Can the Baptists be traced back to the Apostles?


#1

I was reading a booklet called “The Trail of Blood” by Carroll. The author claims the doctrinal beliefs of the Baptist church today can be traced throughout every century back to the Apostles. Not that the churches in the early centuries were called “Baptists”, rather that what they believed was strictly Baptist.What do you say? Was the church in the apostles era and after, Baptist in belief? Or is this Baptist boasting, like Roman Catholics claim about their roots?


#2

[quote=gladtobe]I was reading a booklet called “The Trail of Blood” by Carroll. The author claims the doctrinal beliefs of the Baptist church today can be traced throughout every century back to the Apostles. Not that the churches in the early centuries were called “Baptists”, rather that what they believed was strictly Baptist.What do you say? Was the church in the apostles era and after, Baptist in belief? Or is this Baptist boasting, like Roman Catholics claim about their roots?
[/quote]

For Catholics, it is not boasting–it is a proven traceable succession. The trail of blood attempts to prove succession through various linkages to past heretical sects, some of which have held certain beliefs in common with today’s baptists. Most baptists themselves don’t adhere to this theory. It is mostly believed by the landmarkist baptists.


#3

[quote=gladtobe]I was reading a booklet called “The Trail of Blood” by Carroll. The author claims the doctrinal beliefs of the Baptist church today can be traced throughout every century back to the Apostles. Not that the churches in the early centuries were called “Baptists”, rather that what they believed was strictly Baptist.What do you say? Was the church in the apostles era and after, Baptist in belief? Or is this Baptist boasting, like Roman Catholics claim about their roots?
[/quote]

This booklet appeared in (I think) 1931. Spurious, spurious history. And definitely an attempt to create a creditable family tree. Knowledgeable Baptists are embarrassed by “The Trail of Blood.”


#4

Some reading material on this:

catholic-convert.com/Portals/57ad7180-c5e7-49f5-b282-c6475cdb7ee7/Documents/TrailOfBlood.doc

turrisfortis.com/trail.html


#5

Yes, any Protestant church can be traced back to the apostles… via the Catholic church! E.g. the Baptists can be traced back to about the 16th century, prior to which their predecessors were Catholic.

But I’m sure that’s not what you really meant by the question.


#6

Yea, can’t all protestants trace their lineage back to the reformation? At which time they broke with the one Church? But once you change your doctrine and break with the Church, you can’t say you have an ‘unbroken’ line.


#7

But of course, we don’t think we broke with the Church. Statements like that “beg the question”–they assume exactly the point at issue.

The “Trail of Blood” business is, of course, nonsense. Our link with the Apostles runs through the Catholic Church. For a good, scholarly account of Baptist history, see LeonMcBeth’s The Baptist Heritage.

Edwin


#8

I give Carroll credit for at least attempting to answer some important questions on history , questions which most evangelicals gloss over.

But he was just guessing and speculating in his work and really doesn’t have many facts on his side doing some major league historical revisionism to get the facts of history to mesh with his theory.

Nothing he says is really new, much of Trail of Blood originates in the 19th century E.G. White monograph The Great Controversy .


#9

The very first Baptist church to ever exist anywhere was founded in Amsterdam Ne. in 1607.

The theories expounded upon in the pamphet “Trail of Blood” are rejected by all reputable Baptist historians, and taught in no Baptist universities or seminaries.

To accept these theories one has to accept all kinds of heresies including that there are two Gods (a good God and an evil god) and that Jesus is not the eternally begotten Son of God, but was adopted as God’s son as being “baptistic”.

While the Baptists are way off track in some areas, they are still orthodox Christians and reject such teachings.


#10

The “trail of blood” doctrine rests mostly on a logical inference: (1) Jesus said the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail against his church, (2) Baptists are obviously his church, (3) therefore there always must have been Baptist churches.

Knowing that beforehand, the Landmarker comes to the historical data looking for traces of what he already knows happened. When he sees something “baptistic,” especially when it is soaked with the blood of its persecuted adherents, he says “Those were Baptists.” When history shows that group to have been heretical on any or all of several doctrinal points, he says “That historical data was fabricated by the Catholics to make the poor Baptists look bad.” Heads I win, tails you lose.

Their logic will work for any other group just as well. It’s an all-purpose tool.


#11

For a touch of humour…

ST. PATRICK WAS A BAPTIST

By John Summerfield Wimbish, D.D.

The sermon, “St. Patrick Was a Baptist,” was delivered to a thronged congregation at the Calvary Baptist Church of New York City by the pastor, Dr. John Summerfield Wimbish, on March 12, 1952, just a few days before the phenomenal St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Go to
tbaptist.com/aab/patrickabaptist.htm


#12

Hello Gladtobeone,

I had a Baptist once tell me, “Havent you read the bible! Was John not out baptising before Christ even called the Apostles!” Well there you have it. Scriptural proof that the Baptists infact preceeded the Catholic Church. LOL

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com


#13

Nah, I’ve heard a Baptist who is trying to !!convert me!?:stuck_out_tongue: (your on the right track…) that Baptist can trace back to one of the churches back in Revelations, of course he also chases after ghosts with his pastor.


#14

Kevan’s analysis is very astute. As a member of a Baptist Church myself, there are three ‘theories’ of Baptist origins:-

  1. Landmark/ Successionist. This is the view being discussed/ asked in the OP. An attempt to ‘join the dots’ timewise of a whole smorgasbord of mainly heterodox or heretical sects: Donatists, Novatians, Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars-Albigenses, Waldenses, Lollards and Hussites, and finally to the Anabaptists (see below). The basic premise seems to be that any group connected with the Church initially but then ‘not-a-Catholic’ is automatically Baptist. Only the last three (and the Anabaptists) can at all be considered as ‘proto-evangelical’ (and then not necesarily ‘baptistic’); the Donatists and Novatians were at best schismatics and the rest gnostic-manicheist heretics. Needless to say, those holding this theory tend to be Bible-belt based and very anti-Catholic. Nuff said.

  2. Anabaptist kinship. Here, we are talking about the more ‘orthodox’ groups such as the Mennonites and Hutterites, not nutters with dodgy Christology like Melchior Hoffmann and the loonies of Munster. Because the ABs reject any kind of marriage of church and state and the concept of ‘Christendom’, relying rather on congregations of ‘gathered’ (adult) baptised believers, and because Baptists espouse the same values, some Baptists consider that there must have been some kind of ecclesial relationship between the two groups. However, although the reliable evidence for this is a little more extant than for the Successionist theory, it is still few and far between (eg: that the founder of the General Baptists had contacts with the Mennonite Waterlanders of Holland and the so-called but dubious ‘Kiffin manuscript’ allegedly linking the Particular Baptists to Anabaptist groups in Europe), this is still a minority Baptist view

  3. The Separationist theory. Basically, this theory states that the Baptists were just one of a number of congregationalist groups arising from the Puritan movement within the Church of England. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the Puritan movement, which was initially a reform movement within Anglicanism aimed at a more Presbyterian form of ecclesiology and a much more Calvinist and less Catholic doctrine and practice, split: there were those who remained within as an ecclesiola in ecclesia and still believed that the CofE could be changed from within; there were also those who gave up on that and espoused Separatism - initially from the CofE, but then increasingly advocating the separation of church and state, and falling back - by coincidence it seems - of the Anabaptist ecclesiology of a gathered church, congregationally governed. Two such groups then espoused believer’s baptism and effectively became the first Baptists - the General Baptists (Arminian) under Helwys and Smith in c1611 and the Particular Baptists (Calvinist) by about 1644. This theory has the most historical data to back it up and is most widely held

Yours in Christ

Matt


#15

I like to yank their chains sometimes and say “which baptists-free will, southern, american, seventh day etc.?” That always annoys them.


#16

Thank you, Matt for such a solid presentation. The Baptist association with the Puritans is what I was taught (late70’s-80’s) as the origin of today’s Baptist at a Baptist University. I never knew of any Baptist professor that considered Trail of Blood anything but bunk. If anything there was a strong denial of the necessity to associate oneself back to apostolic and early church times.


#17

[quote=gladtobe]I was reading a booklet called “The Trail of Blood” by Carroll. The author claims the doctrinal beliefs of the Baptist church today can be traced throughout every century back to the Apostles. Not that the churches in the early centuries were called “Baptists”, rather that what they believed was strictly Baptist.What do you say? Was the church in the apostles era and after, Baptist in belief?
[/quote]

What do the early Church writers profess? The earliest I know of after the Apostles is Ignatius of Antioch. Give it a read, he speaks of the Eucharist and the Catholic Church.


#18

Try giving them this:

Do you have any idea when your faith was founded and by whom? You may find this enlightening:

If you are a member of the Jewish faith, your religion was founded about 4,000 years ago.

If you are Roman Catholic, Jesus Christ founded your Church in the year A.D. 30.

If you are Islamic, Mohammed started your religion in what is now Saudi Arabia around A.D. 600.

If you are Eastern Orthodox, your sect separated from Roman Catholicism around the year 1054.

If you are Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk in the Catholic Church, in 1517.

If you belong to the Church of England (Anglican), your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.

If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded when John Knox brought the teachings of John Calvin to Scotland in the Year 1560.

If you are Unitarian, your group developed in Europe in the 1500s.

If you are a Congregationalist, your religion branched off Puritanism in the early 1600s in England.

*If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1607.
*
If you are a Methodist, your religion was founded by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.

If you are an Episcopalian, your religion came from England to the American colonies. It formed a separate religion founded by Samuel Seabury in 1789.

If you are a Mormon (Latter-day Saints), Joseph Smith started your church in Palmyra, N.Y. in 1830.

If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.

If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year your religion was founded by Mary Baker Eddy.

If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, your religion was founded by Charles Taze Russell in Pennsylvania in the 1870s.

If you are Pentecostal, your religion was started in the United States in 1901.

God Bless.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.