Reformation, Missions, & Church History

(Photo of ancient church ruins in Philadelphia of Revelation 3:7-13 & a Mosque in between) Even Philadelphia eventually left it’s first love. (see Rev. 2:4-5)

The ruins of columns of an ancient Byzantine church in the ancient city of Philadelphia, now called Alashehir, Turkey. The Turks did not live in the modern land what is called “Turkey” today; in the NT days it was Asia Minor, Anatolia, Galatia, Cappodocia, Bythinia, Pontus, Phrygia, and Armenia. The Seljuks Turks first came to Turkey in the east in 1071 and defeated the Byzantines at the battle of Manzikert near Van. The Arab Muslims had been trying in the late 600s – 700s to conquer Turkey, after they already conquered the Levant Middle East and Egypt and North Africa and Persia. (634-900s AD) Then the Ottoman Turks defeated the Byzantines in Contstantinople in 1453 after the many wars and battles of the Crusades period of 1095-1299 and beyond. Notice the Islamic minaret in between the ancient church ruins. Like the church at Ephesus, the church in Philadelphia eventually left its first love also. ( Revelation 2:4-5) Even though, at the time, Jesus commended that church, along with Smyrna. But all the churches of Rev. 2-3 and Galatia and Colossea and Cappodocia were eventually wiped out by Islam. Every generation is responsible for the great commission in their own time. Just because a land had the gospel before in history, does not mean that it should not have the gospel preached again to that same land, because the people are different; different ethnicities, and different generations.

The early church had “quickly deserted Him who called you by His grace” (Galatians 1:6) and eventually, the churches in Revelation chapters 2-3 did the same thing. Note also how quickly the Hebrews turned away from the true and living God in Exodus 32:8, to make a golden calf and call it “Yahweh”, the God who brought them out of Egypt.

They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a cast metal calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’”

Exodus 32:8

As Protestant Evangelicals committed to God’s Word and our local churches, and wanting to understand church history from a Biblical perspective, we need to be reminded of several things:

1. Individual local churches and whole denominations have later failed, become apostate, or were conquered or destroyed in history; and that does not contradict the promise of Matthew 16:18. That even in the Scriptures, at that time in history, individual churches were very quickly drifting away from the truth of the gospel. Galatians 1:6-9

The promise of Matthew 16:18 is to the Universal Invisible Church of all true believers in every generation. Ephesians 3:21; Rev. 5:9; 7:9; Ephesians 1:22-23 – “the fulness of Him who fills all in all” = all kinds of people in all kinds of places / or all times of history. Ephesians 5:25 – the church was purchased by Christ. (Acts 20:28; Rev. 5:9) As the gospel goes forth through evangelism, missions, church planting, the church is spreading out in history into all kinds of people in all kinds of places at all times.

As Athanasius said about the Arian heretics who had taken over the churches, to encourage the true believers in the faith: “they (the Arian heretics) have the places (buildings), but you have the faith” (Festal Letter 29)

This shows that they can drift and cease to be true churches. God warned all the churches by His warning to the first church there in Revelation 2, Ephesus: “If you don’t repent, I am coming in judgment and I will remove your lamp stand, unless you repent.” (see Rev. 2:4-5) All the churches in Revelation 2-3 were eventually conquered, first by the Goths, then by Islam. Smyrna (modern Izmir) goes back to Polycarp and Rev. 2; but today, it is gone. There are others very small, house churches, alive, biblical churches, underground, evangelical, Protestant, refugee minorities in other parts of Turkey. There are those that have gone to reach out to the Turkish and Kurdish Muslims. And refugee minority churches among Iranians are very numerous and alive. Indeed, a claim to faith without the good works of evangelism and missions is a dead faith. The older churches of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, because of their Dhimmi status under Islam, compromised a long time and don’t do much outreach to the Muslims.

Liberal churches and denominations today who don’t believe in the Deity of Christ or the Virgin conception of Christ, or the literal resurrection of Jesus, or affirm the LGBTQ agenda and don’t think homosexuality is a sin, they also have left the faith, even though they may have some people, “pastors” and buildings.

– “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:6-9

2. Sola Scriptura is taught in principle here in Galatians chapter 1. The fact that the apostle Paul considered his letter, by him writing it, and using these words, ” . . . so I say to you now . . . “ (v. 9) shows that he is communicating in the same way that Jesus did when Jesus said, “have you not read what God said to you?” ( see Matthew 22:31). The Scriptures are “God speaking”. Paul considered his letters, as “God speaking”, as “God-breathed”. (see also I Corinthians 2:134:67:40; and 14:37) That, and along with the fact that this gospel and his apostleship was not from men or humans or by the agency of man” (verse 1), shows that he knew His letters were authoritative and had the God-breathed quality of Scripture. This demonstrates, in principle, that the canon existed before being called “canon”, that is, the historical ontological existence of the books of Scripture was at the time of writing (48-70 AD or 48-96 AD) “canon” (which was a measuring rod that eventually meant, “standard”, “rule”, “principle”, “criterion”, “law”, before it meant “list”. See Galatians 6:16; and a textual variant at Philippians 3:16 for this meaning of the Greek word, “kanon”.); and was before the human process of the early church of discerning, sifting, and putting all the 27 books “under one cover”, so to speak.

Luther says on this text: “Here then is a plain text like a thunderbolt, wherein Paul subjects both himself and an angel from heaven, and all others, doctors, teachers, and masters, to be under the authority of the Scriptures.” (Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians, quoted in Tabletalk Magazine, January, 2009, p. 29.)

“In spite of this emphatic denunciation so many accept the pope as the supreme judge of the Scriptures. “The Church,” they say, “chose only four gospels. The Church might have chosen more. Ergo the Church is above the Gospel.” With equal force one might argue: “I approve the Scriptures. Ergo I am above the Scriptures. John the Baptist confessed Christ. Hence he is above Christ.” Paul subordinates himself, all preachers, all the angels of heaven, everybody to the Sacred Scriptures. We are not the masters, judges, or arbiters, but witnesses, disciples, and confessors of the Scriptures, whether we be pope, Luther, Augustine, Paul, or an angel from heaven.” Luther, Galatians, at 1:9, see, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/galatians.iv.html

3. Remember Sola Fide, the heart of the gospel. “Alone” (Sola) in the phrase, is the same as “apart from the merit and condition of works”. We should celebrate Luther’s insight by reminding ourselves of it – this is dramatically illustrated by the old Black and white movie of Martin Luther from 1953.)

The Roman Catholic Church had drifted from the Scriptures and the truth of the gospel and replaced it with ceremonies, relics, indulgences, prayers to saints and Mary, exalting Mary too much; the treasury of merit, purgatory, baptismal regeneration as the ex opere operato work that causes regeneration and initial justification, mortal vs. venial sin categories of being able to loose real justification; and good works as conditions for regaining and keeping justification, and other “sacramental treadmill” works such as transubstantiation and confession to a priest. The result being that no one could ever be sure they were even justified or saved. The Eastern Churches also “left their first love” (Rev. 2:4-5) and replaced true faith and true doctrine with icons, mysticism, philosophy (Colossians 2:8), man-made traditions (Mark 7:1-14), ceremonies, rituals, and unBiblical ideas of man’s ability to choose and original sin (the east did not accept Augustine’s theology of original sin); icons and prayers to Mary, exalting Mary, etc. Although the East was not as bad on some things like the western Roman Catholic doctrines on the Papacy, Purgatory, indulgences, and the East allowed clergy to be married; they still had many problems and false doctrines.

Posted in church history, early church history, Eastern Orthodoxy, Icons and relics, Islam, missions, Muslims, Roman Catholic False Doctrines, Roman Catholic false practices, Roman Catholicism | 1 Comment

A cry for Justice: A Time for praying the imprecatory Psalms

Against those that murder babies in the womb and those politicians who support it.

Against those who give puberty blockers to children and mutilate them.   Against Doctors, Big Pharma, government, politicians, liberal media, educators, administrators, teachers, all who promote the LGBTQ agenda.  It was shocking to hear that Pediatrician in Matt Walsh’s documentary, “What is a Woman?” admit the things she does to “affirm” little children in their gender confusion and give puberty blockers (chemical castration).  She is suppossed to be a trusted doctor!  Woe unto you!  (Matthew 18:6-10)

Apologetics and Agape

By the group “sons of Korah” from Australia.   They have done a lot of the Psalms and their music is excellent and they keep very close to the text of Scripture.  This song covers Psalm 94:1-11.

“play skillfully” – Psalm 33:1-3

Psalm 94

(NASB)

The Lord Implored to Avenge His People.

94 O Lord, God of vengeance,
God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O Judge of the earth,
Render recompense to the proud.
How long shall the wicked, O Lord,
How long shall the wicked exult?
They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly;
All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.
They crush Your people, O Lord,
And afflict Your heritage.
They slay the widow and the stranger
And murder the orphans.
They have said, “The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.”

Pay…

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Are Icons Idols ? The Iconoclast Controversy

Posted in church history, early church history, Eastern Orthodoxy, Icons and relics, Roman Catholic False Doctrines, Roman Catholic false practices, Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Are Icons Idols ? The Iconoclast Controversy

The Psychology of Catholic Converts Examined (and Eastern Orthodox)

This is an excellent examination of some of the aspects of what drives Evangelical Protestants to convert to Roman Catholicism (and I would add that conversions to EO have similar aspects.)

Basically the root of this Psychology is the demand for absolute certainty about doctrines, interpretations and church and unity, and thinking that the RCC and Papacy gives you that absolute infallible certainty. God never expects humans to have kind of certainty. We can have creaturely reasonable certainty about God and Christ and salvation (1 John 5:13; Romans 8:28-39; Philippians 1:6), but God never expects the attribute of infallibility from us as humans. The same goes for the RCC Pope and Papal claims of 1870. There is no such quality as infallibility for the bishop of Rome!

Matt Fradd of “Pints with Aquinas” said, “I could never be Protestant” (because of the desire for absolute certainty about doctrines that Protestants disagree with other about). Matt seems like a really nice guy and having a burger and beer with him would be cool; but I say: “I could never be Roman Catholic because of all the man-made traditions (Mark 7:1-23; Matthew 15:1-20; Colossians 2:8) (slowly developed doctrines over centuries) that the RCC has added to “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints”. Jude 3

As Geoff (A Goy for Jesus) said in his video, “the last link in the chain is always your own mind and decision to trust the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church”. (my paraphrase)

Roman Catholics have been using tactics on Evangelicals for the past some-odd 30 years, especially since Scott Hahn and Gerry Mattatics’ conversion to the Roman Church – (based on Cardinal John Henry Newman’s ideas, skepticism, development of doctrine theory, acorn to oak tree, etc. ) – they say basically – “you are leaning on your own mind and your own interpretation to decide what church to be apart of.” “you are your own Pope” – this is exactly what my friend Rod Bennett kept saying to me over the years.

The quotes by Raymond Brown are especially enlightening. Be sure to listen to the whole video.

Basically, “The Roman Catholic Church does not change her official stance in a blunt way.” Raymond Brown (from my memory) – I am going to type it up later with the references and add to this article.

This (psychology of wanting to have absolute certainty) is exactly what happened to my friend Rod Bennett. (click on the side bar category for articles on Rod Bennett). Rod was looking for 1. certainty (especially over different interpretations of certain passages of Scripture.) Rod kept asking me, “how do you know for sure?” – about everything we debated over for 8 years. 2. history – connection with church history through the ages and 3. unity (he was sick of all the disunity of Protestant denominationalism), and only found those things when he submitted to the Pope in Rome. (authority) – Gregg Allison mentions those 4 aspects in the video below that is from Scott McKnight’s helpful article, “From Wheaton to Rome”, in the Journal of Evangelical Theological Society.

Gregg Allison makes some great points here in the video below.

One of the best things about Dr. Allison’s analysis is the 2 Axioms of Roman Catholic Theology:

It seems to me that the Eastern Orthodox Churches have the same basic paradigm:

  1. The Nature – Grace principle. That God’s grace enters our souls through physical things – like water, bread, wine, oil – I would add church buildings and architecture, statues, icons, trafficking in relics, incense, rosary beads, etc. see my article “Christ’s Incarnation Sanctified Matter?”
  2. The Christ – Church principle – The Roman Catholic Church declares itself as the one true church on earth and the extension of the incarnational body of Jesus on earth.
Posted in Apologetics, church history, early church history, Eastern Orthodoxy, Evangelicals who convert to Roman Catholicism, Newman's hyper- skepticism, Rod Bennett, Roman Catholic False Doctrines, Roman Catholic false practices, Roman Catholicism, Sam Shamoun | 2 Comments

False Doctrines of 2 of the churches that claim to be “Apostolic”

5 Reasons Why I am not Roman Catholic

Two excellent series by Dr. Jordan Cooper, a Lutheran minister. As a committed Protestant, Evangelical, Reformed Baptist, I agree with him on these issues. Excellent analaysis. I am making my own comments here and there, but please listen to Dr. Cooper’s arguments.

5 Reasons I am Not Roman Catholic

  1. Papacy – totally unBiblical and does not stand up exegetically or theologically or in early church history

2. The Saints – praying to dead saints and all the piety revolved around that – statues, graves, trafficking in relics, (same goes for icons in EO). Praying to the dead, even though they are alive in heaven with God, is a form of worship, therefore idolatry, therefore sin and wrong.

3. The Sacrifice of the Mass – besides what Dr. Cooper argues, the Scriptures are clear that the historical event of the cross was a “once for all sacrifice” (see the many times this is taught in Hebrews chapters 7-10; Romans 6:10; 1 Peter 3:18)

10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.  Hebrews 10:10-14

4. The Inconsistency of the Roman Catholic Church – claims to be same from beginning yet has morphed and changed a lot, especially after 500s to the Council of Trent (1545-1563), then post Trent, to 1870 and to 1958, then pre-Vatican 2 vs. Vatican 2 (1963-1968) and post Vatican 2 – a real change and inconsistency and contradiction to its own claims.

5. Justification – the biggest reason. Scripture trumps the Roman Catholic Church on this issue. Romans, Galatians, the Gospel of John, Acts, Philippians 3:9; Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 John and 1 Peter – the Roman Catholic view does not stand up to exegesis of Scripture and consistent theology.

Cooper could not resist to also name a 6th reason at the end:

6. The Marian Dogmas

I would also add Transubstantiation, Purgatory, Indulgences, treasury of merit, ex opere operato priestly powers and probably some other things also.

5 Reasons I am not Eastern Orthodox
  1. The Apophatic Method – this is a key understanding of the entire spirit of Eastern Orthodoxy and how mysterious it seems to be because it can only emphasize what is not, rather than what is.
  2. Neo-Platonic Theosis – a friend of mine recently converted to EO and his emphasis is staring at an icon and repeating the “Jesus Prayer” (Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner) over and over and he said that is part of the process of theosis.
  3. Justification – the Eastern Orthodox Church rejects the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone, so a lot of the same issues on this come up in dealing with Roman Catholicism.
  4. Augustinianism – The EO rejects that aspect of Original Sin that understands that mankind is both sinner in a corrupted nature and legal guilt from birth.
  5. The Role of Images (icons)

I would add that Eastern Orthodoxy just seems to go over-board on the external rituals, ceremonies (smells and bells) trying to create religious feelings.

This comes across really clear by this video below made by an Eastern Orthodox who goes by “Orthodox Shahada” – Shahada = “testimony” in Arabic. He made this after Anthony Rogers began criticizing Sam Shamoun and Sam’s recent apostasy of rejecting essentials of Protestant Biblical Faith (Sola Fide, Sola Gratia (thinking a person is not dead in sin and unable to come to Christ – Total Depravity; and that one can choose Christ out of their own free will is denial of Sola Gratia) Romans 9:16 – “It does not depend on the man who wills or runs, but on God who has mercy”; Sola Christus (adding Mary as a mediator is a violation), Sola Scriptura (adding many man-made traditions – Mark 7:1-23), Soli Deo Gloria – works and external rituals take away from God’s glory) – Sam started praying to Mary and saying formulistic prayers of repetition and in a mantra like way, and making the sign of the cross – thus violating Matthew 6. Anthony was correct.

The EO and Roman Catholics and other ritualistic groups got offended and accused Anthony of actually mocking the Cross of Christ itself.

Orthodox Shahada’s only answer is to show a really ritualistic, externalistic EO ceremony with Kirill, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church (who really seems to agree with Vladimir Putin and his unjust and evil war on Ukraine.)

Anthony Rogers was obviously not speaking against the Cross of Christ – he was not speaking against the reality of the historical event of Christ’s crucifixion and the power and theology of the cross – Jesus’ death on the cross which was an effective atonement for sins.

He was saying that just doing the physical ritual of the hand motions does not have Spiritual power in itself. Shamoun’s sinful anger and name calling and reviling and abusive language and bravado and over the top macho-ism discredits him. That is not a proper way to win Muslims, (or Jews or other Unitarians) even though a lot of his articles had good content when he sticks to the texts of the Bible and Qur’an and Hadith and makes intellectual and reasonable arguments.

The emphasis of the video of the E. Orthodox ceremony seems to be on ritual and ceremony and physical things, not on Spiritual truths. “the flesh profits nothing, the words I speak are spirit and life” John 6:63 Isaiah and Amos rebuked the Jews of his day for their empty rituals. (Isaiah 1:10-17; Amos 5:18-24)

An Eastern Orthodox in the com-box accused me of being Docetic and Gnostic. Nuts!

No; since I reject both Docetism and Gnosticism. I fully believe in the incarnation of Christ and His historical real physical death on the cross and bodily resurrection. I am not rejecting all matter. Creation is good, created by God for us – bodies, food, marriage, rest, green pastures, oxygen, trees, bread, wine, meat, etc. 1 Tim. 4:3-4 and 1 Tim. 6:17 ” . . . God, who provides us with everything to enjoy”. The Protest was right against the Roman Catholic Church and Papalism, that had perverted the gospel. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Knox, Tyndale, and Jan Hus and John Wycliffe before were right vs. dead rituals and sacramentalism, and false doctrines. Over-exalting Mary in icons and statues (RCC) and praying to her is idolatry. I commend the Eastern Orthodox on it’s stance vs. the Papacy and the RCC requirements for all priests to be celibate. It is good that EO does not believe in purgatory and does not make Marian dogmas of 1854 and 1950 to dogma.

2 Kings 18:3-4 Even a good thing originally commanded by God (Numbers 21, the bronze serpent), can become a mere physical object of worship that is turned into idolatry.

The EO guy accussed me of Gnosticism again. No, we believing Protestants agree that Gnosticism is wrong and a terrible heresy and Irenaeus was right. It is actually you who are making a false dichotomy and not dealing with the reality of the meaning of Isaiah 1:10-17; Amos 5:18-24; John 6:63 and John 3:6-8. the flesh profits nothing – John 6:63 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

There are many things I appreciate about EO and some of their areas that we would agree on. I appreciate Arch-priest Josiah Trenham’s videos and have learned a lot about EO from them.

See more here. – I have a long article on agreements and disagreements with Josiah Trenham.

Although I disagree with many issues, he is understandable. I read his book, Rock and Sand and listened to several of his videos; especially the one on critiquing the Roman Catholic Church – you guys (EO) were unjustly slaughtered at the 1204 fourth Crusade. What a shame and scandal on the RCC! The EO is right vs. Roman Catholicism on the Papacy and Purgatory, and clerical celibacy – they are all wrong!

Josiah Trenham recently made a great video on “What is a woman?” – in reference to the Democrat party nominee for Supreme Court Ketanji Brown Jackson and that she could not define what a woman is. I will probably do a separate blog post on that. (She also said she did not know when life begins.)

Also, I think Jay Dyer did a great job in his debate vs. the Muslim debater, Shabir Ally.

I never said the actions of the body don’t matter – obviously fleshly bodily sins are wrong and sin and God condemns – drunkenness, gluttony, fornication, adultery, stealing, murder. Roots of sin are internal. Mark 7:20-23; Matthew 5:21-30 But external sins are also sins and worse for consequences.

Addendum:

I am pretty sure that the The clip from Anthony Rogers that Orthodox Shahada made, comes from this for fuller context:

Posted in Apologetics, church, church history, early church history, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholic False Doctrines, Roman Catholic false practices, Roman Catholicism, Sam Shamoun | 9 Comments

Tertullian (~200): Children should not be baptized until they can ask for salvation themselves

Chris Whisonant

And so, according to the circumstances and disposition, and even age, of each individual, the delay of baptism is preferable; principally, however, in the case of little children. For why is it necessary — if (baptism itself) is not so necessary — that the sponsors likewise should be thrust into danger? Who both themselves, by reason of mortality, may fail to fulfil their promises, and may be disappointed by the development of an evil disposition, in those for whom they stood? The Lord does indeed say, Forbid them not to come unto me. Let them come, then, while they are growing up; let them come while they are learning, while they are learning whither to come; let them become Christians when they have become able to know Christ. Why does the innocent period of life hasten to the remission of sins? More caution will be exercised in worldly matters:…

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Yasir Qadhi on sex-slaves in Islam

Yasir Qadhi seems to admit that taking sex slaves as a result of war by early Muslims was permissible.  He admits that this is controversial in Islam and that he gets lots of questions about this issue.  The issue is mentioned in the Qur’an and the Hadith.  The Qur’an refers to it as the woman captives of war, “that your right hand possesses”.    look at all the verses in both the Qur’an and Hadith that mention this.  The details are very graphic (and almost pornographic), more so in the Hadith than in the Qur’an.  If I understand him correctly, he even says that most of the people of the Abbasids (the people of the Abbasid Caliphate era in Iraq), and Ottomans (Uthmaniyeh) – I think this is what he means; they were children from the taking of the wives who were conquered.   I remember several Iranian former Muslims admitting to me that, going all the way back to the Arab invasions of Persia (636 AD to 900s AD), his ancestors were probably the offspring of a Persian woman who was captured by the conquering Arabs. Many Iranians admit to being half or 1/4 Turkic in their ethnicity.  The Turks also did lots of Jihads when they came from Central Asia. (Seljuks, later Ottomans, etc.)   It seems that in the early Islamic Jihads and wars, the men were killed and the women were taken captive and they had many children from these captured women, and the result was massive changes in the ethnic make-up of the peoples of lands that Muslims conquered.

Posted in Dhimmi / Dhimmitude, Islam, Jihad, Muslims | 4 Comments

The heart is cleansed by faith first, then baptism follows, like a seal

Some key quotes that demonstrate against the idea that baptismal regeneration was unanimous by the early church fathers and early church writers.

“That baptismal washing is a sealing of faith, which faith is begun and is commended by the faith of repentance. We are not washed in order that we may cease sinning, but because we have ceased, since in heart we have been bathed already.

Tertullian, (155-220 AD) On Repentance 6 (written around 198-200 AD, before his Montantist period)

see here for full context

See also a possible chronology of Tertullian’s writings with dates by a scholar of Tertullian, Roger Pearce

“Cornelius was a just man, who was honored with a vision of Angels, and had set up his prayers and alms-deeds as a good memorial before God in heaven.  Peter came, and the Spirit was poured out upon them that believed, and they spake with other tongues, and prophesied:  and after the grace of the Spirit the Scripture saith that Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ; in order that, the soul having been born again by faith, the body also might by the water partake of the grace.

Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386 AD), Catechetical Lectures, 3:4

see here for the full context

Notice his emphasis, “the soul having been born again by faith” – then they are baptized in water.

Peter said, “cleansing their hearts by faith” – see Acts 15:8-9

Justin Martyr, (died around 165 AD), demonstrates against infant baptism and while many argue that he taught baptismal regeneration, it seems that one could argue that he is treating water baptism as a seal of faith, since he says “they are illuminated in their understandings” and the person goes through an extensive time of discipleship, learning, praying, fasting, repentance before the actual baptism:

Chapter 61. Christian baptism (Justin Martyr, First Apology)

I will also relate the manner in which we dedicated ourselves to God when we had been made new through Christ; lest, if we omit this, we seem to be unfair in the explanation we are making. As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, Unless you be born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  (footnote says, John 3:5, but it is actually John 3:3) Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers’ wombs, is manifest to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the prophet, as I wrote above; he thus speaks: Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from your souls; learn to do well; judge the fatherless, and plead for the widow: and come and let us reason together, says the Lord. And though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white like wool; and though they be as crimson, I will make them white as snow. But if you refuse and rebel, the sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. Isaiah 1:16-20

And for this [rite] we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born againand has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the laver the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone. For no one can utter the name of the ineffable God; and if any one dare to say that there is a name, he raves with a hopeless madness. And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of theHoly Ghost, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed.”  (My bolding emphasis)  (See the ccel link to Justin Martyr, First Apology, chapter 61)

Justin’s phrase, “And this washing is called illumination, “, does seem to teach baptismal regeneration.

However, taken in the whole section, the emphasis is on the person’s learning, receiving instruction and teaching, repentance, the choice of “in which we dedicate ourselves to God”, “persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true”, “but may become the children of choice and knowledge”,”who chooses to be born again”, and “has repented of his sins”; And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Ghost, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed.” – or “he who has been taught and repented, is then washed.”  Timothy Kauffman is right when he points out that this does not say, “he who is washed is illuminated”.  Rather it says the one who has been illuminated is then washed.  The washing/baptizing comes after the repentance and learning and praying and fasting, as a symbol, sign, and seal of the illumination of the heart and mind.  The illumination takes place in the learning, understanding, repentance, choosing to follow Christ, then the person who is illuminated (taught, learned, chosen, repented, fasted, prayed, etc.), then they are brought to the water and are washed or baptized.  So it seems that Justin taught that the baptism is like a seal, a sign and symbol of the internal illumination of the mind and heart in repentance, faith, and learning about the doctrines of Christ.

For more, see my previous article on this.

Another juicy quote by Tertullian, that demonstrates against infant baptism:

And so, according to the circumstances and disposition, and even age, of each individual, the delay of baptism is preferable; principally, however, in the case of little children. For why is it necessary — if (baptism itself) is not so necessary — that the sponsors likewise should be thrust into danger? Who both themselves, by reason of mortality, may fail to fulfil their promises, and may be disappointed by the development of an evil disposition, in those for whom they stood? The Lord does indeed say, Forbid them not to come unto me. Let them come, then, while they are growing up; let them come while they are learning, while they are learning whither to come; let them become Christians when they have become able to know Christ. Why does the innocent period of life hasten to the remission of sins? More caution will be exercised in worldly matters: so that one who is not trusted with earthly substance is trusted with divine! Let them know how to ask for salvation, that you may seem (at least) to have given to him that asks. For no less cause must the unwedded also be deferred — in whom the ground of temptation is prepared, alike in such as never were wedded by means of their maturity, and in the widowed by means of their freedom — until they either marry, or else be more fully strengthened for continence. If any understand the weighty import of baptism, they will fear its reception more than its delay: sound faith is secure of salvation.

Tertullian, On Baptism, Chapter 18

At Chris Whisonant’s blog

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The Result of a man-made religion with no love in God’s essence, no atonement, no concept of the Fatherhood of God

Apologetics and Agape

“In Islam, there is no fatherhood of God and no purpose of redemption  to soften the doctrine of the decrees.”  Samuel Zwemer, The Moslem Doctrine of God, page 100. (see link to Zwemer’s book)

* by “decrees”, Zwemer is meaning Allah’s decrees of Sovereignty and Predestination ( قدر – Qadr = power, sovereignty; جبر – Jabr = force, destiny ) in that Allah causes some to be guided to the true path and paradise and the rest to be guided to hell.

* there is “no purpose of redemption” in Islam – This is why Muslims see no need for the atonement and so in Islam, there is no purpose in God redeeming some from all nations (Rev. 5:9) by His own grace in the incarnation and work on the cross  for His own glory.  So Muslims don’t see the need for atonement or redemption or the incarnation…

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An Eastern Orthodox Perspective on Roman Catholicism and on Protestant Faith

Apologetics and Agape

And also, in this post, I will address Archpriest Josiah Trenham – his EO perspective on Evangelical Protestant Faith

The first video (above) by Dr. Ryan Reeves gives a good overview of the issues of the “The Great Schism of 1054, where the Eastern Greek speaking Church split from the western Latin Church and became Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.

I was never persuaded nor even tempted by the claims of Roman Catholicism nor Eastern Orthodoxy. see my previous articles, especially this one on being deep in history and check out the many others categories on the side bar of church history, early church history, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Sola Scriptura, and Sola Fide.

The Second Video: I really like this guy – Archpriest Josiah Trenham, who is an Eastern Orthodox convert from Reformed Protestantism – he is a former Presbyterian. (Amazing to me, given what he knew and his…

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