by Steven Keeler
ANABAPTISTS (now called BAPTISTS) were around before the Protestant Reformation, and can be traced back to the earliest days of Christianity.
WHO WOULD SAY SUCH A THING?
“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, who have been more cruelly punished, or that have more stoutly, steadfastly, cheerfully taken their punishment…. Yea, in Saint Augustine’s time, as he himself saith, there was a certain monstrous desire of death in them. … Neither was there such foolish hardy heretics in Saint Augustine’s time only. For four hundred years ago, at what time S. Bernard lived, there were Anabaptists….”
–Cardinal Stanislaus Hosius (Bishop of Worms and one of the members of the presiding council at the COUNCIL OF TRENT), HATCHET OF HERESIES (1565)
“In the eleventh and twelfth centuries [over 400 years before the Reformation] the Petrobrussians rejected infant baptism and they and many subsequent medieval heretics (Henricians, Waldenses, Albigenses, and Bohemian Brethren) held views resembling in some respects the tenets of the Anabaptists.”
“The Waldenses and Cathari, and later the Anabaptists, rejected the doctrine that infants are capable of receiving valid baptism.”
—CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA (1907), article: “Anabaptists,” “Baptism”
“Peter Waldo and his ‘Poor Men of Lyons’ who persist to this day as Waldenses in Northern Italy…were excommunicated by the pope in 1184. … The Waldenses were humble folk…. Many of their tenets differed with the Roman Church in ways similar to the later Anabaptists….”
–The ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH (1965), article: “Pre-Reformation Reformers”
“Their attempt to create a pure church, withdrawn from the proper ecclesiastical order, was insufferable hypocrisy, and was reminiscent of the Donatist heresy of Augustine’s time.”
–John S. Oyer, LUTHERAN REFORMERS AGAINST ANABAPTISTS (1964)
“The true origin of that sect which acquired the denomination of Anabaptists….is hidden in the depths of antiquity…. The modern Mennonites…consider themselves as the descendants of the Waldenses…. [T]he Mennonites are not entirely in an error when they boast their descent from the Waldenses, Petrobrussians, and other ancient sects…. Before the rise of Luther and Calvin, there lay concealed, in almost all the countries of Europe, particularly in Bohemia, Moravia, Switzerland, and Germany, many persons, who adhered tenaciously to the following doctrine, which the Waldenses, Wickliffites, and Hussites had maintained…. … It appears from undoubted testimonies, that the Wickliffites and Hussites did not greatly differ from the Waldenses…. … Several persons of this odious class made their appearance at the same time.”
–John L. Mosheim, D.D., (Lutheran scholar), AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY, ANCIENT AND MODERN (1859)
“PAULICIANS. – The Paulicians, of whom Gibbon says that they shook the East and enlightened the West, were an anti-Catholic sect which originated in the 7th cent. (possibly earlier)…and is not without descendants in Eastern Europe today. … the specific opinions which have been ascribed to it include…a vehement and stubborn rejection of Mariolatry and the worship of saints and images, …and a special emphasis on adult baptism as the only valid form. … The Paulicians are best understood as a section in that continuous stream of anti-Catholic and anti-hierarchical thought and life which runs parallel with the stream of ‘orthodox’ doctrine and organization practically throughout the history of the Church.”
–Charles Anderson Scott, M.A., D.D., of Cambridge, THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION AND ETHICS (1955), article: “Paulicians” [an anabaptist sect]
“Two sharply contrasting views of the origin of the Baptists…have been advanced by scholars. …General Baptists emerged out of a largely underground tradition that extended back to the 1530s, at which time an Anabaptist congregation existed in London. It in turn had probably built on Lollard [14th century] foundations.”
–THE OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE REFORMATION (1996); article: “Baptists”
“The Anabaptists did not invent their rejection of infant baptism, for there have always been parties in the Church which were antipedobaptists [those who oppose infant baptism].”
–THE NEW SCHAFF-HERZOG RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA (1951); article: “Anabaptists”
THROUGHOUT THE AGES THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CHRISTIAN GROUPS WHO REJECTED INFANT BAPTISM, AND WERE NEVER SUBJECT TO ANY POPE, WHETHER GOING BY THE NAME DONATISTS, PAULICIANS, WALDENSES, PETROBRUSSIANS, HENRICIANS, WICKLIFFITES, LOLLARDS, HUSSITES, BOHEMIAN BRETHREN, ANABAPTISTS, OR BAPTISTS.