I have an independent Baptist friend who is convinced that her church has existed since the time of Christ, says that they’re the baptists who are mentioned in the NT. They are also convinced that the Catholic church is not Christian and that they are the one and only true church of God. Any idea what this argument is based on or how I should approach it? - Thank’s & God Bless.
If your friend is convinced that her church is the one true Church of God, then she must have the evidence to prove it. Ask her to show you the supporting documentation for her claim. She might bring up Dr. J.M. Carroll’s book Trail of Blood (includes a chart ), which is supposed to document his claim that the “Baptists have an unbroken line of churches since Christ and have fulfilled His prophecy – “I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT.”
If that be the case, then why is it no serious scholar accepts this book and chart as an accurate depiction of history? Even the vast majority of Baptist historians know these arguments are ridiculous. The author claims that the names on the chart were “nicknames given to Baptists during the passing years and ages –Novatians, Montanists, Paulicians, and Waldenses.” Such a claim is impossible to take seriously.
The Baptists would not want to be associated with the Novatians, Montanists, Paulicians, and Waldenses. The theology of such groups was extremely different from Baptists’. For example, the Montanists were a false prophecy movement that emphasized speaking in tongues and new revelation. They also believed in baptismal regeneration and some taught that adultery is the unforgivable sin. The Donatists were essentially a Catholic schism confined to North Africa; they had all of the Catholic sacraments and venerated the martyrs and relics. The Paulicians and the Albigensians both held that there are actually two Gods, a good God who made our souls, and a bad God who made the material world.
Information on these sects is found here:
*]Novatian and Novatianism
*]Albigenses[/LIST] One thing the chart does have right is that Baptists did not split off from the Catholic Church. In fact, they split off of the Anglican church. The first Baptist congregation was founded in Holland by a man named John Smyth, who was an expatriate Englishman, like the members of his congregation. These people had thus come out of the Church of England or the Anglican church.
Point your friend to the historical documents from the early Church that clearly show that Jesus gave his authority to Peter and his successors, and carries out his promise to speak to us through the pope. After all, evidence demands a verdict.
One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic
Kenneth D. Whitehead
Another article to read on this subject is Dave Armstrong’s Were the Albigensians Primitive Protestants?