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One of the hotbeds of such sentiment was northwestern Italy, home of the Piedmontese Waldenses: The burden of proof definitely rests on those who would deny that any of the Waldenses opposed infant baptism. Maitland, History of the Albigenses and Waldenses, 1832.

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The two statements, "Many 20th-Century American Baptists believed in Biblical inerrancy," and "Many 20th-Century American Baptists rejected Biblical inerrancy," are both accurate, and the fact that some Baptists became apostate, whether in the 13th Century or the 20th, in no way disproves the existence of other Baptists and Baptist churches that remained true to the faith. Fortunately, we have the testimony of an eyewitness to the Waldensian movement of the 13th Century, Reinerius Saccho, who was a Roman Catholic inquisitor and persecutor of the Waldenses. The Waldenses could have spared themselves many severe tribulations at the hands of the Inquisition over the centuries, had they merely spoken up and said, "Yes, we do believe in infant baptism." But there is no evidence that they ever did.

In many cases evidence can be cited to show that some Waldenses believed the opposite of what we will present, but this does not weaken our case. This is especially necessary in light of the fact that the modern Waldenses are Pedobaptists. It is quite evident, though, that the charge that the medieval Waldenses rejected infant baptism must have been true, because they suffered great persecutions as a result of that belief, and there is no record that they ever denied their opposition to infant baptism.

Consider, for instance, this article from an ancient Waldensian confession of faith: We believe, that in the sacrament of baptism, water is the visible and external sign, which represents unto us that which (by the invisible virtue of God operating) is within us; namely, the renovation of the Spirit, and the mortification of our members in Jesus Christ; by which also we are received into the holy congregation of the people of God, there protesting and declaring openly our faith and amendment of life.[14] Language of this kind is used by Baptists, not by Pedo-baptists. Do they exercise faith, or openly declare their faith in the assembly of God's people?

There is every reason to believe, however, based on the original documents presented by Morland, that the Waldenses insisted on faith as a prior condition for baptism.

We translate the passage: “The Apostolicals or Henricians; their doctrines, according to St. Peter of Bruis seized the entire Biblical presentation of baptism, and forced its teaching home upon the conscience and the life, by rejecting the immersion of babes and insisting on the immersion of all believers in Christ, without any admixture of Catharistic nonsense. It is incredible that their principles, including opposition to infant baptism, should have failed to find any expression among the Waldenses, who lived in the same regions as the Petrobrussians and Henricians.

These statements from Chapter 28 leave no doubt as to whether infants were to be baptized: Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized. Christ wants His baptism based upon His word for the forgiveness of sins, and then He promises, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” [19]Jacob Merning says that he had, in the German tongue, a confession of faith of the Baptists, called Waldenses, which declared the absence of infant baptism in the early churches of these people, that their forefathers practised no such thing. Monastier says: Peter the Venerable, abbot of Clugny, attributes to Pierre de Bruis the five following points of doctrine, which he states in his ninth letter, entitled, "Against the Petrobrussians,” and addressed to the archbishop of Arles and Embrun, as well as to the bishops of Gap and Die. He (Pierre de Bruis) denies that children, before they arrive at years of intelligence, can be saved by baptism, or that the faith of another person can be useful to them, since, according to those of his opinion, it is not the faith of another which saves, but the faith of the individual with baptism, according to our Lord's words: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.”[31]The same centuriators have also extracted from the writings of Bernard the errors which he noticed in the Apostolic heretics. ." [32]In the Petrobrussians we find a sect of Baptists for which no apology is needed. [33] The ministry of Peter and Henry created a sensation in France, as multitudes flocked to hear them preach.

The great Roman Catholic writers affirm that immersion was the proper form of baptism. Thomas Aquinas refers to immersion as the general practice of his day, and prefers it as the safer way, as did also Bonaventura and Duns Scotus. [7] We can conclude this subject with the words of Ray: No historian has ever charged the ancient Waldenses with the practice of sprinkling and pouring for baptism. Everts, Jr., The Church in the Wilderness, or The Baptists Before the Reformation, Nappanee, Indiana, Baptist Bookshelf, 1986, p. (Allix) Peter, Abbot of Clugny, wrote against the Waldenses, on account of their denying infant baptism. Infant baptism is denounced in a treatise on Antichrist, dating from the 12th Century, which was preserved among the Waldenses of the Alps, and brought to England by Samuel Morland, who was Oliver Cromwell’s ambassador to the court of Savoy until 1658.

This was at the time, the practice of the whole Christian world. 1164, declared without qualification for it as the proper act of baptism. Living in an age in which immersion was the universal law and the custom . [6] Concerning the 15th-Century Bohemian Waldenses, Broadbent says: One of the first things they (the Czech Brethren) did was to baptize those present, for the baptism of believers by immersion was common to the Waldenses and to most of the brethren in different parts, though it had been interrupted by pressure of persecution. Christian, A History of the Baptists, Texarkana, Bogard Press, 1922, vol. Bellarmine says, "the Berengarians admitted only adults to baptism, which error the Anabaptists embraced. (Wall) Evervinus of Stanfield complained to Bernard, Abbot of Clairval, that Cologne was infected with Waldensian heretics, who denied baptism to infants. Now that we have heard from the enemies of the Waldenses, let us hear from the Waldenses themselves concerning their views on infant baptism.

[1]It is equally clear that the form of baptism was immersion. and practicing only believer's baptism, rejecting, as we will see, water salvation, that the Waldenses were Baptists as to the action of baptism is the inevitable conclusion. Christian says: The contemporary writers, Eberhard and Ermengard, in their work "contra Waldenses" written toward the close of the 12th Century, repeatedly refer to immersion as the form of baptism among the Waldenses. Concerning the followers of the 11th-Century French reformer Berenger, or Berengarius, we are told: On his followers being examined, they said, "Baptism did not profit children." Many Berengarians suffered death for their opinions, and for opposing infant baptism. [4]The Lateran Council of 1139 did enforce infant baptism by severe measures, and successive councils condemned the Waldenses for rejecting it. Ecbertus Schonaugiensis, who wrote against this people, declares, They say that baptism does no good to infants; therefore, such as come over to their sect, they baptize in a private way; that is, without the pomp and public parade of the catholics. Even if some of them did, this would in no way detract from the fact that many Waldenses rejected infant baptism.

Everts cites the teaching of Aquinas, one of the most prominent Catholic theologians of the 13th Century, on this subject: Thomas Aquinas, the chief of the schoolmen, who flourished about the year 1250, says, in his theology, that while immersion is not essential to the validity of baptism, still, as the old and common usage, it is more commendable and safer than pouring. Robinson says: Samuel Schmucker says of the Baptists: "As a sect they never existed . One of the most prominent doctrines of him and his followers was the impropriety of the baptism of infants and necessity of immersion to the validity of baptism." [5] Although many researchers would disagree with the notion that there were no Baptists or Waldenses before the 12th Century, we can heartily agree with the conclusion that the early Waldenses practiced immersion. To the same effect Richinius affirms, that in their opinion baptism was neither necessary nor useful for infants.[2] There are numerous references showing that the medieval Waldenses were accused of rejecting infant baptism by their enemies. Berengarius and Vaudois were equivalent terms." [3]When Bishop Gerard, of Arras and Cambray, charged the Waldenses with abhorring (Catholic) baptism, they said baptism added nothing to our justification, and a strange will, a strange faith, and a strange confession, do not seem to belong to, or be of any advantage to a little child, who neither wills, nor runs, who knows nothing of faith, and is altogether ignorant of his own good and salvation, in whom there can be no desire of regeneration, and from whom no confession of faith can be expected. (Danvers) Alanus Magnus states that they denied the ordinance to children.[5]Almost all Roman Catholic writers agree with Cardinal Hosius, who says: "The Waldenses rejected infant baptism." Addis and Arnold declare of them: "As to baptism, They said that the washing of infants was of no avail to them.". Not all Waldenses fell into this dissimulation, and there are no clear references showing that the Waldenses baptized their infants themselves.

In our references to Waldensian doctrine and practice, it will be understood that our statements are generalizations which would not always be accurate as to all who called themselves Waldenses, or were called that by their enemies, in all times and places. If we are to regard the Waldenses as Baptists, we must firmly establish it as a fact that the Waldensian movement, at least in part, rejected infant baptism and insisted on baptism of believers only. 1240: "They maintain the nullity of the baptism of infants, and affirm that no one can be saved before attaining the age of reason." . In the creed was the following article: "We believe also that no person is saved but he that is baptized: and that infants are saved by baptism." Being urged to subscribe and swear to this creed, they positively and perseveringly refused. After all, the Waldenses were also accused of being Manichaeans, a charge that we will see later on was false. [17] Westminster Confession of Faith, Philadelphia, Great Commission Publications, n.d., p. This version of the confession is used by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

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