Is there any historical evidence for the Baptist position on Baptism?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Wittenberger, Jul 21, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Wittenberger

    Wittenberger
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2012
    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a Lutheran Christian I have had numerous debates with Baptists and other evangelicals regarding the doctrine of Baptism. Lutherans and most other orthodox Christians believe that baptism is regenerational--we are saved in our baptisms.

    To be clear, we do not believe that there is something magical about the baptismal water that saves us. Neither do we believe that it is our decision, or the decision of our parents, to be baptized that saves us. We believe that we are saved by the power of the Word of God spoken during our baptism, and by this Word, the cleansing, healing power of God enters the water just as it did for Naaman in the Old Testament.

    Baptists deny that baptism has any role in salvation. They believe that baptism is a "public profession" of the believer's faith in Christ ONLY.

    In my past debates with Baptists, neither side wins. Why? Because we Lutherans and other orthodox Christians have "our" verses that support our position, and Baptists have "their" verses that support theirs. So how can this issue be settled?

    I suggest that each side list below any references to historical statements by Church Fathers, burial records, legal documents, Church Council statements that support their position. (We should probably limit this discussion to any evidence from the first 6 centuries after Christ, because much after that Baptists will not accept the evidence, as they believe the "Church" by that time was apostate). I have seen records that support the orthodox position but I have never seen any historical evidence that explicitly states that the sole purpose of baptism is a public profession of faith, an act of the believer, not an act of God, and in no way involved in salvation/regeneration.

    If you have any evidence supporting the Baptist position or the orthodox/ catholic (small "c") position, please leave it below.
     
  2. Moriah

    Moriah
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    Messages:
    3,540
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am not a Baptist, but I would love to share the truth with you about water baptism.

    John the baptizer prepared the way for Jesus. He came preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins
    (Luke 1:76-80).

    We are still to confess that we are sinners, and to repent, to prepare the way for Jesus Christ into our lives.

    Acts 20:21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

    Acts 26:20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

    The Bible tells us before people were baptized-they repented. Infants cannot repent.


    Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Mark 1:5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

    Acts 19:18
    Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.

    Christians are to be water baptized, even after having received the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 10:47 Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”

    Baptism illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Our old nature is to die and we are to be “buried with Him through baptism into death.” We are buried in the water, and raised out of the water, raised to “walk in newness of life” (live like Jesus).

    Picture how baptism looks…the believer comes to make the pledge to God, to die to the sins of the world; so now standing in the water the believer falls back, as if dead; then, the believer goes under the water, buried; then, the believer rises up out of the water, raises up to live a new life.

    Romans explain this perfectly.

    Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

    Water baptism is a promise of a good conscience to God. See
    1 Peter 3:21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

    Infants cannot make a promise. Moreover, no one, not even the infant’s parents can make a promise for their child, nor can anyone make a promise for anyone else.

    Infant baptism interferes with people knowing and obeying the Truth. Infant baptism confuses non-Christians and those who want to be a Christian. Many people baptized as an infant do not understand why they do not really know the Lord. Those baptized as infants do not usually walk the path that Jesus teaches...unless they learn more of the truth later. Infant baptism has been confusing millions of people for years. It is more serious of an issue that most even realize.
     
  3. Sapper Woody

    Sapper Woody
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    2,112
    Likes Received:
    105
    I don't need historical evidence. All I need is Biblical evidence, only one portion of scripture. The part where the thief on the cross was admitted into Heaven without being baptized.
     
  4. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    Wittenberger, you're not going to get many Baptist responses that conform to your request. Most of them don't know anything about the history of the early church and don't care to learn. Moreover, for those few who do know anything about church history, there is nothing to support their position on baptism. The general consensus around here is, "All I need to know is in the Bible." What they don't realize is that those early church historical records were made by men who who were using the Bible as their guide. Being closer in time, they understood Scripture better than any of us possibly could and they were unanimous in concluding that the Bible teaches baptismal regeneration. It's an inconvenient truth that must be ignored around here.
     
  5. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,114
    Likes Received:
    220
    Are you saying that Salvation is completed by Baptismal regeneration?
     
  6. TrevorL

    TrevorL
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    Messages:
    515
    Likes Received:
    0
    Greetings Wittenberger,
    I am not interested in the historical position, but willing to question your position from the Scriptures. The Scriptures teach that baptism is the method to identify with the death and resurrection of Jesus. Thus this is an act of faith and salvation is by faith. There is no change in the water or any healing power of God entering the water as you claim.
    Romans 6:1-8 (KJV): 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

    Nor is there any evidence that children were baptised. The following for example mentions only men and women being baptised after belief of the gospel:
    Acts 8:5,12 (KJV): 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
    12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.


    Kind regards
    Trevor
     
  7. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    Absolutely yes. And so far my prediction is correct that no Baptists are willing to talk about early church history. 100% of it supports baptismal regeneration. Remember, the O.P. calls for a discussion of church history, not the Bible.
     
  8. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,114
    Likes Received:
    220
    1. so that means you are not a Baptist
    2. the Bible does contain church history; therefore are you saying that secular church history carries more weight than the Bible?
     
  9. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    Not at all but the O.P. asked for discussion of church history, not of the Bible. And you and the others seem unwilling to do this. Why is that?

    I am glad to debate you on the biblical basis for baptismal regeneration. Indeed, it was through studying the Bible, not church history, that I concluded that those who see baptism as merely symbolic are wrong. But this thread is about church history, so let’s try to stay on topic. OK?
     
  10. Walter

    Walter
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    2
    Of course early Church history doesn't support their position, so they will avoid it like the plague insisting that 'the word of God is all I need, who cares what the earliest Christians believed and practiced, they were mostly heretics anyway.'
     
  11. Wittenberger

    Wittenberger
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2012
    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dear Baptist brother,

    I have debated numerous Baptists and evangelicals on this topic, including a representative of the Southern Baptist Convention, and it always ends in stalemate. Why?

    It ends in stalemate because Baptists/evangelicals do not believe the literal interpretation of the ENTIRE Bible. They only believe literally the parts that agree with their doctrine.

    Let me give you an example. Acts 2:38 "Repent and be baptized...for the forgiveness of sins."

    I grew up fundamental, independent Baptist. I was taught that the translators made an error in that verse. The "for" should have been translated "because of". So the verse should really read: "Repent and be baptized...because of the forgiveness of sins." It is strange, however, that not one English translation of the Bible translates the Greek word in that verse "because of". In Martin Luther's German translation of the Bible the word is translated "to" but not "because of".

    Here is the problem: Unless you can prove me wrong, there is no evidence of any kind of ANYONE holding the Baptist view of baptism until approximately the year 1,000 AD with the Albigenses and the Waldensians. So for 1,000 years after Christ, NO ONE believed the Baptist view of Baptism.

    Now, having grown up Baptist myself, I know what the Baptist response will be: the true Christians, who were Baptists, were hiding out in caves, so they weren't able to leave any records. Really?? Come on! Even the most primitive of peoples have left writings on cave walls. Do you really believe this Baptist old wives' tale? Show me historical records that even mention anything about Baptist hiding out in caves. Some Baptist grandmother told this tale to her Baptist grandchildren one night in the early
    1600's to get them to go to sleep, and the little rug rats believed it as fact and passed it down generation after generation! It's not true!

    If the early Christians believed as Baptist where is the evidence? Where is a letter where a son writes to his father and tells him that even though he grew up in a Christian home he just now "accepted Christ" and became a Christian for the first time and he plans to be baptized to give a public profession of his faith.

    Name one disciple of the apostles who uses this language. They did write letters during this time. There was alot of writing. Polycarp? Justin the Martyr?

    I challenge Baptist and evangelicals to leave the safety of their non-literal interpretation of the Bible and venture out into the world of historical evidence and prove to us, orthodox Christians, that there is evidence in the ancient Christian Church that anyone held the Baptist position on this issue.

    If you would like to see my responses to the Baptist scriptural arguements on Baptism go to: http://www.LutherWasNotBornAgain.com
    The Southern Baptist Convention has left their response to my positions on this issue at the bottom of each posting.

    a Lutheran Christian
    www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com
     
  12. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    4,319
    Likes Received:
    0
    And now, since we are debating from church history, it is my delight to turn the tables on the entire Latin West -- RCC and Magisterial Protestantism -- and challenge you to defend your positions from the first 300 years of the church. Most of your doctrines result from either the influx of paganism in to the church from Constantine on, or were initiated by Augustine who was heavily influenced by his pagan past.

    There was no sola scriptura or sola fide taught in the first three centuries of the church; there was no forensic justification, total depravity, original sin as the West came to believe it, and on and on.

    Latin, Western Christianity -- RCC and Magisterial Protestantism -- is a corrupted, pagan-influenced brand of Christianity. Not only is there not scriptural support for it, there is no support for it in the first three centuries of the church.

    Since for those first three hundred years, the churches had access to the apostles and then the apostles' teaching in the scriptures, isn't it amazing that none of the distinctive doctrines taught by the Latin West were taught or believed by these earliest churches!

    If anyone wants to know what primitive Christianity looked like, study first and foremost the scriptures, and then the early church fathers. You will hardly find a trace of Latin Western doctrines there.

    As a footnote, regardless of what anyone believes about the sacraments conveying grace, there is not any Biblical evidence for infant baptism; the Anabaptists had this right. Wrest the scriptures all you want, make torturous and strained inferences all you want; there is still not any trace of evidence for infant baptism in all of scripture.

    In the CAC, we allow for infant baptism, but we leave this to the conscious of the individual. As for me personally, I don't believe it or practice it.
     
    #12 Michael Wrenn, Jul 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2012
  13. Wittenberger

    Wittenberger
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2012
    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    0
    What does CAC stand for? Are you Eastern Orthodox??

    Short point: Credo-baptizers and paedo-baptizers have been arguing this issue from the times of Luther and the Ana-baptists (the ancestors of the Mennonites, not the Baptists).

    Bottom line: neither side can prove it's position strictly from Scripture. The Bible doesn't specifically mention infant baptism but neither does it prohibit it. Baptists say that an infant cannot believe, but how do you know that?

    Salvation is 100% God. Salvation is not a transaction where you bring your free will decision to accept Christ, your belief, your faith, and your repentance and your adult maturity and intellect. That is a doctrine of works.

    God provides the belief, faith, and repentance. He doesn't need your assistance to save you. That is why orthodox Christians believe that God can save the infants of believers (as he promised in Acts 2:38) because the belief and repenting are gifts of God. God doesn't have to wait until you reach (a completely unbiblical concept) the Age of Accountability to make the decision to believe.

    Your Calvinist and Arminian forefathers have you completed confused as to Who does the work of salvation and who does not.

    a Lutheran Christian
    www.LutherWasNotBornAgain.com
     
  14. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,114
    Likes Received:
    220
    Okay, lets talk history - Did the thief on the cross go to heaven, as he was not baptized. And I will not accept an answer of he wasn't able to - either you must be baptized to enter Heaven, or you don't.

    Simple yes or no should do.
     
  15. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    I do not know how the idea got started that Baptists believe baptism is necessary for salvation. One of the pillars of the Baptist faith teaches exactly the opposite. It is commanded that we do so after salvation, but it is not a requirement, as that is a salvation of works. Someone is getting confused with the Church of Christ.

    It sounds like a giant strawman, which so frequently appears around here.
     
  16. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Strawman is not a doctrine. No Baptist believes baptism is a requirement for salvation. You are confusing us with the Church of Christ and other off the wall denominations. Calvinism transcends denomination, and affects them all, some more than others. For example, most Presbyterians are Calvinists, most Baptists are not.
     
  17. Wittenberger

    Wittenberger
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2012
    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    0
    You have a basic misunderstanding of Lutheran/orthodox Christian theology.

    First Lutherans believe that it is the power of the Word of God that saves, not magical baptismal water.

    Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox do not believe that baptism is the only time that God uses the power of his Word to save. If an adult non-believer hears the Word and believes, he is saved. He doesn't have to wait to be baptized before he is saved.

    God does the saving. Not the baptismal water. Not your decision to accept Christ, praying the Rosary, or praying the Sinner's Prayer.

    Last point: the thief on the cross was still under the Old Covenant. Christ had not died and been resurrected yet. Even if he had been under the New Covenant we believe he was still saved because of the power of the Word of God.

    You are confusing the water in Baptism as the saving agent and not the Word spoken at baptism as the saving agent, my Baptist brother.

    For more info on the Lutheran doctrine of Justification/Salvation go to:
    http://www.LutherWasNotBornAgain.com

    I am still waiting for historical evidence that supports the Baptist position on Baptism.
     
  18. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    The O.P. calls for history outside of Scripture. Yet, at the risk of derailing the thread I will answer your question.

    The answer is yes. Jesus is the author of the sacraments, and is not subject to them. He can take anyone to Heaven He wants to—even Attila the Hun. But His plan for us is to receive cleansing of all sins through baptism. He commands us to do it and if we do not obey Him we should not expect to enjoy everlasting life. John 3:36.
     
  19. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Where did you get the idea that Baptists believe baptism is necessary for salvation. That is just not true. Your question cannot be answered until you explain this.
     
    #19 saturneptune, Jul 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2012
  20. Wittenberger

    Wittenberger
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2012
    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    0
    Clarification: I am very well aware that no Baptist group that I know of believes in baptismal generation. Correct me if I am wrong but there are two views of salvation among Baptists:

    Arminian Baptists (Free-Willers): the sinner hears the Gospel and makes a free will decision to believe in Christ and accept him as Savior. He repents of his sins, and pledges to follow Christ's will for his life. All this is accomplished by praying the Sinner's Prayer or a version of it. (The sinner has to mean what he prays. Simply reciting a prayer will not suffice.)

    Calvinist Baptists: God predestines the Elect. At some point in the life of one of the Elect, God will quicken you, make you spiritually alive, and you will choose to believe and repent, and follow Christ's will. You will declare to the church and others that you are one of the elect, based on your inward introspection that finds that you believe and repent.

    Both groups of Baptists believe that baptism is the believer's public profession of faith. There is nothing regenerational or covenantal about baptism. Only adults or older children may be "saved", therefore only these groups who have declared their faith in Christ can be baptized. No infants.

    If I have stated the Baptist position correctly, please give me any evidence that this interpretation of Scripture existed in the early church during the first few hundred years after Christ.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Loading...