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Baptist History, J. A. Shackelford

A.D. 29. After the day of Pentecost the disciples went everywhere gladly preaching the word, while great success attended their ministry. In a very short time a second church was planted at Samaria, and soon another at Antioch. Persecutions were now inflicted upon the Christians everywhere, and Saul was on his way to Damascus, with authority to arrest men and women, and breathing out threatenings and slaughter against all Christians, when he was suddenly stricken down and made to cry out for mercy. Being converted to the Christian faith, he attached himself to the church at Antioch.

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Heresies and corruptions begun to creep into the churches very early in their history. Even during the time of the apostles there was a strong tendency to introduce Jewish rites into the Christian churches, and if the apostles had not learned that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” they did learn that the most untiring vigilance was necessary to preserve the churches in purity of doctrine and discipline. Man naturally desires a ritualistic service and would rather worship the seen than the unseen.

Very early in the first century some churches were found drifting away from the simple principles which governed and controlled the true churches of Christ; they became corrupt in doctrine, and introduced innovations and false practices into their worship.

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“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days. And to the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, times, and a half time, from the face of the serpent.” (Rev. 12:6,14 “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them and shall overcome them, and kill them.” (Rev. 11:7)

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ANABAPTISTS.—In the year A. D. 500, we find Anabaptists existing in France and Spain. ”In the language of councils at this period, Christians are denominated, either from their opinions, heretics, or with a view to their discipline, schismatics; but there was one article of discipline in which they were all agreed, and from which they were frequently named, and that was BAPTISM. They held the Catholic community not to be the church of Christ; they therefore rebaptized such as had been baptized in that community, before they admitted them to their fellowship. For this conduct they were called Anabaptists.”

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ALBIGENSES.—In the year 1019, we find the Catholics inflicting their accustomed persecutions upon the Albigenses in France. The Catholic idea of salvation by works, was so completely rooted and grounded in the people of that faith that no effort was made to propagate their doctrines except by compulsion. The idea had become universal, among them, that out of their church was no salvation, and that the end justified the use of any means, howsoever wicked, which might be used to compel submission to their faith. “With the Catholic, out of the church was death; within it was life, and in its maddening thirst for power, the Catholic party sought to crush everything beneath its feet, which it could not gather within its folds.

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