History of the Primitive Baptist Church from
Apostolic Times until its Establishment in America

We are presently gathering church succession charts, comparing them, and compiling information supporting Apostolic church succession. Succession of the true church is proven in various ways: (1) by the history of the true uncorrupted text of the Bible; (2) by the history of baptism by immersion; (3) by the history of persecutions of the church written by her enemies; (4) by its doctrine, polity, and practices; and (5) by books and manuscripts which have been preserved, written by both modern and ancient writers in the true church, which show why they believed the church had existed since the days of Christ and the Apostles. We are preparing a comprehensive outline to document these points, century by century. The charts and links below are only a sample of documentation found during our research.

A Brief Sketch of the Baptists by Century for Nineteen Centuries

Elder Ariel West, of Texas, prepared the following brief sketch by century of the Baptists through nineteen centuries. - Taken from The Baptists in All Ages, by Elder J. S. Newman.

FIRST CENTURY: There were churches in Asia Minor, Southern Europe and England. They were first called Christians at Antioch. Saul persecuted the churches. Nero and Trajan were emperors of the Roman Empire in this century. Small departures by some were made in the churches.

SECOND CENTURY: Baptists in same countries as first century. Pliny, governor of Bithynia (see Hassell's Church History, page 360). Polycarp was pastor of the Church at Smyrna until his death by burning in about 166 A. D. (see Shackelford, page 54). More departures over a larger territory in this century. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus came to the throne of the Roman Empire.

THIRD CENTURY: Churches in southern Europe, England, Wales, Asia Minor, and North Africa. Christian churches called Paterines, Novatians and Montanists. Diocletian became Emperor of Rome. Wholesale departures, and the above names of Christian churches given to them by those departing from the faith. (Hassell, p. 367, 377; Ray, p. 315; Robinson's Ecclesiastical Researches, p. 126.)

FOURTH CENTURY: Churches in same countries as in preceding centuries. Christian churches called Donatists in parts of north Africa; also Puritans in Wales. Constantine the Great became emperor of Rome. Council of Nice held A. D. 325. First recorded infant baptism, 370 A. D. (Hassell, p. 386, 387, 389; Shackelford, p. 49; Orchard, p. 92, 93).

FIFTH CENTURY: Those departing from the faith established and enforced popery in 416. A new name given to true Christian churches in some localities, to-wit, Cathari.

SIXTH CENTURY: Catholics call Baptist or Christian churches Ana-Baptists for the first time (Hassell, p. 407-409).

SEVENTH CENTURY: True Christian churches in Armenia. The Catholics call them Paulicians (Hassell, p. 417; Smith, 359-360).

EIGHTH CENTURY: True Christian churches still called Ana-Baptists, Donatists. The Catholics originate the doctrine of transubstantiation in 780 A. D. In the first part of this century, Pope Stephen II instituted pouring as a legal ordinance for baptism in the Catholic church.

NINTH CENTURY: Ana-Baptists in Bulgaria. In this century the Greek Catholics and the Roman Catholics became separate bodies.

TENTH CENTURY: Baptists in Wales, Italy, and France, and called Paulicians and Ana-baptists in different countries (Smith, p. 359-360).

ELEVENTH CENTURY: Baptists were in Italy and France under the name of Paulicians and Paterines (Smith, p. 358, 360, 363).

TWELFTH CENTURY: Baptists were called Paterines, Henricians, Arnoldists and Petrobrussians (Hassell, p. 436, 438; Smith, 219).

THIRTEENTH CENTURY: Baptists were found in Italy, France, and Germany, and were called Waldenses or Vaudois, Ana-baptists, and Albigenses (Smith, page 570 to 585).

FOURTEENTH CENTURY: Baptist churches were in Germany, England, and Poland; called Lollards in England, Waldenses and Ana-baptists on the continent (Crosby, Vol. 2, page 46; Orchard's English Baptists, p. 118; Smith, page 251)).

FIFTEENTH CENTURY: Baptist churches in England and Valleys of Piedmont. In this century John Huss, a reformer, was burned at the stake (1415), but he was not a Baptist. In this century Martin Luther was born (born November 10, 1483, died February 18, 1546), but let it be understood that his reformation had no connection with the Baptists. In this century thousands of women and children of the Waldenses were put to death by persecution (Crosby, Vol. 1, p. 18).

SIXTEENTH CENTURY: Baptists were found in France and Germany under the name of Waldenses. The Lutheran church came out of Rome as a distinct body in about 1552. The Episcopal church came out of Rome in 1534, and the Presbyterian in 1527.

SEVENTEENTH CENTURY: Baptist Churches were called Waldenses, Baptist, and Ana-Baptist. The first Baptist church in America was organized at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1638, by Dr. John Clarke and eleven others.

EIGHTEENTH CENTURY: New School Baptist movement was started in England by William Carey and Andrew Fuller. The Methodists became a distinct body from the Episcopal church in 1785.

NINETEENTH CENTURY: The New School movement spread to America. Black Rock Address, and withdrawal by the Old School Baptists. Campbellites became a distinct sect in 1827.

References: 1. Hassell: History of the Church of God from Creation to A. D. 1885, by Elders C. B. and Sylvester Hassell. 2. Smith: Smith & Cheetham's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. 3. Shackelford: J. A. Shackelford's Historical Chart showing the Origin and History of the Baptists, c. 1891. 4. Crosby: Crosby's History of the English Baptists. 5. Orchard's History of the English Baptists.

Articles Supporting Primitive Baptist Church Succession

(Thank you for being patient while we obtain and compile the information for this site. The articles presented here are subject to further review and revision.)

Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Polycarp





The Ancient Waldenses, by Elder Albert Moore

The Ancient Waldenses, by Elder Lemuel Potter

The Ancient Waldenses, by Elder John R. Daily

The Dark Ages, A. D. 500-700

The Paulicians

Peter de Bruys, Henry of Toulouse, and Arnold of Brescia, A. D. 1100-1200

Anabaptists and Bohemia

Wickliffe and the Lollards, A. D. 1300-1400

Wales and England, A. D. 1500-1700

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