March 8, 2014 · 8:18 AM
King George II
WHO OPENED THE NAILED DOORS OF THE CHURCH?
1680 –The Baptists in Boston quietly and cautiously built a new meetinghouse and began to assemble there on February 15, 1679. But the authorities soon found out and issued a law in May, 1679 to take the property from them if they continued to meet there. Under the threat of law, the Baptists ceased to occupy their own building. However, King Charles II issued an edict to all authorities to allow freedom and liberty of conscience to all non-Catholics. He further stated they were not to be subjected to fines or forfeitures, or other hardships for the same. He stated, “…which is it a severity the more to be wondered at, whereas liberty of conscience was made one principle motive for your transportation into those parts.” Some friends of the Baptists in London notified the Baptists in Boston about the King’s decree, and the Baptists happily returned to meeting in their building. Shortly, the spiritual leadership was summoned before the Court of Assistants where is was demanded that they promise not to meet there again. They refused to promise and on March 8, 1680, an officer of the court nailed the doors to their building shut and posted the order thereon. The Baptists held their services in the yard, until one Sunday when they arrived, much to their surprise the doors were open. They did not know whether man or angel opened those doors, but they entered and held services and said, “The Court had done this illegally, we were denied a copy of the constable’s order and Marshall’s warrant, and we concluded to go into our house, it being our own, having a civil right to it.” Dr. Increase Mather published a pamphlet in London speaking against the Baptists’ character. John Russell wrote an answer to what Mather wrote. It was published in London and prefaced by some Baptist Ministers in England. They said, “It seems most strange that our Congregational brethren in New England, who with liberal estates, chose rather to depart from their native soil into a wilderness, than to be under the lash of those who upon religious pretenses took delight to smite their fellow servants, should exercise towards others the like severity that themselves at so great hazard and hardship sought to avoid; especially considering that it is against their brethren, who profess and appeal to the same rule with themselves for guidance in the worship of God, and the ordering of their whole conversation.”
Barbara Ketay from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 95-96.
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September 5, 2013 · 3:50 PM
Set Free Forever More
1651 – John Spur and John Hazel, both elderly men, were hauled into court in Salem, Mass. for the horrible “crime” of offering sympathy to Obadiah Holmes, at the time of his brutal beating by the authorities, for preaching without a license from the Congregational Church. Neither men were convinced Baptists as yet, but Spur had been excommunicated from the Salem Congregational Church for declaring his opposition to infant baptism. Spur was given his choice of a forty shilling fine, or a whipping. Someone paid his fine, which he declined, but the court took it and released him anyway. Hazel, though very Ill, defended himself by saying, “…what law have I broken in taking my friend by the hand when he was free and had satisfied the law?” The sentence was still given: Hazel was to pay a fine or be whipped. Five days went by and when he refused to pay, the jailer released him, but he refused to leave without a discharge. The jailer gave it to him and he left totally free of all charges. Three days later, on Sept. 13, 1651 John Hazel was with the Lord Jesus, set free forever more. [Edwin S. Gaustad, Baptist Piety (Grand Rapids, Mich.: WmB. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1978), p. 30. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 486-487.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
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Tagged as authorities, Baptist history, bju press, brutal beating, court, crime, edwin s gaustad, human-rights, john spur, obadiah holmes, Religion, salem congregational church, Salem Mass, Set Free, sympathy
August 2, 2013 · 4:32 PM
Failing to baptize infants was worthy of death
Dr. John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes, and a Baptist laymen, John Crandall, had walked eighty miles to a blind friend’s home in Lynn, Massachusetts for worship services. Little did they know that they were being closely watched by the authorities. In the midst of their worship in the Witter home, a marshal and his deputies burst in and arrested them, took them to dinner, and then took them to a Puritan meeting that was obviously designed to show them the error of their ways. The three men entered, bowed to the assembly, sat sown, and refused to remove their hats as a demonstration against the treatment that they were receiving. They attempted to defend themselves but were silenced, and then were confined to the Boston jail, being charged with being, “certain erroneous persons, being strangers,” though their offense was understood to be holding a religious service without a license. They were also indicted for holding a private meeting, serving communion to an excommunicated person, rebaptizing converts, etc. They were tried on July 31, 1651. John Cotton, the Puritan preacher acted as the prosecutor and stated the case against the three heretics. He shouted that they denied the power of infant baptism, and thus they were soul murderers. With great fervor he said that they deserved capital punishment just as any other type of murder. The men declared that they conducted a private service not a public service, and claimed under the ancient English maxim that a man’s house, however humble, is his castle. Judge Endicott agreed with John Cotton that these three men should be put to death. Clarke wrote a defense and was fined and released after someone paid his fine, Crandall was released. Holmes was fined and refused to pay the fine and was whipped until he nearly died, but recovered to become a great pastor.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 313-14.
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Tagged as authorities, Baptist history, blind, friend, human-rights, infant baptism, John Clarke, john crandall, obadiah holmes, Obadiah Holmses, puritan preacher, Religion, worship services
January 13, 2013 · 4:12 PM
[they] had to meet outdoors in a city park.
n Jan. 13, 2004, a church building of an independent Baptist church, in Tula, Russia was blown up. Authorities said that it was due to faulty equipment within the building. But in a January report by the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, witnesses testified to having seen a group of men around the building and the sound of breaking glass just before the explosion. The Baptists also established that the gas pipes were not damaged. The pastor had also received anonymous threats. City inspectors have ruled that the building is beyond repair. After the iron curtain came down in 1991, the Russian Orthodox Church took over from the Communist Party and reestablished their influence in religious affairs in Russia. Even though they are not as brutal in their persecution as the communists had been, they still do not hesitate in their persecution of Baptists and other non-conformists. With the crumbling of the USSR, Russia adopted a constitution allowing religious toleration but not real religious liberty. In 1997 a more strict law was passed that required churches to have existed for fifteen years before being permitted to register. The Sept. 2003 Moscow Times reported that one non-registered Baptist church was refused permission to rent any public buildings and had to meet outdoors in a city park. This requirement for registration was amended to allow for a re-registration for groups who were registered prior to the implementation of the 1997 law, but this, of course, gave no relief to independent Baptist congregations. Christian leaders have noticed an increasing intolerance toward non-Orthodox believers. New visas and visa renewals have been regularly denied for foreign religious workers. Much prayer for Russia needs to be added to our prayer lists.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 26-28.
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Tagged as authorities, Baptist history, Communist, constitution, explosion, gas pipes, independent Baptist church, Party, persecution of Baptists, register outdoors in a city park, religious liberty, religious toleration, Russian Orthodox Chruch, testified, Tula Russia, Union of Councils for Soviet Jews
December 9, 2012 · 2:26 PM
They voted to change the course of the sun…
December 09, 1774 – Isaac Backus was instrumental in getting a petition from the Baptists of Massachusetts read before the Provincial Congress which was presided over by John Hancock. Backus as the agent for the Baptists had made the presentation because the Baptists had approached the General Court and local authorities again and again with petitions asking for redress of their grievances relating to taxes for the support of religious teachers. There is no record that any of these petitions were given any attention by the courts. The Baptists of that state had been persecuted and imprisoned for conscience’ sake under these laws and the persistent Backus would not let the issue die. At one point in a four-hour heated discussion on the subject in the presence of Patrick Henry, at the Continental Congress in 1774, John Adams closed the matter by saying “Gentlemen, if you mean to try to effect change in Massachusetts laws respecting religion, you may as well attempt to change the course of the sun in the heavens.” John Hancock, presiding over the Continental Congress, ordered the petition read and considered. With this encouragement, when the General Court of Massachusetts met at Watertown in July 1775, the members heard and pondered this matter and based on the scripture: “ with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” They voted to change the course of the sun in the state of Massachusetts in regards to taxation without representation.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 513-15.
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Tagged as authorities, baptists, Baptists of Massachusetts, Continental Congress, current-events, frievances, General Court, imprisoned, Issac Backus, John Adams, John Hancock, laws, Patrick Henry, persecuted, petition, politics, Provincial Congress, redress, Religion, religious teachers, science, taxes
November 21, 2012 · 11:29 AM
The oppression of Baptists continued in CT until 1771
November 21, 1752 – Elisha Paine, was seized by the authorities of Windham, Connecticut, and imprisoned because he failed to pay a tax to the state church minister. In defending liberty of conscience…Baptists often had to remind Congregationalists of the time when the “shoe was on the other foot,” and their fathers suffered under papal authority and tyranny as well as from Rome’s child, the Church of England. Paine, in an eloquent speech reminded them of the “Golden Rule” and how he marveled at how soon they had forgotten the sword that drove their fathers into this land and now had taken hold of it as a jewel to kill their grandchildren. “O, that man could see how far this is from Christ’s rule! I believe the same people, who put this authority into the hands of Mr. Cogswell, their minister, to put me into prison for not paying him for preaching, would think it very hard for the church I belong to, and am pastor of, if they should be so unjustly taxed at; and yet I can see no other difference, only because the power is in his hands…and yet he hath taken from me by force two cows and one steer, and now my body held in prison only because the power is in his hands.” He compared the law of CT to Rome and referred to Ps. 94:20-22 – Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the Lord is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge. five days later Paine was released from prison. The severe winter kept him from his family, who suffered much in an unfinished house for lack of his assistance. The oppression of Baptists continued in CT until 1771 when liberty prevailed over tyranny in the area of religious freedom.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins /Thompson/ , pp. 485-86.
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Tagged as authorities, Church of England, Connecticut, Elisha Paine, freedom of conscience, god is the rock, human-rights, Religion, religious liberty, Rome, shoe was on the other foot, two cows, windham connecticut, Wyndom