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THE SPIRITUAL BAPTIST FAITH -  its Peculiarities and its use of Symbols

 

 

In every Christian denomination, there are beliefs and practices peculiar to them, which are based on their particular interpretation of the Scriptures. The Spiritual Baptists as well. However, “In the light of the historic Baptist principle that each individual has the freedom to hold any particular theory of the Bible which seems most reasonable to him”[1] . variations are found from church to church, and are due to the free movements of the Spirit as “during a period of early Christian Church when the direct experience of the Holy Spirit was the common expectation of all“. [2]

 

Basically, some of these Spiritual Baptist peculiarities are:

- “Mourning” - A Godly Sorrow, which entail much prayer and meditation with fasting and self- sacrifice. (Ezekiel 4/1-13) (Matt 6/16-18)

- Secret Word- Given at Baptism and Mourning. (Matt. 16/19)

- Extempo Prayer- From the heart- As the Holy Spirit give utterance- Not reading from a book.

- Spirit filled Preaching- As the Holy spirit given utterance- Not from a prepared sermon

- Speaking in tongues- Conversing with GOD [Acts.2:1-8]

- Spiritual Democracy- Any one can pray, preach or sing (1 Cor.14)

- Infant dedication- Instead of Infant Baptism/Christening. (Deut. 6/4-7) (Luke 2/22-23)

- Spiritual Name- Given at Baptism (Gen 17/5 & 15) (Mark 3/16-17)

- Thanksgiving / Feeding of Children (Luke 14/12-14)

- At Baptism. Measuring the water. (Ex 14/16 & 21-31)

- Pouring of water- Resistance from evil and strength of one’s Spiritual belief.

- Surveying of the Corners- Consecration of the Sanctuary, inviting the Holy Spirit.

- Spiritual Garment - (Ex. 28/1- 43)

- Adult Baptism (At age of reason)- (1 Sam. 3/1-20) (Luke 2/40-52) (Luke 8/41-42, 49-56)

- Wayside preaching - (Luke 10/1-16)

- Washing before baptism and mourning. (John 13/1-10)

 

 

In the Spiritual Baptist Church, there is the widespread use of symbols. In fact “Christian beliefs based on a complex unity of Christ’s death and resurrection require symbols in order to express the unity of truth in which it believes for which it hopes” (3). The New Testament use symbols freely. There is a widespread symbolism of animals, plants, objects and many other similar groups or clusters of symbolic usage. “All these symbols are not isolated phenomena, but parts forming the powerful symbolic realm in which the life and death of the early and medieval Christians took place.” (4). The true Church, A Spiritual Baptist Church.

“The Symbols of the past are to a great extent dead. Yet symbols need life and interpretation in order to be true. The question as to how much of the New Testament can speak to us today depends on our ability to re-interpret adequately it’s symbolic imagery and language. It is the task of our time to “rediscover the questions to which the Christian symbols are the answers in a way which is understandable to our time .”(PAUL TILLIC H) (5) A task taken up by the Spiritual Baptist Church.

 

- The Altar- The throne of GOD/ the Mercy Seat/

- The Center Pole - The Spiritual foundation of the Faith.

- The Chariot Wheel -

 (a) Archangel Gabriel (The Messenger)

 (b) The material and spiritual forces around.

- Flowers -

 (a) The Garden of Eden

 (b) The Garden of Gethsemane

 (c) Man as the “beauty of GOD’S creation, holiness and handiwork” and symbol in life of GOD’S heavenly light.

- Candles -

 (a) Light- Jesus Christ the light of the World.

 (b) The various colours- the diversity of His divine Being.

- The Shepherd Rod -

 (a) Jesus Christ the Great Shepherd and His Word

 (b) Authority

- The Burning of Incense -

 (a) Jesus making intercession for man

 (b) Prayers

 (c) Sanctification.

- Vessels - Calabash - the first vessel used by man

- Lothar & Taria- the first vessels on the first altar

- Seeds - Corn, Rice, Peas etc - the sewing of seeds of the Gospels

- The Sword - Judgment.

- The Candle Stick - The Church.

- The Seven-branched Candle Stick - the seven Churches in Revelation

- Trees - Man

- The Burning Bush - The Holy Spirit.

- Bells -

 (a) The Gospels

 (b) The Voice of one crying in the wilderness- John the Baptist

 (c) Call to Worship

 (d) Awakens the believers souls to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

- Oil - The Holy Spirit

- Wine - Doctrine

- Cords - Strength.

- Eternal Light - GOD’S presence.

- Inner Chamber - Place for deep meditation.

- Seal - A closed mystery.

- Scales of Balance - Justice.

- Wood - Humanity.

- Goat and Ram Hair - Atonement.

- Fine White Linen - Righteousness and purity.

- Colors -

 (a) Gold- Deity

 (b) Silver- Redemption

 (c) Purple- Royalty

 (d) Brass- Judgment

 (e) Red- Victory

 (f) Blue- Protection

 (g) Yellow- Spirituality

 (h) Green- Life

 (i) Black - Strength

 (j) Brown - Happiness

- The Corners of the Church - the four gospels (in each corner a gospel)

 

“Mysticism is a term that describes the condition of being over whelming aware of the presence of the ultimately real……All the great World religions acknowledge this direct encounter with the real” (6). Within the Spiritual BAPTIST Faith this is reflected in the Signs and Symbols ( Church fixtures and Paraphernalia’s) as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. “ For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face, now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am know” (1 Cor.13/12)

 

 

 

SELECTED REFERENCES.

[1] Bush, L.R. & Tom J. Nettles -. “ Baptist and the Bible”.1980.

By The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.

[2 ,3,&6] Steere, Douglas V. -A Handbook of Christian Theology ,Definition Essays &

Concepts and ……. . 1958 . Meridian Book.

[4&5] Von Schubert, Erika Dinkler - ibid.