On Anabaptism


Order of Contents

Books  7
History of  2
Latin  1

Catalogue of Anabaptist Errors  2
On Predestination  1





Calvin, John – A Short Instruction for to Arm All Good Christian People Against the Pestiferous Errors of the Common Sect of Anabaptistes  Buy  ([London, 1549])  EEBO

Calvin in this work critiques the Schleitheim Confession (1527) of the Anabaptists (see background at Wikipedia).

For a brief intro and some quotes from this work, see the article (very slanted from the view of Anglicanism) by Bradford Littlejohn, ‘Calvin Against the Anabaptists’.

de Bres, Guy – The Rise, Spring & Foundation of the Anabaptists, or Re-baptized of our Time  trans. J. S.  (1565; Cambridge [Mass.]: Marmaduke Johnson, 1668)  70 pp.  White font on a black background.  The display of pages is irregular at the beginning, but no pages are missing.

de Bres (1522-1567) was a Walloon pastor, reformer, theologian and a student of Calvin and Beza in Geneva.  He was martyred at age 45.  de Bres was the compiler and publisher of what is now known as the Belgic Confession today (1561).

This work was reprinted for the puritan New England context.


Table of Contents

To the Reader

The Rise, Spring & Foundation of the Anabaptists  1

Of the Deams of the Anabaptists & how they are Condemned by the Word of God  47

Of the Spiritual Anabaptists, who are Separated from the World  53-8

Bullinger, Henry – A Wholesome Antidote or Counter-Poisen, Against the Pestilent Heresy & Sect of the Anabaptists…  (1548)  230 pp.  in 10 Dialogues

Bullinger (1504-1575)



Featley, Daniel – The Dippers Dipped, or, the Anabaptists Ducked & Plunged over Head & Ears, at a Disputation in Southwark: together with a Large & Full Discourse of their 1. Original. 2. Several Sorts. 3. Peculiar Errors. 4. High Attempts Against the State. 5. Capital Punishments, with an Application to These Times  (London, 1645)  ToC IA

Featley (1582-1645) was a Calvinist, episcopal, Westminster divine.

Spanheim, Frederic – England’s Warning by Germany’s Woe: or a Historical Narration of the Original, Progress, Tenets, Names & Several Sects of the Anabaptists in Germany & the Low Countries..  from 1521…  wherein is Set Forth their Several Errors  (London: John Dever & Robert Ibbitson, 1646)  50 pp.  no ToC

Spanheim (1600–1649) was a reformed professor of philosophy and theology at Geneva and Leiden.

Reading, John – Anabaptism Routed, or a Survey of the Controverted Points…  Together with a Particular Answer to All that is Alleged in Favor of the Anabaptists by Dr. Jeremy Taylor, in his book called, The Liberty of Prophesying  (London: Thomas Johnson, 1655)  204 pp.

Reading (c.1587-1667) was a reformed Anglican minister.



Barry, James – A Brief & Plain Discovery of the Falseness & Unscripturalness of Anabaptism: as the Same is Now Practised by Those of that Persuasion…  3rd ed.  (London, 1715)  210 pp.  No ToC, except the extended title

Barry (fl.1650-1702) was a reformed puritan.



On the History of Anabaptism

On the Precedents & Origins of Anabaptism

Daniel Featley

The Dippers Dipped, or, the Anabaptists Ducked & Plunged…  (London, 1645), pp. 25 & 27

“The third [sort of Anabaptists, after the two from the Early Church] broached theirs in the year 1525, which was this, (3) that baptism ought to be administred to none, but such as can give a good account of their faith; and in case any have been baptized in their infancy, that they ought to be re-baptized after they come to years of discretion, before they are to be admitted to the church of Christ.

For the third sort of Anabaptists, they have sunk deeper in the
former quagmire…  For they not only nullify all baptism administered either by Romish priests, or orthodox Protestants, but condemn [the] baptizing of children simply, which neither the first nor the second sort of Anabaptists [in the Early Church] did; for both the Novatians and Donatists, yea, and Pelagians too, though they denied original sin, yet they all allowed and practised the baptism of infants.

The author of this third and worst sect of Anabaptists, was, as some say Muncerus; as others, Balthasar Pacimontanus, against whom Zwingli wrote; as others, Carolstadius; but I subscribe to Melancthou, who lived in those times…  And he affirms, as I said before, that Nicholas Stock was the first that broached Anabaptism in Germany.  This Stock affirmed, that God spake to him by an angel, and revealed his will to him in dreams, promising him the place of the angel Gabriel: in this man’s school was Thomas Muncer bred…”



Lang, Andrew – ‘Knox on the Anabaptists: his Appeal to England: 1558-1559’  in Lang, John Knox & the Reformation




Alsted – Compendium of Theology






A Catalogue of the Errors of the Anabaptists

Daniel Featley

The Dippers Dipped, or, the Anabaptists Ducked & Plunged…  (London, 1645), Ch. 2, ‘Of the Errors of the Anabaptists, both common to other sects, and those which are peculiarly their own’, pp. 28-32

“First, their ecclesiasticall errors, such as peculiarly concern the doctrine or discipline of the Church are:

First, that Christ took not flesh from the Virgin Mary, but
that he passed through her as the sun beams do through glass, or rain through a spout.

Secondly, that there is no original sin.

Thirdly, that children ought not to be baptized.

Fourthly, that such as have been baptized in their infancy
ought to be re-baptized when they come to years of discretion.

Fifthly, that lay-people may preach and administer the

Sixthly, that men have free will, not only in natural and
moral, but also in spiritual actions.

Seventhly, that absolution and the church-peace ought to
be denied to such who are fallen into any grievous sin; yea, though they repent of it.

Eighthly, that Luther’s doctrine is worse than the Pope’s.

Secondly, their politicall errors, or in matter of state, are:

First, that the people may depose their magistrates and
chief rulers…

Secondly, that a Christian with a good conscience may not
take upon him, or bear the office of a magistrate, or keep any court of justice.

Thirdly, that none may administer an oath to another.

Fourthly, that no malefactors ought to be put to death.

Thirdly, their economical errors [about the family] are:

First, that no man has a propriety in his goods, but that
all things ought to be held in common.

Secondly, that it is lawful to have more wives than one at

Thirdly, that a man may put away his wife if she differ
from him in point of religion, and be not of their sect.

All the errors of the Anabaptists are of two sorts:

First, such as they hold in common with other heretics.
Secondly, such as are peculiar to their sect.

First, concerning the common errors [not mentioned above]…

First, with the Millenaries and their joint issue is, that
Christ before the day of judgement shall come down from Heaven, and reign with the saints upon earth a thousand years; in which time they shall destroy all the wicked, binding their kings in chains, and their nobles in links of iron.

Thirdly, with the Donatists and their joynt issue is that
in the true church there are no scandals, or lewd and vicious livers; that the church of Christ is confined to their sect; that we ought to separate from all assemblies of Christians wherein there are any abuses or scandals, yea, though the church allows them not, but seeks to reform them; that all such as have been baptized by any other than those of their sect, ought to be rebaptized.

Seventhly, with the Enthusiasts and their joint issue is
that the Scripture is not our only rule of faith and manners, but
that God reveals his will to his children at this day by visions
and dreams…

Ninthly, with the Arminians and their joint issue is, that there is no original sin, or at least, that none is damned for it alone; that election is upon foreseen faith and repentance; that God gives all men sufficient grace to be saved; that man has free-will of himself either to accept or refuse God’s grace; that Christ died indifferently for all; that a true beleever, who is in the state of grace, may fall away totally and finally.

Tenthly, with the Brownists or Barrowists and their joint issue is,
that there ought to be a parity in the church…  that in regard of these and such like abuses and corruptions [in ceremonies and governemnt] the church of England is no true Church of Christ, and consequently, that all that have a care of their soules must of necessity separate from her.

Eleventhly, with a peculiar sect, called the Separati and their
joint issue is, that no Christian may go to law, or in any case to
right himself by arms or violent means.

Secondly, such [errors] as are peculiar to their sect, and these are six:

Thirdly, that there ought to be no set form of Liturgy or prayer by the book, but only by the Spirit.

Fourthly, that there ought to be no distinction by the Word of God between the clery and the laity, but that all who are gifted may preach the Word and administer the sacraments.

Fifthly, that it is not lawful to take an oath at all, no, not though it be demanded by the magistrate…”



Contra Anabaptism on Predestination

Knox, John – An Answer to the Cavillations of [an Anabaptist] Adversary Respecting the Doctrine of Predestination  (1560)  in The Works of John Knox, 5:7-468

“While living in Geneva about 1558, Knox was asked by persons back in England to answer a book circulating there titled Careless by Necessity. This work, written by an Anabaptist, denied the doctrine of Predestination. Knox complied…

This work is the longest of Knox’s writings…  On Predestination is in the form of an ‘answer’, and is disputational in structure.  Knox alternately [block] quotes an assertion from his ‘Adversarie’ [in the order of the adversary’s book] immediately following it with his ‘Answer’.” – Brian L. Dole, ‘John Knox on Predestination’

See extended excerpts from this work, the font of which is otherwise difficult to read, at, Excerpts from John Knox’s Work on Predestination.




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