CONTENDING FOR FAITH
~ The Received Text ~
ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS
It seems there were a significant number of Anabaptists who did not believe the Monophysite heresy but embraced the other extreme of denying the deity of Christ altogether, and therefore the Trinity. These Anabaptists were Unitarians whose Antitrinitarian doctrines assigned to Christianity a human rather than divine origin. F.C. Conybeare identified the faith of the Anabaptists and “Unitarian Christians” as Catharism: “In the Reformation this Catharism comes once more to the surface, particularly among the so-called Anabaptists and Unitarian Christians between whom and the most primitive church ‘The Key of Truth’ and the Cathar Ritual of Lyons supply us with the two great connecting links.’” (The Key of Truth, p. x)
Supporting Conybeare’s statement, the neo-Cathar General Conference Cathar Church adheres to the Mennonite-Anabaptist “Schleitheim Confession” of 1527. The GCCC also states: “Our spiritual decendants include the Amish, Mennonite and Quakers.” (“Good Christians and Anti-semitism”) “Good Christians believe that all use of the oath is forbidden by the command of Jesus Christ. In this position we have been consistent with the tradition historically expressed by the Waldensians, the Anabaptists, Amish, many Brethren, Hutterites and Mennonites.” (“Good Christians and Oaths”)
Because they rejected the supernatural, Unitarian Anabaptists advocated human reason rather than Scripture as the means of ascertaining truth. Unitarian Anabaptists came to be called “Socinians” after Faustus Socinus (1539-1604), an Italian theologian who unified and strongly influenced the Anabaptists of Poland and Italy. Socinus was funded by the Medici family which had also sponsored Leonardo da Vinci (Grand Master of the Prieuré de Sion, 1510-1519) in the early days of the Reformation. The Medici also supplied the Catholic Church with several popes, including Giovanni Medici (Leo X) whose egregious abuses and showdown with Martin Luther split Western Christendom.
Socinus’ uncle, Lelio Sozzini, had been a colleague of Michael Servetus, the Unitarian heretic whom John Calvin had burned at the stake. Servetus also taught that Jesus had “heavenly flesh,” according to Reformed theologian, Harold O.J. Brown:
“The heritage of Menno Simons is perpetuated and honored in Mennonite communities scattered throughout North America, and existing to a lesser extent in Europe and the Soviet Union, and South America. A different fate awaited one of the most brilliant and eccentric advocates of a heavenly-flesh doctrine, the Spanish physician Michael Servetus. Servetus has gone down in church and secular history as a martyr to Calvinistic intolerance; his execution in Geneva represents a stain that Reformed Protestantism has never quite been able to efface.
“As a young man, Servetus propounded the distinctive views that ultimately led him the stake: his On the Errors of the Trinity appeared in 1531. He held God to be one Person only; this God was the literal, natural father of Jesus Christ, who was therefore God’s natural Son. The body of Christ is the body of the godhead... divine and of the substance of deity. According to Servetus, when the Word became flesh, he brought his flesh down with him from heaven. Although Servetus denied the deity and preexistence of Christ…he was unable to conceive of him as a mere man, even as one adopted by God, but had to postulate a direct, natural relationship with God.” (Heresies; p. 330)
Many Anabaptists who came to England, especially those from Holland, were arrested and executed because of their heresy and seditious activities. A History of Unitarianism by Earl Morse Wilbur presents historical data from many different sources which document executions by King Henry VIII, Edward VI, Elizabeth I and King James I. The following lengthy but fascinating excerpt from Wilbur’s 1925 book gives an overview of Tudor England up to the reign of James I, during which period the author notes, “Arian and Anabaptist were used indiscriminately as equivalent names.” Note in the passage that Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury for whom the Great Bible of 1539 was named, assisted King Edward to uncover and prosecute the Unitarian Anabaptists:
“In…1535,…during a bloody persecution of the Anabaptist followers of Jan van Geelen in their violent insurrection at Amsterdam, in the course of which van Geelen himself was killed,7 numerous companies of Anabaptists crossed over to England, where they established themselves chiefly in the eastern counties and in Kent… A number were found and abjured their errors, among which were denial of the Trinity and of the deity of Christ; in fact, at this period, Arian and Anabaptist were used indiscriminately as equivalent names.8 In the same year twenty-five Dutch men and women were examined in St. Paul’s for denying Christ’s humanity; and of these fourteen were condemned and burned, two in Smithfield, the rest in other towns.9 These measures were ineffectual, and Arianism is reported at this time to have been professed openly in Essex and Kent; 10 and of the twenty-six burned under Henry VIII it is fair to presume that a good number suffered for denying the Trinity.11
“With the accession of Edward VI in 1537 the prospects of carrying out a thorough reform of the Church became brighter. Henry VIII had never been more than half Protestant, and as he grew older he became lukewarm to the Reformation. But under Edward, a boy of but nine years, while the civil government was managed by the Privy Council, ecclesiastical matters were administered by Archbishop Cranmer, who was zealous for the Reformation and for strictness in doctrine. He began to root out those that were unsound in their views, and already in June 1548, John Assheton, priest of Shiltelington, was brought before him, accused of holding that the doctrine of the Trinity was first established by the Athanasian Creed; that the Holy Spirit is not God, but only a certain power of the Father; and that Jesus Christ, though a holy prophet, was not the true and living God. All these things he admitted, but now for fear of the stake he renounced and abjured these ‘errors, heresies and damnable opinions,’ confessing the Trinity and the deity of Christ.12 Assheton was the first one in England to be arraigned on the charge of Antitrinitarianism.
“Throughout the reign of Edward VI there was much alarm in church circles over the rapid spread of ‘Arianism,’ and Cranmer took every means to discover the sources of this and to stop them. Complaint was made to the Council, and six Bishops and some others were appointed a commission to search for and examine any Anabaptists or other heretics and either reclaim them or else if obstinate deliver them to the secular arm. Several thus discovered abjured…
“With the death of Queen Mary and the accession of Elizabeth in 1558, the Church of England again became Protestant…Though she favored the Reformation, she proceeded with caution, seeking to establish a national Church that should as far as possible be acceptable to all parties. Its doctrine was to be a compromise between Calvin and Luther, and its worship and ceremonial a compromise between Catholic and Protestant…
“Elizabeth reestablished the Strangers’ Church in 1559, though now under the direct oversight of the Bishop of London, and besides the Dutch congregation already existing separate ones were gathered for Protestant refugees from France, Italy and Spain.21 She also at once abolished the laws for the burning of heretics, though within a year she was persuaded to order an investigation as to whether any heresies were being spread; when so many were discovered that in 1560 all Anabaptists were ordered to leave England, since they refused to join the worship of either the national Church or the Strangers’ Church as Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity of the previous year required, but instead met secretly.22 Evidently persecutions of the Anabaptists followed, for in 1560 they petitioned the Bishop through Adriaen van Haemstede (Adrian Hamsted), one of the ministers of the Dutch church at Austin Friars, asking for toleration. Bishop Grindal regarded this as a request for toleration of heresy, and not only refused to grant it, but called van Haemstede before him, and when he refused to subscribe a recantation of the Anabaptist errors excommunicated him.23 An eminent Italian member of the church, Jacobus Acontius…,24 who shared van Haemstede’s views and openly defended him before the Bishop, was also excommunicated in the following year…
“Despite the measures taken against them, the Anabaptists continued to increase, so that in 1575 the Act De haeretica comburendo, after slumbering seventeen years, was reluctantly revived and enforced against them. On Easter of that year a little congregation of them, while privately worshiping in a house in Aldersgate Street, London, was surprised, and some thirty of them were arrested and imprisoned. Some recanted, some were flogged and banished, one died in prison, and two others, the poor and aged Jan Pieters (or Jan the Wheelwright) and Hendrik Terwoort, a goldsmith, who were charged with a heretical view concerning the incarnation, were burned alive at Smithfield, and ‘died in great horror, with crying and roaring,’ as the historian relates.28 John Foxe, the martyrologist, addressed to the Queen an eloquent appeal in their behalf, but in vain. She excused her action by saying that it would ill become her to set free those that had dishonored God, when she had lately punished some that had been traitors to the State.29 The principal seat of Antitrinitarian views among the Anabaptists was in the county of Norfolk, where a number of victims were ferreted out by Bishop Scambler. Mention is also made of Matthew Hamont of Hethersett, a plowwright, who was burned in 1579 for denying that Christ was God; and of his followers John Lewes, and Peter Cole a tanner of Ipswich, who were burned in 1583 and 1587 respectively; and of the Rev. Francis Kett, a graduate of Cambridge, who for blasphemous opinions concerning Christ had his ears cut off, and was then burned near Norwich in 1589.30 All these were charged in vague but generally extravagant terms with unsound views as to the Trinity or Christ...31” (A History of Unitarianism, Chap. X: “Precursors of Socinianism in England”; see footnotes for sources)
In his book, Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History, Prof. James McGoldrick confirms that the Anabaptists of England were expelled by King Henry VIII, banned by Edward VI, and Elizabeth I expelled or arrested those who spread heresy and/or disturbed the realm. The Baptists who returned to England from the Netherlands were not on good terms with King James I either:
“Henry VIII forbade the circulation of Anabaptist literature and commanded all adherents of that sect to leave England… In England, as in the continental states, Anabaptists were feared for being subversive as well as heretical, so the government proscribed their teachings. Under Edward VI (1547-53)…the ban against Anabaptists continued… Elizabeth I (1553-58) decreed that the Anabaptists would have to adhere to the Protestant Church of England or leave the realm. Those who did not comply were liable to arrest and banishment, and, in a few cases, such dissidents were executed…
“Those who would not be reconciled to the Anglican Church…were persecuted, and some fled to Holland, where they founded English Separatist congregations. Such bodies were often called ‘Brownist’ churches because Robert Brown (1550-1636) was the pioneer of English Separatism…
“In 1607 another group of Brownist refugees arrived in Amsterdam, Holland. This one was led by John Smyth (c. 1565-1612), a former Anglican clergyman, who has been hailed by some as the first Baptist of modern times…[and] Thomas Helwys (c. 1570-c. 1615)…laid the foundation for the Baptist movement of modern times… Smyth’s independent English church in the Netherlands was destined to become the mother church of the English General Baptists… Although Smyth endorsed the Anabaptist Christology with its concept of the ‘celestial flesh,’ Helwys affirmed the orthodox teaching that Christ received his human flesh from the Virgin Mary. A perusal of the historic confessions of the Baptist faith will show that Helwys…deserved recognition as the pioneer Baptist of modern times.
“Early in 1611, Helwys decided that his congregation should return to England despite the prospect of persecution from the government of King James I (1603-25)... The returned exiles then formed the first Baptist church on English soil. This marks the birth of the General Baptist movement in English history.
“Helwys enjoyed a short tenure as a Baptist pastor in England. He was arrested and died while in prison, probably in 1614. John Murton…became the next pastor of the General Baptist Church…and proved to be a courageous spokesman for religious liberty. This first Baptist Church in England continued until near the end of the nineteenth century, but the General Baptist movement as a whole did not have great longevity… General Baptists…drifted into rationalism and Unitarianism…” (Baptist Successionism, pp. 124-126, 129)
John Smyth was a Cambridge scholar and former clergyman; Thomas Helwys was an affluent English landowner who, in the opinion of McGoldrick and most Baptist historians, “deserved recognition as the pioneer Baptist of modern times.” Helwys separated from Smyth after the latter sought affiliation with the Mennonites and adopted their false doctrine which denied the Incarnation. Upon his return to England, Thomas Helwys wrote A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity, an autographed copy of which he sent to King James I. Helwys advocated “freedom of conscience,” the Masonic catchphrase for maximum tolerance of all religions, which naturally would have extended to witches, heretics and members of secret societies, some of whom the king had executed. (Hear audios: The Life and Times of King James I). In 1604, King James replied to the Puritans who were promoting “Christian liberty” at the Hampton Court Conference that the term “smelt very rankly of anabaptism.”
Thomas Helwys boldly agitated against King James’ oversight of the Church of England, claiming in his book that it was the “second beast” of Revelation 13, the first being the Roman Catholic Church. Helwys, who established the first Baptist church in England, was imprisoned by King James in 1616 and died in prison. The General Baptist Church which he co-founded with Thomas Murton would become Unitarian.
We include here another excerpt from Wilbur’s History of Unitarianism which documents from several sources King James’ policy of prosecuting and executing the Unitarian Anabaptists.
“… James came to the throne in 1603, bred a Strict Calvinist, thinking himself a competent judge of religious questions, and disposed to take quite seriously his title of Defender of the Faith. One of his first acts was to publish ‘Constitutions and Canons Ecclesiastical,’ by which he asserted supreme authority over all matters of the Church, and outlawed all meetings outside the Church of England assuming to be those of lawful churches, thus striking at the Anabaptists.32 Also at the Hampton Court Conference in his first year, where he listened to the desires of both parties, he made it clear that the struggle between the Episcopalians, who wished to maintain the government and practices of the Church as they were, and the Presbyterians, who desired a more thorough reform and were beginning to be known as Puritans, his sympathies were all with the former. He also undertook to check the introduction of heresies from abroad. Thus in 1611 he ordered Vorst’s Treatise on God and His Attributes to be burned at St. Paul’s Cross and at both Universities; and in 1614 he caused to be burned the Latin edition of the Racovian Catechism, which the translator had dedicated to him.33 It was well on in James’s reign that the last instances of burning for heresy in England took place in 1612, in the cases of Legate and Wightman, who died in the same month, and are usually spoken of together, but in almost every other respect were quite separate… Bartholomew Legate 34 was a cloth merchant in the county of Essex, where he had business connections with Holland. He was a prominent Anabaptist, and his brother Thomas had already died in prison in 1608… The King was reluctant to proceed against him though he was under arrest as a heretic, and in private interviews he often sought to correct him…but as he boldly persisted in defending his opinions and refused to repent, he was finally excommunicated by the Bishop and condemned on thirteen blasphemous counts as an obdurate, contumacious and incorrigible heretic, and was sentenced to death. Refusing all offers of mercy and pardon offered even at the stake, he was burned on March 18, 1612, in the presence of a great concourse of spectators.
“Almost exactly contemporary with the case of Legate was that of Edward Wightman36 of the parish of Burton-upon-Trent, who has the distinction of being the last to be burned for heresy in England. We know little more of him than what the documents of his trial relate; but he was evidently a man of disordered mind on matters of religion, for apart from denying the Trinity, the deity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, and the Creeds, he considered himself a divinely appointed prophet foretold in Scripture, and that he himself was the Holy Spirit. Examined before the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, he was charged with holding the heresies of ten ancient heretics and of the Anabaptists, and was convicted on sixteen separate heads. He lay in prison for several months and was often exhorted to repent, but refused, and was finally sentenced to die… One other was sentenced to death under James, a Spanish ‘Arian’ whose name has not been preserved; but he was permitted ‘to linger out a miserable life in Newgate rather than to awaken too far the compassions of the people.’37 Indeed, the King seems to have lost his faith in this method of discouraging heresy, seeing that heresy still survived nevertheless... He therefore ‘politicly preferred,’ says the historian Fuller, ‘that heretics hereafter, though condemned, should silently and privately waste themselves away in the prison rather than to grace them, and amuse others, with the solemnity of a public execution, which in popular judgments usurped the honor of a persecution.’ As time went on, the King’s zeal for orthodoxy and conformity in religion somewhat relaxed, and he contented himself with the burning of heretical books…
“After the burning of Wightman there were no more executions for heresy in England… He had perhaps come to realize that heresy could not be successfully exterminated at the stake; while the Anabaptists doubtless learned the wisdom of being yet more secretive in their meetings…
“For well-nigh a generation before and after the death of James, therefore, there was no overt Antitrinitarianism, though the leaven was quietly working beneath the surface. For by this time many Socinian works in Latin for scholars were coming from the Raków press and were being eagerly read in private by persons of inquiring mind, and English translations of important works of Socinus and others were being clandestinely printed by Collegiants or Remonstrants in Holland, and were circulating widely among the common people in England... But though Socinian or Unitarian views were thus quietly spreading, no action was as yet taken against Socinianism save in the burning of the Racovian Catechism at James’s instance in 1614.” (A History of Unitarianism, Chap. X: “Precursors of Socinianism in England”; see also footnotes)
The early history of the Baptist movement in England seems to be a chronicle of open rebellion against the monarchy and the Church of England, of which the British sovereign was the head. Although King James prosecuted witches and sorcerers as criminals, he permitted Roman Catholicism to continue to exist in England and Scotland, as well as Calvinism in Scotland and he allowed the growth of Puritanism in England. But there were political reasons King James was not equally tolerant of the Baptists, and he seemed to perceive them as more than religious heretics. James was probably aware, not only of their political subversion on the Continent, but also of their collusion with the English Rosicrucians who were behind Oliver Cromwell and plotted to overthrow the British crown.
James McGoldrick stated, “…the General Baptist movement as a whole did not have great longevity… Baptists were prominent in supporting the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell and served within the parliamentary army which fought the royalists in the civil war… General Baptists…drifted into rationalism and Unitarianism…” (pp. 129-30) The Anabaptist Network identifies these as General Baptists: “Indeed, General Baptists were to play a significant part in the parliamentarian armies of the English Civil Wars in the 1640s and 1650s.” Thus, the General Baptist Church founded by John Smyth and Thomas Helwys did have longevity — after the General Baptists morphed into Unitarians, they would establish England as the “Capital of Socinianism.”
Unwavering in his defense of the Baptists, David Cloud described King James and six Translators of the 1611 KJV, including Lancelot Andrewes, as wolves in sheep's clothing:
“When Elizabeth died in 1603, James I (1566-1625) ascended the throne of England. He was the king who authorized the translation of that masterpiece of English Scripture, the King James Bible, which appeared in 1611.... He also persecuted Baptists with a passion. They were imprisoned, their goods confiscated, and one was burned...
“...The last man burned alive in England for his religion was EDWARD WIGHTMAN, a Baptist, in Smithfield on April 11, 1612, under James I. (A month earlier, Bartholomew Legate had also been burned. It is said that he was an Arian, meaning that he denied the deity of Christ.)...
“Others died during the reign of James I, but not by burning. They died in prison. This was not because of the kindness of the king, but because of the outcry of the people against burnings...
“Historian Thomas Fuller notes, ‘King James politicly preferred that heretics hereafter, though condemned, should silently and privately waste themselves away in the prison, rather than to grace them, and amuse others, with the solemnity of a public execution, which in popular judgment usurped the honor of a persecution’ (Fuller, The Church History of Britain). Thomas Crosby agrees: ‘King James chose therefore for the future only to seize their estates, and waste away their lives privately in nasty prisons, rather than honour them with such a publick martyrdom, which would unavoidably go under the name of persecution’ (The History of the English Baptists, I, p. 110)...
“...At least six of the men involved in the translation of the King James Bible participated in persecution against Baptists and other separatists in the 1590s.
“Richard Bancroft, who drew up the instructions for the translation, had worked closely with Archbishop of Canterbury Whitgift ‘rooting out the Separatist congregations in London” (Adam Nicholson, God’s Secretaries, p. 86). Bancroft was aggressive in this activity, sending spies to search out the separatists. When Bancroft took over as Archbishop of Canterbury in Whitgift’s place, he continued the work of persecution against all ‘nonconformists.’
“Lancelot Andrewes, sad to say, was involved in this sorry business. He was in charge of the interrogation of the separatists under Bancroft, and went down into the ‘noisome cells’ himself in an attempt to find some heresy against the victims of the Anglican inquisition... It is not Christianly to persecute those who believe differently, to toss them into prison cells and to burn them...’” (“The Protestant Persecutions”)
Before continuing, it should be noted that David Cloud has also written articles which praise Lancelot Andrewes as a devout Christian. For example, his “Tribute to David Otis Fuller”:
“I'll let the man speak for himself. Dr. Fuller's words always had the ring of sincerity, and of truth, and of God...
“‘It is little short of idiotic and insane to try and improve on the KJV. God Himself, I believe, was in the choosing of those great scholars of 1611. NEVER in all world history has any such a group of learned and tremendous geniuses ever gathered together. Any ONE of them could put the modern scholars in the shade. The Chairman of the 1611 committee, Lancelot Andrews, was fluent in 20 languages and spent 5 hours a day in prayer.’ D.O. Fuller, February 7, 1986” (“A Tribute to David Otis Fuller: Some Jewels from His Correspondence”)
Returning to David Cloud’s account of King James and the KJV Translators who persecuted the Baptists:
“...Barrows was put to death on April 6, 1593, after six years of imprisonment, and Andrewes talked to him again on the eve of his death. Barrows was put to death ‘for denying the authority of bishops, for denying the holiness of the English Church and its liturgy and denying the authority over it of the queen...
“Henry Savile was involved in these interrogations. He questioned Daniel Studley in Fleet Prison.
“Thomas Sparkes interrogated the 18-year-old Roger Waters, who was kept in prison for a year ‘in chains in the worst of the stinking pits of Newgate gaol, known as the Limbo’ (Nicholson, God’s Secretaries, p. 88).
“Thomas Ravis took Bancroft’s place as bishop of London and continued in his persecuting footsteps...
“George Abbot, who became Archbishop of Canterbury, was a persecutor. ‘He would not hesitate, later in his career, to use torture against miscreants, nor to execute Separatists’ (Nicholson, p. 157)...
“CONCLUSION... We can preach against error. We can discipline church members who sin. We can reject heretics. But we cannot lay hands on them and force them to believe as we do. That is the characteristic of a wolf, not a sheep.” (“The Protestant Persecutions”)
As it turned out, King James had good reason to use repressive measures against the Baptists. After his death in 1625, he was succeeded by his son, Charles, who became embroiled in controversy with a British Parliament which increasingly repudiated his authority. On November 22, 1641, Parliament passed the Grand Remonstrance, a bill of grievances against Charles I. Civil war broke out between the army of the king, who had fled to Scotland, and Cromwell’s army which was funded by the House of Commons. Civil War ensued and, on “January 17, 1648, England’s Long Parliament passed the Vote of No Address, breaking off negotiations with King Charles I and thereby setting the scene for the second phase of the English Civil War.” (Wikipedia) In 1649, King Charles I was deposed and beheaded by Parliament, which also abolished the British monarchy and established the Commonwealth of England as a republic.
In This Day in Baptist History II, David Cummins expressed pride in the fact that the top-ranking military officers in Cromwell’s Army were Baptists. Even though Baptists had previously been banned in England, Cromwell welcomed them back into the fold. Moreover, Cummins boasted that these high-ranking Baptists were also on the High Court which condemned Charles I, the son of King James I:
“The Baptists, in the days of the English Commonwealth under Cromwell, were very evident in the military. ‘As early as 1644, William Packer was lieutenant-colonel, and was so efficient that he was expressly reinstated when dismissed by a Scot on the ground that he was a Baptist. That showed where Cromwell had a voice, ecclesiastical bigotry should not spoil a regiment. So, a very large proportion of Baptists were found in its ranks…’ (W.T. Whiteley, A History of British Baptists…)
“Three top-ranking military leaders in England in Cromwell’s Army were avowed Baptists. I refer to Colonel John Hutchinson…, General Thomas Harrison, and Admiral Richard Deane… During the days of the overthrow of the monarchy [Deane] had charge of the artillery at the battle of Naseby. That battle ingratiated him to Cromwell, for he did much to gain the victory over the army of King Charles I…
“Deane, Governor Gough, Hutchinson, and Harrison were members of the High Court of Justice that tried and condemned King Charles.” (This Day in Baptist History II, p. 301)
It appears that the conspiracy to overthrow the British monarchy was funded by wealthy Jews in Holland, which was a base of operations for stirring up revolutions elsewhere on the Continent as well as the British Isles:
“When King Charles I was brought into disagreement with his Parliament a Jewish Money-Baron in Holland named Manasseh Ben Israel had his agents contact Oliver Cromwell. They offered him large sums of money if he would carry out their plan to overthrow the British Throne. Manasseh Ben Israel, and other German and French money-lenders financed Cromwell. Fernandez Carvajal of Portugal, often referred to in history as ‘The Great Jew,’ became Cromwell’s Chief Military Contractor. He re-organized the Round Heads into a model army. He provided them with the best arms and equipment money could buy. Once the conspiracy was under way, hundreds of trained revolutionaries were smuggled into England and were absorbed into the Jewish Underground. The same thing is going on in America today.
“The head of the Jewish underground in England at that time was a Jew named De Souze. The Great Jew, Fernandez Carvajal, had used his influence to have De Souze appointed Portuguese Ambassador. It was in his house, protected by diplomatic immunity, that the leaders of the Jewish revolutionary underground remained hidden and worked out their plots and intrigue.” (Chronology of the International Conspiracy)
In her book, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, Nesta Webster wrote of Cromwell’s dealings with Manasseh Ben Israel as the hidden hand and money power behind the English Revolution. It seems that in return for this monetary support, Cromwell allowed Jews from Europe to emigrate to England, reversing the ban on Jewry that had been enforced by every monarch since Edward I expelled them in 1290:
“The Jewish writer Bernard Lazare has declared that ‘there were Jews around the cradle of Freemasonry,’ and if this statement is applied to the period preceding the institution of Grand Lodge in 1717 it certainly finds confirmation in fact. Thus it is said that in the preceding century the coat-of-arms now used by Grand Lodge had been designed by an Amsterdam Jew, Jacob Jehuda Leon Templo, colleague of Cromwell’s friend the Cabalist, Manasseh ben Israel…
“…Continental writers again assert that Cromwell, the arch-opponent of the Catholic Church, was ‘a higher initiate of masonic mysteries,’ and used the system for his own elevation to power…
“As to Cromwell, the only circumstance that lends any colour to the possibility of his connexion with Freemasonry is his known friendship for Manasseh ben Israel, the colleague of the Rabbi Templo who designed the coat-of-arms later adopted by Grand Lodge. If, therefore, the Jews of Amsterdam were a source of inspiration to the Freemasons of the seventeenth century, it is not impossible that Cromwell may have been the channel through which this influence first penetrated…
“It is thus that in the Great Rebellion we find them not amongst the Ironsides [Parliamentarian Army] of Cromwell or the members of his State Council, but furnishing money and information to the insurgents, acting as army contractors, loan-mongers, and super-spies—or to use the more euphonious term of Mr. Lucien Wolf, as ‘political intelligencers’ of extraordinary efficiency. Thus Mr. Lucien Wolf, in referring to Carvajal, ‘the great Jew of the Commonwealth,’ explains that ‘the wide ramifications of his commercial transactions and his relations with other Crypto-Jews all over the world placed him in an unrivalled position to obtain news of the enemies of the Commonwealth.’
“It is obvious that a ‘secret service’ of this kind rendered the Jews a formidable hidden power, the more so since their very existence was frequently unknown to the rest of the population around them. This precaution was necessary because Jews were not supposed to exist at that date in England. In 1290 Edward I had expelled them all, and for three and a half centuries they had remained in exile…
“Now, just at this period the Messianic era was generally believed by the Jews to be approaching, and it appears to have occurred to them that Cromwell might be fitted to the part. Consequently emissaries were despatched to search the archives of Cambridge in order to discover whether the Protector could possibly be of Jewish descent. This quest proving fruitless, the Cabalist Rabbi of Amsterdam, Manasseh ben Israel, addressed a petition to Cromwell for the readmission of the Jews to England, in which he adroitly insisted on the retribution that overtakes those who afflict the people of Israel and the rewards that await those who ‘cherish’ them. These arguments were not without effect on Cromwell, who entertained the same superstition, and although he is said to have declined the Jews’ offer to buy St. Paul's Cathedral and the Bodleian Library because he considered the £500,000 they offered inadequate, he exerted every effort to obtain their readmission to the country. In this he encountered violent opposition, and it seems that Jews were not permitted to return in large numbers, or at any rate to enjoy full rights and privileges, until after the accession of Charles II, who in his turn had enlisted their financial aid. Later, in 1688, the Jews of Amsterdam helped with their credit the expedition of William of Orange against James II; the former in return brought many Jews with him to England. So a Jewish writer is able to boast that ‘a Monarch reigned who was indebted to Hebrew gold for his royal diadem.’” (Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, p. 125)
To state the obvious, the Jews of Holland who bribed Cromwell for permission to return to England would have had a natural interest in promoting the Unitarian doctrines which undermined the Christian belief in the deity of Jesus Christ and the Triune God. It is most interesting that the heresiarch Arius was also Jew (see Maurice Pinay, The Plot Against the Church) and Michael Servetus was of Jewish descent. Were Bernard Rothman and Menno Simon also Jewish? It does seem that the apple never falls very far from the tree. Sometimes one needs only to follow the money trail to locate the source of teachings which deny the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ. For instance, the Medici political dynasty which funded Faustus Socinus’ European travels to promulgate the Unitarian heresy also allowed the Jews expelled by the Pope to return to Florence, Italy. The Medici also sponsored the translation and study of the Kabbalah at their Platonic Academy in Florence, whose teachers became the Kabbalists and astrologers of the Popes. And the Medici popes gave favored treatment to the Jews, who infiltrated the Church and rose to its highest ranks. (See: “Mystery Babylon: Catholic or Jewish?”)
From 1653 to 1659, Oliver Cromwell ruled the Commonwealth as a military dictatorship, along with his Parliamentarian Army in which many Baptists served. Under Cromwell, Parliament eliminated witch trials, allowed the Jews to return to England and revived the Rosicrucian Order as “Freemasonry.” Earl Morse Wilbur wrote that, “For a full generation after the burning of Legate and Wightman [under King James], though there were no further executions for heresy, the religious mind of England was being silently permeated by various influences that may well be traced to Socinian sources. The widest and deepest of these was the spirit of tolerance in matters of belief…” Without a monarch – formerly Britain’s “Defender of the Faith” – and under the tolerant government of Cromwell and a divided Parliament, the Unitarians enjoyed wide latitude to promote their heresy in England.
“…The Presbyterians in Parliament had some months before prepared a law for the punishment of heresies…and on May 2, 1648, there was passed, though not without strong opposition, ‘An Ordinance of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, for punishing Blasphemies and Heresies,’ which has been justly styled the ‘Draconic Ordinance.’19 This shocking law was the final effort of the Presbyterian party to suppress freedom of discussion by public law. It…provides with great particularity that ‘all persons that willingly, by preaching, teaching, printing or writing, maintain and publish that the Father is not God, the Son is not God, or that the Holy Ghost is not God, or that they three are not one eternal God, or that Christ is not God equal with the Father [besides seven other named heresies], shall be adjudged guilty of felony; and in case the party upon his trial shall not adjure his said error he shall suffer the pains of death, without benefit of clergy.’ The ordinance also specifies sixteen less serious errors to be punished by imprisonment. But the fact is that though the ordinance was passed it was never enforced. Dissensions broke out among the members of the House of Commons, many of both privates and officers in the army were amenable to the law, and the Presbyterian power in Parliament was tottering to its fall before the rising Independents. The ordinance therefore remained a dead letter, and seven months later Pride’s Purge gave it the coup de grace.
“It was fortunate for the Unitarian cause in England that this was so, for otherwise the first Englishman to avow Unitarian beliefs boldly and clearly, and to publish them fearlessly, undeterred by repeated imprisonments, must assuredly have fallen victim to the ordinance, which the guardians of orthodoxy were ready to invoke against him. His life and writings…constitute the effectual beginning of what was henceforth to be a continuous and connected historical movement. During the same period in which the attention of the Long Parliament and the Westminster Assembly was being drawn to dangerous outbreaks of Socinian heresy at Oxford and even in Parliament itself, and alarm against them was being stirred up by books from guardians of the faith, similar trouble, independently of these, was brewing in another quarter at a distance from the capital. Its fountainhead was one John Biddle...” (A History of Unitarianism, Chap. XI: “Socinianism Quietly Penetrates England”; see also footnotes)
John Biddle (1615–62) became the official founder of English Unitarianism. His Twelve Arguments Drawn Out of Scripture and A Twofold Catechism argued against the deity of Jesus Christ and the Trinity and this led to his imprisonment. However, Oliver Cromwell commuted his sentence to banishment to the Scilly Islands, after which Biddle returned to England in 1658, and taught and preached until 1662 when he was again put in prison, where he died. Through the political maneuvering of Oliver Cromwell and the opposition of the “Independents” (Puritans and Baptists) in Parliament to legislation proscribing heresy, Biddle became the “Father of English Unitarianism” and England became the “Capital of Socinianism.”
“After the death of Charles I in the first month of 1649, and the rising of the Westminster Assembly a month later, and the rise of Cromwell to commanding influence, with his clear leaning toward reasonable toleration, the situation of Biddle in custody seems to have been somewhat relieved… Early in 1651/2 Cromwell secured the passage of an Act of Oblivion which set free (with a few exceptions) all that stood accused of any crime. Biddle, being thus restored to liberty, at once improved it by gathering a little congregation of his friends, who met every Sunday for worship and the study of the Scriptures.41 These meetings, freely discussing doctrinal questions in the light of Scripture teachings, came to a number of fresh conclusions… went a good way beyond merely the doctrine of the Trinity and the deity of Christ. The group were at first known as Biddellians or Socinians, and their meetings became so well known as to give offence to the London ministers, though there was no law under which they could be suppressed…
“Toward the end of 1653 Cromwell was made Protector of the Commonwealth, and his first official act was to set forth an Instrument of Government in forty-two articles, which he took oath faithfully to observe. In the three articles relating to religion, freedom of worship was guaranteed to all professing Christians, and protection of all in the exercize of their religion was promised to all professing the fundamentals of Christianity. These fundamentals indeed were not specified, and a committee was named to determine the matter; but before their report was adopted Parliament was dissolved, and nothing more was heard of it.51 As Cromwell was known to be a friend of religious freedom, Biddle took fresh courage and renewed his activities. After the middle of the year, therefore, he published A Twofold Catechism: the One simply called a Scripture-Catechism: the Other, a brief Scripture-Catechism for Children… Apart from its…rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity and of the deity of Christ, perhaps its most striking feature, and the one that invited the sharpest criticism was its literal acceptance of scripture references to God, whom it took to be a visible, tangible person, in form like a man, inhabiting a certain place, having human parts and passions, and limited in knowledge — in short, the crudest anthropomorphism.
“The reaction of foreign theologians was prompt and decisive. Nicolaus Arnold, a Polish scholar who had come to fame as Professor at the University of Franeker…issued [a work] to counteract the influence in Holland of books then so easily brought over from England, which might otherwise add strength to the spreading Socinianism and Anabaptism... In the same summer with Arnold’s earlier work appeared the second volume of a work by Samuel Maresius (Des Marets),56 Professor at Groningen, in the preface to which he utters a lament as to ‘this sad time, when the Socinian plague, deservedly called the culmination of all wickedness, seems now to have established its capital in England...whence there has just been brought over a Two-fold Catechism in English, published in London, which seems to be snatching the palm from that of Raków.’ He then goes on to fill a whole page with the dreadful errors with which this deadly book teems. Among other things…the new book has appended a catalogue of Socinian books to be had in English, thus indicating that Socinus himself seems now to be in high esteem with the English people.” (A History of Unitarianism, Chap. XI: “Socinianism Quietly Penetrates England”; see also footnotes)
I have quoted large portions of Wilbur’s History of Unitarianism and other sources because they provide evidence that (1) Anabaptists/Baptists did not defend the Christian faith but promoted major heresies, (2) Anabaptists/Baptists were revolutionaries who conspired to overthrow governments and (3) Anabaptists/Baptists, which the KJV-Only defenders claim as their spiritual forefathers, were the archenemies of King James I, who executed their chief heretics and conspirators for the same reasons the Roman Catholic Church established the Inquisition. These historical facts have been collectively suppressed by the revisers of Baptist history, but are readily available outside of the propaganda published by the controlled opposition network which hypocritically calls itself “King James Only.”
There are yet other strange bedfellows lurking in the annals of Baptist history.
David Cloud sells materials published by the Baptist World Mission. D.A. Waite’s Dean Burgon Society also endorses the Baptist World Mission as a society that requires its missionaries to use the King James Version. David L. Cummins, who is Deputation Director of the Baptist World Mission, wrote a 3-volume series titled This Day in Baptist History, a pseudo-devotional which chronicles Baptist history while giving tribute to Baptists of historical note. Volume II of this series begins with the founding of the first Baptist church in Scotland by Sir William Sinclair, a member of the highest ranking Merovingian bloodline:
“…There is evidence of Baptist efforts at evangelism in Scotland during the days of the British Commonwealth and the rule of Oliver Cromwell, the Protector. Baptist soldiers were in Scotland at that time, but apparently the thrust of the Baptists waned with the departure of the British troops and the Baptists among them. However, Baptist principles can never be completely forgotten, for they are New Testament principles. It was only a matter of time before thinking men of spiritual character rediscovered the New Testament principles and sought to harmonize their practices with Scripture.
“Thus it was that after a period of approximately ninety years with no significant Baptist influence, northern Scotland saw the founding of a Baptist church. Sir William Sinclair, who had gained Baptist convictions in the south, returned to his hometown of Keiss, one of the northernmost spots in the Scottish mainland, and planted a Baptist church on New Years’ Day in 1750. Sinclair was dubbed ‘the Preaching Knight’ by the bishop of the diocese, who accused him of ‘taking up that odd way of strolling about preaching without commission or appointment by any man,’ Interestingly, that church was established within the walls of an ancient castle and is considered the oldest in Scotland, but it failed to affect the nation as it should have.” (This Day in Baptist History, Vol. II, David L. Cummins and E. Wayne Thompson, BJU Press, 2001, p. 1)
Sir William Sinclair, the founder and pastor of the first Baptist Church in Scotland, was a direct descendant of the Sir William Saint Clair who had established and directed Freemasonry in Scotland three centuries earlier. In 1446, Sir William Saint Clair built the Rosslyn Chapel at Edinburgh, a large temple modeled after Solomon’s Temple and filled with stone images having Masonic and other occult symbolism. In his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Albert Mackey wrote of the prominent role of the Saint Clair family in the preservation of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, and what appears to be King James’ royal rebuff of that occult society:
“SAINT CLAIR, WILLIAM. The Saint Clairs of Roslin, or, as it is often spelled Rosslyn, held for more than three hundred years, an intimate connection with the history of Freemasonry in Scotland. William Saint Clair, Earl of Orkney and Caithness, was, in 1441, appointed by King James II the Patron and Protector of the Freemasons of Scotland, and the office was made hereditary in his family. Charles Mackie says of him… ‘He was considered one of the best and greatest Masons of the age.’ He planned the construction of the most magnificent collegiate church at his palace of Roslin…After his death, which occurred about 1480, his office of hereditary Patron was transmitted to his descendants who…‘held their principal annual meetings at Kilwinning.’
“The prerogative of nominating the office-bearers of the Craft, which had always been exercised by the kings of Scotland, appears to have been neglected by James VI after his accession to the throne of England. Hence the Freemasons, finding themselves embarrassed for want of a Protector, about the year 1600, if that be the real date of the first of the Saint Clair Manuscripts, appointed William Saint Clair of Roslin, for himself and his heirs, their ‘Patrons and Judges.’ After presiding over the Order for many years, says Lawrie, William Saint Clair went to Ireland, and in 1630 a second Charter was issued, granting to his son, Sir William Saint Clair, the same power with which his father had been invested. This Charter having been signed by the Masters and Wardens of the principal Lodges of Scotland, Sir William Saint Clair assumed the active administration of the affairs of the Craft, and appointed his Deputies and Wardens, as had been customary with his ancestors. For more than a century after this renewal of the compact between the Laird of Roslin and the Freemasons of Scotland, the Craft continued to flourish under the successive heads of the family.” (pp. 898-9)
The Saint Clair Clan members who relocated northern Scotland became “Sinclairs,” and they appear to have been a bloody lot.
“It was at this time [c. 1476] that the Caithness branch of the family began to spell their name Sinclair, although the Rosslyn branch continued with St Clair. The 2nd Earl of Caithness fought and died at the Battle of Flodden with 600 Highland Sinclairs. His descendants thereafter were of a wild disposition, the 4th Earl imprisoning and starving to death his own son for making peace with Clan Moray without his approval. George, 6th Earl of Caithness…died childless in 1676, whereupon the Caithness title eventually passed to George Sinclair of Keiss…
“Keiss Castle, Keiss, Caithness. Remnants of a small 16th century tower can be seen here. The 19th century castle nearby was the home of Sir William Sinclair, Founder and Pastor of the first Baptist Church in Scotland.” (Scots Connection)
“In the dungeon the 4th Earl imprisoned for six years his son who had plotted his death. The prisoner also managed to strangle his brother who came to visit him. He was later starved to death. His son, who succeeded his grandfather to the title, became known as the ‘Wicked Earl.’ He killed the two jailers responsible for the death of his father. In 1623, when the king ordered his arrest, he fortified Ackergill Tower around the bay, then escaped to Orkney where, after surrendering keys of his castles into the hands of Lord Berriedale, he ended his days peaceably.
“Keiss strikes a new note in this bloodthirsty tale. Its castle, new in 1750, had the first Baptist chapel in Scotland, its pastor, Sir William Sinclair.” (Sinclairs of Caithness)
George Sinclair, the 4th Earl of Caithness, who murdered his own son, had also chaired the jury which acquitted the Earl of Bothwell, the man who had murdered Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, the father of King James VI of Scotland (later James I of England). Within a few weeks, Bothwell became the third husband of King James’ mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, whose letters to Bothwell implicated her in the murder plot. Among those acquitted as accomplices in the murder were Sir James Balfour and his brother, Gilbert Balfour, who were ancestors of Arthur Balfour, who became Prime Minister of England. Arthur Balfour was a member of the Cambridge Apostles Club and collaborated with Westcott and Hort in Spiritualist and political intrigues. (See: The 19th Century Occult Revival) In 1917, Arthur Balfour, a Jew, issued the Balfour Declaration, addressed to Lord Rothschild, informing him of Great Britain’s support for the establishment of Palestine as homeland for the Jews.
The Scottish Clan Saint Clair, to which the first Baptist pastor in Scotland belonged, is one of two remaining direct lines of the Merovingian dynasty, which claims to be the Messianic bloodline of the Jews. Best sellers such as Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code identify the Sinclair family as the founders and directors of the Prieuré de Sion, the founders and hereditary Grand Masters of Scottish Rite Freemasonry and the Merovingian lineage from which the Antichrist will come:
“Their domain [the Sinclair family—Scottish branch of the Norman Saint-Clair Gisors family] at Rosslyn was only a few miles from the former Scottish headquarters of the Knights Templar, and the chapel at Rosslyn—built between 1446 and 1486—has long been associated with both Freemasonry and the Rose-Croix. In a charter believed to date from 1601, moreover, the Sinclairs are recognized as ‘hereditary’ grand masters of Scottish Masonry.’ This is the earliest specifically Masonic document on record. According to Masonic sources, however, the hereditary grand mastership was conferred on the Sinclairs by James II, who ruled between 1437 and 1460—the age of René d’Anjou…
“There are at least a dozen families in Britain and Europe today—with numerous collateral branches—who are of Merovingian lineage. These include the houses of Hapsburg-Lorraine (present titular dukes of Lorraine and kings of Jerusalem), Plantard, Luxembourg, Montpezat, Montesquiou, and various others. According to the ‘Prieuré documents,’ the SINCLAIR family in Britain is also allied to the bloodline, as are various branches of the Stuarts...” – Holy Blood, Holy Grail (31:183, 409-10)
“The modern Priory of Sion has a momentous duty. Theirs is a threefold charge. The brotherhood must protect the Sangreal documents. They must protect the tomb of Mary Magdalene. And, of course, they must nurture and protect the bloodline of Christ–those few members of the royal Merovingian bloodline who have survived into modern times…
“Only two direct lines of Merovingians remain. Their family names are Plantard and Saint-Clair. Both families live in hiding, probably protected by the Priory…
“…Marie told the story of Sophie’s late parents. Incredibly, both had been from Merovingian families—direct descendants of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. Sophie’s parents and ancestors, for protection, had changed their family names of Plantard and Saint-Clair. Their children represented the most direct surviving royal bloodline and therefore were carefully guarded by the Priory. When Sophie's parents were killed in a car accident whose cause could not be determined, the Priory feared the identity of the royal line had been discovered.” – The Da Vinci Code (935:258, 260)
“Through marriage the family of Marie Levis St. Claire was connected to the de Gisors, the family from which the first and third grand masters of the Prieuré de Sion came. Without question, Prieuré de Sion was created and run by individuals related to the St. Claires.” – The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar (281:178)
The Baptist World Mission, of which David L. Cummins is Deputation Director, was incorporated on January 17, 1963. (Concordia Historical Institute) The source for this information is the Almanac of the Christian Church by William D. Blake (Bethany House, 1987) which reads:
“January 17…1963 – The Baptist World Mission was incorporated in Chicago, Illinois. This independent and fundamentalist organization of Baptist tradition is engaged primarily in evangelism, church planting and education in 17 countries.” (p. 28)
The Baptist World Mission had been founded in 1961 as World Conservative Baptist Mission by the extreme Fundamentalist wing of the Conservative Baptist Fellowship.
“Some of the fundamentalist leaders requested a special meeting of the Conservative Baptist Fellowship in order to discuss the situation within the movement. This historic meeting was called by the President of CBF, Dr. Earle Matteson, and was held in Chicago in September of 1961. After considerable prayer and discussion, the board of CBF voted unanimously to organize the World Conservative Baptist Mission (WCBM). It was formed to be a consistent fundamentalist and separatist mission agency without any compromise with new evangelicalism. In June of 1966, the name was changed to ‘BAPTIST WORLD MISSION.’ It became apparent that Baptist World Mission (BWM) and the Conservative Baptists were going in different directions, and all ties with that movement were severed.” (Baptist World Mission)
The Fundamentalist Baptists who incorporated the Baptist World Mission on January 17, 1963 were the predecessors of the Fundamentalist Baptists who now lead the KJV-Only movement. The Baptist World Mission claims to have the same heretical forefathers as the KJV-Only Baptists, according to David L. Cummins:
“The coming of the so-called Reformation brought great joy to our Baptist forefathers. The three groups most easily identified as bearing Baptist distinctives during that period were known as the Donatists, Waldenses, and Anabaptists. During the dark ages, these heroes of the faith had persisted, but it had been most difficult for them. Entire volumes have been written to describe their plight. They were fugitives, vagabonds, strangers, and pilgrims… To be sure, these were doctrinal people… Long lost writings have come to light, and it is apparent that the Anabaptists were New Testament theologians.” (David L Cummins, A Brief History of Baptist Missions, Victory Press, 1998, pp. 5-6)
On page 69 of A Brief History of Baptist Missions David Cummins wrote, “I thank God for the day of the birth of the new society!” — “the day” being January 17. The traditional day on which the Prieuré de Sion convenes to elect Grand Masters is 17 January, which corresponds to 17 Nisan – the 17th day of the first month on the Hebrew calendar. On this day, the Israelites crossed the Red Sea (Exod. 14); it is also the Feast of First Fruits (Lev. 23) and the day on which Jesus Christ rose from the dead, three days and three nights after Passover on 14 Nisan (John 13:1; I Cor. 15:20-23). We believe the election of Grand Masters of the Prieuré de Sion on January 17 – 17 Nisan on the Hebrew calendar – is a cryptic statement of the Merovingian Jews’ presumed entitlement to the Messianic birthright. (See: (See: “Heeding Bible Prophecy”: Secret Societies: January 17 and New Israel: Zionism)
In and of itself, the founding of the Baptist World Mission on January 17, the day on which the Prieuré de Sion convenes to elect Grand Masters, would not be reason enough to suspect the KJV-Only Baptists of being Merovingians. However, the overwhelming evidence of their relationship to the medieval Gnostics, the Kabbalist Rosicrucians, Freemasonry and the Merovingian bloodline make it difficult to resist the suspicion that the leadership of the KJV-Only movement are, in fact, Merovingians.
It becomes apparent that Baptist Successionists have done a thorough work of sanitizing Baptist history so as to obfuscate the true origins of their denomination in heretical sects and subversive movements. They have also concealed their subsequent activities and affiliations, such as the collaboration in the 19th century of the American Bible Union and the 1901 American Standard Version Committee with Westcott and Hort on the translation of the English Revised Version. Thomas Armitage, who was the second president of the American Bible Union, documented their collaboration with the English Revision Committee in his book, A History of the Baptists: Traced by their Vital Principles and Practices, from the Time of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the Year 1886. Note that most of the members and directors of the American Bible Union were Baptists:
“On the 10th of June, 1850, a very large meeting was held at the Baptist Tabernacle in Mulberry Street, New York, at which the American Bible Union was organized, under a constitution which was then adopted, and an address explaining its purposes was given to the public. Dr. Cone was elected president of the Union, Wm. H. Wyckoff, Corresponding Secretary; Deacon Colgate, Treasurer; E.S. Whitney, Recording Secretary, and Sylvester Pier, Auditor, together with a board of twenty-four managers. The second article of the constitution defined the object of the Union thus:
“Its object shall be to procure and circulate the most faithful versions of the sacred Scriptures in all languages throughout the world.’...
“Although the American Bible Union had always disclaimed that it was a Baptist Society, yet, a large majority of its life members and dirtors being Baptists, in harmony with the expressed wish of the denomination to do the Bible work of Baptists through the Missionary Union and the Publication Society, the Bible Union disposed of all its book-stock and plates to the Publication Society, on condition that its versions should be published according to demand. The American and Foreign Bible Society did the same, and now, in the English tongue, the Publication Society is circulating, according to demand, the issues of the Bible Union, the commonly received version and the Canterbury revision, with the emendations recommended by the American corps of scholars incorporated into the text; and so it has come to pass that the denomination which refused to touch the English revision in 1850 came, in less than a quarter of a century, to put its imprint upon two, to pronounce them fit for use amongst Baptists, and to circulate them cheerfully.” (Armitage, pp. 907, 912-13)
(See: “The Unauthorized History of English Bible Revision”)
Fundamental Baptists may present themselves as the true successors of the Apostles and loyal defenders of the Bible, however, Christians should know that it was Baptists who established the Bible societies which removed the Translators’ Preface from King James Bibles in the early 19th century; it was Baptists who pioneered the revision of the King James Version before Westcott and Hort even began to work on their New Greek Text; it is Baptists who are now claiming the 1611 King James Bible is a Rosicrucian work while KJV-Only Baptists remain silent; it is Baptists who are leading the King James-Only movement into the modern version camp by promoting hybrid translations like the Syriac Peshitta; and it is Baptists who are leading the KJV-Only camp into Jewish Kabbalism by way of Gail Riplinger. So when Baptists claim that their ancestors were the Cathars, Albigenses, Bogomils, Anabaptists, etc, etc. – medieval heretics all – we have every reason to believe them.
THE OLD LATIN VERSIONS
CONTEND FOR THE FAITH:
THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS