Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
You are mistaken in that; and in any case such an origin would be of no real value for one who professes to be a Christian. The New Testament insists that we must follow Christ, not St. John the Baptist. For the preaching of John the Baptist was essentially a preparation for Christ. He himself told his followers not to remain his disciples, but to become disciples of Christ. "He must increase," he said, "and I must decrease." To inquirers he said clearly, "I am not the Christ" In Acts XIX., 3-5, we find the Apostles baptizing again in the name of Christ those who had received only John's baptism. However, as a matter of fact, the Baptist Church cannot trace itself back to St. John the Baptist.
The first traces of the Baptists appeared in 1521. Martin Luther began the Protestant revolt against the Catholic Church in Germany in 1517. In 1521 a certain Thomas Munzer set up as a prophet on his own account, claiming that Luther did not go far enough in abolishing former ideas. He taught that no one who had been baptized as an infant was really baptized at all. His adherents, therefore, had to be baptized again. From this his followers got the name of "Anabaptists," or the "Rebaptizers." It was almost 100 years before this movement spread from the continent to England, although the English Baptists disclaim any connection with the Anabaptists. The first English Baptists were John Smyth and Thomas Helwys; and the first Baptist Chapel was commenced in London in 1611. John Smyth had been an Anglican minister prior to his becoming a Baptist, which he did in Germany through his association with the Anabaptists there. The Baptist Church, therefore, traces itself back to 1611 in England, and indirectly to 1521 on the Continent. Prior to that it was non-existent.
The Baptists have gone off into many independent subdivisions, but all told they would number about 12 millions.
They are much like the Congregationalists or the Methodists, save in their main point of adult baptism only, and by immersion. For the rest, Baptists are required to accept the Bible as the Word of God and as the only and sufficient rule of faith; and, of course, they must believe in the Divinity of Christ and the atonement for sin wrought by His death on the Cross.