Does Baptism have to be by immersion?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by MichaelNZ, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. MichaelNZ

    MichaelNZ
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    I was baptised in the Roman Catholic "church" by having water poured over my head. I know that Baptists and some other Christians reject this mode of baptism and say it must be by immersion alone.

    The following is an article by Matt Slick of CARM where he defends baptism by pouring or sprinkling. Please give me your thoughts on this issue - I haven't made up my mind yet.



    Is immersion the only way of valid baptism?

    by Matt Slick

    There is much debate within Christianity on the proper mode of baptism. Some Christians believe sprinkling is acceptable while others believe that only immersion is acceptable. According to Strong's concordance, the word βαπτίζω, ‘baptizo,' is translated as...

    “baptize” 76 times, “wash” twice, “baptist” once, and “baptized once. It means to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk). 2 to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe. 1

    So, we clearly see that the word means to immerse. Therefore, baptism by immersion is obviously biblical. Compare with Paul's words:

    Romans 6:3-5, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

    Notice that the baptism is equated with being buried with Christ and raised with him. In baptism, a person is buried under the water by full immersion and then raised up. This represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as well as our dying to sin (Rom. 6:2).
    Baptism and sprinkling

    Without a doubt we see baptism typically seen as immersion in the New Testament. However, if it were not for a single verse in Hebrews, we could safely say that baptism never involves sprinkling. But, there we see an exception:

    Heb. 9:9-10,13-14, “Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, 10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings (baptismois), regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation… 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    The writer of Hebrews speaks of washings which is the Greek word ‘baptismois’ (comes from baptizo), and then he goes on to exemplify those ‘washings’ by mentioning how the Old Testament priests sprinkled blood. Therefore, it would appear that baptism, at least in this instance, is used in the context of sprinkling.

    Is this proof that baptism can be sprinkling? Not really, but it shows that the word does not only mean to immerse. Therefore, we must be careful when we assert that baptism can only mean immersion when it is used in different contexts in different ways.
     
  2. Yeshua1

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    Would say the immersion is the model given to us in the NT by the Apsotles, and would be the prefered one to do it, in believers baptism

    Would also say that my biggest problem/concern with those advocating others modes of it is IF they see baptism as the agent/means God uses to regenerate them, cleanse them, if it is a sacramental grace?
     
  3. reformed_baptist

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    Matt slick is wrong - in every place in greek literature either within or outside of the bible both the verb and the noun refer to dipping/immersing. More convincing is that if the verb was ever used in thes ense of merely sprinkling it would mean that the person was sprinkled over the water as the person is usually subject of the verb!

    However that being said the early church made exceptions when there was a reason to do so.
     
  4. The Biblicist

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    There is a bit of confusion here. The ceremonial washings of temple furniture was by immersion into water. There are accounts of preists carrying temple articles into water in complete immersion of them.

    Sprinkling of blood had to do with another kind of ceremonial cleansing of the same temple furniture. Sprinkling of blood on the temple furniture was a type of internal cleansing of the conscience from the defilement of sin.

    However, Christian baptism has nothing to do with the Old Covenant or its ceremonial cleansing.

    The Greek has distinct terms for sprinkling (rantizo) and pouring (epicheo) as distinct from immersion (baptizo). The other two terms are never used to describe the Christian ordinance.
     
  5. Yeshua1

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    My biggest concern is not though witthe modes of baptism, do hold to immersion, but in what that means to their church! is it sacramenat in nature or not!
     
  6. The Biblicist

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    That is a weakness in your position. The same weakness that has driven McArthur, Piper, and other Reformed Baptists to receiving sprinkling and pouring as long as they followed a true gospel conversion.

    Here is the point and your problem - the only purpose of a symbol is in its proper administration so that it can convey what it was designed to symbolize. When anyone departs from the PATTERN they depart from the truth that PATTERN was designed to convey. Immersion is designed as a PATTNER of the gospel of Jesus Christ, his death and HIS BURIAL and resurrection.

    Depart from that assigned PATTERN/FORM you pervert the gospel as much as those who depart from the truth of the gospel in their teachings.
     
  7. Yeshua1

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    the Gospel though is NOT in any ordinance per say, as they would be an illusration of the truth that was in the Gospel!

    As long as one holds to the truth of what/how the Lord saves a sinner, the mode of baptism to me is a secondary issue, Immersion the BEST and most biblically accurate way, but as I stated earlier, more concerned IF one holds to it being means to save/regenerate us!
     
  8. The Biblicist

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    Where in the scriptures does it ever say "as long as one holds....the mode...is secondary"???? That is your vain human rationalization!

    It is clear from the Old Testament that when God gave a PATTERN he demanded they not alter that pattern in the least way and punished them from altering the pattern as much as denying the truth conveyed by that particular pattern!

    John was sent by God and the baptism he administered was the "counsel of God" (Lk. 7:29-30). When you pervert the pattern/form you pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ. Look at the perversion of the PATTERN in the Lord's Supper! Did God take that lightly? Paul said "this is not the Lord's Supper" becuase they violated the symbolism involved.

    Don't forsake the scriptures by using human rationalizations that you cannot support from the scriptues and you cannot support your rationalization from the scriptures.
     
  9. billwald

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    Baptism by immersion is NOT required by the Didache, the oldest existing Church statement of faith.
     
  10. TCGreek

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    Going back to Lidell and Scott Greek Lexicon, a Classical Lexicon and onward, baptizo means to dip, plunge. In the passive, "to be drowned, drenched, soaked in wine and so on.

    I believe this meaning is retained in the New Testament as well.
     
  11. TCassidy

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    Just three points. First the title of the thread. "Does Baptism have to be by immersion?" If you understand the meaning of "baptidzo" you know the word means "immerse" so your question is "Does immersion have to be by immersion?" Now it sounds like a pretty silly question doesn't it?

    Secondly Matt is wrong. The reason he is wrong is that his resource is wrong. Strong's concordance makes the error of the root fallacy. All of the words Matt says are used to translate "baptidzo" are NOT the same word in Greek as Matt/Strong's claims.

    Third, there is a word in Greek that means "sprinkle." That word is "rantidzo" and is NEVER used in reference to Christian Baptism. Just as "epicheo" which means "pouring" is never used in reference to Christian Baptism.
     
  12. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    Didn't know the "Didache" was inspired or recognized as part of "scripture"? Ever heard of the "false decretals"? Ever read the short versus longer versions of the apostolic fathers?

    How does anyone absolutely confirm the credibility of any of the "Father's"? Through Roman Catholics?????? That is enough in itself to thoroughly place it in question.

    At what point in the "Father's" do you stop recognizing it as the basis for your faith and doctrine? At the close of the apostolic fathers? At the close of the Ante-Nicene father's? At the close of the Nicene Father's? Somewhere in the middle of the Post-Nicene Father's? If you don't have a cut off point then you need to go back to Mother Rome.
     
  13. MichaelNZ

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    Thanks for all the responses. I guess I'm going to have to get re-baptized the Biblical way.

    I also remember hearing Matt Slick on his radio show mentioning that the Holy Ghost is "poured out" upon people - they are not immersed in the Holy Ghost. He also brings up the 3000 baptisms on the Day of Pentecost and says that it would have taken too much time to immerse all 3000 of them. I worked out that each of the 12 Apostles would have to baptize 250 people. Assuming that each baptism takes about 2 minutes, that would mean that it would take 500 minutes (8.3 hours) for the Apostles to baptize all 3000. Would that be possible, do you think?

    Thanks again for all your help.
     
  14. Fred's Wife

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    Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
     
  15. MichaelNZ

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    I did think of that. God could have given the Apostles enough strength to baptize all 3000 new converts.

    When my pastor gets back from his trip to America I'll talk to him about getting baptized Bibically.
     
  16. WestminsterMan

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    If you were baptised using the Trinitarian formula, then you were biblically baptised. Since there is but one baptism, repeating it isn't a good thing.

    WM
     
  17. Walter

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    I found this on website offering another meaning for baptizo: "Immersion is not the only meaning of baptizo. Sometimes it just means washing up. Thus Luke 11:38 reports that, when Jesus ate at a Pharisee’s house, "[t]he Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash [baptizo] before dinner." They did not practice immersion before dinner, but, according to Mark, the Pharisees "do not eat unless they wash [nipto] their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they wash themselves [baptizo]" (Mark 7:3–4a, emphasis added). So baptizo can mean cleansing or ritual washing as well as immersion." Is this correct?
     
  18. mandym

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    Ok someone please show me how the sprinkling of blood in the OT is an equivalent comparison to Baptizing people in the NT. I fail to see the connection.
     
  19. Amy.G

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    No. Baptizo means immerse. The Jews were to wash/bathe several times a day if necessary to cleanse themselves. They had become obsessive about it in the time of Jesus.
     
  20. Moriah

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    Matt Slick is a Calvinist. Calvinism is full of false doctrines.
    Pray about it to God. Study the Bible, read from different teachers.
    Just some advice I wanted to give.
     

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