Roger Williams, New England Firebrand

By James Ernst | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE SEEKER RELIGION

WHEN Roger Williams became a Seeker in August, 1635, he renounced fellowship with all New England churches and declared that all so-called Christian churches were, since Apostolic times, false and anti-Christian. He "fell off from his ministry . . . and from all ordinances of Christ dispensed in a church way," says John Cotton, "till God should stir up himself or some other new Apostles." Referring to this renunciation, Williams said, "it was my own voluntary withdrawing from all the churches. . . . The act of the Lord Jesus sounding forth in me the Blast which shall in his own season, cast down the strength and confidence of those Inventions of men."

Upon coming to London in 1643, he founded the English Seeker movement. Richard Baxter calls him "the Father of the Seekers in London." Robert Baillie, a Presbyterian, wrote to a friend in July, 1644, of "my good acquaintance, Mr. Williams, who" has drawn "a great number after him into a singular Independency, denying any true church in the world and will have every man serve God by himself alone," and says that "there is no church, no sacraments, no pastors, no church officers or ordinances in the world nor has been since a few years after the Apostles." Like Baillie, the other opponents of Seekerism have emphasized only the negative side of the Seeker

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