THERE are so many histories of the Baptist people easily obtained that a few brief extracts and comments are all that is necessary here.
"When the Knickerbocker commenced his famous history of New York, he felt it essential to begin with the creation of the world. We labor under no such impression, and shall not therefore judge it needful to give a complete history of the Christian church in the first ages in order to introduce our brief sketch of the church in the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Still, a few historical memoranda as to the Christians commonly called Baptist, will not be out of place.
"Our own belief is that these people are the purest part of that sect which of old was everywhere spoken against, and we are convinced that we have, beyond their brethren, preserved the ordinances of the Lord Jesus as they were delivered unto the saints.
"We care very little for the 'historical church' argument, but if there be anything in it at all, the plea ought not to be filched by the clients of Rome,
but should be left to that community which all along has held by 'one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.' This body of believers has not been exalted into temporal power, or decorated with worldly rank, but it was dwelt for the most part in dens and caves of the earth, 'destitute, afflicted, tormented,' and so has proved itself of the house and lineage of the Crucified. The church which most loudly claims the apostolic succession wears upon her brow more of the marks of antichrist then of Christ; but the afflicted Anabaptists, in their past history, have had much fellowship with their suffering Lord, and have borne so pure a testimony, both to truth and freedom, that they need in nothing to be ashamed. Their very existence under the calumnies and persecutions which they have endured, is a standing marvel, while their unflinching fidelity to the Scriptures as their sole rule of faith, and their adherence to the simplicity of gospel ordinances is a pure index of their Lord's presnece among them."1
Following this is here given the emphasis testominy of two distinguished Dutch scholars, Doctoprs Dermout and Upiej. These were appointed by royal commission to prepare a history of their own "Dutch church." They found a baptized people (Baptists) all along the path. And this is their candid statement of the origin of that people:
1 "Baptists: Their Origin and History," C. H. Spurgeon.
"Gezien hebben wij nu dat de doopsgezinden, die in vroegere tijden, Wederdoopers, en in latere tijden Mennonieten genoemd werden, oorspronkelijk Waldenzen waren, die, in de geschiedenis der kerk sedert lang altijd zulk eene welverdiende hulde hebben ontvangen. Derhalve mogen de doopsgezinden beschouwd worden als van ouds her de eenige godsdientsgemeenschap, die bestann heeft van de tijden der apostelen af, als eene christelijke maatachapij, welke de evangelische godsdienstleer rein bewaard heft door alle eeuwen heen."2
We have now seen that the Baptists (Doopsgezinden) who in earlier times were denominated Anabaptists, and in later times Mennonites, were orignially Waldensians, who in the history of the church for a long time have laways received such well deserved homage. Therefore the Doopsgezinden may be regarded as the only religious community which has endured from the times of the apostles as a religious society, which has kept the evangelical doctrine through all the centuries."
in regard to the translation by Doctor Ward (found in the "Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge") of the name Doopsgezinde by the word Baptist, when it was the Mennonites to whom the historians had reference, these remarks are submitted:
2 Zurst Dul Preda, bij W. van Berger.
1. That Doopsgezinde orginally meant and was a name given to a sect that dipped. To show this to all with simple brevity, we cite the most elaborate and authoritative Dutch Lexicon, "The English-Dutch (or Netherland-Holland), French and German Dictionary, composed by a society of learned men. Brussels, 1849."
English into Dutch: "(1) Dip, indoopen; English, plunge. Hence, doopenis, dip, plunge. (2) Dipper, ducker, Wederdooper (dipping under), Anabaptist." Here is evidence that oringinally the Anabaptists were those who dipped under. (3) Immerge, doenverzenken, indoopen, to sink down, dipped. That is, dip, dooper, and immerse are the same. Immerse, ingendoopt; English, plunge. To immerse is to dip, to plunge, and this is Dutch is doopt.
Sprinkle in Dutch is the same as in English. "Asperger, sprinkle mit waser, and even as to the name Baptist we have this definition in the Dutch: "Baptist, Dooper, Wederdooper, " and baptistery, "doopvont, a dipping-fount."
Baptism is again defined "doop," while doop is defined dip, immerse. And yet it must be acknowledged that the word and its derivative, like the Greek, has taken its modern meaning from the action of the administrator. The priest or preacher says, I dip you ( indoopen), and then sprinkles water on the subject, and the people call this sprinkling
dipping; and so the word which in its very nature and origin meant dip or immerse, is used for an entirely different action, to sprinkle. "Doop," in Dutch, is therefore as indefinite in its current import as "baptism" is in English. It means a ceremony in which water is in some way used, nothing more. And so while the word dooping in its secular sense, means dipping, and in its religious use, rendered in English, is "baptizing," dipping, plunging, yet with the Reformed Church, and also the Mennonites, it is a different thing. It is sprinkling.
But surely any unprejudiced mind must see that the word doop took its form from the act - to dip or immerse, - that for ages this was the invariable practice, and that adherence to it gave the name Doopsgezinde to the true churches of the Lord.
2. That the Doopsgezinde were originally churches of immersed believers. The inquiry into the meaning of gezinde is readily answered. We have found the unquestionable meaning of doop, to dip. Well, here is the authorized definition of gezinde, as rendered in English, gezinde, sect, system of belief, faith, persuasion, community, church. It properly means a religious community or sect. Hence, Doopsgezinde is literally, "dipping sect or church."
Now, let it be remembered that these eminent ecclesiastical ministers of the State Church of Holland in the paragraph before translated were giving
the result of their investigations of the origins of the Mennonites, that they were "originally Waldenses" and preserved the truth through all the ages since the times of the apostles. Then according to all history (Protestant and Romanist), Anabaptists, Waldenses, dipped; "dooping" in their times was immersion and nothing else. Hence, it is proven by this testimony that the Waldenses - the Doopsgezinde - were not the only opponents of infant baptism, but were also immersionists - that is, Baptists. This, we submit, puts the whole question at rest.
To connect these dipping people (Baptists) with the Petrobrussians of the eleventh century, acknowledged to be a spiritual fraternity and Anti-pedobaptist, and of course (as all at that period dipped), immersionist, and from them to the Paulicians and Novatians, is certainly not guesswork. It is enough to know, however, that with no linked succession, in the words of the great Dutch historian: "These baptized people may be regarded as the only religious community which had endured from the times of the apostles." ===============
[Samuel H. Ford, Baptist Waymarks, ABPS, 1903. Typed from the original document by Linda Duvall; the document was provided by Pastor Steve Lecrone, Burton, OH. - jrd]
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