Les Cathares

From the second century, until the beginning of the thirteenth century, there was a group of Christians who were prominent in southern France. I first came across this people when I was a missionary in the city of Carcossone, France. You will know them by the name Albigenses or Cathari. I call them by their French name, Les Cathares.

The castle on the cover of this book is one of the many built by this people to protect themselves from the Catholic armies of France and Spain. I had the privilege of visiting many of them, and of visiting the Center of Cathare Studies in Carcassone. From these visits I learned that they are some of our Baptist ancestors.

In this book you will learn where they came from, what they believed, and why it is important to us today. You will learn that without this people, there would be no America as we know it. It is my hope that this book will give you a better appreciation of the contribution Baptists made to America. The freedoms we enjoy have their roots in Baptist principles.

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About This Book

God has allowed me to travel the world and see many things that most Baptist preachers have not had the privilege of seeing. One of those that had a profound effect upon me was the privilege of walking in the footsteps of some of our Baptist ancestors.
We will be looking at some of our Baptist ancestors who were called Cathares or Albigenses. They were prominent in southern France from the second century until the beginning of the thirteenth century. My path crossed theirs some seven hundred years after they were wiped out by the Catholic knight, Simon of Monfort. There are traces of their existence throughout southern France, but my study of this people has taken me from the Middle East, to Great Britain, and to America.
I will use the names they carried in southern France in this book. There are two names that are most often used to identify this people. The one I prefer is Cathar, the other you may recognize if you are at all familiar with Baptist history. It is Albigeois, or in English, Albigenses. There is another name used for these people that will be familiar to all of you, it is “Anabaptist.”
A search for this people on the Internet will not be of much help in studying them and their beliefs. Most of what you will find is from a Catholic or secular perspective. It is greatly distorted by the Catholic Church, which paints them as heretics. The secular writers get most of their information from what the Catholics have written, and is colored by their secular view of the world.
I was a missionary in Carcassonne, France, where we find the Center of Cathar Studies. I have visited this center and found that most of what they have is, again, based on the distorted view of the Cathares by the Catholic Church.
It is not necessary to spend much time looking at the Catholic view of church history to learn that they distort history to support their view of things. If you read what they wrote about the Protestants at the time of the Reformation you will see what I mean.
The Catholic Church also applied the names given to Bible believing Christians who opposed them to other groups that were, in fact, false teachers. To keep the truth from being known, the Catholic Church would burn anything they found that was written by the Cathares, or by any other dissenting group or persons.
To my knowledge, there is only one document written by the Cathares stating what they believed that has survived the fires of the Catholic Church. It is “La Noble Leçon” (The Noble Lesson). I have included the English translation as an appendix in this book.

About The Author

Pierre was saved at the age of 17. After high school, he entered the US Army, and in 10 years rose from the rank of private to captain. At that time the Lord dealt with him about leaving the Army. This is when God called him into the ministry. He has been a missionary, a pastor, and an evangelist. One thing that has been consistent from the very beginning is his love for an accurate interpretation and exposition of the Scriptures.