Christian History Home > 1985 > Issue 6 > The Baptists: Christian History Timeline
The Baptists: Christian History Timeline
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The seventeenth century was an age of bold contrasts, change, and disintegration. Social forces strained at progress, and old dynasties were tested. While politicians autocratically tried to dictate the course of church and state, dynamic forces unleashed in parliamentary bodies indicated great disaffection with the old order and old ways.
Upper classes flaunted wealth and status with snuff boxes, perfume, paint, gloves, canes, and powdered wigs. Working classes, landless peasants, and New World natives remained subject to exploitation and conquest.
Ruling houses in France, Russia, and Austria underwent severe trial and made concessions. New states emerged in the Rhineland and Low Countries. In England civil war and revolution led to permanent limitations upon the hierarchy.
Scientific experimentation flourished, and medical knowledge increased with the developments of Newton, Galileo, Descartes, Hooke, and others. Yet at midcentury the plague spread devastation, and three-quarters of London was destroyed by fire.
Even as the Reformation took hold in unexpected places, thousands fled to America to escape religious persecution. Ironically many, in turn, oppressed later arrivals in their quest for religious freedom.
At the forefront of change, the Baptist movement was born out of persecution and ridicule. Baptists stood in vehement opposition to any king’s “divine right” and any church’s determination of their lives. Their call for freedom of conscience between an individual and God opened a door to both conflict and opportunity.
Religion / Reformation
1604 James I orders Roman Catholic priests banished from England, resulting in pro-Catholic Gunpowder Plot to blow up the House of Lords.
1611 Publication of the King James Bible
1620 Pilgrim Fathers found Plymouth Colony
1621 Huguenot rebellion against Louis XIII
1633 Inquisition condemns Galileo advocating theories of Copernicus
1633 Plague in Bavaria leads to passion play vow in Oberammergau; first given in 1634, re-enacted every 10 years
1637 New liturgy in Scotland causes riots
1638 Slaughter of Japanese Christians wipes out Christianity in Japan. Foreign books and contacts prohibited
1641 Catholic rebellion in Ireland; 30,000 Protestants massacred
1642 Theatres in England closed by Puritans’ orders (to 1660)
1646 New England Puritan theocracy enacts laws requiring church attendance and belief in the Bible
1647 Lutherans acknowledge Calvinists as coreligionists
1655 Cromwell prohibits Anglican services
1661 First American Bible edition—Algonquin translation by John Eliot
1667 Publication of Paradise Lost by Eng. poet John Milton
1670 Charles II (Eng.) and Louis XIV (France) make secret treaty of Dover to restore Catholicism to England
1673 Test Act passed in England to bar Catholics and Nonconformists from public office
1676 Observance of Sabbath protected by law in England
1678 False accusations of Catholic “Popish Plot” to murder Charles II
1681 William Penn receives land grant from King; considers Pennsylvania a “holy experiment,” where persecuted minorities could live in freedom
1685 Louis XIV revokes Edict of Nantes, thus forbidding all religions but Roman Catholicism; 50,000 Huguenot families leave France
1686 James II disregards Test Act, appoints Catholics to office
1687 James II grants toleration to all religions
1689 Toleration act grants freedom of worship in England
1692 Salem witchcraft trials in New England
1703 John Wesley born
1703 Jonathan Edwards born
1607 Two Separatist congregations flee England for Amsterdam
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