View Single Post
Old 02-03-2009, 11:55 AM
George's Avatar
George George is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Posts: 891
Default Re: "A contradiction concerning Erasmus being an anabaptist"

Aloha DevonR,

I have reviewed your Post (comments) about David Sorenson’s statements made in Chapter 10 of his Book: “Touch Not The Unclean Thing: The Text Issue and Separation”, and while I agree with much of what you have said (and especially appreciate the quotes from King James) I believe that, early on (in your review of Sorenson’s statements), you reached the wrong conclusion.

Your Thread Title: “A contradiction concerning Erasmus being an anabaptist” is misleading, simply because a review of the article demonstrates that no where’s in the article does brother Sorenson ever say (or claim) that Erasmus was a Anabaptist!

The article that you referred to is found on another of brother Brandon Stagg’s web pages (The King James Bible Page), and is taken from Chapter 10 of David Sorenson’s book <> “Touch Not The Unclean Thing: The Text Issue and Separation”. {bold & underlines = G.A.}

Erasmus, King James, and His Translators (Part 1 of 3)
By David H. Sorenson

This is from chapter 10 of the book Touch Not The Unclean Thing: The Text Issue and Separation, ISBN 0-9711384-0-0, Copyright 2001 David H. Sorenson, used with permission. Available from Northstar Baptist Ministries, 1820 West Morgan Street, Deluth, MN55811-1878 and from

[Part 1: Erasmus]

Because the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, it is evident as Erasmus began to search the Scriptures, they had a profound effect upon his life. By the time of his death, the theology of Erasmus had shifted closer to that of the Ana-baptists than that of Rome. This will shortly be documented.”

Reading some of the quotations of Erasmus in his later years is insightful. They reveal a man who had shifted from conventional Roman Catholic theology to one much closer to a biblical position.

However, what is most amazing is that in Erasmus's later years, he came very close to becoming an Anabaptist. Though he never joined with them, his theology became somewhat parallel with theirs.”

One church historian, Walter Koehler, has gone so far as to assert that Erasmus "was the spiritual father of the Anabaptists" (22). Another historian, Leonhard von Muralt, credits Erasmus with having "prepared the way for Anabaptism and provided material for the construction of their teachings" (22). Friends of Erasmus thus warned him that he was moving dangerously close to an Anabaptist position (36).
Brother Sorenson then goes on to document some of Erasmus’s statements that clearly indicate that he certainly wasn’t what you would call a “Typical Catholic” of his time, or, for that matter, our time either.

Perhaps more than anything else, Erasmus began to advocate baptism by immersion after conversion. Though this was called an Anabaptist heresy by the Catholics and Protestants, it was simply Bible teaching. The third edition of his Greek New Testament of 1522 differed from the second only in its introductory notes. There, Erasmus advocated that Christian youth be taught biblical instruction first - before they were baptized. He even advocated re-baptism for those already sprinkled as infants (45). Moreover, he came to believe that baptism was to be by immersion. In his annotations (i.e., commentary or notes) on Matthew 28, Erasmus wrote, "After you have taught them these things, and they believe what you have taught them, have repented their previous lives, and are ready to embrace the doctrine of the gospel (in their life), then immerse them in water, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" (51, emphasis mine).

That teaching concerning baptism is perilously close to, if not synonymous with, Fundamental Baptist theology. It certainly was Ana-baptist doctrine. Balthasar Hubmaier was an early Anabaptist leader. He essentially quoted Erasmus's statement above to establish his own point regarding baptism by immersion in his book of 1526 entitled Old and New Believers on Baptism. After having quoted the above-mentioned statement by Erasmus, Hubmaier noted,"Here Erasmus publicly points out that baptism was instituted by Christ for those instructed in the faith and not for young children" (53). “In his annotations (i.e., commentary or notes) on Matt. 28:18-20, Erasmus also went on to write,"The Apostles are commanded that they teach first and baptize later."
Brother Sorenson summarizes Desiderius Erasmus’s life in the following:

Erasmus in Summary
Erasmus is a fascinating character in the lineage of the Received Text of the New Testament. His Greek New Testament, without doubt, was the catalyst which sparked the Reformation. He was a Catholic at the beginning of the Reformation. However, as he continued to search the Scriptures, he increasingly became less and less Catholic in his position. By the time he died in 1536, he had virtually become an Anabaptist in his theology. To his demerit, he never officially left the Catholic Church. However, when he died, it was not in the arms of Rome. Rather, in 1534, he returned to Basel, Switzerland, and two years later died in the midst of his Protestant friends, "without relations of any sort, so far as known with the Roman Catholic Church." [9]

To try and deflect attention from the apostasy of the critical text by pointing out that Erasmus was a Catholic reveals a lack of knowledge of who he was, what he did, and what he believed. Like virtually all of the Reformers, Erasmus originally was a Catholic. However, unlike the rest of the Reformers, he never formally left the Catholic Church. His crusade was with his pen. Accordingly, his own writings show that he changed to a position that even the persecuted Anabaptists used to support their theology. The Catholic establishment became a fierce opponent to him by the time of his death. Though not a separatist, by the time he had published the third edition of his Greek New Testament, the charge of Roman Catholic apostasy can no longer be applied to Erasmus.”
I have reproduced what David Sorenson actually said to demonstrate that nowhere in the 10th. Chapter of his book did he ever claim that Erasmus was an Anabaptist. To conclude otherwise is an error of discernment on your part. My criticism of your Thread is not meant as a reproof or rebuke; it’s more in the nature of a warning, or at most an admonition. It’s just that when someone makes a statement about what someone else has said or claims - we have to be circumspect and absolutely certain about that which we speak, otherwise people will question our ability to discern and understand issues.

As MC1171611 has said: "I didn't see anything that said Erasmus was an Anabaptist", and neither have I. In all of what David Sorenson presented in the 10th. Chapter of his book I can see no "contradiction" in his statements concerning Erasmus.

Last edited by George; 02-03-2009 at 12:06 PM.