tisdag 13 februari 2018

The Innovations of the Roman Church #2 Baptism

This is extracted, unedited and without comment, from “The Innovations of the Roman Church” by Apostolos Makrakis (1831-1905). Even in his lifetime, Makrakis was notorious as an “Orthodox Fundamentalist” and got himself into trouble. However, whilst his approach is abstruse, and at times florid to the point of absurdity, he is not wrong in his identification of the main issues in which the Roman church appears to be in error. I make no claim to be able to follow the argument except in the most general terms.

The Lord said: “ . . .baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28.19).

The second innovation (heresy) of the Pope is pouring or sprinkling water on the person to be baptised, for the word baptism means dipping, and never means pouring or sprinkling — as anyone versed in the Greek language knows. The Latins “infallibly” assert that sprinkling (affusion or aspersion) was introduced and substituted for baptising (immersion) because of the physiological effect of water so as not to endanger the lives of infants; but this practice is in direct violation of the express command of Jesus Christ. Baptism is of God; sprinkling is of the man who has apostatised from God. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5.9). “Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written. That thou mayest be justified in thy words and mayest prevail when thou are judged”. (Rom. 3.4).

In a word: Baptism is of Christ, sprinkling is of Satan, the inventor of evils. Christ is true and is truth itself, whereas Satan is a liar and the father of falsehood, and “there is no truth in him; when he speaketh, he speaketh a lie out of his own.” (John 8.44). Everyone, however, is free to follow whichever of the two he prefers—Truth Itself, and be crowned, of the Archliar, and be condemned.

Baptism denotes total immersion of the body into water, just as in dyeing clothes they must be entirely immersed in the dye. Holy baptism is a type of death of the old Adamic man. Sprinkling (aspersion) or merely pouring the water upon the head (allusion) is subversive of holy Baptism and a mockery thereof. The Lord Jesus Christ did not command aspersion or affusion, but immersion (baptism). Nor did He say that mere invocation of the names of the Holy Trinity completes Baptism, but that baptism must come first and then the invocation—“... baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This proves that neither baptism alone apart from the invocation perfects the person baptised, nor the invocation without the baptism, but only both taken together. Hence any contradiction and opposition to the words of the Lord Jesus is a veritable Satanic invention.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was baptised with the baptism of repentance administered by John the Baptist and Forerunner in one immersion and at the age of thirty, yielding to the law and justice of God the Father, that the Devil might have nothing to accuse Him of. That is why He said to John the Baptist, who sought to avoid baptising Him: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” (Matt. 3.15). John baptised with one immersion and in the name of the one God, for the Holy Trinity had not yet been revealed. Jesus, however, first observed the Mosaic law and every iota thereof, and afterwards laid down the Gospel law, commanding the Apostles to baptise in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit three times in succession.

He did not say, “ . . .baptising them in the name of the Holy Trinity once,” but enunciated the three hypostases separately and distinctly. Nor did He set any limit to the age at which a person may be baptised, or prohibit the baptism of infants. The holy Apostles put into practice all the laws laid down by Jesus, observing them with exactitude and making no distinction as to the age of the baptised or any attempt to confine baptism to a single immersion, for the set of laws laid down by Jesus are perfect and require to be observed by the faithful, and not to be corrected or to be replaced by others under any pretext whatever.

This is why St. Paul commanded the “twelve” who had been baptised with J ohn’s baptism to be “baptised in the Name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 19.1-5). This shows that John’s single-immersion became useless after the legislation instituted by Jesus.

With regard to the age of persons being baptised, we read the following: “And he commanded them to be baptised in the Name of the Lord.” (Acts 10.48). A trance came upon St. Peter, and, after an oracle had been given to him by God, he went down to Caesarea, preaching Christ to Cornelius and all those roundabout him. While St. Peter was preaching “the Holy Spirit fell on all them who heard the word.” Then he-commanded them to be baptised. Cornelius was a “devout man and one that feared God with all his house,” upon whom the Holy Spirit fell before they had even been baptised with Water. Nevertheless, St. Peter, the Spirit-bearing Apostle, commanded that they be baptised with water also, since he evidently judged this to be necessary, and he drew no distinction as to age in regard thereto. (Only once in the history of the Church has the descent of the Holy Spirit preceded the act of baptism; this occurred so that circumcised Christians might be assured that the gift of the Holy Spirit is affused upon heathen too.)

“And when she was baptised, and her household...” (Acts 16.15). A certain woman named Lydia, hearing the chosen vessel preach Christ, believed and was baptised, she and her household (i.e., her family and servants). “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptised, he and all his, straightway,” (ibid. 33). The keeper of the prison came to believe in Christ as a result of the miracle and the teaching of Paul and Silas, and he and all his were baptised “with all his house.”

“And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptised.” (Acts 18.8). Thus St. Paul made no distinction as to the age of those baptised, but, on the contrary, with his own hands baptised “the household of Stephanas” (1 Cor. 1.16), irrespective of age. Nowhere in his epistles. does he prohibit the baptism of infants.

Having then,the holy Apostles as examples, let us imitate them, who not only precisely observed everything that had been decreed by Jesus, but both orally and practically imparted to the Church by tradition the manner in which the sacraments should be performed.

Indeed, St. Paul cautions the churches concerning the traditions, saying: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or by our epistle.” (2 Thes. 2.14; cf. Gal. 1.8 and 1 Tim. 6.20).

Arguing from the words of the Lord Jesus in which He said: “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved” (Mark 16.16) and “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28.19), the heretics decry baptism of infants, on the grounds that the infants must first believe and then be baptised. However, a negative conclusion cannot be drawn from the above premises regarding the baptism of infants; rather may it be said that the premises favour it, for Christ made no distinction as to infants. The unbelieving and the idolatrous must first be catechised, believe, and be baptised. Infants. on the other hand. are subject to the will and inclination of their parents, who lead them to put their faith in whatever they themselves believe.

The Logical Conclusion: From positive premises, such as “baptising them,” without other distinction, and “he that believeth and is baptised,” likewise without other distinction, whether adult or infant (since the parents believe for their infants, for whom they are responsible), it is not permissible to draw negative conclusions. Yet heretics do draw negative conclusions therefrom, because they violate the laws of reason or leave it out of account altogether. Here is a concrete example from the Bible. Circumcision was a type of Baptism, regarding which a law was given that male infants had to be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth, otherwise they would be subject to God’s vengeance. Did the infants of those days have any consciousness or knowledge of the law of circumcision? Of course not.

Comparing death and baptism (figurative, or typical, death resulting from Holy Baptism), St. Paul teaches us the following: “Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptised into Christ were baptised into his death? Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ rose from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Rom. 6.3-5). Water is an element and instrument of death. Every living body when plunged into water is drowned and dies; but every living body that is sprinkled with water not only does not die, but is even refreshed for the better. Where, then, is there a type of death in sprinkling? Only in the empty heads of the Popes.

“Planted together” is said of two or more grains of wheat sown in the ground and growing together. Our Lord Jesus Christ fell upon the earth like a grain of wheat and died, in order to rise and bear abundance of fruit, as He Himself said of Himself: “Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12.24). In like manner, therefore, we, too, through the trine immersion of Holy Baptism die with and are buried with Christ, and thereby are planted with Him and share with Him in the Resurrection.

When we are baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ, we confess that we are worthy of death because of our sins, and, in a way, we die. But when we are merely sprinkled with water, in the name of the Pope-for it was he that commanded sprinkling—we are physically refreshened, but metaphysically we die with him a moral death, and are buried with him, after the death of the body, in the lake of fire and brimstone forever, where the second death is (Rev. 20.14; 21.8); in which case we are separated from Christ forever.

The Apostolic Church was succeeded by the Martyric Church, which for two hundred and fifty years had rivers of blood of its members shed through martyrdom in behalf of Christ by the Caesars of Rome, the holy martyrs of which are estimated at fourteen millions. In the end, however, the blood-thirsty emperors of Rome were overcome through the power of the precious and life-giving Cross, in hoc signo vince, the Church being at last freed by Constantine the Great an Apostle-like champion of Christianity.

The Martyric Church was succeeded by the Dogmatic Church of the Holy Fathers which, through seven Ecumenical Synods, settled the faith which had been wavering under the impulse of variable winds—meaning, the heresy of evil spirits, or false teaching. “Wisdom hath built herself a house, and hath set seven pillars underneath as supports.” (Prov. 9.1). God hath built His Church (His house), setting Jesus Christ as its foundation and head: “This is my beloved Son, of whom I approve; hear ye him.” But the Evil One, after dashing many spirits (teachers) to the ground, raised them up against Christ’s Church, introducing many heresies to its detriment and through them combating the Foundation, the Head, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, the All-holy Virgin, the Sacraments, and, in general, every right doctrine of the Holy Spirit, endeavoring to upset and overthrow it entirely.

But the Lord of the Church, the Holy Spirit, on His part, was not sleeping: from time to time He gathered his children together, the Holy Fathers, through whom He cut off the heretics, locking them out of the Church, and by means of the Dogma settled the wavering faith, and morally regenerated the calumniated Lord Jesus Christ. “Wisdom hath built herself a house, and hath set seven pillars underneath as supports.” This prophecy alludes to the Seven Ecumenical Synods.

Originally the Dogma was scattered here and there in the Gospel and the sacred traditions. When the heresies, however, began appearing, the need came in for Synods and Dogmas, for which the heretics are to be blamed whose remains are still extant today and function as weeds. These weeds are not only harmless, but are even useful for the growth of the wheat. Naturally, the heretics of today refuse to abide by Synods and Dogmas, because they themselves are heirs to the doctrines of the founders of their respective heresies and the heretical teachers thereof, going to perdition along with them.

The evil Dragon having failed in his attempt to overthrow the Church of Christ by means of the “gates of Hades,” the mouths, that is to say, of the heretics who climbed to high places therein, he afterwards raised up out of the sea and out of the earth the “two beasts,” that of the East and that of the West, by means of which he tormented and continues to torment even today Christ’s Holy Church, although unable to overthrow it, for it has been built upon a “rock,” and it has been prophesied that “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16.18).

The violation of the divine law is considered a sin, and it can be remedied by repentance and by execution of the divine law.

Non-repentance, on the other hand, encourages the violator in impiety and heresy. Heresy is a perversion of the divine law and of the text of the Holy Scriptures, and as such is considered “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” The violation is reparable, but the perversion is irreparable. “There is sin unto death,. . . and there is sin not unto death,” says John the Evangelist (1 John 5.16-17).

Since we are here speaking of sprinkling (affusion or aspersion), the dogmatic testimony of certain Canons, as well as the opinions of eminent Church Fathers on this subject, must be cited in this connection, so as to bring out the truth more clearly.

The Ecumenical Councils adopted the Gospel, sacred tradition, and the 85 Apostolic Canons as a basis for their decisions against heretics. Accordingly, they first defined the Dogma of the faith by means of the Symbol of Faith (or Creed), and excommunicated from the Church those who did not accept it; afterwards they defined the sacraments (or mysteries, as they are called in Greek) and the duties of the clergy and of the laity by written decisions which they named “Synodical Canons.”

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