|Click on this Protestant photograph to enlarge|
Calvinistic Baptist preacher and historian, Isaac Backus certainly didn't go down the old (or is it new?) "We're-not-Protestants-we're-Baptists" line. The fact is that Backus and other Baptists did not hesitate to take both titles. My last blog post shows how he carried a letter from John Gano (Moderator) and the Warren Baptist Association of New England freely describing themselves as "a distinct Protestant denomination."
This was not a unique occasion. In his "History of the Baptists of New England" as reproduced above, Backus shows how the Baptists in Boston quite happily referred to themselves as "other Protestants" Personally, I don't get hung up about labels at all. (I usually say this in relation to the Calvinist label.) I know some (mostly converted RC's) who hesitate to take the name Protestant for reasons that are more political than religious. However, they worship and pray with the Protestants, read their Protestant translation of God's word, sing Protestant hymns sitting on Protestant pews in Protestant churches, listen to Protestant preachers and thank God for the Protestant Reformation and Protestants like Luther, Calvin and Knox etc. At this stage, nobody cares (in the right sense of the word) what misgivings about a mere title they may have. They're in.
Many other Baptist/Baptist Historians made use of the Protestant title in relation to themselves and their Baptist denomination. I am in the process, in my spare time, of digging a few of them out and sharing them here on this blog and on Twitter. Once BH Carroll saw Baptists as "only technically Protestants" - but hey! Cut the man some slack. In a more positive frame of mind, he quoted Froude, without terms and conditions, that the Baptists were the "most thorough going of all the Protestant sects." FB Meyer certainly didn't get queasy on the matter and neither did CH Spurgeon who bluntly declared that he hoped that he was the "most ardent Protestant as any man living".
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