Dr. Bacchiocchi’s criticism on Ellen White’s book: “The Great Controversy” provided with notes and some additional information on the contrary by pastor J. Voerman.

From: Samuele Bacchiocchi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Date: Thu Aug 01, 2002 08:03:24 PM US/Eastern 
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D., 
Retired Professor of Theology and Church History, 
Andrews University 

Did the Waldenses Observe the Sabbath? 

A second example of existing inaccuracies in the Great 
Controversy, is the reference to the observance of the Sabbath by the 
Waldenses. Ellen White wrote: "Through ages of darkness and apostasy 
there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome, who rejected 
image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath. Under the 
fiercest tempests of oppositions they maintained their faith." 32 

This statement suggests that Sabbathkeeping was common among the 
Waldenses. Most likely Ellen White believed that only some of the 
Waldenses kept the Sabbath, because later she writes about them saying: 
"Some of whom [Waldenses] were observers of the Sabbath."33



Note: It is one thing to claim that there are existing inaccuracies in the Great Controversy but it is quite another thing to prove it convincingly!

Ellen White writes: There were Waldenses… who kept the true Sabbath. Note that she does not say that all Waldenses kept sabbath. No, no, she only writes: there were Waldeses… How many? She does not specify that most of them kept the true sabbath, and therefore she does not suggest here that Sabbathkeeping was common among the Waldenses. To say so is only  premature and wrong, for if we regard the context, we clearly read, with reference to the Waldenses, that “there were some, however, who refused to yield to the authority of pope or prelate. They were determined to maintain their allegiance to God and to preserve the purity and simplicity of their faith.” p. 64

Ellen White then, in more general terms, explains that “the churches that were under the rule of the papacy were early compelled to honor the Sunday as a holy day” and that “many, even of the true people of God, became so bewildered that while they observed the Sabbath , they refrained from labor also on the Sunday.” p. 65.

And then, referring again to the Waldenses, she continues: “While, under the pressure of long-continued persecution, some compromised their faith, little by little yielding its distinctive principles, others held fast the truth. Through ages of darkness and apostasy there were Waldenses… who kept the true Sabbath.” p. 65.

It is to be expected that those who kept the sabbath were not among the many who compromised… but rather among the some who maintained their allegiance to God… among the others that held fast the truth. And so there is perfect harmony here with Ellen White’s later statement, that some of the Waldenses were observers of the sabbath.


Did some of the Waldenses observe the Sabbath? I spent several 
hours searching for an answer in the two scholarly volumes Storia dei 
Valdesi-(History of the Waldenses), authored by Amedeo Molnar and 
Augusto Hugon. These two books were published in 1974 by the Claudiana, 
which is the official Italian Waldensian publishing house. They are 
regarded as the most comprehensive history of the Waldenses. To my 
regret I found no allusion whatsoever to Sabbathkeeping among the 


Note: We know that there were Sabbatarian Anabaptists who kept Saturday as their sabbath. The sixth article of faith about keeping the Saturday sabbath was written by Jan van Leyden and applied in the kingdom at Münster. I spent some time to find any reference to Saturday sabbath-keeping in Ugo Gastaldi’s special scholastic study of 650 pages on the Anabaptists.[i] I was amazed however that, as far as I can understand the language, I could not find any reference to sabbathkeeping. And also Oswald Glait, a prominent representative of Saturday sabbathkeeping of another branch of the Anabaptists who was very active in this very period is mentioned in Gastaldi’s book several times along with places and persons, directly involved in the sabbath question,[ii] and although quite a number of pages cover this area, yet nothing again is said about the sabbath in this specific source. Would it be correct now to conclude that there were no true seventh-day sabbathkeepers among the Anabaptists? That would be very wrong indeed. That many scholars neglect this aspect of Anabaptist history does not at all mean that there were no true sabbathkeepers among them. It only should make us aware of the limitations of trusting scholarship in aspects like this and it should keep us back from drawing hasty conclusions.


That we should be careful with drawing hasty conclusions may be borne out also by the fact that our professor Jiri Moskala, with regard to his study at the University of Prague, knew Amadeo Molnar, the co-author of the book that Dr. Bacchiocchi in vain searched through, well, and he did ask Molnar in a personal conversation if he was aware that there have been Waldenses who kept the seventh day Sabbath and Molnar explained to him that there was not a main stream that kept the Sabbath, but he confirmed however that here and there were indeed some Sabbath-keeping Waldenses.

As a matter of fact, Molnar, after having read Ellen White’s book, admits this also in a paper:  We read: “...in the case of Waldenses, we found exceptionally the obedience of Sabbath among some groups but it was not their generally typical or dominant character.” [iii]

Although this information was not mentioned in Molnar’s book on the Waldenses, it did not mean that there have not been any Sabbath keeping Waldenses at all as Dr. Bacchiocchi concludes.


Now if the majority of the Waldenses did not keep the true sabbath, but only some of them, then, in order to find some evidence, we should not so much look for a right at hand, general statement but rather for incidental reports, and such an investigation may well take some more time than just only several hours. At least a number of days or rather a few weeks would do a little better since “few traces of their existence can be found… everything heritical, whether persons or writings, she (Rome) sought to destroy.” GC p 61.

When Martinet wrote his history about the Waldenses, he explains in a footnote that he tried to present a circumstantial description and to draw his information as much as possible from original sources; and so he contacted the Waldensian leaders to assist him, but they told him that they were not able to help him out since the old documents were all scattered and burned during the heavy persecutions and Martinet wrote, as to a true presentation of their history, that it is to be feared that never an occasion will come to render the Church such a considerable service.[iv]

Fortunately however, we are, just as with the Anabaptists, not at a total loss, regarding true sabbath-keeping, for some clear evidence has been preserved, indicating that indeed some Waldenses kept the true sabbath.


Sabbathkeepers or Sandal-Wearers? 

The same search for historical evidences of Sabbathkeeping among 
the Waldenses has been conducted by other Adventist scholars. What they 
have found in some documents are references to the insabbati, a common 
nickname for the Waldenses. In the past some uninformed readers have 
taken this term to mean that the Waldenses were Sabbathkeepers. It is 
possible that Ellen White was influenced by this old interpretation. 

Unfortunately the term insabbati has no connection to 
Sabbathkeeping. As Adventist Church Historian, Daniel Augsburger 
explains in the symposium The Sabbath in Scripture and History, the 
Waldenses were often called insabbati, not because they kept the 
Sabbath, but because the wore sandals. "The Latin word for sandals is 
sabbatum, the root of the Spanish zapato and the French sabot. The 
sandals were an outward sign of their being imitators of the apostles 
in living the vita apostolica and the justification of their preaching 
the gospel." 34 In other words, the Waldenses were often called 
insabbati-(sandal-wearers), because many of them wore sandals cut away 
at the top in their itinerant ministry of preaching the Gospel.


Note: As a matter of fact the Waldenses were at the various places called with different names because of various reasons. And so also the name insabbatati could well have, even in one place at different times, quite another meaning; and this certainly is the case when we compare their different places in various lands. They were not at all everywhere uniformly called insabbatati, no, they were also called Xabatatenses, sandaliati and sabbati as well as sabbatati and also a source adds that they were called Sabattists because of various reasons.[v] So we just can’t hold up the general idea that the Waldenses were named everywhere insabbatati because they wore some kind of marked wooden shoes. Undoubtedly that was very true in some places at a certain time and especially during Waldo’s early period at Lyons, but as their persecutions became more severe and intensified, and they were hunted up, who of them would then wear a distinct mark? They became very cautious and several sources indicate that they could not wear any longer such marks of recognition.[vi] Some sources inform us also that they went about barefoot.[vii] See also GC pp. 71, 72 where we read: “…they carefully concealed their real character… With naked feet and in garments coarse and travel-stained as were those of their Master, they passed through great cities and penetrated to distant lands.”


It would be shortsighted to maintain that the Waldenses uniformly were called insabbatati because, as the only reason, they wore distinct shoes or sandals. Several good sources tell us that they were called also that way because they neglected the sabbaths instituted by Rome (insabbatati - without sabbaths), and some inform us also that they were called sabbatati because they kept their own sabbaths; and sometimes it is clearly indicated that it is the Saturday or Jewish sabbath.[viii] The German historian, Goldastus (1576-1635) wrote also that they were called insabbatati “because they kept the Jewish Sabbath.” [ix] And Archbishop Usher, as quoted by Robinson, also testifies that many understood that the name was given because they worshiped on the Jewish Sabbath.[x]

Monastier tells us that the name ‘insabbatés’ was given first by Eberhard de Béthune (who also calls them ‘Xabatatensen’  from ‘xabatata’ certain shoes), while Natalis remarks that this name was given them because they did not keep the feastdays of the church. Monastier then explains that there seemed to have been a playing of words with ‘sabbath’ and ‘xabatata’ so that ‘insabbatés’ could have a double meaning: ‘without normal shoes’ as well as ‘without holy sabbaths.’ [xi]

It seems quite possible that ‘insabbatati’  in some cases clearly had the meaning of negligence of holy days and ‘sabbatati’ the keeping of the Jewish sabbath.


Several sources indicate that the Waldenses in different lands were called with other names [xii] and that they were in Italy called ‘Insabbattha’s’ because they rejected the feasts of the holy days.[xiii] Where here this name has a special bearing on the negligence of days, it is of interest to note that we find there also clear traces of Saturday-sabbath keeping groups.

Several sources rightly present not exclusively just the one meaning of the name, that they wore marked wooden sandals or shoes, as if that was all the time everywhere uniformly the same, no, other meanings are presented as well, including references to the sabbath.[xiv] Why should the sources that present such different meanings be totally wrong and who will be able to prove that convincingly? It should be kept in mind that the authors who wrote the documents in those days did not testify for the whole body of heretics or Waldenses in general. Their testimony is mostly and very often exclusively related to a certain group of them in a certain place and at a certain time. It would be unwise and totally wrong to unify all the statements of the different sources on one general level so as to make it uniformly apply to the whole body of Waldenses, for although certain principles against the abuses and teachings of the church of Rome bound them all together, they certainly had, from place to place, as individual groups, and sometimes even only a few persons among them, their own particular and different peculiarities in their beliefs, customs and manners and this was also often reflected by the different names, given to them in the various places.


Although it may be possible that some did not catch the right idea about these names; it is yet a fact that some applied it to seventh-day sabbathkeeping, as we have seen, and this shows at least that there should have been a number of true sabbathkeepers in some places, since otherwise that name could not have been applied at all in that sense.

If, for instance, we look up the word ‘Sabot’ in Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary, 1903, we read:

“a wooden shoe, worn by the French peasantry… Sabotier, a wearer of wooden shoes: a Waldensian. [Fr. Sabot – Low L. sabbatum, a shoe.]”

The words ‘Sabot’ and ‘Sabotier’ come very close to the word ‘Sabbath’ since in the days of the Reformation the word Sabbath was written: ‘Saboth’ with only one letter difference with ‘Sabot’ – the word for wooden shoe.[xv] It may, therefore, not surprise us  that the words ‘Sabot’ and ‘Sabotier’ were also applied by some to Waldensians who kept the sabbath. 

Another inaccurate statement about the Waldenses is found in The 
Great Controversy pages 65-66: "Behind the lofty bulwarks of the 
mountains… the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here the light of 
truth was kept burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages. Here for 
a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient 

The problem with this statement is that the Waldensian movement 
was established by Peter Valdes in 1173. This means that the Waldenses 
did not exist for "a thousand years," during "the darkness of the 
Middle Ages." It is surprising that the editorial helpers did not catch 
this inaccuracy. It was simply a matter of checking the name 
"Waldenses" in a Dictionary of Church History. 

Note: This comment is amazing! Is it really as simple as that? Just looking it up in a dictionary of Church History? Will that settle the matter beyond dispute? Will we find there always perfect agreement? What if I check  “Day of the Lord” or “Lord’s Day” in such a reference work? Take for instance the German “Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche” and when you look up “Tag des Herrn” you will find there no reference to the Sabbath as the Lord’s Day. At the end of part II we read: “Der ‘Herrentag’… ist seit Apk. 1,10 u. Didache 14,1 als techn. Bezeichnung des Sonntags nachweisbar.” [xvi] Could we now say that it is surprising that Seventh-day Adventists did not catch their inaccuracy and should we now urge that they must correct this? Do we now need to change our opinion and accept Sunday instead of the seventh day Sabbath as the ‘Day of the Lord’ or the ‘Lord’s Day’? If dr. Bacchiocchi had relied on Dictionaries of Church History and Theology and accepted as decisive the common views about the sabbath, he never would- nor could have written his doctoral thesis the way he did. So we should be very careful not to be too quick and too definite in our judgment.


But furthermore, how could we ever speak about a inaccurate statement that the Waldenses for a thousand years kept the truth burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages, when Ellen White, in fact, does not particularly say that the Waldenses did so? To uphold this opinion of inaccuracy, we will have to prove that with the word ‘witnesses’ Ellen White meant  the Waldenses, as if in that mountainous area never before any other witnesses had lived. But we have seen already that in the same context she also refers to churches and christian witnesses in more general terms. And accordingly in the previous sentences, she just makes very clear that “the lofty bulwarks of the mountains” were “in all ages the refuge of the persecuted and oppressed.” And in that very place that has been “in all ages” a place of refuge for the “witnesses” for the truth, the Waldenses of the Middle Ages now also found a hiding place. The context makes very clear that the word ‘witnesses’ must not be limited to the Waldenses only as if there had never been any other witnesses in that mountainous area, no, the word ‘witnesses’ should be clearly taken in a broader sense, including the persecuted and oppressed witnesses of all ages, for Ellen White states very clearly that they had found there refuge, just as the Waldenses found there now also a hiding place.

Ellen White discusses the early churches and true Christians in various countries (p. 61-63) and proceeds then to state: “But of those who resisted the encroachment of the papal power, the Waldenses stood foremost.” p. 64. It is clear therefore, that, although the Waldenses stood foremost, she was mindful also of the other true Christian witnesses. 

The sample of statements we have just examined, suffice to show 
that there are still inaccuracies in The Great Controversy that ought 
to be corrected. A new revision would enhance its credibility among 
knowledgable readers and would strengthen its evangelistic 
effectiveness. How can such a revision be accomplished today so many 
years after the death of Ellen White? No one can give an answer 
because any attempt to correct existing inaccuracies in EGW's writings 
is bound to stir up much controversy. Those Adventists who through the 
years have falsely accused me of rejecting the authority of Ellen White 
for daring to propose new interpretations, would be quick to accuse the 
editorial board of tampering with the Pen of Inspiration. 


ENDNOTES [Bacchiocchi’s Endtime Issue]

32. The Great Controversy, p. 65. 

33. Ibid., p. 577. 

34. Daniel Augsburger, "The Sabbath and the Lord's Day During the 
Middle Ages," in The Sabbath in Scripture and History, Review and 
Herald, 1982, p. 208. 

35. Emphasis supplied. 


Conclusion: If we examine these statements carefully, we can see harmony instead of inaccuracies.

I would suggest a good footnote with some appropriate historic information where necessary on these supposed inaccurate statements, instead of changing the text, for there is no need whatsoever to do so.




Some additional information

1. The Origin of the Waldenses.

There are, concerning this criticism, at least two important facts we cannot ignore and that none can deny. One fact is that there are, with regard to the Waldenses, some clear statements about seventh-day sabbathkeeping. The question however is: how many such statements are necessary to convince those who prefer to believe otherwise?

The other fact is that the Alpine valleys and some other particular places where the Waldenses and Albigenses lived, were inhabited long before the time of Peter Waldo; and these inhabitants were sometimes, as dwellers of the valleys, called Valdenses or Vaudois; and these early dwellers had also on many points similar thoughts against the teachings of the church of Rome, as the later Waldenses had.

To illustrate this we read for instance concerning the time of the Waldenses: “Their beginning we have fixed, according to the common reckoning of ancient writers, A.D. 1170; but it appears that they existed long before.”[xvii] And P. J. Twisck writes: “The Waldenses, of whom mention is made for the year 1159, had at this time so many followers and such great success with their doctrine, in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, that those of their profession, as Guil. Nebriss, writes, numbered as many as the sand of the sea.”[xviii]


If there were round the year 1159 Waldenses as the sand of the sea in several countries it just can’t be possibly true that Petrus Waldus, usually held to be converted several years later, could ever be their originator. As Euan Cameron admits, it is modern opinion that follows Catholic chroniclers that the origin of the Waldenses is ascribed to Valdesius or Waldus, a citizen of Lyons who lived in the late twelfth century.[xix] In spite of this popular view many sources have always endorsed the antiquity of the Waldenses.

Benjamin G. Wilkinson characterized by David Otis Fuller as “a scholar of the first rank with a thorough knowledge”[xx] writes: “There are modern writers who attempt to fix the beginning of the Waldenses from Peter Waldo, who began his work about 1175. This is a mistake. The historical name of this people as properly derived from the valleys where they lived, is Vaudois. Their enemies, however, ever sought to date their origin from Waldo… Nevertheless the history of the Waldenses, or Vaudois, begins centuries before the days of Waldo.” [xxi]

Ellen White writes: “Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains – in all ages the refuge of the persecuted and oppressed – the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here the light of truth was kept burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages. Here, for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith.” [xxii]

Note how William Stephen Gilly affirms that the Waldenses resisted the supremacy of the Roman Church for more than a thousand years: “Amidst the wildest and most secluded of those Alpine fastnesses, which lie between the Clusone and the Pelice, two mountain torrents that fall into the river Po, there is a small community of hardy and resolute men, who have continued to maintain their religious independence against the supremacy of the Roman Church, for more than a thousand years... Their situation in the heart of the valleys, which extend along the eastern foot of the Cottian Alps, between Mount Viso and the Col de Sestrieres, first gave them the name of Vallenses, Waldenses or Vaudois (...), a name which has since been employed to distinguish them as a primitive and episcopal Church.” [xxiii]

Describing events in Peter Waldo’s life, Gilly concludes: “Such are the outlines of Waldo’s history; from no part of which can it be gathered, or even presumed, that the Protestant Church of Piemont is to ascribe its origin to him. We can find no trace of him whatever in Italy; and while his name never occurs prior to the year 1160, we can adduce incontrovertible evidence that the Vaudois had existence as a church, and were recorded as separatists from Rome, long before that period.” [xxiv]

A Dutch author, L. Janse, writes: “These valleys of Piemont sometimes have been called ‘the cabinet prepared by the Lord’ to keep therein a jewel of great value. For a long time the opinion has been that Peter Waldus, the merchant from Lyon, has been the originator of these Waldensian communities. Further research, however, has shown that already long before the conversion of Peter Waldus (or Waldes) in 1170, the valleys of Piemont were inhabited by the Waldenses. Their name seems, therefore, absolutely not to be derived from the surname of this merchant.” [xxv]

Bompiani points out that the Waldenses have never recognized Peter Waldo as their head. He explains that Waldo could not be their originator since he received his sentiments from them. “The Waldenses, except a few recently, have never, during these seven centuries, recognized him [Waldo] as their head. Their oldest writings, their confessions of faith, their catechisms and poems, are not his, and make no mention of him. He could not have founded a Church which by the very confessions of its enemies already existed, and which is well known to have professed in the ninth century evangelical doctrines opposed to those of the Roman Church. He was called Valdo or Valdis, Valdensius, Valdensis, or Valdius, the name appearing in all these slightly varied forms. He received this name from the district where he was born, in Dauphiny in France, the border country, which was also named Valdis or Vaudra, or Valden, from its proximity to the Waldensian valleys of Italy. His family belonged there, and he himself lived there in his youth before becoming a merchant of Lyons. The Protestant inhabitants of Dauphiny were utterly exterminated in later centuries by persecution, their faith being the same as that of the Waldenses on the other side of the Alps. Nothing but the bias of early education would explain the conduct of Peter Waldo at a great crisis in his life. The sudden death of one of his companions at a banquet made the world and worldly things odious to him. The good seed sown in his childhood and afterwards choked in a thorny soil sprang up to sudden life, and caused him to devote the remainder of his days to the service of Heaven and his fellowmen… He devoted himself altogether to missionary labors, turned his house into a hospital, and distributed his goods to the poor, made proselytes in Lyons, and wandered over many countries teaching a pure Christian doctrine. These were evidently his already adopted sentiments, learned in youth, and neglected during his prosperous worldly life as a merchant.” [xxvi]


Bompiani further explains that Waldo’s followers or Poor men of Lyon were called modern heretics while the Leonists or Waldenses were their ancestors: “In the year 1212 two religious orders, the Minor Friars or Franciscans, and the Preaching Friars or Dominicans were instituted to combat two sects which ‘long since sprang up in Italy,’ says an abbot of the thirteenth century. These two sects, or rather two branches of the same sect, were the ‘Humiliated’ and the ‘Perfect,’ or the Waldenses and the Poor Men of Lyons. Reinerius the Inquisitor calls the latter ‘modern heretics,’ to distinguish them from a ‘much more ancient sect, the Leonists or Waldenses of Piedmont,’ their theological ancestors.” [xxvii]


We read in Bompiani’s preface: ”The present generation of Italian Waldenses, with that firmness characteristic of the race, believe that their forefathers lived in the Valleys of the Cottian Alps from ‘time immemorial.’ Without documents to prove their existence as evangelical Christians in these Valleys previous to the time of Peter Waldo in the twelfth century, they yet obstinately reject the theory that he was their founder.” [xxviii]


Bompiani explains: “The origin of the Waldenses is lost in the night of centuries. Their traditions assert that they were driven from southern Italy, in the time of the second and third centuries, to the Alpine valleys, where they have ever since lived. But they possess no written evidence of this antiquity, and only believe it because from time to time, from one generation to another, their forefathers have constantly asserted it. The profound conviction of an entire race, with few exceptions, may well be considered valuable, even in the absence of written documents…But many arguments in favor of their early Christian origin exist which are found chiefly in the voluminous writings in Latin left by their enemies. There, amidst many calumnies and false representations, are found, like pearls in the mud, the confessions of faith of the martyrs and the claims they made for the antiquity and purity of their Church…Long before the time of Peter the Waldo of Lyons, they bore the name of Leonists from one of their teachers, named Leo. [Vigilantius, the Leonist of Lyons] But even he is not considered their founder, and some of the present Waldenses believe their origin is in a direct, unbroken line from the primitive Christians.” [xxix]


The absence of memorials as to the antiquity of the Waldenses is clarified by Ellen White on page 61 in The Great Controversy and Bompiani also emphasized: “The Papists took care after every persecution to destroy as much of the Waldensian literature as possible.” [xxx]

Another source writes: “The Waldenses complain, that it has been the cruel policy of their persecutors to destroy all the historical memorials of their antiquity. About the year 1559, the Roman Catholics, with a view to exterminate the protestants of the valleys, cruelly butchered them, and in order to obliterate every memorial of them, diligently searched for their records, which they committed to the flames.” [xxxi]


Concerning the Waldensian traditions we read: ”Their uncontradicted traditions run back nearly to the Christian era, and warrant the presumption that their church was founded either by the apostles or their immediate successors.” [xxxii]

“…as for centuries previous [to the Reformation] they had claimed, before their temporal sovereigns, that the faith, the worship, and the ecclesiastical organization prevalent among them then, had been handed down among them by uninterrupted tradition from the very earliest ages of Christianity…Their own account of the matter uniformly has been, that their religion has descended with them from father to son by uninterrupted succession from the time of the apostles. [xxxiii]


That the apostolic connection is no fancy is clearly explained: ”There certainly is no improbability in the conjecture that the gospel was preached to them by some of those early missionaries who carried Christianity into Gaul. The common passage from Rome to Gaul at that time lay directly through the Cottian Alps, and Gaul we know received the gospel early in the second century at the latest, probably before the close of the first century. If the apostle Paul ever made that ‘journey into Spain,’ (Rom. xv. 28) which he speaks of in his epistle to the Romans, and in which he proposed to go by way of Rome, his natural route would have been in the same direction, and it is not impossible that his voice was actually heard among those retired valleys. The most common opinion among Protestant writers is, that the conversion of the Waldenses was begun by some of the very early Christian missionaries, perhaps by some of the apostles themselves, on their way to Gaul, and that it was completed and the churches more fully organized by a large influx of Christians from Rome, after the first general persecution under Nero. The Christians of Rome, scattered by this terrible event, would naturally flee from the plain country to the mountains, carrying with them the gospel and its institutions Such is the opinion of Henry Arnaud, one of the most intelligent of the Waldensian pastors…When the Christians at Rome were bound to stakes, covered with pitch, and burnt in the evenings to illuminate the city, is it wonderful, if the glare of such fires should induce those yet at liberty, to betake themselves for shelter, to the almost inaccessable valleys of the Alps, and to the clefts of the rocks, trusting to that God in whose hands are the deep places of the earth, and considering that the strength of hills is his?” [xxxiv]


Similar to what Ellen White makes clear Bompiani writes: “Here, shut up in the Alpine valleys, they handed down through the generations the doctrines and practices of the primitive Church, while the inhabitants of the plains of Italy were daily sinking more and more into the apostasy foretold by the Apostles.” [xxxv]

Another source, denominating the valleys of Piedmont “the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts”, confirms the purity of faith of the Waldenses as well as their antiquity: “For here thousands of the disciples of Christ, as will hereafter be shown, were found, even in the very worst of times, preserving the faith in its purity, adhering to the simplicity of Christian worship, patiently bearing the cross after Christ; men distinguished by their fear of God, and obedience to his will, and persecuted only for righteousness’ sake. Although we have stated in the former chapter, that Claudius of Turin has been styled the founder of the Waldensian Churches, their origin is to be traced to a period still more remote… The most ancient Roman Catholic historian of the persecutions to which they were subjected, affirms, that ‘Toulouse had been scarcely ever exempt, even from its first foundation, from that pest of heresy which the fathers transmitted to their children;’ and that ‘their opinions had been transmitted, in Gaul, from generation to generation, almost from the origin of Christianity… Pope Alexander III in a synod held at Tours, in 1167, declared,’That the doctrine of the Vaudois was a damnable heresy of long continuance.’” [xxxvi]


Willyams emphasised that the Waldenses preserved a pure religion since primitive times: “The Vaudois themselves maintained, in all their appeals made at various times to their sovereigns, that the religion they followed had been preserved from father to son, and from generation to generation, ‘from all time, and from time immemorial.’ [Da ogni tempo, e da tempo immemoriale.] Most of their historians support the same opinion…The late Rev. Dr. Gilly…observes: ‘Whether the Protestant inhabitants of the valleys…can be proved by documentary evidence to derive their Christianity from primitive times or not, this is certain, that from very remote periods there has been a Christianity in this region, different from that of Rome…If, therefore, we find truth and evangelical holiness among the Waldenses of Piedmont, when other professors of the gospel in different ages and places went wrong, in the fourth century for example, and again in the ninth and eleventh, in the twelfth and thirteenth, and in the sixteenth century - if we can take epochs at random, and still find vestiges of the pure gospel at the foot of the Cottian Alps, long before the Reformation - we may conclude that the gospel was transmitted, and preserved among them, from primitive times.”[xxxvii]


Robert Robinson also explains clearly that there were early inhabitants in the valleys that did not embrace the Catholick faith and Peter Waldo received his religious notions from them: “It happened, that the inhabitants of the vallies of the Pyrenees did not profess the catholick faith; it fell out also that the inhabitants of the vallies about the Alps did not embrace it; it happened moreover in the ninth century that one Valdo a friend and counsellor of Berengarius, and a man of eminence who had many followers, did not approve of the papal discipline, and doctrine; and it came to pass about an hundred and thirty years after that a rich merchant of Lyons, who was called Valdus because he received his religious notions from the inhabitants of the vallies, openly disavowed the roman religion, supported many to teach the doctrines believed in the vallies, and became the instrument of the conversion of great numbers. All these people were called Waldenses, and hence it came to pass, that some contended they were Manicheans, and Arians, and others that they were the direct opposite…In plain style, they were christians in different degrees of religious improvement." [xxxviii]


Robinson presents a brief and factual history of the antiquity of the word Valdenses: “Laying aside an endless catalogue of words, and arguments, and compressing into a narrow compass what appears most probable, because the conjecture is supported by facts, the brief history of the word Valdenses seems to be this. When the Phoenicians arrived in Spain, enraptured with the deliciousness of the country they descriptively called Boetica, the part in which they settled, ala, alatz, alas, a delicious place of joy and pleasure (…). Homer, having heard of this in Greece, when he wanted to describe the delightful fields into which the souls of the departed heathens went after death, borrowed the phoenician word, and called the place Elusion. In process of time the Vandals settled in Boetica, and then it was named Vand-alusia. When the Moors dispossessed the Vandals, among whom were Suevi, Romans, Celts, and others, they settled about the Pyrenees in divided bodies taking a variety of simple new names from new situations and circumstances, or compound names from different combinations. Among these, which were many, some phoenician, some celtick, some gothick, there was one which was taken from the place in which they settled (…). This was a district near Barcelona, called Vallensis. The inhabitants seem to have been the true original Vallenses, who undesignedly communicated their name with their doctrine in whole or in part to many other classes of people, who were afterward called by the general name of Vallenses, Valdenses, or Ualdenses, as well as by many more taken from their peculiar doctrines, their habitations, their circumstances, their connections, their teachers, their own infirmities, or the inventive malice of their enemies.” [xxxix]


James Moir Porteous was in 1869 unanimously awarded a price presented by the Free Church of Scotland for the best essay on the fundamental principles of presbyterian order and government. In this essay Porteous dedicated a whole chapter on the Waldenses. He describes their valleys and antiquity in a similar way as did Ellen White: “The silence of these vales is that of a solemn sanctuary, only broken by the dash of the torrent or sweeping of the wind. These valleys throughout their entire extent, were once peopled by those who loved and served the Lord Jesus Christ. This was truly a place prepared of God an ark where God hid His Noahs, and lifted them above the surging flood of the Papacy. Long after the plains at their feet had surrendered their liberties, those of the Vaudois mountaineers were fearlessly maintained…These valleys, as their armorial legend proclaims, had, from a remote antiquity, ‘the light shining in darkness’ (Lux lucet in tenebris)… Being the descendants and representatives of the primitive Church of Italy, no date can be given to their origin, any more than to other early Churches. Documents, as well as human beings, were everywhere destroyed by Papal Rome in her mad determination to exterminate these Christian witnesses. That failing, she strove to represent them as heretical dissenters, who had their origin from Peter Waldo of Lyons.

Waldo derived his name from these his native valleys, as have also the designations Vallenses, Valdesi, and Vaudois. The valleys were called Vaux, the inhabitants Vaudois - those who dwelt in the Vaux. So Valdesi, or Vallenses, had regard to the word val or vallis, and valle.” [xl]

Porteous further explains: “The ambition and corruption of the Papacy forced resistance from upper Italy into the chain of the Alps. In the eighth century that resistance increased, until the existence of the Vaudois was fully revealed… Peter De Bruys was the precursor of Waldo. He was born in the Val Louise of Dauphiny. Their doctrines had much in common. Writers nearest to Waldo do not speak of the Vaudois as the disciples of that reformer. Their most ancient manuscripts declare that they have maintained the same doctrine ‘from time immemorial, in continual descent from father to son, even from the times of the apostles.’ Their confession, ‘The Nolla Leyçon,’ dating A.D. 1100, claims that ancient origin. [See endnote 22.]

Ecbert, in A.D. 1160, spoke of them as ‘perverters’ who had existed during many ages. Reinerus, the Inquisitor, a century later, declares they are ‘most dangerous’ because ‘most ancient,’ ‘for some say that it has continued to flourish since the time of Sylvester, others from the time of the apostles.’ Rorenco, grand prior of St. Roch, commissioned to inquire, states ‘that they were not a new sect in the ninth and tenth centuries.’ And Campian, the Jesuit, that they were reputed to be ‘more ancient than the Roman Church.’ Not one of the Dukes of Savoy ever contradicted their assertion, that they were ‘the descendants of those who preserved entire the apostolic faith in their valleys.’ Their inaccessible and remote valleys received fugitive Christians, and thus the doctrine of the cross was early received and faithfully preserved.

In the twelfth century the Vaudois Church came prominently into view. At that period, Peter Waldo, having become a rich merchant of Lyons, returned, and excited a powerful influence upon his brethren…

That ancient Church, in all its history, proclaims undying love for the pure truth of God, and enmity to Rome… Their history is one of the brightest, purest, and most heroic in the annals of mankind. For five centuries did they experience the most unrelenting persecution. Urban II declared, in A.D. 1096, that the valleys were infested with heresy. During the period that elapsed from that date to 1209 when Otho IV anathematised them, the Waldenses had become very numerous.” [xli]

David Benedict testifies: “But Protestants generally of all classes contend that the Waldenses are of much higher antiquity than the time of Peter Waldo of Lyons; but they are not all agreed respecting the time and circumstances of their origin…But I cannot think that Claude of Turin was the founder of the sect of the Waldenses. They doubtless profited by his ministry, and received great accessions from his converts; but from the suggestions of both enemies and friends, I must believe that there was a body of christians in the vallies of Piedmont and in the recesses of the Alps, of the same character of the Waldenses, long before the time of Claude…Their doctrine had existed from the time of the Apostles, and they, as a body, had probably existed from the time of Sylvester, when the church sunk into superstition and formality, and the pious retired from the pompous parade of a worldly minded throng.

I might quote concurring testimonies of the high antiquity of the Waldensian christians…

From all we can learn it appears, that the recesses of the Alps and the Pyrenees, together with the adjoining hills and vallies in France, Spain, and Italy, were distinguished retreats of the faithful friends of God, in the darkest ages of the christian world…

The Waldenses received their name either from the vallies which they inhabited, or from Peter Waldo or Valdus of Lyons, in France…

But leaving the dispute about the manner in which the Waldenses received their name, it is certain that they had existed as a distinct and peculiar people, many ages before Waldo, that his numerous followers united with them in promoting the cause of godliness, that they all, together with all others of their character, were henceforward denominated Waldenses…” [xlii]

William Beattie writes: “As a distinct people, the Waldenses became first known in history at the commencement of the ninth century, during the life of Claudius, bishop of Turin - the Wickliffe of his day, and the strenuous advocate of primitive Christianity. By tradition, however, carefully handed down through a long line of ancestors, they trace their origin to the first dawn of revelation…” [xliii]


J. L. Mosheim testifies that it is quite possible that the Waldenses were in the valleys of Piemont in the seventh Century in order to avoid the intolerable ambition of the bishops of Rome.[xliv]

There is clear evidence that during the early centuries Evangelical Churches were established in south-east France. Newman asserts that followers of Jovinianus, who protested against the papacy and awakened great interest, “took refuge in the Alpine valleys and there kept alive the evangelical teaching that was to reappear with vigor in the twelfth century.” [xlv]

And Dr. Pierson, writing about the spirit of Waldo’s time, tells us that from Asia Minor the seeds of Christianity were blown over to Lyon and that it is “remarkable that after thousand years the same spirit comes up again in that same Lyon.” [xlvi]

That sounds quite similar to what Ellen White says, that in that area for a thousand years witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith.

Before Waldo’s time there lived some outstanding christian men like Ambrose, Vigilantius, Claudius of Turin, Berengarius, Peter of Bruys, Henry of Cluny and Arnold of Brescia. These witnesses preached in that area their Evangelical teachings against the wrongs of the church of Rome and several sources assure us that their influence was not wiped out. E. Guers writes that from the ninth to the thirteenth century there were in the valleys of Piedmont “many believers who worshiped the Father in spirit and in truth.” [xlvii]


The rather quiet and peaceful evangelical christians who inhabited the Alpine valleys, generally quite unnoticed,[xlviii] experienced a more special and great revival with the enthousiastic and very active and successful appearance of Waldo;[xlix] and the popish anger was kindled against them more than ever and severe actions were taken against them; and because of all this the attention was directly focused on them as never before. From that point on, as it were, a new and much better known history was now written concerning these dissenters, who were previously more or less enveloped in darkness.

Perhaps a good illustration is what happened during the years 2001 and 2002 in the Netherlands. Pim Fortuin was a rather obscure and unknown man. Most Dutch people did not know him and had never heard anything about him, but when he made, in a short and successful period of time a good chance to be elected as prime minister, his existence became known; and when he was murdered on May 6, 2002, the whole world at once got to know him as well, and his history was written.

And so it was with the Valdenses. As long as they lived in their secluded valleys a quiet and peaceful life, they were rather unnoticed to the world and there was no particular reason to write their history; but this does not mean that they were not there, all the time. However to make them known, something of special interest must first take place and that happened, as to this at a favourable time, when they stepped forward under the inspiring and powerful influence of Waldo; [l] and very soon Rome fixed, as never before, the attention on them in a very dramatic and cruel way and from that time on, their history was written; and so most historians nowadays regard this moment to be the starting point of the Waldensian movement in history. And it is true that Waldo, as their leader, made a great and successful impact and stamped the Waldenses in a lasting way as a special movement, and his name survived more than that of anyone else. But it remains a fact however that before his time there have been ‘valley-dwellers’ there with similar religious ideas for a long time and who were named by the Latin writers as ‘Valdenses.’ [li]

Martinet also tells us that some able authors write that historians did not think of these poor people who were in their valleys enveloped and enclosed  by mountains, cliffs and rocks, and who lived isolated and secluded from the world, before they were severely persecuted, which is the reason why the early historians reported so little about them. [lii]

Milman makes clear that Waldo and his Poor Men of Lyons were not the originators of the Waldenses but they could be ranked among them and they received a powerful impulse by Waldo’s appearance: “The Waldenses, under whom I am disposed, after much deliberation, to rank the Poor Men of Lyons. These may be called the Biblical Anti-Sacerdotalists. The appeal to the Scriptures and to the Scriptures alone from the vast system of traditional religion, was their vital fundamental tenet…[liii] But whencesoever this humbler Biblical Christianity derived its origin, it received a powerful impulse from Peter Waldo.” [liv]

Another source explains: “14. The general name given to these people was Waldenses, or Valdenses, from the Latin word ‘vallis,’ or the Italian word ‘valdesi’; both of which signify ‘valley.’ They were thus called, because they dwelt in valleys… In these valleys, as if the all-wise Creator had from the beginning designed them for this special purpose, the true Church found a hiding-place, during the universal prevalence of error and superstition. 15. Besides the general name of Waldenses, these people - some of whom appear to have existed in different countries - received other appellations, such as Cathari, or pure; Leonists, or poor men of Lyons; Albigenses, from Alby, a town in France, where many of them lived; also Petro-brussians, from Peter Bruys, an eminent preacher; Fraticelli, and many others. All these branches, however, sprung from one common stock, and were animated by the same moral and religious principles… 17. From the time of Claude of Turin, these people appear to have existed in considerable numbers, both in the valleys of Piedmont and in other countries; yet from the year 1160, they were much increased by the labors of Peter Waldo, a merchant of Lyons…18. The labors of Waldo were singularly blessed. Multitudes flocked to him, and, through his instrumentality, were converted to the pure faith of the Gospel. 19. The labors and success of Waldo were not long concealed from the friends of the Roman Church. As might have been anticipated, a great storm of persecution was raised, both against him and his converts, on account of which, in the year 1163, they were compelled to flee from Lyons.” [lv]

That Waldo was not the founder of  the Waldensian community as such, but rather, while building on the movements of previous leaders, the former of an organised Waldensian Church of that community, is explained in a prominent source: “An inquiry into the origin of the Waldensian Church brings us to the result that it grew out of a fusion of the work of Waldo and the Poor Men of Lyons with the movements originated by Arnold of Brescia, Peter of Bruys, and Henry of Cluny… It does not appear that he (Waldo) simply founded the community de novo, or that its evangelical and Protestant character is entirely due to his influence. The ideas were in the air, the spirit was alive and awake, when Waldo and his Poor Men came with apostolic fervour to embrace them and blend them with their own version of the teaching of Jesus. There were Arnoldists, Petrobrusians and Henricians before Waldo, existing as scattered religionists. But it was his movement that gathered in the harvest of their lives and brought about the formation of a Waldensian Church.” [lvi]

The well known Dutch historians J. N. Bakhuizen van den Brink, late Professor Doctor at the University of Leiden and J. Lindeboom, late Professor Doctor at the University of Groningen plainly declare in their Manual of Church-history:  

“Valdes [Waldo] is otherwise in no way to be regarded as the originator and cause of the Waldensian movement.” [lvii]


George Junkin calls Peter Waldo the reviver of the Waldenses and not the founder. Writing about the influence of Irenaeus at Lyons, he explains: “He was a Greek by nation, but was long settled as a missionary at Lyons in France, a city so fully imbued with his spirit, that it stood out, for ages, a bright spot on the broad disk of the glorious Gallic church. This is the city of Peter Waldo; not indeed the founder, but the reviver of the Waldenses.” [lviii]


George Croly characterizes Peter Waldo as a Barbe or preacher of the ancient Vaudois who existed long before his time: “In the year 1160, Peter, surnamed Waldensis, (of the Vallies,) a Barbe(…), or preacher of the Vaudois, had come into France, distributing the Scriptures, and converting the people of Provence to the Faith. But the origin of the Vaudois system of doctrines was known to be even then of great antiquity. There are extant copies of their Belief, dated A.D. 1100. The Inquisitor, Reinerius Sacco, computed it to be five hundred years old. He might have justly ascended still higher, and placed it in the age of the Apostles.” [lix]


Samuel Edgar also confirms clearly: “The antiquity of the Waldensians is admitted by their enemies, and is beyond all question. Waldensianism, says Rainerus the Dominican, ‘is the ancientest heresy; and existed, according to some, from the time of Silvester, and, according to others, from the days of the apostles.’ [lx] This is the reluctant testimony of an Inquisitor in the thirteenth century. He grants that Waldensianism preceded every other heresy. The Waldensians, say Rainerus, Seysel, and Alexander, dated their own origin and the defection of the Romish Communion from the Papacy of Silvester. [lxi] Leo, who flourished in the reign of Constantine, they regard as their founder. Romanism, at this period, ceased to be Christianity, and the inhabitants of the valleys left the unholy communion. These simple shepherds lived, for a long series of years in the sequestered recesses of the Alpine retreats, opposed to Popish superstition and error. The Waldensians, as they were ancient, were also numerous...  Waldensianism was, in anticipation, a system of the purest Protestantism, many ages before the Reformation. This, in its fullest sense, has, with the utmost candour, been acknowledged by many contemporary and succeeding historians who were attached to Romanism.” [lxii]

Dr. Blakeney, Rector and Rural Dean of Bridlington and Canon of York, writes: “The name and sufferings of the Waldenses are familiar to the reader of history, - the Waldenses, whose pedigree has been traced to the most primitive ages, shewing that they were connected with the Apostles themselves. Valdo, or Waldo, a merchant of Lyons, was not their founder; but being one of the most devoted teachers of Protestantism, those who agreed with him were designated by their enemies, in the way of contempt, Waldenses.” [lxiii]


It is clear that a number of sources testify to the antiquity of the Waldenses. When we have a look at another source, we again find confirmation that the Waldenses originate from the earliest times of Christianity.

“The resistance against the Roman Catholic errors, which remembrance is inseperably connected with the name of Waldenses, dates from the earliest times of pure Christianity as was lately demonstrated in the “Revue des deux mondes.” In the Milanese remained by and since Ambrose a pure liturgy and the access to the Holy Scriptures was less hindered than elsewhere.

When this oldest Protestant movement was driven out of the North Italian plain, it withdrew into the valleys (vauds) and propagated from there by her missionaries the Gospel to surrounding countries. They were named Waldenses after the valleys (vallis, vauds) where they were dwelling. Peter of Lyon (Waldus) gave to this movement only a new impulse.” [lxiv]

The antiquity of the Waldenses was a widely accepted fact: “Whatever the origin of the Waldenses, it was almost uniformly understood throughout most of European history that they were an extremely old sect. The Roman Catholic inquisitors in the medieval period testified to its antiquity, men who would normally be expected to assert the newness of the Waldensian doctrines and faith as a means of more easily dismissing it to suppresssion…

Other writers… accept instead that the Waldensians, both in name and in doctrine, originated from Peter Waldo, a wealthy Lyon merchant who renounced his wealth and preached the way of poverty and humility, beginning around 1170 (…). While attractive to those who do not wish to accept an extreme age for the Waldenses, this view fails to explain why the inquisitors had to note the common opinion that the Waldenses were of great antiquity, older even than the Arians, and had been around for ‘time immemorial’ (a statement hardly applicable to a group which only existed for eighty years). It is to be noted that most of the more recent scholars writing on the subject of the Waldensians are either Roman Catholics or liberal and compromising in theology, neither of which would be particularly predisposed to accept the view of Waldensian antiquity…

Moreover, linguistic evidence among the Waldenses has been noted which serves to help confirm the great age of their groups… the Waldensians were thoroughly steeped in a linguistic tradition dating centuries earlier than the time of Peter Waldo.” [lxv]

2. The Seventh-day Sabbath.


Although Satan is a conquered enemy, we live in a world still under his dominion and under his rule the truth is more likely to be concealed than to be revealed. As a matter of fact Satan has been always at war with God’s holy sabbath to obliterate it in any possible way, and he triumphs when the course of the true followers of Christ as a witness for the truth is obscured.

There is not always true uprightness in the written histories and specially not where it concerns dissenters or heretics.Their true religious position, conviction and habits are not always rightly presented. Their reputation has often been disgraced.

J. L. Mosheim makes clear in a very interesting introduction about the shortcomings in the history of the heretics, that there is no history at hand we could name right and unpartial. Everyone writes more or less according to his love, his hatred, his thoughts and formed ideas and the interest of the church he belongs to. Here the ‘heretics’ are holy souls, condemned by the ungodly. There they are restless, misleaded and dangerous criminals. And of the authors of the Roman Catholic Church, as learned and careful as they wish to be, we can expect not much rightness. What the Holy Church once has written, she has written without fault, while the history of the heretics deliberately has been falsified. Those who have been marked once as heretics, must remain so as unadvisable sons of their Mother and as obstinate and self-willed malefactors.[lxvi]

Personal belief, interest, orientation and also prejudices play indeed a very important role in writing history.

Now we are not far amiss when we say that there is, and has been, in general, not so much interest in keeping the seventh-day sabbath and when we find it somewhere recorded in history it is often presented in a sphere of  Judaism, peculiarism, extremism, fanaticism or sectarianism. Jeremy Collier for instance, who makes, with reference to Theophilus Brabourne,  mention of Sabbatarianism, calls the defence of the Saturday-sabbath, in his Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain, a “Judaizing performance” and he speaks of “Sabbatarian mistakes” that “had spread in some measure upon the people.” [lxvii]

Baptism however is another matter. During the time of the Reformation a strong baptist movement arose and we find in history a great deal of information about baptism. But who was interested so much as to make mention of seventh-day sabbath-keeping?  There were definitely a number that kept the true sabbath. But we do not find much reference to them.

The late Dr. Gerhard F. Hasel has made a special study of Sabbatarian Anabaptists. He discusses the activities and effects of Glait and Fisher, who kept and advocated the true sabbath and he mentions the various places where the true sabbath was kept. However, as far as I know, he seemed not to have known that also an impressive Dutch branch, that played an interesting role in history, kept also the seventh-day sabbath. Dr. Hasel does not refer to them; he does not mention them; he is only silent on this group. [lxviii]

The beliefs of this Dutch or rather Dutch-German branch of Anabaptists were in many ways similar to those of the Waldenses. And as a matter of fact they kept Saturday as their sabbath. But where can we find any information about this? Almost nowhere! Dr. L. W. E. Rauwenhoff, professor of church history at Leyden, is one of the few historians, if there are some others at all, who presented us in his ‘History of Protestantism,’ with an extensive list of their Articles of Faith. And the sixth article says: “You must keep Saturday as the Day of the Lord, because God has ordained that day as such and not Sunday, that men have made for that.” [lxix]

Jan van Leyden wrote the Articles of Faith and Dr. Rauwenhoff describes him as a man of unusual abilities who traveled a lot and was fully dedicated to the religious movement of his days.[lxx]

That there was a Waldensian origin of the Dutch Baptists and a close resemblance between them is shown by S. Blaupot ten Cate [lxxi] and also by the learned Philippus Limborch, born in the Netherlands in Amsterdam in 1633 and who became professor in that city in 1668. In his ‘History of the Inquisition,’ vol. I, ch. viii, as quoted by William Jones, he says: “To speak candidly what I think, of all the modern sects of Christians, the Dutch Baptists most resemble both the Albigenses and Waldenses.” [lxxii]


There is clear evidence that in the north of Italy the true sabbath was kept in 796. In the Synod of that year it is stated in canon 13 that the farmers there kept Saturday as their sabbath.[lxxiii]

Several sources tell us that the Passagians, who mainly lived in northern Italy and who were identified as a Waldensian branch,[lxxiv] kept the Jewish Saturday-sabbath.[lxxv]


We are informed in a report of the inquisition about Waldensian heretics that surely not a few celebrate the Sabbath with the Jews.[lxxvi]

Old documents indicate that in Northern France was an “organised congregation supplied with a regular preacher.” [lxxvii] Their preacher, Ghuillebert Thulin or Bertoul Thurin, was arrested with several others. They were tried and condemned in Arras in the year 1420. The well-preserved manuscripts present several details of this event. As to what these Waldenses believed and practised, a few reasons are summed up why they were condemned. One of the things mentioned is: “They require the observance of Saturday instead of Sunday and despise the Church.” [lxxviii]

Valère Gros, the Waldensian teacher of St. Martin, Piedmont, Italy, was accused in May 1615 of being a Jew, because he kept holy the sabbath day and no other days. It seems clear that he kept the Saturday-sabbath, for if he kept the Sunday-sabbath, there would be no reason to call him a Jew.[lxxix]

Michiel Rovillart of Arras, who was burned in 1563 on the market place of Doornik, Tournai, Belgium, near the French border, defended that it was not necessary to keep Sunday and other days of the church holy, since it is commanded to keep the day of rest according to God’s example, Who rested and hallowed the seventh day and Michiel explained “how the Sabbath was changed into Sunday and why.” [lxxx]

In Northern France, as alluded to before, was a sabbath-keeping group of Douai, celebrating  Saturday as their Sabbath. They were arrested in 1420. The manuscripts dealing with these particular heresies mention also the death of a priest: Hennequin of Langle and one of the reasons for his execution was that he kept “his Sabbath on Saturday.” And once again it is said on the last folio that Bertoul Thurin, the preacher of the group, was executed “for keeping Saturday as his Sabbath.” [lxxxi]

The following witness of some martyrs, probably German, who were apprehended in the Ful, in Elschland, and led up to the castle, where they died November 16 of the year 1529, may be perhaps also an indication of seventh-day sabbathkeeping: Wolfgang of Mos confessed in 1529 “that he did not believe in fast days, Sunday, and other feast days.” Christina Tolinger confessed “that in six days God the Lord created the world, and rested the seventh day; and that the other holidays had been instituted by popes, cardinals, and archbishops, and that she did not believe in them.” And as for Barbara of Thiers, we read: “Regarding Sundays and holidays, she said that God the Lord had commanded to rest the seventh day, and there she would let it rest.” [lxxxii]


It may perhaps be also of interest to mention the well known Dutch pietistical preacher: Jodocus van Lodenstein (1620-1677), who wrote an excellent book about the fourth commandment, in which he states on page 19 that there is in the N.T. no new or other Sabbath; and on page 106: “It is absurd to maintain that Jehova in the O.T. would write: remember the seventh day, because I rested on it, and in the N.T. would say: you shall rest on the first day, because I rested on the seventh day.” [lxxxiii]

One source says that Lodenstein was a ‘strict sabbattist,’ [lxxxiv] while another source, and this is of interest in this connection, says that Lodenstein “kept the Sabbath, just as his friends, the Waldenses, on the seventh day, the Saturday.” [lxxxv]

Lodenstein, who lived at Utrecht (Netherlands), since 1653, supported the persecuted Waldenses with great sums of money.[lxxxvi] After the barbarous slaughter that took place in April of the year 1655 under the name of “Piemontese Passover” about 600 Waldenses fled to Holland.[lxxxvii]

It is however also known that Lodenstein kept Sunday and preached on that day in the church. Perhaps it may be that he kept both days in esteem, like many early Christians did. That this might have been also a custom among some Sabbatarians in the seventeenth Century, may also be evident from the Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain, by Jeremy Collier, born in 1650, for  we read in a footnote: “There are some modern Sabbatarians who… keep two sabbaths; namely Saturday, the last day of the Jewish week, and Sunday, the last day of the Christian week.” [lxxxviii]

It is also of interest to note that it is said of another well known Dutch preacher: Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676), who became professor at Utrecht and who was a very close friend of Lodenstein, that he (Voetius)“went too far and returned to the Jewish Sabbath.” [lxxxix]

There seem to have been also Petrobrusians, who kept the seventh day sabbath. (Francis White, ‘A Treatise on the Sabbath Day,’ p. 8.) These distinct adherents of Peter von Bruys, a former priest of Languedoc, who preached in the early beginning of the twelfth century, about twenty years long in the Alpine valleys, were apparently Waldenses or afterwards identified as such. Also the Patarenes, a group of mostly Cathars and Waldenses as well, who lived in the eleventh Century in the north of Italy in the area of Milan, are said to have kept the law of Moses to the letter. They not only kept the Sabbath, but also other legal observances. [xc]

Because of the severe persecutions the Waldenses were scattered all over Europe but mostly in Germany, Poland and Bohemia. And of the Waldensian brethren in Bohemia, at the early period of the Reformation, Erasmus testifies that there were Sabbath-keepers there: “a new kind of Jews has arisen called Sabbatarians, who observe the Sabbath.” [xci]

Although seventh-day sabbathkeeping in general does not seem to be a very popular and attractive practice to most people, and therefore perhaps to many writers of history not of  particular interest to specialize in mentioning it, we nevertheless do find some references that support what Ellen White wrote.       

Continued research may reveal some more evidence of true sabbath-keeping, but we should also remember however that not much of the history of the faithful in this regard will be found, since “their writings (were) suppressed, misrepresented, or mutilated… The history of God’s people during the ages of darkness… is written in heaven, but they have little place in human records. Few traces of their existence can be found…” GC p. 61.

Coulton writes: “That which passed for Church history, before the Reformation, was loaded with a mass of falsehoods which the original inventors had not even believed themselves; and it was deprived of all opportunities for free and sane criticism. The atmosphere was more or less deliberately poisoned, and the natural remedy of fresh air was most deliberately denied…

Worse still, the elaborate official censorship, which ought to afford a guarantee of truth to the public, is, in fact, too frequently a stamp of error; the accredited teachers are blind leaders of the blind…” [xcii]

“It was not only that the truth was difficult to find; far worse than that, on many of the most important of all historical questions, men were forbidden to disclose the discovered truth. Of any impartially exploring historian at a mediaeval University it might have been said even more truly than of a modern arctic or antarctic adventurer, that he carried his life in his hand.” [xciii]

If we want to know the truth, we must look into the heavenly books, and we will be amazed!

The prophet Elijah did not find evidence that there were true followers of God in his time and he cried out: “and I, even I only, am left…” but the Lord revealed him: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israël, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” [xciv] During all ages God has left himself a faithful remnant and if the Lord, very graciously, has provided us with some clear information that there were indeed some Waldenses who kept the true Sabbath, who are we then to proclaim openly that there were no Waldenses that kept the Sabbath holy and even urge that Ellen White’s book needs revision?

Pastor Jan Voerman,


Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

P.S. In his presentation regarding his search for the Sabbath at the Vatican University, Dr. Bacchiocchi tells about the problems he met with before he received approval to start his doctoral thesis. Since a new book with a modern view about the Sabbath was just released by the Vatican press, dr. Bacchiocchi had to convince his professor that the last word was not yet said about the Sabbath and that there would be some more valuable information that should make his search and thesis worthwhile.

But how inconsequent and controversial with this is his attitude as to what Ellen White writes about the Waldenses and the Sabbath. He not only ignores all the available historic fragments but he also seems to regard all information that clearly bears out what Ellen White writes as untrustworthy, and Dr. Bacchiocchi now willingly lines himself up with the common views of some modern historians and he even declares in fact openly that Ellen White was wrong and that her book needs correction as if to that effect the very last indisputable and conclusive word has been said about this matter. This is not just unbelievable for a scholarly educated man but in a sense it also reflects a particular and apparent biased attitude. It is never a good thing, and certainly not for a scolar, to shut himself up in regarding his own particular conviction as conclusive instead of being open minded and paying due attention to other available genuine facts and worthy thoughts.


[i] Ugo Gastaldi, Storia dell’ Anabattismo, dalle origini a Münster 1525-1535, Claudiana, Turino, 1972. 

[ii] Cf., AUSS July 1967, pp. 107-116. 

[iii] A Protestant Historian About  ‘The Great Controversy’ written June 21, 1982. Translated into English by pastor Miloslav Sustek. 

[iv] Johannes Florentius Martinet, Kerkelijke Geschiedenis der Waldenzen..., Amsterdam, 1775, p. 33. 

(Translations from Dutch and German are my own.) 

[v] Adrianus Haemstedius, Historie der Martelaren, 1559, reprint 1980, p. 59.

[vi] Cf., William Jones, The History of the Christian Church, Vol., II, London, 1826, Reprint in USA,1983, p. 3, footnote. 

[vii] George Stanley Faber, The History of the Ancient Vallenses and Albigenses, Seeley and Burnside, London, 1838, p. 471. W. L. Wakefield, Heresy, Crusade and Inquisition in Southern France, 1100-1250. London, 1974, p. 45.

Walter Map is cited: “They go about two by two, barefoot, clad in woollen garments, owing nothing, holding all things in common like the apostles…”  

[viii] Cf., David Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination, Boston, 1813, Vol., II, p. 413.

Benedict quotes Robinson: “One says they were so named from the Hebrew word Sabbath, because they kept the Saturday for the Lord’s day.” 

[ix] Robert Robinson, Ecclesiastical Researches, Cambridge, Francis Hodson, 1792,  p. 303, see footnote 1. Robinson, who quotes Gretser and others, thinks, however, that those who hold this position are led astray by sound.  

[x] Ibid., p. 304; Usher’s De Christianar, Eccl. success. et stat. Cap. 7. 

[xi] Antoine Monastier, Geschiedenis der Waldenzen, vert. door J. Oudijk van Putten, Rotterdam, 1851, p. 91. Maxima Biblioth., P.P., Vol. 24, col. 1520. P. Natalis, Alexandri, &c. Vol. 7, pp. 94, 95.

[xii] E.g., Provence: pickpockets; Germany: Cathars or Gazares; Flanders: Turlupines; England: Lollards; Dauphiny: Chaignards or Dogs and in the diocess of Dye: Josephists. And from their teachers or pastors: Henricians, Esperonists, Arnoldists etc., and being exposed to suffering, they were termed ‘Patarins’ and as they fled from place to place: ‘Passagenes.’  

[xiii] Jean Paul Perrin, History of the Old Waldenses anterior to the Reformation, Philadelphia, Griffith and Simon, 1847, p. 25. Joseph Milner, Geschiedenis der Kerk van Christus, vert. door M. J. Chevallier, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, 1838, deel 6, p. 269.

[xiv] The Roman Catholic ‘Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche’ (Herder & Co, Freiburg, 1938), presents us also with a broader meaning: “Sabbatati od. Insabbatati (von sabot = Holzschuh; nach andern von savate = Pantoffel, od. = die den Sabbat Beobachtenden). Bd. X, s. 728.

And in the German ‘Real-Encyklopädie,’ 1863, we find with these names a reference also to other meanings: “Nach Perrin… dass sie nur den Sonntag feierten, nach Leger II, 329 daher, dass sie einen Hexensabbath feierten. Andere Benennungen s. bei Hahn S. 264.”  Bd. 17, s. 508.

Then also in Milman’s Works “History of Latin Christianity,” New York, 1892, a clear footnote in Vol., V on page 151 says: “The name Insabatati is derived by Spanheim (Hist. Christ. Saec. xii.) from their religious observance of the Sabbath, in opposition to the holidays of the Church.”  

[xv] See for instance: James Gilfillan, The Sabbath viewed in the light of reason, revelation and history, American Tract Society, New York,1862, p. 63.

[xvi] Band 9, s. 975. 

[xvii] Thieleman J. van Braght, ‘Martyrs Mirror’ Herald Press, USA, 1992,  p. 290.  

[xviii] Chron. p. 479, col. 1. 

[xix] Euan Cameron, Waldenses, Rejections of Holy Church in Medieval Europe, Blackwell, Oxford, 2000, p. 11.

[xx] David Otis Fuller, ed., Which Bible, Grand Rapids International Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 49501, Reprint of   the Fifth ed., 1980, p. 174.

[xxi] Ibid., p. 207.

[xxii] E. G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 65, 66.

[xxiii] William Stephen Gilly, Narrative of an Excursion to the Mountains of Piemont, in the Year MDCCCXXIII. And Researches among the Vaudois or Waldenses, C. and J. Rivington, 1826. Reprint: Wipf and Stock Publ., Eugene, OR., 2005, pp. 1, 2.

[xxiv] Ibid., p. 21.

[xxv] L. Janse, De Waldenzen, Bibliotheek “Koop de Waarheid en verkoop ze niet,” Gouda, 1968, 21e jaargang, No. 7 en 8, p. 3.  “Deze valleien van Piëmont zijn wel eens genoemd “het kabinet, door de Heere bereid, om er een juweel van grote waarde in te bewaren. Lange tijd heeft de mening geheerst, dat Petrus Waldus, de rijke koopman uit Lyon, de stichter is geweest van deze Waldenzer gemeenten. Nader onderzoek heeft echter aangetoond, dat reeds lang voor de bekering van Petrus Waldus (of Waldes) in 1170 de valleien van Piëmont bewoond waren door de Waldenzen. Hun naam schijnt dan ook absoluut niet afgeleid te zijn van de achternaam van deze koopman.”

[xxvi] Sophia V. Bompiani, A Short History of the Italian Waldenses, Barnes and Comp., New York, 1899. pp. 25-27.

[xxvii] Ibid., pp. 30, 31.

[xxviii] Ibid., Preface.

[xxix] Ibid., pp. 6-8.

[xxx] Ibid., p. 57.

[xxxi] N.n., The Waldenses: Sketches of the Evangelical Christians of the Valleys of Piedmont, Philadelphia, 1853,    Presbyterian Board of Publication, p. 29.

[xxxii] Ibid., Preface, p. vii.

[xxxiii] Ibid., pp. 27, 28.

[xxxiv] Ibid., pp. 28, 29.

[xxxv] Bompiani, p. 9.

[xxxvi] Paul Tice and the Author of The Lives of Wickliffe, Huss, Jerome, etc., History of the Waldenses, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, American Sunday School Union, Philadelphia, PA, 1829, New material and cover, 1999, 2003, The Book Tree, San Diego, CA, pp. 14-16.

[xxxvii] Jane Louisa Willyams, The Waldensian Church in the Valleys of Piedmont, From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, The Religious Tract Society, No Year, pp. 26-28.

[xxxviii] Robert Robinson, Ecclesiastical Researches, Francis Hodson, Cambridge, 1792 (Reprint 1984), pp. 302, 303.

[xxxix] Ibid., pp. 306, 307.

[xl] James Moir Porteous, The Government of the Kingdom of Christ. An Inquiry at to the Scriptural, Invincible and       Historical Position of Presbytery, 1888, Chapter III, The Waldenses, 1. The Valleys, 2. Origin of the Waldenses.

[xli] Ibid., 2. Origin of the Waldenses; 3. Persecutions.

German scholar A.W. Dieckhoff has criticized the antiquity of the Waldensian writings but readily admits that in no way his investigations were brought to a satisfying conclusion on all points. Raynouard, a notable linguist who examined the Waldensian documents, was convinced of their antiquity. He declared that the date of the year 1100 in the “Noble Lesson” deserves entire confidence. Cf., Adventists Affirm, Vol. 15, No 1, Spring 2001, pp. 29-34.

Raynouard, who intensively studied the early Waldensian language testified: “Une langue Romane primitive, idiome intermédiare entre la décomposition de la langue des Romaines et l’établissement d’une nouveau système grammatical: circonstance, qui atteste la haute antiquité de cet idiome dans le pays que ce peuple habitait.” (A primitive Romance language, an idiom intermediary between the breakdown of the language of the Romans and the establishment of a new grammatical system: circumstantially, this attests the high antiquity of this idiom in the country which this people inhabit.) M. Raynouard, Monumens de la Langue Romane, p. 137.  

[xlii] David Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination, Boston, 1813,Vol. I, pp.108, 109, 110, 112.

[xliii] William Beattie, The Waldenses or Protestant Valleys of Piedmont, Dauphiny, and The Ban de la Roche, London, 1838, George Virtue, pp. 1, 2.

[xliv] J. L. Mosheim, Kerkelijke Geschiedenissen, Boek III, Eeuw VII, Deel II, Hoofdstuk II, par. 2.

[xlv] A. H. Newman, A Manual of Church History, The American Baptist Publ., Soc., 1904, Vol., I, p. 376.  

[xlvi] Dr. A. Pierson, Geschiedenis van het Roomsch Katholicisme tot op het Concilie van Trente, Haarlem, 1871, Dl., III, p. 293.

[xlvii] E. Guers, Geschiedenis der Kerk van Christus Jezus, in verband met de Profetie en de Openbaring, Amsterdam, H. M. Bremer, 1868, p. 274.

[xlviii] George Stanley Faber, p. 465. “During many centuries… the old Vallenses seem rarely to have departed from   their native Valleys… But, a simple and primitive race, strongly attached to their mountain fastnesses, we hear not of them out of their own direct vicinage…”  

[xlix] Ibid., p. 357.  

[l] Ibid., p. 360, 357. “…the Vallenses long remained obscurely quiescent in the deep recesses of their native Valleys…” “…until we reach the days of Peter the rich Vallensic Merchant of Lyons. Then, for the first time, through the institution of that peculiar Class of the Leonists which was denominated The Fraternity of the Poor Men of Lyons, the Vallenses, who had hitherto testified against apostolic corruption only in or near their own Alpine Valleys, became missionaries upon a large scale and to a wonderfully great extent.”

[li] J. F. Martinet, Kerkelyke Geschiedenis der Waldenzen, in de valeyen van Piemont, tot op deezen tyd, Amsterdam, Wed. Loveringh en Allart, 1775, p. 15.  

[lii] Ibid., p. 26. 

[liii] Milman, History of Latin Christianity, Vol., V, p. 141. 

[liv] Ibid., p. 151.

[lv] Charles Goodrich, A History of the Church, Brattleboro, 1839, pp. 108, 109.

[lvi] James Hastings, Ed., Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. XII, T&T Clark, 1954, p. 666, par. 7.

[lvii] J. N. Bakhuizen van den Brink en J. Lindeboom, Handboek der Kerkgeschiedenis, ‘s-Gravenhage, 1946, Deel I,

derde, herziene druk, p. 239.  “Overigens is Valdes [Waldo] geenszins als de stichter en oorzaak der naar hem

genoemde Waldenzische beweging te beschouwen.”

[lviii] George Junkin, The Little Stone and the Great Image; or Lectures on the Prophecies, Philadelphia: James M. Campbell & Co. 98 Chestnut Street. Saxton & Miles, 205 Broadway, New York, 1844, p. 228. 

[lix] George Croly, The Apocalypse of St. John, or Prophecy of the Rise, Progress, and Fall of the Church of Rome, C. & J. Rivington, London, 1827, p. 377.

[lx] ‘Aliqui enim dicunt, quod duravit a tempore Sylvestri; aliqui a tempore Apostolorum, Rainerus, 3. 4.’ 

[lxi] ‘Romana ecclesia non est ecclesia Jesu Christi, sed ecclesia malignantium eamque sub Sylvestro deficisse. Alex. 17. 368.  Seysel, 9. Moreri, 8. 47.’ 

[lxii] Samuel Edgar, The Variations of Popery, London, 1838, Seeley and Burnside, pp. 26, 28. In 1884 A New Edition was published by Southern Methodist Publ., House, corrected and enlarged by the author and revised by Thomas O. Summers. In this new edition we still find the same quotes on pages 51, 53.  

[lxiii] R. P. Blakeney, Popery in its Social Aspect, Edinburgh: George M’Gibbon, 53 Rose Street. London: The Protestant Educational Institute, 38 and 39 Parliament Street, Westminster. The Protestant Reformation Society, 20 Berners Street, Oxford Street., p. 106. 

[lxiv] H. A. J. Lütge en A. J. Eijkman, Amsterdamsch Zondagsblad tot Getuigenis der Waarheid, Scheffer & Co, Amsterdam, Vijfde Jaargang, No. 15, 10 april 1892, p. 11, voetnoot 1.

[lxv] Timothy W. Dunkin, A Defence of the Johannine Comma, Ministry: Study to Answer, A document, 2005, See the part: Another body of evidence… passed down through the Waldenses.

[lxvi] J. L. Mosheim, Versuch einer unpartheiischen und gründlichen Ketzergeschichte, 1746, pp. 18-25.

[lxvii] Jeremy Collier, Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain, London, 1841, Vol. VIII,  p. 76.

[lxviii] AUSS vol. V,  No. 2, July 1967,

[lxix]“Men moet den Zaturdag als den dag des Heeren vieren, daar die door God daartoe is ingesteld en niet den Zondag, welken de menschen daartoe gemaakt hebben.”  

[lxx] Dr. L. W. E. Rauwenhoff, De voornaamste Godsdiensten. Geschiedenis van het Protestantisme, Haarlem, A.C. Kruseman, 1865, Deel I, p. 135.

[lxxi] S. Blaupot ten Cate, Geschiedkundig onderzoek naar den Waldenzischen oorsprong van de Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden, Amsterdam, 1844.

[lxxii] William Jones, Vol., II, p. 92.

[lxxiii] Carl Joseph Hefele, Conciliengeschichte. Nach den Quellen bearbeitet, Arnheim, 1859, Dritter Band, seite 850: “Synode zu Friaul unter Paulinus im J. 796.” Seite 852: “Canone 13. Die Feier des Sonntags beginnt am Abende des Samstags. Es wird eingeschärft, den Sonntag und die kirchlichen Feste heilig zu halten. Die Bauern feierten vielfach den Samstag.”

[lxxiv] Jean Paul Perrin, p. 25. “The Waldenses…Seeing that they fled from place to place like poor pilgrims, they were named ‘Passagenes.” Alfred Bertholet et al., “Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Paul Siebeck, Tübingen, 1930, Zweite Auflage, Band IV, s. 986. “‘Passaginer,’ The name is related to their wandering preaching and therefore they are rather to be taken as Waldenses and also as Cathari.” (“Der Name…hängt mit ihrer Wanderpredigt zusammen; darum sind sie eher als Waldenser, denn als Katharer aufzufassen.”)

Cf., Benjamin G. Wilkinson, Truth Triumphant, Pacific Press Publ. Assn., 1944, USA, p. 259.  J. N. Andrews, History   of the Sabbath, Battle Creek, 1887, pp. 417-419. Christian Edwardson, Facts of Faith, Southern Publ., Assn., Nashville 8, Tennessee, 1943, p. 124. Edwardson indicates that ‘Passagenes’ is one of the names of the Waldenses and he cites a 17th Century source: “And for as much as like poore passengers, they wandered from one place to another, they were called Passagenes,”  Luther’s Fore-Runners, London, 1624, pp. 7, 8.

[lxxv] E.g., J. L. Mosheim, An Ecclesiastical History, London, 1846, Vol. I, p. 306. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, Funk and Wagnalls, New York, London, 1910, Vol. VIII, p. 362. Dr. Michael Buchberger et al,  Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche, Band VII, s. 1000. John de Soyres, Montanism and the Primitive Church, Cambridge 1878, p. 119. Soyres discusses on this page the Cathari and Waldenses and in footnote 1, he refers to Bonacursus who attributes to them: “quod Mosaica lex sit ad litteram observanda, et quod sabbatum et circumcisio et aliæ legales observantiæ adhuc habere statum debeant…” [Bonacursus was bishop of the Cathars in Mailand in the twelfth Century, but returned to the Catholic Church round 1190.] Dr.Herzog, et al, Real-Encyklopädie, Gotha, Rudolf Besser, 1859, Band XI, s. 130.  J. L. Mosheim, Kerklyke Geschiedenissen,Vierde deel, p. 398. [Mosheim informs us also that the Latins usually call all opponents of the pope Waldenses and Albigenses. Vierde deel, p. 372.]

[lxxvi] Ignaz von Döllinger, Beiträge zur Sektengeschichte des Mittelalters, Dokumente vornehmlich zur Geschichte der Valdesier und Katharer, Darmstadt, 1982, Band II, s. 661, “Summarium impiae et pharisaicae Picardorum raligionis. (Cod. Viennens. Cat. 967), [Nonnulli vero cum Judaeis sabbatum celebrant…” s. 662], See also page 327.

[lxxvii] Paul Beuzart, Les hérésies pendant le Moyen-Âge et la Réforme jusqu’à la mort de Philippe II, 1598, dans la région de Douai, d’Arras et au pays de l’Alleu, Le Puy: Imprimerie Peyriller, Rouchon et Gamon, 1912, p. 38.

[lxxviii] Ibid., p. 47. This is a clear example of a group that kept the Sabbath. The French text says:  ˝Ils voulaient célébrer le samedi au lieu du dimanche et méprisaient l’Église.˝

[lxxix] N.n., Schetsen van de Geschiedenis der Waldensen, Amsterdam, W. H. Kirberger, 1852, p. 120, 138.  

[lxxx] Adrianus Haemstedius, Historie der Martelaren, Utrecht, Herdruk 1980,  p. 804.

[lxxxi] Kenneth A Strand, Editor, The Sabbath in Scripture and History, (Daniel Augsburger, The Sabbath and Lord’s Day During the Middle Ages), Review & Herald, 1982, p. 209. 

[lxxxii] Thieleman J. van Braght, Martyrs Mirror, Herald Press, p. 435, 436.

[lxxxiii] D. Jodoc. Van Lodenstein, Kort en Zedig onderzoek van ‘t berigt nopende den Sabbath, Groningen, Jan Scheutingh, 1746.

[lxxxiv] Dr. J. C. Rullmann, Kerk en Maatschappij in verleden en heden, Utrecht, Amsterdam, deel I. p. 214

[lxxxv] R. A. van der Toorn, De Wet des Heeren is volmaakt, Kanters B.V., Alblasserdam, 1994, p. 87.

[lxxxvi] Prof. Dr. M. J. A. De Vrijer, Lodenstein, p. 18.

[lxxxvii] Mia S. H. van Oostveen, Henri Arnaud, leraar en veldheer der Waldenzen, Lichtstralen op de akker der wereld, 1951, nr. 4,  pp. 9, 12.

[lxxxviii] Vol. VIII, p. 76.

[lxxxix] N.n., Toelichting op de Schetsen Kerkgeschiedenis, Gereformeerde Jongelingsbond, 1935, Deel II, p. 223.

[xc] Peter Allix, Some Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont, Oxford, 1821, p. 169. 

[xci] Robert Cox, The Literature of the Sabbath Question, Edinburgh, 1865, Vol. II, pp. 201, 202. 

[xcii] G. G. Coulton, Romanism and Truth, London, The Faith Press, Ltd., 1930, Reprinted 1931, pp. 87, 88. 

 Cf., Gilbert O. Nations, The Canon Law of the Papal Throne, New York, Chicago, London, Edinburgh, Fleming   H. Revell Comp., 1926, p. 62-67.          Nations writes: “No legal policy of the Papacy is more characteristically reactionary and pernicious than its system of censorship and prohibition of books and periodicals. From the time when the Emperor Constantine gave the hierarchy power to enforce its doctrines by the sanctions of penal law the policy of forcible suppression began to be ruthlessly applied to writings disapproved by dominant ecclesiastical authority.” p. 62.

[xciii] Coulton, p. 89.

[xciv] 1 Kings 19:10, 18.


The following two pages show a part of the third chapter of Paul Beuzart’s book. In this chapter, according to the documents preserved in the archives at Arras, Beuzart states in detail the execution of a group of Waldenses in the North of France.

It is interesting to note that the discovered documents clearly indicate that the group believed in observing the seventh-day Sabbath.

The documents present several details about this group. They had Ghuillebert Thulin as their pastor, who also cared for several other groups in the area.

Coming from Valenciennes on the 25th of March 1420 to visit some people at Douai, Ghuillebert was arrested together with 15 others and tried at Arras.

The tribunal of the Inquisition condemned them guilty of heresy and they were to be executed at the stake. Some recanted while the others, including the pastor, remained steadfast and were burned.

Page 47 lists heresies that caused their execution such as not worshipping the virgin and the saints and not believing in the Eucharist and holy water. They refused to make the sign of the cross and rejected masses for the dead. And just a few sentences above the middle of the page it is clearly stated that they required the celebration of Saturday instead of Sunday and scorned the Church.




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