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GordW

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What Does Baptism Mean?

Baptism is one of the two sacraments recognized by Protestant and Catholic and Orthodox churches.  THe other universal is COmmunion/Eucharist/Lord's Supper.

But beyond saying that it is widely seen as a sacrament there is a great variety of interpretations of baptism. Some of these include:

  • it should only be done to people who are old/mature enough to be making a faith statement for themselves
  • it can (or should) be done to infants, preferably as soon as possible after birth to ensure that they are cleansed from original sin in case of an early death
  • it is a cleansing from sin
  • it is a dying and resurrection with or in Christ
  • it is a sign of our adoption as children of GOd
  • having children baptised is a rite of passage and so no church should ever turn a family away
  • having children baptised is a solemn event only to be done if one or both parents are committed to the life of the church
  • it makes a great big difference in who we are
  • it is a symbolic action that names a pre-existent reality

And many of us operate under some sort of combination of these or other statements.

SO what does baptism mean to you?

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boltupright's picture

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Well I'll just say regarding the other thread that I do know that there are different interpretations on what baptism is to various peoples.

I don't deny this GordW.

So I hope you didn't start this thread just to show me this.

 

Bolt

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nice try  but not even close.

the other thread raised the question and I thought it needed/deserved its own thread.

oh and feel free to add to the list I made

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I did say I hope it wasn't the reason, I didn't say it was the reason.

 

 

Bolt

SG's picture

SG

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GordW,

 

I see it as a sacrament recognized by the Church/a church. The rest is for their theology, their doctrine, to determine....

 

As such, what it means will be determined by the theology, doctrine, etc. one holds.

 

A formal religious symbol, rite, ceremony and the rest determined by "the other stuff" one holds or rejects.

 

Some Anabaptists have footwashing as a sacrament. I believe it is an "ordinance" (used instead of sacrament) to most Mennonites and certainly to the Amish I knew.  It is an outward sign of an inward, invisible reality.

 

If I were to answer, for myself (based on my theology)

I have no problem with infant or adult baptism, as a rite. I do not believe it is sin cleansing, nor do I believe in original sin. I am not the dying and born again type either. I think we are always God's and God needs no ritual or adoption to formalize it. We, I realize, forget things  =)

 

For me, it is a symbolic outward act about what has went on internal.

 

 

In the UCC, it is also the only way I could become a member. Again, what it means beyond sacrament/ordinance being determined by other "stuff"

 

Peace

StevieG

 

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StevieG wrote:

GordW,

 

I see it as a sacrament recognized by the Church/a church. The rest is for their theology, their doctrine, to determine....

 

As such, what it means will be determined by the theology, doctrine, etc. one holds.

 

A formal religious symbol, rite, ceremony and the rest determined by "the other stuff" one holds or rejects.

 

Some Anabaptists have footwashing as a sacrament. I believe it is an "ordinance" (used instead of sacrament) to most Mennonites and certainly to the Amish I knew.  It is an outward sign of an inward, invisible reality.

 

If I were to answer, for myself (based on my theology)

I have no problem with infant or adult baptism, as a rite. I do not believe it is sin cleansing, nor do I believe in original sin. I am not the dying and born again type either. I think we are always God's and God needs no ritual or adoption to formalize it. We, I realize, forget things  =)

 

For me, it is a symbolic outward act about what has went on internal.

 

 

In the UCC, it is also the only way I could become a member. Again, what it means beyond sacrament/ordinance being determined by other "stuff"

 

Peace

StevieG

 

That is an acceptable way of looking at it from my point of veiw as well, except for the original sin. I do believe in the first original sin, & it's a doozy, LOL!!!

 

 

Bolt

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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As a sacrament, I believe it is a doctrine  of a church ( churches)

 

Infant baptism is a  promise made by the family and the church family to walk with this child on their faith journey and to support them along the way. I think that anyone coming to a church to ask that their child be baptised should be welcomed and the baptism should be performed. There are many different thoughts on this and has caused many rifts in congregations.

 

But I also believe that there is no special favours on a child that is baptised versus a child that has not been. They are all children of God and baptism is not a magic wand.

 

There should, in my opinion, be follow up to Baptism by the church. The family should be kept in touch with ( whether they attend or not) and special invitations should be sent to the child to invite them to Church School and other events that are for children. It would be the hope that this child who is baptised will become involved and at the time of Confirmation will reaffirm his or hers baptisimal vows that were made for the child by the parents and the congregation. The vows that the congrgation take are not just words. They are promises and each person, in the baptism service, is in fact saying, "I will be an advocate for this child"

 

I do not believe it is sin-cleansing and I don't believe in original sin. I believe that it is a rite that churches seem to need for membership etc.God danced on the day you were born and God loves each child indiscriminately.

 

boltupright's picture

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crazyheart wrote:

As a sacrament, I believe it is a doctrine  of a church ( churches)

 

Infant baptism is a  promise made by the family and the church family to walk with this child on their faith journey and to support them along the way. I think that anyone coming to a church to ask that their child be baptised should be welcomed and the baptism should be performed. There are many different thoughts on this and has caused many rifts in congregations.

 

But I also believe that there is no special favours on a child that is baptised versus a child that has not been. They are all children of God and baptism is not a magic wand.

 

There should, in my opinion, be follow up to Baptism by the church. The family should be kept in touch with ( whether they attend or not) and special invitations should be sent to the child to invite them to Church School and other events that are for children. It would be the hope that this child who is baptised will become involved and at the time of Confirmation will reaffirm his or hers baptisimal vows that were made for the child by the parents and the congregation. The vows that the congrgation take are not just words. They are promises and each person, in the baptism service, is in fact saying, "I will be an advocate for this child"

 

I do not believe it is sin-cleansing and I don't believe in original sin. I believe that it is a rite that churches seem to need for membership etc.God danced on the day you were born and God loves each child indiscriminately.

 

 

I think it's admirable for people to dedicate their childeren & support their spiritual journey, if they want to call it baptism, who cares?

What I mean by original sin is exactly that, the first original sin that ever took place.

If there are people who think that because of the original sin, that childeren that are not baptized at birth are not part of the covenant, this is a huge mistake, HUGE!

Who was it that actually acted this original sin?

As far as I can tell, it was lucifer, when he lied to himself by decieving himself & others in the fold, that he can in fact be God & overthrow Him. This lucifer was filled with pride as he was created as an angel of light with great power & responsibility.

This lucifer who was lifted high above creation at the time, & was in the holy of all holies in charge of praise & worship on a scale that mere words would not do justice for.

This lucifer had a heart of pride & this elevation was too much for him to resist the lie that he convinced himself that he could be above God as lucifer's nature or character looks at God's character of love as a weakness. Therefore decieving himself & 1/3 of the angels to rebel.

That is why lucifer now satan is referred to as the father of lies.

 

Was man part of that original sin? No.

 But satan had success in decieving Eve then satan used Eve to decieve Adam into this same type of lie.

 

 

 

Bolt

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GordW wrote:

Baptism is one of the two sacraments recognized by Protestant and Catholic and Orthodox churches.  THe other universal is COmmunion/Eucharist/Lord's Supper.

 

Yes, I suppose that's true. My own Baptist denomination is neither Protestant, Catholic, nor Orthodox. We don't practice Baptism and The Lord's Supper as sacraments, but rather as ordinances.

 

What does baptism mean to me? I'd agree with the following on your list...

 

  • it should only be done to people who are old/mature enough to be making a faith statement for themselves
  • it is a sign of our adoption as children of God
  • it is a symbolic action that names a pre-existent reality (although I'd say "symbolizes" rather than "names")
GordW's picture

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Jubilee,

As a matter of clarity.  What do you see as the difference between sacrament and ordinance? 

Traditionally a sacrament has been seen (among other definitions) as an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.

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boltupright wrote:

Who was it that actually acted this original sin?

 

Adam, as the representative of all humanity.

 

Quote:
But satan had success in decieving Eve then satan used Eve to decieve Adam into this same type of lie.

 

Yes, I agree, Satan did so tempt.

 

 

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GordW wrote:

Jubilee,

As a matter of clarity.  What do you see as the difference between sacrament and ordinance? 

Traditionally a sacrament has been seen (among other definitions) as an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.

 

Now that's a good question, Gord.

 

As I understand it, we don't believe that God is doing a special divine act of grace at the time of the event. If so, we would call it a sacrament.
 

 

Rather, we hold that we are following an order given to us by Jesus, that believers should identify themselves as such by being baptized.

 

Hope that helps.

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-jubilee- wrote:

boltupright wrote:

Who was it that actually acted this original sin?

 

Adam, as the representative of all humanity.

 

Quote:
But satan had success in decieving Eve then satan used Eve to decieve Adam into this same type of lie.

 

Yes, I agree, Satan did so tempt.

 

 

 

HHHHmmmm, the original sin, so you believe it was man who committed the original sin? You can't be realy saying that now could you? does a phrase like this sound familliar?

Was it sin when it was commited by lucifer?

 

Bolt

GordW's picture

GordW

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In terms of most theological discourse original sin is a category or state of being.  It isn't limited to a specific action by a specific actor.  Generally the sin is seen as being either disobedience or pride (or both).  And then the category says that we all inherit a sinful condition from that original event.  Baptism is seen as washing away that stain.

When people say they don't believe in original sin that is likely what they are meaning, that they don't believe we inherit, not that there was no first sin.  I agree.  Sin is not inherited in that way.

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boltupright wrote:

HHHHmmmm, the original sin, so you believe it was man who committed the original sin? You can't be realy saying that now could you? does a phrase like this sound familliar?

Was it sin when it was commited by lucifer?

 

I suppose it depends on what you mean by "original sin", Bolt.

 

If you're saying that Lucifer was the first being to ever sin, I have no problem with that. I agree with that belief statement.

 

However, if you're referring to the doctrine of original sin as traditionally taught, it was Adam's sin that made mankind guilty before God, resulting in total depravity, and thus physical and spiritual death.

 

"When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned." - (Romans 5:12, NLT)

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When people say they don't believe in original sin that is likely what they are meaning, that they don't believe we inherit, not that there was no first sin.  I agree.  Sin is not inherited in that way. - Gord

 

Yes, this is what I mean.

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crazyheart wrote:

When people say they don't believe in original sin that is likely what they are meaning, that they don't believe we inherit, not that there was no first sin.  I agree.  Sin is not inherited in that way. - Gord

 

Yes, this is what I mean.

 

"When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned." - (Romans 5:12, NLT)

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-jubilee- wrote:

boltupright wrote:

HHHHmmmm, the original sin, so you believe it was man who committed the original sin? You can't be realy saying that now could you? does a phrase like this sound familliar?

Was it sin when it was commited by lucifer?

 

I suppose it depends on what you mean by "original sin", Bolt.

 

If you're saying that Lucifer was the first being to ever sin, I have no problem with that. I agree with that belief statement.

 

However, if you're referring to the doctrine of original sin as traditionally taught, it was Adam's sin that made mankind guilty before God, resulting in total depravity, and thus physical and spiritual death.

 

"When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned." - (Romans 5:12, NLT)

 

Hi jubilee,

OK, to be honest I'm not realy familliar with the teaching of original sin, it sounds like a doctrinal issue to me anyways, if it is very important for me to understand as far as how you see it, feel free to share this information.

 

But the way I see it, the original sin, if one would be open to such a description, would be the first sin ever to take place.

I already shared how this relates to us,  satan was the originator of this sin of lies & pride. That is where it starts. in the mind of lucifer. Eve only had an understanding of the rules, the law so to speak. She didn't have a full understanding of love yet & how love is used to combat satans lies.

And most importantly, the thought of eating of the forbidden fruit would've probably never have entered her or Adams mind if it were not for the "whisperer".

 

Bolt

SG's picture

SG

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Gord is correct on that being what many mean. 

 

I will try to explain what I mean when you ehar me say it.

 

I do not believe sin is inherited, that people are born in a state of sin or that sin can taint the unborn. 

 

I do not believe  "The Fall" is the reason we are mortal. I believe that only perfect creatures might be immortal and we were not designed for perfection. I believe we were designed to have choices and choices means not only the perfect one is on the menu. I believe people stated sin entered the world, because we are imperfect creatures capable of it and when we entered so too did sin.

 

 I do not believe in original sin or ancestral sin.

 

I also do not believe that what others see as original sin, was some great evil. I do not believe that Adam and Eve brought sin into the world. I believe God created good and evil and they had a choice God granted them the ability to make. For me, humans sin because that is how we are created. We miss the mark because we are not God and we are not perfect. Adam and Eve made a choice. Through mistakes and the mistakes of others, we learn. They did us all a favour, IMO.

boltupright's picture

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StevieG wrote:

Gord is correct on that being what many mean. 

 

I will try to explain what I mean when you ehar me say it.

 

I do not believe sin is inherited, that people are born in a state of sin or that sin can taint the unborn. 

 

I do not believe  "The Fall" is the reason we are mortal. I believe that only perfect creatures might be immortal and we were not designed for perfection. I believe we were designed to have choices and choices means not only the perfect one is on the menu. I believe people stated sin entered the world, because we are imperfect creatures capable of it and when we entered so too did sin.

 

 I do not believe in original sin or ancestral sin.

 

I also do not believe that what others see as original sin, was some great evil. I do not believe that Adam and Eve brought sin into the world. I believe God created good and evil and they had a choice God granted them the ability to make. For me, humans sin because that is how we are created. We miss the mark because we are not God and we are not perfect. Adam and Eve made a choice. Through mistakes and the mistakes of others, we learn. They did us all a favour, IMO.

 

I can understand if you look at some of my posts & feel I'm a bit off the wall, but I am someone who takes the bible pretty literally for the most part, I find it difficult to express any other way to be honest.

All the points you raise are all covered there in the bible StevieG, whether you want to take it litterally or not is up to you.

 

 

Bolt

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I believe that the original question on this thread was about what does baptism mean to us.  I didn't take it as an invitation to argue about whether one form of baptism is better than another - that one is wrong and another is right.  Different churches, different individuals see it differently.

 

I belong to the UCC, therefore my point of view is shaped by the UCC.

 

For me yes baptism is a sacrament - an outward and visible sign of inward and invisible grace.  Usually parents present their child to be baptized as an infant - not to save it,  not to wash away sin, because I don't believe in original sin; I believe that children are born inocent.  The child is present for baptism to acknowledge what is already the case:  that this is a child of God.  They make promises about caring for and raising this child.  The congregation also makes promises to support the parents in this quest, and also to love and support the child. 

 

I believe that anyone who wishes to have their child baptized in a church should be welcomed.  However, because there are promises to be made, and it is important to understand what you are promising, I also think that the session has the right and the responsibility to ask the parents to meet with the minister and/or do some reading and study about what they are undertaking for their child.  And because the congregation are also asked to make promises, there should be some information given at the time of the baptism , and some follow-up by the congregation.

 

It is hoped that the child, when she reaches a suitable age, will make a decision for herself and renew the vows made on her behalf, by taking classes and being confirmed.

 

For an older child or adult who has not been confirmed, baptism and confirmation can take place at the same time.

 

Baptism is a sacrament, a sign, a promise, that this is a child of God - a recognition of a pre-existant condition.  Since all children are God's children, baptism doesn't change this. 

 

Many people also see it as a right-of-passage, a presentation of the child to the congregation, a ritual, and a naming ceremony.  Sometimes it is referred to as a chrisening - giving the child its Christian name.

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SG

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boltupright,

 

Actually, in the Hebrew Scriptures/OT  relating to Adam and Eve you will not find those concepts. You may find a seed of something that someone later planted that grew.

 

Though original sin only relates to baptism if one believes baptism is sin cleansing and that sin is inherent and all are born needing sin cleansed.

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boltupright

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StevieG wrote:

boltupright,

 

Actually, in the Hebrew Scriptures/OT  relating to Adam and Eve you will not find those concepts. You may find a seed of something that someone later planted that grew.

 

Though original sin only relates to baptism if one believes baptism is sin cleansing and that sin is inherent and all are born needing sin cleansed.

 

I do see it differently, I don't believe for one minute that God doen't include childeren in the kingdom, there will be loads of childeren in the kingdom whether they are baptised or not.

So I agree that childeren without knowlege & understanding are not in any way held accoutable for the choice.

I do however read the amplified King James version of the bible, & when I study scripture I usually use greek & hebrew referance, so for you to say to me that those consepts are not there, well I just have to dissagree.

 

 

Bolt

SG's picture

SG

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Where does the Bible state that people are born tainted with sin?

 

Where does the Bible say Adam and Ever were desinged to be immortal?

 

Where does the Bible not say God created everything (including your character lucifer) and pronounced it good?

 

Where does the Bible say Lucifer has powers exceeding God or that Lucifer works independent of God?

 

There are ideas that evolved out of practice, belief, interpretation... that does nto mean they are biblical principles.

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Lots of interesting words here about baptism.  Some of them I don't understand such as

 

"it is a sign of our adoption as children of GOd"

 

Does Christianity teach that without this baptism ritual a precious human baby isn't a child of God?  Or do you mean that the baby starts out as a child of God but that your God rejects them somehow so they are available for adoption by 'someone or something else?'

 

I don't see why if you claim your God creates everythin why s/he would create a baby s/he doesn't want unless this baptism ritual occurs.  I think all life is sacred and rituals aren't a requirement.

boltupright's picture

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StevieG wrote:

Where does the Bible state that people are born tainted with sin?

 

Where does the Bible say Adam and Ever were desinged to be immortal?

 

Where does the Bible not say God created everything (including your character lucifer) and pronounced it good?

 

Where does the Bible say Lucifer has powers exceeding God or that Lucifer works independent of God?

 

There are ideas that evolved out of practice, belief, interpretation... that does nto mean they are biblical principles.

 

 It's getting late steve, at least I'm getting tired as I've been on this darn computer all day & it is getting to me, I do find this a rewarding form of ministry & I enjoy it very much.

Your questions do deserve an answer,  this one I find, is a strange one though,,,

"Where does the Bible say Lucifer has powers exceeding God or that Lucifer works independent of God?"

 Who has ever said that lucifer has powers exceeding God? This lucifer. now referred to as satan is a liar, he has the power to decieve only if one chooses to believe his lies.

I will get to the independance of the lucifarian character from the Godly character tomorrow sometime when I have time as I get pretty buisey on sundays.

 

 

 

 

 

Bolt

boltupright's picture

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kaythecurler wrote:

Lots of interesting words here about baptism.  Some of them I don't understand such as

 

"it is a sign of our adoption as children of GOd"

 

Does Christianity teach that without this baptism ritual a precious human baby isn't a child of God?  Or do you mean that the baby starts out as a child of God but that your God rejects them somehow so they are available for adoption by 'someone or something else?'

 

I don't see why if you claim your God creates everythin why s/he would create a baby s/he doesn't want unless this baptism ritual occurs.  I think all life is sacred and rituals aren't a requirement.

I hope you havn't gotten that impression with any of my posts as this isn't something I would promote.

 

 

Bolt

seeler's picture

seeler

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kaythecurler wrote:

Lots of interesting words here about baptism.  Some of them I don't understand such as

 

"it is a sign of our adoption as children of GOd"

 

Does Christianity teach that without this baptism ritual a precious human baby isn't a child of God?  Or do you mean that the baby starts out as a child of God but that your God rejects them somehow so they are available for adoption by 'someone or something else?'

 

I don't see why if you claim your God creates everythin why s/he would create a baby s/he doesn't want unless this baptism ritual occurs.  I think all life is sacred and rituals aren't a requirement.

 

Adoption - I see this as an example of people trying to find words to describe something like grace that is beyond words.  It is not a concept that I would use for baptism.

 

Many people have pointed out that baptism is an outward sign of something that is already there.  Yes, every baby born is a child of God, precious in God's sight, beloved by God.  Baptism is our recognition of something that is already present - our affirmation of that.  I also believe that public baptism is an opportunity for the parents to present their child to the congregation and for the congregation to respond in their promises to this child and to all children. 

 

But all people, even athiests, are children of God - beloved by God - whether or not they were baptized, and whether or not they accept the concept.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaa's picture

aaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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StevieG wrote:

I do not believe "The Fall" is the reason we are mortal.

..................

I also do not believe that what others see as original sin, was some great evil. I do not believe that Adam and Eve brought sin into the world. I believe God created good and evil and they had a choice God granted them the ability to make. For me, humans sin because that is how we are created. We miss the mark because we are not God and we are not perfect. Adam and Eve made a choice. Through mistakes and the mistakes of others, we learn. They did us all a favour, IMO.

I generally agree with you StevieG.

But I do see "The Fall" as significant because that event marks the point where we kind of lost sight of who we are and who God is. Since that point we continue to "Miss the mark", we just don't get it. And that little detail has been passed down through all generations.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaa's picture

aaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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Here is a very far out explanation of baptism.

If you hold a person underwater long enough they will die. But if you time it just right they will have an NDE (near death experience) and recover. They are then left with a life changing experience.

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GordW,

 

I see the Baptism as a symbolic ceremony that marks the point in our spiritual journey where control over the astral or emotional body is obtained. The Baptism, according to 'new age' concepts, is seen as the second of five initiations in our spiritual journey, where the first is be demonstrated by a control over the dense physical body. The emotional or desire body of our lower being is one of the strongest aspects of this self and consequently one of the strongest to control. But once the sacrifice of desire is brought into alignment with the will of the Ego or Soul then second initiation occurs and the Ego has gained control over the two lowest vehicles, the physical and the emotional bodies.

 

The life of Christ is said to have displayed these five initiations as an example to Humanity, where each initiation was marked by a important stage in His life.

 

1st Initiation: The Birth. 

 

Marked by the control of the Ego over the physical body, the 'sins of the flesh'. Jesus when He said "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

 

2nd Initiation: The Baptism.

 

Marked by the control of the Ego over the emotional body, the point in time where the disiple aligns the lower desire with the will of his higher self.

 

3rd Initiation: The Transfiguraiton.

 

Marked by the control of the Ego over the mental body, the point in time where the entire personality, the physical, emotional and mental bodies, is flooded with light from above and the Monad (the true God within each of us) shown to be guiding the Ego.

 

4th Initiation: The Crucifixion.

 

The Great Renunciation is usually one of great sacrifice and suffering where all is renounced, friends, money, reputation. The fourth initiation is the most crucial initiation for Humanity. It's where the lower self is sacrificed for the higher self, the three worlds of the human evolution are replaced with the worlds of the future and any contact hereafter with these lower planes of nature are purely voluntary for the purpose of love and service.

 

 

5th Initiation: The Resurrection and Ascension.

 

Through the processes of evolution and initiation The Christ demonstrated to us the meaning and purpose of the divine life present in Him and in us all. The Resurrection is one the greatest mysteries of all time and reveals to us the great concept of "continuity of unfoldment".

 

The Tibetan says:

"Each initiation marks the passing of a pupil in the Hall of Wisdom into a higher class, marks the clear shining forth of the inner fire and the transition from one point of polarisation to another, entails the realization of an increasing unity with all that lives and the essential oneness of the self with all selves. It results in a horizon that continually enlarges until it includes the sphere of creation; it is a growing capacity to see and hear on all planes. It is an increased consciousness of God's plan for the world, and an increased ability to enter into those plans and to further them. It is the honour class in the Master's school, and is within the attainment of those souls whose karma permits and whose efforts suffice to fulfil the aim.

Initiation leads to the mount whence vision can be had, a vision of the eternal Now, wherein past, present, and future exist as one."

Volumes have been written on this subject, GordW. If your are interested in a comparison between the life of Christ and the 'new age' concepts I would highly recommend  a book by Alice A. Bailey: From Bethlehem To Calvary.

 

In her foreword to this book, the author remarks:

 

"The conscious evocation of the Christ life in the human heart and our rapid integration into the Kingdom of God are the immediate tasks ahead, embodying our responsibility, opportunity and destiny." The five expansions of consciousness by which this integration and evocation proceed are clearly portrayed here as the correspondences of the five climaxing experiences of the Master Jesus during His life in Palestine. These are the five initiations known as the Birth, Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, resurrection and Ascension. Through these five stages on the Way, we follow the Master from Bethlehem to Calvary. While these initiations are popularly known by their Christian terminology, within the experience of the spiritual Hierarchy the fourth and fifth initiations are known as the initiation of Renunciation and the initiation of Revelation. The crucifixion experience of the Master Jesus involved Him in the great renunciation of His own soul, with a resulting revelation in the light of the Spiritual Triad. These experiences are both symbolic and actual, setting guideposts along the way of tIre disciple. Some understanding of these Mysteries revealed by the Christ and the Master Jesus, as They exemplified the experience of the human soul through the five stages of its spiritual journey, can be invaluable to individual man facing the vast span of the same five-fold experience. This is probably the factor of greatest value and service to the aspirant, setting his feet on the Path of Return; that the experience of the Master Jesus, including that of the Crucifixion, the Great Renunciation, reflects through the lives of all human beings. Through the divine life in us, and as the Christ principle unfolds in our heart and consciousness, the sons of men walk the Way of the Cross eventually to become soul-illumined Sons of God. Knowing something of these things, aware of the spiritual journey before all men from stage to stage on the Path of Initiation, an exact service opens before the aspirant. "Service must expand and express itself on broader and more inclusive lines, and we must learn to serve as Christ served, to love all men as He loved them and, by the potency of our spiritual vitality and the quality of our service, stimulate all we meet so that they too can serve and love and become members of the Kingdom . . . the call is for sane and normal men and women who can comprehend the situation, face what must he done, and then give their lives to expressing for the world the qualities of the citizens of the Kingdom of Souls; love, wisdom, silence, non-separativeness and freedom."

 

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