and the Holy Spirit
There is a great diversionary controversy over Immersion vs. Sprinkling or pouring of water in the ritual called Baptism. Such controversy reminds me of Jesus words in Matthew 23:23:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."
Is there any difference between those Pharisees and modern religionists who argue over immersion, sprinkling and pouring, to say nothing of infant Christening and adult Baptism. Let us take a deeper look at this ancient rituals called baptism. Where did it came from? Why was it important as an outward sign and what did it mean to the world? Does the amount of water used change the outcome? When and why did infants became involved in the process of baptism when there was no evidence they repent.
And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: John 20:22
The apostles had not yet been baptized with fire on the day of Pentecost but they had begun to receive the sprinkling of the Holy Spirit as Christ lived with and taught them. Though they had been immersed in water they had not yet been immersed in the Holy Spirit. There was much they needed to learn, to study, to practice and choose.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Ac 2:38
Peter is telling the people to repent, which has to do with change of mind and change of understanding. He is calling us to alter our thinking. This repentance is clearly a matter of choice which denotes a maturing understanding of what we think and what we should be thinking. For the results of baptism to be real this repentance seems to be a requirement.
We are also to repent and be baptized for the remission of sin. It is reasonable to presume that the condition of our thinking that brought us to sin must change and that change is apart of the required repentance, The word 'remission' is translated from the word 'aphesis' which is also translated 'liberty'. Its definition is to "release from bondage or imprisonment".
The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luke 4:18
Both the words deliverance and liberty are translated from the word 'aphesis'. Christ came to deliver us from sin and set us free or at liberty from the consequences of that sin. But what is that sin?
Sin is translated from the word hamartia which is defined as to be without a share in and to wander from the law of God. What is the first sin? To eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The primary sin of man was when he chose not be ruled by the will of God but elected to decide good and evil according to his own will. Then later Cain, in a dispute with his brother, chose to enforce his will upon his brother and Able died. Sin is the rejection of God or the usurpation of his authority. God's authority is found in the moral exercise of individual rights granted by God.
Lemech, Nimrod, Pharaoh, Herod, Caesar all chose to rule over their brother and their neighbor according to their own will often usurping God's will by oppressing his other Children. This choice to rule would have no success on earth if it was not for the pride, sloth and the fallen nature of mankind that urges him to covet his neighbors goods. When people neglect or transfer their God given responsibility to others they loose access to a corresponding equivalent in God given rights. To neglect a responsibility Granted by God is to waive a right granted by God. Both are a rejection of the will of God and qualify as sin.
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 2Pe 2:3
Men choose leaders to do that which God has ordained for them to do and those rulers, tempted by the sloth and avarice of the people choose to exercise authority over them. Leaders with varying degrees of power and authority have been chosen by the voice of the people, the vote of the majority and the influence of the rich for centuries. All these central governments of exercising authority are a part of the turning away from God and his precepts of government described throughout the Bible. People are a turning toward governments made by their own hands and consenting to their controlling power to obtain benefits. These systems are often the result of vanity and pride and by God's word they are a form of idolatry and therefore sin.
And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 1Sa 8:7-8
The sin and the burden of sin that men need to be liberated from is the refusal to be ruled by God. They desire to decide what is good and what is evil and elect men to enforce that choice upon their brother in exchange for social security and peace, often at the price of their neighbors' freedom. They are snared in their own net.
My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.... Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:.. My son, walk not thou in the way with them;.. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.... and fools hate knowledge? Proverbs 1:10-22
Men have constantly returned to the same snare and fallen into one captivity after another. Baptism was about cleaning up your act after changing your mind and your life's direction from Egypt to the promised land, from the kingdoms of Babylon to the kingdom of God. We should see clearly in the Bible that baptism must included repentance from that sin of rejecting God's dominion as well as a turning toward faith, fidelity and belief in the ways of God's kingdom and the perfect law of liberty which, is to often neglected if not rejected by the voice of the people.
Baptism was first dependent upon the conscious choice of the people and was never dependent upon the immersion in water or any other substance other than the spirit it self. Baptism was the result of understanding the truth of God's kingdom and seeking it with your whole heart mind and soul. Baptism required a willingness to change and be changed by the immersion, not in water, but in the Holy Spirit. The purpose of the water was to a sign to those who cannot see the things of the Spirit. It was the outward sign of an immersion in the Holy Spirit.
Kinds of Baptism
We know that there was a baptism of water. It was around since the washing at Mount Sinai and likely before. Many cultures have a purification ceremony where men and women young and old are expected change their ways according to the moral character of that societies. It was often a part of the right of passage from one state or status to another.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire:Mt 3:11
The bible mentions a baptism of the spirit and of fire but there seems to be another as well.
But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. Mt 20:22
This baptism mentioned by Jesus is clearly something different than immersion in water and it seems to also be different than the references to fire and spirit but possibly to his persecution and death.
And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared of my Father. Mt 20:23.
It seems to be clear that water immersion is not at all the only form of baptism. Although it is the most basic outward sign, it is clearly not the only type of baptism mentioned in the text. When it is stated that baptism is to be a requirement is the emphasis on the water or the spirit?
Sprinkling of the Spirit
The debate over the form of baptism often gives reference to Ezekial 36:25-26 states:
"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
Many use the reference to sprinkle clean water in this passage to justify forms of baptism other than immersion but is the water the focus of the statement at all or merely a symbol? It is the new heart and new spirit within you that takes away your hard heart that lack of repentance. That spirit in the midst of your being will cause you to keep the law of God.
It has been said, "See the author of rhantism, that is, sprinkling; not Christ, nor the apostles, but Cyprian; not in the days of Christ, but some two hundred and thirty years after. "1
Yet, we read in the seventh chapter of the first century Didache2, "Concerning baptism, baptize in this manner: Having said all these things beforehand, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living water [e.g. in natural running water]. If there is no living water, baptize in other water; and, if you are not able to use cold water, use warm. If you have neither, pour water three times upon the head in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
Numerous other authors of the early church dispel the tendency to become doctrinal and rigid concerning form rather than the essential which is found in the Spiritual baptism of Christ:
Hippolytus wrote, "If water is scarce, whether as a constant condition or on occasion, then use whatever water is available."3
Cornelius I wrote, "he received baptism in the bed where he lay, by pouring"4
But few put it plainer than Tertullian who wrote On Baptism in the year 203 "that with so great simplicity, without pomp, without any considerable novelty of preparation, finally, without expense, a man is dipped in water, and amid the utterance of some few words, is sprinkled, and then rises again, not much (or not at all) the cleaner, the consequent attainment of eternity is esteemed the more incredible. I am a deceiver if, on the contrary, it is not from their circumstance, and preparation, and expense, that idols' solemnities or mysteries get their credit and authority built up. Oh, miserable incredulity, which quite deniest to God His own properties, simplicity and power!"6
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ga 4:9
It should be clear an undeniable that the power of God's Baptism comes with the presence of His Spirit and is not found in the water or the incantations of ministers and priests. Cannot a man be saved in the desert or upon a dry deathbed with nothing more than repentance and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus talks of baptisms of fire and of spirit and after he already received the baptism of water, he tells us that there was another baptism to be washed with:
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Luke 12:50
Yet, men continue to make rules and exercise authority over the faith of the those who should be counted as brothers in Spirit because of form. To the extant we limit the types of baptism to water we also limit the word of God to one value. To the extant we place power in the form we denounce and blaspheme the power of the Spirit.
Yes Jesus was not the author of rhantism, that is, sprinkling but he was also not the author of submersion into water. He was the author of the word of God and the administrator of that Holy Spirit.
Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples John 4:2
The power and authority of the Baptism of Christ, which was never of or by water, rest not upon incantation and dogmatic ritual but upon the baptism of the spirit which is written on our hearts and minds and turns a man from captivities of sin to the straight path of grace.
The Vision of Faith
We cannot conjure up the Holy Spirit by form and ceremony nor keep it out by lack of liturgies. It is by his power alone that a man is baptized, not by the power of water but by the power of His Spirit, and there is no other submersion that gives us the life of of his salvation.
First, He calls for repentance, faith and belief in the Spirit of the Almighty. Belief in Christ is not a blind belief in the name we give our Lord or what we imagine him or his gospel to be. Faith is the a true and living perception of him, undefiled by the vain interpretations of men. And by that revealed nature of His Character, His Name, and through the knowledge and function of His divine will we are edified by His grace and in turn edify His kingdom with our bodies as one body with one Spirit.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 12:4-5
It is a step in the direction of the idols of the world and the faith of the Pharisees to place value on the form of the ritual of Baptism. Such costly turning of the heart and mind to the substance of form in the flesh is a turning back away from the substance of faith in the Spirit by which the form was given life.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Php 2:12
Let us not repent the salvation of God's Holy Spirit. Cling to that unseen God of Faith, giving or receiving no justification nor grace by outward appearance, but trusting wholly in the Holiness of the Spirit of our Lord and redeemer.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Col 3:15
Christening vs. Baptism
In earlier studies7we have seen that Baptism in its origin was not a magical observance but a practical one that outwardly suggested membership in a kingdom or nation such as Moses' Israel, Herod's Judea of Corban or John and Jesus' Kingdom of Heaven of charity and love which was at hand under the perfect law of liberty. It was always a religious ceremony because it was an expression of fealty, faith and allegiance to a government but it was only a government instituted by God when it was according to the gospel of the kingdom of God. All governments require your faith.
Even Rome had its purification rituals upon taking your first step into their system of Qurban which like Israel before them had its offerings in the form of freewill contributions but steadily devolved into a system of taxation where offerings were compelled by oath upon the civic altars of their fidelity and allegiance. All such systems are a blend of faith and religion.
In ancient Israel there was no King8 but in Herod's latter kingdom he claimed to be the Fountainhead of Justice by the appointment of judges9 over the people. In Christ's kingdom of heaven every man was returned to his family10 and the government composed of Apostles11 and ministers could not exercise authority, taxes in the form of tithes were voluntary freewill contributions and the discretion of the people and there was no central treasury or common purse holding the wealth of the people. It was a government that operated according to the perfect law of liberty where every man was king of his own castle and there was no central power to corrupt or be corrupted, no solitary treasury to be robbed, no entitlements to be withdrawn or financed by force but only love and the hope of love in time of need.
In the first century church there were controversies over the form of baptism which because of earlier traditions had become an outward sign of entering the kingdom of God and was the point at which one began to demonstrate a faith in Christ's kingdom instead of the worlds of Rome and Judea. From the beginning of the Biblical text we know that John and Jesus emphasized the spiritual immersion as the true baptism and not the immersion in water alone but the water was an outward symbol to those about them who bore witness as to what the were doing.
What were they doing? Preaching the kingdom of heaven was at hand at that if we seek it all else will be provided. They were building up the house of the Lord with living stones, men and women of faith who did not and would not swear allegiance to other men who though they were benefactors, exercised authority one over the other. They would not covet their neighbors goods. They would not bind themselves by application or oath. They would only gather together by choice and bind one another with love and charity and hope. They did not live by force or the force of their ministers but by faith.
Justin Martyr states about the year 150, "Many, both men and women, who have been Christ's disciples since childhood, remain pure at the age of sixty or seventy years."12
Justin also said in his Dialog with Trypho the Jew that Baptism is the circumcision of the New Testament.
Cyprian's, when asked if we should we wait until the eighth day as did the Jews in circumcision? Replied to a rural bishop, Fidus, 'No, the child should be baptized as soon as it is born.'13
Irenaeus wrote in 185 that Jesus "came to save all through means of Himself - all, I say, who through him are born again to God - infants and children, boys and youth, and old men."14
The 66 bishops at the Council of Carthage in 254 said: "We ought not hinder any person from Baptism and the grace of God..... especially infants. . . those newly born."
Even before that council, Origen wrote in his Commentary on Romans 5: 9: "For this also it was that the church had from the Apostles a tradition to give baptism even to infants." And again in his Homily on Luke 14: "Infants are to be baptize..."
There is no doubt that forms of baptism by water whether immersion, pouring or sprinkling were common among the free actions of the early Christian community. Are all these authors true Christians. Christians were under attack by those who denounced them and by those who became one of them but perverted the teachings of Christ for their own vanities. A thousand years of book burning has cut wholes in the record but truth cannot be hid from those who seek it.
The outward forms of Baptism were also a statement for others to see, a public demonstration of faith for the world to see and for the Church to give witness. Although there were many more references to infant baptism or christening in early Church writings, they in themselves do not clarify the purpose or value of such a visibal ritual of record without an examination of the context in which it was done.
In those days, although there was greater civil and economic pressures breaking down the family, such as we see with Corban15 condemned by Jesus, the family unite was still recognized as the foundation of all kingdoms or governments. Family rights were a constant topic of discussion in Judea and even more so in Rome where few political pundits ran for office without mention of those God given rights so natural to mankind. With the state zealously seeking the office and the power of the "In Loco Parentis", in place of the parent, it was becoming more important to Christians to bar the state from any jurisdictional attachments over the natural parental rights, whether real or assumed.
The Christian did not apply for benefits from the benefactors of Rome nor any other government that exercised authority to finance their public entitlement programs. God, the prophets and Christ forbid it. But some times this was not enough to bar the state from showing a coveting interest in their property or more important in the children of Christians. Because of the sacred or sacramental position of the family from the Churches point of view anyone who was baptized and active in the congregations of the people also secured their children within that auxiliary body.
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house... and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. Ac 16:31-33
The Roman estate and those nations made in the image of the Roman Empire, then and now, often by habit and sometimes by design assumed and assume that the children of Christians were and are under the same jurisdictional bonds as the children of their own incorporated civil membership. Of course fully immersed Christians were and are not.
It became essential that Christian make their faith in God and His kingdom visible to the world in order to avoid being run over by it. Persecution of Christians was not always pervasive in those early days. In fact they were often protected from abuse sometimes by neighbors, sometimes by the courts and even by the emperors themselves. To understand the christening of infants one must understand the world in which the infant was born.
The Roman Tradition
The autonomous Family, as a sacred unit, was the essential building block of early Roman success. In Roman tradition when a child was born he would be laid at the feet of the father and if the father chose to pick him up he became heir to the benefits of his Father's House, its protection and subject to its authority. The Father was the first benefactor of the individual even when he was in the womb and in the Father all power (potestas) of government begins.
The benefactors of the state of Rome, as all governments must do, had made a similar arrangement with the populous. That beneficial but binding social contract offered by the Patronus of Rome had expanded under its Caesar. Infants were often registered with the state by their natural fathers in order to assure their indolent parents access to the protections, reductions of patrimonial obligations and the benefits offered by that sometimes benevolent body politic, the Father of the Rome world.
Although, increasingly more common amongst the member nations of the world of Rome, birth registration by the state did not become mandatory until Marcus Aurelius who once said, "Everything--a horse, a vine--is created for some duty... For what task, then, were you yourself created? A man's true delight is to do the things he was made for."
A Roman boy was not a citizen until he was old enough to put on a man's toga and pay into the patrimonial offerings of its Qurban, but his father needed to register the child's name and the date of its birth to be eligible for those privileges which came from the Parens Patriae, The Father of the Country. Marcus Aurelius, in the latter part of the second century, was the first Emperor to make that birth registration with the Treasury Department mandatory within thirty days of the birth. Marcus though benevolent in all other respects had the worst record of official persecution of Christians than any other Emperor and President of Rome.
Christians could not assent to the registering of their children under the authority of another person acting as the father of the people. Such registration would not only be disobedient to Christ's solemn command of call no man on earth father but it would also be an application or prayer to that earthly Father, or benefactor, to obtain the gifts of his civil altars. Those altars compelled a contribution by its authority. That authority was established by the people who by application or prayer to the state under oath went under the authority of the state or increased that authority through participation. Such oaths were forbidden by the gospel of Christ but often ignored by modern Christians and their teachers. The State would truly be "in the place of a parent", a father not in heaven but in the Capitol of Rome.
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 1Co 6:12
When Christians had needs they went to Christians and their charitable altars tended by men of their choosing like Stephen, Philip and Prochorus,16 not the top down altars of Rome or Herod. They knew the Lord hated the civic altars of the Nicolatians and refused to apply to these statutory Fathers conscripted by the common vote of the people to regulate its systems of compelled sacrifice, Qurban or taxation. The benefits of that gentile government were the result of the peoples sacrifice to their civil gods of the Roman State, the Apo Theos of Rome. Christians would not apply to those earthly or civil fathers (conscripti patres) and the gods (judges) who exercised authority and judged or ruled over their membership.
"Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil." Marcus Aurelius
Most of the persecution of the Christians was done by the provincial governors at Marcus' encouragement because he believed he had the knowledge of good and evil. The Emperor did not trust Christians. They would not take oaths, pledge allegiance, sacrifice at his altars or apply for those Nicolaitan benefits.
"Men despise one another and flatter one another; and men wish to raise themselves above one another, and crouch before one another." Marcus Aurelius
Marcus as the appointor of judges17of the Empire despised Christians as much as they loved another God. The independent system of Christian families who gathered together in a network of brotherhood and charity survived and even prospered during the calamities of a decaying economy of debt and usury and the intermittent18 persecution of the Roman states. Edward Gibbons writes with praise of the, "the union and discipline of the Christian republic." He also pointed out that "it gradually formed an independent and increasing state in the heart of the Roman Empire."19 It was this independent state with no central power or top down authority which was so worrisome to the faltering Roman Empire. Even during a series of depressions and several devastating plagues the Christians did more than all right. They prospered under the superior system of the kingdom of God.
Jealousy amongst the people and suspicion amongst the government offices, to say nothing of the loss of revenue in the civic altars that depended on a vast membership paying in regularly to its treasuries, all lead to an anger if not outright hatred of Christians by many. Rumors were rampant, false accusations, followed by the abuse of unjust courts, land forfeitures and the confiscation of property and wealth. Protests and objections could be silenced by the rage of mobs or the execution of the offended party.
Christians continued to prevail and to bear witness to a better way. Justice and mercy in the hearts and minds of people could not remain asleep in the face of their daily sacrifice as they immersed themselves not in religious waters of dogma and ritual but in the reality of Gods mercy, sacrifice and service. As in the days of the Exodus when "the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians" Christians found amongst the people not only sympathizers but also supporters and defenders, converting souls in hard times more than good by the witness of their faith.
"What then is that which is able to conduct a man? One thing and only one, philosophy." Marcus Aurelius
It was a desperate time. Modern society has not yet seen the want and deprivation of a third of the population dead from disease and inflation in the triple digit range, to say nothing of the fear generated by marshal law, domestic wars, pervasive and unbridled crime and riots. Such hardships bring out the best and worst in men.
Sacrifice in the kingdom of God
Christians did not spend the first three centuries hiding under ground but by the nature of that kingdom they easily became an underground economy. They did not hide their faith under a bushel basket but it was also unwise and even unchristian to rub the noses of the general population in the product of their own social affairs. By their nature Christians were often living lives separate from the hubbub of political intrigue, the wantonness of social turmoil and the cries of political patriotism. They sought not to change Rome but to be changed.
The book Christians As The Romans Saw Them, by Robert Wilken tells us, "The Christians were seen as religious fanatics, self-righteous outsiders, arrogant innovators, who thought that only their beliefs were true. However, Roman belief in divine providence, in the necessity of religious observance for the well-being of society, and in the efficacy of traditional rites and practices, was no less sincere than the beliefs of the Christians."
Wilken goes on to say that Celsus, a Platonist, writing during the term of Marcus Aurelius, "opposed the 'sectarian' tendencies at work in the Christian movement because he saw in Christianity a 'privitizing' of religion, the transferal of religious values from the public sphere to a private association."20 Freedom is only enjoyed if it is privately maintained.
Vigellius Saturninus, proconsul of Africa in 180 CE, addressed the seeming antisocial behavior of the Scillitan martyrs with the statement, "We too are religious, and our religion is simple, and we swear by the Genius of our lord the emperor, and we apply for his benefits, as you also ought to do." But of course as true Christians they would and could not.
The idea of the charitable nature of religion being managed by the law enforcement agency of government is a recipe for disaster to all freedoms and liberties. This had been the formula for Cannanite and Babylonian systems of government and had become the formula of the Roman Imperial State and even modern systems of governance. The dainties upon their table is the bait and makes that civil table a snare for those who have an appetite for a free lunch, which of course never turns out to be free and comes with a price, plus interest.
And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Ro 11:9
The Table of Rome
The right to the entitlements of Rome gave Rome a reciprocating entitlement to the rights of the people. With the rise of the elected president of Rome as commander in Chief of the military, [called the Emperator] and his granted power to appoint judges the once free Republic quickly became an institution of freedom in name only. The Judges appointed by Caesar's office of Apotheos ruled over the people like gods.
A new type of corporate administrative court was established and controlled by the legati of the emperor. The emperor was now the fountainhead of justice and a process of cognitio fell under the jurisdiction of these imperial appointees, bringing the administration of justice into the emperor's hands rather than the people. The offense of maiestas became treason against the emperor personally, not the state in general. "
under the cognitio process no foundation was necessary, other than a prosecutor, a charge of Christianity, and a governor willing to punish on that charge" What was the Name and the Crimes (nomen et flagitia) of Christians? Non pietas et communitas, was the failure to perform your patriotic duty to the community and contribute to civic altars of civil charity. Basically this is an accusation of willful failure to file or tax evasion.
"You don't worship the gods, and you don't offer sacrifice to the emperor."21
Here is the conflict that brought persecution upon the Christian faithful. Herod had conformed to the ways of Rome and kept a standing army, centralized the government treasury, compelled the contributions of the people and appointed elohim or judges to a legati system of cognitio courts. Christ did not.
Each Christian was expected to seek the kingdom of heaven but not give the appearance of evil. Upon the baptism of water they were to began to turn their life around and seek the kingdom each according to his ability. If he was bound by contracts he should try to loose himself from them but not by breaking the law. He was not to apply to the benefactors of the gentiles who exercised authority.
Art thou called [being] a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use [it] rather. 1Co 7:21
A centurion under an oath could not simply break that oath but was compelled by Christ's command to make his yes, yes but he would no longer continue to make such oaths in the future. If someone was bound in a system of Corban where he was to pay a portion of his income every year to the temple he would have to continue to do so until he could sever such a contract honorably.
At Pentecost thousands of Jews were baptized into the kingdom. Many of these Jews were under the statutes of the Pharisees that required by law an annual payment to the temple. Some of these statues were only passed with in that century before Christ. There was now an income tax, property tax, sales tax amongst many others. They were all passed into law with the aid of corresponding civil contracts like the Corban of Herod the king.
Jesus offered a new covenant with a different kind of king. He was a king that came to serve, not exercise authority and he did not fall to the temptation of power as so many rulers and leaders had done before and since. He appointed his well trained disciples to maintain and entrance to that kingdom.22
They did that by entering the temple and working there daily.23
Anyone who contributed to this ministers of God's kingdom by law were protected from the statutes of the Pharisees. They could not be dragged into court and accused of failing to pay because Christ's ministers excepted what ever they gave as payment in full. That exemption was granted by the blood of Jesus Christ, by the good grace of the King of Judea. Those statutes of the Pharisees were nailed to the cross when Pilate nailed that official proclamation that stated to all the world.
And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Lu 23:38
The Pharisees wanted it removed because they knew what it could mean. It was official recognition of Jesus as the Christ of the kingdom of God and his servant Church, called out, as the legitimate ministers of that kingdom. This was official recognition by Rome and sealed in his blood long before Constantines golden thrown of Christianity.
Men like Saul, steeped in legal traditions, saw these Christ lovers as a body of anarchists guilty of tax evasion. Stephen had been appointed to take care of the funds contributed to the ministers of Christ's kingdom to tend to the daily ministration of the needy. Those who continued to contribute on the civic altars of Judea established by Herod began to become jealous of the loss of funds in the revenue of their treasuries and sought to defame Stephen.
In Acts 7 we see him defend himself with a chronology of the kingdom from Abraham's altars to Solomon's temple of stone proclaiming that the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands. He then accused them of failing to understanding the gospel calling them stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.
For these truths he was executed but the hope was to return the baptized of Christ's ministers to the fold of their enrolled contributors. Saul had held the coats of those who stoned Stephen. By force he hoped to stamp out this lawlessness that threatened the temple and its treasury until on the road to Damascus he was enlightened as to his error.
Saul became Paul and a great defender of the Christian legitimacy in courts of law, including those of Rome. Christians had their own government and were free to pay into that government with no other liability. Baptism was the first step in the remission of the sin of applying to the benefactors and gods of other governments.
The accusation of Non pietas et communitas against the faithful Christian was unfounded. Income as well as all other excise taxes were a patrimonial right of the Father. As the emperors were the fathers of their world they could impose such a tax upon their children and servants but not on the children of another Father. God in heaven was the Father of the Christians. They did not eat at the table of the Patronus of Rome but were returned each man to his own family under our Father who art in Heaven.
The communitas was the community in which you lived which was the congregation of the people.
"Pietas denoted loyalty to the family and more generally to the community...."24
In Babylonian states like Rome the community was bound together by a social contract or a series of contracts with the state constructed by application and participation. Which is why Jesus and Paul and God the Father has always forbade such contracts.
"Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods." Ex 23:32
Such contracts made the corporate states of men the father of the people. The contact or covenant in God's kingdom was with him alone and each man and family came together in the loyalty of love and by freewill offerings of charity and hope. The former relied upon false freedom, force and compliance while the latter had no exercising authority but only the perfect law of liberty and love.
The Christians did not have to pay into these civic altars of the Roman world because they had already paid at their own altars in the kingdom of God. Christ had been recognized by Pontius Pilate as the rightful king and Jesus had appointed his apostles to serve that kingdom of liberty and freedom. Those ministers and Ambassadors had appointed men to serve the congregations of the people. The people who contributed to those altars were not required to contribute to other altars too. They were a part of a recognized governmental system that was not a part of the Roman world but they did live in that world.
"I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." Joh 17:15
Rome wanted to become the new world order, the Pax Romana. Christ's kingdom was not a part of that world. It was a separate kingdom, the kingdom of God. During all this and several economic depressions there were a series of plagues over these decades that took away a third of the population. Life was rough, governments were demanding and some did better than others.
"Thou must now at last perceive of what world thou art a part, and of what administrator of the world thy existence is an emination, ..." Marcus Aurelius
"Christian values of love and charity, from the beginning, had been translated into norms of social service and community solidarity. When disasters struck, the Christians were better able to cope, and this resulted in substantially higher rates of survival. This meant that in the aftermath of each epidemic, Christians made up a larger and larger percentage of the population even without new converts."25
The Christian bound themselves together in these hard times by love and charity not social contract and applications to other authoritarian fathers or nations. They also wanted to provide for the security of their children in the case of their own devastation or deaths which during these times of pestilence lingered well into the next centuries.
Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart. Marcus Aurelius
It was during this time that tries men's souls that the Church found a value in the christening of infants. This was almost always done with a sponsor who in the event of the death of the parents would take the child as their own. If such arrangements were not pre established and recorded there was a real danger of the state or some parent who lost their own child coming to take up the healthy child as their own. It was well understood in those early days and still should be true in our own minds that baptism is an immersion in the Spirit and Way of Jesus Christ.
Making a Record
The Church kept records both written and oral to bear witness as to the desire of the parents in congregation for the custody of their children in the event of the unthinkable. The community of Christians operating as a separate but viable republic in the heart of the Roman Empire. They needed to keep records as to their status or fear persecution as a tax protester or even traitors. Such accusations could bring arrest, forfeiture or even imprisonment and death as a traitor.
In those days the Emperor and his officers claimed the right to any Child where the parents were suspected of being unfit or delinquent. This was in part because they had already obtained that right through birth registration. Their were other legal relationships and because of their popularity amongst the people those relationships were assumed by the courts of the cognitio process until proven otherwise by some sort of prima facia evidence or testament.
For centuries the Church maintained excellent records of births through the baptismal record. Although these records once provided a service to aid Christians and protect them from unwarranted usurpation by zealots of the gentiles it was eventually misused as people strayed from the precepts of the Gospel.
Even up into the last millennium the Church testified to the records of the congregation of the people under God as a part of it ministerial duties. Some rose up and betrayed the Church and the people in an unholy relationship with the governments like the gentiles who exercised authority. This state church continued to maintain these record in many countries but not for the kingdom of God but for the kingdoms of the world. In the nineteenth century the state began to assume this role entirely registering children as those of the state as Marcus once did.
The principle of King or government having jurisdiction to remove infants or children has haunted mankind as subjects rather than freemen under God for centuries. And was not exclusive to Rome or those notions who were a part of their world.
'The authority to take cognizance of the detention of infants by private persons, not held under claim or color or warrant of law, rests solely in England on the common law. It is one of the eminent prerogatives of the Crown, which implies in the monarch the guardianship of infants paramount to that of their natural parents. The royal prerogative, at first exercised personally ad libitum by the King (Kendall v. United States, 12 Pet. 630, 9 L. ed. 1223), ... In the performance, however, of this high function in respect to the detention of infants by parents, etc., the court or judge still acts with submission to the original principle, out of which it sprang, that infants ought to be left where found, or be taken from that custody and transferred to some other, at the discretion of the prerogative guardian, and according to its opinion of their best interest and safety.'
It was in the exercise of this jurisdiction as parens patrioe ...is also to set the infant free, they give him a right to which he is not entitled, and deprive the parent or guardian of a right to which he is entitled; to wit, the custody of the infant.'26
Jesus kingdom of God was not apart of the Roman world and to this day remains separate from the state. Its records of birth and dedication through christening of infants is to make a record of the natural parents who are seeking the kingdom of heaven at hand for themselves and for their children. The child will make his own choice as to his personal submersion in that Spirit as he matures into his faith in that kingdom but until then he is the property of God's Kingdom and no other. This was the witness and purpose of infant baptism or christening in the Days of the early Church. It was not a superstitious enchantment but a practical and outward dedication to the purposes of the gospel which is to redeem all men and return them to their families and to their Father in Heaven and no other father on earth.
The purpose of these congregational records of birth and baptism is to protect the sovereignty or the family in God's Kingdom from the usurpation of the world.
The idea of infant baptism as complete was propagated by the record of a Augustine who declared, "The custom of our mother church in baptizing infants must not be . . . accounted needless, nor believed to be other than a tradition of the apostles."27
"But before this time a great influence came over a small portion of those who called themselves the Church. We are often told that persecution stopped but in fact it merely altered its tactics. New ideas were being introduced which we read about in Revelation 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. There was a group who answered the call of Rome and began to eat of the sacrifices of its altars. This same group decided to persecute those who did not see as they did. First they persecuted pagans and then Christians who dared to disagree. They became a great power while most of the Church had little to do with them. Over the centuries the spared the authors that preached their brand of the kingdom and killed or drove away those who did not. They had left their first love." Re 2:4
The true Church thrived during much of the first millennium but has been under attack by force, subversion and deceit for the following millennium. The Church and the congregation of the people moved together as a independent government of free people while most government were becoming dictatorial and oppressive. It kept its own records and took care of its own people, with its own system of charity. It did not have a central authority exercising power but if the people were to come together and they would have to choose to do so out of love and faith. Their self discipline and righteousness coupled with love and charity was their key to success as a people.
"And some of the things that should not have been forgotten, were lost."28
Baptism Index page links
Baptism, Washing up essay
Three Part Baptism packet
download pdf Forms of the Church are designed for congregations of record and can been set up to include any church within a network of churches of record which can be filled out on line in print ready form. Just contact us to include your local congregation. Also included in this packet are essays:
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Also: Baptism, Washing up click here,
See also: Water Baptism longer article
Baptism, Christening and the Holy Spirit Click here
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Birth Information records
These records are dependent on the separate and distinct nature of the Church and its ministers of the congregation of the people.
We also will require the formation of recognized congregations and Churches of Record based on biblical precepts of the kingdom of God, including two or three witnesses and a chain of agreement with in the record of the people.
Form a Church
1 Baptismalogia, p. 75 (Cited by Booth, p. 373). Thomas Lawton, Quaker
2 A.D. 70 written around
3 The Apostolic Tradition, 21, A.D. 215 approximately
4 Letter to Fabius of Antioch A.D. approximately 251 See also Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 6:4311.
5 Letter to a Certain Magnus 69:12 approximately A.D. 255.
6 Tertulian,On Baptism, Translated by Rev. S. Thelwall, Chap. II.
7 Baptism, The ritual, The Jurisdiction
8 Jud 17:6 In those days [there was] no king in Israel, [but] every man did [that which was] right in his own eyes.
9 Judges were called gods in those days. http://www.hisholychurch.org/sermon/godsmany.php
10 Le 25:10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
11 apostolos means ambassador. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; Lu 22:29
12 " Apology 1: 15, Justin Martyr (100 - 166)
13 To Fidus 1: 2. Cyprian
14 Against Heresies II 22: 4, Irenaeus (130 - 200),
15 Mr 7:11-13 ... Corban, ... Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, ..." Tradition is from paradosis which is also translated ordinance
16 Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
17 ApoTheos was the office of Rome which appointed all the judges throughout the federal court system of Rome. It was almost identical to that of the Apotheos of the United States. The Apotheos of Washington http://www.hisholychurch.org/news/articles/romeus.php
18 Many of the Emperors [Antonine - Hadrian -Trajan] did not persecute the Christian community and some actually issued orders that they were not to be molested. The legalizing of the Church was the opposite of what we are commonly taught.
19 Rousseau and Revolution, Will et Ariel Durant p.801. fn 83 Heiseler, 85.
20 Christians As The Romans Saw Them, by Robert Wilken page 125
21 Tertullian (ca. 200 CE), Apologetica 10.1.
22 2Pe 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
23 Ac 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
24 Lords of all the World. Chapt 2 Anthony Pagden, New Haven: Yale UP, 1995.
25 The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark - published by Princeton University Press, 1996
26 U.S. Supreme Court, NEW YORK FOUNDLING HOSPITAL v. GATTI, 203 U.S. 429 (1906) , 203 U.S. 429,NEW YORK FOUNDLING HOSPITAL, Appt., v. JOHN C. GATTI. No. 21.
27 Augustine (354 - 430), writing about this time in De Genesi Ad Literam, X: 39,
28 Galadriel, Lord of the Rings.