Poor-men-of- Lyons."

Major Lines of Descent:

Paulicians: Sheltered in Armenian, then spread to Western Europe.

Albigensians:  From the region of Albi in France.  Sheltered in Southern France and Northern Italy.

Waldenses: Hidden in the valleys of the Alps and Piedmont Valleys. 




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