John Baptist Henry

The Book, The Blood and The Blessed Hope!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Reformation

David Benedict
on the Reformation

David Benedict, was a Baptist historian from America whose writings stretched from the end of the 18th century into the middle of the 19th. Benedict's research and views on the Reformation and the arguments over Calvinism and Arminianism are real eye openers, he writes:

        "CALVIN began his course a little after Luther and Zuinglius. He was born at Noyon, in Picardy, in France, in 1509. Luther, Zuinglius, and Calvin became the heads of three distinguished parties, which were called after their names. They acted at first in concert, in the great business of the Reformation, but soon they clashed most violently with each other both in their sentiments and measures. Besides these three reformers, there were a number of others who engaged with much zeal and success in the protestant cause. ... But Calvin surpassed not only Luther, but all his contemporaries in learning and arts, as he did most of them in obstinacy, asperity, and turbulence. Luther fixed his stand at Wittenberg in Saxony, and was succeeded in the general care of the great hierarchy [1], which he established, by the soft and complying Melancthon. Calvin made his stand at Geneva, on the confines of Switzerland.
        Calvin is famous for his defense of predestination [2] and absolute decrees [3], and also for his opposition to the Anabaptists [4]. From Calvin’s followers originated the Presbyterians; and many other sects, who have adopted either in full or in part, his notions of predestination and grace, have consented to be called by his name. (The denomination REFORMED was given to those protestant churches, which did not embrace the doctrine and discipline of Luther.) The title was first assumed by the French protestants, who were often called Huguenots, and afterwards became the common denomination of all the Calvinistical churches on the continent.
        This great body of dissenters from Lutheranism, Mosheim describes under the general denomination of the Reformed Church. But this church was at first composed of many parts, which preserved a nominal union for a time, and then split into a multitude of sects and parties. Out of the Reformed Church arose, among other sects, the Arminians and Quakers. The ARMINIANS were so called from James Arminius, who died at Leyden in Holland, in 1609, just a hundred years after Calvin was born. Arminius warmly opposed Calvin’s notions, respecting predestination and absolute decrees, but he did not carry his system so far as many of his followers have done. The doctrine of falling from grace he left doubtful, but his followers soon determined it in the affirmative.
        Arminius met with severe treatment from his reformed brethren. His party flourished for a time, and then dwindled away. But his peculiar sentiments have prevailed extensively, and are now imbibed by multitudes in every sect of protestants. The Church of England, since the time of the intolerant Laud, has generally embraced the doctrines of Arminius. The Lutherans are also more inclined to Arminianism [5] than Calvinism. Episcopalians and Lutherans subscribe their Augsburg confession and thirty-nine articles, and immediately preach and write directly against them.
        Calvin and Arminius have their partisans in every country and thousands spend much time, in disputing about these favorite chiefs, (of whom they know but little) which they might devote to a much better purpose."

SOURCE: A Summary view of Ecclesiastical History, A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America, and other parts of the world by David Benedict.


1. "Hierarchy" (i.e. Nicolatians): "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." (Revelation 2:6) "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate." (Revelation 2:15) Nicolatians means, "those who lord it over the laity." "nikos" = "victory or conquer" and "laos" = "people or laity"
2. "Predestination" is strictly for those "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ ..." (1 Peter 1:2; cf. 2 Thess 2:13) "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." (Romans 8:29-30) God has not predestined any to Hell.
3. "Absolute decrees" = Nicolatianism
4. "Opposition to the Anabaptists" or more properly the Baptists who made up fully formed New Testament churches of Jesus Christ. The term Anabaptist was applied to them by their enemies, the Catholics and later by the Reformers. Calvinism and Lutheranism came out of the Roman Catholic "MOTHER OF HARLOTS" (Revelation 17:5). Catholicism was only in it's embryonic stage in the days of Emperor Constantine (313 - 337 AD). while Baptist churches have their roots from Jesus Christ and the apostles in New Testament times.
5. "Arminianism" is primarily known for it's opposition to the security of the born again believer which is clearly taught in Scripture (John 3:36, 10:27-30 Romans 8:38-39, et. al.).

Endnotes by John Henry.

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