He Forsook All To Follow Christ
1557 – At Cologne on the Rhine, printer, Thomas van Imbrock, was arrested as a God-fearing man, for the sake of the truth of the Gospel. He was imprisoned and interrogated concerning his opinions on baptism and marriage. He so skillfully answered their objections with the Scriptures they stopped the questioning and moved him to another prison. His wife wrote him and exhorted him to contend for the truth in a godly manner and remain steadfast in the truth. His conscience was clear from offense before God by forsaking his wife and child, and all earthly things to follow Christ, rejoicing that God had found him worthy to suffer for His name. Two priests debated him concerning infant baptism. One believed infants who died unbaptized to be lost, the other believed they would be saved. They vehemently urged him to repent which he did not, He said, “The Scriptures teach nothing of infant baptism; and they who will be baptized according to God’s word must first be believers.” Three times they called him a heretic and brought him to the rack, but did not torture him. He was brought before a superior authority who tried to persuade him to recant. To cause someone to recant was of greater value to the oppressors of God’s truth than the martyrdom of one of His saints. This is why so much time and torture were given to persuade someone to deny his Lord, instead of just putting him to immediate death. Faithful Believers always represent that which the satanic, immoral forces of the world hate and bring forth from them the most violent and cruel conduct. Ultimately, Thomas was condemned to death by the highest court and was beheaded on March 5, 1558. He was a faithful, preserving witness of Christ and sealed his testimony with his blood at the tender age of 25 years.
Barbara Ketay from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 91-92.
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Tag Archives: baptism
He Forsook All To Follow Christ
First baptisms in the Shenandoah
1770 – A BAPTIST PREACHER IMPRISONED FOR PREACHING WITHOUT A LICENSE IN VIRGINIA IN 1770 - February 26, 1770, was the beginning of the three-month imprisonment of John Pickett, mentioned in the entry for January 14, in the Fauquier County, VA Order Book for 1766, pages 242 and 243. The prison was a two room log building 18’ long and 16’ wide, dovetailed, with layered wood of good mortar between each log. There was a brick wall between the rooms with a fireplace in each room, secured with grates above and below to prevent the prisoners from escaping up the chimney. The only ventilation was a window 12 inches square in each room. These colonial prisons were like ovens in the summer and freezers in the winter, certainly not “country clubs” of our day in comparison. Many of those early preachers lost their health from these conditions and never recovered their strength. The opposition of John Pickett was at times fierce. Some times when he would preach in a grove of trees in the Culpepper area the, Anglican Church parson would appear with his supporters, sit a few yards in front of Pickett, and take notes of what he considered to be false doctrine. The parson would call him a schismatic, a broacher of false doctrines, and one that held up damnable errors. This was done to hold him up to public scorn. Often it backfired, in that it caused people to be sympathetic toward Picket. At that time, many were disgusted with the state hirelings, among whom there were those of disrepute. Some who were attracted by this confrontation and debate were converted to Christ. After Pickett was released his zeal led him to continue his labors around Culpepper and over the Blue Ridge. It is reported that the first baptisms to take place in the Shenandoah, there were as many as fifty who followed there Lord in this ordinance.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 79.
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Memorial – Brooklyn
A Noble lady persecuted
1644 – LADY MOODY FLEES RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN ENGLAND TO BE PERSECUTED BY PURITANS IN AMERICA – 1644. On February 22, 1644 John Endicott wrote a letter to John Winthrop, Governor of Plymouth Colony from Salem, Mass. that Lady Deborah Moody had been “excommunicated” from the Congregational Church at Salem and that a Mr. Norrice had informed him that she intended to return to Plymouth which he advises against, “unless shee will acknowledge her ewill (evil) in opposing the Churches & leave her opinions behinde her, for she is a dangerous woeman. My brother Ludlow writt to mee that, by means of a book she sent to Mrs. Eaton, shee questions her owne baptisme, it is verie doubtefull whether shee will be reclaimed, shee is so far ingaged.” Gov. Winthrop stated that she left “against the advice of all her friends. Many others affected with Anabaptism removed thither also. On her way from Mass. Lady Moody stopped for a time in New Haven and made converts to believer’s baptism and encountered once again religious opposition. Mrs. Eaton, wife of the first Governor of New Haven Colony, was one of the converts, and she too suffered persecution from the Congregational Church at New Haven. She firmly denied that baptism was to be administered to infants. Lady Moody was the widow of Sir Henry of Garsden in Wiltshire, England and came to America because of religious persecution and then received persecution from the hand of the Puritans, who themselves had fled persecution, after she got here. She settled in Lynn, Mass., where she purchased the estate of Mr. Humphrey, one of the magistrates. She had intended on being a permanent resident, but soon became a Baptist. In Dec. 1642 Lady Moody, Mrs. King of Swampscott, and the wife of John Tillton were all tried at the Quarterly Court “for houldinge that the baptizing of infants is noe ordinance of God.” Perhaps because of her position in society she was not banished from Mass. However she determined to seek shelter among strangers and in 1643 moved to New Amsterdam (New York), a settlement that was formed on Long Island, and she took a patent, which, among other things guaranteed, ‘the free liberte of conscience according to the costume of Holland, without molestation or disturbance from any madgistrate or madgistrates,
or any other ecclesiastical minister that may pretend jurisdiction over them.” It is believed that Lady Moody died on Long Island about 1659.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 73.
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The importance of baptism
AN ANGLICAN BECOMES A BAPTIST AND WALKS 120 MILES IN WINTER TO BE BAPTIZED – Dan Taylor, was baptized on February 16, 1763 having walked 120 miles in winter to do so. Several Baptist ministers had refused to baptize him because of his belief in the unlimited atonement of our Lord, but he continued to search until he heard of a society of General Baptists in Lincolnshire. Taylor had begun working in the coal mines of England with his dad when he was just five. He learned to read at an early age and often took a book with him into the heart of the earth. He grew into a sturdy man but undersized which he blamed on not getting enough sunshine during his growing years. His family was not very religious, though members of the Church of England, but had Dan confirmed when he was 16. In a few years he became a lay Methodist preacher and delivered his first sermon in 1761 but his study of the bible led him to desire believer’s baptism. By the next autumn after his baptism he had become a General Baptist pastor in Wadsworth but he found that those churches were generally cold, and with his passion for souls he felt out of place. Withdrawing from the Association, Taylor with nine other ministers founded the Assembly of Free Grace General Baptists, which were nicknamed the “New Connection.” The group affirmed their faith in the natural depravity of man, the obligation of the moral law, the deity of Christ, the universal design of the atonement, the promise of salvation for all who believe, the necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and the obligation upon repentance of immersion. Taylor traveled 25,000 miles, mostly by foot, on preaching tours. He would average on those trips, 9 sermons per week. He believed that any day he did not preach was a failure. Fearing his sight was failing, he memorized a great portion of the N.T. He established an academy, which later became a college to train men for the ministry. He authored 45 publications, some sizeable volumes. He established the General Baptist Magazine in 1798 and served as its 1st editor. He died on Nov. 26, 1816 at 78. In 1791 the “New Connection” merged with the Baptist Union in England.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 64.
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The mode of baptism did count
1525 – Conrad Grebel and his family felt the sting of the edict passed by the city council of Zurich ordering all parents to bring all unbaptized infants to present them for baptism within eight days or face expulsion from the city. Early in 1525 a child had been born to the Grebel’s. Conrad did not baptize his baby because he had become convinced that christening finds no support in the New Testament. Conrad Grebel was from a wealthy and prominent Swiss family, whose father served as a magistrate in Gruningen, just east of Zurich. Conrad also enjoyed many educational advantages. He was saved, and by 1522 was publicly defending the gospel and expressed a desire to become a minister. Falling in with the teachings of Ulrich Zwingli, Grebel also gave himself to the scriptures. Grebel and other young Anabaptists owed much to Zwingli, but they owed more to the Bible. These two loyalties soon came to a head, and it was Grebel who initiated believers baptism on that historic night in January 1525. As such, young Grebel became a champion of the Anabaptist movement. Grebel had only one year and eight months to proclaim the gospel, but in spite of numerous imprisonments and poor health his accomplishments were phenomenal. He preached, visited from door- to-door, baptized those who were saved, and was again arrested and imprisoned in Grunigen Castle. Being brought to trial, Grebel, Blaurock, and Manz were sentenced to an indefinite term of internment in Nov. 1525. They were given a diet of bread and water. Again Grebel was able to escape, but his freedom was short-lived, for he died in the summer of 1526, probably a victim of the plague, but a hero of the faith that lives on even today!
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 22-23
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Nearly every house a house of prayer
1842 – Elder Jabez Smith Swan preached the last Sunday of a five week evangelistic effort that began on August 14 in Mystic, Conn. Those present said that he was truly ‘in the Spirit on the Lord’s day’, as he preached with great power. After the first baptism, there were daily baptisms in Mystic for twenty-six successive days, and sometimes twice daily. More than four hundred persons were baptized during that period. Almost every house was turned into a house of prayer. Swan was born in Stonington, Conn. on Feb. 23, 1800 and at fourteen had “given a good account of himself” as a powder boy in the defense of his town in the War of 1812. He moved to Lyme with his parents, Joshua and Esther and had a deep conversion experience when he was twenty-one years old and was baptized by Rev. William Palmer. He was called to preach, studied at the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institute, and was ordained to the gospel ministry on June 20, 1827. He pastored several churches but always returned to evangelism. He died in 1884 after seeing more than 10,000 conversions, most of them baptized. [F. Dennison, The Evangelist, or Life and Labors of Rev. Jabez S. Swan (Waterford, Conn.,: Wm. L. Peckham, 1873), pp. 193-95, 203-4. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 511-13]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
Saw the first baptism in Knoxville
1814 – Matthew Hillsman was born. He would have been one of the three thousand present when his father John was baptized by John Rogers, a pioneer Baptist preacher, in August of 1825 when the first such event ever occurred in Knoxville, Tenn. John Hillsman, a native of Virginia, had also fought in the Revolutionary War, saw the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781, and heard Washington’s farewell address. Matthew was saved and baptized at nineteen and later ordained to preach. He helped plant the seeds which grew into the First Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Tenn. He pastored churches in Middle Tenn. His church in Murfeesboro sent out three missionaries to the foreign field. He died Oct. 2, 1892. [J.J. Burnett, Sketches of Tennessee’s Pioneer Baptist Preachers (Nashville: Marshall and Bruce Co., 1919), pp. 231, 32. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
Some who want liberty only want it for themselves
Thomas Patient migrated to America as a Congregationalist preacher after graduating from either Oxford or Cambridge University. Meeting Baptists he re-examined the Scriptures concerning Baptism and concluded that “infant baptism” had no foundation in Scripture.” However, because of severe persecution from his church he was forced to return to Great Britain. The Pilgrims had come to find religious liberty but there was not liberty for others. He served as co-pastor with William Kiffin in London in 1640 and was one of the Baptist leaders who signed the Particular Baptist Confession of Faith by seven Baptist churches in London in 1644. This was during the Commonwealth under Cromwell and the English Parliament voted to appoint six ministers to preach in Dublin, Ireland, and Patient accepted one of those positions. He spoke to large audiences and he acted as chaplain for Colonel John Jones, who was actually the Gov. of Dublin and Patient was invited to preach each Lord’s Day in the Council of Dublin and thus the aristocracy of the Anglo-Irish society heard the living gospel. Patient baptized a large group in Dublin and it is believed that he founded the First Baptist Church in Ireland following the Reformation in Ireland. He apparently assisted in establishing the Baptist church at Cloughkeating. All the congregation were tried for their lives, but in God’s providence the foreman died, and they were all acquitted. Because Patient was willing to accept government remuneration for preaching, it is evident that the Baptists of London distanced themselves from him. But to him is the honor of building the first Baptist meetinghouse in Ireland. The man of God fell asleep in Jesus on July 30, 1666 having paid the price for his convictions on Baptism.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 312-13.