Faith in God, Love for People

A Page From Baptist History The Inquisition: Why Ancient Baptists Thought the Pope was The Antichrist.

[Quotations and facts in the following article are taken from Martyrs Mirror, by Thieleman J. VanBraght, first published in 1660. Re-published by Herald Press, Scottdale, PA.,2005]

In 1198 Innocent III was consecrated as pope. In his address to the cardinals, archbishops, and bishops he said the following: “And am I not the bridegroom, and every one of you a friend of the bridegroom? Yea, I am the bridegroom; for I have the noble, rich, and highly exalted, yea, the honorable, pure, gracious, and holy Roman church for my bride, who, by the ordinance of God, is the mother of all the faithful, and the supreme mistress over all the churches. She is wiser than Sarah, more prudent than Re­becca, more fruitful than Leah, more agreeable than Rachel, more devout than Anna, purer than Susanna, more valiant than Judith, more beautiful than Edessaea. Many daughters have gathered great riches; but she has excelled them all. I have es­poused her sacramentally. This bride has not been wedded to me portionless, but has given me her rich dowry, namely, the fullness of spiritual and of temporal power.” This author goes on to show how that Pope Innocent III was the first to institute the office of the inquisition, also sending three letters setting it in motion. It was primarily aimed at those known as Waldenses and Albigenses, “who were in one belief with the Baptists (also called Anabaptists).”
Crusades, “consisting of great armies of Roman Catholics,” were instituted and carried out. The pope wanting to encourage them to zeal offered to these persecutors great “spiritual” rewards. I quote again from van Braght. “But that they might acquit themselves the more courageously and intrepidly, in exterminating the Albigenses and Waldenses, yea, that they might suffer none of them to remain alive, but kill them by fire, sword, gallows, and other means, the pope most solemnly promised to all who by so doing should meet death, or fall by the weapons of the princes seeking to protect the Albigenses and Wal­denses, full remission of all their past sins, yea, that they should straightway go to heaven.”
During the following decades, indeed centuries, many tens of thousands of men, women, and children were cruelly imprisoned, tortured, maimed, and murdered for their faith in Jesus Christ according the teachings of the Word of God.
Van Braght describes the 180 persons burnt outside of the castle Minerve in the year 1210, another 60 burned at the stake in 1211 at Casser. Also in 1211, 100 men, women, and children were burned at the stake for their rejection of the the heresies of Rome. At the close of that same year, at Chastelnau D’Ari, another 50 were burned alive.
Space will only allow for details of one such incident to illustrate. I quote once again; “Simon, count of Montfort, hastened with the Lord’s (the Roman Pope’s) army, to lay siege to the fortress or city, of Vaurum, which Amerius, lord of Montreal and Laurack, brother of the lady Geralda, had undertaken to defend for her sake. Within there was no small number of those heretics called Induti, who did not always reside there, but had congregated at that time from distant coun­tries.”
“The army of God, therefore,” he writes, (name­ly, the army of the pope) “encompassed the fort­ress, or city, and gave the besieged no rest night and day. Those within perceiving, . . . surren­dered unconditionally to the beleaguers.
“A large fire was made of wood, says Robert Altissiodorensis, and the choice was given to all, either to turn from their errors (so he speaks, after the manner of the papists), or to be burnt alive; whereupon a great number, over four hundred, as stated, were found who were so obstinate in their error (as he calls their true faith) that they would rather be burnt than confess the Roman Catholic faith. Chronol., page 106. Also A. Melt., 2d book, fol. 456, cot. 2, 3.”
Thus as our author says, the armies of the pope burnt over 400 of my Baptist ancestors because of their faith in the Word of God, and therefore their rejection of the heresies of Rome. This continued for many hundreds of years in Europe with the numbers of martyrs being estimated in the millions. I do not agree that the Pope of Rome IS The Antichrist, but it is easy to see why they did. Rome is, however, certainly of the spirit of the antichrist. (1 Jn.2:18)
I pray that when persecution comes to God’s true saints in America that I will be found faithful.


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