Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Elusive Vaudois

I see that Candy has given more information on the Vaudois:

The Vaudois lived in the Piedmont Valleys in the Alps of the northwest corner of Italy. Some of them got saved in around 120AD, and then went to Antioch, Syria, to make a copy of the Bible into Latin. By 157AD they had a full translation of the whole Bible, and were copying and spreading it all over the known world.

The Vaudois continued being missionaries, getting the Bible out to the common man, up through the dark ages. It was during this time that they hid the Bibles in the lining of their cloaks.

During this time, born again Christians were either killed by the RC church, or in hiding. Meahwhile, the Vaudois continued to secretly get Bibles out there, and spread the Gospel. They started in 120AD when some of the got saved, and continued on for YEARS, up to and through the Dark Ages.

She seems to have conceded the jacket/cloak issue.

First, Vaudois is the French form of Waldenses, the followers of Peter Waldo (Vaudo). If they existed in the apostolic age, I would guess that they had a different name, because Peter Waldo dates to the 1100s.

There is no historic evidence that this group of people existed prior to the 1100's, and most of the evidence which is still in existence dates to the 1400's. I think we are back to the Baptist Trail of Tears version of history, here. There was a secret faithful church, but all evidence of it was destroyed by Those Killer Catholics. Candy can not prove that they existed, nor can I disprove her belief. There is simply nothing there. Perhaps she is now considering oral tradition acceptable?

However, Candy did turn out to be correct about the small Bibles. I was able to track down Waldenses Bibles which are in the Cambridge University Library. I didn't find a picture, but this book gives accounts of small, partial Bibles which were around 3 by 4 inches.

However, it also says some of the books included were 2 Maccabees and Tobit, both of which Candy considers "false." Which brings me back to what I have written previously, which is that the Waldenses are really not a group of people which had a lot in common with born again Christians. They do share some similarities, but they have significant differences.

Phil Porvaznik has an article discussing the Waldenses and the idea that they were born again Christians. He say that this is found in A Woman Rides the Beast, as well, which is probably why Candy feels it is in keeping with her other "research."

The book by the Baptist historian McGoldrick that demolishes the above statements is titled Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History (The American Theological Library Association and The Scarecrow Press, 1994). McGoldrick examines many groups claimed as "early Baptists" (or early Evangelicals who are "baptistic") such as the Montanists, Novatians, Paulicians, Bogomils, Albigenses, Waldenses and other groups and individuals. None of these groups were in fact "early Evangelicals" but were either explicitly Catholic in doctrine or grossly heretical (such as the later Albigenses who denied the Incarnation). Baptists originate in the early 17th century in Holland and England.

"Although no reputable Church historians have ever affirmed the belief that Baptists can trace their lineage through medieval and ancient sects ultimately to the New Testament, that point of view enjoys a large following nevertheless. It appears that scholars aware of this claim have deemed it unworthy of their attention, which may account for the persistence and popularity of Baptist successionism as a doctrine as well as an interpretation of church history. Aside from occasional articles and booklets that reject this teaching, no one has published a refutation in a systematic, documented format. The present work is an effort to supply this need so that Baptists may have a thorough analysis of successionism, together with a reliable account of their origins as a Protestant religious body." (McGoldrick, preface page iv)

"It is the purpose of this book to show that, although free church groups in ancient and medieval times sometimes promoted doctrines and practices agreeable to modern Baptists, when judged by standards now acknowledged as baptistic, not one of them merits recognition as a Baptist church. Baptists arose in the seventeenth century in Holland and England. They are Protestants, heirs of the Reformers." (ibid, page 2, emphasis mine)

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Swylv said...

last week I went to a sovereign grace baptist conference and they were talking like they are the original Believers because they can trace their group back to Acts chapter 2 ... I find that funny since there were no non-Jews saved until 10-20 years after the Acts 2 event as is found in Acts 10 at the home of Cornelius. or so I've been taught by a man with a Bachelor of Religious Education in Middle Eastern History

Kelly said...

Hi swylv, glad to see you're still with us. Is that your new blog link in your profile, because I couldn't access the old one anymore.

Candy has written something similar to what you heard. She says that there were people saved in Acts 2 that day who took the gospel back to their lands, and copied out the Bible.

I have a Bachelor's of Religious Studies, myself. I'm not familiar with the degree you mentioned. Do you think he has a concentration in Middle Eastern History?

Nancy Parode said...

I am confused by Candy's chronology. How, if the early Christians were persecuted by the Romans, prior to the defeat of Maxentius by Constantine, could they have persecuted "born-again" Christians? They were way, way too busy hiding and meeting in secret in order to protect themselves. They had no political power with which to persecute anyone else.

There is plenty of historical evidence to support these facts, in addition to the Biblical documentation of the events that shaped the early church, founded by Jesus and headed by Peter. If Candy has independently documented, historical evidence to share about the supposed birth of the Catholic Church "about 300 years later" (than what event?), I would love to see it.

Clare said...

I have to hand it to Candy. Since I've discovered her site, and then this one, I have learned so much. It is amazing how often something discussed on this site crops up IRL ( I still go to my evangelical/non denom bible study). It's very satisfying to have a handle on what is being discussed and to be able to give a coherent response.
Honestly, the teaching of the catholic church just wins hands down every time. I had NO idea. It's exciting to read what the church teaches, I always come away feeling 'wow' but also a little pang of sadness and regret. Both for my previous ignorance and for the seemingly insuperable mass of misinformation out there.
I have just put my own two penn'orth in to Candys comments.
It's pretty lame and non controversial, so there's a chance she'll publish it, but if you don't mind I'm copying it here too.

Hi candy, I LOVE learning about church history so this was interesting to me.
I was intrigued about your comments about the Vaudois but I can't find ANY reliable source information for that ( beyond second hand info and that is mainly on sites with a particular doctrinal leaning)
I think it's really important to think for ourselves and not just take 'someone word for it'
I'm sure you agree.
I'd really appreciate a credible source for the Vaudois information as, if it is true, it is fascinating indeed.
Many thanks, Clare

Kelly said...

I think it is very odd that she says there were no Catholics at that time, despite clear historic evidence, while there were Vaudois, when there is no evidence for them.

I can understand the appeal of the "secret Christian" theory, but I don't see how you can deny the early Catholics.

Actually, I think I've written before about groups of secret or hidden Christians that really did exist, and there is evidence that they existed. I'll try to dig that up later. But again, I have real life scheduled for today, so it will have to wait. ;)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, Kelly. I was trying to look up the Vaudois and, as Clare said, I found nothing that wasn't directly attached to very specific religious denominations with very obvious agendas.

After a short time I gave up because I just didn't have it in me. And, admittedly, I harbored inner hope that it would be covered here.

**that deletion was mine, again. I don't know how or why I did it. Jumpy mouse finger or something with the cursor right on the trashcan is all I can think of. And once it started I just went through with it rather than trying to think my way out of it. It feels like Monday##

Sal said...

Nancy nails it.
Alternative historians cannot have it all ways.

If the Catholic Church wasn't founded until Constantine, then it can't be persecuting 'born again Christians' in the second century.

If, by the historical record, the canon of Scripture wasn't formally listed until the late 300's, they couldn't have 'complete copies' of Scripture to smuggle in the second century.

If missionaries didn't make it into Gaul, etc. until the 300's, then who evangelized the Vaudois in 157?

How did people get saved at Pentecost and then copy out Scripture that hadn't yet been written to take back to their own countries? I refer to the Gospels and Epistles. Or is Candy conceding oral tradition here?

I could go on, but you get the gist.

"It might have happened" and conspiracy theories don't have much credence in the real world of scholarship.