Catholics and Protestants both engaged in burning Baptists
Protestant reformers were sometimes as guilty of atrocities as the Romanists against the Baptists
and Anabaptists. Catholics and Protestants taught that tradition, reason and Scripture made it the
pious duty of saints to torture and burn men as heretics out of pure love for their holiness and
salvation. Protestantism told them that it was a sacred duty to slaughter those as schismatics ,
sectaries, malignants, who corrupted the Church and would not live in peace with the Reformed.
The sad instances of persecution practiced against the Baptists by the Protestants in King Edward
VI’s reign are in the Latin version of Foxe’s Book of Martrs but were left out of his English
edition in order to protect the reputation of some of the martyrs of Queen Mary’s day who had
persecuted the Baptists during Edward’s reign. John Rogers, one of Foxe’s friends, called for
the death of those who opposed the baptism of infants. It was reported that Rogers declared
“That burning alive was no cruel death, but easy enough.” It is believed that Foxe responded
that Rogers himself may be the first to experience this mild burning. And so it was, Rogers was
the first to be burned when the Catholic Queen Mary came to the throne. During the last year
of Edward’s reign Humphry Middleton was cast into prison by the Archbishop. After Bloody
Mary arose to power, the bishops were cast into prison and Middleton was burned at Canterbury
on July 12, 1555. The time of baptism as well as the mode was debated at this time because
some of the Protestants immersed. So the issue was believer’s baptism v infant baptism. During
Mary’s reign the prisons were crowded because both of these positions were anathema to the
Catholic Mary. None was recorded by Baptists.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 285-86.