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Friday, April 20, 2007

Baptist origins -- straw poll

I'd like to ask my readers to participate in a straw poll concerning Baptist views of Baptist origins. If you are familiar with the writings of any on the following list of Baptists, would you give your opinion of what view of origins that you think they held -- Outgrowth of English Separatism, Influence of Anabaptists, Continuation of Biblical Teachings, Succession of Baptist Churches, or Chain-link Succession?

Some of the views are readily discernible (e.g. not many hesitate on Whitsitt or Carroll), while others may be justifiably placed in one category or another (e.g I've seen Newman classified as Influence of Anabaptists and Continuation of Biblical Teachings). I just want to get your opinions. I realize that some of the names may be obscure to some of you, while others are well-known to all. A few are not historians, but have written works investigating a view (or views) of Baptist origins. Even if you don't know about some of them, please don't fail to comment on those you do know. If you want to just list them as you see it, do so (e.g. Gilpin = Chain-link Succession); or if you want to justify your choices, feel free to do that. If you'd like to add someone you feel is significant, please do that also. Finally, if you'd like, give your own opinion of when Baptists originated. I’m looking forward to your thoughts. Thanks.

Thomas Armitage
Robert A. Baker
David Benedict
William H. Brackney
J. M. Carroll
John T. Christian
Milburn Cockrell
J. M. Cramp
Thomas Crosby
William Davidson
William R. Estep
John R. Gilpin
James Wyatt Griffith
Sylvester Hassell
Jack Hoad
Winthrop S. Hudson
Michael Ivey
Joseph Ivimey
Ollie Latch
Bill Leonard
H. Leon McBeth
Albert Henry Newman
G. H. Orchard
Ernest Payne
Adam Taylor
Robert G. Torbet
A. C. Underwood
Henry Clay Vedder
W. T. Whitley
William H. Whitsitt

P. S. If you know of someone who is well-qualified to comment on this, please invite them over to the blog to give their opinion.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love G. H. Orchard's "A Concise History of Baptists," subtitled "From the time of Christ their Founder to the 18th century" (when Orchard wrote it).
Not to be pushy on the subject, but as a simple statement of my understanding of it: If I did not believe Christ founded the Baptists as His church, I would hope to be blessed to find and unite with the church He DID found, as He indicated in Matthew 16.18.

CC
http://www.inthatday.blog-city.com/

R. L. Vaughn said...

I have had Orchard's history for a long time, but haven't looked at it for quite awhile. Way of Life put in on the world wide web.

A Concise History of the Baptists

Orchard may be the most criticized history of Baptists except for J. M. Carroll's the Trail of Blood. I think some of this is quite unfair to Orchard. Folks have their standard of Baptist identity and then criticize Orchard because he didn't follow their standard. It appears to me (though I don't claim to be an expert on it) that Orchard followed the standard of what he believed made Baptists.

CC said...

"Orchard may be the most criticized history of Baptists except for J. M. Carroll's the Trail of Blood."

Maverick that I am, maybe what you said there is why I like Orchard (and Carroll's "Trail of Blood") so much.

CC
http://www.inthatday.blog-city.com/

R. L. Vaughn said...

You, a maverick?? Come on now!

R. L. Vaughn said...

I was hoping more of my friends and readers would weigh in with their expertise and opinions. But since most of y'all are giving us the silent treatment, I'm going to start posting some opinions that have already been put in print. Disclaimer: posting them here doesn't necessarily mean I agree with them.

Bill Leonard, from his book Baptist Ways: a History (pp. 10-13)

David Benedict - Successionism
John T. Christian - Successionism
Thomas Crosby - Successionism
William R. Estep - Anabaptist Kinship
Winthrop S. Hudson - Puritanism (English Separatism)
Albert Henry Newman - Anabaptist Kinship
G. H. Orchard - Successionism
Ernest Payne - Anabaptist Kinship
Glen Stassen - Anabaptist Kinship
B. R. White - Puritanism (English Separatism)


Bruce Gourley on his site The Baptist Observer

Robert A. Baker - Outgrowth of English Separatism
David Benedict - Continuation of Biblical Teachings
J.M Carroll - Succession of Baptist Churches
J.M. Cramp - Succession of Baptist Churches
Thomas Crosby - Continuation of Biblical Teachings
William R. Estep - Influence of Anabaptists
Winthrop S. Hudson - Outgrowth of English Separatism
William G. McLoughlin - Outgrowth of English Separatism
A.H. Newman - Continuation of Biblical Teachings
G.H. Orchard - Succession of Baptist Churches
Robert G. Torbet - Outgrowth of English Separatism
A.C. Underwood - Influence of Anabaptists
William H. Whitsitt - Outgrowth of English Separatism

Just these two show some of the differences in opinion that can occur.

Jim1927 said...

A.H. Newman has always been my text of choice on church history. On the name Baptist, I am not sure when it was first coined or by whom. Like the name Chritian in the New Testament, it was prolly coined by our enemies. We did not name ourselves baptist, but took on the name because it included certain parameters, such as the Lordship of Jesus Christ; local church autonomy; baptism by immersion of a believer; and, the sure return of the Lord Jesus Christ to judge the world and reign forever.

I am of the opinion that doctrine was not established in New Testament times by the local body per se, but only in the apostles words. Hence, they had to deal with false teaching. It is the collective word that gives us sound doctrine, and this is what the true belivers sought for the church down through history. Somewhere along the way the name Baptist was applied.

It is in this sense that I would claim the historical connection with the original church, and the ensuing doctrinal continuity.

Is the name Baptist important? I rather think not. Doctrinal purity is essential. Down through history there have been groups of believers who held the essential teaching, whilst deviating on given concepts of theology. This did not detract from their successionism, but simply demonstrated their humanism. In plain words, they were not so "heavenly minded that they were of no earthly value." In this sense "Baptists" have always been, and the trail of blood is secured.

That is my opinion, formed over some 62 years as a pastor, for what it is worth.

Cheers,

Jim

R. L. Vaughn said...

Jim, it's good to hear from you. I was wondering how you're doing.

R. L. Vaughn said...

In his book The Baptist Heritage, Leon McBeth categorizes some historians in the following manner (pp. 49-59).

Outgrowth of English Separatism
Robert A. Baker
Henry M. Dexter
Winthrop S. Hudson
Norman H. Maring
William G. McLoughlin
Roberet G. Torbet
Barrington R. White
William T. Whitley
William H. Whitsitt

Influence of Anabaptists
William R. Estep
James D. Mosteller
E. A. Payne
A. C. Underwood
Michael Watts

Continuation of Biblical principles
Thomas Armitage
David Benedict
Thomas Crosby
Joseph Ivimey
A. H. Newman
H. C. Vedder

Continuation of Baptist churches
J. M. Carroll
J. M. Cramp
J. R. Graves
G. H. Orchard
D. B. Ray
Adam Taylor

R. L. Vaughn said...

In Baptist Successionism: a Critical View Morgan Patterson uses a categorization not common among some of the others. He presents four categories of successionism (pp. 10-12). I give those below with writers he felt represented those views.

1. Historians who claim a perpetuity of Baptists capable of explicit proof: G. H. Orchard, D. B. Ray

2. Historians who feel a succession of Baptists may not be fully supported by extant historical evidence, but is a reality and a necessity: S. H. Ford (The Origin of the Baptists, South Western Pub., 1860)

3. Historians who contend a Baptist succession is historically demonstrable, but that the validity of Baptists is not dependent on it: T. G. Jones (The Baptists, Judson Press, 1860)

4. Historians who disclaim a continuity of Baptists, but note doctrinal resemblances of historical sects with modern Baptists: H. C. Vedder and Robert G. Torbet

R. L. Vaughn said...

More categorizations of historians

Robert G. Torbet in A History of the Baptists (pp. 18-21, Judson, 1963)

Successionism
William Cathcart
John T. Christian
J. M. Cramp
Thomas Crosby
G. H. Orchard

Anabaptist Spiritual Kinship
Thomas Armitage
David Benedict
Richard B. Cook
A. H. Newman
Walter Rauschenbusch

English Separatist descent
John H. Shakespeare
Augustus H. Strong
Henry C. Vedder
William H. Whitsitt
The implication is that Torbet holds this view.


William H. Brackney in Baptist Life and Thought (pp. 15-21, Judson, 1983)

Early attempts at an "antipaedobaptist" historiography
(Which Brackney believes stops short of successionism)
Thomas Crosby
Henry Denne
Henry D'anvers

Successionism
Thomas Armitage
David Benedict
G. H. Orchard
Robert Robinson

Anabaptist Spiritual Kinship
William R. Estep

English Separatist descent
Champlin Burrage
Henry C. Vedder
Barrington R. White
W. T. Whitley


From The Southern Baptist Convention by Jesse C. Fletcher

Successionism
David Benedict
J. M. Carroll
John T. Christian
Richard B. Cook
Thomas Crosby
J. R. Graves
W. A. Jarrell
G. H. Orchard


John R. Gilpin and Milburn Cockrell -- from my original list -- were "chain-link" successionists. Michael Ivey -- also on that list -- believes in succession, but probably not "chain-link" succession.

Rachael and Travis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachael Mickel said...

Having read the beliefs of the varying "Baptist" denominations in history that Orchard, Carroll, Graves, and others reference (Montanists, Donatists, Paulicians, Novations, etc, etc, etc), I don't see how they were anything close to Baptist. One or two similar beliefs does not make one a Baptist. We have more in common with just about every other Christian denomination today than the majority of those other so-called Baptists.