Home Church Herald

"....To the church in thy house..." Philemon 1:2
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1

June 2014 A Publication of Seventh Day Home Church Fellowships Vol 05 - Issue 03

The Devils’ Door Concluded – The Anabaptists

by Neville Doherty

THE name Anabaptists, signifies re-baptizers, and was applied indiscriminately to all who denied the validity of sprinkling for baptism, and especially of infant baptism, or sprinkling, rather. (A.T. Jones, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 17, 1884, p. 387.5).

One of these early Anabaptist was a Dutchman by the name of Menno Simons. Of him we read:

The teachings of Luther found a congenial soil in the Netherlands, and earnest and faithful men arose to preach the gospel. From one of the provinces of Holland came Menno Simons. Educated a Roman Catholic, and ordained to the priesthood, he was wholly ignorant of the Bible, and he would not read it, for fear of being beguiled into heresy. When a doubt concerning the doctrine of transubstantiation forced itself upon him, he regarded it as a temptation from Satan, and by prayer and confession sought to free himself from it; but in vain. By mingling in scenes of dissipation he endeavored to silence the accusing voice of conscience; but without avail. After a time he was led to the study of the New Testament, and this with Luther’s writings caused him to accept the reformed faith. He soon after witnessed in a neighboring village the beheading of a man who was put to death for having been rebaptized. This led him to study the Bible in regard to infant baptism. He could find no evidence for it in the Scriptures, but saw that repentance and faith are everywhere required as the condition of receiving baptism (“The Great Controversy,” p. 238.2, 1888 ed.).

This severe punishment, rather than quieting the conscience through fear of death, instead only served to awaken the desire to investigate the truth in the heart of many like Menno throughout Europe.

sake burn

And in order to quell this new “heresy,” the flames of persecution were lit across all Europe. But what is saddest of all, is that this persecution came not only from Catholics, but from Catholics and Protestants alike:

Roman Catholics and Protestants alike persecuted the Anabaptists, resorting to torture and execution in attempts to curb the growth of the movement. The Protestants under Zwingli were the first to persecute the Anabaptists, with Felix Manz becoming the first martyr in 1527. On May 20, 1527, Roman Catholic authorities executed Michael Sattler. King Ferdinand declared drowning (called the third baptism) "the best antidote to Anabaptism". The Tudor regime, even the Protestant monarchs (Edward VI of England and Elizabeth I of England), persecuted Anabaptists as they were deemed too radical and therefore a danger to religious stability. The persecution of Anabaptists was condoned by ancient laws of Theodosius I and Justinian I that were passed against the Donatists, which decreed the death penalty for any who practiced rebaptism. Martyrs Mirror, by Thieleman J. van Braght, describes the persecution and execution of thousands of Anabaptists in various parts of Europe between 1525 and 1660. Continuing persecution in Europe was largely responsible for the mass emigrations to North America by Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites (Wikipedia, “Anabaptists”).

The persecuted became the persecutors. How tragic! These men and women whose only crime was that they believed in the truths of the Bible were burned, tortured, etc., all because they wouldn’t follow Church dogma. And this was all done in the name of Christianity, and it was all to protect the evil doctrine of Original Sin, from which comes Infant Baptism. This isn’t true Christianity! Jesus Christ never compelled by force. His way is the way of Love, and it works by persuasion not persecution. To compel by force is the method of Satan, not of Christ.

Concerning these persecutions, one historian tells us:

It is a fact recognized by many recent historians, that the persecution of the Anabaptists surpassed in severity the persecution of the early Christians by pagan Rome (“Mennonites in Europe,” by John Horsch, p. 300).

One of the more well known of those who suffered under this persecution was a man by the name of Miguel (Michael) Servetus:

Another, and the most notable of all the victims of Calvin’s theocracy, was Servetus, who had opposed the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and also infant baptism; and had published a book entitled “Christianity Restored,” in which he declared his sentiments. He had been condemned to death by the Catholics for heresy, but he escaped from their prison in Dauphiné, in France, and in making his way to Italy, passed through Geneva, and there remained a few days. He was just about to start for Zurich, when at the instigation of Calvin he was seized, and out of the book before mentioned, was accused of blasphemy. The result, as everybody knows, was [that] he was burned to death. Dr. Alexander says further, “The heresy of Servetus was not extirpated by his death; but none of his followers were visited with severer penalties than banishment from Geneva. The trials of several of these, with the conferences and controversies connected with them, occupied much of Calvin’s time for several years.” (A.T. Jones, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 17, 1884, p. 387.2)

What was his crime? He “opposed the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and also infant baptism”. Who condemned him to death? The “Catholics”. Who finally burnt him at the stake? “Calvin’s theocracy”. Who was he? A protestant who challenged certain unscriptural doctrines. Does that surprise you? What about this statement?

But however bitter the opposition between Lutherans and Calvinists, and amongst the Lutherans themselves, and again, between all of these on one hand and the Catholics on the other, they could call a truce upon all their differences, and unite, all, Catholics, Lutherans, Zwinglians, and Calvinists, in one common onset against Anabaptists. (Ibid, p. 387.5).

Catholics and Protestants united together? Why? What did these Anabaptists believe that was so terrible?

Before the period of the Reformation, there were, scattered throughout almost all the countries of Europe, and persecuted everywhere, lineal descendants, in point of doctrine, of the Albigenses and the Waldenses, who did not practice infant baptism (sprinkling), but held to the genuine doctrines of baptism, the sleep of the dead, and some to the true Sabbath. Of course, these doctrines caused them even then to be considered abominable heretics; but when, unfortunately, in the early days of the Reformation, some of the name ran into wild fanaticism, all of the name were classed together in it; and the severest of penal laws of those severe times, were enacted against all who could be classed as Anabaptists (Ibid).

Here are some more beliefs of these Anabaptists: The Bible as the sole rule of faith and practice; the authority of the Scriptures; Freedom of religion; liberty of conscience; Separation of church & state; Pacifism or non-resistance; Separation or nonconformity to the world; Voluntary church membership and believer's baptism; Evangelistic zeal; Priesthood of all believers.

What’s wrong with these beliefs? Don’t we still believe these same things? How many of you have been re-baptised? I for one.

One last very touching story before we close:

Dirk Willems of Holland was re-baptized when he became a believer, thus rejecting the infant baptism practiced at that time. This action, plus his continued devotion to his new faith and the re-baptism of several other believers in his home – led to his subsequent arrest and martyrdom.
An officer came to arrest him at the village of Asperen. Running for his life, Dirk came to a frozen pond. After making his way across in great peril, he realized that his pursuer had fallen through the ice, and into the freezing water.
Turning back to save the drowning officer, Dirk dragged him safely to shore. The man wanted to release Dirk, but a burgomaster, having appeared on the scene – reminded him that he was under oath to deliver criminals to justice. Dirk was bound off to prison, interrogated, and tortured in an unsuccessful effort to make him renounce his faith. He was tried and found guilty of having been re-baptized, of holding secret meetings in his home, and of allowing baptism there – all of which he freely confessed. "Persisting obstinately in his opinion", Dirk was burned at the stake near his hometown on 16 May 1569, by these blood-thirsty, ravening wolves – enduring it with great steadfastness (“Mennonites in Europe,” by John Horsch).

Dirk truly showed the spirit of Christ! What a testimony of the true beliefs of the Anabaptists, and what a rebuke for those who killed him.

What more can be said? Such was the end result of that evil Dogma of Original Sin. How many innocent lives have been lost? How many more will be lost because of the evil heresies of Original Sin?

What do we face as God’s remnant people? Do we face the same fate as these Anabaptists? Yes! If we would be faithful like they were, we will face the same thing, persecution and even death! We, like them, do not believe in the Trinity, we also don’t believe in Infant Baptism or Original Sin. We believe in the true Bible Sabbath of the 4th Commandment, and don’t believe in the many, many other “unscriptural errors” of the other churches.

We will be the targets of a world-wide campaign of hatred and persecution, simply for believing something different. Are you ready for that?

There is so much more that could be shared but we need to end here. The Bible says the following:

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double” (Revelation 18:1-6).

God is calling His people to come out of this system. It is our commission to proclaim this message to the world to make ready a people to meet Jesus when He comes. Amen.

Our Ever Present Danger - Part 1
Do you remember the "way" and the "teachings", the Seventh Day Adventist People and their leaders were admonished not to forget? This article may be the reminder you need.

The Devils' Door - Concluded
What doctrine was at the heart of the great Protestant persecution of the 17th century? Find out in the conclusion to “The Devils’ Door. There you will find the answer, and the peculiar people whose bold stance against Papal errors excited the hatred of both the Papacy and of Protestants alike, and cost many of them their lives.

Health Corner -  Other Benefits of Exercise
Find out how one of God's simple remedies can improve your cognitive processes; a remedy that has been shown to be more effective than drugs in overcoming depression, and with longer lasting effects.

Taking Care With Context
Find out why this element of Bible Study, is key to a proper understanding of the Scriptures.

Mission Report - Philippines
Read an update on Melody, the blind girl, and encouraging news of what God is doing in the Philippines!

Faith & Works - Part 1
Are we saved by faith or works? In part one of this two part series, Sister Ellen White shares the answer to this all important question, and the answer may come as a surprise to you.

Think on These Things - Our Seventh Day Adventist Calling
Are we Christians or Seventh Day Adventists? Join Pastor David Sims, as he shares his thoughts on this pertinent question, and the issues surrounding it.

Sister Christy Whitehurst shares one of her best raw hummus recipes with us!

Seventh Day Home Church Fellowships is an association of Sabbath-keeping groups, which through web & tele-conferencing provides means for study, fellowship, and jointly organized missionary projects.

Website: www.seventhdayhomechurchfellowships.org

Email: admin@seventhdayhomechurchfellowships.org

Seventh Day Home Church Fellowships:

P.O. Box 262, Laconia, NH 03246, U.S.A.

Phone: 530 708-2381

Chief Editor: David Sims

Assistant Editor: Thomas Akens

Proof-reader: Alice Fredrick

Layout: Thomas Akens