When offered a deal that would get him out of jail, Baptist preacher John Waller refused to budge.
Waller, imprisoned in Middlesex County in the early 1770s for his beliefs, would have to agree to stop spreading his Baptist message because the only accepted church at the time was the Church of England.
Waller and three other preachers refused the deal and spent 46 days behind bars. In a letter to the judge, Waller explained that he would be "sinning against God" if he kept his faith to himself.
That letter, along with thousands of other documents, is on display in the Heritage Gallery at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society. The museum, on the campus of the University of Richmond, traces Baptist heritage in Virginia....
Neil, Church history is not black and white and you show this with these mitigating factors. However, in my study of original source documents beginning from the close of the New Testament (with Scripture alone my canon) to the twentieth century, I have come away with a deep appreciation for the men who selflessly pressed for Christian establishmentarianism in many different countries and worked together with pastors, elders, and teachers to bring salvation and sanctification to millions who otherwise would have been lost in the heretical mess we see today. So I want to thank God for the men who resisted the Independency movement, because they are almost entirely rejected and ridiculed, or their teachings and deeds censored by their supporters out of embarrassment. I close with the quote posted below which I appreciate.
George Gillespie: The orthodox churches believe also, and do willingly acknowledge, that every lawful magistrate, being by God himself constituted the keeper and defender of both tables of the law, may and ought first and chiefly to take care of God's glory, and (according to his place, or in his manner and way)to preserve religion when pure, and to restore it when decayed and corrupted: and also to provide a learned and godly ministry, schools also and synods, as likewise to restrain and punish as well atheists, blasphemers, heretics and schismatics, as the violators of justice and civil peace.
"Baptist ministers were imprisoned and even whipped for their beliefs," Anderson[the curator of the museum] said. "That's hard to comprehend in our society today."
This fellow must not have read how Baptist Missionaries have been treated in Iraq and Yemen, recently. It sounds like some of this material should tour England, the home of Spurgeon, there needs to be a revival of Baptistism of the Spurgeon variety in that country again.
DM, what should I pray for? I need more specifics (which I'm not sure you should give in a public venue like this).
Craig, what is "schism" to some people is "separation from error" for others, which, as I recall, is why there are OPC, FPC, RPC "Covenanted", and other separatist Presby denoms. That's also why Massachusetts was colonized in the 1st place. If it's OK for Presbys to instigate church splits (oops, "separate"), you can hardly complain about the "spirit of independency" of Baptists, Congregationalists, et al. "Judgement begins at the house of God."
And trying to make Independents ashamed of their past is a poor apologetic anyway. That's the same tactic 4-Point Arminians use against Calvinists - Servetus and all that.
I realize there were fringe heterodox groups like Quakers, Levellers, etc., who were considered "Independents" but for whom I have no sympathy.
BTW, I understand Calvinists supported Jefferson in 1800 not because of his Rationalist tendencies but because he distrusted Federalist big-gov't.
Neil, In light of the horrible fallout brought on by these schismatics, the relationship of the different denominations must be different than in previous centuries (i.e. friendlier), but we are fooling ourselves if we believe that a healing can occur by glossing over the sins of history and avoiding the difficult task of corporate repentance and corporate sanctification. Americans have used the technique of ignoring history to escape the consequences of sin, but this is not God's way. I would reiterate the positive message of my previous post: The Christians who resisted schism (in Scotland, Holland, Switzerland, England, the Colonies, etc.), through enforcing established orthodoxy, in so far as it was biblical (and most of it was), were a blessing to both God and man and led many to salvation, who in a system of schism like we have today would be left to blow in the wind, as millions are as we speak. I thank God for these imperfect men who made a valiant effort to hold back the apostasy.
I think it was the primary one, but you must know better. I'm getting tired of denominational scapegoating. Frankly, the Reformed/Presby camp has a pretty poor track record itself (Scotland, Holland, Switzerland nat'l churches all apostate now, and a bunch of US Presbys all claiming to be true heirs of the WCF), so there's plenty of blame to go around, IMHO. I remember some rabid Presby type here blaming Ref. Baptists for stealing "their" confession. I hope that sickens you, it sure does me.
I thank God for the Anglicans and Presbyterians who made a serious effort to stem the tide of schism brought on by the Baptists and others over the years. However, it was God's will that schismatics, heretics, and atheists would gain unprecedented power and bring a dark age of moral and spiritual chaos to the West. I trust His sovereign will and pray that this "Baptist" age in which the Church is being disciplined will bear great fruit for His glory.