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This chapter from this book is really important to Christians who ask “did the apostles and their direct successors practice baptismal regeneration?”. It is not the best read,,, as it is mostly Quotes from pre-Niceian Church Fathers. BUT IT IS VERY IMPORTANT HISTORICAL INFO. There will be more articles coming about the history of baptism, it’s pagan origins and the history of that damnable herasy creeping into the Christian church, thus danming billions of souls as some have claimed., by making salvation,,grace+ water baptism.

6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel

 

WATER BAPTISM:

A PAGAN AND JEWISH RITE,

BUT NOT CHRISTIAN

PROVEN BY SCRIPTURE AND HISTORY

CONFIRMED BY THE LIVES OF SAINTS

WHO WERE NEVER BAPTIZED WITH WATER 

JAMES H. MOON FALLSINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA Copyrighted, 1902

  

 

 

 

 

WATER BAPTISM AFTER THE APOSTLES’ TIME

By collateral evidence we are led to suppose that several of the apostles were martyred under the Roman Emperor, Nero, about A.D. 64.

The Jews rebelled against the Romans, A.D. 66. At the approach of war, Christians of Jerusalem and Judea removed to Pela, beyond the Jordan.[200] Eusebius says they fled in obedience to a Divine
revelation.[201] These were all Jews, and in their new homes were called Nazarenes or Ebonites.[202]

Jerusalem and the temple were utterly destroyed and the Jews massacred by the Romans, A.D. 70.[203]

Dean Stanley says: “The fall of Jerusalem was the fall of the Jewish world; it was a reason for the close of the apostolic age; a death-blow of the influence of Jewish nationality for a long time to come.”[204]

After the destruction of Jewish Jerusalem, Gentile Antioch appears to have become the seat of church authority.

John was probably the only apostle then living and he, it is thought, was in a distant country.

At Antioch and other places Gentile Christians evidently soon gained the ascendency and discouraged, even Jews from circumcision and other offensive Jewish customs, while water baptism and other usages not repulsive to Gentiles were generally continued and in time modified to
suit taste and convenience.

The early Christians were not united in making these changes; they caused continued discord and division among them as is manifest throughout the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers and Eusebius.

The Nazarenes, Ebonites and some others adhered to circumcision and the customs of Moses as the elders at Jerusalem had insisted that Paul should do and as in the “Hermit Church” of Abyssinia they still continue to do.[205][206]

We find these Nazarenes and Ebonites soon classified as heretics after the Gentiles preponderated.

Water baptism seems not to have been insisted upon at first but in the second century greater importance appears to have been attached to it.[207] Many, however, claimed that only baptism of the Holy Spirit and purity of the heart were necessary because none of the apostles but Paul were baptized with water, and Christ said: “John indeed baptized with water but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit;”[208] and again, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

Justin Martyr[209] said: “What is the use of that baptism which cleanses the flesh and the body alone. Baptize the soul from wrath, envy, &c., and lo! the whole body is clean.” And again: “What need have I of that other baptism who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

While many such expressions occur in the writings of the “Fathers,” there are many more which support sacramentalism. Their testimonies are conflicting.

About the beginning of the third century we find water baptism first called a sacrament by Tertulian and about the same time he complains that many tried to destroy it. Plainly, as water baptism was exalted, opposition increased.[210]

The sect called Ascoondrutes rejected all symbols and sacraments on the principle that incorporeal things cannot be communicated by things corporeal nor divine mysteries by things visible.[211]

Schaff says[212]: Many Jews and Gentiles were baptized only with water; not with Holy Spirit and fire of the Gospel, and smuggled their old religious notions and practices into the church.

The Roman Emperor, Constantine, professedly became a Christian, while he virtually remained a heathen; A.D. 312.[213]

Christians were few in number before Constantine, but now pagans flocked to the church and sat in its councils.

“Constantine married the Christian church to the heathen world.” He virtually united church and state. He convened the council of Nice and they formed a creed A.D. 325.

Many protested against this council and its decisions but the mass supported the Emperor and the creed.

Among obscure dissenters whom the ruling church called heretics may we expect thereafter to find the nearest approach to Christianity as Jesus taught it upon the Mount and elsewhere.

Mosheim says: No sooner had Constantine abolished the superstition of his ancestors than magnificent churches were erected for the Christians, which were richly adorned with pictures and images and bore striking resemblances to the Pagan temples both within and without.[214]

The simplicity of the Gospel was clouded by the prodigious number of rites and ceremonies which the bishops invented to embellish it.[215]

They imagined the Pagans would receive Christianity with more facility when they saw the rites and ceremonies to which they were accustomed adopted in the church. So the religion of the Christians was made to conform very nearly to that of the Pagans in external appearance.[216]

The vice and insolent tyranny of many of the priesthood soon became notorious.[217]

Neander says: Such individuals of the laity as were distinguished by their piety from the great mass of nominal Christians and from the worldly minded of the clergy often suffered persecution from the
latter.[218]

The name of Andeus stand prominent among the many dissenters who protested against the corruptions of the ruling church at this time.[219]

Isolated companies of devout Christians under various names rejected the Sacraments. They were called Lampetians, Adelphians, Estatians, Marcionites, Euchites, Massalians and Enthusiasts.[220]

Mosheim says: Enthusiasts who discarded the Sacraments and were rather wrong headed than vicious lived among the Greeks and Assyrians for many ages. They were known by the general and invidious name of Massalians or Euchites. A foot-note says: This sect arose under the Emperor
Constantius about the year 361.[221]

We have numerous accounts of Christians who were prominent in the dominant church of the fourth century who deferred water baptism to middle life or old age and many were never so baptized altho’ born of Christian parents.[222]

About A.D. 660 another Constantine came forward as a reform preacher under inspiration said to have been received in reading the New Testament, particularly the writings of St. Paul.[223]

His followers were sometimes called Macedonians but were generally known as Paulicians altho’ they preferred to be called Christians.

It appears that these Paulicians existed centuries before under the other names given them by their enemies and that the drooping sect was revived by the powerful preaching of Constantine.

Neander says[224] the Paulicians wholy rejected the outward observance of the Sacraments and maintained that by multiplication of external rites and ceremonies in the dominant church the true life of religion had declined. That it was not Christ’s intention to institute water baptism as a perpetual ordinance and that by baptism he meant only baptism of the Holy Spirit and that he communicates himself by the living waters for the thorough cleansing of the whole human nature; that eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ consists in coming into vital union with him.

In the ninth century one hundred thousand Paulicians were martyred at once in Armenia, accused of heresy and denying the Sacraments.[225]

For the same offence untold numbers were put to death during previous and subsequent centuries and in widely distant countries.[226]

Their enemies represent that these Paulicians were loving, spiritual and peaceful, and diligent in reading and circulating the Scriptures, but they were heretics and not worthy to live.

Were not these dissenting martyrs a remnant or seed of the living church and their baptized enemies the real heretics?

The history of these inhuman persecutions reveals a sad condition of the dominant church and its ruling clergy of the ninth century.

Some Ecclesiastics who presided over a flourishing theological institution at Orleans, claimed to have been awakened by the writings of
St. Augustine and St. Paul, particularly the later. Many of the nobility and others of eminent piety and benevolence became their adherents.[227]

They rejected external worship, rites and ceremonies and placed religion in the internal contemplation of God and the elevation of the soul.

They rejected water baptism and held to a baptism of the Spirit, also to a Spiritual Eucharist by which all who had received spiritual baptism would be refreshed and find their spiritual needs completely satisfied.

Thirteen leaders of this sect were burned A.D. 1022. When urged to recant they replied, “We have a higher law, one written by the Holy Spirit in the inner man.”

Mosheim says they soared above the comprehension of the age in which they lived.

A few years later a similar sect was discovered in the districts of Arras and Liege. They held individual holiness and practical piety to be necessary and that outward baptism and outward Sacrament were
nothing. This they affirmed was the doctrine of Christ and his apostles.[228]

About A.D. 1046 a sect was suppressed at Turin which was favored by the nobility and widely diffused among the clergy and laity. They claimed to have one priest without the tonsure. He daily visited their brethren scattered throughout the world and when God bestowed him on them they
received from him with great devotion forgiveness of sin. They acknowledged no other priest and no other sacrament but his absolution.[229]

Who–we ask–is this priest without the tonsure, who daily visits the world-wide brethern?

Is it not Jesus who was made a priest, “not after the law of a carnal commandment, but by the power of an endless life?”[230]

A sect called Bogomiles, who rejected outward baptism and acknowledged only spiritual communion, was discovered in Constantinople, many of them in the families connected with the court. Their leader was burned A.D. 1119, others were imprisoned, yet they spread secretly over the Greek empire.[231]

Mosheim says: The Eastern churches continued to be infested with such fanatics in the twelfth century, and the Latin sects were still more numerous than the Greeks.[232]

The Catherists were a numerous faction in Bulgaria and spread almost all over Europe under various names who all agreed in rejecting baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

“Brethern and sisters of the free Spirit” took their denomination from the words of St. Paul (Rom. 8, 2-14). They were called Begards, Beghines, Turpines, etc. They rejected baptism and the Supper as no
longer useful to them and held to inward and spiritual worship. They spread rapidly in Italy, France and Germany. They were mostly poor people and lived upon alms while upon their missionary Journeys. Great numbers of plain, pious people, rich and poor, embraced their teaching
and forsook the dominant church.[233]

The Inquisition checked their career with its usual record of cruelty and blood, yet they continued to feed the fires of persecution for more than two centuries, until near the time of the reformation.

In the south of France dissenters called Albigenses became more numerous than the dominant church. They were condemned by four councils, but still continued to increase until about A.D. 1215, when they were exterminated by a long and horrible war and the Inquisition.[234]

These Albigenses were distinguished generally by their strict and blameless lives, by their abhorrence of oaths, war and punishment by death, and for their hospitality and beneficence. They accepted baptism spiritually and rejected the sacraments.

Can we believe that the church which led to the extermination of these Albigenses, the Paulicians, and many others, was ever established by that loving Saviour who spent his life in doing good to the souls and bodies of men?

Does it not answer more nearly the description given of Mystery Babylon who was drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus? Who would not gladly forget a succession which claims to run back through such a church as this?[235]

In some parts of France dissenters similar to the Albigenses were called Bulgarians, in Italy they were called Paterens and in Germany were called Catherists, and in derision were called “Good Men.” How is it that these dissenters, by the testimony of their enemies, appear to have lived better and holier lives without the sacraments than their persecutors did with them?

What is the testimony of observation in our day?[236] Are those beatitudes which Jesus pronounced upon the Mount better observed by those who have seven sacraments than they are by Protestants who have only two? And, are they better observed under two sacraments than they are by the Quakers, and some other Christians who have none? If this is the case, it is strong support to the belief that Christ ordained the sacraments. But if the reverse is found to be the existing condition, then a suspicion may arise that these sacraments are not divine, but are human impositions and that they divert from the Divine. Therefore, may it be that some of our best Christians get along quite as well or
better without them.

Neither the word sacrament nor any synonym thereof occurs in the New Testament, nor in the writings of the “Fathers,” until the third century. There were no sacraments then as there are now, therefore no necessity for such a name.

Sacrament was a Pagan name for a military oath and was ruled into its present position by apostate Christians.

The apostles and first Christians evidently continued to eat the Passover Supper, because their fathers had done so for ages in memory of Israel passing over the Red Sea out of Egypt, and not from any command of Christ. Otherwise they would with still more persistence have continued to wash each other’s feet, which Jesus commanded with language and actions far more solemn, impressive and imperative.[237]

The Ante-Nicene Fathers and Eusebius inform us that water baptism was a prolific cause of bitter discord and division among the early Christians. It still sorrowfully distracts the loving children of our
one Father and impedes the spread of his kingdom in the earth.

These lamentable conditions must inevitably continue until such shadows are dissolved by divine brightness in that day which we rejoice to believe is now dawning.

FOOTNOTES:

http://www.archive.org/stream/waterbaptism17222gut/17222.txt

RELEVANT POST. Water salvation/baptismal regeneration r  The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity

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