Tag Archives: John Cotton

213 – July 31 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Obadiah Holmes

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: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 313-14.

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187 – July 05 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

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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