I was reading Crisis magazine on line and they mentioned Jack Chick comics. I did a search to find out who that was and on his web site he linked to a book called “Trail of Blood” which states that the Baptists were persecuted by Catholics from the time of Christ and that they have been in existence long before the reformation. As a lifelong Catholic, I had never heard this before and was wondering if you had thoughts or facts to share.
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 –Novations, Montanists, Paulicians, and Waldenses.” Such a claim is impossible to take seriously (see below for links to book and chart)
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.
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.
For additional groups see:
Steve Ray’s excellent rebuttal to The Trail of Blood is at
Another article to read on this subject is Dave Armstrong’s Were the Albigensians Primitive Protestants?
Dr. J.M. Carroll’s book (including chart) is at the following sites: