A 1575 Confession of Faith by Two Baptist Martyrs

      This account is found in the addendum of The Broadmead Records 1640 – 1687.

      The following Confession was written while Terwoort and Peters were in the Marshalsea, "for the witness of Jesus Christ," to remove the many slanderous accusations which were circulated concerning their faith. It is probable that this confession was delivered either in whole or in part at their first examination. They revised and signed it on the eve of their martyrdom. It is given in its entirety, as it throws much light on the general orthodoxy of the Baptists at that period.

      This is the Confession of our belief in God, our heavenly Father.

1. We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, as it is written. Gen. 1:1, in whom Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and all the prophets believed. Heb. 11.

2. We believe in Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father, who was in the beginning with God. John 1:1. And when the time was fulfilled, Micah 5: 2, 1 John 1: 1, 2, which God had promised, Gal. 5:4. 4, the Word was made flesh. Gen. 3: 15, Isa. 7: 14, John 1: 14, and born of the seed of David, Rom. 1: 3, of the undefiled Virgin Mary, being betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the seed of David, Matt. 1: 18, Luke 1 and 2 blessed among women, Luke 1: 28. We believe that this true Son of God, with many signs and wonders which he did, announced to us the word of his Father, John 15: 24. And after this, was betrayed into the hands of the Jews crucified under Pontius Pilate, died, and was buried. Matt. 27: 1, Mark 15: 1, Luke 23: 1, John 28.

3. We believe that this same Jesus Christ is truly God and man and for our sins voluntarily laid down his life, Isa. 53: 7. When we were his enemies, he suffered a bitter death for us, Rom. 5: 8 that they who believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life John 3: 6.

4. We believe also that this our Savior has risen from the dead Matt. 28: 6, Mark 16: 6, Luke 24: 6, John 20: 9, as he had foretold. Matt. 17: 9, Mark 9: 9, Luke 9: 22, and sits at the right hand of his Father, Mark 16: Acts 7: 55.

5. We believe in the Holy Ghost, John 15: 26, as it is written, I John 5: 7, saying. There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.

6. We believe also in the communion of saints, I John 1: 3, whose prayers avail much for us, James 5: 16. We believe also in the holy church, of which are they who believe in Jesus Christ, baptized by one spirit into one body, as Paul says, I Cor. 12: 13. And Jesus Christ is the head thereof, that is, of the holy church, as it is written Eph. 5: 23, and Col. 1: 18. We believe that this holy church has power to open and to shut, to loose and to bind; and whatsoever they loose on earth is loosed in heaven. Matt. 16: 19, and whatsoever they bind on earth is bound in heaven. We believe also that God has ordained in his holy church, apostles, prophets, and teachers, I Cor. 12: 28, bishops, and deacons, I Tim. 3: 2, 8.

7. We believe and confess also baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded and ordained, Matt. 28: 19; and was practiced by the apostles. Acts 2: 38, 41; and as they have written thereof Rom. 6: 3, I Cor. 12: 13, Gal. 3: 27, Eph. 4: 5, and I Pet. 3: 21. We believe that they who are baptized, are members of the body of Jesus Christ, and of the holy church.

8. Of the holy supper of Jesus Christ, we believe and confess even as Christ has taught; as it is written. Matt. 26: 26, And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said. Take eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave, thanks, and gave it to them, saying. Drink ye, all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Mark 14: 24 ; this do in remembrance of me, Luke 22: 19 We believe as Paul testifies, saying. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? I Cor. 10: 16. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day, John 6: 54.

9. We confess and believe that marriage is an ordinance of God, as we read. Gen. 2: 24. One man and one woman joining together in the name of the Lord in the holy church. I Cor. 7: 2. For this cause shall a man, leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one, flesh. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Matt. 19: 5, 6. For marriage is honourable to all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge, Heb. 13: 4.

10. We believe and confess that magistrates are set and ordained of God, Wisd. 6: 4, Sirach 17: 18, Rom. 13: 1, to punish the evil, and to protect the good ; which magistracy we from our hearts desire to obey, as it is written in the first of Peter, 2: 13, Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the, Lord's sake. For he beareth not the sword in vain, Rom. 13: 4. And Paul teaches us that we should offer up for all, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all kings and magistrates ; that me may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires that all men, should be saved, I Tim. 2: 1, 2, 3, 4. He further teaches us to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, and to be ready to every good work. Pet. 3: 1. Therefore we pray your majesty kindly to understand aright our meaning; which is, that we do not despise the eminent, noble, and gracious queen, and her wise councils, but esteem them as worthy of all honor, to whom we desire to be obedient in all things that we may. For we confess with Paul, as above, that she is God's servant, and that if we resist this power, we resist the ordinance of God; for rulers are not a terror to good works but to the evil. Therefore we confess to be due unto her, and are ready to give, tribute, custom, honor, and fear, as Christ himself has taught us, saying. Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and God the things that are God's. Since, therefore, she is a servant God, we will kindly pray her majesty, that it would please her to show pity to us poor prisoners, even as our Father in heaven is pitiful Luke 6: 36. We likewise do not approve of those who resist the magistrates; but confess and declare with our whole heart that we must be obedient and subject unto them, as we have here set down

11. Further, if any should ask us, why we will not swear an oath? We answer, that we have not liberty in our consciences to do this, since it is written in Matt. 5: 33, that Christ said, Ye have heard that it hath been, said of them of old time. Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord thine oaths; but I say unto, you. Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shall thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be. Yea, yea; Nay, nay! for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Thus also the apostle James teaches in the fifth chapter, saying. Above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea he yea ; and your nay, nay. For these reasons we will not, we dare not, swear.

12. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, as it is written, Isaiah 26: 19, John 11: 25, Dan. 12: 2, John 15: 25, in the first epistle to the Corinthians, 15: 22, I Thess. 4: 16. That we shall rise from the dead in our own bodies. Job 19: 25, Isaiah 26: 19, I Cor. 15. When the Lord shall come in the clouds with his angels, then shall each one be judged according to his works ; Matt. 25: 34, Rom. 2: 6.

13. We believe all that is contained both in the Old and in the New Testaments.

And now we poor prisoners humbly pray, that wherein we may have misbehaved towards her majesty or her subjects, it may be forgiven, that mercy may be shown to us even as our Father in heaven is merciful; for we are a poor and lowly people, of little knowledge and understanding, and it is our sorrow that we are not able to write more courteously. Therefore we pray your highness, that your majesty will receive graciously this our simple confession. We commend your royal majesty to the Lord; Acts 20: 32. The Lord be with you and us. Amen.

In our prison in London, the 21st of July, in the year of our Lord, 1575.


The pity, forgiveness and mercy for which they pleaded were not given. These men were executed.


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