Baptists were Donatists? Paulicians?


#1

In another thread I came across this comment that shows that the Baptists have been around for so much longer than the sect that John Smythe supposedly started in the 1600’s, as taught by historians:

The Roman Catholic Church claims that the early churches were Catholic right? Why is it not recorded in the New Testament that they were called “Catholic”? The only reason you can give for that is that those early churches were Catholic in “faith and practice”…** That is the same argument I am using to prove that Baptists existed well before John Smythe and Thomas Hellweys… they existed as Donatists, Paulicians, Vale Olchan, etc.**

When I questioned the author about this statement, he appropriately suggested I start a new thread, so as not to hi-jack the other thread (we can’t have that happen in our forums, shall we?).

Any thoughts on the above quote?


#2

Ah, yes. The old “Trail of Blood.” Google it and have yourself a ball. Serious Baptists don’t buy this junk.


#3

Yes, I’m vaguely familiar with the “Trail of Blood” and how the author has even admitted that he made up his facts. But to claim that you believe everything the Paulicians believed? Or do the beliefs change as time goes by (which is even scarier).


#4

About 1% of Baptists actually subscribe to this nonsense.

It’s not worth your time.


#5

Who were the Waldenses? Early Evangelicals?

James Edward McGoldrick, professor of history for Cedarville College in Ohio, a Baptist himself and expert especially in Protestant Reformation history wrote Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History (The American Theological Library Association and The Scarecrow Press, 1994). McGoldrick examines many groups claimed as “early Baptists” (or early Evangelicals who are “baptistic”) such as the Montanists, Novatians, Paulicians, Bogomils, Albigenses, Waldenses and other groups and individuals.

“Although no reputable Church historians have ever affirmed the belief that Baptists can trace their lineage through medieval and ancient sects ultimately to the New Testament, that point of view enjoys a large following nevertheless. It appears that scholars aware of this claim have deemed it unworthy of their attention, which may account for the persistence and popularity of Baptist successionism as a doctrine as well as an interpretation of church history. Aside from occasional articles and booklets that reject this teaching, no one has published a refutation in a systematic, documented format. The present work is an effort to supply this need so that Baptists may have a thorough analysis of successionism, together with a reliable account of their origins as a Protestant religious body.” (McGoldrick, preface page iv)

“It is the purpose of this book to show that, although free church groups in ancient and medieval times sometimes promoted doctrines and practices agreeable to modern Baptists, when judged by standards now acknowledged as baptistic, not one of them merits recognition as a Baptist church. Baptists arose in the seventeenth century in Holland and England. They are Protestants, heirs of the Reformers.” (ibid, page 2)

Phil P


#6

Well, it seems that the Church of Christ may have “taken up the Cross” of the Trail of Blood testimony. At least the group down here in my area make that claim.

Anyway, let’s wait and hear from Bibleapologist as he was the one to make the claim. I think he mainly posts in the evening.

Besides, he was the one to remind me that patience is truly a virtue!


#7

Hello everyone…

Thanks for starting this thread Notworthy.

I would like to start out by saying that since there is so much controversy surrounding the “Trail of Blood” book, I think it would be best to lay that work aside, and concentrate on historical references that can be validated. I have read the book, but I will not quote it here… I may though reference content similar to that book but I will use other resources.

I would also, in this first post like to say that I agree somewhat with McGoldrick in his analysis of the Baptists inability to trace their roots to the early Church…

"Although no reputable Church historians have ever affirmed the belief that Baptists can trace their lineage through medieval and ancient sects ultimately to the New Testament, that point of view enjoys a large following nevertheless.

Since no-one has been able to trace historical evidence of successive teaching, ordination, or baptism from the Apostles to the current church, it would be futile for me to approach the argument from that direction. But, one must ask the question… If that is the case, why would someone like me remain a Baptist, and not join the Institution with the most complete historical records? The answer to that is simply… The kingdom of God is not of this world.

The kingdom of God, and the Church Christ built is not an earthly kingdom, or a terrestrial church… it is one which exists in eternity, is united spiritually by the Holy Spirit, and is one which will be united physically at Christ’s return.

In the other thread (which was not hi-jacked), I presented some distinctives of a “Baptist” church, I intentionally left out what I believe to be the most important distinctive of a Baptist church to use later in the argument… That they believe in a non-worldly kingdom. That is to say, that Christ’s kingdom is not worldly… so those churches would not be dominionists in any way, they would not be enthralled with politics, usury or national standing. But they would primarily be concerned with evangelism for the “spiritual kingdom” of Christ.

These churches that have been mentioned; ie, Paulicians, Donatists, Vale Olchan were churches that understood the individual relationship each believer has with Christ, and as churches they were only considering themselves “assemblies” of believers. For example: the Donatists broke away from the Metropolitan in Rome and sought to institute an “independent” church. Why? Because the authority of the believer was not a magisterium, but Christ, and the only way to ensure that is to remain an “independent assembly”. Likewise, the Paulicians, and the Vale Olchan were also sensitive to the truth of a “spiritual kingdom”.

Since these groups made no effort to build or strengthen a worldly kingdom for Christ, but only efforted to evangelize to the benefit of the spiritual kingdom of Christ… certain other distinctives were evident that an outside observer would use to deduce and classify that particular assembly as “anabaptist”, or nowadays “baptist”.

These other distinctives are…

a. Independent Churches
b. Regenerate Church Membership
c. Believers Baptism
d. Baptism by immersion (an illustration of the new birth)
e. Independent soul liberty of believers

As you can see, it is really not relevant to discuss a succession of Baptist ordinations, or historical evidence of churches named “Baptist” before 1608.

John
www.gideonsword.net


#8

Although I found ther rest of your post interesting, I found this sentence befuddling. I’ve understood this is one of the pillars of the Church, the fact that we CAN historically trace the successive teaching, ordination, and baptism from the Apostles to the current church.


#9

Donatists venerated relics and believed baptism was a means of grace and regeneration. That doesn’t sound Baptist to me. And how about the name? If we went back in time and asked one of these heretical groups where the Baptist church meets, they would have no idea what we were talking about.


#10

John (BA), I think you’re stretching things here. The Donatists could be said to be more Catholic than Catholics. They basically followed all the tenants of the Catholic Church - all the things you would probably disagree with, a sacramental system, graces channeled through the church, etc. There main gripe with the Church is that they felt a priest or bishop who was a sinner could not distribute these graces through the Church.


#11

Here is a good read on the the trail of blood stuff

turrisfortis.com/trail.html


#12

Eden,

And how about the name? If we went back in time and asked one of these heretical groups where the Baptist church meets, they would have no idea what we were talking about.

Eden, here is another example of your strange type of replies.

You seem to post replies that are obviously easy to rebut, as in this case… I have already conferred that Donatists were not called “Baptists”. But… according to the nature of your posts, I don’t believe your are looking for contructive debate.

It seems that maybe your posts are intended to decieve those “impressionable viewers” that I mentioned before… those who don’t read deeply into the meat of the debate, but only scan the posts for quick and easy answers.

I think you know the truth Eden… that you don’t have an answer for me… if you did you would argue your point. Posts like the one quoted here only show a deceptive nature… not only deceiving others, but yourself. Why don’t you prove to yourself that you are right, and use the Apologetics forum for what it is intended, and prove your position.

John
www.gideonsword.net


#13

NotWorthy,

John (BA), I think you’re stretching things here. The Donatists could be said to be more Catholic than Catholics.

My position is that as a result of thier worldview, as I stated earlier, they would be more closely related to present day Baptists in practice. If you have evidence that is not the case, I would love to hear it.

Keep in mind, the Catholic Church and it’s historical writings cannot be considered as absolutley true, as we would have to also prove thier character to prove they would provide an accurate historical reference to the Donatists (or any other oppositional church).

If the Donatists were more similar to Baptists than Catholics in practice, it would give us insight into their non-dominionist worldview. I don’t put it past the Catholic Church to attempt to change history to present the Donatists as practicing Catholics, and subsequently bolster the Metropolitan of Rome as similar to Catholics of today.

John
www.gideonsword.net


#14

John says this:
Since these groups made no effort to build or strengthen a worldly kingdom for Christ, but only efforted to evangelize to the benefit of the spiritual kingdom of Christ… certain other distinctives were evident that an outside observer would use to deduce and classify that particular assembly as “anabaptist”, or nowadays “baptist”.


Eden responds by saying these heretical groups in reality were far removed from “today’s” baptist church. I understand her point.

Yet you rip her apart with accusations of deception. I think you could use a lesson in charity, my friend.

**

**


#15

Really?

Of course you don’t. You must stay true to your bias.


#16

And yet you’re able to sift through all this Catholic propaganda and determine that the Donatists were more Baptist than Catholic? Over 1500 years ago???

Man, you are good!!!


#17

The Holy Spirit protects the Church. If the beliefs of early heretics were expressing the teachings of the true Church and the Catholic Church supressed or destroyed this evidence, then the gates of hell would have prevailed against His Church. So, your accusations are not supported by scripture.

As far as your attempts to cling to pre-Baptist heretics as a source of legitimacy for your own theology, well,* that* is what is strange.


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