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This Sunday in Baptist History

May 19

On this day  in 1662 the “Act of Uniformity” received royal assent, after being passed by the Anglican-dominated British Parliament. It required that every minister in England had to receive episcopal ordination, and before August 24 of that year they must publically give their “unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained and prescribed in and by… the Book of Common Prayer.”

Of course the Baptists in England rejected the concept of a church or religion established by the government, so they were not surprised by the new round of persecution against them. But it is estimated that a total of 1,760 other ministers were ejected from their churches, many of whom had taken a stand against paedobaptism – the baptism of infants.

One of the positive consequences of the Act was to force those dismissed preachers to more fully consider their doctrines, and many went further into becoming Baptists. Another result was that there was then a clear distinction between the established church and the dissenters; a line had been drawn in the sand by the government. Despite the spotty persecution against the brethren, it made many new men more bold in their witness for the truth.

 

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