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Was the Baptist church kept “underground” by the Catholic Church until the Reformation?

Full Question

I have recently been talking, via e-mail, to a Baptist minister who claims that not only was St. Peter himself a Baptist preacher, but the original Church was Baptist. He claims that Baptists are not Protestant and never belonged to the “Roman Harlot.” According to his revisionist account of history, the Baptists had been underground until the Reformation. How can I respond to this outrageous claim? I tried to show the minister that his claims contradict history, but he believes history to be “Roman propaganda.”

Answer

You recognize that this minister’s conclusions are not drawn from an examination of the record but from private prejudices. He knows, at least, that the Protestant churches are derived historically from the Catholic Church. His animus against the Church is so great that he refuses to have even the remotest connection with Catholicism. So what does he do? He falls back on the sorry notion that his Church wasn’t founded by our Lord, but by John the Baptist. (Most Baptists don’t believe this, but a few do.) But this causes a problem. In Matthew 16 our Lord says that he “will” (future tense) establish a Church, meaning that John the Baptist, by then dead, could not have established the Church of which Christ is the head. Conclusion? This Baptist minister isn’t a member of the Church Christ founded and isn’t a member of any church derived from it. Does this mean, by his own argument, that he isn’t a Christian at all?










13 comments

  1. jesus Reply

    Pray for him. Your preacher acquaintance is lost and needs to follow the light.

  2. Thomas R Reply

    “Baptist successionism” or “Landmarkism” doesn’t always say the Church started with John the Baptist, but does tend to believe that through a group of heresies (Paulicians, Waldensians) they trace back to the beginning.

    Historically this is fairly dubious. For one thing I’m not sure the Waldensians and Paulicians have much in common with the Baptists. And looking them up the Paulicians may have rejected the Old Testament. For another thing I don’t know that the first Baptists made any such claims.

  3. John Currie Reply

    I would ask the pastor whether they were people of the book even in the beginning? Ask him who decided on what books were canonical and when and where this occurred ? Then ask him what book did the baptists use in the interim? I am sure he will have no answer and will try to deflect his inability to answer the question. Decide if raising the question in his head is good enough or if you need to pin him down for an answer.

  4. Ron white Reply

    The Baptist use a little booklet called THE TRAIL OF BLOOD which is completely made up. I was a Baptist for 45 years and went to Tennessee Temple Baptist College to become a preacher. To much inconsistency in their teaching . Became a member of the true church in 1998.Love the Catholic Church and the real Presence in the Euchrist.

    1. Gerard Kenny Reply

      Welcome aboard the true Church!

  5. lucia moro Reply

    What this preacher affirmed show the real ignorance of history and of the New Testament of many protestants. HOWEVER, it made me really laugh since it is preposterous.

  6. Christopher Reply

    The true and one church is the bride, unseen many parts but one body with one head being Christ. Who is our incessor? Is it Mary or the pope? Easy to answer, neither. I pray for that Baptist minister as I pray for those that are lost as Catholic’s, Mormons, Jehovah witnesses etc…

  7. Estevan Montoya Reply

    Jesus started His church, but He submitted to a “Baptist” preacher named John. The doctrines of the apostate catholic church are, in many places, contradictory to the Bible itself. Peter was not the first pope. He fails qualifications (he had a mother in law, meaning he was married). I was baptized catholic, but only the Blood of Jesus can wash away sin. Water DOES NOTHING. I am a Baptist. Of all the “churches” out there, the Baptists’ are MOST in line with BIBLE, and not traditions. The harlot is a money robbing institution, preying on blind people for penance and masses just to get people into heaven. Money cannot get someone out of hell nor into heaven:

    1st Peter 1: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
    19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

    1. Cherico M Reply

      So the Son of God submitted to the man who said, “I am not worthy to tie his sandals?” The baptism of Jesus wasn’t to wash His sins, as He had none, but to begin a whole ministry. John the Baptist died before Jesus mentioned He would build a church. Why would Jesus found a church and offer it to a dead man, or at least in a dead man’s name? It is not the Church of John, but the Church of Christ that offers salvation. Peter may have had a wife, but she isn’t mentioned during his ministry as Jesus’ successor on earth. “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church,” Mattehew 16:18. The Baptist church does not follow traditional scripture:
      2 Timothy 2:2 ” that much Christian teaching is to be found in the tradition which is handed down by word of mouth” (tradition, as the bible hadn’t been formerly compiled)
      2 Thessalonians 2: 15 “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.”
      Ephesians 3:5, the truth has been brought down to us by prophets and leaders
      1 Corinthians 11:2 “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.”
      Acts 2: 42, the first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” before the bible was written down.
      Matthew 23:2-3 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice” Jesus condemned only the traditions that opposed God’s commandments, and in the case of the Pharisees using the dedication of gifts to the Temple in order to get by the commandment of honoring father and mother.

      Baptism is not a sign, but a commandment. The water does not symbolically make one Christian. The water of Baptism cleans a person of sin:
      Acts 22:16 “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”
      Acts: 2: 38-39 “And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.”
      Acts 16: 15 “When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, “come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.
      “Be baptized, and wash away thy sins.” (Acts 22:16)
      “Christ loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it: that he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the washing of water in the word of life: that he might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5:25)
      “Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:21)
      “I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness” (inquinamentis) (Ezekiel 36:25)
      “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalms 51:2).
      Even Martin Luther taught that baptism was not a symbolic gesture: “Baptism…works the forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and grants eternal salvation….”

      As for Sola Fide, Faith Alone:
      Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
      Matthew 7:21 (part of the Sermon on the Mount): “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
      Matthew 7:24-27 (part of the Sermon on the Mount): “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
      Matthew 12:36-37: “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
      Matthew 16:27: “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done."
      Matthew 19:17: “"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.""
      Matthew 24:10-20 (part of the Olivet discourse): “Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
      Matthew 25:31-46 (part of The Sheep and the Goats): “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
      Matthew 28:19-20a (part of the Great Commission): “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
      Luke 8:21: " But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."
      Luke 10:25-28: “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher," he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?" “What is written in the Law?" he replied. “How do you read it?" He answered: " ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" “You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.""
      John 5:29: “And will come out–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."
      Acts 26:20: “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds."
      Romans 2:6,7; 13: “For he will repay according to each one’s deeds. To those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; for it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified."
      Romans 2:16: “on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all."
      Galatians 6:7b-9: “A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
      1 Corinthians 7: 19 “Circumcision means nothing and uncircumicsion means nothing; what matters is keeping God’s commandments"
      1 Corinthians 10:12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
      1 Corinthians 13:2-3: “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."
      1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love."
      2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done is his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
      Philippians 2: 12b-13 “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, For God is one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work."
      1 Timothy 4:16 “Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you"
      1 Timothy 6:18-19 “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
      Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
      James 1:22: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
      James 2 (excerpts): “… What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? … Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? … Ye see then how that by works a man is justified,
      James 2:24: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." (This is the only time the phrase “faith alone" appears in the Scriptures.)
      1 Peter 1:17: “Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning."
      1 Peter 2:12 “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
      1 John 2:3-7: “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard."
      Revelation 2:23: “Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds."
      Revelation 14:12-13: “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them.’
      Revelation 20:13: “All the dead were judged according to their deeds."
      Revelation 22:12: “Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds."

    2. Luke Reply

      Not that there’s anything to add after the excellent response of Cherico, but Estevan, really? Christ “submitted” ?? John had to be coerced into fulfilling his role at Jesus’ baptism, and even then, only to “…’fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.” Matthew 3:15.

      I also wonder, where outside the Church do you come across the Blood of Christ?

  8. Michael A Garofalo Reply

    I think the good minister is a raving lunatic. Not much more I can say. I wouldn’t even discuss religion with this person. It will probably be better if you just pray for the poor ignorant dude.

  9. Spencer Anderson Reply

    John did not establish the church John provided material for the Lord to build his church every man in the 12 had the baptism of John and the Baptist church is the only church to never be under the authority of Rome Alexander Campbell his self said it that the Baptist are the only ones who can say they have been in existence since the time The Lord walked the earth I am a landmark Baptist Baptist history goes back way before any reformation movement and have gone by many names but many of the beliefs have stayed the same it was prophesied that a kingdom would come and stand forever

    1. Cherico M Reply

      No, Baptist history does not go back to the time of Jesus. The man who founded the Baptist church was John Smyth in the early 17th century. Furthermore, it would be heresy to believe that Jesus made John the Baptist and not Himself the foundation of the church. As for the authority of the pope, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church.” And that was Jesus talking to Peter, not John.

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