Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Rom. 8.33

The Protestant Doctrine of Baptism

in opposition to

The Heresies of the anaBaptists


David Dickson: Truth’s Victory Over Error: Chapter 28: On Baptism

George Gillespie: Miscellany Questions: Chapter 17: On Infant Baptism

Thomas Sheperd: The Church Membership of Children and Their Right to Baptism

John Calvin: Treatise Against the Anabaptists ~ Confutation of Schleitheim Confession.

John Flavel: For the Right of Believers Infants to BAPTISM

John Knox: Answer to Some Questions Concerning Baptism, &c. 1556

Samuel Miller: Infant Baptism Scriptural & Reasonable; Sprinkling the Most Suitable & Edifying Mode

Samuel Stanhope Smith: Discourse on the Nature, Subjects, Benefits, & Mode of Baptism

Historic Protestant Descriptions of the Baptists:

Please Note: Let the reader understand, that there is a good purpose for providing the following list of quotes about the Anabaptists and those who are now called Baptists. It is not the purpose of this compilation to offend Anabaptists, or to simply communicate to any group of people that they are either unintelligent, or wicked, although the individual quotes themselves may (warrantably or unwarrantably) express such an opinion. Indeed, we are not unaware of the fact, that many baptists excel many professing Presbyterians in practical godliness (to the shame of those Presbyterians,) and even certain sects of Anabaptists retain usages amongst themselves which demonstrate more dutifulness in fleeing from and forsaking the world and its vanities, than may be found in many of the most theologically sound Reformed Christians. What then is the purpose of this compilation?

The purpose of the following compilation is to demonstrate that the licentious practice of modern "conservative Presbyterians" who engage in unlawful associations with baptists, anabaptists, and others yet worse, is completely antithetical to the wisdom and practice of true Presbyterians and all of the Reformers, who regarded the Anabaptists as sectarian heretics, which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned. The Apostle Paul instructs Christians to avoid them, for they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Contrary thereto, sectarian denominations and their adherents, enter into alliances, associations, and leagues with Anabaptists, while at the same time pretending that it is their duty to exist as separate "denominations" in the same one body of Christ. They share pulpits, as though they would set wolves over their own flocks to assist them. They "evangelize" jointly, as though they had no message to preach for the salvation of souls, distinct from that of those who poison souls and divide the body of Christ. They allow such heretics to become members of their churches without disciplining them for refusing to bring their children to be baptized, as though they would usurp Christ's authority and change his laws and ordiances to please those whose blinded consciences forbid them to obey Jesus Christ. They say that the doctrine of Infant Baptism is a difficult doctrine of small importance and not sufficient to warrant division among Christians, as though they regarded all of the Reformers as doctrinal bigots, having less Charity and Wisdom than themselves, who might have better served the Church in their day by tearing down the Defensive Walls of Zion, and casting out the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And they do many other things hereby, which make them partakers of all of the guilt of the Anabaptists themselves, with the added aggravation that they do it all contrary to light, the faithful testimony of their fathers, and their own profession, whereas the Anabaptists incur their guilt through much ignorance and confusion.

The above purpose being understood, we refer the reader to the following quotes:

Ulrich Zwingli

And since I have come to speak of the Catabaptists, I should like, O King, to sketch for you in a few words the doctrines of that sect. They are mostly a class of rabble, homeless from the want of means, who make it their business to win old women by pompous discourses upon divine things to extract from them the wherewithal to support themselves, or to gather in considerable alms. In general, they make pretense of the same holiness of which Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons writes in connection with the Valentinians, and Nazianzenus [Gregory Nazianzus] in connection with the Eunomians. Then, in reliance upon this, they teach that a Christian cannot be a magistrate; that it is not lawful for a Christian to put even a guilty man to death even by process of law; that we must not go to war even if tyrants or godless persons and robbers resort to force and plunder, slay, and destroy every day; that an oath must not be taken; that a Christian should not exact duties or taxes; that all things should be held in common; that the souls sleep with the bodies; that a man can have several wives "in the spirit" (having, however, carnal intercourse with them); that tithes and revenues should not be paid, and hundreds of other things. Nay, they daily scatter new errors like tares amid the righteous seed of God.... They have left us, because they were not of us.

The Latin Works of Ulrich Zwingli. vol. 2, pp. 272,273.

Martin Luther

Since then these baptizers are altogether unsure of themselves, and reveal that they are lying, and thereby deny and blaspheme the ordinance of God through their deceitful uncertainty, making the last first, basing the Word and ordinance of God on human work and faith, urging baptism when they should be urging faith, every devout Christian, convinced that they are misleading, uncertain, and perverted spirits, should avoid them at the peril of his soul's salvation. May Christ, our Lord, grant this and help us. Amen.

Luther's Works, American Edition. vol. 40, p. 261.

John Calvin

And in our own day the Anabaptists, while they disturb the Church by their ravings, and slander the Gospel, boast that they are carrying the banners of Christ, when they are justly condemned. But Christ pronounces those only to be happy who are employed in defending a righteous cause.

Harmony of the Evangelists. vol. 1. pp. 267,268.

Nay, I even confess that the sacraments are vitiated and perverted when it is not regarded as their only aim to make us look to Christ for every thing requisite to our salvation, and whenever they are employed for any other purpose than that of fixing our faith wholly in him. Moreover, since the promise of adoption reaches even to the posterity of believers, I acknowledge that the infants of believers ought to be received into the Church by baptism; and in this matter I detest the ravings of the Anabaptists.

Selected Works of Calvin. vol.3. Brief Form of a Confession of Faith.

I wish, therefore, to warn such beforehand not to take anything said as an affront to themselves, but to understand that, whenever I use some freedom of speech, I am referring to the nefarious herd of Anabaptists, from whose fountain this noxious stream did, as I observed, first flow, and against whom nothing I have said equals their deserts....

I again desire all my readers, if I shall have any, to remember that the Catabaptists (whom, as embodying all kinds of abominations, it is sufficient to have named) are the authors of this famous dogma [of soul sleep]. Well may we suspect anything that proceeds from such a forge — a forge which has already fabricated, and is daily fabricating, so many monsters.


Zacharius Ursinus

Wherefore, the Anabaptists, denying Baptism to infants born in the Church, not only spoil them of their right; but also obscure the grace of God, who wills that the seed of the faithful should from their birthday, yea, and from their mother's womb, be reckoned for members of the Church: yea further, they derogate manifestly from the grace offered in the new covenant, and scantle it [narrow it down] less than the grace of the old covenant, seeing they deny that Baptism is now extended unto those infants, to whom circumcision was extended: They weaken the comfort of the Church and faithful Parents: they cancel the solemn bond, whereby God will have the seed of his people from their first infancy bound unto him, and discerned and severed from the rest of this world: they impair and make faint, in Parents and children, the study of thankfulness, and keeping their bond: they impudently contradict the Apostles, affirming that they cannot be forbidden water, who are endowed with the holy Ghost: they saucily restrain and keep back the infants from Christ, who biddeth them to be brought unto him. Lastly, they profanely detract from Christ's general precept of baptising all. All which absurdities manifestly prove, that the impugnation of infants' Baptism, whereon they are consequent, is no light errour, but an impious, profane heresy, contrary to God's word and the comfort of the Church. Wherefore this, and the like follies of the Anabaptists' sect, is with the more circumspection and wariness to be avoided, which doubtless have been inspired by the devil, and is an execrable monster, composed and made of divers heresies and blasphemies.

The Summe of Christian Religion, published 1633, p. 418.
Edition 1852, reprinted by Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company, pp.367-368.

David Dickson

Anabaptists: So called from re-baptizing, had for their author one Nicholas Storck, who pretended familiarity with God, by an angel promising him a kingdom, if he would reform the church, and destroy the princes that would hinder him.

Truth's Victory Over Error. p. 241.