In Norway, before there were any Baptist churches, there was a growth of Baptist principles, including salvation by grace through faith, and as a result, the rejection of infant baptism. Strangely this religious insurgency took place among the disciplined soldiers of the Norwegian army.
On Sunday, July 28, 1743 a contingent of soldiers was ordered to participate in a church parade. Among them were several who had rejected the Lutheran faith, and these refused to enter the church assigned to them. They were arrested for insubordination, and after six months in the stockade they were brought before a military tribunal for court-martial. One leader, Hans Pederson, was sentenced to serve three years in chains, while another, Christopher Pederson, was sentenced to six months in chains. The rest were sent to an Oslo prison, so that they might “work constantly and receive instruction, so they might change their mind.”
Rather than repent and recant, the Oslo men continued to feed each other the Word of God. And when one of their number refused to enter the prison chapel, he was dragged inside by force, and this stirred even other prisoners to study their Bibles. The Lutheran bishop over the prison then wrote a letter to King Christian VI stating, “These separatists are not only stubborn in regard to their own heresy, but they are trying to lead the other prisoners into the same heresy.” He recommended that they be separated and scattered throughout the prison system. This was a mistake, because they just carried the flame of truth with them to a wider field.
There has never been a strong Baptist presence in Norway. But through men like these, the Lord did not leave that country without a witness.