Mystery Of Iniquity

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Following the hapless Hampton Court Conference, little groups of English Christians ("Separatists") began to break away from the established church. As early as 1606, one group, led by John Smyth, migrated to Holland. Prominent among them was Thomas Helwys. In 1611/1612, Helwys and others returned home where they founded at Spitalfield the first General Baptist congregation in England. Helwys had with him a manuscript entitled "A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity" in which he proposed the notion of ...
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Overview

Following the hapless Hampton Court Conference, little groups of English Christians ("Separatists") began to break away from the established church. As early as 1606, one group, led by John Smyth, migrated to Holland. Prominent among them was Thomas Helwys. In 1611/1612, Helwys and others returned home where they founded at Spitalfield the first General Baptist congregation in England. Helwys had with him a manuscript entitled "A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity" in which he proposed the notion of liberty of conscience, freedom of religion. This may have been the first such declaration in English. Helwys published the manuscript in 1612. That publication probably cost him his freedom, perhaps even his life. By the beginning of the twentieth century, only four known copies of the book survived. Now, thanks to the careful work of Richard Groves, Helwys's "The Mystery of Iniquity" is available in a reader-friendly edition. Groves's introduction sets the document in context, not only as an important and influential historical event but as shedding yet more light on whence we have come. Students, historians, Christians, Protestants, Baptists - all for whom freedom of conscience is important will welcome this reissue in modern dress of a religious liberty classic.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Helwys accompanied John Smyth and other Puritans from England to Holland about 1606 to found the English Independent Church in Amsterdam, the first to be called Baptist. When he returned in 1611 to found the first General Baptist congregation in England, he brought back the manuscript of and published it the next year. It may be the first expression of the notion of liberty of conscience, freedom of religion. By the beginning of the 20th century, only four known copies survived. The spelling, punctuation, and other features of the text have been modernized. No bibliography Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865545748
  • Publisher: Mercer University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Series: Classics of Religious Liberty Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 196
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    The Return of a Classic

    In Richard Groves' edition of Thomas Helwys' classic and pivotal work, "A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity" any researcher or student of both history and theology will find a source well worth their time. Groves does a marvelous job of translating Helwys' work from a seventeenth century text to one easily read and understood by the modern reader without loosing any of the original content. In doing this Groves made available to the world the original work on separation of church and state and freedom of religion.
    Groves' work is of further value to the student and researchers due to the extensive history Groves includes in the beginning of the book. Goves gives a brief history of the Baptist church up to the end of Helwys' life and includes one of the most detailed and well researched histories of Thomas Helwys' life yet to be printed.
    This book is valuable to anyone who enjoys history or is interested in the formation and beliefs of the Baptist church. Beyond this this book will serve as a valuable resource for any student or researcher interested in the beginning of the Baptist church or in the origination of the idea of freedom of religion.

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