Tag Archives: prison
Posted: 17 Apr 2015 05:23 PM PDT
Teenager in Prison
“But he’s just a kid!” Surely those words could have been said of Joseph in Egypt, or of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Babylon. But that might also have been said of Andrei Yudintsev, who 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 the 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.’” “He’s just a kid?” Of Andrei we can say, he became a man, and a special kind of man, a man of God!
Dr. Dale R. Hart adapted from: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins. pp. 225 – 226
He preached to as many as 3,000 in London
“Wednesday Sept. 04, 1688 …was kept in prayer and humiliation for this Heavy Stroak upon us, ye Death of deare Brother Bunyan. Apoynted also that Wednesday next be kept in praire and humiliation on the same Account.” John Bunyan, their most loved pastor had died on Friday, Aug. 31 while on a preaching trip to London, England. The news had not reached his congregation in Bedford until they had gathered to worship the following Sunday. Bunyan often preached to as many as 3,000 in London after spending nearly 13 years in Bedford jail for refusing a license to preach the gospel. There he had writtenPilgrim’s Progress and other great works. In 1672 the Act of Pardon had set him free. He was born to a tinker (a repairer of pots and pans). He married in 1647 and was saved and baptized into the membership of Bedford church in 1655. His wife died the same year and he remarried in 1659. He had a precious blind daughter who visited him while in jail. He died as he was born, in poverty. His death came when he was exposed to a heavy rain which brought on a high fever, and in ten days the great preacher was with the Lord. [John Brown, John Bunyan His Life Times and Work (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1888), pp. 390-91. Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 483-85.
He served over seventy years in the ministry
Anderson Moffett was born in Fauquier County, Virginia on August 28, 1746. David Thomas who had come to Virginia originally from the old Philadelphia Baptist Association had planted the Broad Run Church in that County when Moffett was but a youth. Many of the Regular Baptists of Northern Virginia had caught their fire from Thomas who they often referred to as Old Father Thomas.” He fired their souls while establishing them in sound doctrine without quenching their evangelistic zeal. Moffett was converted at an early age and began to preach when he was 17. His age is not known when he was imprisoned in Culpeper. There is only verbal evidence that this happened because all of Anderson’s records were destroyed by fire when he was an aged man, and too weak to rewrite them. His nephew Judge W.W. Moffett gave testimony that his father told him personally of the account of his uncle Anderson Moffett’s jailing for not taking a license to preach, and gave the date as the latter half of 1885 or the first part of 1886. He gave this testimony on Dec. 21, 1923. His father showed him where the Culpeper jail stood. The Culpeper Baptist Church moved to a new location and still stood as of 1993. Moffett was imprisoned along with many other young preachers in that jail. He was there when someone attempted to suffocate them by burning an Indian pepper plant under the jail floor. This incident evidently did not affect his health. God gave Moffett over seventy years of ministry, ending in his 89th year after he had served Smith’s Creek Regular Baptist Church for over fifty years.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 355-56.
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First Baptist Meeting House
Founded the First Baptist Church of Boston
On August 18, 1666 the Assistants’ Court of Massachusetts decided that Thomas Gould could be freed after him and Osborne, a fellow Anabaptist, paid a fine and costs, but if they refused, they were to be banished. On march 3, 1668 , Gould was brought before the court in Boston, and he was recommitted to prison. These godly men, along with other Anabaptists, Drinker, Turner and George had been “disenfranchised” and threatened with imprisonment for worshiping outside of the Congregational State Church. On April 17, 1666, Gould, Osborne and George were presented before the Grand Jury at Cambridge for absence from the Congregational church “for one whole year.” In spite of giving evi-dence that they attended a gospel church regularly, “they were convicted of ‘high presumption against the Lord and his holy appointments,’ and were fined £4 each, and put under bonds of £20 each; as they would not pay their fines, they were thrown into prison.” The name of Thomas Gould was revered by early Baptists in Mass. because of his adamant but gracious refusal in 1655 to have his infant sprinkled in the church of the standing order. During a period of five years Gould was put in “seven or eight courts.” His answer was, “I did not see any rule of Christ for it, for that ordinance belongs to such as can make profession of their faith, as the scripture doth plainly hold forth.” On March 3, 1668, Gould was brought before the Court of Assistants in Boston, and he was re-committed to prison. From the trials of Gould and these men the First Baptist Church of Boston came into existence. The members suffered fines and jail but they prevailed.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 340-41.
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Twelve Baptists in Prison at One Time
John Waller wrote the following letter from the Urbana Prison, Middlesex County, Virginia, on August 12, 1771, at the height of the persecution of Baptists in America. There were twelve Baptists in prison at one time, and it gives insight as to their treatment as well as the success of their ministries while incarcerated. “Dear Brother in the Lord, at a meeting…at Bro. McCain’s, last Sat. while Wm. Webber was preaching from James 2:18, Capt. James Montague, a magistrate came running toward him…followed by the parson of the parish and several others. The magistrate and another took hold of Bro. Webber, dragging him from the stage, delivered him with Brethren Wafford, Robert Ware, Richard Falkner, James Greenwood, and myself, into custody, and commanded that we should be brought before him for trial.
Bro. Wafford was severely scourged, and Bro. Henry Street received one lash from one of the persecutors…we were examined for firearms. We were charged with mutiny against the authority of the land. Finding none, we were asked if we had a license to preach in this county; and learning we had not, it was required of us to give bond and security not to preach anymore in the county, which we modestly refused to do, whereupon after dismissing Brother Wafford with the charge to make his escape out of the county by 12 o’clock the next day on pain of imprisonment, and dismissing Bro. Faulkner, the rest of us were delivered to the sheriff and sent to close jail, with a charge not to allow us to walk in the air until court day. Yesterday we had a large number of people hear us preach, some great ones heard us preach on the new birth.
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300th Anniversary of
Broadmead Church – Now Hanham Baptist
Prayer in England brought the Toleration Act
Pastor George Fownes proposed that the congregation seriously consider the steps that should be taken if the services were interrupted by law officers. On August 03, 1680, they determined to continue their services unless the magistrate himself used violence. This tactic worked well until Dec. 18, 1681, when the civil, ecclesiastical, and military powers invaded the house of God on the Lord’s Day and Pastor Fownes was sent to prison at Newgate. After six weeks in jail, he appeared before the judge and was acquitted due to a flaw in the warrant. Returning to his flock, for safety’s sake, they began holding services in the fields rather than in their church building, regardless of the weather. In March of 1682 Pastor Fownes was arrested again and committed to Glouchester Jail for six months. His persecutors declared that he would not leave the jail alive. The pastor served as his own attorney and the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty”, but he was returned to the prison in spite of the verdict. When his six months were ended he demanded his freedom and a bond was demanded of him and the promise to stop preaching. He requested a judicial inquest. Two justices appeared before the judge and said that if he was released “he would draw all the country after him.” He was held for two more years in prison until the Lord in mercy released him in death in Dec. of 1685. After the Act of Toleration, the Broadmead Baptist Church, in Bristol, England finally knew peace, and Pastor Fowne’s son, George Fownes, became pastor in 1693. In 1695 “the church built a new meeting house 50 feet long by 40 feet, with no debt.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 318-19.
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“Not many noble”
The great Baptist preacher and leader in the early days of our Republic, John Leland’s description of Elijah Baker was quite revealing. He said that he was “a man of low parentage, small learning and confined abilities. But with one talent, he did more than many do with five.” It reminds us of the words of Paul at 1 Cor 1:26 – “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:” God is looking for availability not ability. Baker, one of the early Baptist ministers, was greatly used of God to establish all of the churches between Hampton and Richmond City, and several on the eastern shore in Virginia. This success brought the wrath of Satan upon him, and he became the object of much abuse. He was often pelted with apples and stones while he was preaching. Once he was taken by Ruffians and placed on a ship with orders to land him on any coast out of America. He refused to work and was treated poorly when he preached and sang. Contrary winds kept the ship in harbor so he was placed on another one. When the storm continued to rage they thought it could be that they had taken the preacher so they put him on another ship. He continued to sing and preach until they put him off permanently. Then they put him in debtor’s prison on July 1, 1778 in the Accomac County Jail. The case was continued on the 29th of July and it lasted until Aug. 25. Altogether he had spent 56 days in prison, but he invested his time in preaching and prayer. Since liberty in VA had been granted two years prior, the charge was vagrancy rather than preaching without a license. And the plaintiffs were Anglican churchmen rather than state officials. This prison still stands today and there is a memorial to Elijah Baker who preached the First Baptist sermon here.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 310-11.
The Bible leads men to Baptist principles
In the entry on July 1, the power of the state church (Lutheran) was considered in Norway and the antecedents of the Baptists in that country. Many soldiers had embraced Baptist (Bible) principles also, and on July 28, 1743 some were ordered by the colonel to participate in a Lutheran church parade, and the soldiers refused. They were brought before a court-martial in Jan. of 1744. The verdict was that Hans and Christopher Pedersen should “work in iron” for six months, and that the rest should be sent to prison in Oslo so that they might “work constantly and receive instruction, so they might change their mind.” King Christian VI changed the sentence, ordering all to be sent to the penitentiary in Oslo. The officials had underestimated these Baptist prototypes, for they were a greater problem behind walls than they were outside. Jorgen Njcolaysen was ordered to attend services in the prison chapel, and when he refused, he was dragged by force from the building. The King had him whipped and then be given religious instruction. They continued to witness, and soon other prisoners surrendered their lives to the Lord. The bishop wrote to the King on July 11, 1744 stating that the six military persons had misused both the King’s and God’s grace and longsuffering. Also that six different priests had tried to get them to repent, but there work had been in vain. Their work had been in vain, because these separatists were not only stubborn in regard to their own heresy, but, “I ask that they be removed from the prison because they are a danger to the other prisoners.” They were finally sent to separate forts. These men believed in justification by faith, believer’s baptism, autonomy of the church and separation of church and state and the sole authority of scripture.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 309-10.
Their Preaching was a Matter of Right
A full day had passed since the apprehension of the four preachers and the exhorter in the meetinghouse yard. According to their bond they were now appearing in court June 6, 1768, and were being accused, as many other Baptists were subsequently accused, of being vagrants, strollers, and disturbers of the peace. The only real disturbers of the peace were the ruffians who would pelt them with apples and stones, drag them from their pulpits, beat them with fists, pound their heads on the ground, and on occasions duck them in water until they nearly drowned. Their only supposed crimes were quoting Scripture, preaching the gospel of the grace of God, and condemning the vices of the state-supported clergy.
John Waller, one of the accused, made his own and his brethren’s defense so ingeniously that the court was somewhat puzzled to know how to dispose of them. Waller was capable of this feat, being a brilliant, talented scholar and having received his education from private tutors.
Though bred a churchman, he was distinguished from other John Wallers by the title “Swearing Jack” because of his profane speech. He was converted and embraced the principles of the Baptists as a result of sitting on the grand jury before whom Lewis Craig gave testimony. The court offered to release Waller and the others if they would promise to preach no more in the county for a year and a day. They dared not obey this mandate because it was in conflict with the supreme command of their God, their sovereign, but they could cheerfully submit to the penalty which unjust human law inflicted, thus demonstrating its oppressive injustice and paving the way for its repeal.
Having a petition for their release refused on July 4, 1768, Lewis Craig and Benjamin Waller, upon presenting a petition to the General Court in Williamsburg, received a letter from the attorney general to the deputy governor, advising that “their petition was a matter of right” and also suggesting to the “king’s attorney” that he was not to “molest these conscientious people, so long as they behaved themselves in a manner becoming pious Christians, and in obedience to the laws.”
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