It is hard for us to conceive the churches and the doctrine that was taught before the 16th century. All England, Scotland, Switzerland, France, and Christianity as a whole had one common baptism that was always a part of every religion. Sprinkling for baptism came about in the second or third century A.D., and was only used in emergencies. As was the case in all of Europe, so the case in the early existence of the Baptist Church that started around 1603-1610 in Holland and Amsterdam where she began. Religious freedom is not something that is considered so sacred today as it was then. When a man lived in a country he was commanded to practice the religion of that country or suffer persecution and death. When King Henry VIII decided to marry Anne of Boleyn, divorce his first wife which the Roman Catholic Church stopped. King Henry started his own church, killed all the Roman Catholic leadership in England and became the head of the Episcopalian church and killed Anne three years, later. The major difference between the Episcopalian church and the Roman Catholic Church was strictly authority. Denying the authority of the Pope in stopping him from divorce, King Henry made himself the head of his own church who could make his own rules! Roman Catholicism had begun to teach sprinkling for baptism as an alternate in the second and third century and made it a part of their religion. Because it’s acceptance became so common among the religious people of the 13th through the 16th century, sprinkling as a mode of baptism was never considered a problem, never thought of it as a deviation from the original “faith once delivered to the saints,” and therefore never came up as an issue! People today, who accept December the 25th as the birthday of Christ or Easter as a celebration of Christianity do the same thing. They accept these lies without question and when questioned, their anger arises! Ask anybody from the Roman Catholic Church about these two religious holy days and they will say you are a heathen if you don’t accept the Pope’s official birthday for the Christ!!
Religious freedom is what caused people to leave England. You had to follow the King of England or die. They actually went there so they could worship God the understanding they had in their hearts. Baptism by immersion was never one of those things. There was no denomination that broke off from the Roman Catholic Church in the 14th to the 17th century that ever gave immersion a thought. Nor was this the reason for the first 80 years of their existence, the Baptist Church practiced sprinkling for baptism. They left England running from the King. Religious freedom was more dear to them than life itself!! Reading the Scriptures was also new to them. They were just getting the Scriptures translated in their own language. The mode of baptism wasn’t even a consideration!! They felt baptism was an “outward sign of an inward grace.” Whether baptism was immersion, sprinkling, or pouring did not matter. To most of them it was not matter of faith, it was not a test of fellowship, nor was it ever something that was considered as relevant to one’s salvation. Baptist separated over who was to be baptized not by what mode!! Those who believed their infant baptism was acceptable to God were called Pedo-baptist while those who believed they had to be re-baptize as adults were called Ana-baptist. It was not until 1680 that the Baptist Church took a stand on Immersion as being the only mode of baptism. This had begun to be discussed around 1640 or 50. Immersion as an action of baptism became the accepted mode without a split!! They were considered a radical movement of Protestant Reformation and like the Mennonites and Quakers, they taught that the converts had to be submitted to a second baptism, which was a crime punishable by death under the legal codes of the time. They repudiated their own baptism as infants as a blasphemous formality. Following the Swiss reformer Huldrych Zwingli, they held infants were not punishable for sin. They followed the Schleitheim Confession of 1527 practiced by a former priest Menno Simons who started the Mennonite church.