Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 5
The history I recite you is from H. Leon McBeth, retired professor of History from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He is one of dozens of honest men who could be cited for historical evidence about this denomination.
This movement began in earnest when King Henry VIII started the denomination called the Church of England in the 1550’s when he wanted to divorce his present wife and marry Anne of Boleyn. Henry, a soldier of the Roman Catholic Church rebelled at the limits on his freedom and declared an insurrection, killed the cardinals of England and took the buildings and land belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. Doing this, Henry declared that anyone who worshipped in another assembly other than the Church of England (in an America called the Episcopalian Church) would be killed, put in jail, and have all properties confiscated. Before Henry could rest, men of good faith and firm conviction had begun to question the doctrines and lethargy of the Church of England and were fomenting a religious revolution against Henry and his church.
Founded in Amsterdam, Holland in 1608-09, a splinter group of zealots under John Symthe came together. From 1603-1633, this movement practiced infant baptism, had no music in their assemblies at all of any kind, and constantly were changing and interchanging differing views on many topics of disagreement. In 1630 they sent Richard Blunt to study with the Mennonites in Holland to learn about immersion (unfortunately, they did not consult the apostles of Jesus Christ!). By 1650, immersion was the most common practice among two of the largest sects of this movement, the group known as the General Baptist and another group known as the Particular Baptist. The name Baptist was given them by their adversaries, not the Word of God or any apostle of Jesus Christ. The Particular Baptist was the part of this movement that espoused the doctrine that Christ died only for a particular group called the “elect” and not for all men. It was the Particular Baptist that came to the Americas and were joined by a preacher named Roger Williams; he was to give this movement some notoriety. It was not until a century later that the greatest preacher of this denomination, Charles Spurgeon, was preaching in London, England and having great success. Not even Billy Graham had the success of Mr. Spurgeon. Incidentally, Mr. Spurgeon preached a whole lot of truth; he would not fit in the modern Baptist movement. The Mennonites were disciples of W Menno Simons, an unlearned, earnest person who acknowledged that he had never read much of the Word of God at that time. John Calvin had started the Presbyterian division of the Roman Catholic in Switzerland. Mr. McBeth acknowledges the fact that a church that was supposed to be started on the Word of God, finds great difficulty finding its doctrine in the Word of God. John Smythe and Tom Helweys associates were both members of the Church of England and never were baptized, Baptist! Mr. Smythe was at that time an ordained priest of the Church of England. These men might have been sincere, but sincerity is not what saves. Billions of souls have and are paying for their lack of determination to learn exactly what God’s Word teaches!! This denomination has picked up teachings from many sources and centuries wherever it exist, but not from the inspired Word!! Their doctrine of “believer’s baptism” has been the most constant strain of their teaching for 500 years. The idea that one must be baptized without the proper reason has caused many fair minded souls to never suspect their obedience to God, thinking that part of their obedience had already been accomplished.
My question is what about the souls that pre-existed the denominations of our day. If the Baptist were never heard about until the 16th century, what saved those before it came along? Was Christ without representation in the world until THEY became an existing movement with their particular doctrines? If Christ was without representation, and the gospel was not being preached, would it not be true that all those who lived BEFORE the modern denominations of today would be damned and doomed for eternity? Would Christ not have a church in existence over which He was head? Could Christ be King of the Kingdom IF no kingdom existed on the earth? During this period of time there existed the Church of Christ. Men and women were obeying the gospel FIRST PREACHED IN Jerusalem!!