College Notes
Church History
Lecture 23

The Church in England and America

A. Though not the true church, Baptists trace their history in a similar fashion.
1. Trace through Anabaptists, Waldenses, Bogomils, Paulicians, and Nazarenes rather than through the Council of Nicea.
2. Trace themselves back to the third century, and do not claim apostolic succession.
3. Do not practice church governmental structure. They believe in the total autonomy of the local congregation.
4. They become Baptists as we know them in the 1630s.

B. Events in the 1400s.
1. Advent of printing.
2. Bible translated into English and distributed to the common people.
3. Important reform movement in Holland.
        a. Calvinism - called Dutch reformers
     b. Holland led the world in education

C. Events in the 1500s.
1. Henry VIII - England becomes Protestant.
2. Elizabeth I - Firmly establishes England in Protestantism.

D. Events in 1600s.
1. King James - edition of the Bible in 1611, most commonly used version.
2. God's church existed at this time in Europe and England and were known as Sabbatarians.
     a. Several began to advocate 7th day

Jones' Church History says:

"Chambers' Encyclopedia states that in England 'many conscientious and independent thinkers in the reign of Elizabeth (1558-1603) advocated the seventh-day.'" p. 238

        b. In 1595 Nicholas Bound published his book

Joseph Belcher writes in The Religious Denominations in the United States:

"The Sabbath controversy commenced in England near the close of the sixteenth century. On Nicholas Bound, D.D., of Norton, in the county of Suffolk, published a book in 1595, in which he advanced the modern notion concerning the Christian Sabbath, that it is a perpetuation of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, but that the day specified in that commandment has been changed by divine authority from the seventh to the first day of the week. This doctrine was very taking, proclaimed as it was at a time when there was felt to be so much need of greater strictness in regard to the day of rest. According to a learned writer of that age, 'In a very little time it became the most bewitching error, and the most popular infatuation, that ever was embraced by the people of England.' Dr. Bound's book was suppressed by order of Archbishop Whitgift in 1599. But its suppression only led to the publication of a multitude of other works, in which every variety of opinion was expressed. While this discussion was in progress, several advocates of the seventh day arose, who vindicated its claims with great boldness and ability." p. 228

        c. In 1618 Traske spoke out and persecuted

Also from Joseph Belcher's The Religious Denominations in the United States, we read:

"John Traske began to speak and write in favor of the seventh day Sabbath about the time that the Book of Sports for Sunday was published under the direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury and King James I., in 1618. He took high ground as to the sufficiency of the Scriptures to direct in religious services, and the duty of the State to impose nothing contrary to the Word of God. For this he was brought before the Star-Chamber, where a long discussion was held respecting the Sabbath, in which Dr. Andrews, Bishop of Winchester, took a prominent part. Traske was not turned from his opinion, but received a censure in the Star-Chamber. Paggitt's Heresiography says that he 'Was sentenced, on account of his being a Sabbatarian, to be set upon the Pillory at Westminster, and from thence to be whist to the Fleet Prison, there to remain a prisoner for three years. Mrs. Traske, his wife, lay in Maiden-Lane and the Gate- House fifteen years, where she died, for the same crime." p. 228-229

        d. In 1628 another book was written

Belcher continues:

"Theophilus Brabourne, a learned minister of the Gospel in the Established Church, wrote a book, which was printed at London in 1628, wherein he argued 'That the Lord's Day is not the Sabbath Day by Divine Institution,' but 'that the Seventh-day Sabbath is now in force.' This book not having been replied to, he published an other in 1632, entitled, 'A Defense of that most ancient and sacred ordinance of God, the Sabbath Day.' For this he was called to account before the 'Lord Archbishop of Canterbury' and the Court of High Commission. Several lords of his Majesty's Private Council, and many other persons of quality, were present at his examination. For some reason--whether from being overawed by the character of that assembly, or from fearing the consequences of rejecting its overtures, it is not possible now to say--he went back to the embrace of the Established Church. He continued to maintain, however, that if the sabbatical institution be indeed moral and perpetually binding, then his conclusion that the seventh day ought to be kept is necessary and irresistible." p. 229

        e. Tandy propagated 7th day truth

Belcher continues:

"About this time we find Philip Tandy promulgating the same doctrine concerning the Sabbath in the northern part of England. He was educated in the Established Church, of which he became of minister. Having changed his views respecting the mode of baptism and the day of the Sabbath he abandoned that church, and became a mark for many shots. He held several important disputes about his peculiar sentiments, and did much to propagate them." p. 229

        f. 1642 a book on the fourth commandment burned

Belcher continues:

“James Ockford was another early advocate of the Sabbath in England. He seems to have been well acquainted with the discussions in which Traske and Brabourne were engaged. Being dissatisfied with the pretended conviction of Brabourne, he wrote a book in defense of Sabbatarian views, entitled, 'The Doctrine of the Fourth Commandment.' This book, which must have been published about the year 1642, was burnt by the authorities of the Established Church. One Cawdrey, a Presbyterian, and a member of the Assembly of Divines fearing that this 'Sharp confutation by fire,' would be complained of as harsh dealing, wrote a review of it, which in now (in 1854) extant." p. 229-230

        g. 60 years later eleven churches existed

Belcher continues:

"Several causes combined to prevent the early organization of Sabbatarian churches in England. The various laws passed to secure uniformity in worship, and to hinder the holding of religious meetings among all dissenters from the Established Church, were doubly oppressive upon those who observed their Sabbath on a different day from the mass of Christians. To this and similar causes we must attribute the fact, that there were no churches regularly organized until about 1650. Within fifty years of that period, however, there were eleven Sabbatarian churches, besides many scattered Sabbath-keepers, in different parts of the Kingdom. These churches were located at the following places: --Braintree, in Essex; Chersey; Norweston; Salisbury, in Wiltshire; Sherbourne, in Buckinghamshire; Tewkesbury, or Natton, in Gloucestershire; Wallingford, in Berkshire; Woodbridge, in Suffolk; and three in London, namely, the Mill-Yard Church, the Cripplegate Church gathered by Francis Bampfield, and the Pinner's Hall Church under the care of Mr. Belcher, whose funeral sermon, preached by Joseph Stennett, April 1, 1695, now lies before us. Eight of these churches have now become extinct, and hence a complete account of them cannot be obtained."

        h. Dogger and Dodd show the activity in their book
3. Reference books on Sabbath keeping churches:
     a. History of 7th Day Baptists, best name to look under in research
     b. History of the 7th Day Church of God Richard Nichols
4. Most famous Sabbatarian church existing at this time: the Millyard church.

Belcher describes the Mill-yard Church:

"The Mill-Yard Church is located in the eastern part of London. The time of its origin is not certainly known. The records now in possession of the church reach back as far as 1673. But as they contain no account of its organization, and refer to another book, which had been previously used, it is probable that the church dates from a period considerably earlier.... We think it safe to put down JOHN JAMES as the first pastor of Mill-Yard. On the 19th day of October 1661, while Mr. James was preaching, an officer entered the place of worship, pulled him down from the pulpit, and led him away to the police under a strong guard. About thirty members of his congregation were taken before a bench of justices then sitting at a tavern in the vicinity, where the oath of allegiance was tendered to each, and those who refused it were committed to Newgate Prison. Mr. James himself was examined and committed to Newgate, upon the testimony of several profligate witnesses, who accused him of speaking treasonable words against the King. His trial took place about a month afterward, at which he conducted himself in a manner to awaken much sympathy. He was however sentenced to be 'Hanged, drawn, and quartered.' This awful sentence did not dismay him in the least. He calmly said, 'Blessed by God, whom man condemneth, God justifieth.' While he hay in prison under sentence of death, many persons of distinction visited him, who was greatly affected by his piety and resignation.... At the scaffold, on the day of his execution, Mr. James addressed the assembly in a very affectionate manner. Having finished his address, and kneeling down, he thanked God for covenant mercies...he prayed for the witnesses against him, for the executioner, for the people of God, for the removal of divisions, for the coming of Christ, for the spectators, and for himself, that he might enjoy a sense of God's favor and presence, and an entrance into glory.... Then, having thanked the Sheriff for his courtesy, he said, 'Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit;' and was immediately launched into eternity. After he was dead, his heart was taken out and burned, his quarters were affixed to the gates of the city, and his head was set up in Whitechapel on a pole opposite to the Alley in which his meeting-house stood." p.230-231

Jones Church History discusses this church:

"...John Trask and John James were the founders of the Mill Yard Church, London, 1616 to 1661.... In 1546 there were seven congregations in London, which called themselves collectively 'The poor despised Churches of God....' Sixteen years later (1661), John James the founder of one of the Sabbath-keeping churches in London died a martyr's death for the precious truth, showing the severity of the persecution against these despised people of God.... Frances Banefield, writing sixteen years later (1677),

... speaks of the church of which he is pastor, calling it the Church of God, and says there were then two other Sabbath-keeping churches in London.... Frances Banefield included the Mill Yard church with two other churches, by mentioning a public debate it was then carrying on in defense of the Sabbath, against opposers to this truth.... At least three of the seven 'poor despised Churches of God' in London in 1646 had survived the persecutions, which cost the death of John James, and others, and were functioning in the year 1677. Also that Frances Banefield's church moved to the Mill Yard church to hold their services the year 1830.... Frances Banefield is author of a book (1677), in which he brings out evidence to show 'The Church of God' of that day, like the Sabbath, is a continuation of the 'Church of God' of the Old Testament, which is exactly what this work had done except that it brings the church down to 1935." p. 146-247

    5. Sabbath keeping gradually diminished

Belcher explains:

"...only three Sabbatarian churches now remain in England, out of the eleven which existed there one hundred and fifty years ago. Their decline has been gradual, but certain and unchecked. Sufficient causes for it may be assigned.... There can be little doubt, that the observance of the Sabbath upon a different day from the one commonly observed, is connected with greater inconveniences than result from embracing the peculiar doctrines of any other Christian denomination. It would not be very surprising, therefore, if in England...the number of Sabbath-keepers should...gradually diminish. But aside from this, there have been influences at work in the churches themselves exactly adapted to produce the results, which are witnessed. From a very early period, it has been the practice of Sabbatarian preachers to accept the pastoral care of first-day churches--thus attempting to serve two masters at once, and (thus) practically proclaiming a low estimate of the doctrine by which they were distinguished. Closely connected with this, and perhaps a natural result of it, has been an almost total neglect, for a long period, to make any energetic efforts to promulgate their views. Take into account these two considerations, together with the fact that no missionary or associational organizations were ever formed to promote acquaintance and brotherly feeling among the churches, and their existence at all seems more a matter of surprise than their gradual diminution." p. 238

A. Bodies of people seeking religious freedom moved to the New World.
1. People moving to America consisted of Puritans, Quakers, Methodists, Baptists, Anabaptists, and Catholics, all seeking religious freedom.
2. Sabbatarians were intermixed within these groups and came to America in c. 1670.

B. Puritans:
1. Came out of Holland.

T. Gregory, in Puritanism in the Old World and in the New, says

"But the greatest service which Holland rendered to our own country in the sixteenth century was the dissemination of Protestant convictions and sentiments-- the right of private judgment, the duty of toleration, and liberty of conscience. The Netherlanders became missionaries to the people wherever they settled down, instructing them in the truths of the Bible, quickening at once their intelligence and aspirations, and leading them into the love and practice of virtue, which seemed indeed lofty and austere when compared with the morals of our own countrymen. The chief strongholds of English Puritanism were London and Norwich, and these were just the two cities where the Dutch community and influence were the most widely represented. It was in Norwich, as we have seen, that Robert Browne gathered the first Separatist of Independent Church, a church mainly composed of people from the Netherlands, who at that time formed the majority of the population of the city.... It seems clear, then, from what has been thus said, that the origin of Puritanism, strictly speaking, is to be sought, not in England, but Holland." p. 205- 206

X. People who resolved to follow the purity of the Bible.
     a. Beliefs

Neal's History of the Puritans says:

"We believe the word of God contained in the Old and New Testaments to be a perfect rule of faith and manners; that it ought to be read and known by all people; and that the authority of it exceeds all authority, not of the Pope only, but of the Church also, and of Councils, Fathers, men, and angels. We condemn as a tyrannous yoke whatsoever men have set up of their own invention, to make articles of faith, and the binding of men's consciences by their laws and institutions." p. 223

        b. Name became term of derision

Ralph Barton Perry, in Puritanism and Democracy, says:

"Originally, 'Puritan' seems to have been a term of derision, applied rather loosely to people who expressed some dissatisfaction with the workings of the established Church. Because the scope of these objections was sometimes quite trivial, the term came to suggest an argumentative, stubborn frame of mind, a cheerless concern with technicalities. Elizabeth herself had complained that Puritans 'were over-bold with God Almighty, making too many subtle scannings of His blessed will, as lawyers do with human testaments.'" p. 37

        c. Didn’t keep Christmas
     d. Kept Sunday but called it Sabbath

Jones says:

"While one of the authors was living in the city of St. Joseph, Missouri, during the winter of 1934, the following editorial appeared in the St. Joseph, Mo., 'Daily Gazette,' during the Christmas season, written by the editor, Mr. Hugh Sprague: 'Strange as it may seem, in the early history of America there was an attempt at suppression of Christmas spirit. The stern Puritans at Plymouth, imbued with the rigorous fervor of the Old Testament, abhorred the celebration of the orthodox holidays. Their worship was on the Sabbath, rather than on Sunday, and Christmas in particular they considered a pagan celebration. Later immigrants attempted to observe Christmas as a time of joy, but were suppressed. Governor Bradford, Elder Brewster, Miles Standish and other leaders were firm against the yuletide spirit as we know it today.'"

    3. Puritanism was the result of four major influences:
     a. The reformation
     b. Influence of the Bible, now available for the people to read
     c. Growth of freedom beginning from the Magna Carta
     d. Saw need to separate church and state

C. Sabbatarians.
1. Steven Munford arrived in America in c.1664.
     a. Founded earliest recorded Sabbath keeping church c.1671
     b. Location: outside of Providence, Rhode Island

Belcher writes:

"The Seventh-day in America date from about the same period that their brethren in England began to organize regular churches. Mr. Stephen Mumford was one of the earliest among them. He came from England to Newport, R.I., in 1664, and 'Brought with him the opinion, that the Ten Commandments, as they were delivered from Mount Sinai, were moral and immutable, and that it was an Anti-Christian power which changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week.' He associated much with the First-day Baptist Church in Newport, and soon won several members of that church to his views. They continued to walk with the church, however, for a December, 1671, they came to an open separation, Stephen Mumford, William Hiscox, Samuel Hubbard, Roger Baster, and three sisters, entered into church covenant together, thus forming the first Seventh-day Baptist Church in America. William Hiscox was chosen and ordained their pastor, which office he filled until his death in 1704, in the 66th year of his age." p. 239

        c. Belcher documents some of these people's beliefs

"In 1685, Mr. Hubbard wrote to Mr. Reeve, of Jamaica, that messengers were then gone from their church to New London, 'To declare against two or more of them who were of us, who declined to Quakerism. I might say more; of whom be thou aware, for, by their principles, they will travel by land and sea to make disciples, yea, and sorry ones, too. Their names are John and James Rogers, and one Donham.' 'From this beginning,' says Backus, who wrote more than sixty years ago, 'proceeded a sect which has continued to this day, who, from their chief leader, have been called ROGERENES. In their dialect, and many other things, they have been like the first Quakers in this country; though they have retained the external use of Baptism and the Supper, and have been singular in refusing the use of means and medicine for their bodies. Their greatest zeal has been discovered in going from meeting to meeting, and from town to town, as far as Norwich and Lebanon, the one fourteen, and the other twenty-four miles, to testify against hireling teachers, and against keeping the first day of the week as a Sabbath, which they call the Idol Sabbath; and when the authorities have taken them up, and fined them therefore, and having sometimes whipped them for refusing to pay it, they soon have published accounts of all such persecutions, which have been the very means of keeping their sect alive." p. 240-241

        d. By 1854 there were several sabbath keeping churches in America

Belcher writes:

"For more than thirty years after its organization, the Newport Church included nearly all persons observing the seventh day in the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut; and its pastors were accustomed to hold stated meetings at several distant places, for the better accommodation of the widely-scattered members. But in 1708, the brethren living in what was then called Westerly, R.I., (comprehending all the south-western corner of the State,) thought best to form another society. Accordingly they proceeded to organize the Hopkinton Church, which had a succession of worthy pastors, became very numerous, and built three meeting- houses for the accommodation of the members in the different neighborhoods. At present (1854) there are seven church in Rhode Island, and two in Connecticut, all in a healthy condition." p. 243

    2. (1818) become known as 7th Day Baptists.
3. Reason for name change; didn't like to be called Sabbatarians.
4. (1840s) they formed missionary assignments going all over the world.
5. Established three small colleges located in West Virginia, Wisconsin, and New York.
6. Ultimately name changed to 7th Day Church of God.
7. Not much spiritual growth. Gained new members through births.

D. Approximate Church Eras (speculative, very hard to document).
1. Smyrna - Paulicians
2. Thyatira - Waldensians
3. Sardis - Sabbatarians
        a. Could have come into being as early as the 1600s
     b. By the 1900s are as the Bible describes them i.e. have God's name, but are spiritually dead

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