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"Baptist Succession"

THE WELSH RECORD Before we follow the historians’ record across the continent of Europe, let us first examine the Welsh Baptist heritage. After all, it is the apostle Paul himself who makes reference to these people 2 Timothy 4:21. Thus from the ministry of Paul in Rome begins one of the most direct historical lineages of Baptists. There are varying accounts of how Claudia and Pudens came to be in Rome, but there seems to be little doubt that they took the gospel back to Wales. As Paul’s converts there is no question as to what kind of church teaching they took with them. It was Paul who wrote the doctrinal epistles that established the churches in the distinctive New Testament truths. It must be remembered that at that time the Welsh people were only a tribe of Great Britain. In discussing Briton’s repelling of the Roman invasion, Isabel Elder makes this clear. She states: “The Welsh or Cymry, as the eldest tribe, held three priorities. Priority as the first colonizers of Britain; priority of government and priority in matters of learning and culture.”  She also points out that the Romans only gained a foothold in Britain after ten years of constant warfare, but never succeeded in conquering the land. Caesar was never able to say of this land, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”


 In consequence of this the gospel reached Britain and Wales very early. According to J. Davis, Rome, having failed in this conquest. played the game of, if you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em. He says that Rome, “having failed, in consequence of other and more important wars, to conquer the Welsh nation, made peace with them, and dwelt among them many years. During that period many of the Welsh soldiers joined the Roman army, and many families from Wales visited Rome; among whom there was a certain woman of the name of Claudia, who was married to Pudence. At the same time, Paul was sent a prisoner to Rome, and preached there in his own hired house, for the space of two years, about the year of our Lord 63. Acts 28:30.) “Pudence and Claudia his wife, who belonged to Cesar’s household. under the blessing of God on Paul’s preaching, were brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. and made a profession of Christian religion.”  To support this statement he sites 2 Timothy 4:21, Fox’s Acts and Monuments, Dr. Gill, Matthew Henry and others. He then adds, “The fact, we believe, is this: The Welsh lady, Claudia, and others, who were converted under Paul’s ministry in Rome, carried the precious seed with them, and scattered it on the hills and valleys of Wales.”

He adds that it is certain that in 180 A.D. two ministers, Faganus and Damicanus, both Welshmen who were saved in Rome, were sent back to Wales to assist the brethren there, and that in the same year Lucius the Welsh King accepted the Christian religion.  This information is substantiated by other histories, such as “What the World Believes,”  A Concise History of Baptists, and others. The same mountainous terrain that held back the Roman invaders also secured these Baptist churches from destruction by the efforts of the Roman church during the dark ages, and “It is conceded that during the dark ages the Welsh churches remained pure and never bowed the knee in submission to the roman church.”  They, however, certainly had their share of persecution, the most severe apparently beginning with the reign of Diocletian around 300 A.D. There is some evidence that the apostle Paul himself may have visited Wales, or Britain. He certainly had good occasion to do so since his converts were flowing from Rome back to these isles. R.W. Morgan has written a book under the caption, St. Paul in Britain,  and there are other writings that suggest as much. Whether Paul himself visited Wales, his message certainly clearly reached these people in its purity, and they did not compromise it.


I K Cross, Battle for Baptist History .Page 31-33




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