is a supreme irony that in 300 AD Constantine donated the Roman Empire to the
Catholic Church, and in 1540 Martin Luther donated the Church to the political
rulers of Europe. In both cases Satan gained a great victory. Two
other Reformers participated in this treacherous betrayal of the Lord's Church
by acts of murder, persecution, and blasphemy against the true Church. Calvin
and Zwingli killed Anabaptists by the hundreds. The offense of these Anabaptists
was that they would not participate in the sacralizing of their faith by the decrees
of confessions and by the dukes and kings of Europe. For this stand by the
Anabaptists, a totally Biblical stand, they were killed by Calvin and Zwingli.
We conclude that John Calvin is now in hell screaming for water,
for there are no murderers in heaven, that is, none who refused of confess their
sin. Calvin spent the last years of his life writing about and defending
the killing by slow fire death at the stake, of Servetus. We chose to keep
this fresh and in the face of Reformed wimps who continue to defend Calvin, the
killer. This is the major basis for the total defeat in the life of 99%
of all Reformed people to this day. Their cigars and whiskey shelf bear
witness to their wimpy religion. Dutch Reformed alleged Christians live
for the good life and their arrogant Dutch heritage. Lutherans live for
the good life, and to hell with unsaved people around the world. Presbyterian
Reformed traitors are now in the lap of the Pope and are ordaining queers and
lesbians. Scottish Reformed scum live for tossing the caber and quoting
Bobby Burns. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is rubbish to the pastor of the
average Kirk in Scotland.
I again ask you to read the thoughts of a
man who has done the research. Leonard Verduin was a very committed pastor
in the Reformed Church of America. His credentials are immaculate. He
spoke 5 languages and could read nine, among them Flemish and Arabic. His
research was done in the basements of universities and musty libraries of Europe.
This man is the Anabaptist's friend in the Reformed Church. The Reformed
Church hated him and even tricked him by buying up 12 articles on Luther and Calvin,
then the journal of the denomination copyrighted them and threw them away. Verduin
will tell his story one day in the Glory, and the scum editors who tricked him
will scream for water in the flames of hell. Verduin did publish three books,
and one of them, The Reformers and their Stepchildren, was a classic. Anabaptists
and Fundamentalists who want to know their roots will find NO better source. The
book has been re-published in very short runs, but it is still hard to find one.
So, here is Verduin on the Anabaptists. You will see that
the Reformers sold off their whole birthright to Satan by handing it to the state.
It took the flight of the Anabaptists and the establishment of the United
States of America to finally make a place on earth for the free practice of both
Christian Faith and Atheism in a truly "choose you this day" setting. Learn
what you missed!
We drop into this book by Verduin in the middle, and
the author uses some terms we must define so that you can understand his reasoning:
Sacral-- A church state environment in
which there is complete mixture of both church and state and in which you have
no freedom of choice.
The whole of the church worldwide which calls itself "Christian," including
both born again and unsaved people.
Those who would restore the biblical model of free choice to receive the
Gospel or reject it without earthly consequences enforced by men.
Stepchildren- the Anabaptists whom
the Reformers killed and persecuted by thousands.
Name given to those who suffered in the catacombs of ancient Rome. Their
name was re-used by the Reformers in derision.
Front- The battle that raged between the Reformers and the Anabaptists over
the question of whether men should be allowed complete freedom of choice with
neither the church or state enforcing compliance to the Gospel by threat or sword.
The Reformers won in Europe, and the Anabaptists won in the USA, and the spiritual
death in Europe today vindicates the Anabaptists.
CONDUCT OF THE ANABAPTISTS AS SEEN BY THEIR ENEMIES
108-113-- Regarding the life and conduct of Anabaptists compared to Reformed church
members (And this applies to this day!!!!).
begin with, Philip of Hesse, one of the sanest men of his times, wrote, to his
sister, Elizabeth of Saxony, with reference to the Stepchildren, "I verily see
more of moral improvement among them than with those who are Lutheran."
Capito declared in a letter that
the Radicals "guard them selves against the offensive vices which are very common
among our people."
himself acknowledged that his Reform had done little to correct conductual-averagism,
but had left things in the main as they had been before. It is a sad fact that
he sought to justify this, moreover. In an attempt to get away from the evidently
indisputable fact that the Stepchildren were doing much better, he said: "Doctrine
and life are to be distinguished, the one from the other. With us conduct is as
had as it is with the papists. We don't oppose them on account of conduct. Hus
and Wyclif, who made an issue of conduct, were not aware of this ... but to treat
of doctrine, that is to really come to grips with things.'
To Schwenkfeld (who had come to feel out Luther and
his associates as to their sentiments in regard to the lineaments of the Church
that was to be, and who had advocated the creation of a believers' Church with
disciplinary techniques for expelling the impenitent Luther acknowledged that
"among us there is no betterment of life."
On the other hand the record leaves it unmistakably clear that the Restititutionists
with their insistence upon "conduct be coming saints" were doing rather well.
This fact came out in the court hearings quite constantly. We shall select a few
of the almost endless list of examples.
When certain people were being investigated for suspected Anabaptist leanings,
this testimony was offered: "Because their children are being so carefully and
devoutly reared and be cause they do not have the practice of cursing and swearing.
therefore they are suspected of being Anabaptists." Similarly at the hearing of
Hans Jeger, under similar suspicion, it was said: "Now because he does not swear
and because he leads an unoffensive life, therefore men suspect him of Anabaptism.
He has for a long time passed for
such, because he did not swear, nor quarrel, nor did other such-like things."
Conversely, we read of people cleared
of Anabaptist leanings by their bad deportment. Of Casper Zacliers it was testified
in court: "lie is not commonly by the rank and file thought to he an Anabaptist,
because he is a churlish fellow who can't get along with others, starts fights
and discord, swears and curses, disturbs the peace and carries weapons on his
The simple fact
is that in the camp of the Restitutionists of the sixteenth century a "conversation
such as becometh saints" was in evidence -- as everybody knew. The Reformed preachers
at Berne admitted as much, in a letter which they sent to the City Council: "The
Anabaptists have the semblance of outward piety to a far greater degree than we
and all the other churches which in union with us confess Christ; and they avoid
the offensive sins that are very common among "
Henry Bullinger declared, "There are those who in reality are not Anabaptists
but who do have a pronounced aversion to the sensuality and frivolity of the world
and for that reason reprove sin and vice and are as a consequence called or mis
named Anabaptists by petulant persons." Schxvenkfeld complained that they were
doing this very thing to him, saying, "1 am maligned, by preachers and otherwise,
with the charge that I am an Anabaptist, even as all who lead a true and devout
Christian life are almost everywhere given this name. So much was an unusually
good deportment a mark of Restitutionist "heresy" that as early as 1531 it was
already said of the Protestants in general: "So far has their idea of Christian
liberty carried them that any person who talks about Cod and the Christian way
of life or who is seriously exercised concerning his own moral improvement passes
with them for an arch-anabaptist."
Similarly a Roman Catholic contemporary:
Among the existing heretical sects there is none that
in appearance leads a more modest or pious life than do the Anabaptists. As to
their outward life they are without reproach no lying, deception, swearing, strife,
harsh language, eating or drinking, no outward personal display; but humility,
patience, uprightness, neatness, honesty, temperance, straight-forwardness, in
such a measure that one would suppose that they had the Holy Spirit of God.
It is apparent that
the undeniably good way of life of the Stepchildren was an uncomfortable fact
to the Reformers so that they sought to escape it.In this mood Henry Bullinger
Those who unite with them
will by their ministers be received into their church by rebaptism and repentance
and new ness of life. They henceforth lead their lives under a semblance of quiet
spiritual conduct. They denounce covetousness, pride, profanity, the lewd conversation
and immorality of the world, he drinking and the gluttony. In fine, their hypocrisy
is great and manifold.
The Reformers, in an attempt to get away from the mortify ing fact that the Stepchildren
were actually succeeding in their onslaught against conduetual-averagism, resorted
to the argument -- an old one -- that the good works were nothing but bait with
which the devil baited his hook so as to catch a lot of fish. Bullinger, for example,
wrote that the exemplary lives of the Restitutionists "are hypocrisy, for ...
even Satan can transform himself into an angel of light . . . . he who wishes
to catch fish does not throw out an unbaited hook." After granting that the Restitutionists,
Pilgrim Marpeek and his wife, were "people of devout and blameless lives" he added:
"But this is an old trick of the devil,
with which he has in all churches, from the days of the Apostle Paul, sought to
catch his fish,"
the changed life of the Restitutionists wore well. The saying was that the Restitutionist
preachers carded a little bottle with them wherever they went; out of it each
new convert was required to take a little swig, the result of which was to fix
him forever in his "heresy." '[his story (which may have come up in connection
with the fact that the Restitutionist preachers carded a wooden bottle of wine
-- for use in their celebration of the Lords Supper) even entered the Court records.
When Leonard Sehieiner was on trial he was told "what evil comes from this Anabaptism,
also community of wives and of goods, and that it leads to shameful affairs and
lusts, and that they give to drink out of a bottle containing I know not what,
a matter contrary to Cod, and more such matters." To this the prisoner said simply,
'I verily don't know anything about any' bottle nor of any evil allegedly coming
out of it." ]'his bizarre idea of a "fixing" heresy potion is in itself an eloquent
witness to the fact that after a man had become an Anabaptist he led a life of
rectitude from which it was not easy to deflect him.
No one squirmed more painfully in view of the unwelcome fact that the Restitutionists
were successfully attacking conductual-averagism than did Martin Bucer. He was
constantly urging the magistrates to greater rigor in the use of the sword. saying
with a glance at the Stepchildren:
Their most pointed argument is always this that we keep house so badly; with
this argument they lead astray many people. God help us, so that we may one day
be able to take this argument away from them, yes from our own conscience and
from the Lord our God. Of a truth it is getting to be high time that on the day
of Saint Catherine we deal seriously with the matter of our housekeeping . . .
for if this is not considered and remedied all our counsels against this rod of
the Lord will be in vain.
At another time this Reformer complained:
The magistrates are rather coarse and carnal men and
the preachers are very neglectful; many of them frequently get drunk. Since the
lords and the council-men are that kind of people . . . they drive the poor people
away with their wild way of life [mit irem iiberbolderenl. The plain man cannot
bring himself to recognize the Church of Christ among such wild persons, and,
to distinguish correctly between doctrine and life.
In writing about this, Bucer was able to remain composed
and dignified more so than when he was talking to a Restitutionist face to fate.
Then he found it hard to keep his poise. To one of the Stepchildren. Leonbard
van Maastricht, he cried out, in 1538: "How can the conclusion be good that 'it
is an evil tree for I see no good fruit on it!' How about the fact that the tree
may lie standing in Calcutta, whereas I am way out here, and see no good fruit
on it? Does that prove that it doesn't have any? He, this Leonbard, hasn't seen
everybody. Therefore he judges flippantly."
At this point Bucer is dependent on Augustine, who had scolded the Donatists
in very similar vein, saving: "They who say that they know f or sure that specified
men are wicked and unworthy of the communion in the Sacrament . . , whatever it
is that they know: they will be unable to persuade the universal Church, spread
out as it is throughout the nations, to give credence to their tale . . . . The
unity of the Church dispersed through the whole world must on no account be forsaken
because of other men's sills." The idea of a "congregation," an ecclesiastical
unit with autonomy sufficient to exercise discipline was not a part of Augustine's
thinking, nor of the Church of the Middle Ages. The Christian world owes the recovery
of the congregation to the Restitutionists, a fact that has led Ernest
A. Payne to say (in his The Artahoptists of the Sixteenth Century and
Their influence in the Modern World, London, 1944, p. 13): "To the Anabaptists
is due not only the machinery of a single congregation, which was presently taken
over by Calvin in his Institutes, and put to practice in Geneva, but also the
machinery for an albanee of congregations, adopted in France during 1559, and
in Scotland the next year, and so well known as the Presbyterian scheme .
Early Anabaptist Church organization antedated and
influenced that of the Calvinists . . . . But the 'Brethren' had one feature which
was dropped by the French, Scotch, and the Dutch, an order of evangelists whose
business it was to travel and propagate the faith." (We shall re turn to this
item, which according to Payne the Reformers did not take over from the
Anabaptists, in a later connection. For a discussion of the "daughter Church,"
i.e., the congregation, cf. Iliihmaier's views, in "Quellen IX," p. 478.)
In his dialog with the Restitutionist Jorg Sehuabel,
Bucer said, likewise in the year 1538:
They are forever accusing us that things are getting worse instead of better.
Now is this our teaching: "Repent and improve your way of life." It is not the
doctrine's fault that nothing happens. In the Old Testament as well as in the
New God's Word has always had this quality that it makes worse those who do not
embrace it . . . . They who do not accept the doctrine after they have been sufficiently
taught, these fall daily deeper: and these give occasion for the saying that "Since
the new doctrine has been preached, many people have gotten progressively worse.
Ever since the launching of "Christian
sacralism" the "heretic's" had been characterized by much emphasis upon a conduct
whereby the believer is set off from the non-believer -- so much
so that Bucer said, "This has always been Satan's nature and practice, to introduce
false religion with strictness as to conduct . This was proved in the case of
the Manicheans and the rest who have distorted the holy religion very
Back of this strange argument,
used throughout the centuries by men of sacralist principle, lies the notion that
theological correctness is infinitely more important than behavioral correctness,
so much so that the Evil One impels men to righteous living in order to get theological
aberration across. This scale of values does not comport with New Testament teaching,
where doctrine without life is as bad as life without doctrine.
When one of the Stepchildren, Bernhard Knipperdollinck,
had written that the true Church is the believers' Church Urbanus Rhegius was
commissioned to reply to him. At this point he wrote:
Aha, there Bernhard resorts to a genuinely Donatist
trick. They condemned and abandoned Christendom on account of some evil and false
Christians . . . Nevertheless there have always been some true and devout Christians
in the masses, and we hope they are present also with us. Moreover the fact that
wicked rascals are present with us . . does not concern us; we haven't told them
to drink and gourmandize, to be immoral or covetous . . . . We don't want to rend
the net because there are some bad fish in it, as the super-saintly Anabaptist
Bernhard is doing. He gives himself away at this point and shows that he has the
Anabaptist devil in him which blinded also the Donatists in Africa. They also
opened their eyes wide and saw with a hypocritical face that many wicked people
were wearing the name of Christ, folk who were in reality genuine heathen; and
they proceeded to go off by themselves, apart from Christendom, and made off that
they wanted to build up a truly reformed Church, one in which there were nothing
but saints. And they were so pure in their own eyes that they declared the baptism
performed in Christendom evil priests to be no baptism, and baptized anew. By
this method they thought to raise up genuine holiness. They scolded Augustine
for abiding in the gathering of the wicked -- to which Augustine replied that
there were indeed evil people in his fellowship . . and saying that external fellowship
of good with evil does not harm the former's salvation, seeing that they don't
approve of the latter's evil and godless way of existing. We are not to cause
a separation; he who separates from the Church becomes a heretic and a schismatic.
Let Bernhard consider himself told off -- for he is a neo-Donatist who has taken
offence at the evil lives and has . . tried to raise up a holy and unspotted Church,
one in which there are only saints, a pure net without a foul fish, he and his
company, cut loose from Christendom . . . . I would forsooth prefer to be a coarse
publican in the Christian Church, or a patent sinner, rather than be the most
holy Pharisee of all in Bishop Bernhard's spelunk!
So, we now have the word of the Reformers and the Roman Catholics that the
Anabaptists were guilty of NO New Testament infraction-- The Anabaptist offense
was in refusing to submit their zeal for the Word of God and the Truth of Jesus
Christ to the Magistrate and the governor. We also now see that the Reformers
were quite willing to kill anyone who did not submit to their doctrine. The
Reformers freely admitted they harbored wicked men and slobs in their pews and
pulpits, but they demanded submission EXACTLY AS THE POPE DID.
WHO SHALL PREACH?
On page 182, Verduin shows that the stakes were
spelled out far more clearly in a later era when the terror of the Reformed sword
had waxed even more deadly. A battle had risen as to who could preach the Gospel
and teach the saints. The Reformers insisted that only those approved by
their scholars and the magistrate or governor could preach. The Anabaptists preached
everywhere at risk of their life. Read how this was then defined, and then reflect
on the many times today that Bible teachers have been mocked and accused
for daring to stand and declare the Gospel and teach the Word. Even the
magistrate has been invited again to issue a license for many preaching situations,
such as marriages. The Reformers' long arm is still with us today:
reader will recall that the notorious Groninger Edict, drawn up by the Reformed
clergymen of that city in 1601, provides heavy fines for any and all who conduct
or attend Winekel predigten. It provides heavy fines for any who allow
their premises to be used for Winckler-gatherings.
Here was a head-on collision. On the one hand were the Reformers who insisted
that a man must have a commission from the magistrate and is a Winckler if
he preaches without such a commission; on the other hand were their Stepchildren
who were just as insistent that the magistrate has nothing to do with these matters
and that lie who so kowtows to the civil ruler is by that token a hireling. Among
the "errors" of the Anabaptists were therefore listed the following points:
1) that anyone who has a true faith
may preach, even if no one has commissioned him; for Christ has empowered any
and every man to preach when He said to, teach all nations' Matthew 28:
a call issuing from men has no valor and he who is called that way is the flunky
of a ruler and a men- pleaser;
3) Luther, Oecolampadius, and all who teach
as they do, are false prophets, men who lead people astray, devil-servers;
4) all who go to hear them, believe what they teach, believe and do improperly,
and are not in God's but in Satan's congregation.
In this the Anabaptists were in dead earnest. The Church
that had allowed itself to become identified with the State was to them a fallen
Church, and all who made their peace with this fallenness were serving under the
flag of the enemy. They therefore refused to listen to any preaching except that
of the Winkler -- or, as they were also called, the Leafer.'
Philip of Hesse, although he was
one of the most liberal and progressive men of his day, a man far ahead of
his times also in the matter of policy in regard to the Anabaptists, nevertheless
shared with the Reformers the view that Winckler are intolerable. He gave
orders, in 1531, that "whoever violates the preaching office . . by assuming it
uncalled, shall be banished forever upon pain of capital punishment if ever he
So, the preacher better get higher authority to preach.
This is no different in substance than the Vatican threat against anyone who teaches
outside of Mother Church's vicious embrace. This is why it is so very easy
for the Anglican Church of the UK and the Reformed Church of America to step back
into the presence of Old Mother Whore and kiss the ring of the Pope.
SAME QUESTION ASKED TODAY IN COURT-- "ARE YOU WILLING TO DIE FOR YOUR CONVICTIONS?"
Now, I show you the zeal of the Anabaptists. This zeal has always
been the mind of true saints of all ages, for persecution is to be expected. The
Reformers were just as frustrated as the Caesars and the Pope at the willingess
of the Anabaptists to die for the faith at the hands of "good godly men" called
Reformers. As you read, ask yourself, could it happen again? I say, "YES,"
and I have seen in Reformers in the USA a zeal to kill and punish true believers
for their zeal. Thus Verduin talks about this on pages 259-262:
Although the earliest rustlings of the Reformation occurred
sub crucis, that is, "under the cross," the swing to the right put an end
to the Cross-bearing. When the Reformers accepted the hand of the local rulers
the sacralist climate returned; the Cross no longer awaited the person who walked
the way of the Reform.
There is a long and persistent custom on the part of historians to begin the story
of the Reformation in any given area at the point when civil rulers a p pear on
the scene ready and willing to support the Reform; this means that these historians
begin at the point where some new and now Protestant version of "Christian sacralism"
has become feasible. This makes them begin the story of the Reformation in Germany
at the point where the Princes give evidence that they will support the Reform;
it makes them begin the story of the Reformation in England with Henry VIII; in
France with the coming of the Conde's, etc. In this school of thought, the Reform
in the Low Countries begins at 1566, with the Compromis of the Nobles.
Now it is quite true that the Reform that saw things through to victory in the
Low Countries did begin with the Cornpromis. But this school of history
must of necessity ma e light of all that went before 1566. This is to make light
of a very important chapter in the story, the first chapter. After all, the Reformation
was already fifty years old when the Comprornis was drawn up. The Compromis
did indeed start a new chapter; but it quite as certainly brought a chapter
to its close, the chapter in which Restitutionism, and not neo Constantinianism,
calls the signals.
men who had Restitutionism in their blood this looked like a betrayal, a betrayal
very like to the one against which the Donatists had fought. To them a Gross-less
discipleship was a contradiction in terms. As a recent scholar has put it: "The
Anabaptists accepted suffering not as an incidental but as an essential to discipleship.
Baptism is a baptism into death. When the Church is true to its calling, it is
a suffering Church. With the conversion of Constantine, however, it exchanged
its stabs as a suffering Church for that of a persecuting Church and therefore
lost its status as the true Church."' Or, as another modem investigator
has put it:
a 'theology of martyrdom' developed among the Brethren, an understanding that
the citizen of the Kingdom of God will necessarily meet suffering in this world
. . . . The Ana baptist accepted the idea of the suffering Church in an almost
matter of fact fashion, and every member of this group under stood it without
much explanation. In fact, we often discover even a kind of longing for martyrdom,
a desire to be allowed to testify for the new spiritual world through suffering
and supreme sacrifice.'
It is apparent that in the Second Front baptism was looked upon as the rite in
which one lays bare his back, as it were, in anticipation of the Cross. As Conrad
Grebel put it:
He that is baptized
has been planted into the death of Christ.. True Christians are sheep among wolves,
ready for the slaughter. They must be baptized into anguish and affliction, tribulation,
persecution, suffering, and death." They must be tried in the fire and must reap
the fatherland of rest, not by killing their bodily enemies but by mortifying
their spiritual ones.
the Stepchildren had against the Reformers was that they had "welded the Cross
to the sword," an operation whereby in the Stepchildren's eyes they lost the right
to the name of Christian. As Leonard Schiemer put it, in words written from the
prison where he was incarcerated for being an Anabaptist:
"If the Cross is not experienced then we have the proof
that we are false Christians, not yet adopted into the sonship of Cod." Schiemer
was burned for writing that way, on January 14, 1528.
A simple peasant woman who had joined the Anabaptist
movement said, "We want to attend preaching services where Christ is preached;
your Christ brings you no suffering." Another plain person put it this way, "Wherever
you hear about the Cross, there the true Church is in evidence."
Baptism was not only the prelude to suffering in the
Ana baptist system of thought; it was also part of the symbolism of the Lord's
Supper. Christ had drained a bitter cup, to the dregs, and they who follow Him
will have a similar experience. As hans Cluber, an Anabaptist on trial in Hesse
in 1535, put it, "What men take to themselves in the sacrament is neither blood
nor flesh, but trouble and anguish; He who would drink the sweet cup in the hereafter
must empty the sour one here."
The readiness with which the Stepchildren shouldered this Cross and the singular
constancy with which they bore it, had tremendous propaganda value. In a way that
reminded of the medieval "heretic' and of the early Christians, the ashes of the
martyrs became the seed of the Church. For every Anabaptist that was burned, a
whole handful rose up to take his place. Menno Simons himself was sent on the
way toward Anabaptism by the spectacle of Sicke Snijder being put to death. So
effective was this Cross-bearing that it became the custom to tie a piece of wood
crosswise in the mouth of a person about to be executed, so that he would be unable
to testify and so draw men and women after himself.
The neo-Constantinians were at their wits' end to neutralize
the effectiveness of the Stepchildren's Gross-bearing. Luther spoke with some
disdain of "people who fashion for themselves a willingness to suffer and leave
all behind; and then they boast of being martyrs, so seeking their own honor."
He saw an exact parallel with that which had happened in the days of the Donatists;
for he said, "We see many die with a smile on their lips, facing death without
blanching, just as people possessed have no fear of death. This sort of thing
we had occasion to see previously in the Donatists, and we see it in our own times
in the Anabaptists."
another time Luther wrote:
St. Augustine in earlier times had much to do with the Donatists; they were the
same kind of customers and seducers in that they too begged men to put them to
death, asking executioners to slay them, in their passion for martyrdom. And then
when no one complied by taking them in hand they hurled them selves from bridges
or tumbled from housetops, or broke their necks, the while quoting the saying
about "whoso loves his own life more than me," etc.
The enemies of the Stepchildren exploited Augustine's
say ing, coined in that man's rounds with the Donatists, "Martyrem fecit causa,
non poena" (it is the cause that makes the martyr, not the punishment). They also
informed the Anabaptists that Christ did not say "Blessed are they that suffer"
but "Blessed are they that suffer for righteousness' sake" -- which was, of course,
to beg the question.
hint that it was demon-possession that inspired the Stepchildren's fortitude in
the face of death was enlarged upon by Adam Krafft, who had this to say:
That they are possessed and blinded
by the devil becomes apparent . . . when they go willingly into death, into fire
and into water. The devil is wont to do such things. In the Gospel we read of
him casting a young man into the fire (Matthew 17) . . as also he drove Judas
into the noose. It is apparent that in our times he continues to drive people
so that they end themselves, just as in earlier times the Donatists went of themselves
into the water and into the fire. The devil tried also to get the Christ to make
a martyr of himself when he suggested that the Christ should leap from the temple
For a long time this explanation
of the Stepchildren's willingness to bear the Cross continued in vogue. We find
it still employed at the Disputation held at Emden in 1578, where the spokesman
for the Reformed position cautioned his Anabaptist opponents that "a man may fool
himself with the Cross and with persecution. . .. The Donatists sought similarly
to prove by their Cross-bearing that they were the Church of Cod
One thing that Augustine left unexplained was left unexplained
by the Reformers also. It is this. If one withholds from the people whom they
called "Donatists" the passages in the New Testament that speak of Cross-bearing
as the mark of the believer, to whom then are they applicable? Least of all can
they appropriate them who sit snug and smug behind the arm of flesh, the sword
of the civil ruler, in a situation of "Christian sacralism,"' in a situation in
which there was nothing even remotely resembling the Cross-experience of the early
'The New Testament
plainly teaches that the true follower of the Christ will experience something
of the Cross. Whether the very preaching of the Cross will be able to humanize
men to such an extent that this Cross becomes less heavy is of course a question
by itself. Menno Simons had his ideas about this illustration alleging that to
the end of time the faithful would have to bear the Cross. He wrote, in his most
influential tract, his Fundawerithoek: "Do not comfort one another with
senseless comfort and unfounded hope, as do those who think that the Word will
yet be taught and practiced without the cross - . . Tear from your heart the harmful
thought of hoping for different times, lest you he deceived in your false hope.
I have known some who waited for a day of freedom; but they did not live long
enough to see their hope realized."
of our day is this: In the 1980s we heard of the Christian Reformed Church
pastor in the Holland-Zeeland area of Michigan in the USA who helped a lady in
his church commit her husband to a mental institution. The husbands mental
disease which was that he was too difficult to cope with was this-- he had accepted
Christ as his Lord and Savior and was talking everywhere about his new found faith.
The man had been a member in good standing of a Christian Reformed church
in the area, and he was telling Reformed church members everywhere that they could
be Reformed, recite the Belgique confession frontwards and backwards, be confirmed
in a Reformed church, and still go to hell. The very idea of good godly
Dutchmen burning in hell had to be squelched. The men paid the ultimate
Thus, the Reformed Domini resorted to the tactics of Ulrich
Zwingli and John Calvin and had the man destroyed. If he is still in that
mental institution, and if you know about it and where he is, I ask you why you
have not freed him yet? I have had somewhat to do with the Christian Reformed
Church, so I must tell you this-- be careful, they are treacherous, at least when
they are sober. When they are drunk, they are really pretty nice
folks. I tuned a piano once in Michigan for a couple of Christian Reformed
consistory members, and as I tuned they sipped high balls and assured me they
would have a "shingspiration" after I finished tuning. As I finished up
and left, I can still hear them singing heartily, "Then shings my shoul, my Shavior
Got doo dee, How greath Dou Arf, how greath Dou Arf..." That was the version
according to Herr Schnapps I believe.
ALL Reformed churches have handed
their strength to the Whore and to Satan. The problem started when Luther
and Calvin handed the confession of the saints to the king to enforce with the
If you were arrested and taken into court to be
tried for being a Bible believer, would there be enough evidence to convict
WE LET LEONARD VERDUIN MAKE THE LAST OBSERVATION
want to allow Leonard Verduin have the last word here. I look forward to
visiting with this dear brother in the Glory when the true Bride is united to
Christ the Lord of the Church. In that day, there will be no such disputes
and hazards caused by saints who lust to lord it over other saints, for there
is but one Lord.
This problem remains,
even if and when the Stepchildren have their way. The Christian, in the New Testament
sense of that word, is a sojourner. But to play well the part of a sojourner is
no easy task. For a sojourner stands halfway between a native and a migrant; he
must walk the thin line that separates total engagement from total disengagement.
This can never become easy.
There are straws in the wind which indicate that the battle that raged at the
Second Front is not ancient history and a thing of the past. We shall mention
There are, to begin
with, certain overtones of the so-called ecumenical movement that leave the impression
that sacralism is not quite dead, not even in the areas in which the First Amendment
is in force.
is indisputably true to say that whatever may be good and great in the American
tradition developed in the cli mate of religious pluralism and denominational
multiformity, one detects in the temper of some of the advocates of Church union
a decidedly negative attitude toward America's past in this matter. We are asked
to go in sackcloth because of the "sin of denominationalism" -- whatever that
"sin" may be. What is this but to look askance upon a feature of the American
landscape, a feature concerning which we have laboratory proof that it is a blessing,
even if not an unmixed one?
Under the tutelage of such ecumenicalism, an "American religion" could be developing,
a religiosity to which every right- thinking American would be expected to rally.
This would be the "Common Faith" of which John Dewey spoke so oracularly. This
could usher in a new sacralism; it could herald the coming of a new "right" religion.
And that would call for the creation of a new Second Front; it would make needful
again the creation of a Protest such as that of the Stepchildren in their day,
against the everybody-embracing Church. Such a development would
bring back into the parlance of men once again the expression "the fallen Church,"
or "the false Church"
It is an
alarming fact that in the literature advocating the amalgamation of all churches
into a single church the concept of "the fallen Church" is virtually unknown;
all that calls itself the Church is, so it seems, by that token entitled to the
name. [ Read that again please. ]
Closely related to the foregoing, and perhaps likewise indicative of an emerging
nee-sacralism, is the revival on the contemporary scene of the medieval word "sectarian."
Need it be pointed out that in the climate of authentic Americanism there can
be no such thing as "sectarian"? This word is a correlative, a word that derives
its meaning from a companion concept. Just as the word "wife" requires the concept
"husband," just as the word "employer" requires the concept "employee," so does
the word "sectarian" require the concept "sacral." A thing can be sectarian only
in the climate of establishment. A sectary is, historically, etymologically, by
definition, a person who deviates from the "right" religion.
But as long as in America there is no "right" religion, that is, as long as the
First Amendment stands unrepudiated, there can be no "sectarian" position.
He who labels a thing "sectarian," or a man a "sectary,"
has already in substance embraced the idea of establishment, has already abandoned
the postulate that in the American vision all religiosities are equally right
in the eyes of the law. Such a man is already operating with the concept of a
"right" religion; he has already embraced a new sacralism. And he is but one step
shod, and it is a short step, from the inevitable concomitant of all sacralism,
namely, persecution for him who dissents from the "right" religion. He has done
his bit to bring back the world against which the Stepchildren inveighed. He has
already approximated the days of the Stepchildren, in which it was held that he
who declares that the pope is the viceregent of Christ is fully entitled to the
floor but that he who denies it must sit down and hold his peace. Theism is a
"sectarian doctrine" only if and when atheism has been called the "right" position.
This brings us to the educational front in the contemporary
American scene. Here the First Amendment, which was written in order to provide
and secure a climate in which all religious persuasions would have equal rights
before the law, which was intended to provide religious multiformity,
is being quoted as though its intention had been to provide religious vacuity.
The First Amendment, which was intended to preclude a too favor able position
for one religious tradition (and the consequent handicap for the rest), has become
a handicap for all religious orientations. This piece of legislation, intended
to preclude the rise of sacralism in the United States, is being quoted in support
of a new sacralism, the sacralism of secularism. The ups hot of all this is that,
in the classroom, he who believes that the universe is "running" talks at the
top of his voice while he who believes that the universe is "run" must prudently
lower his voice. This handicap for the person of the latter conviction is an intolerable
violation of the First Amendment, which forbids the highest law of the land to
prevent the free exercise of religion no less than it forbids the "establishment"
First Amendment officially repudiates sacralism, and so endorses the views for
which the men of the Second Front fought, the repudiation of sacralism has not
as yet become the heritage of every individual American.
In all events, the battle that raged at the Second Front is a battle that did
not end with those who fought there. It is part of an Eighty Years' War, a contest
in which generations succeed ing each other will he involved. For this reason
the story that we have sought to tell in this volume will be useful reading for
all who come after them and who seek to fight the good fight of faith.