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Baptist Church History (Part 5) - Paulicians; Albigenses; Paterines; Catharists

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For a master copy of the outline, click here: Baptist Church History

5. The Paulicians (7th - 11th Centuries)
A. The Paulicians were a continuation of the Donatists and were found in Armenia and the eastern Byzantine Empire, and even as far west as Rome and France.
i. "Instead of Constantine having originated the Paulicians, or of their beginning in his time, Mosheim says: “Constantino revived, under the reign of Constans, the drooping faction of the Paulicians, which was now ready to expire and propagated with great success its pestilential doctrines.” Thus, they were revived, just were (sic) Schaff and others leave them, in a weak condition under the name Donatists." (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 107)
ii. "The body of Christians in Armenia came over to the Paulicians, and embraced their views. In a little time, congregations were gathered in the provinces of Asia Minor, to the westward of the river Euphrates. Their opinions were also silently propagated in Rome, Milan, and in the kingdom beyond the Alps (France)." (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 131-132)
iii. "It was in the tenth century that the Paulicians emigrated from Bulgaria, and spread themselves through every province of Europe." (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 171)
iv. ""It was in the country of the Albigeois, in the southern provinces of France," remarks Gibbon, "where the Paulicians mostly took root." These people were known by different names in various provinces." (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 171-172)
B. The Paulicians got their name from their love of Paul's epistles.
i. We are following in their footsteps.
ii. "Wm. R. Williams: “The Paulicians, a later body, were eminent especially for their love of Paul’s Epistles, which they so admired, that their teachers, many of them, changed their names for those of some of Paul’s helpers and converts. For centuries defamed and pursued, they held their course, testifying and witnessing. Hase, the modem church historian, himself a Rationalist, speaks of them as continuing under various names down quite near to our own age.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 110)
C. The Paulicians were not Manichaeans as they were falsely charged to be by the Catholics.
i. Manicheism - The doctrine or principles of the Manichees.
ii. Manichee - An adherent of a religious system widely accepted from the third to the fifth century, composed of Gnostic Christian, Mazdean, and pagan elements. The special feature of the system which the name chiefly suggests to modern readers is the dualistic theology, according to which Satan was represented as co-eternal with God.
iii. "Sir William Jones, one of the most learned investigators, says: “Their public appearance soon attracted the notice of the Catholic party who immediately branded them with the opprobrious name of Manichaeans; but they sincerely (says Gibbon), condemned the memory and the opinions of the Manichaean sect and complained of the injustice which impressed that invidious name on them.”

"Of their great leader, Benedict says: “From the time he got acquainted with these writings (the gospels and Paul’s Epistles) it is said he would touch no other book. He threw away his Manichaean library and exploded and rejected many of the abused notions of his countrymen.” So Jones substantially says. Benedict: “The religious practices of this people are purposely mangled and misrepresented.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 110-111)
iv. Much of the information that we have about the Paulicians, as well as most of the other early Baptists, comes from their enemies; so claims of them being heretics need to be scrutinized before being accepted as true.
a. "The writings and the lives of their eminent ministers are totally lost; so that we know nothing of these men but from the pens of their enemies, yet even these confess their excellency." (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 131)
b. "They called themselves Christians, but the Catholics they named Romans, as if they had been heathens." (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 132)
v. Always consider the source when reading about Baptist church history. For example, consider what Encyclopedia Britannica says about the Paulicians:
a. "Paulicians, a dualist Christian sect, influenced most directly by Marcionism and Manichaeism, which originated in Armenia in the 7th century." (Paulicians, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968 Ed., Vol. 17, p.482)
b. "The fundamental doctrine of Paulician dualism is that "there are two principles, an evil God and a good God; the former is the creator and ruler of this world, the latter of the world to come."" (Paulicians, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968 Ed., Vol. 17, p.482)
c. Now read a little further and see their Catholic bias:
(i) "They especially honoured St. Luke's Gospel and the Epistles of St. Paul. Their belief that all matter was the creation of the evil God led them to reject the sacramental efficacy of water, bread, wine, and oil, and therefore all the seven sacraments, though they later conformed to the practices of the church to escape detection and persecution. They rejected the divine establishment of the church and in their own worship did not use its liturgy and rites. Their rejection of the sacrament of orders made them anticlerical; their early leaders they called merely "companions in travel" (Act 19:29)." (Paulicians, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968 Ed., Vol. 17, p.482)
(ii) Do you suppose that, just maybe, their rejection of the Catholic sacraments was due to them (the sacraments) being unscriptural, and not rather because they believed that matter was the creation of the evil God?
D. The Paulicians were Baptists/Anabaptists who baptized adults by immersion.
i. "Brockett proves they baptized, by: “Their well-known and universally admitted repudiation of infant baptism. Harmenopoulos, a Greek priest of the twelfth century, expressly declares that they did practice single immersion but without unction, etc., and only upon adults, on the profession of their faith. He adds that they did not attribute to it any saving or perfecting virtues, which is in accordance with their other teaching.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 118)
ii. ""It is evident," says Mosheim, "they rejected the baptism of infants. They were not charged with any error concerning baptism."

""They with the Manicheans were Anabaptists, or rejecters of infant baptism," says Dr. Allix, "and were consequently often reproached with that term."

""They were simply scriptural in the use of the sacraments," says Milner, "they were orthodox in the doctrine of the Trinity, they knew of no other Mediator than the Lord Jesus Christ."" (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 130)
E. The Paulicians were hated and bitterly persecuted by the Catholics.
i. "The emperors, in conjunction with the clergy, exerted their zeal with a peculiar degree of bitterness and fury against this people. Though every kind of oppressive measure and means was used, yet all efforts for their suppression proved fruitless, "nor could all their power and all their barbarity, exhaust the patience nor conquer the obstinacy of that inflexible people, who possessed," says Mosheim, " a fortitude worthy of a better cause" !!!" (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 136)
F. The Paulicians were the same churches as the Montanists, Donatists, and Novatians, just called by a different name.
i. "Thus, though as old as the Christian age, from Montanus, their first great leader, after the first century, called: “Montanists;” from Tertullian, their next great leader: “Tertullianists;” from Novatian, another great leader: “Novatians;” from Donatus, another great leader: “Donatists;” from Waldo, another great leader, and the valleys: “Waldenses;” from Peter de Bruis, another great leader: “Petrobrussians;” from ‘Henry, another great leader, “Henricians: “from Arnold, another great leader, “Arnoldists;” from Meno, another great leader: “Mennonites.” In the seventh century, when the names Montanists, Novatians and Donatists are retiring from historical view appears the name Paulician. This name appears in its application to churches which in doctrine and practice — see previous chapters — were essentially identical with the Montanists, the Novatians and the Donatists, which names are here dropped out of history. It appears in application to churches which occupied the same territory which these occupied. The name Paulician appears when Montanists, Novatians and Donatists, instead of being extinct, must have numbered many hundred thousands of members. This, therefore, forms so strong a presumption that Paulicians were only Montanists, Novatians and Donatists, under another name, that, in the absence of any clear historical evidence to the contrary, we must conclude that Paulician is but a new label for the good old wine. The name is as strong contrary evidence as can be produced. But we have just seen that names originate from so many things which do not effect the identity of these churches that they are of no evidence as to their origin or identity." (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 241-242)
G. The Paulicians were also called Bogomiles, Bulgaria, Patereni (Paterines), Cathari (Catharists) and Albigenses.
i. "Hase says: “The Paulicians under the name of Euchites … had before” 1115 “become numerous among the Bulgarians … among which they were commonly called Bogomiles. … Small communities of Bogomiles were found among the Bulgarians through the whole period of the middle ages, and Paulicians have continued to exist under many changes in and around Philopopolis and in the valleys of the Haemus until the present day.” (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 245)
ii. "The Encyclopedia Britannica says: “The Paulicians continued to exist in Thrace until at least in the beginning of the thirteenth century, as did also the Euchites, afterwards Bogomilles, who had been attracted to that locality by the toleration of Tzimisces. Meanwhile branch societies of the Paulicians established themselves in Italy, France, and appear under different names, such as Bulgaria, Patereni, Cathari and Albigenses.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 252)
iii. "Of the Bogomiles, Gieseler says: “In their peculiar doctrines and customs, they agree so marvelously with the Cathari of the Western world, that the connection of the two parties, for which there is historical testimony, cannot fail to be recognized.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 256)

6. The Albigenses (11th - 13th Century)
A. The Albigenses were the descendents of the Paulicians and acquired their name from the town of Albiga in France where they were concentrated.
i. "The name Albigenses was one of the designations of the Paulicians from “the beginning of the eleventh century to the middle of the thirteenth century.” Coming from Asia, where they were known as Paulicians, they crossed the Balkan Peninsula and reached the Western empire. In the tenth and the eleventh centuries, under the name Paulicians, but especially Albigenses, from the town of Albiga in Southern France, and Cathari — from their pure lives — they filled and moulded both France and Italy, affecting in a less degree, other parts of Europe." (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 123-124)
ii. "The Encyclopedia Britannica says of the Albigenses: “The descent may be traced with tolerable distinctness from the Paulicians.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 124)
iii. ""No point," asserts Mosheim, "is more strongly maintained than this, that the term Albigenses in its more confined sense, was used to denote those heretics who inclined toward the Manichean system, and who were originally and otherwise known by the denominations of Catharists, Publicans, or Paulicians, or Bulgarians. This appears evidently, from many incontestable authorities."" (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 173)
iv. "The word "Albigenses," however, could refer to all the heretics of this region, both Cathars and Waldenses." (Cathari, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968 Ed., Vol. 5, p.71)
B. Much slander has been said about the Albigenses by their Catholic persecutors.
i. "Here I remind the reader of a necessary caution: “It ought always to be borne in mind, however, that for the larger part of our information regarding those stigmatized as heretics, we are indebted, not to their own writings, but to the works of their opponents. Only the titles remain of the bulk of heretical writings, and of the rest we have, for the most part, only such quotations as prejudiced opponents have chosen to make. That these quotations fairly represent the originals would be too much to assume.”" (W.A. Jarrel (quoting from Vedder's Baptist History), Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 124)
ii. "Prof. Carl Schmidt says: “The representations which Roman Catholic writers, their bitter enemies, have given them, are highly exaggerated.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 125)
iii. "The Encyclopedia Britannica says of them: “The statement that they rejected marriage, often made by Roman Catholics, has probably no other foundation in fact than that they denied marriage as a sacrament; and many other statements of their doctrines must be received at least with suspicion, as coming from prejudiced and implacable opponents.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 126)
C. The Albigenses were Baptists who rejected infant baptism and baptismal regeneration.
i. "The Albigenses admitted the catechumi," says Dr. Allix, "after an exact instruction, and prepared them for receiving baptism by long-continued fasts, which the church observed with them. Thus these Christians baptized Pagans and Jews, they re-immersed all Catholics; and they baptized none without a personal profession of faith." (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 167)
ii. "Alanus, speaking of the Albigenses, says: “They rejected infant baptism. … It does not appear that they rejected either of the sacraments.” Collier says: “They refused to own infant baptism.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 126)
iii. "Favin, a historian, is quoted as saying: “The Albigenses do esteem the baptizing of infants superstitious.” Izam, the Troubadour, a Dominican persecutor of these heretics, says: “They admitted another baptism.” Chassanion is quoted as saying: “I cannot deny that the Albigenses, for the greater part, were opposed to infant baptism; the truth is, they did not reject the sacraments as useless, but only as unnecessary to infants.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 126-127)
iv. "As Armitage observes: “They rejected the Romish church and esteemed the New Testament above all its traditions and ceremonies. They did not take oaths, nor believe in baptismal regeneration; but they were ascetic and pure in their lives; they also exalted celibacy.” Their encouraging celibacy, as they believed in marriage, was probably for the reason that Paul encouraged it temporarily, because of persecution being harder to endure in families than when single." (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 127)
D. The Albigenses believed in sovereign grace.
i. "Dissenters were called by various names, as the Poor of Lyons, Lionists, Paterines, Puritans, Arnoldists, Petrobrussians, Albigenses, Waldenses, &c., &c., different names, expressive of one and the same class of Christians. "However various their names, they may be," says Mezeray, "reduced to two, that is, the Albigenses (a term now about introduced), and the Vaudois [Waldenses], and these two held almost the same opinions as those we call Calvinists."" (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 192)
E. The Albigenses had a simple church.
i. "Chr. Schmidt says: “Their ritual and ecclesiastical organization were exceedingly simple.” This was so much the case that the Romish church, not seeing any church in so simple an organization, thought they had no churches, and Prof. Schmidt has, thereby, been mislead into the same conclusion." (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 128)
ii. We are following in their footsteps.

7. The Paterines or Catharists (11th - 15th Centuries)
A. The Paterines are also referred to as Catharists, meaning pure ones.
i. "In church history the Paterines are called Cathari, from Catharoi, meaning pure ones." (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 129)
B. The Paterines were Paulicians who lived in large numbers in Italy and France in the 11th-13th centuries, and even lasted into the 15th century to a limited extent.
i. "The Paterines are on record at least from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries. They numbered hundreds of thousands. They flourished especially in Italy, France and more especially in the South of France, The better part of them were Paulicians." (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 130)
ii. ""...About the year 1040 the Paterines had become very numerous and conspicuous in Milan, which was their principal residence, and here they flourished at least two hundred years. They had no connection with the church for they rejected not only Jerome of Syra, Augustine of Africa, and Gregory of Rome, but Ambrose of Milan, and they considered them as all other pretended fathers and corrupters of Christianity. They particularly condemned Pope Sylvester as the anti-Christ, the son of perdition....”" (W.A. Jarrel (quoting from Robinson's Eccl. Resh., pp. 408-411), Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 138)
iii. "The hierarchy faded out in the 1270s; the dying embers of the Cathar heresy lingered through the 14th century to be finally extinguished early in the 15th." (Cathari, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968 Ed., Vol. 5, p.72)
C. The Catharists were also found in Spain and Germany in the 13th century, and in England in the 12th and 13th centuries.
i. "Their principle seat in Western Europe the Cathari had in Southern France, where they were known as Albigenses. Thence they penetrated into the northern provinces of Spain where they numbered many adherents in the thirteenth century. To Germany they came partly from the East, from the Slav countries, partly from Flanders and Campagne. … The sect lived in the regions along the Rhine, especially in Cologne and Bonn." (W.A. Jarrel (quoting Schmidt), Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 246-247)
ii. "In England the Cathari found very little sympathy. They came over in 1159 from Holland, and in 1210 some are said to have been discovered in London. This system was based upon the New Testament of which they possessed a translation, probably derived from the Orient and deviating considerably from the Vulgate.”" (W.A. Jarrel (quoting Schmidt), Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 247)
D. As with all the Baptist churches down through the ages, they were charged with various heresies by the Catholic Church, some of them being opposing marriage, opposition to ecclesiastical and civil law, and Manichaeism.
i. The following are some examples of Catholic slander of the Catharists:
a. "They believed in the ultimate redemption of spirits -- though not always in universal redemption -- but thought the process was slow since they believed in the transmigration of souls from man to man or from man to beast (for animals too had souls). There were strict rules for fasting, including the total prohibition of meat; to eat an animal's flesh was tantamount to cannibalism. Sexual intercourse was forbidden: they had a horror of procreation because it involved the imprisonment of more spirit in the world of flesh. Thus they believed passionately in celibacy and in every form of ascetic renunciation of the world; and they looked favourably on suicide, an attitude which made the more fervent of them impervious to persecution." (Cathari, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968 Ed., Vol. 5, p.72)
b. "The enemies of the Cathars usually admitted the lofty standards of the perfect, but they accused the believers of all manner of vice. Sexual intercourse was officially forbidden but could not be entirely suppressed. Marriage, however, was regarded as organized vice, and particularly noxious; it seems that casual vice and sodomy were preferred. But the charges of the Catholics were doubtless exaggerated, and in course of time the Cathars came to conform themselves in a variety of ways to normal western standards. (Cathari, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968 Ed., Vol. 5, p.72)
c. "The orthodox doctrine of incarnation -- of God, as it were, imprisoned in human flesh -- was impossible to the Cathars. Jesus was an angel merely, who came to indicate the way of salvation not himself to provide it; his human sufferings and death were an illusion." (Cathari, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968 Ed., Vol. 5, p.72)
d. These lies are so outrageous that they are laughable.
ii. "Thus, the Paterines are charged with opposing marriage. But, this being a charge so generally made by the Romish church of those times against those who denied marriage a “sacrament,” and now, Romish theologians, presuming Protestant marriage invalid, as the charge originated with Romanists, it is not probably true. In an age when it was popular to do so, Roman Catholics with great effectiveness blackened all who did not regard marriage a sacrament as rejecting marriage." (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 130-131)
iii. "As to the charge against them of opposition to ecclesiastical and civil law, Hase says: “The name Catharists, by which this sect was usually designated…The accounts we have respecting them are almost exclusively from their enemies, or from apostates from them, and are consequently full of errors and calumnies. All agree in describing them as absolutely opposed to the Catholic church and all its pomp, in consequence of what they professed to be, an immediate communication of the Holy Ghost, exalting them above all necessity of ecclesiastical or civil laws.” As we know they believed in New Testament laws, exalting themselves above all necessity of ecclesiastical or civil laws is, evidently, a Romish intentional perversion, or a misunderstanding of their opposition to Romish ecclesiastical law, which, in the union of church and State, was a part of civil law. As to the common Romish charge of Manichaeism or Dualism, Hase considerately says: “Their dualistic tendency, however, may have gone no farther than the popular notion of a devil and his subordinate spirits..." (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 131-132)
iv. "Dr. J.M. Cramp, says: “But if one accusation is manifestly outrageous and unfounded, may not the other be? Are we not entitled to the inference that there was, at least, gross exaggeration if not malicious libel. And finally is it credible that those who avowed and manifested unlimited deference to the word of God were led astray by the fantasies of the Manichaean theory.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 132)
E. The Paterines were Baptist in church government, were known for their simple organization, rejected the sacraments and transubstantiation, rejected infant baptism, and believed in the doctrine of election.
i. ""The public religion of the Paterines consisted of nothing but social prayer, reading and expounding the gospels, baptism once, and the Lord's supper as often as convenient. Italy was full of such Christians, which bore various names, from various causes." (G.H. Orchard, A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, page 142)
ii. "In church government they were clearly Baptists, as appears from Hase: “In the midst of a people thus professing to be filled with the spirit, and whose pope was the Holy Ghost himself, none of the existing officers of the church could exercise any of their hierarchal prerogatives.” Schmidt says: “Their ritual and ecclesiastical organization were exceedingly simple.”" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 135)
iii. "Thus, as Baptists to-day do, this people rejected the whole heresy of there being sacraments (sacraments mean saving ceremonies), priesthood, church and State persecution, legislating for the church of Christ and of an unconverted membership. Robinson continues: “As the Catholics of those times baptized by immersion, the Paterines by what name soever they were called … made no complaint of the mode of baptizing; but when they were examined they objected vehemently against the baptism of infants and condemned it as an error. They said, among other things, that a child knew nothing of the matter, that it had no desire to be baptized, and was incapable of making any confession of faith, and that the willing and confessing of another could be of no service to him. ‘Here then,’ says Dr. Allix, very truly, ‘we have found a body of men in Italy, before the year 1026, 500 years before the Reformation, ‘who believed contrary to the opinions of the church of Rome, and who condemned their errors.’ Atio, bishop of Vercelli, had complained of such people eighty years before, and so had others before him, and there is the highest reason to believe they had always been in Italy.…" (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 135-136)
iv. "The breaking of bread was a kind of communion; they did not believe in transubstantiation." (Cathari, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968 Ed., Vol. 5, p.72)
v. "They were Baptists on the doctrine of election and “appealed to the texts in the ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, employed by others also in proof of the doctrine of unconditional predestination.”" (W.A. Jarrel (quoting Neanders' History of the Church, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 139)
vi. "Leaving out little variations, consequent on individual peculiarities, and the times in which they, this people, were Baptists, Robinson says: “It appears highly credible that this kind of people, Paterines, continued there till the Reformation.” No historian being able to show that they ceased to exist, this completes the Baptist Perpetuity line, through the Anabaptists, to the present." (W.A. Jarrel, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 139)

For a master copy of the outline, click here: Baptist Church History