Jeff Childers and Frederick Aquino At the river's Edge: ACU's fire brigade to put out the 2004 heretical lectureship.

Review by request of Russ Adcox and the Purpose Driven Church Model. Russ supports the underlying scheme but has some advice about how to do it more gradually. Hohenwald has been stung by the venum of deliberate SOWING OF DISCORD and, "without a by your leave" has usurped the authority of the members temporarily vested in its elders. This authority ceases when they refuse to "teach that which has been taught" and silences the voice of their betters. We will show the connection between these para-church groups and the Volkish state. We will quote some Machiavelli and Hitler which fits perfectly with the NEW PATTERNISM for Infiltrating and Diverting the church houses of widows. 12/14/03 11:32AM

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Believer's Baptism - Zwingli - John Smyth And Pagan Baptism

Believer's Baptism: John Smyth, as did most leaders, called his group the church of Christ. Baptism was a sign but more than a sign. It was the outward sign of what was going on internally as the person believed, repented, confessed and was baptized.
Jesus said that without being born AGAIN of Water and Spirit or Water and the Word you CANNOT, SHALL NOT enter into His kingdom or rule which is the Ekklesia or Christian synagogue or school of the Bible.

The seven "spirits" of Isaiah 11:1-4 which would rest on the BRANCH are all related to forms of spiritual knowledge. Jesus said "My Words are Spirit and Life." Therefore, you might join a venue for Rock and Roll peddled as "worship" but Jesus Christ WILL NOT be your free-of-charge Teacher until He washes your spirit or mind. Only then do you have access to the seven spirits represented by the Menorah or Candlestick which gave LIGHT to the Holy Place along with the table of bread and the incense altar. Each Christian "priest" must look into the Most Holy Place with their own prayers. Then, you can enter into the Most Holy Place to meet God. Jesus said that the ONLY new PLACE is the human spirit as it gives heed to the Spirit of Truth through the Word. Don't believe the lie that "musical teams" lead you into the presence of God: that makes them claim to be God standing in the Holy Place.

Not in the vilest pagan temple could singers and musicians enter into the holy precincts on the penalty of death. Don't follow people making "Christianity" viler than paganism. If you are part of the 5 out of 13,000 congregations then you have become a laughing stock just like the musical idolatrs at Mount Sinai which forfeited and continues to forfeit the Covenant of Grace.

People who refute this have a "spirit" which intends to hurt you real bad.

What then is believer's baptism? What is the purpose of it, since salvation is "by grace through faith" (Ephesians 2:8,9)? Rick DeMichele

FIRST, however, Paul defined baptism as the place where we are quickened and raised together and added to the church or kingdom of Christ just as on the day of Pentecost:

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Eph 2: 4
Even when we were dead in sins, hath QUICKENED (regenerated) us together WITH Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Ephesians 2:5
And hath RAISED us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus: Ephesians 2:6

The same Paul defined this a baptism in Colossians 2:12, 13 and Romans 6:2-6.

Buried with him in BAPTISM, wherein also ye are RISEN with him through the faith of the OPERATION of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Col.2:12
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Col 2:13

Baptism was to be obeyed down through history as the way in which Grace through faith is bestowed:

That in the ages to come he might SHEW (indicate by an act) the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:7
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: Ephesians 2:8
"Water baptism is clearly a FIGURE or TYPE of something which already took place in the heart of the believer the moment he/she was saved (1 Pet. 3:21). Water baptism is the ordinance representing the identification of the Christian with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. DeMichele
1 Peter 3:21 Believer's Baptism REQUESTS A holy spirit or A clear conscience.

Peter says that baptism is the ANTITYPE of the flood where 8 souls were saved in a physical sense. If you don't want to drown or be crucified for your OWN sins, like the thief on the cross, you had better take Christ's option in Baptism:

Antitupon (g499) an-teet'-oo-pon; neut. of a comp. of 473 and 5179; corresponding ["antitype"], i.e. a representative, counterpart: - (like) figure (whereunto).
Anti is the Greek:
Anti (g473) an-tee'; a prim. particle; opposite, i.e. instead or because of (rarely in addition to): - for, in the room of. Often used in composition to denote contrast, requital, substitution, correspondence, etc.

We are not baptized BECAUSE of the flood. Therefore, grace means that we are baptized INSTEAD OF being drowned in the flood or crucified on the cross.

Water baptism is not INSTEAD of believing but instead of drowing or being emplaled on a stake. Baptism is also BECAUSE we believe. Because you BELIEVE.

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 (future tense) the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

The neo-pagan form of baptism rising from the earth in YOUR CHURCH repudiates the Words of Jesus, the preaching of Peter and the belief of Christians prior to Zwingli. Zwingli too Calvin predestination to the extreme to say that no one could do anything in their lives not predestianted for the ELECT.

The X files believes in the MAN ON MARS and a POST-Christian gospel.
"The Gospel of the Grace of God is the Gospel the Apostle Paul preached to Jews and Gentiles and wrote about in his letters.
It is not the same Gospel Peter, James and John preached and wrote in their letters.
"All of Christ's Apostles (i.e. Peter, James, John, Paul, etc.) preached Christ, but they didn't all have the same Gospel message. They didn't have the same purpose or audience either.
Where did Paul's gospel come from?
"God chose Paul for something special and new. Paul's ministry was something unknown to anyone in the world at that time. The timing was specifically in God's hands. Paul did not choose God. God chose Paul. Paul did not choose the Gospel he would preach.
God gave Paul that Gospel message,
just as He gave Peter, James and John their Gospel message.

Both in prophecy, the Great Commission and the work of the early evangelists, there is only ONE GOSPEL. All of these passage speak of the good news to the GENTILES or NATIONS that they could become one with Jews and all others:

Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christs gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, 2 Co.2:12
What was Christ's Gospel?
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

Baptism was not Paul's primary task: people are not ready for baptism until the hear the gospel and, like the Eunuch, request it. Paul had the spiritual gifts and knowledge to preach but others could baptize.

It could be (and is) argued that Paul and Peter's Gospels were the same and the only difference in their mission was the audience.

Both Peter and Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles. Peter headquartered in Jerusalem but the Spirit Lord who was "Jesus of Nazareth" sent Paul specificially into the Greek world.

"An examination of the Book of Acts and Paul's letters show that the messages were different as well. The Jewish believers in Israel had to obey the law of Moses
and all the teachings that Christ gave to the disciples while He ministered on earth (Matthew 28:20).

The Pilgrims were under the Mayflower Compact. The Indians, French and Spaniards WERE NOT.

After they became CITIZENS of the KINGDOM of the USA they were under the Constitution of the United States.

After the Law of Moses (added because of the transgression of Musical Idolatry) was abrogated (not destroyed), both Jews and Christians were under obligation to Christ.

Jesus said that believers would not worship God in the old PLACE of temple or mountain. Instead, as clear as God can make it he said:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. John 4:23

This is not a new "attitude" but a new PLACE. Not surprising then that JEWS who became believers worshipped God in the human spirit:

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Ph.3:3
See the absolute proof that the PROPHESIED, COMMANDED and FULFILLED gospel was for ALL NATIONS or Gentiles.

Baptist baptism reaches no further back than Zwingli who in 1525 proclaimed the dogma of FAITH ONLY (repudiated by Luther in his Sola Fide). Zwingli claimed that ALL previous scholars were WRONG. This set the stage for what is called "THE UNIQUELY AMERICAN RELIGION which is neither Biblical or Christian." The true Baptist formulation came much later. Each person understands the Bible in their own way because they are DIRECTLY GUIDED by the Holy Spirit (person). Therefore, it is NOT POSSIBLE to question one's view of baptism. This clearly proves that Baptist Baptism is not BIBLICAL but efforts are made to refute the GENTILES which includes all of those NOT BAPTISTS.

However, this was an early heretical view of the Marcosians.

Chapter XXI.-The Views of Redemption Entertained by These Heretics.
1. It happens that their tradition respecting redemption is invisible and incomprehensible, as being the mother of things which are incomprehensible and invisible; and on this account, since it is fluctuating, it is impossible simply and all at once to make known its nature, for every one of them hands it down just as his own inclination prompts. Thus there are as many schemes of "redemption" as there are teachers of these mystical opinions.
And when we come to refute them, we shall show in its fitting-place,
that this class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God,
and thus to a renunciation of the whole [Christian] faith.

The American Baptist religion is not Christian but is Gnosticism. Gnosis or wisdom does not come from reading the Bible but from an experential encounter all alone with the Spirit.

2. They maintain that those who have attained to perfect knowledge must of necessity be regenerated into that power which is above all.
For it is otherwise impossible to find admittance within the Pleroma, since this [regeneration]
it is which leads them down into the depths of Bythus.
For the baptism instituted
by the visible Jesus was for the remission of sins,
but the redemption brought in by that Christ who descended upon Him, was for perfection;
and they allege that the former is animal, but the latter spiritual. And the baptism of John was proclaimed with a view to repentance, but the redemption by Jesus was brought in for the sake of perfection.

Disciples of Zwingli rarely tell the whole truth. For instance, there is a verse 19:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Matt 28:19
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matt 28:20
The NATIONS were:
Ethnos (g1484) eth'-nos; prob. from 1486; a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe; spec. a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by impl. pagan): - Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

Denying that Christ came fully in the flesh is the MARK of Anti Christ. Therefore, to lie about Jesus and claim that He taught keeping the Law and that HIS dispensation was only to the Jews is part of replacing the Man, Christ Jesus with the imaginary "holy spirit" person who TEACHES ANOTHER GOSPEL through Paul.

Just remember that when the Spirit Lord appeared to Paul He said that His name was "Jesus of Nazareth."

Not so for the world's Gentiles and the Jews outside Israel who responded to Paul's Gospel of Grace. Paul spent the rest of his life explaining the differences between his Gospel and that of the Jewish disciples. Both groups worshipped the same Lord, but the continued following of the old testament by the christian-jews was done in memorial to Jewish revelation and also done to demonstrate Jesus' fulfillment of those revelations, not as a means of salvation in themselves, which is not of works, but by faith.

The fact that Jesus would send a mixed race to BOTH Jew and Gentile was an expression of God's grace but it was not suddenly given to Paul who created a new POST-CHRIST dispensaiton of aion or World order. Paul makes it clear that he lived in the same WORLD order.

Peter and Jesus were not the ones ALIENATED;
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: Eph 2:12
But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Eph 2: 13
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Eph 2: 14

Jesus didn't break down the barrier with Paul but long ago at His death:

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; Eph 2: 15

That distinction ended, as prophesied, when Christ returned to Heave.

Why would the OLD teachings of Jesus insist that CHRISTIANS live under the law UNTIL Paul corrected what Jesus died for?

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: Eph 2: 16
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. Eph 2: 17
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Eph 2: 18
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; Eph 2: 19
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Eph 2: 20
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: Eph 2: 21
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Eph 2: 2
Believer's baptism and Zwinglism, therefore, is not just a DIVERSITY with which we can have UNITY. This tosses away the entire New Testament except PAULINE GOSPEL stuff and then misquotes Paul.
Rubel Shelly: "In the Old Testament God spoke at many times and in a variety of ways.
Through Jesus, God Himself spoke to His people during His lifetime.
Now God speaks through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will teach you all things,
will call to your memory the things Jesus said,
will guide you into all truth,
will speak what He hears from the Father,
will tell you what is yet to come,
and glorify Christ as He reveals Christ to you.
To cut you off from all but the CORE GOSPEL of seven facts ABOUT Jesus, Shelly claims that John didn't originate the idea of writing his account, that he was probably helped by the developing PRESBYTERS at Ephesus and that he "sifted" old memories through philosophy and HIS OWN PERSONAL AGENDA.
John Mark Hicks observes that Max Lucado (now claims to be a Baptist) and Rubel Shelly in thei INCARNATIONAL VIEWS may deny the full humanity of Jesus: that means to deny that JESUS CHRIST CAME FULLY IN THE FLESH.

I have edited the line drawing of Zwingli. born Jan. 1, 1484 , Wildhaus in the Toggenburg, Sankt Gallen, Switz. died Oct. 11, 1531 , near Kappel

It is popular but wrong to ridicule those who stress the Bible's connection of water baptism to salvation. What is probably an honest but uninformed view is that this is a latter-day view and amounts to "water regeneration." However, many of the early scholars in the earliest historical records show that people accepted the Bible for what it said. Those more influenced by the Greek religions minimized baptizm of made it into a form of paganism.

However, the general view was that baptism was vital because in it Christ connected water, word and spirit.

For instance:

Tertullian (155-220) The Necessity of Baptism for Salvation

Basil the Great (329 - 379) on Baptism

Erasmus' emphasis upon a rational interpretation of Luther's "faith only" led Zwingli in 1525 to conclude also from Calvin that "if salvation was by grace,

if even faith was a direct work of God by the Holy Spirit,

then there can be no place for schemes of religious life or thought which allow for the ex opere operato efficacy of baptism."

Basil defines the universal understanding of the connection between Word, Spirit and Water until the time of John Calvin.

Therefore, 1500 years of belief and practice about Biblical Baptism was altered by a Latter Day Prophet who grasped that Calvinism could not tolerate the total history of scholarship

So-called believer's baptism demands the same real, literal presence of Christ just like the Eucharist. It is similar to pagan baptism in that the individual is totally passive and CANNOT even believe without a direct movement of God's Spirit to point out or identify one as predestinated.

Those who believed in predestination, like the Jews and later Calvinists such as the Puritans,

"were obsessed with a terror that they would not be saved.
Conversion became a
central preoccupation,

a violent, tortured drama in which the sinner and his spiritual director wrestled for his soul.

Frequently the penitent had to undergo severe humiliation or experience real despair of God's grace until he appreciated his utter dependence upon God." (Karen Armstrong, A History of God, p. 283).

Therefore, it is impossible to believe in the Baptist form of baptism without at the same time believing in Calvinistic predestination. And this discounts the finished work of Christ.

This was based on humanistic rationalism: that religon must be based on "logical conclusions" rather than simple faith in the clear statement of the Bible that "baptism saves" because that is the time and place Christ assigned to save us.

It was not, in the future, to rely on the teachings of the Bible because, whatever one is taught, if God has predestinated you then you will be informed directly by the Holy Spirit.

This means that to base faith and practice on the Bible is not only useless but is hostile toward God Who has already made up His "mind."

This does not prevent Calvinists teaching "faith only" to shift the blame and claim that it is being RATIONALISTIC to try to understand the Bible. In reality, the High Church view of a direct revelation depend on their rational minds which they confuse with the Mind of The Spirit. If so then the Spirit contradicts the teachings of Christ and the apostles and bible toters are considered dangerous.

"The difference between Luther and Zwingli's methods shifted the debate from a discussion about real presence, in the Eucharist along with other dogma. At Marburg Luther argued against his opponents' use of logic more than against their theological stance on the presence of Christ (Kittleson 207).

For Luther feared that their use of reason would then be applied to other issues, like baptism, and begin to unravel Evangelical theology.

He feared that this would place some authority in the human ability to reason,

instead of authority being found in God's Word alone.

On this key argument, it can be said that his objection was not specifically to Zwingli's view of the Eucharist.

"It was at least in part the influence of Erasmus who emphasized a rational interpretation of the Scriptures that would characterize Zwingli's preaching in Glarus, Einsiedeln, and as priest of Great Minster, Zurich. Zwingli believed that

the Word would give light and life to those who read it,

but not to everyone who read it.

"It does so only where a true response is kindled. In other words, it calls for a decision of faith." This work could only take place, in Zwingli's estimation, as a result of the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Because of the error that the death of Christ had not relieved the guilt of Adam's sin, it was believed that chidren inherited this ORIGINAL SIN. Baptism or sprinkling "a bit of dust to bury the body" was the teaching of baptismal regeneration.

It was against this that Zwingli argued. Many false teachings such as the trinity had no Biblical foundation but was invented in attempting to silence Arius. Therefore, Zwingli was opposing Rome and not the Bible.

"The second key doctrine for Zwingli, and another foundational belief within Protestantism, was justification by grace through faith. With this belief, Zwingli repudiated Rome's teaching that external baptism could of itself cleanse from sin. Zwingli's interpretation of the Scriptures led him to believe that "if salvation was by grace,

if even faith was a direct work of God by the Holy Spirit,

then there can be no place for schemes of religious life or thought which allow either for the merit of human works or for the ex opere operato efficacy of sacramental observances."

"Justification became the sovereign and creative declaration of God by which

those who are elected to faith in Jesus Christ are accepted as righteous on the merits of Christ."

This was a monumental shift for anyone to make in opposition to the Catholic Church's traditional view of soteriology, and thereby earned Zwingli a position alongside Luther and Calvin as a Reformer in his own right.

"Zwingli even made the proper distinction between rational, intellectual assent, and the necessity for a movement of the whole nature by the direct action of the Holy Spirit. Zwingli's insistence on justification by grace did not mean the negation of the Law.

The Law was still seen as a part of God's will for man as a guide to the believer and a warning to the unregenerate.

However, it is easy to misquote Zwingli who thought that baptism was not a church duty but that of the family.

"To Zwingli, the child was born with an "inherited frailty" which inevitably would give rise to a sin nature in each person.

"To Zwingli, baptism was more a pledge of what we ought to do rather than a testimony to what God has already done for us."

Although Zwingli was apparently weak in developing a theology of baptism, especially in relation to its sacramental effectiveness, certainly he helped to lay the groundwork that would be built upon by later Reformed theologians. Quoted from. Rev. Christopher C. Arch, M.A

Max Lucado whose Baptists friends have confiscated a church of Christ insists that 1 Peter 3:21 means that we are saved even by calling God "father" and we PLEDGE to be good boys. However, baptism is an ANSWER only in the CALL AND RESPONSE: God calls us all through the Gospel and we ANSWER by requesting A holy spirit or A clear conscience:

Webster: Pledge: 1. The condition of being given or held as security for a contract, payment, etc

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 3:21KJV

The NIV is Calvinistic and Faith Only and therefore often goes to trouble to translate words with no textual authority.

Therefore, the definition of words and other versions prove that it is at the time and place of water baptism that we ASK for God to give us a clean conscience which is the gift of A holy spirit.

And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21NAS

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21RSV

(That, by the way, is what baptism pictures for us: In baptism we show that we have been saved from death and doom by the resurrection of Christ;[c] not because our bodies are washed clean by the water but because in being baptized we are turning to God and asking him to cleanse our hearts from sin.) 1 Peter 3:21LIV

This view led predominately Baptist slave owners to stake their fortune on their racist views and depending on saviours like Robert E. Lee to prove that BAPTISTS were uniquely the ONLY TRUE KINGDOM OF GOD. As uniquely American Religions which are not really part of historic Christianity, Mormonism claims the West and Baptists the South and South West as a replacement of the Catholic church.

We might be cursed if we rejected the skill and courage of men like Luther and Zwingli. However, many of their beliefs are reactionary against Catholicism. Zwingli believed in two forms of relationship. The first was that with God through His invisible church - a mystical union by faith. The second was with the community through the visible church. Baptism was an absolute necessity for membership and privileges.

To accept Zwingli's baptism is NOT to accept any previous teaching about baptism. Indeed, we will see that because Zwingli was urgent to INCLUDE the pagans who had not been baptized, that his baptism is quite identical to PAGAN BAPTISM.

LUTHER never rejected the meaning of baptism clearly taught in the Bible

"In these words you must note, in the first place, that here stand God's commandment and institution, lest we doubt that Baptism is divine, not devised nor invented by men. For as truly as I can say, No man has spun the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer out of his head, but they are revealed and given by God Himself,

so also I can boast that Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself,

moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, lest any one regard it as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat.

For it is of the greatest importance that we esteem Baptism excellent, glorious, and exalted, for which we contend and fight chiefly,

because the world is now so full of sects clamoring that Baptism is an external thing, and that external things are of no benefit.

Luther also pointed out the same idea Jesus expressed about REJECTING THE COUNSEL OF GOD. To the elite, baptism was a show of contempt for life and the world and they were not going to do something which they understood from secular baptism as humiliating and subservient. See Luther on FAITH ONLY and BAPTISM prior to Zwingli's change to try to make Calvinism fit where it clearly would not fit the Bible.

"Why? Because the person is nobler and better. Here, then, we must not estimate the person according to the works, but the works according to the person, from whom they must derive their nobility.

But insane reason will not regard this, and

because Baptism does not shine like the works which we do, it is to be esteemed as nothing.

Zwingli's FAITH ONLY with salvation prior to baptism was to SAVE the pagans. However, as Jesus tells us, it was a reluctance to accept the words of Jesus when HUMAN RATIONALISM wanted to believe something else.

LUTHER would say that the ROOT of the dogma of FAITH ONLY is human pride which cannot accept that the humiliation of water baptism can save the likes of them. Why? Why, by accepting Calvinism they were saved WITHOUT BAPTISM, this proved that God had predestinated them and therefore to submit to baptism questioned their own RATIONAL CONCLUSIONS.

BELIEVER'S BAPTISM today means that one is SAVED and that baptism is just an outward sign. However, the original intention was another RATIONALISTIC attempt to be like God and include infants where Catholics had excluded them without sprinkling (which isn't baptism):

"Eschatology. Here again Zwingli departed further from Augustine and the mediaeval theology than any other Reformer, and anticipated modern opinions. He believed (with the Anabaptists) in the salvation of infants dying in infancy, whether baptized or not.

He believed also in the salvation of those heathen who loved truth and righteousness in this life, and were, so to say, unconscious Christians, or pre-Christian Christians.

This is closely connected with his humanistic liberalism and enthusiasm for the ancient classics.

He admired the wisdom and the virtue of the Greeks and Romans, and expected to meet in heaven, not only the saints of the Old Testament from Adam down to John the Baptist, but also such men as Socrates, Plato, Pindar, Aristides, Numa, Cato, Scipio, Seneca; yea, even such mythical characters as Hercules and Theseus. There is, he says, no good and holy man, no faithful soul, from the beginning to the end of the world, that shall not see God in his glory.

"This liberal extension of Christ's kingdom and Christ's salvation beyond the limits of the visible Church,

although directly opposed to the traditional belief of the necessity of water baptism for salvation, was not altogether new.

"Justin Martyr, Origen, and other Greek fathers saw in the scattered truths of the heathen poets and philosophers the traces of the pre-Christian revelation of the Logos, and in the philosophy of the Greeks a schoolmaster to lead them to Christ.

See how Rubel Shelly says that while John was remembering old fragments of the gospel and using theology and his personal agenda, composed or narrated his gospel account only on the demand of the Ephesian Elders and for his own personal agenda. Shelly sees John as getting the LOGOS idea from the Greek Hermes, Mercury or other "gods" seen as the carrier of information. Along with this goes the equally pagan view of baptism. All of this PERVERTS the Scriptures as delivered to us.

The humanists of the school of Erasmus recognized a secondary inspiration in the classical writings, and felt tempted to pray: "Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis, Zwingli was a humanist, but he had no sympathy with Pelagianism.

On the contrary, as we have shown previously, he traced salvation to God's sovereign grace, which is independent of ordinary means, and he first made a clear distinction between the visible and the invisible Church.

He did not intend, as he has been often misunderstood, to assert the possibility of salvation without Christ. "Let no one think," he wrote to Urbanus Rhegius (a preacher at Augsburg), "that I lower Christ; for whoever comes to God comes to him through Christ .... The word,

"He who believeth not will be condemned,"
applies only to those who
can hear the gospel, but not to children and heathen .... I openly confess that all infants are saved by Christ, since grace extends as far as sin.

Whoever is born is saved by Christ from the curse of original sin.

> If he comes to the knowledge of the law and does the works of the law (Rom. 2:14, 26),

> he gives evidence of his election." (Schaff)

This has come to mean that one is born under LAW and must do the works of the law. Once convinced that he is utterly helpless, he turns to Christ. This legalistic wrestling with Law instills the belief that baptism as Christ's MEANS of bestowing grace is just another work of the Law. Again we note that:

Those who believed in predestination, like the Jews and later Calvinists such as the Puritans,

"were obsessed with a terror that they would not be saved.
Conversion became a
central preoccupation,
violent, tortured drama in which the sinner and his spiritual director wrestled for his soul.

Frequently the penitent had to undergo severe humiliation or experience real despair of God's grace until he appreciated his utter dependence upon God." (Karen Armstrong, A History of God, p. 283).

The Bible and 1500 years of scholarship agreed with Jesus that salvation was placed, by Him, in connection with water baptism were we ACCEPT THE COUNSEL of God for our lives. Zwingli's baptism, on the other hand, was truly a legalistic work which denied the ORIGINAL sacrifice of Christ as having any value to them before they had PERSONALLY abandoned all hope after being cycled through the Law of Moses:

While followers of Zwingli and Smyth had good intentions, their theology would not work without reinterpreting the teachings about baptism .

Not only must the horrified sinner get cleared of ORIGINAL SIN and do the WORKS OF THE LAW, they must have...

the crucifixion fulfilled in them through a direct operation of the Holy Spirit because, among many, God had predestinated it so.

"Since there was no other minister to administer baptism, Smyth baptized himself and then proceeded to baptize his flock. An interesting note at this point that should be brought to bear is that the mode of baptism used was that of pouring, for immersion would not become the standard for another generation."

Before his death, as seems characteristic of Smyth, he abandoned his "Baptist" views and began trying to bring his flock into the Mennonite church. Although he died before this happened, most of his congregation did join themselves with the Mennonite church after his death.

Zwingli or modern Baptist dogma of FAITH ONLY has absolutely no meaning outside of the Calvinistic ELECTION or PREDESTINATION. Baptism is then just a token or visible confirmation for the benefit of the organized church that we ARE one of the selected few. Early Baptists did not just see this as "joining the church" but believers who had not been baptized were not allowed to participate in the Eucharist. Therefore, they were saved in promised but not allowed to partake of the means of bestowing grace.

"Luther, on the one hand, insisted in the eucharistic controversy on the most literal interpretation of the words of institution

against all arguments of grammar and reason; and yet, on the other hand, he exercised the boldest subjective criticism on several books of the Old and New Testaments,

especially the Epistle of James and the Epistle to the Hebrews,
because he could not harmonize them with his understanding of Paul's doctrine of justification."

"As a reaction against the mysteries within Catholicism, and not as well-thought-out theology, men like Zwingli formulated a new doctrine in the world. This doctrine was later adopted by John Smyth and other separatists as a fundamental tenet of a new creed. Since the early 1600s groups developed which grew into a modern system of mysteries or sacramental religion.

This translates as GNOSTICISM and not CHRISTIANITY.

John Smyth, claimed by Baptists, in a Short Confession of Faith, noted that:

(11) That faith, destitute of good works, is vain; but true and living faith is distinguished by good works.

(12) That the church of Christ is a company of the faithful; baptised after confession of sin and of faith, endowed with the power of Christ. [ 1993a ] [ 1993b ]

(13) That the church of Christ has power delegated to themselves of announcing the word, administering the sacraments, appointing ministers, disclaiming them, and also excommunicating; but the last appeal is to the brethren of body of the church.

(14) That baptism is the external sign of the remission of sins, of dying and of being made alive, and therefore does not belong to infants. [ 1993 ]

He did not share the common Baptist view of baptism, but in order to exclude infants noted that baptism is the outward sign of the inward work of faith "which works." Of course, it is obvious that God purges our inward heart of sin as our bodies are washed with pure water. Water does not wash the soul clean but without it God does not act. This is His predestinated plan.

1729 Goat Yard Declaration of Faith A Declaration of the Faith and Practice of the Church of Christ at Horsely-down, under the Pastoral Care of Mr. John Gill, &c.

XI. We believe that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Christ, to be continued until his second coming; and that the former is absolutely requisite to the latter;

that is to say, that those only are to be admitted into the communion of the church, and to participate of all ordinances in it, who upon profession of their faith, have been baptized by immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

An ordinance means "directon or command of an authoritative nature.. A decree of Deity." (Webster)

Because these ancient scholars understood that God's grace is mininistered only to those who are in the church or the body of Christ, to make baptism necessary for church membership meant that it was an absolute command of Christ. Therefore, baptism and the Lord's Supper were not sacraments but ordinances. A sacrament is "a mystery, Gr. musterion, or a secret."

Any restoration of BELIEVER'S BAPTISM which is POST 1500 and rejection of Christian Baptism is the urge, like Zwingli, to play God and INCLUDE Baptists and other Calvinists as "just as good as I am." However, this ecumenical urge to JOIN THE BAPTISTS will never be met with friendship. Ecumenical has always meant, "You agree with me and we can fellowship." Since you are probably considered a CULT, your baptism has no value because it is traced to Christ and not to an unbroken line of Baptist clergy.

For instance, Baptists claim to be the only "one true church" because it believes that it can trace its existance through an unbroken chain back to John the Baptist:

BUT: "Only Scriptural Baptist churches can make a legitimate claim to an unbroken succession back to the time of Christ and the apostles. Christ only built one kind of church and that church is described in detail in the New Testament.

The only churches meeting the requirements of that description today are true Baptist churches.

Baptist churches have existed in every age since their founding by Christ, though they have not always been known by that name. We do not deny that there are those in other so-called "churches" that have been born again by the grace of God. We do deny, however, that these man-made organizations are true churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We might say that churches of Christ have an unbroken connection with Christ and they were ALWAYS known by that name. John Smyth called his group the church of Christ and while claimed by Catholics the church Fathers considered themselves churches of Christ.

The churches of Christ rejected all relationship to the law of Moses such as tithing and music.

The churches of Christ always practiced baptism IN ORDER TO the forgiveness of sins even before it adopted infant baptism

We noted above that what is claimed as Baptist called themselves the church of Christ in order to honor the husband of the bride or the Head of the body. Therefore, the Baptists like all modern churches must endorse a reformation or restoration in order to even be close to the New Testament Church:

BUT: "If one thing could be said of the Church in the 1500's it would be that it had strayed far from the Biblical standard and was very corrupt. However, men like Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin stood up and reclaimed the Biblical, historical doctrines of the early Church. This call for reform reclaimed the following: the absolute authority of Scripture; the unconditional sovereignty of God over every aspect of life; salvation by grace through faith alone;

the purpose of man being to glorify God;
and man's right and responsibility to
read and study the Bible for himself in light of history, rather than depending solely on the Church to do it for him."

Of course, in the Luther link above, we note that his Sola Fide was identical to that of Thomas Campbell: faith must have an object and without baptism it is not faith.

Believer's Baptism--Back Under Legalism

A fundamental part of the doctrine of John Smyth and Zwingli is the term: "Believer's Baptism." This new (called radical at the time that it departed from 15 centuries of history) idea of baptism is not based upon reading the Bible for oneself. Rather, it depends upon theologians uderstanding all of the Baptism passages in ways which no translator has ever seen fit to give to the world. Zwingli would say that "baptism does not save" but go on to say "without faith." This form of believer's baptism intended to deny that infants needed to be baptized.

Believer's Baptism Britannica: One of the most dramatic differences between the reformers was the radicals' practice of believers' baptism. The radical Reformers, especially the Anabaptists (whose name means “rebaptizers”), preferred adult baptism because adults could exercise free will and accept baptism. Infant baptism, from their viewpoint, cheapened the standard of church membership and was not designated or foreseen in the New Testament documents that chartered the church. Michael Sattler (c. 1500–27), Menno Simons (1496–1561), and Balthasar Hubmaier (1485–1528) led the opposition to infant baptism. They were determined to follow the example of Jesus, who underwent baptism as an adult. They also aspired to be “buried” (in water) with him, as St. Paul had said baptized people would be. “New birth” would come from this act, and the reborn believers would restore the church.

We repeat the statement to show that BELIEVER'S BAPTISM is an intense, works oriented form of almost self-redemption from the Law of Moses. However, a third member of the "god family" or Holy Spirit had been defined as doing what the human mind could not do: not even believe.

as the crucifixion fulfilled in them through a direct operation of the Holy Spirit because, among many, God had predestinated it so.

"Since there was no other minister to administer baptism, Smyth baptized himself and then proceeded to baptize his flock. An interesting note at this point that should be brought to bear is that the mode of baptism used was that of pouring, for immersion would not become the standard for another generation.

Before his death, as seems characteristic of Smyth, he abandoned his "Baptist" views and began trying to bring his flock into the Mennonite church. Although he died before this happened, most of his congregation did join themselves with the Mennonite church after his death.

The Britannica on "Believer's Baptism" in Protestantanism notes that:

"When taken out of the historical context of St. Paul's teachings in the letters to the Romans or the Galatians and transferred to their own times, the Reformers' teaching of justification relied heavily on the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, in effect,

made Christ's action contemporaneous with the sinner's quest.

"God was working now on behalf of those in need. Through preaching, humanity learned of Jesus Christ's sacrifice and death.

If the individual believed this historical narrative and,
        more importantly,

if by the
power of the Holy Spirit he believed that
        it was
told and enacted for him, he stood before God in a new light. 

"Grace was not infused into him to the point that he became acceptable and pleasing to God. Instead, while the individual was still a sinner, God accepted him favourably and justified him.

"Christ's death on the cross was then the only "transaction" that mattered between God and man.

The sacraments reinforced the relation and brought new grace.

That is, rather than accepting the ONCE FOR ALL sacrifice of Christ, a believer's baptism actually BESTOWED grace. This makes "believer's baptism into a WORKS by which he ACQUIRES more grace.

"The teaching of the Reformers becomes most intelligible when seen against the Western Catholic doctrines (e.g., sin, grace, atonement), as they saw them.

"Sometimes the phrase total depravity was used to describe the human condition, though it must be said that the term had connotations in the 16th century that were different from those that it has today. It was used not so much to provide lurid connotations for descriptions of the depth of sin but rather to describe its extent;

man as a total being was in trouble.

Even good works, piety, religiousness, and efforts, apart from justification by grace through faith, fell under God's curse.

On the other hand, the justified sinner could be described in the most lavish terms, as one who could be "as Christ" or even sometimes "a Christ."

Note: This is a form of trans or con-substantation: the bread becomes the literal flesh of Christ or it has no value. That is, Christ did not have the power to infuse life into baptism as the reinaction of His death, burial and resurrection. His body must be destroyed and brought into life at the hands of the priest to have value. Baptists claim that it must be at the hands of a Baptist traceable in an unbroken line back to Christ

In the same way, "believer's baptism" holds that the person must literally be a form of or even must be Christ Himself for His sacrificial blood to have any effect.

This means, of course, that the believer must pay for their own sins by becomming Christ.

However, originally the statement simply meant that you don't baptize infants but believers. It is left for a more modern and radical interpretation to say that one is saved at belief and therefore baptism is not effective as a means but a sign. However, then and now, one is not allowed to be a member of the body of Christ until after baptism.

The fatal flaw is that one is SAVED and is yet a SINNER. Otherwise we would LIMIT the grace of God.

"Those who have heard this Protestant teaching outlined through the centuries have regularly seen the difficulties it raises insofar as the portrait of God's character is concerned. Protestants never came up with logically satisfying answers to the resultant questions, though they were convinced that they were faithful witnesses to biblical teachings concerning the mystery of God's nature. The central question:

"if everything depended upon God's initiative
"and yet the
majority of people are not saved,
"does this not mean that
God is responsible for creating humans only to have them suffer;

"is he not guilty of the worst kind of cruelty by being the sole agent of their damnation?

John Calvin said that he "gagged on Calvinism." Those who reject the counsel of God for their lives will gag God and He will spit them out of His mouth.

The dogma of faith only must not be understood as simply a one-step plan of salvation. Rather, we are looking at a Protestant version of the repudiated Catholic mysteries. This mystical faith is not a produce of reading or hearing about Christ. Calvin admits that this was the ordinary meaning but as a reaction against Catholicism God has redefined faith.

Not behind the mysteries one jot or tittle, John Calvin wrote in such a way that preachers preaching BELIEVER'S BAPTISM should get off the payroll and let God do His own picking.

"But they do not consider, that when the apostle makes hearing the source of faith, he only describes the ordinary economy and dispensation of the Lord, which he generally observes in the calling of his people; but does not prescribe a perpetual rule for him, precluding his employment of any other method; which he has certainly employed in the calling of many,

to whom he has given the true knowledge of himself in an internal manner, by the illumination of his Spirit,

Bruner speaks for most of those who reject Baptism following faith acquired, according to Paul, by hearing the Words of Christ (Romans 10). Rather, salvation is a result of God "bursting through" and giving you faith. And to believe Paul is, according to the mysteries, insanity:

"God can never be found along any way of thought; for indeed this idea of God bursts through and destroys all the fundamental categories of thought; the absolutely antithetical character of the basic logical principles of contradiction and identity.
To want to think this God for oneself would mean insanity." (Brunner, Emil, Revelation and Reason, pp 46f.) 
Remember that we noted that an ordinance is an absolute command. However, A sacrament is "a mystery, Gr. musterion, or a secret."

Therefore, to the mystery religions reformed out of the master mystery religion, baptism is not an ordinance to be obeyed by everyone. Christ did not accomplish His work at one time and place in history.

Rather, baptism is a mystery enjoyed only by those who have been chosen out of the masses, given God's high sign, has been accepted by the circle and then has, by their permission, been baptized to enjoy "all of the rights and privileges" of that mystery group. A web site laments that about half of Southern Baptists are not baptized for this purpose. It also laments that people are being baptized upon their confession without undergoing the mysteries of initiation. In other words, they see baptism as an ordinance to be obeyed rather than a sacrement or sacred mystery.

To the Sacramentarians, the once for all sacrifice of Jesus has no value unless it, like the bread and juice of the euchrist, is turned into a reality just for the one who believes and when he believes. And even he can understand this mystery only by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit.

"The Catholic system of Christianity, both Greek and Roman, is sacramental and sacerdotal. The saving grace of Christ is conveyed to men through the channel of seven sacraments, or "mysteries," administered by ordained priests

        who receive members into the church by baptism, accompany them through the various stages of life, and dismiss them by extreme unction into the other world.
A literal priesthood requires a literal sacrifice, and this is the repetition of Christ's one sacrifice on the cross offered by the priest in the mass from day to day.
The power of the mass extends not only to the living, but even to departed spirits in purgatory, abridging their sufferings, and hastening their release and transfer to heaven. See the Mormon need for a priesthood and baptism for the dead.
"Zwingli and Calvin reduced the sacraments to signs and seals of grace which is inwardly communicated by the Holy Spirit. They asserted the sovereign causality of God, and the independence of the Spirit who "bloweth where it willeth" (John 3:8). God can communicate his gifts freely as he chooses. We are, however, bound to his prescribed means.
The Swiss Reformers also emphasized the necessity of faith, not only for a profitable use of the sacrament (which is conceded by the Lutherans), but for the reception of the sacrament itself. Unworthy communicants receive only the visible sign, not the thing signified, and they receive the sign to their own injury. Schaff
This is so certain a mystery that the believer actually becomes CHRIST and so sure of their standing with God that further dialog is wasted.

This leads to arrogance and door knocking trying to find others so absolutely confident in their personal experience, or to others whom they can impute lostness.

The Greek word APPEAL means that at the time and place our bodies are washed with water we REQUEST from God a cleansed conscience or an unobstructed consciousness. This has the same meaning as A holy spirit as a gift.


Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21RSV

The NIV is a modern commentary and not a translation:

and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge [response] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21

The Bible, on the other hand, treats the shed blood of Christ as a point in history event looking backward and forward. Therefore, while people for 1600 years had looked back to the cross, people now demanded that the cross be brought to them.

While believers cannot save themselves, they must repent before they are baptized:

"Jesus died once and for all (Heb. 7:27; 9:25-28; 10:10-14). In contrast, the mystery gods were vegetation deities whose repeated deaths and resuscitations depict the annual cycle of nature.

"Unlike the initiation rites of the mystery cults, Christian baptism looks back to what a real, historical person -- Jesus Christ -- did in history.

Advocates of the mystery cults believed their "sacraments" had the power to give the individual the benefits of immortality in a mechanical or magical way,

without his or her undergoing any moral or spiritual transformation. (Ronald Nash, Was the NT influenced by pagan religions)

mysteries penetrated the Medieval mind and led to the belief that "God imputes righteousness to a sinner." Not so. Salvation depends upon our being perfectly righteous. However, we are not personally righteous. Not even God's Spirit could make us righteous because He does not live within sinners. Therefore, the only way God can accept us is to translate us into Christ Who is perfectly righteous. This cannot happen until our old man "dies" and is buried in connection with His own death in which He cancelled all sin for those who would become part of His body. He said it: He meant it.

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

However, the mysteries insist upon a personal experience or personal drama of Christ coming to us personally to instill faith.

Once this mystery has been experienced and proven by faith, the initiate was still not in the ancient fellowship. Rather, he must undergo a period of probation and then tell his experience to the insiders. They, in turn decide whether to initiate him.

You must understand that a new definition of faith has been explained. The most important faith is that Christ did it just for you because you were predestinated and the Holy Spirit (Who is Christ) proved it to you by being called to descend to you.

Contrary to all of this reinterpretation of Jesus, Peter and Paul, when the Eunuch wanted to be baptized Philip just said: "If you believe you may." This was belief in the finished work of Christ and not faith that Christ was going to die again just for him.

This simple transaction once for all washed away the old washings of spirit and fire in which the candidate became the Sacrifice to, as little gods, pay for their own sins.

In much of Christ's teaching there is a repudiation of pagan practices. Therefore, with this background, let us look as a typical pagan form of baptism which, along with its rituals, has found its way into some Protestatentism. Many of the worst distortions of baptism and the Lord's Supper were developed after the time of Christ and did not influence Christianity.

Both before and after Christianity there were many forms of baptism and it is clear that "baptismal regeneration" was a product of adopting pagan mysteries. When Zwingli and then John Smyth threw away all of the historical meaning of baptism, we noted above that John Smyth still practiced pouring. Therefore, it is clear that the mystery baptism within Catholicism was not corrected because the Reformers reacted rather than return to the Bible.

We will look at one of the forms of baptism which undoubtedly influenced both Catholicism and the Reformers:

Baptism in the Mystery Religions
We have shown that many early reformers saw baptism as an ordinance or a command of Christ to be obeyed for the remission of sins. Zwingli rejected baptism of infants but taught that baptism was just a sign or sacrament. Furthermore, we showed that to call an act a sacrament is to defend the Catholic system of mystery religion more like Babylon than Jerusalem. The baptism-rejecting reformers clearly identified baptism as a part of a mystery system of religion where the priest (preacher) administers the sacraments.

Therefore, it is not far fetched to look at baptism in some of the pagan religions which clearly fed Rome and some of the Reformation.

Mithraic: "A period of preparation preceded the initiation in each of the mysteries. In the Isis religion, for example,

a period of 11 days of fasting, including abstinence from meat, wine, and sexual activity, was required before the ceremony.

The candidates were segregated from the common folk in special apartments in the holy precinct of the community centre; they were called "the chastely living ones" (hagneuontes).

"In all the mystery religions the candidates swore an oath of secrecy; the oath of the Isis Mysteries is preserved on papyrus.

Before initiation, a confession of sins was expected. The candidate sometimes told at length the story of the faults of his life up to the point of his baptism, which was commonly a part of the initiation ceremony, and the community of devotees listened to the confession.

It was believed that the rite of baptism would wash away all the candidate's sins, and, from that point on, his life would be changed for the better, because he had enrolled himself in the service of the saviour god.

"In the Mithraic ceremonies, there were seven degrees of initiations: Corax (Raven), Nymphus (Bridegroom), Miles (Soldier), Leo (Lion), Perses (Persian), Heliodromus (Courier of the Sun), and Pater (Father). Those in the lowest ranks, certainly the Corax, were the servants of the community during the sacred meal of bread and water that formed part of the rite.

"The initiation ceremonies usually mimed death and resurrection. This was done in the most extravagant manner. In some ceremonies, candidates were buried or shut up in a sarcophagus; they were even symbolically deprived of their entrails and mummified (an animal's belly with entrails was prepared for the ceremony). Alternatively, the candidates were symbolically drowned or decapitated. In imitation of the Orphic myth of Dionysus Zagreus, a rite was held in which the heart of a victim, supposedly a human child, was roasted and distributed among the participants to be eaten.

"The baptism could be either by water or by fire, and the rites often included actions that had an exotic flavour. Sulfur torches were used during the baptism ceremony; they were dipped into water and then--contrary to the expectations of the observers--burned when drawn out of the water. In a dark room a script would suddenly become visible on a wall that had been prepared accordingly. Instructions still exist for producing a nimbus effect--the appearance of light around the head of a priest. The priest's head was shaved and prepared with a protective ointment; then a circular metal receptacle for alcohol was fixed on his head; it was set aflame in a dark room and would shine for some seconds. In the Dionysus and Isis mysteries, the initiation was sometimes accomplished by a "sacred marriage," a sacral copulation. Two cases are known in which a priest speaking from the statue of the god ordered a credulous woman to come to the temple and be the god's concubine, the part of the god being enacted by the priest.

Note: While Jesus and Paul followed a system of teaching the Words of Christ, at times in the form of songs or cantillation (modern singing or harmony was not practiced),

the misunderstanding of Baptism among Catholics went along with instrumental music. This music was a sacrament and had to be performed by ordained clergy upon instruments which had been purged of their sins by sprinkling of water or baptism.

Thereafter, music was believed to be a mystery tool to force the demons to flee from church or funeral. The Parting Bells were rung to give the dead person a head start on the devils. Therefore, just as in the mysteries of paganism, music was a magical way to control the gods or demons.

"The initiation ceremonies were usually accompanied by music and dance and often included a large cast of actors. In the Dionysiac societies, especially elaborate provisions were made for mimic representations. The names of the sacred roles varied from place to place; among the roles were: Dionysus and Ariadne (a vegetation goddess and wife of Dionysus), Palaemon (a marine deity), Aphrodite (the goddess of love and beauty), Proteurhythmos (the inventor of elegant rhythm), the "foster-father of Dionysus," Kore, Demeter, Asclepius (the god of medicine), Pan (the god of flocks and shepherds), Curetes (long-haired youths), nymphs (minor nature goddesses), shepherds, sileni and satyrs (creatures of the wild, part man and part beast), maenads (female attendants who shared in the nocturnal orgiastic rites of Dionysus), the "guardian of the grotto," and centaurs (a race of beings half man and half horse)

The pantomimus, dressed like a tragic actor in a cloak and long tunic, usually performed solo, accompanied by an orchestra that included cymbals and other rhythm instruments, flutes, pipes, and trumpets. The libretto of the piece was sung or recited by a chorus and was usually adapted from a well-known tragedy. Both the music and the librettos of the pantomimes were considered to be of little artistic value. The talent and skill of the pantomimus himself were of supreme importance, and the greatest performers enjoyed the favour of wealthy patricians and even emperors, such as Nero and Domitian.
"The ceremonies always contained a prayer for the welfare of the emperor and for the good fortune of the whole Roman Empire. In fact, the amalgamation of religion and politics was sometimes so close that the designation "imperial mysteries" is used. The pattern of imperial mystery ceremonies could vary widely. This was especially true of the Dionysiac rites.

"In the clubs of the upper middle class and wealthy, for example, the festivals were chiefly social events. But the members of these communities were grateful for the security and peace and for the opportunity to make a good living that the emperor guaranteed to them. They felt loyalty toward the Roman Empire and expressed this by ceremonies of the imperial mysteries. 

"Dionysus was the patron god of the important international society of actors, and their reunions were celebrated in the mode of Dionysiac Mysteries.

When an emperor travelled in the empire, responsibility for dignified receptions of him was handed over to the society of actors. Because his route was known beforehand,

a voyage of the emperor was turned into a series of pompous festivals that were organized in a manner closely resembling mystery ceremonies.

"The meetings of the mystery clubs were often named after the common meal. The Dionysiac meetings were called stibas ("straw") because the participants ate their dinner sitting on straw.

The meals of the followers of Sarapis and Attis were called kline ("couch"), because the diners lay on couches. (See Amos 5; 6 for a description of the Marzeach).

By trying to reform any religion by tracing its roots back for 2000 years it is certain that pagan views will be picked up on the way back. The way to restore, rather than to reform, the church is to forget "founding fathers" and return to the Words of Christ.

Quotations from:

"mystery religion" Encyclopædia Britannica Online

Baptism Index

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