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Some appeal to 1 Corinthians 10:1

August 30, 2013 1 comment

broadusChapter 7-4: Baptizo – Classical and Biblical.

But another class of persons endeavor to go deeper, not relying upon the opinions of others. They say, grant that the classical use of baptizo is as the lexicons mentioned teach, that it always means immerse, and kindred ideas; yet the Biblical use is very different, for in the Bible it certainly sometimes means sprinkle or pour. The attempt is made to show this from various passages; really, it seems that so many are tried because it is felt that none of them are exactly conclusive. I should be glad to go over all that have been thus appealed to, but time does not allow that, and I can only mention those which are most frequently relied on, or which seem most plausible.

(4) Another passage relied on by some is I Cor. 10:1: “That our fathers were all under the cloud, and all went through the sea, and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” This, we are told, cannot be understood as an immersion. Certainly, not a literal immersion. What happened to them was only something like baptism; and it was certainly quite as much like immersion as it was like sprinkling or pouring, and most people would think a good deal more so. They left the shore, and going down into the bed of the sea, with the sea on either side and the cloud above, they were in a position somewhat resembling baptism. And as Christians publicly began to follow Christ by being baptized unto him, so it may be said that the Israelites began following Moses by being baptized unto him in the cloud and in the sea. Some persons actually tell us there was a sprinkling or pouring, because of the poetical expression in Psalms 77:17: “The clouds poured out water.” Do they really believe the Israelites were made to cross the Red Sea during a pouring rain and a terrific storm of thunder and lightning? The Psalmist alludes in verse sixteenth to the division of the Red Sea, but then pauses to speak of the general phenomena of storms. At least, so it is explained in the commentary of Addison Alexander, the learned Presbyterian Professor.

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

CHAPTER II-VII

THE TEN PRIMITIVE PERSECUTIONS

VII. The Seventh Persecution, Under Decius AD 249

This was occasioned partly by the hatred he bore to his predecessor Philip, who was deemed a Christian and was partly by his jealousy concerning the amazing increase of Christianity; for the heathen temples began to be forsaken, and the Christian churches thronged.

These reasons stimulated Decius to attempt the very extirpation of the name of Christian; and it was unfortunate for the Gospel, that many errors had, about this time, crept into the Church: the Christians were at variance with each other; self-interest divided those whom social love ought to have united; and the virulence of pride occasioned a variety of factions.

The heathens in general were ambitious to enforce the imperial decrees upon this occasion, and looked upon the murder of a Christian as a merit to themselves. The martyrs, upon this occasion, were innumerable; but the principal we shall give some account of.

Fabian, the bishop of Rome, was the first person of eminence who felt the severity of this persecution. The deceased emperor, Phillip had, on account of his integrity, committed his treasure to the care of this good man. But Decius, not finding as much as his avarice made him expect, determined to wreak his vengeance on the good prelate. He was accordingly seized; and on January 20, AD 250, he suffered decapitation.

Julian, a native of Cilicia, as we are informed by St. Chrysostom, was seized upon for being a Christian. He was put into a leather bag, together with a number of serpents and scorpions, and in that condition thrown into the sea.

Peter, a young man, amiable for the superior qualities of his body and mind, was beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to Venus. He said, “I am astonished you should sacrifice to an infamous woman, whose debaucheries even your own historians record, and whose life consisted of such actions as your laws would punish. No, I shall offer the true God the acceptable sacrifice of praises and prayers.” Optimus, the proconsul of Asia, on hearing this, ordered the prisoner be stretched upon a wheel, by which all his bones were broken, and then he was sent to be beheaded.

Nichomachus, being brought before the proconsul as a Christian, was ordered to sacrifice to the pagan idols. Nichomachus replied, “I can not pay that respect to devils, which is only due to the Almighty” This peech so much enraged the proconsul that Nichomachus was put to the rack. After enduring the torments for a time, he recanted; but scarcely had he given this proof of his frailty, than he fell into the greatest agonies, dropped down on the ground, and expired immediately.

Denisa, a young woman of only sixteen years of age, who beheld this terrible judgment, suddenly exclaimed, “O unhappy wretch, why would you buy a moment’s ease at the expense of a miserable eternity!” Optimus, hearing this, called to her, and Denisa avowing herself to be a Christian, she was beheaded, by his order, soon after.

Andrew and Paul, two companions of Nichomachus the martyr, AD 251, suffered martyrdom by stoning, and expired, calling, on their blessed Redeemer.

Alexander and Epimachus, of Alexandria, were apprehended for being Christians: and, confessing the accusation, were beat with staves, torn with hooks, and at length burnt in the fire; and we are informed, in a fragment preserved by Eusebius, that four female martyrs suffered on the same day, and at the same place, but not in the same manner; for these were beheaded.

Lucian and Marcian, two wicked pagans, though skillful magicians, becoming converts to Christianity, to make amends for their former errors, lived the lives of hermits, and subsisted upon bread and water only. After some time spent in this manner, they became zealous preachers, and made many converts. The persecution, however, raging at this time, they were seized upon, and carried before Sabinus, the governor of Bithynia. On being asked by what authority they took upon themselves to preach, Lucian answered, ‘That the laws of charity and humanity obliged all men to endeavor the conversion of their neighbors, and to do everything in their power to rescue them from the snares of the devil.’ Lucian having answered in this manner, Marcian said, “Their conversion was by the same grace which was given to St. Paul, who, from a zealous persecutor of the Church, became a preacher of the Gospel.” The proconsul, finding that he could not prevail with them to renounce their faith, condemned them to be burnt alive, which sentence was soon after executed.

Trypho and Respicius, two eminent men, were seized as Christians, and imprisoned at Nice. Their feet were pierced with nails; they were dragged through the streets, scourged, torn with iron hooks, scorched with lighted torches, and at length beheaded, February 1, AD 251.

Agatha, a Sicilian lady, was not more remarkable for her personal and acquired endowments, than her piety: her beauty was such, that Quintian, governor of Sicily, became enamored of her, and made many attempts upon her chastity without success. In order to gratify his passions with the greater conveniency, he put the virtuous lady into the hands of Aphrodica, a very infamous and licentious woman. This wretch tried every artifice to win her to the desired prostitution; but found all her efforts were vain, for her chastity was inpregnable, and she well knew that virtue alone could procure true happiness. Aphrodica acquainted Quintian with the inefficacy of her endeavors, who, enraged to be foiled in his designs, changed his lust into resentment. On her confessing that she was a Christian he determined to gratify his revenge, as he could not his passion. Pursuant to his orders, she was scourged, burnt with red-hot iron and torn with sharp hooks. Having borne these torments with admirable fortitude, she was next laid naked upon live coals, intermingled with glass, and then being carried back to prison, she there expired on February 5, 251.

Cyril, bishop of Gortyna, was seized by order of Lucius, the governor of that place, who, nevertheless, exhorted him to obey the imperial mandate, perform the sacrifices, and save his venerable person from destruction; for he was now eighty-four years of age. The good prelate replied that as he had long taught others to save their souls, he should only think now of his own salvation. The worthy prelate heard his fiery sentence without emotion, walked cheerfully to the place of execution, and underwent his martyrdom with great fortitude.

The persecution raged in no place more than the Island of Crete; for the governor, being exceedingly active in executing the imperial decrees, that place streamed with pious blood.

Babylas, a Christian of a liberal education, became bishop of Antioch, AD 237, on the demise of Zebinus. He acted with inimitable zeal, and governed the Church with admirable prudence during the most tempestuous times. The first misfortune that happened to Antioch during his mission, was the siege of it by Sapor, king of Persia; who, having overrun all Syria, took and plundered this city among others, and used the Christian inhabitants with greater severity than the rest, but was soon totally defeated by Gordian.

After Gordian’s death, in the reign of Decius, that emperor came to Antioch, where, having a desire to visit an assembly of Christians, Babylas opposed him, and absolutely refused to let him come in. The emperor dissembled his anger at that time; but soon sending for the bishop, he sharply reproved him for his insolence, and then ordered him to sacrifice to the pagan deities as an expiation for his offense. This being refused, he was committed to prison, loaded with chains, treated with great severities, and then beheaded, together with three young men who had been his pupils, Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, about this time was cast into prison on account of his religion, where he died through the severity of his confinement.

Julianus, an old man, lame with the gout, and Cronion, another Christian, were bound on the backs of camels, severely scourged, and then thrown into a fire and consumed. Also forty virgins, at Antioch, after being imprisoned, and scourged, were burnt.

In the year of our Lord 251, the emperor Decius having erected a pagan temple at Ephesus, he commanded all who were in the city to sacrifice to the idols. This order was nobly refused by several of his own soldiers, viz. Maximianus, Martianus, Joannes, Malchus, Dionysius, Seraion, and Constantinus. The emperor wishing to win these soldiers to renounce their faith by his entreaties and lenity, gave them a considerable respite until he returned from an expedition. During the emperor’s absence, they escaped, and hid themselves in a cavern, which the emperor being informed of at his return, the mouth of the cave was closed up, and they all perished with hunger.

Theodora, a beautiful young lady of Antioch, on refusing to sacrifice to the Roman idols, was condemned to the stews, that her virtue might be sacrificed to the brutality of lust. Didymus, a Christian disguised himself in the habit of a Roman soldier, went to the house, informed Theodora who he was, and advised her to make her escape in his clothes. This being effected, and a man found in the brothel instead of a beautiful lady, Didymus was taken before the president, to whom confessing the truth, and owning that he was a Christian the sentence of death was immediately pronounced against him. Theodora, hearing that her deliverer was likely to suffer, came to the judge, threw herself at his feet, and begged that the sentence might fall on her as the guilty person; but, deaf to the cries of the innocent and insensible to the calls of justice, the inflexible judge condemned both; when they were executed accordingly, being first beheaded and their bodies afterward burnt.

Secundianus, having been accused as a Christian, was conveyed to prison by some soldiers. On the way, Verianus and Marcellinus said, “Where are you carrying the innocent?” This interrogatory occasioned them to be seized, and all three, after having been tortured, were hanged and decapitated.

Origen, the celebrated presbyter and catechist of Alexandria, at the age of sixty-four, was seized, thrown into a loathsome prison, laden with fetters, his feet placed in the stocks, and his legs extended to the utmost for several successive days. He was threatened with fire, and tormented by every lingering means the most infernal imaginations could suggest. During this cruel temporizing, the emperor Decius died, and Gallus, who succeeded him, engaging in war with the Goths, the Christians met with a respite. In this interim, Origen obtained his enlargement, and, retiring to Tyre, he there remained until his death, which happened when he was in the sixty-ninth year of his age.

Gallus, the emperor, having concluded his wars, a plague broke out in the empire: sacrifices to the pagan deities were ordered by the emperor, and persecutions spread from the interior to the extreme parts of the empire, and many fell martyrs to the impetuosity of the rabble, as well as the prejudice of the magistrates. Among these were Cornelius, the Christian bishop of Rome, and Lucius, his successor, in 253.

Most of the errors which crept into the Church at this time arose from placing human reason in competition with revelation; but the fallacy of such arguments being proved by the most able divines, the opinions they had created vanished away like the stars before the sun.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Question 34-Puritan Catechism

August 29, 2013 2 comments

Spurgeon 1Q. What is sanctification?

A. Sanctification is the work of God’s Spirit, (2 Thessalonians 2:13) whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, (Ephesians 4:24) and are enabled more and more to die to sin, and live to righteousness. (Romans 6:11)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Confession statement 41

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XLI. THE person designed by Christ to dispense baptism, the Scripture holds forth to be a disciple; it being no where tied to a particular church officer, or person extraordinarily sent the commission enjoining the administration, being given to them as considered disciples, being men able to preach the gospel.

Isa.8:16; Eph.2:7; Matt.28:19; John 4:2; Acts 20:7,11:10; 1 Cor.11:2, 10:16,17; Rom.16:2; Matt.18:17.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

Men tend to ascribe the providence of God to mere chance or fortune

August 28, 2013 1 comment

 

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The second part of the chapter, which describes the stupidity both of learned and unlearned, in ascribing the whole order of things, and the admirable arrangements of divine Providence, to fortune.

 

11. Bright, however, as is the manifestation which God gives both of himself and his immortal kingdom in the mirror of his works, so great is our stupidity, so dull are we in regard to these bright manifestations, that we derive no benefit from them. For in regard to the fabric and admirable arrangement of the universe, how few of us are there who, in lifting our eyes to the heavens, or looking abroad on the various regions of the earth, ever think of the Creator? Do we not rather overlook Him, and sluggishly content ourselves with a view of his works? And then in regard to supernatural events, though these are occurring every day, how few are there who ascribe them to the ruling providence of God — how many who imagine that they are casual results produced by the blind evolutions of the wheel of chance? Even when under the guidance and direction of these events, we are in a manner forced to the contemplation of God, (a circumstance which all must occasionally experience,) and are thus led to form some impressions of Deity, we immediately fly off to carnal dreams and depraved fictions, and so by our vanity corrupt heavenly truth. This far, indeed, we differ from each other, in that every one appropriates to himself some peculiar error; but we are all alike in this, that we substitute monstrous fictions for the one living and true God — a disease not confined to obtuse and vulgar minds, but affecting the noblest, and those who, in other respects, are singularly acute. How lavishly in this respect have the whole body of philosophers betrayed their stupidity and want of sense? To say nothing of the others whose absurdities are of a still grosser description, how completely does Plato, the soberest and most religious of them all, lose himself in his round globe? What must be the case with the rest, when the leaders, who ought to have set them an example, commit such blunders, and labor under such hallucinations? In like manner, while the government of the world places the doctrine of providence beyond dispute, the practical result is the same as if it were believed that all things were carried hither and thither at the caprice of chance; so prone are we to vanity and error. I am still referring to the most distinguished of the philosophers, and not to the common herd, whose madness in profaning the truth of God exceeds all bounds.

 

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 5-Henry Beveridge Translation 

The fall alienated man, but God’s promise brought man back into fellowship with him

August 27, 2013 2 comments

Arthur PinkAS IT IS particularly the Old Testament promises of which Dispensationalists would deprive the Christian, a more definite and detailed refutation of this error is now required—coming, as it obviously does, within the compass of our present subject. We will here transcribe what we wrote thereon almost twenty years ago.

1. Since the Fall alienated the creature from the Creator, there could be no intercourse between God and men but by some promise on His part. None can challenge anything from the Majesty on high without a warrant from Himself, nor could the conscience be satisfied unless it had a Divine grant for any good that we hope for from Him.

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

Dispensationalism and the Anti-Christ

August 26, 2013 1 comment

Dispensationalists hold that the appearance and reign of the Anti-Christ takes place during the seven year period after the Rapture. At the end of the seven years Christ returns with His saints, defeats and destroys the Anti-Christ and his armies in the battle of Armaggedon, and sets up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem over which He rules in person for 1000 years. The reign of Christ on earth at that time according to Scofield, will be a sitting on the throne of David, as King of the Jews, literally, strictly and politically understood.

This Futuristic theory of the Anti-Christ propagated by Dr. Scofield is the Popish view. “Alarmed by the fact that the Reformers were pointing to the Pope as the Anti-Christ, the Jesuit Ribera at the end of the sixteenth century, invented or at least propagated futuristic views of the Anti-Christ, and pointed to a solitary Infidel Anti-Christ who would appear in the dim future. Ribera’s view soon infected the High Church party. J. N. Darby caught the contagion, and finally Dr. D. L. Scofield swallowed the Jesuit’s pill. Thus Ribera succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, for the attention of thousands of Protestants became deflected from the Papacy, a future Infidel Anti-Christ was looked for, and the historic Protestant view handed down by the Reformers was despised by many. These are the hard facts of history. A Protestantism saturated with Ribera’s Futurism is not the Protestantism of the Reformers, nor is it feared by the Papacy.” (The Roman Anti-Christ by Rev. F. S. Leahy).

In the days of the Apostle John there were many antichrists, heretics who denied either the divinity of Christ or His actual incarnation. “Even now” he writes “are there many antichrists.” He also says, “Little children, it is the last time: and ye have heard that Antichrist shall come.” (1 John 2:18). According to Matthew Henry the generality of Christians had been informed of the coming of the Antichrist. Paul’s 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians Ch. 2:8-10 made it clear to them. He is called the Antichrist as though there were none but he, because he was so eminently above all others. He is, therefore, called “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition” and the system of which he is the head “the mystery of iniquity.”

The Meaning of Anti-Christ

All the Reformers and all the Churches of the Reformation and the great body of Protestant interpreters hold that the Pope of Rome or the Papacy is the Anti-Christ, the word anti-christos being composed of kristos meaning anointed (Christ) and the prefix anti. “Anti” means against also instead of or in the place of. “When prefixed to the name of an individual it indicates an agent who assumes that individual’s place, and at the same time acts in opposition to him. Thus Rome herself speaks of Anti-popes. Anti-Christ therefore means one who pretends to be a vicar of Christ, and assumes to act in His name, but who is at the same time His rival and greatest enemy.” (The Roman Anti-Christ by Leahy).

In the Smalcald Articles Martin Luther singles out one particular statement of the Apostle Paul which beyond all doubt labels the Pope as the Anti-Christ “- – – the Pope raised his head above all. This teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Anti-Christ, who has exalted himself above and opposed himself against Christ, because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power. This is properly speaking to exalt himself above all that is called God, as Paul said, (2 Thess. 2:4) (Smalcald Art 11, art. 4:9-10).

“No one else has ever and will never be able to exalt himself above all that is called God more than the Pope of Rome, who holds millions of people at his command and over four thousand priests as agents of his ambition. He dares to oppose and rejects even the central truth of the Scriptures. He condemns justification by faith, which is fundamental to all, the heart of the Gospel. He puts himself against Christ, he damns, curses this cardinal truth given by Christ.” (Who is the Antichrist? by J. Zacehello, D.D.).

“To submit to the Roman Pontiff, we declare, say, define and pronounce to be absolutely necessary to every human creature to salvation.” (Bull Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII).

“If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sin for Christ’s sake; or that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified, let him be accursed.” (Council of Trent Can. 9.12).

The late Pope John XXIII was no sooner inaugurated in November 1958 than in his coronation address said: “Into this fold of Jesus Christ no one can enter it if not under the guidance of the Sovereign Pontiff; and men can securely reach salvation only when they are united with him, since the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and represents His person on earth.”

The Babylon of the Apocalypse

As the Pope is the Anti-Christ, Babylon in the Book of the Revelation is the Church of Rome. Babylon cannot be the literal Babylon for it was not built on seven hills, nor was it the Queen of the earth in John’s time. Even the great Roman Catholic controversialists have been driven to admit that Rome fits the description of Babylon in the Revelation. ” St. John in the Apocalypse” says Cardinal Bellarmine, “calls Rome Babylon, for no other city besides Rome reigned in his age over the kings of the earth, and it is well known that Rome was seated upon Seven Hills.”

“It is confessed by all” says Cardinal Baronius, “that Rome is signified in the Apocalypse by the name of Babylon.” And the language of the celebrated French Prelate Bousset, in his Exposition of the Book of the Revelation is: “The features (in the Apocalypse) are so marked, that it is easy to decipher Rome under the figure Babylon.”

The above quotations from Bellarmine, Baronius and Bousset are taken from “Is the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Apocalypse?” a classic by Charles Wordsworth, D.D., Canon of Westminster and later Bishop of Lincoln, who died in 1885.

“These Apocalyptic prophecies, which describe the Woman who is called Babylon and is seated on the Beast with seven heads and ten horns do not concern the older, literal, Assyrian Babylon. The inscription on the woman’s forehead is Mystery, indicating a spiritual meaning. This word had been used by the Apostle Paul in his description of the Mystery of Iniquity opposed to the Mystery of Godliness; and St. John adopts the word from St. Paul, and applies it to the same object as that which had been portrayed by that Apostle.

“Again, the Babylon of the Apocalypse is described as a city existing and reigning in St. John’s age; but the literal, or Assyrian Babylon had long ceased to be a reigning city when St. John wrote. Therefore the Babylon of the Apocalypse cannot be the literal or Assyrian Babylon.”

In the conclusion Canon Wordsworth writes: “We have been contemplating the TWO MYSTERIES of the Apocalypse. The word Mystery signifies something spiritual; it here describes a church. The first Mystery is explained to us by Christ Himself. “The Mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest – – – The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches” (Rev. 1:20). The second Mystery is explained also: “I will tell thee the Mystery of the Woman.” The Beast that carrieth her, which bath the seven heads, is described, and the seven heads are expounded to be seven mountains on which the woman sitteth. (Rev. 17:7.9).

      1. The first Mystery is the Mystery of the seven stars.

      2. The second Mystery is the Mystery of the seven hills.

The first mystery represents the universal church in its sevenfold fulness, containing within it all particular churches.

The second mystery represents a particular church, the church on the seven hills, the Church of Rome, claiming to be the church universal.

The first mystery represents the universal church, liable to defects, but not imposing errors as terms of communion; and therefore, by virtue of the Word and the sacraments, held together in Apostolic communion with St. John and Christ, who walketh in the midst of it, and governed by an apostolic ministry, shining like a glorious constellation in the hand of Christ.

2. The second mystery represents the particular Church of Rome, holding the cup of her false doctrines in her hand, and making all nations to drink thereof. And the voice from heaven cries, “Come out of her, my people that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not her plagues.”

      The first mystery is a “Mystery of Godliness.”

      The second is a “Mystery of Iniquity.”

Such is the interpretation of the two Mysteries of the Apocalypse.

“If any minister or member of the Church of Rome can disprove this conclusion, he is hereby invited to do so. If he can, doubtless he will; and if none attempt it, it may be presumed that they cannot; and if they cannot, then as they love their salvation, they ought to embrace the truth, which is preached to them by the mouth of St. John, and by the voice of Christ.”

“This appeal was just made in a sermon preached by the Canon on Sunday, April 28th, 1850, in Westminster Abbey, and reiterated in Westminster Abbey on Sunday, February 16th, 1851. As far as the writer is aware, no reply has yet been made to it by any member of the Church of Rome. It is therefore repeated here.”

With reference to Paul’s description of the Anti-Christ in 2 Thess. 2:3-8, Dr. Charles Hodge of theological fame says, “This portrait suits the Papacy so exactly that Protestants have rarely doubted that it is the Anti-Christ which the apostle intended to describe.”

“So strikingly” says Richard Baxter, “does the Church of Rome resemble Anti-Christ that any one is justified in mistaking the similarity for sameness.”

“And the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth” (Rev. 17:9). “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH AND I SAW THE WOMAN DRUNKEN WITH THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS OF JESUS.” (Rev. 17: 5,6).

The Doom of the Papacy

“As sure as the Papacy has had its glory, so surely shall its doom come. Paul before closing his prophecy pauses, and in solemn and awful words foretells the night of horrors in which its career is to end. “That wicked — whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2 Thess. 2:8). This day of wrath will be unspeakably great and will mark as one of the greatest days of vengeance since the foundation of the world. Paul despatches it in a single sentence; John expands it into a whole chapter. And in what other chapter of the Bible or of human history is there such another spectacle of judgement — such another picture of horrors of awestruck consternation, of loud and bitter wailings and cries of woe as in the eighteenth chapter of the Apocalypse? The kings of the earth shall bewail her and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas! Alas! That great city Babylon, the mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. (Rev. 18: 9,10).

But this dark scene has one relieving feature. It is a scene that will not be repeated for it will close earth’s evil days and begin the hallelujahs of the nations. “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more at all. Rejoice over her, thou heavens, and holy apostles and prophets: for God hath avenged you on her – – – and in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all that were slain upon the earth.” (Rev. 18: 20, 21, 24). (The Papacy is the Anti-Christ — p. 128 by Rev. J. A. Wylie).

An excerpt from an article entitled “The Scofield Bible and Dispensationalism” found at http://www.theologue.org

It is one thing to understand the plan of salvation, and quite another thing to believe in Jesus Christ

August 26, 2013 6 comments

Spurgeon 6I do not know that I need say more concerning believing. I have often tried to explain it, I am afraid that I have not always made it as plain as I have intended. Only let me warn you not to say, “I understand the plan of salvation very well. Dear Sir, I am sure I do; I do not need it explained to me, I understand it perfectly.” My dear friend, it is one thing to understand the plan of salvation, and quite another thing to believe in Jesus Christ to the salvation of your soul. It is a pitiless night, the rain is pouring down, and hero is a man, Sitting out in the street, exposed to the ill weather, and he has got a plan of a house down there on the wet pavement, and he says, “I am all right; I understand the plan of a house quite well.” You see, he is looking at the plan; he has a view of the front of the house, he knows where the windows and doors should be; and he has a ground plan, too; he can see where the kitchen is, and the passage to the kitchen, and he knows the arrangement of all the rooms. But, my dear fellow, you are getting wet through; the storm is raging, why do you not go into the house for shelter? “Do not talk to me,” says he, “I understand the plan of a house very well.” The man is a fool if he talks like that; everybody concludes that he is out of his mind; and what is he who is satisfied with understanding the plan of salvation, but who does not come to Christ, and put his trust in him? Come to him now, I beseech you. You who do not know so much about the plan of salvation, come to Jesus, come and trust him; trust him now.

Charles H. Spurgeon-Baptism Essential to Obedience-Metropolitan Tabernacle-Lord’s Evening-Oct. 13, 1889

Some argue that the word baptizo doesn’t always mean immerse in various passages of scripture

August 23, 2013 1 comment

broadusChapter 7-3: Baptizo – Classical and Biblical.

But another class of persons endeavor to go deeper, not relying upon the opinions of others. They say, grant that the classical use of baptizo is as the lexicons mentioned teach, that it always means immerse, and kindred ideas; yet the Biblical use is very different, for in the Bible it certainly sometimes means sprinkle or pour. The attempt is made to show this from various passages; really, it seems that so many are tried because it is felt that none of them are exactly conclusive. I should be glad to go over all that have been thus appealed to, but time does not allow that, and I can only mention those which are most frequently relied on, or which seem most plausible.

3. But besides these more general considerations, various particular passages are urged as showing that the word baptizo in the New Testament is not always taken in the classical sense of immerse and kindred ideas.

(i) The river Jordan is mentioned. I learn that some years ago a clergyman in South Carolina stated that the Jordan is quite too small a stream to admit of immersion. It is more than two hundred miles long, and in all the region where the baptizing is described as performed is very hard to ford, even at the lowest water of summer. On the other hand, an estimable minister who died some time ago in Kentucky, stated in a sermon that he had been to the traditional place of our Lord’s baptism, and that the bank is so steep and the current so swift and deep, and strong as to make immersion there impracticable. Now this honored gentleman perfectly knew that every spring, when the river is high as he saw it, in the week preceding Easter, there come four or five or seven or eight thousand pilgrims from all parts of the East, to this very place, the traditional place of our Lord’s baptism, and there these thousands – men, women, and children – do actually immerse themselves and one another in the river, not as baptism (for they have been immersed in infancy), but as a sacred bath at that holy spot. He knew as well as I do that this happens every spring at that very place, and yet it never occurred to him to connect that fact in his mind with his own timid notion that immersion would there be impracticable. I am satisfied he was a good man, and have no idea that he meant to deceive; but how strangely good men can sometimes manipulate their own minds. The traditional place is not particularly well suited to baptism when the river is high. As to the bank, it could be cut down and made perfectly convenient in an hour. But there are much better places higher up the Jordan toward the Sea of Galilee. I saw some which struck a practiced eye as admirably convenient and beautiful – and that may possibly have been one reason why John moved up the river, as he appears to have done.

(2) Much is said about the scarcity of water in Jerusalem rendering it unlikely that the three thousand, on the day of Pentecost, were immersed. This seems, to some unreflecting people, a very strong argument when they are told that around Jerusalem there is, in ordinary dry weather, no running stream whatever, except the little rivulet from the fountain of Siloam; that even the brook Kidron does not contain a drop of water except in the rainy season, and the city was supplied by aqueducts, pools, and cisterns. Accustomed to think, with the schoolboy, that it is a remarkable providence that great rivers so often flow by great cities, and having never studied the water arrangements of ancient Jerusalem, these persons very naturally say: “Why, certainly; in a city without a river, a city so scarce of water, they would not have spared enough for immersing three thousand men.” But only think a moment. Even if we knew nothing of the methods by which Jerusalem was actually supplied, here was a city of say two hundred thousand as its ordinary population, besides several hundred thousand visitors for a week at a time, during the feasts – a great population, with all their wants, including the washing of their clothes, and a people who attached extraordinary importance to ceremonial purifications and to personal cleanliness – and you say that in this great city they could not spare water enough for baptizing three thousand persons?

Besides, Jerusalem was repeatedly besieged. During the siege by Titus a vast multitude from the country crowded the space within the walls, and were kept enclosed there from April to September. There was scarcity of food, but , in none of the great sieges, not even in this last, of which we have so minute an account in Josephus, is there a word said about the scarcity of water in the city. In the one apparent exception, it is the besiegers that suffered from a scarcity of water (Josephus, Ant., 13, 8, 2). It is plain that Jerusalem must have possessed remarkable arrangements of some kind, giving an immense supply of water. And examination has sufficiently disclosed the character of these arrangements, as various writers have shown. (See especially a tract by Dr. G. W. Samson, “On the Water Supply of Jerusalem.” published by the American Baptist Publication Society.)

I will add, not as caring to lay any stress on it, that in observing the remains of the immense pool just outside of Jerusalem on the West, which Robinson identifies with the Lower Pool of Gihon, I was struck with its adaptation to baptism. The pool, six hundred feet long, was made by building two walls across the deep ravine, so as to retain the water brought down in the rainy season. The steep banks on either side present a succession of flat limestone ledges at various depths and often many feet wide, so that at whatever depth the water might be standing in the pool, there would be excellent standing room for a great number of persons, with the proper depth for baptizing. As there was an abundance of drinking water in the city from the cisterns and aqueducts, this pool was probably used for watering cattle and perhaps for washing clothes, while the limestone sides and bottom would keep it always clear. Persons who have educated themselves to dislike immersion might fear to stand on these ledges and practice it, but the Jews of that day were accustomed to purificatory immersions, and would have no fear nor difficulty.

(3) The gospel according to Mark (7:1-5) tells us that it was the custom of the Jews to baptize (immerse) themselves when they came from the market, and to baptize (immerse) cups, couches, etc. It is said with great confidence that of course this cannot have been immersion. But did you ever notice that if you understand it as merely washing (as in our version) you make the latter part of the evangelist’s statement feeble and almost meaningless?

Some Pharisees and scribes were watching Jesus and his followers, to find fault with them. And seeing some of his disciples eating bread without having washed their hands, they asked Jesus why his disciples did not walk in this matter according to the tradition of the elders. In narrating this the Evangelist Mark, who writes especially for Gentiles, pauses in the midst of the narrative to explain to his Greek and Roman readers that the Jews were very particular about this matter of washing the hands before eating, and washing them “with the fist,” scrubbing one hand with the other, that is, washing very carefully – observing the tradition of the elders. In fact, he says, they do something more remarkable than this; when they come from the market – where some unclean person or thing may have touched some portion of their body – they do not eat till they have immersed themselves. And he adds that many other things they have received by tradition to hold, immersions of cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and tables (or it should be “couches “). These practices were so wonderful, and gave such proof of the extreme scrupulosity of the Jews, that it is not strange the writer of the Gospel should have gone on to mention them, though nothing was necessary to explain his narrative but the first statement, that they did not eat without having washed their hands.

But if you say that the word baptizo, in the fourth verse, only means “wash,” as the word does in verse second and verse third, then what was the use of adding verse fourth at all? If, according to verse third, they do not eat without having carefully washed their hands, what is the use of adding that when they come from the market they do not eat unless they have washed? This certainly must mean something different from washing their hands, and something much more remarkable, or it would have been a waste of words, a very empty tautology, first to tell us that they do not eat at all, under any circumstances, without having carefully washed their hands, and then to add that when they come from market they do not eat without having washed. One would suppose not, if they wash before eating even when they have not been to market. Perhaps some one says, the washing in verse fourth means purifying, they purify themselves when they come from market. Of course it means a purification, but the washing of verse third means a purification too. That of verse fourth must be a different and more thorough purification, something more than the careful washing of hands, or else you make the inspired evangelist talk nonsense.

And notice the further addition. He goes on to tell his Gentile readers that these singular and scrupulous Jews have many other traditional observances, as immersions of cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and couches. Now if you say this cannot have been immersion, but only washing in some other way, then why should the sacred writer have gone so far away from the immediate subject of his narrative merely to say that the Jews washed cups and pots? Most people do. And if it be said the point is that this was a ceremonial washing, a religious purification of the articles mentioned, we may answer that that would not seem remarkable to the Romans. They practiced numerous lustrations. A Roman shepherd would sprinkle his sheep with water once a year, accompanied by sacrifices, to preserve them from disease and other evils. Why should Mark go out of his way to inform Romans that the strange Jews made lustrations of cups and couches? But understand baptizo in its own proper sense, and all becomes plain and forcible. The Jews not only wash their hands carefully before eating, but when they come from market, where they know not what may have touched some part of their persons, they immerse themselves; and this suggests, and leads the evangelist to mention that they have many other like thorough and painstaking purifications enjoined upon them by their traditions, as immersion of cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and couches. Thus the several facts of verse third and verse fourth rise as a climax, and we see the propriety of pausing to mention these various proofs of painstaking scrupulosity. (Compare Meyer on Mark. Some early documents show that this statement was regarded as wonderful, by changing “immerse themselves” to “sprinkle themselves,” and by omitting “couches.” if these Greek-speaking folks had enjoyed our modern lights, and known that baptizo itself may mean sprinkle, or anything you please, they would have felt no occasion for making such changes.)

But one says : “I cannot believe that they immersed beds; that is absurd.” Well, the beds might mean pallets, consisting of several thicknesses of cloth quilted together – as when the paralytic was told to take up his bed and walk, or like the beds they give you now in some houses of Palestine. More probably, however, they mean the couches beside the table, on which the guests reclined to eat, as the subject of the whole connection is their observances about eating. Now suppose there has been contagious disease in one of our houses, that a person has died of small-pox, or even of typhoid fever, will any careful housewife think it too much to take the bed, on which be died, all to pieces – if, in fact, she does not burn it – and carefully cleanse every part of it? Well, if she would be thus anxious to avoid contagion in her household, the Jews were equally anxious to avoid ceremonial impurity, when, for example, some “unclean” person was found to have reclined on one of their couches. And if she would not shrink from such pains in order to effect a thorough cleansing, why should we pronounce it incredible that the scrupulous Jews would take equal pains to effect a thorough religious purification?

Grant that in such cases the law of Moses did not always require immersion of the unclean object or of the person. The evangelist is expressly speaking of the traditional observances, and the Jews had become so very scrupulous that the tradition often required more than the law did. So we find them still doing in the time of Maimonides (twelfth century), and he asserts that such was the real requirement of the law. “Whenever in the law,” he says, “washing of the flesh or of the clothes is mentioned, it means nothing else than the dipping of the whole body in a laver; for if any man dip himself all over, except the tip of his little finger, he is still in his uncleanness.”

“A bed that is wholly defiled, if a man dips it part by part, it is pure.” (Quoted in Ingham’s “Manual of Baptism,” p. 373).

This last statement of his may relieve the extreme solicitude sometimes expressed as to how a bed could be immersed; and both statements show how scrupulous the Jews had become in employing the most thorough form of purification even where it was not required.

This also explains the conduct of Judith in the Jewish romance, who, living in a heathen tent and eating the food of the heathen, goes at midnight with her maid into a ravine and immerses herself, and returns “clean.”

The church-Father, Epiphanius, born in Palestine, of Jewish parents, in the fourth century, describes, in his great work on Heresies, a party of Jews whom he calls Hemerobaptistae ” Daily baptizers,” whose doctrines, he says, are the same as those of the scribes and Pharisees. Their peculiarity is that “both spring and autumn, both winter and Summer, they baptize themselves every day, maintaining that a man cannot live unless he baptizes himself in water every single day, washing himself off and purifying himself from every fault.” Epiphanius says this shows lack of faith; for if they had faith in yesterday’s baptism they would not think it necessary to repeat it to-day. And he declares that if they keep sinning every day, thinking that the water will cleanse them, it is a vain hope; “for neither ocean, nor all the rivers and seas, perennial streams and fountains, and the whole rain-producing apparatus of nature combined, can remove sins when, namely, it is done not according to reason nor by the command of God. For repentance cleanses, and the one baptism through the naming of the mysteries.” The same “Daily Baptizers ” are mentioned in the so-called “Apostolical Constitutions ” in a portion probably quite as late as Epiphanius.

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

CHAPTER II-VI

THE TEN PRIMITIVE PERSECUTIONS

VI. The Sixth Persecution, Under Maximus, AD 235

AD 235, was in the time of Maximinus. In Cappadocia, the president, Seremianus, did all he could to exterminate the Christians from that province.

The principal persons who perished under this reign were Pontianus, bishop of Rome; Anteros, a Grecian, his successor, who gave offense to the government by collecting the acts of the martyrs, Pammachius and Quiritus, Roman senators, with all their families, and many other Christians; Simplicius, senator; Calepodius, a Christian minister, thrown into the Tyber; Martina, a noble and beautiful virgin; and Hippolitus, a Christian prelate, tied to a wild horse, and dragged until he expired.

During this persecution, raised by Maximinus, numberless Christians were slain without trial, and buried indiscriminately in heaps, sometimes fifty or sixty being cast into a pit together, without the least decency.

The tyrant Maximinus dying, AD 238, was succeeded by Gordian, during whose reign, and that of his successor Philip, the Church was free from persecution for the space of more than ten years; but in AD 249, a violent persecution broke out in Alexandria, at the instigation of a pagan priest, without the knowledge of the emperor.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs