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FROM biblebelievers.com

The religious sect known as the “Church of Christ” has many peculiar and aberrant doctrines that are contrary to the word of God. It is a most deceptive and dangerous cult. Their teaching of baptismal regeneration is an age-old heresy that has damned millions to hell, and is still doing so today. The idea that they are the one, true and restored church of Jesus Christ puts them in the same league with the Mormon and Roman Catholic churches.

If you are a member of this “church” or have been influenced by its teachings, we challenge you to ask your preacher the questions that follow, then get your King James Bible out, open it up, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the TRUTH (John 16:13). If you have never been saved in the Bible sense, for heaven’s sake, do not mistake being “washed in the baptistry of the church” for being washed in the blood of Christ.

If you ask one of these “preachers” any of the questions in this tract, you won’t get a straight answer due to their “screwball” theology. You’ll have them in “hot water,” “swimming in circles,” trying to explain their heretical positions. They’ll be “hopping all over the pond” because they can’t stay too long in one spot without sinking in the mire of their false doctrines.

Don’t YOU wind up being baptized in the “Lake of Fire” by accepting a “waterworks” based plan of salvation and rejecting salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ. (Matt. 3:11; Rev. 20:15; Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 5:9; Rom. 11:6).

Here are Questions for Campbellites

1. According to the history of the “Church of Christ,” God used certain men to “restore” the New Testament Church in the early 1800’s. Where was the true New Testament church before then? Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). What happened to the church and where was the truth it was responsible for preaching before God restored it?

2. If a “Church of Christ” elder refuses to baptize me, will I be lost until I can find one who will? Do I need Jesus AND a Campebllite “preacher” in order to be saved? If I do, then Jesus Christ is not the only Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) and the Holy Spirit is not the only Administrator (1 Cor. 12:13) of salvation – the “Church of Christ” preacher is necessary to salvation for he is performing a saving act on me when he baptizes me! Is this not blasphemy against Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost?

3. If the water pipes broke and the baptistry was bone dry, would my salvation have to wait until the plumber showed up? If I were to die before then, would I go to hell? If obedience to water baptism is the means of forgiveness of sins, then I would.

4. If my past sins are forgiven when I am baptized in water, and it is possible for me to “lose my salvation” and go to hell after being baptized, then wouldn’t my best chance of going to heaven be to drown in the baptistry?!! – before I had a chance to sin so as to be lost again? If I wanted to be absolutely sure of heaven, isn’t that my best opportunity?

5. If as a Christian I can sin so as to “lose my salvation,” just what sin or sins will place me in such danger? Is it possible to know at what point one has committed such a sin, and become lost again? Please be specific and give clear Bible references.

6. If as a Christian I can fall and “lose my salvation,” is it possible to regain it? If so, how? If God “takes away” my salvation, doesn’t that make Him an “Indian giver”? How could I ever know for sure that I was saved or lost?

7. After becoming a Christian, are there any sins that will put me beyond the “point of no return” so that I cannot regain salvation? What sin or sins will put me in such jeopardy, so that, after becoming a Christian, I would be doomed to hell without any recourse? Please be specific and give me clear Bible references.

8. If I committed some sin -whether in thought, word, or deed, one minute before a fatal car crash – would I go to hell if I did not have time to repent of it? And, please, don’t just say that it’s up to God without giving me a specific Bible reference.

9. Why does the “Church of Christ” insist that their name is scriptural when it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible? The church is referred to as the “church of God” eight (8) times in the Bible, but never is it called the “church of Christ.” The verse they use is Romans 16:16, but it doesn’t say “church of Christ.” Where does the Bible call the church the “church of Christ”?

10. If the “Church of Christ” claims to worship God only as “authorized” by scripture because they sing only (and do not use instrumental music), then where do they get the “authority” to use hymnals, pitchpipes, pews, and indoor baptistries in their worship services? If the answer is that they are “aids to worship,” where does the Bible allow for that? Where is your required authorization? If a pitchpipe can be an “aid to worship” for the song service in the “Church of Christ,” then why can’t a piano be an “aid to worship” for Baptists who may need more help in singing?

11. The “Church of Christ” teaches that a sinner is forgiven of sin when he is baptized in water by a Campbellite elder. Where does the Bible teach that water baptism is required in order to have one’s sins forgiven? Every time the phrase “for the remission of sins” occurs it is speaking of the fact that sins have been forgiven previously! The Bible plainly teaches that the forgiveness of sins is conditioned upon repentance of sin and faith in Christ – never upon water baptism! (Matthew 3:11; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 20:21; Romans 1:16; Romans 4:5; et.al.) Where does the Bible teach that forgiveness of sin is linked with water baptism? When Christ made the statement in Matthew 26:28, “for the remission of sins,” it had to be because they had been forgiven all through the Old Testament! Christ shed His blood because God forgave repentant and believing sinners for thousands of years before the Son of God came to “take away” sins and to redeem us and pay the sin-debt with His own precious blood. How can one say that “for the remission of sins” means ‘in order to obtain’ in light of the fact that God never uses the phrase in that sense? In the Old Testament God forgave sin on the basis of a blood sacrifice (Heb. 9:22) – the Old Testament saints had their sins remitted (i.e., forgiven) but they were not redeemed until Christ came and shed His blood at Calvary. Their sins were covered (Romans 4:7; Psalm 32:1), but the sinner was not cleared of his guilt (Exodus 34:7) until the Cross (Heb.10:4). Before Calvary, the sins of believers were pardoned, but they were not paid for (i.e., redeemed) until the crucifixion (see Romans 3:25 and Heb. 9:12-15). When Jesus said, “It is finished,” (John 19:30), all sin – past, present and future – was paid for, and the plan of salvation was completed, so that ‘whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins’ (Acts 10:43). In Acts 2:38, the people were baptized because their sins were forgiven (at Calvary when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,”) and they received the blessing of forgiveness when they repented of their sin of rejecting Christ and accepted Him as their Saviour and Lord. Friend, heaven or hell depends on what you believe about this.

12. If salvation is not by works of righteousness which we have done, and baptism is a work of “righteousness,” then how can water baptism be a part of salvation? (Titus 3:5; Matt. 3:16) In the Bible, we are SAVED BY GRACE, and grace does not involve human effort or merit grace is grace and work is work! (Just read Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 11:6.)

13. The “Church of Christ” teaches that “obeying the Gospel” includes being baptized in water in order to be saved. If this is true, then how is it that the converts of Acts 10 were saved by faith before and without water baptism? The Bible says in Acts 5:32 that only those who obey God may receive the Holy Ghost – so what did those in Acts 10 do to obey and receive the Holy Ghost and be saved? In the light of Acts 10:34-48, Acts 11:14-18, and Acts 15:7-11, how can anyone honestly believe that water baptism is necessary to salvation? Simon Peter said their hearts were “purified by faith” (Acts 15:9) and that we are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ like they were (Acts 15:11); that is, before and without water baptism! We know that unsaved people do not receive or have the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; Romans 8:9). We know that the Holy Spirit is given only to those who have believed on Christ (John 7:39). We know that the Holy Spirit seals the believing sinner the moment he puts his faith and trust in Christ as Savior, before he is ever baptized in water (Ephesians 1:12,13). How does the warped theolgy of Campbellism explain away these clear passages of Scripture without “muddying the waters” of truth and drowning its members in eternal damnation?

It would be impossible to discuss all the false doctrines of the “Church of Christ” in this small article. If you have a particular question not dealt with here, or need clarification on the issues discussed, contact us via email or at the phone number or address listed. We will provide you with sane, sensible and scriptural answers to your Bible questions.

http://www.biblebelievers.com/david_martin/martin_church-christ.html

RELATED post

Is the Church of Christ a denomination?  Comments and questions on Baptism by Truthseeker 24  RePost: The Heresy of Restorationsim by Damon Whitsell  WATER BAPTISM: A PAGAN AND JEWISH RITE,BUT NOT CHRISTIAN by James Moon  The “ONE TRUE CHURCH” by Damon Whitsell   PUTTING GOD IN A BOX , the result of the personification of the bible as the Holy Spirit. By Damon Whitsell  Falsely viewing the Holy Spirit as a poetic device known as personification!  The “Church of Christ” Denial of the Present-Day Ministry of the Holy Spirit by chocd.org  DANGER: The Church of Christ By David J. Stewart Church of Christ Legalism Questionnaire What was the fifth century Pelagian Controversy? How was it similar to what is taught in the Church of Christ?  The “Church of Christ” is not the “one true church”! It is a Cult. By Damon Whitsell

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Most of the information in this article is taken from the sources footnoted.

Restorationism is the claim that the Christian Church fell away from the truths of Jesus and the NT apostles and had to be “RESTORED” to it’s NT state and practice. The whole Christian church had become apostate and non-existent, is their claim. But this allegation is pure folly and uninformed speculation. This is also in total contrast and contradiction to the idea of “REFORM” and the protestant reformation.

The main influence and emphasis of the Restoration Movement of the Cambellite’s and their subsequent offsping religions of the “restorationist” that followed and was spawned from them, is seriously flawed and based on the false assumption that the true Christian Church had been wiped clean from the face of the earth (needing to be completely restored) and that Gods promises about his church and word are not true. In the face of much persecution and attempts to abolish God’s church and word from the face of the earth, there has always been at least a large remnant of true believers and members of the incorporeal and invisible church of God. “’Restorationism’ is based on a belief called the Great Apostasy, that traditional Christianity has departed so far from the original Christian principles that it is not redeemable.” (2) 

The bible contains these promises about itself and Jesus’s Church.

Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

1Pe 1:25A But the word of the Lord endureth forever.

Isa 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.

The Restoration Movement (also known historically as the “Stone – Campbell Movement”) was started by Alexander Campbell when he opened this church the “Old Philadelphia congregation of the Church of Christ, this congregation came into existence in 1804. The records are in the possession of the church in Warren County, Tennessee.“ (1) The “Church of Christ” denomination had not existed until this point.

Although we mostly know of Alexander Campbell, Barton Stone and Walter Scott to be the founders of the restoration movement, it’s principles and precepts had already been laid by others.

The key principles of the Restoration Movement and the Restorationist are,

1. Christianity should not be divided, Christ intended the creation of one church.

2. Creeds divide, but Christians should be able to find agreement by standing on the Bible itself (from which they believe all creeds are but human expansions or constrictions) instead of on the opinions of people about the Bible.

3. Ecclesiastical traditions divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by following the practice (as best as it can be determined) of the early church.

4.Names of human origin divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by using biblical names for the church (i.e., “Christian Church,” “Church of God” or “Church of Christ” as opposed to “Methodist” or “Lutheran”, etc.). It is in this vein that conservative members of the Churches of Christ object to the phrase “Stone-Campbell Movement.” (1)

The Heretical Restoration Movement is comprised of the Campbellites; Disciples of Christ, Church of Christ., Independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ.(2) And it is also comprised of members defecting from mainline Christianity. The Religious Affiliation of Alexander Campbell by adhernats.com (3)

The Heretical Churches of Restorationism are, Christadelphians, Latter Day Saint [LDS] movement (The Mormon Church and it’s sub-groups), Adventism, Millerites, Sabbatarianism, Seventh-day Adventists, Charismatic Restorationism, and more. (2)

The false doctrines of restorationism where perpetuated by these silly mottos! Great Slogans of the Restoration Movement by John Wadely.

Each of these false traditions give a different reason for believing the GREAT APOSTACY had taken place and necessitated a total “restoration”.

Restorationist dates for the Great Apostasy (2)

Restorationism is often criticized for rejecting the traditions followed by the early church, but different restoration groups have treated tradition differently. While some view all the Church Fathers as unreliable witnesses to the original Apostolic Church, others find in the earliest Church Fathers proof that the early church believed and practiced as some restorationists do, and the late Church Fathers differences as evidences of a gradual or sudden falling away. Common to all restorationism is the belief that the Church Fathers or post-apostolic church leadership had no authorization to change the church’s beliefs and practices, but did so nevertheless.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the apostasy started after the death of the last apostle, John. They believe that the Holy Spirit held the apostasy back in full force but after John died the spirit let the apostasy grow. They believe that it came in full after the First Council of Nicaea. Still, they believe that throughout all that time there were true Christians alive until the beginning of the restoration.

The Latter-day Saints also assign a very early date for the apostasy, beginning shortly after the deaths of the original Twelve Apostles at approximately 100 AD, and certainly being in a full state of apostasy by the 4th century. With this early date, they claim the least need to reconcile known writings and practices of the early church and Church Fathers. Although their writings are sometimes cited to show reminiscences of earlier true practices, they are also used to demonstrate that doctrine and understanding had been already altered.

The Sabbatarians have generally agreed on the approximate date of 135 AD as the start of the apostasy. Justin Martyr in about 160 AD had specifically defended the first day assembly, and so is considered an apostate to Sabbatarians. Nevertheless, the early church history recorded the continued keeping of the Saturday Sabbath for creation and Sunday Sabbath for the Resurrection in Hippolytus’s time. They view the apostasy as not complete until the church stopped keeping the Sabbath sometime after Constantine.

The Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement views the Great Apostasy as a gradual process. Ignatius promoted obedience to the bishop in about 100 AD,[23] which is viewed by some as signaling the introduction of the idea of a professional clergy, who began to elevate themselves over the people, leading by a gradual process of corruption to the prophesied “man of lawlessness”. Infant baptism, which restorationists condemned as coercive church membership, is similarly viewed. They believe that only adult baptism was practiced at least to the time of Tertullian, but that infant baptism was introduced locally around the time of Irenaeus. They often reject notions of original sin which entail a corruption of human nature, and admit only a defilement of mankind’s habitual environment, traditions or culture. As do other Restorationists, they saw the church-state alliance under Constantine (see also Constantine I and Christianity and Christendom) as a kind of captivity of the church through the centralized power of the bishops. Finally, the development of the idea of the supremacy and universal authority of the Bishop of Rome is considered the completion of the Great Apostasy from which the Protestant Reformation only partially recovered, but most nearly did so among the Anabaptists and the Baptists

If you will investigate for yourself you will see that each of these scenarios is NOT TRUE and purely false. The Restoration movement and all of it’s associated religions or churches are cults based on false doctrine.

In his 1955 book The Rise of the Cults: An Introductory Guide to the Non-Christian Cults, Walter Martin gave the following definition of a cult: “By cultism we mean the adherence to doctrines which are pointedly contradictory to orthodox Christianity and which yet claim the distinction of either tracing their origin to orthodox sources or of being in essential harmony with those sources. Cultism, in short, is any major deviation from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith.”

These “cardinal doctrines” are generally agreed to be,1. the Trinity 2. the full deity and humanity of Christ 3. the spiritual lostness of the human race 4. the substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ 5. salvation by faith alone in Christ alone 6. the physical return of Christ 7. the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.

Certainly all the churches, groups or movements listed in this article meet the criteria to be called cults and in NO WAY could be considered Christian.

All this information and more is covered in the awesome video series “Salvation through water? Church of Christ” 1-14 from Dr. Robert Moory available for viewing on the How2BecomeAChristian.info web site on the “Church of Christ video page” and the VODPOD widget on this blog. The video series is also on the H2bac.info “COC” vodpod @ http://h2bacinfococvideos.vodpod.com/ which has 32 + videos on the COC and it’s doctrines.

Sincerely, IJN, IHS

Damon Whitsell H2bac.info

____________________________________________________

(1) http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Restoration-Movement

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorationism

(3) http://www.adherents.com/people/pc/Alexander_Campbell.html

This work is licensed (FOR YOUR FREE USE) under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

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“Church of Christ” Topical Video – Campbellism

 Bob L. Ross, author of the book, “Campbellism, Its History and Heresies,” joins Larry Wessels, director of Christian Answers, in this brief review of this 19th-century religious movement. This movement known as “Campbellism” and adhered to by groups known as “Church of Christ,” “Christian Church,” and “Disciples of Christ,” had its beginning primarily through the influence of two immigrants from Ireland. Thomas Campbell, the father, and Alexander Campbell, the son, rebelled against Presbyterianism and ultimately created the Campbellite movement. The Campbells had arrived in America in the early 1800s and later with the help of Walter Scott and Barton W. Stone “restored” the “ancient Gospel” with an emphasis on Acts 2:38 and baptismal remission. Works righteousness is a common feature of Campbellism and plays a large part in many of their strange doctrines such as their denial of the use of musical instruments in the church worship service (among some of their sects).

19  For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

1Co 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 1Co 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

THE CHURCH OF CHRIST

 

 

 

For years I have heard it taught that the Church of Christ is NOT a denomination or sect like the Baptist, Methodist, etc.
 
Let’s Examine The Evidence
 
World Book Dictionary defines denomination as: (1) a name for a group or class of things (2) a religious group or sect.
 
Holman Bible Dictionary defines a sect as: a group having established their own identity and teachings over against the larger group to which they belong. especially the different parties making up Judaism in the N.T. times.
 
New Englishman’s Greek Concordance and Lexicon defines sect as: the persons holding a certain opinion, that is a sect, a faction.
 
The evidence is clear; the Church of Christ according to the definitions above is a denomination or sect. (1) they have a name and they are a group of believers (2) they are a religious group (3) they have established their own identity and teachings to set them apart from a larger group, which makes them a sect or denomination.
 
Here is what we read in the bible: Then the high priest rose up, and all that were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees ( Acts 5:15 ) … and …There rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees ( Acts 15:5 ) … KJV
 
IT SEEMS TO ME; that a DENOMINATION or SECT is a smaller group of believers within a larger group of believers, and different from other groups due to their teachings and beliefs.
 
Groups…Sects…Denominations…Church of Christ
 
(1) One Cuppers…these believers teach that it’s a sin to use more than one cup during the Lord’s Supper.
(2) Fellowship Rooms…these believers teach that it’s a sin to have a fellowship room in the church building where believers can come together to eat and share a meal.
(3) Musical Instruments…these believers teach that it’s a sin to use musical instruments when singing songs during worship to God.
(4) Still Others…see nothing wrong with using multiple cups, fellowship rooms, or musical instruments.
(5) And Many…of these divided sects teach that you are sinning and must repent and come back to the TRUE CHURCH, ( their sect ), in order to be pleasing to God.
 
Many people in the Church of Christ will not admit that they are a SECT or DENOMINATION of the larger part ( Christianity ). They will tell you that they belong to the TRUE CHURCH that Jesus started 2000 years ago.
 
But if you look closely at the Church of Christ, you will find many sects, with each sect claiming to be the one and only true church that Jesus started. And you will find these sects or denominations pointing fingers at each other and demanding that they repent and join their sect. The End Lee Howell

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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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