They were arrested for encouraging a brother
“I will have no such trash brought to our jurisdiction.” These were the remarks made by Gov. Endicott of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the plight of the Baptists that were being refused the privileges of Englishmen to have counsel, to be tried by jury, and to know what law they had transgressed. John Spur and John Hazel were taken by warrants dated July 5, 1751 for giving an expression of concern and sympathy to Obadiah Holmes after his beating by the authorities for participating in an unauthorized worship service. John Cotton, the Puritan preacher and prosecutor at John Clarke and Holmes sentencing had preached prior to their sentencing that denying infants’ baptism would overthrow all; and that it was a capital offense and they were soul murderers and deserved the death sentence. The men who whipped Holmes were so brutal that he required a physician to attend to his wounds. Spur only shook Holmes hand and Hazel only said, ‘blessed be God for thee, brother’ and yet they were taken by warrants. Even the attending doctor was the object of inquiry and interrogation. The true nature of a church state and/or a state church is often revealed as one studies church history. Some of the most unrelenting and cruel punishments have been legislated by such unscriptural tribunals. In many cases, they have been carried out with the ferocity far greater than that of pagan religio-political systems. And to think that those Congregationalists viewed themselves as Christian believers.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 275-76.
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A church within prison walls
1662 – Francis Bampfield conducted worship in his house for his family and a few neighbors, his text was I Th. 5:6-7. Soldiers broke up the service producing a warrant and arrested Bampfield, Humphrey Philips his assistant, and twenty-five others who were taken to the home of the provost, Marshall, and detained for five days. All received rough treatment and were later released. Bampfield returned to preaching and was arrested again. After a series of arrests, trials, imprisonments, and persecutions he was finally imprisoned at Dorchester, England where his incarceration lasted for nine years. During this time he preached nearly every Sunday, and was able to establish a church within the prison walls. It was during this time that he embraced the observance of the Sabbath Day. Upon his release he started a church in Piner’s Hall in London, on March 5, 1675. He ministered there, whenever his “prison schedule” allowed until his death in 1684. It was also during this time that he came to accept believer’s immersion only as the scriptural means of baptism, and was immersed while an inmate. He led his congregation to that biblical position. On March 17, 1682, he was arrested for the last time. Following his trial, in which the jury, at the order of the judge, gave a verdict of guilty, he was imprisoned for what would prove the remainder of his life. He was imprisoned in the dread prison at Newgate and was buried in a new graveyard purchased by the Baptists near Aldersgate Street on Feb. 19 1684. [Richard L. Greaves, Saints and Rebels (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University. Press, 1985), p. 183.This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 513-15]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
Lewis Craig grave site
The Bold Preacher Who Fled Fast
Toliver Craig and his wife, of Orange County, Virginia, were the parents of three sons who became Baptist preachers. They had very effective ministries in the area surrounding their home. David Thomas, the Regular Baptist, and Samuel Harriss and James Read, the Separate Baptists, had introduced the gospel of the grace of God into their community. It was not long until the Craig family became flaming evangels, preaching the Word of God everywhere and anytime they had opportunity. As a result of this zeal, the sons Elijah and Lewis Craig found themselves in the county jail. Elijah was incarcerated four times, twice each in Culpeper and Orange County jails. Lewis was imprisoned only twice, once in Caroline County and once in Spotsylvania County, although he was arrested four times. These imprisonments were for preaching the gospel of the Son of God without state-church ordination or state licensure, although they were charged with being vagrants, strollers, or disturbers of the peace.
These brothers probably appeared eccentric in their day, but their younger brother, Joseph, was a very unusual man. He was a man of small stature, stooping shoulders, and hardy complexion. He was very active in business and persevered as a traveling preacher. There is a court record in Orange County Court House dated May 26, 1768, charging him and several others with absenting themselves from the parish church. This may have been due to his conversion experience prior to that date and his presence at Baptist meetings. In spite of several charges against him, to our knowledge he never saw the inside of a jail, doubtless due to the fact that he was a fast runner.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. Thompson/ Cummins pp. 215 -216.
A Teenager in Prison
Andrei Yudintsev, teenager in the Russian gulag, was eighteen when he and his friend, Vladimir Timchuk, were arrested during the Thanksgiving service at their Baptist church. The lads thought they might spend a short time in the local jail or be fined, but soon they discovered they were going to be “tried” and a mandatory “guilty” finding would confine them for years in prison. They were given prison terms of three and a half years. Following a brief incarceration in the local prison, the two were transported to different prison camps. On April 18, 1982, Andrei arrived in his camp where he worked as a welder. For two years, he had no Christian fellowship, but one day he was told that a fellow believer had been brought in. He rejoiced to meet Pavel Zinchenko and to discover that they had many mutual friends. The men continually encouraged each other which made the burdens of prison almost tolerable. In the course of time, a third believer, Vladimir Blasenko from Nikolaev, was also transferred into their camp. Vladimir had suffered severely for his faith, but his captors could not break his spirit. Valdimir was thrilled to discover that Andrei and Pavel had a New Testament, and he read late into the nights. Andrei reported: “At first it might seem that this was a waste of my youth, but when it was over, nothing remained except gratitude to the Lord and gladness. David says in Psalm 33, ‘For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy Name.’”
“Be faithful unto death!”
On this day, and just six days short or her twenty-fourth birthday, Luba Skvortsova was arrested when the Russian police raided the home where the celebration was taking place. When the day of her trial finally came about she could see her parents and a multitude of her friends at the court building. However the vehicle that was carrying her took her back to the jail where she was held and brought her back the next day when no one was there but Russian police. Her parents were allowed to come inside for the two day trial which was a farce, and other believers were given the opportunity to hear the sentencing, where she was given a three year prison term. They began throwing flowers to her and shouted, “take courage”. She was taken to the prison camp in Voroshilovgrad in Southeastern Ukraine and given a bunk on the top floor with six other women where she collapsed, not having slept in twenty-four hours. She discovered that she was in the same prison that housed a number of Independent Baptist pastors; Pavel Rytikov, Stepan Germaniuk, Pavel Sazhnev, Ivan Tyagun and Anatoly Balatsky. When they learned that she was there, she found a note in the exercise yard, “Be faithful unto death!” Those were the same words that her friends had shouted to her in the court room at her sentencing. It was her blessing to meet a Christian friend there, Maria by name who became like a mother to her. The guards confiscated there short gospel portion and poem book on one occasion and their punishment was denying extra money to spend in the camp store. After Maria’s release, a pastor’s wife, Ulyana Germaniuk came and Luba was able to minister to her. Luba was truly faithful for the three years that she has to stay in that terrible place.