John Baptist Henry

The Book, The Blood and The Blessed Hope!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Christ's Church

Witnesses For Christ's Church


"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:18-20)

["Observe" here in Matthew 28:20 is defined by Websters 1828 Dictionary thusly: "Latin, observo; ob and servo, to keep or hold. The sense is to hold in view, or to keep the eyes on." The same Greek word, "tereo," used here in Matthew 28:20 is translated "the keepers" in verse 4 of the same chapter. "Tereo" is found 75 times in the NT. It is translated "keep" 57 times, "reserve" 8 times, "observe" 4 times, "watch" 2 times, "preserve" 2 times, "keepers" 1 time, and "hold fast" 1 time. The first and foremost meaning is not to do, but to protect and preserve. It becomes clear then that the Lord Jesus charged the church with the responsibility to protect and preserve "all things whatsoever [He] commanded" the church.]

THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:19-21)

"... [T]he holy scriptures ... are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:15-16)

"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." (John 16:13-14)

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17)

"... [T]hou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." (1 Timothy 3:15-16)

"Beloved, ... ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3; cf. Romans 3:1-3: Note that "the faith of God [v. 3] is synonymous with "the oracles of God" [v. 2]. Epherians 4:4-5 says, "There is one body, ... one faith ...")

"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." (1 John 2:19)

"They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (1 John 4:5-6)

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (1 Peter 2:2-3)

"For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ." (2 Corinthians 2:17)


"Neither did this [Baptist] heresy begin yesterday, or the day before, for it reigned also in saint Augustine's time [354 - 430 A.D.]. ... For if so be, that as every man is most ready to suffer death for the faith of his sect, so his faith should be judged most perfect and most sure, there shall be no faith more certain and true, than is the Anabaptists', seeing there be none now, or have been before time for the space of these thousand and two hundred years [back to Augustine's time], who have been more cruelly punished, or that have more stoutly, steadfastly, cheerfully taken their punishment, yea or have offered themselves of their own accord to death, were it never so terrible and grievous. Yea in Saint Augustine's time, as he himself saith, there was a certain monstrous desire of death in them. For at what time the worshipping of Idols did as yet continue, he writeth that great throngs of Donatists did come to the solemnities of the Pagans, that they might be killed of the Idolators. ... Neither have the Anabaptists of our time swerved from their predecessors, neither have they been less stout and cheerful in sustaining all kind of death in the behalf of their faith, as among other one Justus Menius an eyewitness of this thing hath left in writing, in that book in the which he confuteth their heresies. So by and by even at the beginning, the Anabaptists' heresy began to be very hot of spirit, and afterward so often as it burned, the heat of it was nothing cooled or abated. ... If you behold their cheerfulness in suffering persecutions, the Anabaptists run far before all other heretics. If you will have regard to the number, it is like that in multitude they would swarm above all other, if they were not grievously plagued, and cut off with the knife of persecution. If you have an eye to the outward appearance of godliness, both the Lutherans and the Zwinglians must needs grant, that they far pass them. If you will be moved with the boasting of the word of God, these be no less bold than Calvin to preach, that their doctrine must stand aloft above all the glory of the world, must stand invincible above all power, because it is not their word, but the word of the living God. Neither do they cry with less loudness than Luther, that with their doctrine which is the word of God, they shall judge the Angels. And surely how many so ever have written against this heresy, whether they were Catholics or heretics, they were able to overthrow it not so much by the testimony of the scriptures, as by the authority of the Church." -- Catholic Cardinal Stanislaus Hosius who presided over the third period of the Council of Trent from 1561 to 1563 (Text from Richard Shacklock's 1565 translation entitled, The Hatchet of Heresies, the translation of The Origin of Heresies of Our Time, Chapter entitled, True Doctrine of the Catholic Christian, A Solid Defense, fol. 44v-49v; [brackets mine].)

"The institution of Anabaptism is no novelty, but for three hundred years has caused great disturbance in the church, and has acquired such a strength that the attempt in this age to contend with it appears futile for a time." -- Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), Swiss Reformer contemporary with John Calvin who to leadership after Calvin.

"Now, I think it not labour lost to speak somewhat of anabaptism. In the time that Decius [201-251 A.D.] and Gallus [201-311 A.D.] Caesar were Emperors, there arose a question in the parts of Africa of rebaptising heretics; and St. Cyprian, and the rest of the Bishops, being assembled together in the council of Carthage, liked well of anabaptism ... Against the Donatists St. Augustine, with other learned men, disputed. There is also an Imperial Law made by Honorius and Theodosius, that holy Baptism should not be iterated [perform again]. Justinian Caesar [483-565 A.D.] hath published the same, in Cod. lib. I. Tit. 6, in these words. 'If any Minister of the Catholic Church be detected to have rebaptised any, let both him which committed the unappeasable offence, (if at least by age he be punishable) and he, also, that is won and persuaded thereunto, suffer punishment of death.'" -- Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575), Swiss Protestant reformer, who succeeded Zwingli (Bullinger, Heinrich, Sermons On The Sacraments, Cambridge, University Press for T. Stevenson, London, 1811, pp. 186, 187)

"I believe the Mennonites are not altogether in the wrong, when they boast of a descent from these Waldenses, Petrobrusians, and others, who are usually styled witnesses for the truth before Luther. Prior to the age of Luther, there lay concealed in almost every country of Europe but especially in Bohemia, Moravia, Switzerland and Germany, very many persons, in whose minds were deeply rooted that principle which the Waldenses, Wyclifites, and the Husites maintained, some more covertly and others more openly; namely, that the kingdom which Christ set up on the earth, or the visible church, is an assembly of holy persons; and ought therefore to he entirely free from not only ungodly persons and sinners, but from all institutions of human device against ungodliness. This principle lay at the foundation which was the source of all that was new and singular in the religion of the Mennonites; and the greatest part of their singular opinions, as is well attested, were approved some centuries before the time of Luther, by those who had such views of the Church of Christ. -- Johann Lorenz Mosheim, a Lutheran historian (Mosheim, Johann Lorenz, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, New Havan: Maltby, 1832, Book IV, Cent. XVI, Sec. III, Part II, Chap. III. p. 228).

"The modern Baptists formerly called Anabaptists are the only people that never symbolized with the Papacy." -- Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727), English scientist and mathematician.

"They affirm that they alone are the Church of Christ and his disciples. They declare themselves ... to have apostolic authority and the keys of binding and loosing. They hold the Church of Rome to be the Great Whore of Babylon and all that obey her are damned. ... They hold that none of the ordinances of the Church, that have been introduced since Christ's ascension ought to be observed, as being of no worth: the feasts, fasts, orders, blessings, offices of the [Roman Catholic] Church, and the like, they utterly reject. ... They say, that then first a man is baptized, when he is received into their sect. ... They do not believe the body and blood of Christ to be the true sacrament, but only blessed bread, which by a figure only is called the body of Christ, in like manner as it is said, "and the rock was Christ," and such like. ... According to them there is no purgatory; and all that die do immediately pass either into heaven or hell. That therefore the prayers of the [Roman Catholic] Church for the dead are of no use. ... They hold, that the saints in heaven do not hear the prayers of the faithful, or regard the honours which are done to them. ... They add, that the saints do not pray for us ... Wherefore also they deride all the festivals which we celebrate in honour of the saints, and all other instances of our veneration for them. ... They do not observe Lent or other fasts of the [Roman Catholic] Church. ... They do not receive the Old Testament; but the Gospel only, that they may not be overthrown by it, but rather be able to defend themselves therewith; pretending, that upon the coming of the Gospel, all old things are to be laid aside." -- Peter Allix, D.D., historian and scholar of the Church of England (Allix, Pierre, The Ecclesiastical History of The Ancient Churches of Piedmont originally published in 1690, reprinted at Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1821, reprinted by Church History Research & Archives, Gallatin, TN, 1989, pp. 209-212.)

"The Mennonites are descended from the tolerably pure evangelical Waldenses, who were driven by persecution into various countries; and who during the latter part of the twelfth century fled into Flanders; and into the provinces of Holland and Zealand, where they lived simple and exemplary lives, in the villages as farmers, in the towns by trades, free from the charge of any gross immoralities, and professing the most pure and simple principles, which they exemplified in a holy conversation. They were, therefore, in existence long before the Reformed Church of the Netherlands. We have now seen that the Baptists, who were formerly called Anabaptists, and in later times, Mennonites, were the original Waldenses, and who have long in the history of the church received the honor of that origin. On this account, the Baptists may be considered as the only religious community which has stood since the days of the apostles, and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrines of the gospel through all ages. King Willem I of the NetherlandsThe perfectly correct external and internal economy of the Baptist denomination tends to confirm the truth, disputed by the Romish Church, that the Reformation brought about in the sixteenth century was in the highest degree necessary, and at the same time goes to refute the erroneous notion of the Catholics, that their denomination is the most ancient." -- King William I of the Netherlands commissioned two Dutch Reformed scholars, Dr. Annaeus Ypeij, Professor of Theology at Graningen and Dr. Izaak Johannes Dermout, Chaplain to King William I of the Netherlands [1815 - 1840] (Ypeij en Dermout, Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Hervornude Kerk [History of the Dutch Reformed Church], Breda, 1819; quoted in John T. Christian's A History of The Baptists [Texarkana, Bogard Press, 1922], Vol. 1, pp. 95-96.)


"I have no question in my own mind that there has been a historical succession of Baptists from the days of Christ to the present." (Christian, John T., A History of The Baptists (Texarkana, Bogard Press, 1922), Vol. 1, pp. 5-6.)

"But if it should be said, that the apostolic succession cannot be ascertained, and then it is proper to act without it; we say, that the loss of the succession can neither prove it futile, nor justify any one out of it. The Pedobaptists, by their own histories, admit they are not of it; but we do not, and shall think ourselves entitled to the claim, until the reverse be clearly shewn. And should any think authority derived from the MOTHER OF HARLOTS sufficient to qualify to administer a Gospel ordinance, they will be so charitable as not to condemn us for preferring that derived from Christ. And should any still more absurdly plead that ordination, received from an individual is sufficient; we leave them to shew what is the use of ordination, and why it exists. If any think an administration will suffice which has no pattern in the gospel; they will suffer us to act according to the divine order with impunity." (Mercer, Jesse (1838). A History of the Georgia Baptist Association. pp. 196–201; From a circular letter by Mercer for the Georgia Baptist Association dated 1811.)

"He has been for several sessions one of the vice-presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, and is now first vice-president of the board of trustees of the Southern Baptist Seminary. He is possessed of a rare dignity of manners, fine scholarship, and a blessed record." (Cathcart, William, The Baptist Encyclopedia, Philadelphia, Louis H. Everts, 1881, pp. 620-621.)

"... They have always maintained that their churches are as ancient as Christianity itself. That their foundations were laid by no less honorable hands than those of Christ and his apostles. In all ages since the first, the Baptists have believed their denomination more ancient than themselves. The American Baptists deny that they owe their origin to Roger Williams. The English Baptists will not grant that John Smyth or Thomas Helwysse was their founder. The Welsh Baptists strenuously contend that they received their creed in the first century, from those who had obtained it, direct, from the apostles themselves. The Dutch Baptists trace their spiritual pedigree up to the same source. The German Baptists maintained that they were older than the Reformation, older than the corrupt hierarchy which it sought to reform. The Waldensian Baptists boasted an ancestry far older than Waldo, older than the most ancient of their predecessors in the vales of Piedmont. So, too, may we say of the Lollards, Henricians, Paterines, Paulicians, Donatists, and other ancient Baptists, that they claim an origin more ancient than that of the men or the circumstances from which they derived their peculiar appellations. If in any instance the stream of descent is lost to human eye, in 'the remote depths of antiquity,' they maintain that it ultimately reappears, and reveals its source in Christ and his apostles.  Now we think that this singular unanimity of opinion among the Baptists of all countries and of all ages, respecting their common origin in apostolic and primitive times - a unanimity the existence of which might easily be established by numerous quotations from historians and other writers among them, is of itself a fact of no little value, as furnishing a presumptive argument of much force in support of the Baptist claim. In England and in the United States especially, the Baptists are now numerous, intelligent, and in every way as respectable as any denomination of Christian people. Among them are men, not only of unimpeachable moral and Christian character, but of profound learning and extensive historical research. And all these, as well as the humblest and most unlearned among them, believe that Baptists, (whether with or without the name, is a matter of indifference,) have existed 'from the days of John the Baptist until now.'" (Jones, Tiberius Gracchus, The Baptists: Their Origin, Continuity, Principles, Spirit, Polity, Position, and Influence. A Vindication, 1860; Philadelphia, American Baptist Publication Society, pp. 23-25.)

"In proceeding to sketch the History of the Baptist body at large, their writers rejoice that early historical documents are in existence which very materially aid them. They cannot, they say, but be thankful to Mosheim when he tells them that their origin is hidden in the depths of antiquity, because such a testimony, like that of Cardinal Hosius, when he says that the Baptists have furnished martyrs for twelve hundred years, goes to show that they are not so modern in their origin as some recent writers would pretend. ... But as the Baptists lay claim to the highest antiquity, even to be the lineal descendants of the primitive church ..." (Joseph Belcher, The Religious Denominations in The United States, New and Revised Ed., (Philadelphia, John E. Potter, 1861), p. 120, 124.)

"It will be seen that the Baptists claim the high antiquity of the commencement of the Christian church. They can trace a succession of those who have believed the same doctrine, and administered the same ordinances, directly up to the apostolic age." (Joseph Belcher, Religious Denominations in Europe and America, p. 53 as quoted by James Robinson Graves in Old Landmarkism, Texarkana, Bogard Press, 1881, p. 86.)

"The Baptist denomination was founded by Jesus during his earthly ministry. Next to the Teacher of Nazareth, our great leaders were the apostles, and the elders, bishops, and evangelists, who preached Christ in their times. The instructions of our Founder are contained in the four Gospels, the heaven-given teachings of our earliest ministers are in the inspired Epistles. The first Baptist missionary journal was the Acts of the Apostles." (Cathcart, William, The Baptist Encyclopedia, Philadelphia, Louis H. Everts, 1881, p. 74.)

"I am not ashamed of the denomination to which I belong, sprung as we are, direct from the loins of Christ, having never passed through the turbid stream of Romanism, and having an origin apart from all dissent or Protestantism, because we have existed before all other sects ..." (Spurgeon, C.H., New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 16, 1860, (Pasadena, Texas, Pilgrim Publications, 1973 reprint), p. 66.)

"We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the reformation, we were reformers before Luther or Calvin were born; we never came from the church of Rome, for we were never in it, but we have an unbroken line up to the apostles themselves. We have always existed from the very days of Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel underground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents. ... "And now it seems to me, at this day, when any say to us, 'You, as a denomination, what great names can you mention? What fathers can you speak of?' We may reply, 'More than any other under heaven, for we are the old apostolic Church that have never bowed to the yoke of princes yet; we, known among men, in all ages, by various names, such as Donatists, Novatians, [sic] Paulicians, Petrobrussians, Cathari, Arnoldists, Hussites, Waldenses, Lollards, and Anabaptists, have always contended for the purity of the Church, and her distinctness and separation from human government. Our fathers were men inured to hardships, and unused to ease. They present to us, their children, an unbroken line which comes legitimately from the apostles, not through the filth of Rome, not by the manipulations of prelates, but by the Divine life, the Spirit's anointing, the fellowship of the Son in suffering and of the Father in truth." (Spurgeon, C.H., Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 7, 1861 (Pasadena, Texas, Pilgrim Publications, 1973 reprint), pp. 225, 613.) 

"History has hitherto been written by our enemies, who never would have kept a single fact about us upon the record if they could have helped it, and yet it leaks out every now and then that certain poor people called Anabaptists were brought up for condemnation. From the days of Henry II to those of Elizabeth we hear of certain unhappy heretics who were hated of all men for the truth's sake which was in them. We read of poor men and women, with their garments cut short, turned out into the fields to perish in the cold, and anon of others who were burnt at Newington for the crime of Anabaptism. Long before your Protestants were known of, these horrible Anabaptists, as they were unjustly called, were protesting for the 'one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.'" (Spurgeon, C.H., Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 7, 1861, Pasadena, Texas, Pilgrim Publications, 1973 reprint), Vol. 27, p. 249.)

"Christian history, in the first century, was strictly and properly Baptist history, although the word "Baptist," as a distinctive appellation, was not then known. How could it be? How was it possible to call any Christians Baptist Christians, when all were Baptists? ... In the fourth century the DONATISTS raised the reform standard. They constituted about one-half of the Christian population of Northern Africa. Purity was their main object; they also, as well as the Novatians, called themselves CATHARI - the PURE - PURITANS. Other men called them DONATISTS, after Donatus, whose leadership they followed. Robert Robinson, a learned writer of ecclesiastical history, in the last century, says they were 'Trinitarian Baptists.' The Rev. Thomas Long, Prebendary of Exeter, [a Church of England clergyman] whose 'History of the Donatists' was published in 1677, asserts that they 'were generally anabaptistical; for they did not only rebaptize the adults that came over to them, but refused to baptize children, contrary to the practice of the Church, as appears by several discourses of St. Augustine, (Page 103).' ... Every age brought to view champions for the true and right: and we Baptists are the Novatians, the Donatists, the Paulicians, the Petrobrussians of the nineteenth century. ... Some one starts up in dismay; - 'Sir! all those people were heretics and schismatics!' Hard words, these! But we have been used to them. They called our Lord himself a 'Samaritan,' and said that 'he had a devil.' The fact is, that the dominant part always assumed to be the orthodox, and bade the people believe that those who differed from them were heretics. Trinitarians were orthodox in the days of Constantine, and the Arians were banished. The Arians were the orthodox in the next reign, that of Constantius, and then the Trinitarians were banished. These alternations were continually taking place. And so it comes to this, that if you want to trace the true church of God, you must follow her down the line of those who have been stigmatized, and their names cast out as evil. Patriotism has been oftener found at the headsman's block than in kings' palaces." (Cramp, J.M., D.D. The Case of The Baptists, Stated and Explained, Addressed to all Whom it May Concern, Halifax, N.S., "Christian Messenger" Office, 1873, pp. 3-5, 10.)

"This great prophet John, had immediate commission from heaven, Luke iii 2, before he entered upon the actual administration of his office. And as the English Baptists adhere closely to this principle, that John the Baptist was by divine command, the first commissioned to preach the gospel, and baptize by immersion, those that receive it; and that this practice has ever since been maintained and continued in the world to this present day; so it may not be improper to consider the state of religion in this kingdom; it being agreed on all hands that the plantation of the gospel here was very early, even in the Apostles days." (Crosby, A History Of The Baptists, Vol. II, p. ii., as quoted by John T. Christian in his A History of the Baptists, Vol. 1, Chap. XIV, p. 172.)

"And sometimes anciently they were called Anabaptists, as they have been of late times, and for the same cause, for when others innovated in the worship of God and changed the subject in baptism, they kept on their way, and men grew angry, and for mending an error, they called them Anabaptists, and so they came by the name, which is very ancient ..." (Hooke, Joseph, A Necessary Apology for The Baptized Believers, London, 1701,, p. 66.)

"... I should think the valleys of Piedmont, which lie between France and Italy, are intended, where God has preserved, and continued a set of witnesses to the truth, in a succession, from the beginning of the apostacy to the present time, living in obscurity, and in safety, so far as not to be utterly destroyed ..." (Gill, John, Gill's Expositor, London, Matthews & Leigh, 1809, Vol. VIII, p. 691.)

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