Baptism: A Public Confession of Faith?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC δοῦλος, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. JonC

    JonC
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    I have heard of baptism described as a public confession of faith. I’ve seen it described here on the BB as such, and most of my life I’ve heard it explained much the same way. Is there any scriptural evidence that our baptism is our public confession of faith?

    I view baptism as more than a mere symbol and I think that it has been downplayed (perhaps reactionary) in Baptist churches. I question the opinion that it is our public confession of faith and lean towards our role as a bit more passive. I believe Baptism to be an act of commitment, but instead of being one on our part, I think it is perhaps an act of commitment on behalf of God. It is what Christ does to us by means of His Church (the Body of Christ) symbolizing our inclusion in the New Covenant. So I don’t think it a mere symbol…symbolic, yes…but a mere symbol, no. And I disagree that this is what Christ meant when He indicated that we acknowledge Him before men.

    What are the views out there in BB land?
     
    #1 JonC, Jun 15, 2015
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  2. Revmitchell

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    Why?..............................
     
  3. JonC

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    Because baptism is important. Since it is implied in the name "Baptist," and seeing how you are opposed to Baptist churches dropping this distinction from the sign outside their churches, I though that you may consider it at least mildly worthy of discussion.

    And the only other questions I had at the time was whether or not someone has been falsely accused of "stolen valor,".... or if a white police officer rescued a kitten from the top of a tree today....but as I didn't really care I chose this topic. :wavey:
     
    #3 JonC, Jun 15, 2015
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  4. JamesL

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    What a stupid question.
     
  5. JamesL

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    Baptism is (or was) a public profession. In biblical days, it was done outside. Everybody could see it. No way to be baptized without it being public.

    But today, we hide from the public and take a dip in a 3' x 8' Jacuzzi
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    What I meant is why do you believe that about Baptism. You told us what you believe but not how you came to that conclusion. Your view of it is rather unorthodox and I would like to know what drove you to this conclusion.
     
  7. Rippon

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    JonC had closed his OP with :"What are the views out there in BB land." And you give
    the nonsensical retort of "Why?" Why are most of your posts in reply to others characterized by such flippant remarks? Can't you restrain your acidity?
     
    #7 Rippon, Jun 16, 2015
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  8. Revmitchell

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    You need to go back through this thread and read my clarification. There was no acidity to my question.
     
  9. JonC

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    Perhaps I misjudged your response. That's always the danger with this type of communication and one word answers.

    My view is probably a bit more Reformed than Baptist (perhaps more than I'd care to admit), but it is far from unorthodox. I simply view Baptism as a visible sign of something that can not necessarily be outwardly witnessed. It is, IMHO, a symbol of our positional change (our being placed "in Christ"), and it takes on the significance of His work (we are baptised "into Christ Jesus"...that is, His work to include being baptized "into His death").

    Galatians 3:26-27 ("For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.") speaks of what water baptism represents. We are baptized into Christ and have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    Water baptism is symbolic of the baptism Paul speaks of here in Romans.
    Romans 6:3-10 "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. "

    But rather than being a mere public confession of faith, I believe baptism to be representative of what Christ has done in terms of our salvation (in terms of saving us). I hold it very similar to how I hold the Lord's Supper. It confirms (in terms of representation) a covenantal relationship ("in the name of Jesus"). Baptism is done by Christ in the sense that it is Christ working through His Church (the Body of Christ). It is symbolic of a new birth.

    I am, however, open to correction through Scripture. What passages indicates otherwise, Revmitchell?
     
    #9 JonC, Jun 16, 2015
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  10. Revmitchell

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    This issue us very much like the salvation issue. There is someone on this board who believes in what is known as the Ransom theory to describe salvation. He refuses to accept any other description is valid. The truth is salvation is presented in scripture in a number of ways ie a ransom, propitiation etc.

    The Baptism issue is both a confession of faith for the believer and representative of the work Christ as done in us. In fact that is exactly what the confession is. I personally have never known anyone to understand Baptism to be "merely" a confession of faith ie "I believe in Jesus". The very picture of death, burial, and resurrection, which is what Baptism is, keeps Baptism from merely being that.

    Thank you for the larger explanation and clarification. What you have said is exactly what I have always preached.
     
  11. JonC

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    I agree about baptism being done in public, but not necessarily for the public (Philp, for example, did not seem to consider the public in baptising the Ethiopian...it was more a matter of necessity and water). But I agree that it is public. Are there any verses, however, that support that the purpose of baptism is for us to publically confess our faith?
     
  12. JonC

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    Now that is a very good point (and observation). When I focus on one "truth," I can sometimes be blind to others.
     
    #12 JonC, Jun 16, 2015
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  13. JamesL

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    I believe baptism serves two purposes. I don't believe either purpose is "merely" anything.

    On the confession issue, it is not a plain statement - I believe the reason why it's not plain is that the scriptures were written to believers who had already been taught verbally. However....

    When Peter preached in Acts 2, he quoted Joel 2:32 "whosoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved"...and his instruction was to be baptized in (or into) the Name of Jesus Christ

    But it's not the dunking, nor simply reciting.
    "Call on" is one word in Greek - epikaleomai (epikaleo in the middle voice)

    Same word as in 2Chronicles 7:14 "If My people who are "called by" My Name....

    Called by His Name - public identity

    In Romans 10:9-13, Paul also quotes Joel 2:32 (Rom. 10:13) and states "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus...." (v. 9)

    He also said with the heart one believes unto righteousness (born again), then additionally, with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (after born again). Not a sinner's prayer, and not a one-time "profession", its a lifelong confession

    Jesus said "if you confess Me before men...." (Matt 10:32). He earlier said "whoever endures to the end will be saved (v 22)


    Also, you used a word -- "positional"

    Positional ended at the cross. We live in the reality now. We've been washed, cleansed, healed, etc. Theres no such thing as a positional healing. By His stripes we've been healed. The blood of Christ cleanses us of our sins. How does "positional" cleansing work?
     
    #13 JamesL, Jun 16, 2015
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  14. JonC

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    I have never heard of positional cleansing, so I am not one to ask. But we are still baptized into Christ and into His death. I think you are confusing positional with cleansing. Unless maybe you mean sanctification?
     
  15. JamesL

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    From what I can gather, positional is synonymous with credited.

    Positional righteousness = credited righteousness
    People use these, seemingly interchangeably

    They say we're unrighteous sinners who are merely "viewed" as righteous. We have a righteous "position" in Christ.

    But that verbiage neglects all the other scriptural teachings on the matter such as"becoming" the righteousness of God, cleansed, purified, sanctified, etc.

    If we take this positional verbiage and apply it across the spectrum of work in regeneration, how do they work?

    If righteousness is only a position, the so is our spiritual healing, our cleansing, etc. It confuses the blood of animals with that of Christ.

    But I wasn't trying to derail this thread, I just felt the need to comment before this "positional" position became the single paradigm. But it does matter in baptism, too, imho


    But really, is that all you took from my post?


    .
     
  16. JonC

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    . No, it's not all. Right now I am limited on time and device (I'm using my phone). I will respond in more detail when I can.
     
  17. Iconoclast

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    Jonc baptism is primarily an identification with.....it is public
     
    #17 Iconoclast, Jun 16, 2015
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  18. Brandon C. Jones

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    Hi Jon,

    I think you ask some good questions here. Personally, I think the meaning of baptism and its historical practice, even before John, implies that it be public. Despite John Smyth's actions long ago, I also think that this implied public aspect includes the church's role, so one cannot baptize herself. A lot of theology about baptism must use inferences, since Scripture describes baptism much more than it prescribes it.

    You might be interested in my book-length study on baptism's meaning entitled Waters of Promise. I also have a shorter paper on baptism's relationship to the new covenant online for free at: https://liberty.academia.edu/BJones.

    I'm not on here much anymore, but my contact information can be found at the above link.

    Joyfully,
    Brandon
     
  19. Yeshua1

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    It is the outward sign to others that we have now passed from death to life in jesus, as we have yoked ourselves with him to be the Saviour and Lord over us now...

    NOT a rite that saves us, but does reveal that we agree with Him that he has saved us through what it symbolizes!

    Do you hold to more of a reformed view on this, as it does somehow have spiritual baptism tied into it through the rite?
     

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