Michael and Margaretha Sattler: Until Martyrdom Do Us Part

January 29, 2013

 

by Ron Hale

He has served as Pastor, Church Planter, Strategist (NAMB), Director of Missions, and Associate Executive Director of Evangelism and Church Planting for a State Convention, and now in the 4th quarter of ministry as Minister of Missions.


Michael Sattler (c.1490 – May 20, 1527) was a former Catholic monk who came to see the Bible through a different prism and point of truth. His new beliefs set him free from the Benedictine monkhood and later to marry a woman named Margaretha. The couple fled to Zurich in 1525, where they joined a growing Anabaptist movement. Sattler and his bride were eventually martyred for holding differing beliefs and practices than those of the Roman Catholic Church of their era.

Before his death, Sattler was instrumental in helping draft a simple but straightforward Anabaptist confession of faith. This took place in the city of Schleitheim, Switzerland, north of Zurich, near the German border.

Historians consider the Schleitheim Articles the first Anabaptist confession of faith, and it received a wide distribution, especially after the martyrdom of Sattler and his bride. Ulrich Zwingli saw a need to publish a repudiation of these Articles, and it was released late summer of 1527 and called: Refutation of Anabaptist Tricks. John Calvin published a refutation in 1544.

Michael-Sattler-300x249On May 17, 1527, a trial began with a long list of indictments against Sattler. Two of those charges would cause 21st century Baptists to take great notice, for Sattler was found guilty of: 1) teaching against infant baptism, and 2) teaching against transubstantiation (the elements of the Eucharist actually becoming the substance of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist).

The Schleitheim Articles discloses what Sattler believed about baptism and the Lord’s Supper. As you read them, judge how closely they resemble your beliefs as a Southern Baptist:

Baptism … shall be given to all those who have been taught repentance and the amendment of life and [who] believe truly that their sins are taken away through Christ, and to all those who desire to walk in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and be buried with Him in death, so that they might rise with Him; to all those who with such an understanding themselves desire and request it from us; hereby is excluded all infant baptism, the greatest and first abomination of the pope. For this you have the reasons and the testimony of the writings and the practice of the apostles. We wish simply yet resolutely and with assurance to hold to the same.

Concerning the breaking of bread, we have become one and agree thus: all those who desire to break the one bread in remembrance of the broken body of Christ and all those who wish to drink of one drink in remembrance of the shed blood of Christ, they must beforehand be united in the one body of Christ, that is the congregation of God, whose head is Christ, and that by baptism. For as Paul indicates, we cannot be partakers at the same time of the table of the Lord and the table of devils. Nor can we at the same time partake and drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils. That is: all those who have fellowship with the dead works of darkness have no part in the light. Thus all those who follow the devil and the world, have no part with those who have been called out of the world unto God. All those who lie in evil have no part in the good.

Michael Sattler became a “marked man” since he was the chief author of these Articles. Along with other Anabaptists, the Sattlers were arrested in Horb, Germany, and later taken to Rottenburg, Germany, for trial. After a hurried travesty of justice, the gruesome verdict was read:

Michael Sattler shall be committed to the executioner. The latter shall take him to the square and there first cut out his tongue, and then forge him fast to a wagon wheel and there with glowing tongs twice tear pieces from his body, then on the way to the site of execution five times more as above and then burn his body to powder as an arch-heretic.

Forty-eight hours later, on May 20, 1527, Michael Sattler suffered everything in the horrible decree, beginning with the cutting out of his tongue. Eight days later, Margaretha received her “third baptism” as she was drowned in the Neckar River. She was offered freedom if she would renounce her faith, yet she bravely faced her death and told the judges that she would rather have gone into the fire with her husband.

I do not dredge up this horrid history to awaken old religious animosities, but to share the great price of persecution that previous generations have paid, and, to point out the benefits those sacrifices still provide!

Michael Sattler’s life, writings, and courage are important to remember, and here are a few reasons. First, he and his wife lived out the courage of their convictions. Second, Sattler and the early Anabaptists of the Radical Reformation were faithful to the simple truths of the Bible as their sole authority; they did not allow the interpretations of man or the established Church scare them away from living out the New Testament Church model. Third, the Sattlers’ testimony, Michael’s teachings, and their character became the “glue” that held early Anabaptists together as they walked the righteous path forward – fearing no man. Sattler’s tongue was removed, but his death continued to speak volumes.

Last, Southern Baptists may still debate our ancient origins and tribal succession, but we cannot deny our indebtedness to the Anabaptists and their simple but clear teachings on believer’s baptism, the memorial meal of the Lord’s Supper for baptized believers, and for being ardent guardians of religious liberty – dying if they must!

Down-playing or even denying our Baptist heritage and distinctives can give the impression of being hip and cool in the 21st Century; however, as the flames licked the agonizing body of Michael Sattler, he exhibited a “cool” that we cannot even begin to fathom.

© Ron F. Hale, Dec. 4, 2012

 

Sources to study:

Ched Spellman, Wait Upon My God: The Contribution of Michael Sattler to Our Baptist Heritage, The Center for Theological Research, December 2007. (Winner of the 2007 Baptist Theology Research Award at SWBTS).

William Estep, The Anabaptist Story (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1963.

C. Arnold Snyder, The Life and Thought of Michael Sattler (Scottsdale: Herald Press), 1984.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Christian

Thank God for our heritage as baptists. May we never forget! And thank God for SBC Today for standing for the truth!

Les

Another horrible execution. Ferdinand didn’t even believe that he warranted a trial. One source said that in addition to the 7 charges against him, he was “charged with forsaking the monastic order by taking a wife and saying that the Ottoman Turks should not be resisted if they were to come into the land.”

They were serious about any violations of those monastic orders.

Thanks for the reminder Ron.

Norm Miller

Ron:
Sattler’s fidelity to baptistic doctrines — particularly his stance against paedo-baptism — fills me with both honor and humility as I recognize him to be one of my Baptist forebears. — Norm

Les

Question for you gentlemen. I understand fidelity to our doctrines, etc. I have mine too. But, would any of you be willing to die today, say in a very difficult country somewhere in the world (Iran?) over the mode and timing of baptism?

This is not a baiting question, so please don’t see it that way. It strikes me how important it was in the 1500s, important enough to dies for. Though there were other serious charges against Sattler.

i.e. How far would you modern day Baptists go in defending Baptist distinctives (vs. defending the gospel)?

Les

John Gregory

Brother Les, Psalm 31:1 IN THEE O LORD, DO I PUT MY TRUST; LET ME NEVER BE ASHSMED: DELIVER ME IN THY RIGHTEOUSNESS. + 2 TIMOTHY 1:8, bE OT THOU THEREFORE ASHAMED OF THE TESTIMONY OF OUR LORD, NOR OF ME HIS PRISONER: BUT BE THOU PARTAKER OF THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE POWER OF GOD;
Even at the start of the Church, the members were persecuted. The Fellowship of
the Suffering was foretold by Jesus Himself. Suffering for our beliefs is what we ALL risk. And as
Paul & the others, we mut pray not for just ourselves, but for our brothers & sisters that we all may
stand true & NOT be ashamed when called upon to take stands for our Lord.
A hard subject. But we have a Great God, Who promises to take us through & give us the needed Grace to face what we must. With Glory on the other side.
God bless,
John G.

Les

John Gregory,

Thanks. I understand that passage. My question was really about whether one today would go to a firing squad or some other form of death over the mode and timing of baptism.

The passage above says, “BUT BE THOU PARTAKER OF THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE GOSPEL.”

I understand persecution because of the gospel (well, not real persecution as some of our brothers in other parts of the world have suffered). But the mode and timing of baptism not being the gospel, what about suffering death for that? Would you?

Les

    Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers)

    Les,

    I haven’t been threatened with a firing squad but I have placed my ministry on the line over the mode of Baptism along with the partaking of the Lord’s Table. You see in a former ministry I took the stand that partaking of the Lord’s table was to be by Baptized believers. Then I explained that Baptism was to be after Salvation and by immersion. At the tribunal deacon meeting we had deacons with Methodist theology books trying to convince me that infant baptism and baptism by sprinkling should be sufficient.

    As a result of that meeting I was voted out of the church. While there was no firing squad I can tell you that lying on my daughters bed trying to explain to one that was 11 years old the reason her friends would not have anything to do with her was pretty bad. We held each other and she cried and I cried. We hurt and to this day, though it has been four years, we still some times take things back to the foot of the cross because the hurt and anger wells up.

    So, is this something I am passionate about? You better believe I am. It seems your position is that we need more stealth Christians. I pray that isn’t your position, but your wording does appear to place that in the debate.

      Les

      Tim,

      I certainly understand the situation you were in. And if I held your beliefs regarding baptism in that situation, I think I would have done the same thing. I know that must have been difficult, especially for your family as you indicate.

      And really, in these modern times having to choose to live or die over the mode and timing of baptism is not likely happen. So it’s hypothetical really.

      “It seems your position is that we need more stealth Christians.”

      I don’t know what I might have said leading you to think that, but that’s not the case at all. For the Christian faith I think we all would hope that our faith would be strong and that we’d die rather than renounce our faith.

      God bless,

      Les

Robert

I reviewed some of Les’ posts and find that he is an ex-Southern Baptist who has converted to a calvinistic view and infant baptism. That leads me to wonder why is such a person is posting so much here at an obstensively Baptist blog? Les is posting often and is repeatedly trying to defend calvnism here. His posts in the past were hostile, nasty and sarcastic though he claims they were not. So we have a divisive person who does not hold Baptist beliefs repeatedly posting here at this Baptist blog. That should cause some concern.

Operating as a defender of calvinism he asks:

“Question for you gentlemen. I understand fidelity to our doctrines, etc. I have mine too. But, would any of you be willing to die today, say in a very difficult country somewhere in the world (Iran?) over the mode and timing of baptism?
This is not a baiting question, so please don’t see it that way. It strikes me how important it was in the 1500s, important enough to dies for. Though there were other serious charges against Sattler.
i.e. How far would you modern day Baptists go in defending Baptist distinctives (vs. defending the gospel)?”

As an ex-Southern Baptist Les ought to know the position of Baptists (i.e. that baptism is not what saves you, that baptism does not involve infants or those who lack the capacity for having their own profession of faith, rather, baptism is a public profession of having coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ by someone how has the requisite capacity to make such a public profession of faith). As such, we would need to ask in what context would this view of baptism lead to possible severe persecution and even martyrdom? Well it would have to be a place where making a public profession of faith via baptism is illegal or punishable by death. And this would be true in a country where Christianity and public professions of it were illegal and punishable by death. Les asks whether we would be willing to die for our baptistic belief but he misses a few crucial points.

First, if we found ourselves in a context in which Christianity and its public profession were punisable by death we are asking whether or not we would be willing to die for our faith? We would hope that all of us would have this willingness and yet I don’t think you would really know this unless you found yourself in that actual situation.

Second, the Reformers and their treatment of the Anabaptists is a completely different situation and context than the issue of whether or not Christians are willing to die for their faith. The Reformers were ****PROFESSING CHRISTIANS**** so their persecution of the Anabaptists by torture and death did not involve the question of people being willing to die for their Christian faith in a context where Christianity and its public profession were punishable by death.

The Reformers had no justification whatsoever for their torture and murder of the Anabaptists.

And some contemporary calvinists will even try to justify the mistreatment of the Anabaptists by showing that some had some wrong beliefs within their thinking (note Les added “. Though there were other serious charges against Sattler”). Ok, for the sake of the calvinist argument that false beliefs justify torture and murder: let’s assume that not only did the Anabaptists espouse Believer Baptism they also denied the trinity, denied the deity of Christ, denied the physical resurrection of Jesus, etc etc.

If they denied these things does THAT justify their torture and murder by the Reformers?

No, because there is no New Testament teaching that instructs the church or its leadership to deal with false beliefs and heretics by torturing them and murdering them. And this is what I find disengenous and also disturbing on the part of calvinists such as Les: they simply cannot acknowledge that the treatment of the Anabaptists by the Reformers was wrong and without justification. Even bringing in the fact that some had some false or questionable beliefs, still does not justify in any way their torture and murder.

Robert

    Norm Miller

    Les:
    I would trust God for “grace sufficient” were I to be faced with death for any aspect of my faith. Question for you: Would you be willing to die for paedo-baptism?

    Robert:
    Though the Reformers did torture and murder their detractors, it was Roman Catholics who murdered Sattler.

    FYI All:
    The Internet yields at least nine other charges against Sattler:
    He acted contrary to the mandate of the Emperor.
    He taught, held and believed that the body and blood of Christ are not present in the sacrament.
    He taught and believed that infant baptism does not conduce to salvation.
    He rejected the sacrament of extreme unction.
    He despised and condemned the mother of God and the saints.
    He declared that men are not to swear before the authorities.
    He commenced a new an unheard of custom in regard to the Lord’s Supper, placing the bread and wine on a plate, and eating and drinking the same.
    He left the (Roman Catholic) order, and married a wife.
    He said that if the Turks should invade the country, no resistance ought to be offered them; and if it were right to wage war, he would rather take the field against the Christians than against the Turks; and it is certainly a great matter, to set the greatest enemies of our holy faith against us.

    — Norm

      Les

      Norm,

      Thanks for your answer. You asked, “Would you be willing to die for paedo-baptism?”

      No. Never would I suffer death for a gospel non-essential. I would like to think I would suffer death for the gospel, but not a mode of baptism.

      Les

    Les

    Robert,

    I’ll leave the personal attacks against me aside (that I’m a divisive person, and that my posts have been “hostile, nasty and sarcastic).

    Robert, I do know that SBs do not believe that baptism saves anyone. And my question was answered very nicely by Norm below. That was the kind of response I was looking for.

    You said, “And some contemporary calvinists will even try to justify the mistreatment of the Anabaptists by showing that some had some wrong beliefs within their thinking (note Les added “. Though there were other serious charges against Sattler”).”

    Brother, I think you missed my point or maybe I wasn’t clear. Norm again makes it clear below. The other charges included what he lists below. And Norm rightly points out that it was RC who murdered Sattler. I in no way justified Sattler’s mistreatment based on “wrong beliefs” but simply pointed out there were other RC charges against him. None of what they did was justified.

    Robert you also said,

    “And this is what I find disengenous and also disturbing on the part of calvinists such as Les: they simply cannot acknowledge that the treatment of the Anabaptists by the Reformers was wrong and without justification. Even bringing in the fact that some had some false or questionable beliefs, still does not justify in any way their torture and murder.”

    I have never justified the torture or killing of anyone by any Reformers. None of it was justified. Clear?

    “Even bringing in the fact that some had some false or questionable beliefs, still does not justify in any way their torture and murder.”

    I didn’t do such.

    Have a good day brother.

John Gregory

Hard questions! I agree with you that there are doctrinal truths that must be held & other truths that seem to be less imperative. I think that once the truth is stated, we should be willing to not back away from that stance. Witness the deplorable situations in our Christian Churches & Theology today! I do believe in unity, but not at the expense of the truth.
That said, that is why I am a Southern Baptist. But I have been a Christian for over 50 years. I have found the Truth in many different Churches. YES, there are doctrines that are Not as crucial as others. And I would honestly NOT be willing to die over those less crucial doctrines.
We all know what the crucial doctrines are. We may and do not agree on the lesser teachings, but on the GOSPEL we must agree & be willing to stand for the truth of the Gospel.
Wheather you are a Traditionalist, Calvinist, or an Arminianist, I DO NOT CARE! We are brothers in Christ and THAT is where we stand together. This incessant debating of Calvinism, Arminianism, & Biblicism (Traditionalism) is weary, tiresome, & divisive.
God bless,
John G.

    Norm Miller

    John G.:
    Given that in some instances across the country that Calvinists who are (sometimes secretly) trying to change Traditional churches into Reformed ones and are splitting said churches, then there are others who believe that we must challenge the points of such a theology that is dividing our flocks and not uniting them. Whereas the “incessant debating” may be divisive in your view, so are the attempts of Neo-Calvinists within the SBC who are splitting our churches. In my view, the efforts of SBCToday are needed. — Norm

      John H. Gregory

      Brother Miller, I do agree with you concerning taking a stand for
      Tradionalist or Biblicist Theology against ANY form of Calvinism.
      I have been in churches that split because of Calvinism.
      Without going into detail, the SBChurch that my family & I attend
      has in the past witnessed attempts at takeovers etc.. I have stood with
      the other decons and the pastors & made sure that these takeovers
      failed. It is never pretty, but it is necessary. We are Biblistic Traditionalists, & that is what we will stay.
      God bless,
      John G.

Ron F. Hale

Les,

The Sattler’s felt they were giving up their lives for the Gospel, not certain rituals. To the charge of baptism he said to the Catholic Imperial Court, “Thirdly, as to baptism we say infant baptism is of no avail to salvation. For it is written [Rom. 1:17] that we live by faith alone.” Over and over he points to God, faith in Him. Believer’s baptism is an important preaching point of the Great Commission. We are to go. We are to make disciples. We are to baptize those new believers. We are to teach those new believers. We are to teach obedience (obey everything I (Jesus) have commanded you). Since Jesus commanded us to “baptize” … then I for one … take it very serious, not legalistically, but out of heart obedience.

    Les

    Hey Ron. I certainly agree that what they were willing to die for was the gospel. I hope I didn’t imply otherwise. Their martyrdom was not just over baptism, important as it was. Norm’s internet list of the charges against them were charges they could not conform to. They were gospel issues for sure.

    “Believer’s baptism is an important preaching point of the Great Commission. We are to go. We are to make disciples. We are to baptize those new believers. We are to teach those new believers. We are to teach obedience (obey everything I (Jesus) have commanded you). Since Jesus commanded us to “baptize” … then I for one … take it very serious, not legalistically, but out of heart obedience.”

    I totally agree.

John Barker

“Historians consider the Schleitheim Articles the first Anabaptist confession of faith, and it received a wide distribution, especially after the martyrdom of Sattler and his bride. Ulrich Zwingli saw a need to publish a repudiation of these Articles, and it was released late summer of 1527 and called: Refutation of Anabaptist Tricks. John Calvin published a refutation in 1544.”

I find it interesting that this paragraph was included. Note that both of these works were written after Sattler’s martyrdom, but I think the reader is meant to think that these works had an influence on his martyrdom. The Roman Catholic church actually put Sattler to death, but this article seems to assign guilt to Zwingli and Calvin as well, even though they wrote refutations of his views after his death. Obviously I do not condone any of the executions that have been discussed in recent days on this site, but I do think this is a carefully planned attack on reformed theology. We are fallen men and we sin. Great men throughout history have made horrible mistakes.

    Leo Percer

    I read the paragraph and the rest of the article in a completely different way. I read that Zwingli and Calvin didn’t agree with the Articles, and that the Roman Catholic Church martyred the Sattlers. The explicit text is clear that the Sattlers were martyred for disagreeing with the Roman Catholic Church. I find it interesting that you felt it necessary to comment with a “defense” of Zwingli and Calvin. I think the reader is meant to think that you look favorably on the opposition to the Anabaptists by Zwingli and Calvin. I do not condone the misrepresentation of the Reformers, but I think your comment is a carefully planned attack on Ron’s intent. We are fallen, and we sin. Great men throughout history have made horrible mistakes. I hope my comment isn’t one of them!

Ron F. Hale

John,
Did you not read this in the first paragraph: “Sattler and his bride were eventually martyred for holding differing beliefs and practices than those of the Roman Catholic Church of their era.”

Ron F. Hale

John,

Just to be clear, while the Catholics put the Sattler’s to death, the Schleitheim Articles were greatly refuted by the reformers, and yes … other Anabaptists died at the hands of the reformers. If I failed in making this point, then I am very sorry.

Robert

Hello Norm,

Thanks for the correction Norm.

I am so used to reading historical accounts of persecutions of the Anabaptists by the Reformers that I missed that this was a case of Catholic mistreatment of an Anabaptist.

My point stands however, there was no justification whatsoever for the Reformers to torture and murder the Anabaptists. This point needs to be made as there are many contemporary Calvinists who wish we could return to the time of the Reformation as if it was some sort of golden age. It is true the Reformers suggested some good changes. It is also true that they did some awful things, and they were not good examples of godly character (with the exception of Arminius who actually was a godly person, e.g. rather than torturing and murdering the Anabaptists he invited them for discussions where he discussed his differences with them). If you look at the character of Calvin and Luther and others you do not find godly character or character that ought to be emulated. And yet some of these modern calvinists ignorant of actual history act as if returning to the Reformers would make for a golden age for the church.

The golden age of the church if there ever was such a thing, was the early church when the apostles were still on the scene. If you want to go back to some golden age, go back to that, but not the Reformation era.

Robert

Robert Vaughn

I want to preface my remarks with the disclosure that I do not consider myself a Calvinist, but that my ideas are often viewed that way by those who aren’t. I lean heavily against some of the views here at SBC Today, such as the Traditional Statement, denying original sin, and supporting sinners’ prayers & “asking Jesus into your heart.”

I say that so it may be noted that I do not defend Ron’s piece because of close agreement on the Calvinism vs. Arminianism (and all points in between) debate. But I find it disturbing that two good historical posts about faithful men and women of God can become just another reason to debate over soteriology. Unless chafing for such a debate, why would I think that Ron’s mention of Zwingli and Calvin is planned to implicate them in the Sattlers’ deaths? In the context of the paragraph it shows the importance of the Schleitheim confession of faith, which Michael Sattler had a large part in composing.

It would do us all good to pick up and read Tieleman van Braght’s Martyr’s Mirror, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, and also find stories of our English & American Baptist forebears who suffered and sometimes died for the faith once delivered to the saints. We should take them in tall doses, for who knows how much longer we will be spared suffering for what we believe?

Les, regarding your question, “Would any of you be willing to die over the mode and timing of baptism” I cannot say I would, but that I hope I would. It may seem a little silly to even have that discussion here in America, but how can one give up what he sincerely believes in the face of force and coercion? The evil of dying for a “non-essential” is not found in the martyr, but in the one who makes it an issue for deserving martyrdom. By the grace of God I hope I would follow Jesus in whatever light I have received to the extent of the torture and burning of Michael Sattler, the “third baptism” of Margaretha Sattler, or the whipping post of Obadiah Holmes. It is not within me to wish to do so.

John H. Gregory

Brother Miller, Thank you for your comments, & I DO agree with you. At times I do grow weary
with the attempted infiltration of Reform Theology into the Church (Southern Baptist) of which I am a member. EVER DILIGENT is & has been my stance for over 40 years against the doctrines of
five point Calvinism anywhere I encounter such doctrine. I have witnessed the splitting & clossing
of Churches due to the infiltration of individules agressively pushing calvinism. Even in my own
familly. That is why I made the statement of weariness.
Devisive? OH yes. The love of Christ shed abroad in our hearts, the Holy Spirit’s leadership, & striving for unity are some of the methods that we may rely upon. But the disagrement between Biblicistic Traditionalism, Calvinism, & Arminianism is never ending.
I do not hate those of the Reformed persuasion. I love them in Christ as I do ALL my
brother & sister Christians. But open Calvinism will not be preached or taught in the Sourthern
Baptist Church that my familly attends.
God bless,
John G.

John Barker

Robert,

Maybe I am reading too much into this, but what is the purpose in writing these articles and posting them so close together? Coincidence? Hardly…I think that it’s more of a “look at all the bad stuff that you Calvinists have done in the past,” and ,”how can you support someone’s theology who does these things?” I agree whole heartedly that these martyrdoms were a horrible part of our protestant history, but I think that this is still a part of SBC Today’s anti-Calvinist campaign.

Ron F. Hale

John B,
So far you have posted a couple of comments with only conspiratorial denunciations of me and others. You must not understand that this kind of history is important and if is not interesting to anyone else, it is interesting to me – therefore I write. If it bothers you to read it, I would very respectfully suggest that you visit other sites.

John Barker

Ron,

I do understand that this history is important. I never said that it wasn’t. And I do think that it is interesting. I only question the reasoning and motive behind publishing these types of articles in such close succession of one another. To me, this only serves to drive the wedge between reformed and trad Baptists even further; aligning “true” baptist faith with those who were persecuted by the reformers. After reading these articles, anyone who holds to a reformed view must be the “bad guys.”

    John H. Gregory

    I do not think that anyone holding a reformed view is a “bad guy”. But those persons who
    come into a Church or Convention with the agenda to take control and to change the basic Traditional view to Reformed or Calvinistic view will be met with strong resistance.
    Being a Traditional Southern Baptist for 50 years, I have seen & witnessed the
    infiltration of Reformed persons that caused Church splits & closures. To deny that this
    does happen is ludicrous. Again, I do not hate anyone. Nor do I consider any one a bad guy. BUT I will stand against any attempt to make the Traditional Southern Baptist
    Convention a bastion of Reformed Calvinism.
    This is NOT divisive, nor is this stance being mean. I simply ask those who are of
    Reformed Theology keep your Calvinism to yourselves. Unloving? NO! Just weary of
    every blog being turned into a debate between Calvinism & Traditionalism.
    Also, Traditionalist are NOT Arminianists. WE are neither Calvinists nor Arminianists. We are Biblicists/Traditionalists. But above all we are all Christians.
    God bless,
    John G.

Robert Vaughn

John B.,

Rather than try to discern the purpose behind the writing of the articles, I am enjoying the articles for the good they bring to the table. As far as SBC Today writers campaigning for what they believe, I expect that. So I wouldn’t look for Ron’s posts to be in disagreement with what he believes. That doesn’t mean I have to think there is an anti-Calvinist agenda behind them either.

I think the overall evidence of the posts themselves show no hidden soteriological agenda. In addition to Sattler and Manz, Ron has posted on the persecution of Obadiah Holmes and Henry Dunster. The Sattlers were martyred by the Catholics rather than the Reformers. My memory of Dunster’s soteriology is fuzzy, but Holmes was a “Calvinist” and a pretty “high” one at that. And then there is Ron’s own testimony that he finds these stories important, interesting, and encouraging. So do I.

To say that those who hold Calvinistic soteriology and/or reformed views are “bad guys” because of persecution meted out by the Reformers would be a guilt by association fallacy. Those views must stand or fall based on the Word of God. Though I hold my own views of sovereign grace and predestination, I nevertheless note that the Continental Reformers were wrong on the relationship of church & state, and were often on the wrong side of persecution. That seems to be a pretty well-established fact. It is what it is; no need to clean it up.

Hope that helps explain where I’m coming from.

John Barker

Robert,

I allow that Ron’s articles have not had the harsh tone that others have had recently. For example, Rick’s article a few days ago about Servetus;

“Why does Calvin get a free pass on this matter? The argument that nobody is perfect is certainly one Servetus might wish we could have stumbled upon a little sooner. Surely if Calvin was indeed such a genius, his mind was capable of recognizing this as sin. Conversely, since he evidently did not view this as sin, can we not infer that perhaps there are a great many other things his brilliant mind failed to grasp as well?”

I suppose I had a bad taste in my mouth after reading Rick’s article and Ron’s past two articles seemed to say something similar, although after reading them again, I see that I was reading my grievances into Ron’s writing.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available