image

There are 12 books of the old testament known collectively as The History Books.

To disciples, the whole bible is history. Every word tells us the history of God’s revelation and relationship with us. Many disciples study history of the peoples of the bible and the world empires to help illustrate and develop evidence that the bible is true and reasonable. We use archaeological discoveries and ancient documents as evidence to support scriptural argument. One example of this is the section on church history in the First Principals ‘Church Study’. Many religious people, holding to salvation doctrines opposed to ours, claim that the longevity of their denomination gives them a sort of justification for their doctrine. One stark example is the Orthodox church which by its very name claims to be the ‘original’ church. My historical research shows that British Anabaptist ‘sects’ in London in the 1500s and 1600s held identical convictions to those held by the ICOC from 1979 to 2003 and the ICC from 2004 until today. To see the lists of the specific teachings on ‘baptism as the point of salvation’ please read the documents linked below to which I have added a brief referenced commentary in each case.

One of the most reliable and desirable kinds of evidence we can use is a ‘primary source’.

A primary source provides direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art. Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects.

image

In my study of Conrad Greble (mentioned in the church study), and the European Anabaptists (also mentioned in First Principals) I came across the book ‘Martyr’s Mirror‘ published in 1660 by Thieleman J. van Braght.

This book is the single most concentrated composition of primary sources for Anabaptist ‘life and doctrine’ (1Tim 4:16) that I have come across during my research.

England is only mentioned briefly in this book. I found in England, that a mainline church of Christ preacher had researched the English Anabaptists extensively and written a book about his findings. I therefore set about to find and view the evidence and especially any primary sources I could see for myself.

The following is a short summary of some of my findings which I have linked to pages with my transcriptions from my primary sources and commentary on the same.

I begin in 1531 during the reign of Henry VIII. In this year, Simon Fish,  a member of the secret, underground, Bow Lane congregation translated and circulated an illegal Anabaptist book. Though a previously published book authored by Fish had received favour with King Henry this Anabaptist book was on Henry’s 1526 list of banned books. It was entitled “The Summe of the Holye Scriptures“. Click the title to see my transcript of the first two chapters. You will see in my commentary many crucial doctrinal points around the baptism for forgiveness of sins, baptismal regeneration and our beliefs in the scriptures on baptism that render this teaching as true, in our eyes and ears today. This places men with our teachings in 1531. Simon was discovered and arrested and died of The Plague in the filthy, disease ridden, ‘Bishop’s prison’ in Southwark within a year. His widow married another member of the congregation named James Bainham shortly after Simon’s death. James was arrested and tortured due to the suspicion that if he married Fish’s widow he may well have been an Anabaptist. First, he was whipped publicly at the ‘Tree of Truth’ in Lord Chancellor (of England) Thomas More’s garden and then taken to the Tower of London to be tortured. He confessed and recanted on The Rack but not until after his hip had been dislocated. He was subsequently released but returned home and strengthened again in his faith, to the point that he publicly denounced the weakness he had shown under torture. He was rearrested and subsequently burned alive at Smithfield.

image

Next, we go forward through the 1500s to 1643 to Daniel Featley, one of the foremost persecutors of Anabaptists in England. In his pamphlet ‘Dippers dipt‘ Featley gives several pieces of crucial information about the Anabaptists alive in the 1600s as well as clear reference to the Anabaptists of the 1500s especially the laws laid down to have them arrested and imprisoned etc.

He wrote about this and many other things in his book, ‘The Dippers dipt or the Anabaptists dunckt and plunged over head and ears‘ in 1645. When he writes of ‘Rivulets, and some arms of the Thames’ it would refer to places like Deptford Creek near Greenwich or the tributaries we still see between Canada Water and Surrey Water.

His reference to the time of Queen Elizabeth the First and to the sword being used against the cursed ‘fire’ of the heretics shows that the teaching of the disciples spread like fire!

If all this were not evidence enough there is a complete sermon (preached right before a baptism) by an Anabaptist preacher in 1643 which is available in the British Library which I have transcribed for your enjoyment!

Various unconnected groups of Anabaptists known by a variety of names in Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox lands in every century have crystallised the same convictions from the bible. Namely that they must be baptised for the forgiveness of sins as a faithful adult and be willing to face martyrdom.

These documents here mentioned,  referenced and displayed show groups of believers with identical convictions as us, the 21st century International christian church lived in England in the 1500s and 1600s.

Some years ago myself and my dear friend Simon Oxton sat down and collaborated on an album of songs that Simon eventually decided to release under the title “England is a rumour“. If you are familiar with the historical characters from the “Martyrs Tour of London” that I run in the city of London then you will find these songs uplifting and inspirational. They are free to listen to online but if you wish to download them please pay the small price via PayPal or contact Simon via his website to arrange to pay in person or just encourage him for the amazing heart he had to put these poor slaughtered sheep of Christ into his beautiful songs.

Sincerely
James Morgan

image

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: