The Baptist Story
Sermons on the Trail of Blood by A.A. Davis
Excerpts from Sermon #5
We have already showed how certain great doctrines, held by certain preachers, found their way into certain churches. Some were of the Jewish extraction and some were of the Pagan extraction. All of these strange doctrines that showed up within the first three centuries can be traced to the Pagan or to the Jewish world. But now, as Paul said in his farewell address to the Ephesians elders, these fellows rose up from among the churches and brought in damnable heresies. This was about the middle of the third century, or in 251 A.D. and you had two sets of churches! The lower group of churches (Referring to the line of Churches on the lower portion of Dr. J.M. Carroll's chart "The Trail of Blood" the lower group of Churches falls under the chart title "Ana Baptist") were remaining true to the faith, contending for the faith which had been delivered unto the saints, declaring non-fellowship for the group of irregular churches, (and it was non-fellowship on point of doctrines). Then the irregular churches with Judaism and Paganism in their bloodstream looked toward a mortal man, a Pagan king, a human being, for a redemption of their lot prestige, for they did lose prestige when the true churches declared non-fellowship for them. They loved the pomp and position in the religious world, preferring human ideas rather than divine revelation and human opinions rather than divine truth. They set about to have their own way in matters of religion. When any man or any set of men starts out on that journey to have their own way in life regardless of what the Lord has said, that man of that set of men has set out on a perilous journey. They made overtures to this Pagan king, Constantine; and as we related earlier, succeeded in getting Constantine of the Roman Pagan Empire to establish their Christianity, their perverted form of Christianity, as the state religion of the Roman Empire. Thus, from this point forward, you have religion by law and by decree, rather than by open Bible and by open conscience. You have one group of people who believed in the open Scriptures, the open Bible and an open conscience, and the voluntary obedience of man to the will of God; and another group of people who hid behind the strong arm of the law and endeavored to enforce their concept of religion at the point of the law. That is the beginning of the Dark Ages. That is what made the Dark Ages dark. It was one group of professed Christians attempting to compel another group of Christians to accept their doctrines and their decrees, with new and strange doctrines, somewhat like, (and I am at a loss for a better illustrations) , somewhat like your OPA during the last war, and should I mention OPA? Bless their hearts, they did the best job they could; but, you would get a report over the radio at midnight that a new rule had been enacted, effective at 12:00 midnight. You know what I mean. Somewhat in the same manner, the king or the emperor with the bishops of these various churches, would meet in various councils and adopt new religious laws for the empire, and people would wake up and find a new doctrine at their door and the sheriff there to enforce it. That was their method of operation.
One of the first laws they passed was the law decreeing infant baptism as the law of the land in 416 A.D. It became the law of the land just as your draft law is the law of this nation. That simply means that everybody within a certain age limit had to conform to it. When they passed the law in 416 that every baby in the Roman Empire had to be baptized at the hands of an authorized Roman priest or clergyman, they ran into trouble. There was a group of people down here (refers to Ana Baptists on Dr. Carroll's "Trail of Blood" chart) that did not believe that doctrine. By now as we have shown before, they were called Ana-Baptists, (after the split in 251 A.D.), because they were re-baptizers. The Ana-Baptist rejected this thing, and that is the official beginning of your Dark Ages. Infant baptism became the law of the empire, Occasionally someone says, "Don't you think infant baptism is a beautiful thing to look at?" I sometimes meet that this way, "If you knew the history of that doctrine, where it came from and the blood shed that it has brought in this world, you never would look on it in your lifetime; you never would watch it. " Dr. Carroll said, no other one doctrine that ever found its way into Christendom has caused so much bloodshed in this world as the doctrine of infant baptism. Do not think that is just my opinion of it. I can bring my arms full of books, notes, and histories,. Do not think for a moment that statement is not agreed to by every reputable historian now. That is why the people called Baptist frown when it is mentioned. They do not frown upon the people. If any of those dear people who practice it knew in their hearts the truth about it, they would throw it out the window and abandon it. Oh, the misery and the blood shed that that doctrine has caused in the world. . . .
I am trying to drive a truth home to you. I am talking about a doctrine. Infant baptism came on the scene and became the law of the land, followed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. when the strange and erroneous doctrine of mariolotry, of the worship of the Virgin Mary was invented. They seemed to have thought that one mediator was not enough. The Bible says there is one Mediator between God and man, and that one is Jesus Christ. That is what Paul said about it, and I agree with Paul. (Understandably they began to call these Ana-Baptist Paulists as well) IT seems that our friends needed another mediator, one to mediate with Christ, so they instituted praying to the Virgin Mary, which is without scriptural authority, without scriptural precept, or example anywhere. But we must pass from the doctrine of mariolotry, or the worship of the Virgin Mary. I would not take from anybody this right to say his prayers to the Virgin Mary if he wanted to pray to the Virgin Mary. He has a right to pray to the Virgin Mary. He has a right to bow down to a telephone post and say his prayers to a billy-goat if he wants to in this country; and. I am glad we have a country like that. But, I have the same right not to do it.
So we pass from that into the matter of infant communion, and they seemed to have a great deal of trouble with this. If the infants were entitled to one of the ordinances, they ought to be entitled to the other one. They had a battle; they wrestled with that one several years,. Finally, at the Constantinople Council in 553, they seemed to have come up with the solution of that difficult problem. How they were going to five the communion to the infants? Finally they decided they would do it this way: they would soak the wafer in the wine, then put the wafer in the mouth of the infant, and the priest would drink the wine. The priests are still drinking the wine, but they have long since discontinued the matter of infant communion As Dr Carroll pointed out, all of the hurtful heresies of Christendom today can be traced either to one or the other of these ordinances, baptism or the Lord's Supper. Invariably, if a person is wrong on one of the ordinances, he will be wrong on the other ordinance. The battleground in the religious world is around baptism and the Lord's Supper. If a man is wrong on one of those ordinances, he will be wrong regarding the great truths reflected in that ordinance. Baptism is a reflection of the gospel of Christ. It is a water picture of the gospel of Christ, a visible declaration of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Without a single exception, a man who is wrong on the ordinance of baptism goes astray on the great truths that are reflected in baptism. Let me hear a man preach a sermon on the Atonement. He need not use the word baptize at all but I'll tell you what he believes about baptism when he gets through preaching on the Atonement.
The same thing is true of the Lord's Supper. We believe both of them to be the ordinances of the Church, to be administered under the church authority alone, never by the unredeemed. But the religious world back in history reaches those ordinances in some perverted from, their system of religion. Infant communion came on, and they practiced it for years, centuries. But the next thing that is worthy of note in the unfolding of this matter was the Council of Necea in 787. Now, the Paganism that was in the blood stream is going to come out again.
You know the Pagan loved his weird ceremonies. He loved a visible religion. He loved a display of something that you could see with your eyes. And, everybody in the world has a little Paganism in their bloodstream. . . . That Paganized form of worship that was in the bloodstream of fallen humanity, in the bloodstream of these people came out and they began to put their images in the churches, just as they dad back in the old Pagan temples. They were going to beautify God's church house. The unregenerate world demanded it. I never was very much in favor of a picture in God's house. I was never in favor of any kind of an external appeal or manifestation. Dr. J.M. Carroll is speaking on this point, tied that thing in with the human disposition to make a showing. "People want to make an impression upon the eye, that we are it." . . .
It is a move in the wrong direction, formality in religion. It is an appeal to paganism. That brought about the first split among the people up here (referring to Dr. Carroll's chart at the "Hierarchy Catholic" area making split.) In 869 you have the Greek Catholic Church splitting off, and that was the issue concerning that matter of image worship.
Now let me drop back and pick up a few matters of history in order that I might throw more light upon this. When the Roman Empire was overrun (and this a matter of history), in 476 A.D. by the barbarians form the north and the east, the empire of the vaunted Caesars decayed. They had had their state religion for over a hundred years from 321 to 476, some 155 years. The entire Roman Empire had been divided into five dioceses. There was a diocese at Antioch, at Jerusalem, at Alexandriam at Constantinople and at Rome. At the head of each diocese was a bishop. In 538 the Mohammedans overran all Asia Minor and three of these diocese fell to the Mohammedans; Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria, leaving only two, Constantinople in the east, and Rome here in the west.
Up until this point, the Roman Church was composed of the two worlds, the Greek world and the Latin world. The Arabian world, down in Asia Minor had been swallowed up with Mohammendanism. They never have gone too strong for Catholicism. Form 476 until 610 A.D., another period of about a hundred and thirty-four years, there was no regular constituted civil government existing in Rome. It had been overrun. There seemed to be no one in authority, and everybody by nature looked to the Bishop of Rome for advice in matters of state as well as matters of religion. He was just gradually pushed on up the ladder where he was the big boy in Rome. Yet, he was just the bishop. About the year 600 or 610, a young quisling by the name of Phocas claiming to be the direct descendant of the Caesars, claiming the right to rule by divine authority made an effort to reestablish the throne of the Caesars. But nobody paid any attention to him. Everybody had followed the Bishop of Rome. SO in 610, Phocas abdicated, renounced all of his claims to the throne of the Caesars, turned the matter over to the Bishop of Rome and decreed him to be the true and only successor to the ancient throne. He was then declared to be not only the spiritual ruler of the Roman empire, but also the temporal ruler. That is how the Roman Catholic Church claims both temporal and spiritual power in this world. It dates back to 610.
But the were not without trouble. These Greeks, when the provocation presented itself, in 869 split off and formed the Greek end of the Catholic Church, and while there were other differences, the main difference seemed to have been the matter of image worship. What is the essential difference in the Greek and Roman Catholic? The Greek Catholics reject sprinkling for baptism, and the Romans use sprinkling entirely. The Greeks immerse all - including infants. If you want to see a little baby dipped, go to a Greek Catholic Church on Easter Sunday morning and you will see the little fellow put under the water. They continue the practice of infant communion. They are logical. If I were going to give babies the ordinance of baptism I would certainly give them the Lord's Supper too. For the same thing that admits them to one, will, in the end, admit them to the other.
The Greeks have their priest to marry. They have been very wise in that. They have gone around that celibacy question; though at the time the split came, celibacy had not become an issue. They rejected the doctrine of papal infallibility. The Greeks embrace largely the Slavic world, whereas the Romans address themselves primarily to the Latin-speaking worlds. So those are the essential points between the Greek and the Roman Catholic.
Let us pass on down the journey and note some other things that happened. We are going to look next at the matter of transubstantiation. Note the unfolding of these strange, religious doctrines. It began with the preacher-church government, baptismal regeneration, infant baptism, religion by law, mariolotry, infant communion, image worship, then they hit upon the idea of trnasubstantiation. Whit is meant by that? I read now from p. 28 of Dr. J.M. Carroll's volume, "The Trail of Blood," "In A.D. 1215 this seems to be the most largely attended of possibly any go the great councils. According to the historical account of this meeting, there were present 412 bishops, 800 abbots and friars, ambassadors from the Byzantine Court, and a great number of princes and nobles. Form the very makeup of this assembly , you may know that spiritual matters were at least , not alone to be considered. Transubstantiation, or the turning of the bread and the wine of the Lord's Supper after a prayer by the priest into the actual and the real body and blood of Christ. This new doctrine was at that time promulgated."
Conceiving the idea that when the priest says his little prayer over the wafer, that the wafer becomes actually the body of Christ; that when he says his prayer over the wine, that it becomes actually the blood of Christ is the act of miraculous transformation of the substances. That is really the background of your Roman Catholic Mass today.
Christ died, and He died only once; and yet every time that Roman Mass is observed, Jesus Christ, according to their doctrine, is crucified again. Every time that it is observed, they materialize it. It is a perversion of the Lord's Supper, and the people believe that they are actually eating the body and drinking the blood. I don't know hoe, and I don't know why but the average man on the streets, no matter to what church he belongs and even many of our dear Baptist people, get it in their systems some way that if they will eat the Supper, eat the elements, that it will help keep them saved, or help save them, or make it easy for them to die. The Lord's Supper was an institution of the Church. It was not put here to ease anybody's pain or suffering. It does away with the idea of a supreme unction, helping somebody to die. It is a memorial supper in the church of Jesus Christ, and as I have said before, the only thing Jesus ever asked His church to do in remembrance of Him. And yet the religious world has taken it out of its place, robed it of its beauty, and made a saving ordinance out of it, when Jesus asked us to do this in remembrance of Him. It looks as if we could do a few things the way Jesus Christ told us to do it. There are those in the world, and they have always been here, who want to do their religion, and their idea is that they are not going to do anything religiously unless they can be benefited by it. I have been asked, "If you folks do not believe that baptism saves you, why on earth do you baptize?" "If you don not believe the Lord's Supper saves you, why on earth do you observe the Lord's Supper?" "If you don not believe that good work saves you, why do you try to preach good works then?" And I turn it around this way, and say, You are looking down the wrong road. Your approach to the matter is that a man should not do anything unless he is going to be benefited by it. It is old selfishness at work. Just as a little boy around the home when you try to get him to do a chore, and he says I will not do it unless you give me a quarter. I will not do it unless I am going to get something out of it. That is the religion of the unregenerate world. But the Bible tells you that Jesus Christ took all the sin question, every bit of it, sand paid all the debt and left nothing for you to pay. He walked the path to the cross alone. His own body bore our sins upon the cross. There is not anything I can do to help Jesus save me. He has to do every bit of it. I am not going to eat the Lord's Supper to try to keep myself saved. He asked me to be baptized because I loved Him, and I am going to do it just to honor Him. He asked me to observe the Lord's Supper in remembrance of Him, just to remember His broken body and His shed blood, and I am going to do it just to remember Him. I do not expect to get anything personal out of it. It is for His glory. Now do you see the Baptist position? That is the Baptist position on the ordinances. Nobody else in the world believes as you do about them. The rest of the world has the same Bible we have. We did not drive them off. They just went off. He did not He did not make them leave the truth, and I am not going to leave the truth just because my next door neighbor left it. Stay with it. That has been the cause of a lot of bloodshed in the world. That led to some vicious persecutions in England. I could tell you the story of Ann Askew. She was a young, pretty, Baptist girl who was arrested and brought into the court because she rejected the Roman Mass. She would not take it as the priest tried to tell her that the bread was the body of Christ, that the had transformed it, but she rejected it. They condemned her and burned her at the stake. The Lord Mayor, having her chastised, had the fagots lighted and said to Ann Askew, that Baptist girl in England. "Deniest thou the sacred elements, the Mass?" asked the Lord Mayor. She said, "Yea, my lord, that I do deny, for I read in my Bible where God made man, but I have never yet read where man made God." And Ann Askew was burned at the stake, and so was her friend, Ann Boucher. Time would fail me if I told of the bloodshed that the Roman Mass has caused in the world, but I simply remind you of it as a doctrine that found its way here. Thank God we did not bring that doctrine into this world. These people down here did not bring that doctrine into the world (referring to the Ana-Baptists on the chart). About this time, there was serious trouble beginning to arise. I should mention before closing this part of the discussion, the doctrine of celibacy, which seems to have appeared officially about the year 1123.
I don't know how those boys figured it. I really believe that the Church of Rome,, if they could erase their history on that point, would erase it.. I think that down in their hearts at least some of the Roman priests are ashamed of their doctrine of celibacy. They never like to discuss it. You know, God said it is not good for man to be alone. "I will make for him a help-meet." God never has changed that .. He made a mate for him. I believe God knew who men and women could be happy. I believe that God made them for a purpose. And I believe that the beauties of the marriage relation is the home are ordained of God. If you have a good family life, you have a good social order; you have a good church life. Men and women living together is God's appointed way. But here you have an institution that defies God. Why not defy Him on the home relationship? They have denied Him on everything else. They defied Him back here on the church question, on the baptism question; they defied Him on every point. God says it is good for man not to be alone. "I will make him a help meet," but they come up now and say it is best for our priests to be alone. The conceive the idea of forbidding their priests to marry. Few really believe that they do live a celibate life; I do not believe it and you do not believe they live a celibate life. And here is an unanswered question: (and I want this in the record), I challenge you to tour America and in the large Catholic centers, find a priest or a bishop's home' see what a fine, spacious mansion it is. Room after room, and always a great number of beautiful, young, good-looking women as housekeepers to help him live a celibate life. I said that just the way I wanted to say it.
The revolution is on. That thing will fill any land with immortality and degeneracy. That is one of the ugly pictures in Europe today. Rome does not want the world to take their test on Europe. Look what has happened to Europe. Look what has happened to Italy. But years pass on. For about this time revolution was springing up. Men began to cry out against these things, against the cruelties, the immoralities and the degeneracies, and the totalitarianism. You have heard a lot in these recent about totalitarianism, haven't you? Now I want to say this kindly' the Church of Rome, as an institution is the mother of all the totalitarianism in the world., and there is not a system in this world as cruel and as harsh and as totalitarian as this institution. The poor people are slaves.