Appreciation, Education, and Erratum

Appreciation:  I have been so encouraged by your responses to our times together Sunday morning.  Many have expressed excitement about our plans to be more proactive in presenting and reminding ourselves about why we are here and what we are doing.  The sermon outlines are, or will be, at the website soon, and the podcast will also have the rest of the presentation made in the second hour available as well.

Education: One question came up concerning church history,specifically Baptists before the Reformation.  In follow-up discussion with the questioner and then later with others, the issue had to do with a theory of Baptist origins and history that some have been exposed to sometimes called “The Trail of Blood.”  This idea first appeared in 1738 in Thomas Crosby’s The History of the English Baptists, and in a few other writers following him in England and America.  It was given widespead exposure by Rev. J.M. Carroll in a booklet of that name in 1931.  It holds that Baptists have roots that parallel, but in no way connect with the historic churches of the Reformation.  According to Carroll and his predecessors, this true church was never a part of either Roman Catholic roots or those churches that came out of Roman Catholicism at the Reformation.  Thus, Baptists are NOT Protestants, in this view.The groups Carroll lists as Baptist originators include the Donatists, the Paulicians, the Cathari, the Albigensees, Anabaptists, and others. 

This is bad history and has been rejected by all but a small segment of Baptists (including most “Landmark Baptists”). who try to claim that they and they alone represent an unbroken line of pure churches.  Those groups cited as early “baptists”  include sects that held to heretical views that no Bible-believing Baptist would accept. You can actually read the book online here and in the text click on the link to see the original chart.  This thinking is not taught and has not been taught at Cedarville–at least not at any time I am aware of, or any of the historic, Regular Baptist institutions as far as I have been able to discover.  It is a view that was developed to give Baptists a platform to claim priority over other Protestant groups and over Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox groups as well. 

Erratum:   In answering that church history question, I mistakenly speculated that it was the Albigensees facing persecution in 1492 in Spain instead of “anabaptists” as was suggested by the questioner.  This was not the case, as the Albigensee sect was found in France, not Spain.  I have not found any documented reference to persecution of Anabaptists in Spain at the time–in fact, the Reformation had little impact in Spain generally compared to other parts of Europe.  The Spanish inquisition’s main targets were Jews, Muslims, and those who had converted from these faiths to Roman Catholicism.

Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment