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This Sunday in Baptist History

April 26

Early in 1529, the council of the Archbishop of Cologne presented a special report to Charles V, Emperor of the “Holy” Roman Empire. It said in part that the Anabaptists call themselves “true Christians,” and that they had existed for more than a thousand years. In one place it quoted a statement from the Parliament at Speyer which said that the “new sect of the Anabaptists”… for more than twelve centuries practiced baptism in the way taught and described in the New Testament, and that such a practice had been made an offense punishable by death.

On this day in that year 1529 the Emperor made a new decree against the Anabaptists which in part read: “Yet do we find daily that, contrary to the promulgated common law and also to our mandate issued, such ancient sect of the Anabaptists condemned and forbidden many hundred of years ago, more and more advances and spreads.” So “all and every Anabaptist and re-baptized man or woman of intelligent age shall be sentenced and executed by fire, sword, or the like.”

In 1529, Charles V knew that the Anabaptists had been baptizing by immersion and serving the Lord for over twelve hundred years. To be more exact it was over fifteen hundred years. Those Anabaptists are the spiritual great-grandfathers of this non-Protestant, Baptist church.

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