As suspected, yesterdays post about the history of baptism, created quite a stir about the origin of baptism and its meaning. There are certain groups of Christians who cannot allow themselves that luxury of historical perspective. However, the pagan origin of Baptism is undeniable. The ‘rub’ came when the Catholic Church declared Baptism a Sacrament, and an essential for admission into heaven. That instantly created another loophole which had to be closed—that being state of limbo for the un-baptized.
I will expose my ignorance here and declare that I do not know exactly how the Fundamentalists Christians came to recognize Baptism as a requirement for salvation. They don’t recognize Sacraments—some accept a few–Episcopalians accept them all—just don’t recognize the Pope. Suffice it to say, the pagan ritual of baptism was adopted by the Jews and was eventually converted to a rite of ‘penitential cleansing’ by making John’s baptism as salvational.
So it is evident, the responsibility for Christian baptism lay clearly at the feet of Jesus. However Jesus said, ‘John gave you baptism with water, but I will Baptize you with the Holy Spirit’. Obviously a paradox exist here. Why did God’s voice speak from the heavens and say , ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased . Listen to him’. Who was there to listen and hear? Jesus had not yet chosen his apostles. So who heard that it might be recorded later? I suspect no one. I believe it was absolutely a ‘trumped up’ idea inserted into Bible centuries later to satisfy the figment of someone’s imagination. If the Jews had heard it, they would have been compelled to, obey—direct orders from God?—who would dare ignore?
No, rather I think Jesus spoke truly about the Holy Spirit. He tried desperately for three years to educate his ‘thick- headed apostles and others—we have absolutely no way of knowing whether or not he was successful—so corrupted is the Bible. Jesus saw plainly that the Spirit of God (the life giving principle of all, God’s love of all, God’s acceptance of all, God’s Holy Will) resided in all. God did not reside ‘over there’ and his creation reside ‘over here’—they were one an the same. Jesus told his apostles, ‘The Kingdom Of God is spread out all over the earth around you and you don’t see it’.
If we are ever to have peace on this earth, each of us must come out of our ‘badger like’ cocoons, humbly accept that the Spirit of God is in us all, and indeed in all of creation. Not one of us is worthy of God’s Kingdom—it is by his singular acceptance that he has made us, and every grain of sand in the universe worthy. With that understanding, we could finally have peace—not until.
My little book, Peace in Spirituality spells it out precisely. You must first read and understand Wilderness Cry before you can understand Peace in Spirituality.
For you locals, I will be signing copies of both books at The Good News Shoppe in Mayfield this coming Friday, Jan. 10, 11:00 AM-2:00 PM. Both books are readily available on line both hard-copy and e-books—of course, always available directly from me. Don’t miss out.