NT Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, June 27 2002 Volume 02 : Number 111
[NTCP] made in his sexual image ???
Re: [NTCP] made in his sexual image ???
Re: [NTCP] Baptism
Re: [NTCP] Baptism
Re: [NTCP] made in his sexual image. Not.
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 13:06:55 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: [NTCP] made in his sexual image ???
>Amen to the above observation, and there is another that speaks of
>having a "circumcised ear." Clearly God is invoking the sexual parable,
>having made us male and female in His image, and this old creation truth
>being a revelation of a great mystery, Christ and The Church. This to
>say that circumcision makes the most graphic point possible concerning
>the possibility of intimacy with God. What God is after is an expanded
>intimacy of the same quality that there was in God from before the
>foundation of the world. He made us male and female in the image of that
>intimacy, and then draws on sexual graphics to reveal to us what it is
>really all about. The point of it all is Christ and the Church. Until we
>get the point, we are hung up on the plumbing. This is very important
>for the "house to house" dimension of our relational inheritence in Him.
>Without the circumcision done in the heart by the crucifixion of Christ,
>the intimacy He offers us is not possible. We just cannot go where He
>died, and prayed to take us, without circumcision. The old creation
>teaches us that first comes circumcision, then comes intimacy.
Discussions of baptism take us in so many directions, no?
You have brought this "male and femaleness of God" connection up before,
Jay. And we are, of course, in favor of true intimacy with God. One
question of mine in view of the above pertains to circumcision being "the
MOST graphic point POSSIBLE" concerning our relationship with God.
Jehovah has brought us into his family through every possible way -
adoption, new birth, redemption. We are now sons of God and joint-heirs
with Jesus. Praise his name. Each metaphor (and dozens and dozens more)
denotes a special kind of intimacy or relationship. Why is the marriage
metaphor, which you take as a primarily sexual one, any higher on your
scale than the others?
I have known some very spiritual people who have not experienced sexual
acts and many who have, believe that it was greatly over-rated. The role
of the husband is to encourage, provide for, and to protect, too, which
things also fit the marriage metaphor. Most of the
companionship/fellowship in marriage is not of a sexual nature, in fact.
The very word "intercourse" simply meant "communication" for centuries.
I am accustomed to placing a comma between "male and female (comma right
here) in his image." Are my cats and dogs also made in his image, too?
:-) They certainly are if God's image is about sexuality.
In short, what are the sexual aspects of God's image, conveyed to us.
Where in Scripture is circumcision compared to crucifixion? Where (again)
is baptism associated with a wedding?
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Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 05:19:31 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] made in his sexual image ???
David Anderson wrote:
>Discussions of baptism take us in so many directions, no?
Yes they do!
>You have brought this "male and femaleness of God" connection up before,
Thanks. My brain is beginning to go. As a German friend of mine says,
"My hard drive is overflowing."
>And we are, of course, in favor of true intimacy with God. One
>question of mine in view of the above pertains to circumcision being "the
>MOST graphic point POSSIBLE" concerning our relationship with God.
Paul is fairly focused in his use of the parable in Ephesians, "For we
are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause
shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his
wife, and they two shall be one flesh." Ephesians 5:30, 31
"In the beginning, He who made them made them one flesh, and for this
cause...."Our problem was that the woman was removed for the sake of the
work. Sex is the word we use for the reestablishment of the oneness that
was theirs in the beginning. It may not be perfect, but it, at least
speaks to us af a great mystery, Christ and the Church. The problem is
that once you are no longer connected as a part of one body, the best
you can do where the graphics are concerned is sex. So I will very
quickly admit that a bride is more intimate with herself than she can be
with her husband, but we do what we can, and sex seems to be it, for the
present. In saying this I am certainly not implying that this is all or
even the most important aspect of intimacy. What I am saying is that it
is a very powerful graphic, so chemically loaded that it is very
difficult to ignore. It's easy, however, to miss the point, and the
point is Christ and His Church.
>Jehovah has brought us into his family through every possible way -
>adoption, new birth, redemption.
If I were you I wouldn't settle for adoption, because there is more and
better: "....and because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of
His Son into our hearts whereby we cry 'abba Father" Or, "To as many as
received Him, He gave the power to become the children of God, children
born not of human decision nor husbands will, but born of God." It is
one thing to be adopted, it is still another to be "a partaker of the
Divine nature." To those who were His, He said wait here until you
receive power..." First they were His, then they were empowered.
>We are now sons of God and joint-heirs with Jesus.
>Praise his name. Each metaphor (and dozens and dozens more) denotes a special kind of intimacy or relationship. Why is the marriage metaphor, which you take as a primarily sexual one, any higher on your scale than the others?
I think it is because it is the easiest one to understand, while at the
same time the old creation graphic which has become most distorted. It
is very important that The Church come to understand this, because the
world and the Church are being swallowed up in a sea of inordinate
sexuality. Only the Church has the answer; "... Christ and the Church."
I believe that we are looking at tremendous judgement, if we don't wake
up and die right where this business of sex is concerned.
>I have known some very spiritual people who have not experienced sexual
>acts and many who have, believe that it was greatly over-rated.
This is beside the point.
>The role of the husband is to encourage, provide for, and to protect, too, whichthings also fit the marriage metaphor.
They certainly fit the marriage assignment. From 1 Corinthians 7, it is
not so clear that they fit the motivation.
>Most of the companionship/fellowship in marriage is not of a sexual nature, in fact.
Over time, if it is working right, we, even we males, begin to
understand what intimacy is really all about. Meanwhile we are in one
Hell of a war, and the indications are that the Church is not doing any
better in it than the world. It's time to get a clue.
>The very word "intercourse" simply meant "communication" for centuries.
And that is really what it is all about, is it not? The ministry of
reconciliation: - to speak with again.
>I am accustomed to placing a comma between "male and female (comma right
>here) in his image." Are my cats and dogs also made in his image, too?
>:-) They certainly are if God's image is about sexuality.
A resounding yes. I might add that they seem to do better with the
expression of it than humans are doing.
>In short, what are the sexual aspects of God's image, conveyed to us.
Not to get into a big flap about the Trinity, because I don't think any
of us can wrap our mind around it well enough to discuss it without
comitting some kind of heresy, but I would have to say that two becoming
one, is about the closest handle that we have on it. Obviously Spiritual
intimacy is much more far reaching than sexual intimacy, but then that
which is first is not spiritual but natural, and after that which is
>Where in Scripture is circumcision compared to crucifixion?
"In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without
hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the
circumcision of Christ: 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. And you, being dead in your sins and the
uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him,
having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of
ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it
out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" Colossians 2:11:14
The crucifixion of Christ is the circumcision of God.
>Where (again) is baptism associated with a wedding?
It is the pledge of a good conscience toward God, It is our "I am' with
Him." statement. That's a wedding, the real wedding toward which every
other wedding points.
Yours in Christ,
------- <><><> -------
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 12:48:33 +0200
From: "Deborah" <deborah.millier * juccampus>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Baptism
Link H. wrote:
> The Ante-Nicene church seemed
> to baptism as the way to receive
> salvation. Michael Millier once
> searched through the writings of
> Nicene fathers, and all the ones
> he could find who offerred an
> interpretation on 'born of water
> and of the S/spirit' in John 3,
> believe that 'born of water'
> referred to baptism.
You're baiting me, Link. Okay, ... I'll succumb. One small correction
though: it was not "all the ones [that I] could find who offered an
interpretation of ..." John 3:5. It was *everyone* who mentioned or alluded
to the verse. Every one of the Ante-Nicene writers who referred in any way
to John 3:5. My list, in other words, is comprehensive. They *all*
believed that it referred to regeneration. But I'm getting ahead of myself
ANTE-NICENE WITNESSES TO JN. 3:5
The Ante-Nicene writers were church leaders from one generation after
the Apostles until the Nicene Council of 325 A.D. which pretty much
solidified the major tenets of historical Christianity. Of the 17 times
(from 12 different people) Jn. 3:5 is cited or alluded to in the
comprehensive 10 volume set ANTE-NICENE FATHERS (eds. Roberts and Donaldson,
Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979), EVERY ONE was in a baptismal
context. Every one! Most citations are mainstream. A couple were from
heretics, lending evidence that this interpretation was common even among
the fringe, despite whatever other doctrinal modifications they might have
attempted to introduce. It could be argued from one of the heretic
citations (#7) that the allusion to baptism is unclear. I won't dispute it
as it is immaterial to the crux of my argument. The unnamed schismatic was
not, after all, an Ante-Nicene Church writer. However, judging from the
imagery he used ("... the great Jordan ... flowing..."), it is not much of a
leap to see that he too had baptism in mind when he referred to Jn. 3:5.
The parentheses in some of the following quotes are not added by me, but are
either side-statements by the original authors, or were supplied by the
editors of the set who were cognizant of some of the background issues being
discussed. The following is a breakdown of the material according to dates:
1. Justin Martyr (wrote this about 135 A.D.): "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 Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they
then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, "Except ye be
born again, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." (1st Apology, 183).
2. Ireneaus (between 177-200 A.D.): "'And he dipped himself,' says [the
Scripture], 'seven times in the Jordan.' It was not for nothing that Naaman
of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptised
.... even as the Lord has declared: 'Except a man be born again through the
water and the Spirit ... '" (Fragments from the Lost Writings, 574).
3. Unknown Author (192 A.D.?): " ... until He shall again look upon you,
and in pity shall take you to Himself through faith and water." (The
Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, 16).
4. Tertullian (219-220 A.D.): " ... by the prerogative of the (Christian)
seed as by the discipline of the institution (by baptism and Christian
education) .... Besides, he had certainly not forgotten what the Lord had
so definitively stated: 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit
... '" (A Treatise on the Soul, 220).
5. Tertullian: "When, however, the prescript is laid down that without
baptism, salvation is attainable by none' (chiefly on the ground of that
declaration of the Lord, who says, 'Unless one be born of water, he hath not
life'), there arise immediately scrupulous, nay, rather audacious, doubts on
the part of some ... " (On Baptism, 675).
6. Author Unknown (220 A.D.?):
"His heavenly Master's words; who gave the name
Of His own honour to men born from Him
Through water, and from His own Spirit
To peoples not yet from His fount re-born
Still with their ancient sordid rainment clad
From Spirit, life and that the body washed
(part of a poem from Five Books in Reply to Marcion, 150).
7. Hippolytus (before 239 A.D.): (citing a heretic he is refuting) "For
mortal, he says, is every generation below, but immortal that which is
begotten above, for it is born of water only, and of spirit, being
spiritual, not carnal. But what (is born) below is carnal, that is, he
says, what is written. 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and what
is born of the spirit is spirit.' This according to them, is the spiritual
generation. This, he says, is the great Jordan which flowing on here below
... " (The Refutation of All Heresies, 52).
8. Hippolytus: (citing another heretic he is refuting) "(In this way the
soul) would triumph by means of this (body) over the principalities and
powers, and would not be found naked, but would, instead of that flesh,
assume the (other) body, which had been represented in the water when he was
being baptised. This is, says (the Docetic), what the Saviour affirms:
'Except a man be born of water and spirit ...'" (Ibid, 120).
9. Cyprian (some time after 248 A.D.): " ... they receive also the baptism
of the Church. For then finally can they be fully sanctified, and be sons
of God, if they be born of each sacrament; since it is written, 'Except a
man be born again of water, and of the Spirit ... '" (Epistles of Cyprian,
10. Cyprian (in another letter): " ... and only baptism of the holy Church,
by divine regeneration, for the kingdom of God, may be born of both
sacraments, because it is written, 'Except a man be born of water and of the
Spirit ... '" (Ibid, 385).
11. Cyprian (in a treatise): "12. That the old baptism should cease, and a
new one should begin .... Also according to John: 'Except a man be born of
water, and of the Spirit ... '" (The Treatises of Cyprian, 511).
12. Cyprian (in another treatise): "25. That unless a man have been
baptised and born again, he cannot attain unto the kingdom of God .... In
the Gospel according to John: "Except a man be born again of water and the
Spirit ... '" (Ibid, 542).
13. Cyprian (at a Church council): "That the baptism which heretics and
schismatics bestow is not the true one .... And in the Gospel our Lord
Jesus Christ spoke with His divine voice, saying, 'Except a man be born
again of water and the Spirit ... '" (The Seventh Council of Carthage, 566).
14. Anonymous (some time shortly after 248 A.D.-- likely against Cyprian):
"Moreover, they are so no less in the baptism of the Spirit and of water
.... 'Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit ... '".
(Treatise on Re-Baptism, 668). Also in this same treatise is a quote from
Jn. 3:8 in a discussion [he takes the opposing view] that the Spirit is
necessarily conferred in baptism (676).
15. Disputed Author (cut-off date is before 250 A.D.because this work is
quoted in part by Origen): "But when you have come to the Father, you will
learn that this is His will, that you be born anew by means of waters, which
were first created .... And do you suppose that you can have hope towards
God, even if you cultivate all piety and all righteousness, but do not
receive baptism? .... In the second place, because when you are regenerated
and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which
you have through men, is cut off, and so at length you will be able to
attain salvation; but otherwise it is impossible. For thus hath the true
prophet testified to us with an oath: 'Verily I say to you, That unless a
man is born again of water, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven'"
(Recognitions of Clement, 154-55).
16. Disputed Author (cut-off date is before 250 A.D.because this work too is
quoted in part by Origen): "And now from inferior things learn the cause of
all, reasoning that water makes all things, and water receives the
production of its movement from spirit, and the spirit has its beginning
from the God of all. And thus you ought to have reasoned, in order that by
reason you might attain to God, that knowing your origin, and being born
again by the first-born water, you may be constituted heir of the parents
who have begotten you to incorruption .... What does it contribute to piety
to be baptised with water? ... and in the second place, being born again to
God of water, by reason of fear you change your first generation, which is
of lust, and thus you are able to obtain salvation. But otherwise it is
impossible. For thus the prophet has sworn to us, saying, 'Verily I say to
you, Unless you be regenerated by living water into the name of the Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven' .... and
show by well-doing your likeness to the Father, who begetteth you of water."
(The Clementine Homilies, 289-90).
17. Various Sources (compiled over a period of centuries before 325 A.D.):
"That we ought not to rebaptise, nor to receive that baptism which is given
by the ungodly, which is not baptism, but a pollution .... For the Lord
says, 'Except a man be baptised of water and of the Spirit ... '"
(Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, 456-57).
More info to come on the topic of the NT Church's view that baptism
was a *part* of what it means to be regenerated, ... and the Ante-Nicene
Church's corroborative testimony. Do you *really* want to be NT in your
beliefs and expressions?
------- <><><> -------
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 10:18:06 EDT
From: TheologusCrucis * cs
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Baptism
Good to here from you. Is your wife, and your baby, delivered? I hope all is
You know, before I sent that e-mail out, I knew I should have qualified that
line about baptism and regeneration. Perhaps I can do so now. When I said
baptism doesn't have anything to do with regeneration, I should have included
the word "decisional" as a prefix. I believe that in order for anyone to
believe, they first must be made alive by God before they can respond to the
law and the gospel. Obviously, baptism is about regeneration, the death of
the old man and the resurrection of the new.
As to your post, you asked:
>>Have modern evangelicals watered down the meaning water baptism? Have we
replaced the role of baptism with repeated prayers or confessions?
Link, I'll be straight up with you. My view on this has changed so
drastically in the last three years that it's really gonna be hard to sum it
up here. I'm so far out of the mainstream of my Pentecostal denomination that
regardless of anything else I find myself at odds with I'd still be forced to
resign because of what I've found out in my study of baptism.
I believe baptism to be a both a sign of the covenant of grace and it's seal
(Romans 4:11) The NT is the covenant of the Promise, the promise of the
covenant that God made with Abraham in Genisis 17:7, 10-11. Promises are
heard, signs are seen. Mike Horton writes that, "A sign... is a testimony on
the part of the one who promises something that he will fulfill it. It is
more than a wedding ring, which is more a symbol than a sign, in that a sign
not only points to the thing signified but is somehow bound together with
Horton is really the only guy I've read that has described even closely what
has been forming in my soul. He calls these signs like baptism and the Lord's
Table "synecdoche," a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent
the whole and vise versa. He gives the example of when a preacher says that
there are a lot of new faces in the congregation. He equates a face with the
whole person because he really is saying look at all the new people visiting
Horton writes that "signs live in this limbo of the synecdoche, between
symbols and the reality signified. They are not the reality, but they are not
divorced from it - mere symbols... Through signs, God not only testifies to
us by word but by deed, not only thru the ear but thru the eyes. What we
behold is not a mere symbol, nor is it the reality itself "face to face."
Rather, we look thru the sign by faith the "see thru a glass darkly,"
beholding our salvation that awaits us. The words promise, while the sign
As to baptism as a seal: In making treaties or covenants they are not in
effect until someone with the authority to do so seals the document -- much
like a European monarch affixing his seal into the wax of a document of
state. "Without a seal, how could the rival be confident that the cease fire
was permanent and that the hostilities had tulle ended and an alliance had
been firmly established? Perhaps the document is full of encouraging
promises, but they fall flat when one is not certain that they are (1) the
promises of the one who has the authority to make them and (2) promises that
are in fact made to the recipient of the treaty. The treaty making king may
have written the document or approved it, but it is not in force -- it is not
binding or official -- if there is no seal."
Thus, "While we recognize a distinction, there is no separation of water
baptism (the sign) and the baptism of the Spirit (the thing signified), for
they are regarded as already united. Christian baptism will not differ from
John's (the Baptist's) in form -- both are by water. But they do differ in
that John's baptism is toward the reality of Jesus and the kingdom while
Jesus, or rather, his disciples, baptize people into the reality itself. The
One who baptizes with fire (judgment) and the Spirit (salvation) has arrived."
Thus I have come to believe that baptism is much more than I ever thought it
was -- merely a symbol or a remembrance. Can water wash our conscience clean?
In one sense, no; water can only wash things like dirt and mud off the body.
In another, yes; God thru His Spirit has promised that the bath of baptism
will wash away our sins. I believe this is beyond what I had believed, that
baptism is an outward symbol to an inward work of God. (You can also imagine
what this does to the traditional A/G doctrine of being "baptized in the
Spirit" with the initial physical evidence being speaking in tongues.
Ephesians says One Lord, one baptism....)
As baptism has introduced the reality of the death of self and union with
Christ, I have noticed that while I do not agree with the majority of
Anabaptist doctrine or think that the Jehovah Witnesses are orthodox, I
believe they have discovered something in their emphasis on new life and new
loyalties. Baptism changes everything existentially for the believer in both
belief and practice. New family, new community, a new state or country, and a
new political, yes political ruler. (what's a more political term than
"king?") You bet we've "watered down" (heh, heh, heh,) what the Scriptures
and the NT church both taught and experienced in baptism.
------- <><><> -------
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 14:09:09 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] made in his sexual image. Not.
I and Jay continue from the previous day. Iron sharpening iron?
>>I am accustomed to placing a comma between "male and female (comma right
>>here) in his image." Are my cats and dogs also made in his image, too?
>>:-) They certainly are if God's image is about sexuality.
>A resounding yes. I might add that they seem to do better with the
>expression of it than humans are doing.
So, why stop with the cats and dogs made in God's image, brother Jay?
Let's include the plants, too, in that great cosmic orgy. Some plants
self-pollinate, some cross-pollinate. Think of all the symbolism for
eager pupils of the allegorical school. :-(
>>In short, what are the sexual aspects of God's image, conveyed to us.
>Not to get into a big flap about the Trinity, because I don't think any
>of us can wrap our mind around it well enough to discuss it without
>comitting some kind of heresy, but I would have to say that two becoming
>one, is about the closest handle that we have on it.
Read John 17 for a detailed account of oneness with God. It isn't about
sex but it is about eternal, dying, non-sensual love that begins and ends
with glory to God in the highest.
Also observe that the sentimentalized, romance-craving, pathetic,Jesus,
popularized by paperback book writers is entirely mythical. No, Jesus is
not wringing his hands, trying to get people to like him so he can have a
bride, have an eternal purpose, and have a divine romance. He is
positively not starving for intimacy - much less with human sinners,
which he could create in infinite numbers.
He was perfectly contented and delighted throughout eternity past,
needing nothing else, needing nobody else beyond his holy Circle of
Three. He always knew that the ones which He was given by the Father
would come forward at their appointed time. There was no anxiety or
uncertainty about it. NONE WOULD BE LOST, save the son of perdition.
Every detail was worked out in such a way that he received/s ALL the
glory. LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST! Every event in the process brings glory
to his name.
Is one sick? Even that is for the glory of God! His miracles? To glorify
The "eternal purpose" is about God receiving glory from all things,
angels, persons - now and forever. It's all about Him and his glory,
brother. Even those who oppose and reject Him will eventually glorify his
holy justice. That is why HE looked at the wicked ruler of Egypt and
declared: "I will get me glory from Pharaoh." Exod. 14:4 I will be
honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know
that I am the LORD. And they did so. Exod. 14:17 Exod. 14:18.
It's not about you or me, Jay - your happiness, your romantic needs, nor
what you conceive to be the ultimate reality - SEX. The bride-bridegroom
imagery is only a portion of the eternal purpose package. The ABC-XYZ is
Jesus glorifying himself in EVERY possible way AS EVERY KNEE BOWS at
every intersection. Till God is all and in all, in all things having the
>>Where in Scripture is circumcision compared to crucifixion?
>"In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without
>hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the
>circumcision of Christ: 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. And you, being dead in your sins and the
>uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him,
>having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of
>ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it
>out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" Colossians 2:11:14
So, if I send my son to take the garbage outside, I would be comparing
him to garbage.
>The crucifixion of Christ is the circumcision of God.
And since I dwell under the shadow of his wing, he's gotta be a
circumcised male bird-like flying creature.
>>Where (again) is baptism associated with a wedding?
>It is the pledge of a good conscience toward God, It is our "I am' with
>Him." statement. That's a wedding, the real wedding toward which every
>other wedding points.
I asked for scriptures which make such an association - you provided none
as there are none. True, every aspect of redemption can be indirectly
traced into the future to the final wedding supper of the Lamb. I wasn't
talking about the future.
The image of God in which we are created? Eph. 4:24 And that ye put on
the new man, which after God is created in RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUE
>Yours in Christ,
C.S. Lewis put it like this, "Any amount of theology can now be smuggled
into people's minds under the cover of romance without their knowing it."
Junk theology, I might add.
End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #111 < Previous Digest Next Digest >