Apr 14, 2014

Nude, Coed Baptism in the Early Church?

Notice to Kip's Churches - You're Doing It Wrong!

This may sound crazy. OK, it does sound crazy. But it looks like the early Christian church may have practiced nude baptism. Actually, NUDE, COED baptism.

First, the evidence: respected Christian historian Hippolytus is believed to have written the following description of early church baptism in the early, pre-Catholic church:

"When they come to the water, the water shall be pure and flowing, that is, the water of a spring or a flowing body of water. Then they shall take off all their clothes. ...the men will be baptized. Finally, the women, after they have unbound their hair, and removed their jewelry. No one shall take any foreign object with themselves down into the water. ...the bishop passes each of them on nude to the elder who stands at the water. They shall stand in the water naked. A deacon, likewise, will go down with them into the water. …then, drying themselves, they shall dress and afterwards gather in the church."

So here we have men, women, and children (children mentioned in an edited-out part) all getting totally butt-naked and going down to the water together.

Pictures on the walls of the catacombs depict people being baptized nude. Baptism itself is based on a nude Jewish water purification ritual called Mikvah.

Recipients of water immersion were nude to symbolize their state before the eyes of God, who sees everything that we try to cover up. This is ironic to me as Kip works so hard to cover up many aspects of the inner workings of the church from as many people as possible. Also ironic since the externally-focused techniques of discipling lead members and leaders alike to cover up their true feelings and opinions, and instead pantomime righteousness - the polar opposite of what Jesus wanted.

Note that in ancient cultures, when people did not have modern clothing, nudity was not seen as much of a "big deal" as it is to Westerners like us today. And nudity was not necessarily viewed in such a sexual way as we do. Think of being naked in a locker room, or at a doctor's office. Even today in Europe evangelical preachers have been known to go, nude, to nudist beaches, and preach to naked people there, and hold naked baptisms, and without it being a weird, sexualized experience.

Church tradition holds that Jesus was baptized naked, as was John the Baptist.

Some churches baptize still infants naked today to carry on the teaching.

On another note, please notice also that the baptism was to be practiced in running water, a reference to the "living water" double-meaning command of Jesus.

To ICC-er's: Do you want to be sure that your baptism is valid? You already did it with every single part of your body immersed? If your pinkie or toe didn't go over, did you re-do it? Did you make sure you were a totally 100% committed to God and to God's One True Church before you were baptized? Did you believe all of the correct doctrines and none of the incorrect ones? Did you completely repent of every single sin? Did you confess absolutely everything? Were you baptized by a true disciple who also believed and practiced all of and only the correct teachings? Do you believe that you are going to Heaven as a result of all those things, and that everyone else who has not done the complete list will be suffering eternity in Hell because of it?

Good. Because, well, one thing you lack. The apostolic tradition of the first few hundred years of the church, and the oral, "practical" teaching of the church was that you had to remove all of your clothing before getting into the water, and the practice continued up until about the Middle Ages. Also note that the water should be living, that is, flowing. If you had any clothes on, or if the water was not living, then MAYBE YOUR BAPTISM WASN'T VALID. Can you really be sure? Surely God won't be turning away billions of other lost souls for incorrect baptisms, and completely ignore the fact that you read this and still were not baptized correctly?

Oh, the times have changed today, you say? It wasn't specifically mandated in the Bible, so you don't have to obey it? Let me mention here that the Bible was not even officially collected in its present form and list of books until A.D. 367, and that many different parts of the church accepted and rejected books on and off that list, but they all held to the "discipling" traditions of the apostles, such as nude baptism.

So maybe what we should really waiting to see is a huge re-baptism of everyone, this time the way Jesus intended it - completely butt naked.

What better reason to want to come back to the church, anyway?

Links: Early Church Baptism Was NudeApostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (see section 21), Baptism of Christ, Wikipedia on nude baptism.

26 comments:

  1. This is perfect. I was the one who introduced apostolic nude baptism to the Facebook Crowd of ex-ICOC'ers. I found this out in seminary years ago, after I left the Church of Christ. Like Kip, they claimed to have the "True and only Baptism" per Acts 2:38.. All others were damned to Hell for not being rightly baptized. Then along came Kip and damned the Church of Christ folks for NOT BEING CORRECTLY BAPTIZED. Kip and his 3 cults teach that "discipleship baptism" saves you. All other ways damn a person to Hell, Now this marvelous blog writer reaches the logical conclusion based on sound historical evidence that the Early Church baptized men and women in the nude to graphically portray their new birth in the Kingdom of God. Kip missed this one. It will be interesting to see what Kip does with this information. If Kip adopted nude baptism for his latest cult, it certainly would increase church numbers. Heck, he could afford a million dollar penthouse then.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Cryptoreformer! Feel free to share this link if you like, and tell everyone that you were the first one who tipped me off to this fun and interesting fact that somehow I had missed in all of my years in Kip McKean's churches, several International Churches of Christ and three different International Christian Churches.

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  2. I have been doing more research on this topic and found that most Saxon Christians up to the time of Luther preferred nude immersion. The Saxons were baptized by the sword of Charlemagne. Luther accepted the statement of the Saxon Christians. Also during that time were were various Anabaptist sects called collectively Adamites, as they practiced nude baptism and social nudity. At the monastery at Mt. Athos, They still practice nude baptism. It is 100% male environment In New Guinea, some modern missionaries are more culturally informed about nudity and do not demand the converts wear clothes. At the worship services, the whole congregation is basically nude (according to Western standards), I think the men may wear penis sheaths, but that is all. In South America, some missionaries with training in cultural anthropology did not demand clothing for their converts. The children grew up in a semi naked society and when they came back to America for school they wondered why Americans wore so many clothes. See THE END OF THE SPEAR about the Auca missionaries in the 1950s. Thanks, Gary

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    1. Gary, thanks for the additional info! This is a very interesting and controversial topic on a number of levels. Of course, if Kip gave the word, most everyone in the ICC would come around and start doing it. But he is not about to change, since that would suggest that he had made an error.

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  3. Hey check this out. How many of us would have the courage to witness on a clothing optional beach?
    www.cb1.com/~john/Religion/fbm.html

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    1. I knew a (cute, female) disciple in the ICOC who used to hang out on nude beaches, and talked about wanting to go on a mission team to the nude beach with a coed team of all-naked disciples to invite people to church

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  4. Check out:
    edraby.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Bible%20and%20Nakedness

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    1. Thanks for the link .. That article made me think about how the adulterous woman "caught in the act" and brought to Jesus was probably still unclothed, and about how Jesus looked at the ground to write with a stick, out of respect for her nakedness, and he then looked up at her, in the eye we can imagine, to talk to her.

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  5. I Did see a PIC in Natural Geographic of a completely Naked African Lady in Africa going through a Sudo-Christian Religious ceremony (A Male Bishop pouring Water over her Completely Bare Naked Body) out in the open in PUblic and No-body seemed to Think anything of it :/ :O :/ But KIP jsut wants to Protect the HEarts of the Brothers and Sisters who would STRUGGLE if they had to look at Naked Bodies. We Can't Look at Naked Bodies its IMPURE. Can U IMagine haveing to see Naked Girls at Church?? STRUGLING !! :O O.o

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    1. Hmm, Kip McKean Fan Club guy. Thanks for commenting .. I think. What were you doing looking at naked pictures in National Geographic, anyway?

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  6. It is hilarious and sad how some minister types are so puritanical about such things, and then sexually abuse people. One person I know was a youth minister, who was having sex with a 14 year old girl in his youth group and even had a baby by her. I called him on some pride issues he had ( I did not know about the girl until after the baby was born). He told me that he was considered really spiritual by the youth group at the same time he was having sex with the girl. He acted very righteous and upright and was proud that he was pro-life.

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    1. That is human nature for you. This dynamic especially prevails when we have people with lots of authority over others. By the way, was that incident from your ICOC/COC days or from another denomination? As an aside, I have only recently begun to hear some of the many ICOC-related sexual abuse stories.

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  7. That was a Baptist Church in Colorado Springs. Now the young man who fathered the girl, just married the pastor;s daughter at another Baptist Church. Prior to that he was a dishwasher.

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  8. See if you can get the truth about the sexual abuse in the Kip cult.

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    1. Well, there was the case of one of the City of Angels leaders having sex with a former teen from his ministry, there was the coverup by Victor Gonzalez Sr. of the various sexual affairs of different disciple kids of his, there was the Chuck Lucas ongoing gay sex with multiple members of his ministry thing that Kip still considered him a true Christian and kept him on payroll for years even after he was kicked out of the church by other people, there was ... Well, I'm getting around to it, one thing at a time

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  9. Sexual abuse is common in cults who specialize in control. In 1967, my then girlfriend went to see her minister for counseling, Within 5 minutes, he had his hand up her skirt. She was shocked and left. His defense was that she was too sexy, and that her mother mother tried to seduce one of the deacons (in the hospital just after her surgery). Oh well, cults are cults.

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    1. Did he suffer consequences for his actions? For example, was he disciplined or removed from his position in the church? (I'm guessing that he was not.)

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  10. No consequences for his actions. My girlfriend and her parents changed churches to avoid him. About 40 years after this happened I looked him up on the internet. I called him and asked him if he was still screwing women in his church. He was silent. I told him I knew about life and what he did to women in churches. He said "Who is this?". I then said goodbye.. He is a contributor to a very cultic church of Christ website, called Piney.com. They often write about seeking out heretics in the COC and exposing them. This guy is in his 80's now and will face God in a few more years.

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  11. what's the "pre-Catholic" church?!

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    1. I have been taught that the original teachings of the Apostles, etc changed about 300-400 years AD, and the "Christian" church went from being a fringe group in Roman society to becoming the Roman Catholic Church under Constantine, and increasing membership about 900% in just a few years, creating the start of the Catholic Church. I may be right or wrong about that, but if I wrote "the pre-Catholic" church, it was in reference to the Christian church before the time of Constantine.

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    2. Thank you for your blog.

      St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 107 AD) was the first known Christian to use the word "catholic" (meaning universal). It's astounding how many Christian groups believe that the Church wasn't Catholic until Constantine established Catholicism as a state church. But that's wrong for two different reasons: 1. Many distinctly Catholic teachings arose before Constantine's rule (such as bishops, relics, intercession to the saints, church hierarchy, apostolic succession, and even a 180 AD list of popes!) 2. Constantine LEGALISED Christianity in the Edict of Milan in 313 AD — the text does not establish a state church.

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