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348 – Dec. 14 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST

220px-Francis_Lister_Hawks

Hawkes

They were beaten and imprisoned

December 14, 1662 – The State of Virginia, passed the following law: “Whereas many schismatical persons out of their averseness to the orthodox established religion, or out of new fangled conceits of their own heretical inventions, refused to have their children baptized. Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all persons that, in contempt of the divine sacrament of baptism, shall refuse when they carry their child to the lawful minister in that country to have them baptized shall be amersed two thousand pounds of tobacco, half to the publique.” Such statutes were directed at the Baptists, whose principles and convictions dictated that they baptize only believers on their confession of faith and who believed pedobaptism to be a Romish invention carried over into Protestantism by the Reformers. The Church of England increased her membership by pedobaptism, but the Baptists by evangelism and proselytizing. This difference of belief caused a head-on collision between the established religion, the Church of England, which tenaciously held to pedobaptism, and the lowly Baptists, who repudiated it and baptized all who believed and gave their testimony to their faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross for their salvation. Hawkes, the historian of the Episcopal Church of Virginia, said, “No dissenters in Virginia experienced for a time, harsher treatment than did the Baptists. They were beaten and imprisoned; and cruelly taxed by the authorities who devised new modes of punishment and annoyance.” The Charter of 1606 provided that the Church of England should be the only legal and official state church of Virginia. The bloody military code of 1611 required all adults of the colony to give account of their faith to the parish minister.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 521-22.

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