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Christian History Home > 1985 > Issue 6 > The Baptists: Christian History Timeline

The Baptists: Christian History Timeline
posted 4/01/1985 12:00AM

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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

The Baptists

1607 Two Separatist congregations flee England for Amsterdam

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