JOHN THE PRESBYTERIAN ------------ WHAT DID HE DO WITH THE WATER?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Smoky, Apr 14, 2003.

  1. Smoky

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    Sometimes you read comments on John's baptism that liken it to the unorthordox practice developed by the Jews between the Old and New Testaments where they would immerse gentiles in rivers or in mikvah when they wanted to convert to the faith. They say that John practiced this same ritual, but was different in that he insisted unrepentant Jews be immersed as well as gentiles. This practice was not prescribed in the Old Testament and, being extra biblical, would have been considered heresy. Yet representatives from the Pharisees considered John's baptism as a ligitimate ritual prophesied to be performed by the Messiah or a prophetic forunner. They asked John why he was baptising if he were not "The Christ", "The Proffit" or " ElIjah". Therefore John's baptism was, unlike the Jewish ritual of immersing gentiles, something truly orthodox and prophesied to occur from the scriptures themselves.. Interestingly, when you search for prophisees about water purification to be performed just before the coming of the Messiah, instead of immersions, you find instead prophisees of numerous sprinklings and pourings. A few examples:

    Ezekiel 36:25-27 (ESV)
    I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. [26] And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my Spirit within you , and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

    Isaiah 44:2-3 (ESV)
    Thus says the Lord who made you,
    who formed you from the womb and will help you:
    Fear not, O Jacob my servant,
    Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
    [3] For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
    and streams on the dry ground;
    I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
    and my blessing on your descendants.

    and that which they have not heard they understand.

    Isaiah 32:14-15 (ESV)
    For the palace is forsaken,
    the populous city deserted;
    the hill and the watchtower
    will become dens forever,
    a joy of wild donkeys,
    a pasture of flocks;
    [15] until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
    and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
    and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.

    Ezekiel 39:29 (ESV)
    And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour our my Sprirtt upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God."


    Isaiah 52:14-15 (ESV)
    As many were astonished at you—
    his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
    and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
    [15] so shall he sprinkle many nations ;
    kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
    for that which has not been told them they see,


    Joel 2:28 (ESV)
    "And it shall come to pass afterward,
    that I will pour out my Sprirt on all flesh;
    your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.


    Isaiah 52: 15 was part of the discourse being read by the Ethiopian Eunuch when he requested baptism from Phillip, and was, along with Joel 2:28, prophetic of the baptism of the Holy Spirit which fell on the Apostles at Pentecost. Acts 2:17. Concerning this pentestostal experience, John had told the people that as he baptized with water, so the Lord Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Lk. 3:16. The Lord himself said to His desciples in Acts 1:5---- 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." When this "Spirit baptism" occurred, it was describided consistantly to be " poured out ", Acts.2:17-18, 33. Peter said," the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word" Acts. 10:44 and the Jews were, "astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles" Acts 10: 45. Then he said, "Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"Acts 10: 47. To put it simply, Jesus said He was going to do with the Holy Spirit the very same thing to His desciples that John had done with water! In view of these facts, what other logical conclusion can you come to other than — JOHN THE PRESBYTERIAN POURED THE WATER!
     
  2. SolaScriptura in 2003

    SolaScriptura in 2003
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    Let's all go out into the middle of the River Jordan to have a cup of water poured on our heads. Besides the fact that there is no shred of Scriptural evidence for your claim, there is no shred of common sense. Bapto means dip not pour. In Mark 7, the "washings" of the Jews that Jesus condmens were all immersions, and guess what word Jesus used to denote them - baptizo! No man has ever been buried by having dirt poured on his head, or if he has, the wild beasts easily dug him up and tore his corpse.
     
  3. Smoky

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    Are you willing to rest assured that that's all it's ever meant in any of the lexicons or in any of the Greek literature? Also, are you sure it didn't develop new religious meanings when the Jews wanted to find a word to express purification with water? Our English word "baptize" doesn't just mean immerse, but refers also to the usage most of the Christian church makes of it.
    Well, we don't know that for sure since that has to be derived from extra biblical literature, maby the Mishna or something! The Old Testament usually prescribes sprinklings for purification purposes. Lev. 14:7; Num. 19:18 They may have been immersions, though, since the Lord condemned them. He followed the written Jewish Law from the Old Testament that wasn't imbellished by a lot of the later and cumbersome additions of the Pharisees. Baptizo had come to mean "a ceremonial cleansing with water" by the time of Christ, regardless of the way it was applied.
    That's rather interesting in that it brings out the improbability of the act of baptism itself symbolizing the burial of Christ. First, if Christ were buried in the conventional way, as you seem to imply by the "dirt being poured on the head", then that would signify a sprinlking because that's exactly what happens when dirt is poured down into the grave! But think! Christ was placed inside a tomb in a cave, and though you can say that he was inside the earth in the cave, His ressurection occured as soon as he got up from the slab, even before He came out of the grave. The reason we can say we are "buried with Christ" or "crucified with Christ" or "risen with Christ" is because, through the act of baptism, we are completely identified with Christ by the Holy Spirit. Gal.3:27 says we are baptized by putting on Christ! When we put on Christ, of course we share vicariously all He did for us, including His death on the cross. The burial and ressurection are only two small parts.
     
  4. Abiyah

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    There are a lot of Jews who are going to be rather
    surprised at this revelation!
     
  5. SolaScriptura in 2003

    SolaScriptura in 2003
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    SmokeEater,

    You complain that when I said that Jesus was referring to immersions in Mark seven that I can only prove this from extra-Biblical sources, that is from Jewish tradition. Well, my friend, please read the context! Jesus was talking about WHAT? JEWISH TRADITION! In otherwords, if you want to know what Jesus was talking about there then you MUST go look at Jewish tradition. He used the word "baptizo" in Mark 7 to refer to washings that the Jews performed by immersion - period!

    As far as burial goes, Christ was completely surrounded by dirt (the walls, floor, roof of the tomb) and we must be completely surrounded by water to be baptized.

    Jesus went into and came out of the water...the eunuch went into and came out...it is a burial...it requires much water...case closed
     
  6. Smoky

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    I don't know exactly what you mean when you say " Jewish Tradition". I don't know of any non-biblical documents that have that label, but to me "tradition" refers to practices built up over time that have become common and customary. They can be false or true depending on whether they are based on inspired scripture or not. To my recollection most of the inspired prescriptions for purifying things, coming from the Bible itself, were performed by sprinklings. Now I'm not complaining about using extra-biblical sourses; oftentimes they can be benificial to help us understand things. For one thing, they can show us how non-biblical deviations from scripture developed. These non biblical immersions you are talking about may have been what Jesus was referring to in Mark 7 and then again they may not have. The Lord could have been refering to the traditions of the Old Testament or He could have been refering to traditions found in other uninspired literature where the word "baptizo" refers to sprinkling and not immersion. For instance, the greek uses baptizo in the apocraphal book of Eccliesiasticus (34:24) to refer to the sprinkling service administered to purify a person defiled by touching a dead body in Numbers 19: 13-19. Another example from Josephus states that "Baptizing by this ashes put into spring water, they sprinkled on the third day and seventh day (Josephus, Book 4, chapter 4). So, you see, Jewish tradition doesn't always show "baptizo" being used as an immersion, but if you feel like the Lord was talking about immersion in Mark 7, I'll give you that. Long before the time of Christ, the Greek Jews had adopted and adapted the word "baptizo" to refer to any ceremonial cleansing performed with water regardless of how the water was applied. There are a few washings in the Old Testament that possibly could mean immersion but we're not sure. A washing of the whole body can be done flinging or sponging water while a person is standing up.
    Where does the bible give this definition of baptism?
    These are arguments that have been easily refuted time and time again. Going into and coming out of the water prove nothing as far as immersion is concerned. Phillip and the eunuch BOTH went into the water and BOTH came out. Phillip didn't baptize himself! The baptism occurred after they went in but before they came out. It could have been and probably was only a small stream in the desert. John baptized in the Jorden and at Aenon because it took a lot of water to baptize the huge multitudes even by pouring. Water was scarce.

    I'm not a greek scholar myself, but an even beter explanation can be made for how these baptisms occured from the greek text itself. I'd like to quote you an exerpt from " Fundamental Christian Theology, Volume 2 , A Systematic Christian Theology by H.M. Hill" :

    Baptism of the Eunuch. (Acts 8: 38, 39) "They both went down to (eis so translated 500 times in common version) the water. . . . And when they came up from (ek, translated "from" 170 times, and only 140 times "out of" in the New Testament) the water." The certain way of stating that one went out of a thing is by compounding this preposition ek with the verb, and then repeating it with the noun. It is so used in Mark 5: 8, "Come out of the man, thou unclean Spirit," and Mark 7: 31, "He went out from the borders of Tyre." (R. V.) Luke 4: 33, "Come out of him and when the devil had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him. In the first instance in this verse ek is repeated; in the second instance, both ek and apo, are used, making it emphatic. But this repetition of ek, or apo is never found in the New Testament when referring to baptism. "Therefore there is no certain evidence in the New Testament that any one either went into the water or came out of it in connection with baptism."
    The Eunuch was riding across the country in his chariot, not expecting immersion or apparelled for it, and came to a little rill of water, and the eunuch proposed baptism. What made him think of baptism at all? Because in the very passage in Isaiah, which Philip expounded, just seven verses before the verse which the Eunuch inquired about, Isaiah said: "So shall he sprinkle many nations" (52: 15). The probabilities are more than a thousand to one that the Eunuch was sprinkled. Travellers tell us that there is no spot on that road where a man could possibly be immersed the greater part of the year.
    Dr. Godbey says: "The Bible is a self-interpreter. Hence my only appeal is to the Bible itself. That the solution may be close, clear and conclusive. I take the same author (Luke) and let him explain himself. He tells us in Acts that Jesus did the same thing with the Holy Ghost (Acts 1: 5) that Philip did to the Eunuch; but he tells me Jesus poured the Spirit on them (Acts 2: 17). So I have the Bible answer that Philip poured the water on the Eunuch. (Sprinkle and pour are both affusion and the same.) Bloomfield, Jameson, Faussett and Brown, Olshausen and Baumgarten, the great lights of exegesis, corroborate this interpretation. There is no assurance in the original Greek that they either went into the water or came out of it. They went down to the water and came up from the water." The same preposition eis is used in Matt. 17: 27, where Jesus told Peter to "go to the sea, and cast a hook and take the fish that first cometh up." Are we compelled to believe that Peter had to dive into the sea and fasten the book into the mouth of the fish?
    Respectfully,
    Smoke Eater
     
  7. Dualhunter

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  8. Smoky

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    I'd like to add my contention that what I see as the primary reason immerssionists are unable to accept any other type of baptism is the misstaken notion that the word "baptizo"always means immerse and nothing else but immerse! I've never implied that either "bapto" or "baptizo" never meant immerse; often these were the very words used to refer to either partial or complete immersion. That was true in classical greek and true of "bapto" in the greek translation of the Old Testament. However, that the word "baptizo" had other meanings as well is undeniable. A.M. Hills lists a number of the best lexicons giving other meanings to "baptizo" along side of immerse:

    "Schrevelius, the great master of the Greek language whose Lexicon has been a standard authority for about two hundred years, defines Baptizo by mergo, abluo, lavo; that is to immerse, to wash, to sprinkle or wet. The same definitions are given by Scapula, and Hendericus. Only one of the words denotes exclusive immersion, the others signifying the application of water by other modes.
    Schleusner, in his Lexicon of the New Testament, a work of the highest authority, defines Baptizo: 1. To immerse in water: 2. To wash, sprinkle or cleanse with water: 3. To baptize: 4. To pour out largely." Only one of these definitions restricts the meaning to immersion. Three of them denote the application of water by affusion.
    Cole defines Baptizo: "to baptize, to wash, to sprinkle."
    Suidas defines Baptizo by "mergo, madefacio, lavo, abluo, purgo, mundo; that is to immerse, moisten, sprinkle, wash, purge, cleanse.
    Passor defines it "to immerse, to wash, to sprinkle."
    Conlor defines it by "mersione, ablutione, etaspersione"; that is, immersion, washing, sprinkling or wetting.
    Robinson defines: 'to wash, to lave, to cleanse by washing." "In reference to the rite of baptism, it would seem to have expressed not always simply immersion but the more general idea of ablution or affusion." He then proceeds through a whole column to prove that it could not always mean immersion, and must mean in many places pouring or sprinkling" (pp. 118, 119).
    Grove defines it "to dip, plunge, immerse, wash, wet, moisten, stain, sprinkle, steep, imbue, dye, or color."
    On the testimony of the Lexicographers, then the theory of immersionists or Baptists falls"

    Now, what is interesting to me is a study of the words "bapto" and "baptizo" in the greek translation of the Old Testament with added Apocraphal books (Septuagint LXX). The word primarily meaning "dip" in the Hebrew scriptures is "tabal" and when translated into Greek by LXX is almost aways rendered "bapto" accept for the time in 2 Kings 5:14 where it refers to a purification and is rendered by the word "baptizo". Naaman was told to "wash" himself in the Jordon 7 times and chose to do it by dipping and it was called not a "bapto" but a "baptizo". Does this mean that what he did was a baptizo because he dipped or because it was a purification with water? If it was because he dipped, then why was it not a "bapto" like all the rest of the translations of tabal in the Old Testament which had no religious bearing? The answer to this is revealed in how "baptizo" is used in another part of the LXX in the book of Eccliesticus, where I mentioned in my previous post that it referred also to "sprinklings" performed in the service for the purification of a person who had touched a dead body. This revelation, confirmed by how Josephus also uses the word to denote "sprinklings" shows that the Jews at the time of Christ used the word, not to mean dippings or immersions, but to refer to any of their ceremonial purification rites that they performed with water regardless of mode.

    Now in Mark 7 the Lord was critized for not following "the tradition of the elders" where it was taught not only to wash(baptizo) ones hands before eating but sometimes to wash(baptizo) the whole body before eating if you had come from the marketplace. Other traditions called for washing(baptizo)cups and pots or even tables and couches. To our minds, this seems fantastic if "baptizo" always means immerse even for religious observances where they would immerse even tables and couches. Perhaps it is! We know that "the tradition of the elders" was an unwritten oral tradition at the time of Christ and was not put down in writting until 200 years later when the oral form at that time was recorded as the "Misna". In the "Misna" it is stated that the Jews actually had devised ways of immersing even tables and couches. Well, if the "baptizoes" in Mark referred to these immersions, were they baptizoes because they were immersions, or were they baptizoes because they showed purification performed with water as it is shown in LXX? I think if we all could come to the realization that "baptizo" does not always mean "immerse", but ofter meant wash or sprinkle as well, and had, by the time of Christ, developed religeous overtones the same as our English word baptize, we wouldn't be as dogmatic in insisting that immersion is the only kind of baptism that is a real baptism!

    Smoke Eater
     
  9. Frank

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    Where does the Bible define the word baptize? It is defined in the CONTEXT OF IT'S USE. Jesus was buired in a tomb. he was overwhelmed or completely covered.

    We are buried in the likeness of his death. Romans 6:4,5. Christ was covered. We are covered.

    Peter says the likefigure wherunto even baptism doth also now save us not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I Pet. 3:21. The Overwhelming of the world by water brought death to sinful man. The like figure removes the spiritual of death of sin for those who submit to it.

    The chilren of Israel were baptized with the baptism of Moses. I Cor. 10:2 teaches me they were baptized in the clouds and in the sea. Water on both sides and clouds above. Again, they were completely covered or overwhelmed.

    Philip baptized the Eunoch as both went down into the water. He ( Philip) baptized him. Acts 8. Pouring or sprinkilng do not require both to go down into the water. Therefore, the text implies burial.

    The context in which the word is used defines it for us!
     
  10. Smoky

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    Hi Frank,

    I agree that the context of use is very important in helping us to understand scripture, but you have to realize that the way people see things in context is very subjective, and different people draw different conclusions. You may disagree with many of the conclusions I come to through a context as I'm sure I would with you. Therefore, context is not something that you can place before people as objective proof of a doctrine by the conclusions you yourself have placed on it.

    To give you an example, when I read in Hebrews 9 where it mentions "various baptisms" in verse 10, I don't see how its possible not to connect it in context to verse 19 that calls it a sprinkling. Both verses are connectedly referring to Old Testament regulations using the blood of animals imposed until the time came to set things right by the blood of Christ. But if your views are aldready biased about the meaning of the word "baptizo" to mean nothing else other than immerse, you are more apt to see the baptisms and the sprinklings as separate things, something that, to me, would give an abnormal reading in context. Also, Acts 10: 44-47 tells me that "water baptism" is a ritual or symbol of "spirit baptism" as they are interconnected all through the book of Acts, and as the Spirit is poured out so should the water. And when they say "can anyone withold water" for baptizing the gentiles who had received the Holy Spirit, that tells me that they brought the water in for pouring , not that they were taken to a pool. In Acts 9:18, it is perfectly obvious to me that Paul, after being blinded and healed, stood up, was baptized, and took food without even leaving the house. The greek says "standing up he was baptized". So you see, someone like me, who believes baptism can be performed by sprinkling and not exclusivelly by immersion has a very different take on things than you do.

    Now, about Rom. 6, I've already expressed how I think being immersed in a pool of water is a very poor representation of the burial of our Lord being layed in a tomb. You see, the ressurection is a "rising" and He didn't rise out of his grave the way one rises out of water. His rising occured while He was still in His grave, and He walked out horizontally. This may seem like a trifle to you, but in the very same context, our identification with the death of Christ also means that we are "crucified with Christ" as well. This is a real enlightenment because it shows how our identification with Christ unites us with his crucifiction as well as his burial and ressurection. After all, it was on the cross that He died for our sins. I would like to point out Galatians 2:19-20 (ESV)
    " For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. [20] It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" Here it says that, because Christ lives in us, we are so in union with him that His life is our life and our life is His life. That is because when we were saved, we received His Spirit and from then on, Christ is living within us. This is sympolized by our baptizm with water. So, being in union with Christ, we identify with Him in all his passion and suffering for us through His crucifiction, burial, and ressurection. You see, this is what water baptism meams, the outpouring of His Holy Spirit.

    As for 1 Corr. 10: 2, I don't see this as a water baptism at all, no water touched anyone accept the Egyptians who were drowned in the sea. Interpreters have tried to use this scripture to demonstrate both immersion and sprinkling, by the rain from the cloud, or droplets of water from the water walls. I think both arguments are rediculous. The scripture says the Israelites crossed over on dry ground and if the water doesn't touch the body, then its not a baptism. I couldn't stand between two waterfalls and under a cloud and expect to say I was baptized! The fact is, the only thing this means is that the Israelites, though in the past didn't regard Moses very highly, became identified with him (baptized into Moses) when they saw the miracles of the cloud and the sea, and they finally became interested in following Moses as their leader. It doesn't refer to water at all!

    1 Peter 3:20-21 tells me that the water purification brought to the earth by the rains of the great flood is a direct type of the baptism of the Holy Spirit which falls on us and purifies us " as an appeal to God for a good conscience". In other words, the Holy Spirit is the answer to our prayer to God for a "good conscience" which helps us live a life pleasing to out Lord and Savior.

    Many regards,
    Smoke Eater
     
  11. Dualhunter

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    The Jews had baths (inside the houses) for the self-performed baptisms. Paul was probably baptized in one of those. The Greek word "anastas" is the aorist participle of "anistêmi" in the active voice. I'm not an expert on grammar, let alone Greek grammar, but in English we don't have an aorist tense so it doesn't translate exactly. The translators of the major translations of the New Testament tend to be (or have been for the older ones) experts in Greek so I think they are capable of representing the meaning of the Greek with reasonable accuracy.
     
  12. Dan Stiles

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    I've read both sides of this discussion and have but one question and one comment:

    Q: What language did Jesus speak when discussing baptism? Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, or something else.

    Comment: If you've ever tried to translate something from one language to another, you'll know that language has it's limitations. The word Jesus probably used for baptism probably carried with it the Jewish context of cleansing with water and/or blood. In some cases the cleansing was by sprinkling, sometimes by pouring out, and sometimes by immersing. You can look up all the scripture references - if you want, but I tend to think most of you won't.
     
  13. Smoky

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    Appreciate your comments Dan,

    I have looked some of them up and agree with you entirely. I know there are good arguments on both sides and probably no conclusive proof. I think the Methodist position of letting the candidate choose his own mode is probably best. Many Presbyterians say they will immerse if requested. The only bad position is insisting that there is only one true mode and not recognizing anything else.

    Many Regards
    Smoke Eater
     
  14. Frank

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    Smoke Eater,
    If one cannot read the context and know the meaning of words in that context, then Jesus lied and one cannot know the truth. John 8:32. Truth can and must be known. Eph. 5:17. It is absolute. Is. 40:8, I Pet. 1:23-25.

    I know what baptism means because of the words used to communicate the truth of it. It is as simple as burying someone. In a burial, one is covered, overwhelmed or baptizo. The element is specified by the passage. Water. Acts 8:38, I Cor. 10:1,2, John 3:3-5, Eph. 5:26.

    If one accepts your premise, he cannot really KNOW anything. It is all subjective.

    Funny, we think it is important to know the moral laws of the land, the traffic laws and even the tax laws, but we cannot really understand the truth our most powerful and all knowing God has revealed to us.
     
  15. Smoky

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    Hi Frank,

    No, I don't think the Lord lied, I think its just us that can't understand what he meant a lot of times. You see, we just don't have all the answers now as a lot of people think we do. Truth comes progressively, that's the reason Christians disagree with each other. I bet there are some in your own church that disagree sometimes.

    2 Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 3 but anyone who loves God is known by him. 1 Cor.8:2-3

    9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 1 Cor. 13:9

    12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Cor. 13:12

    I'd like to add that Jesus said we would "know the truth that sets us free" but didn't say that we would have all knowledge about all things now. And just because we cant have all knowledge now doesn't mean we can't have any knowledge at all. That's a kind of "all or nothing" thinking that can get us into a lot of trouble sometimes!

    Respectfully,
    Smoke Eater

    [ April 21, 2003, 10:20 AM: Message edited by: Smoke Eater ]
     
  16. SolaScriptura in 2003

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    Is sprinkling a burial?

    (Luke 12:50) But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

    Jesus said this of the crucifiction and certainly did not mean a "ceremonial cleansing" but an immersion in sorrow and pain.

    [ April 20, 2003, 04:16 PM: Message edited by: SolaScriptura in 2003 ]
     
  17. donnA

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    Since baptism in the bible is connected to Jesus' death, burial, and resurection, all I can say is, when they bury someone you love, do you want them fully covered, or just a little dirt sprinkled on them?
     
  18. Smoky

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    From Sola:
    No, and immersion isn't a literal burial eilther is it? I think water baptism is a sympol. It pictures our union with Christ through receiving the Holy Spirit.
    Well, notice: Mark 10:38 (ESV)
    Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" If our Lord's crucification can be portrayed by the small amount of the "drinking cup", then why do you need an immersion to portray it in baptism?


    Kate said:
    Actually, I'd rather they be laid in a tomb like Jesus was!
     
  19. CatholicConvert

    CatholicConvert
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    Interesting conversation, inasmuch as we had a baptism this past Saturday at our parish.

    We had a baby baptized. She was immersed. She was immersed because this is the way that the Church did baptism from the earliest records we have, which are the writings of St. Irenaeus.

    She was immersed because this properly shows the reality which is being accomplished: dying with Christ and being buried with Him (interred) and rising to new life in Him. (Romans 6: 3)

    After baptism, BTW, the epistle which is read is that one from Romans 6. It reminds us the Bibical WHY of what we do, and what happens when it is done.

    The Baptists have it right, even if they don't know why. [​IMG] [​IMG] ;)

    Cordially in Christ,

    Brother Ed


    PS A case is made for the pouring of water to symbolize pouring out of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given by chirismation with the Oil of Gladness, which again, is the tradition of the Church which goes back to antiquity.
     
  20. Smoky

    Smoky
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    Hi Brother Ed,

    There is evidence that pouring was definitaly practice at a very early date also. Hughes Oliphant Old states that
    "What seems to be the earliest pictorial representation of baptism which has come down to us is the picture of the baptism of Jesus found in the cemetery of Calixtos. The picture, which comes from the end of the second century, indicates pouring. There are a number of representations of baptism in the Catacombs from the third and fourth centuries. None of these show baptism by immersion."

    I think the simple form of baptism practiced by John and the Apostles probably evolved into several errors practiced very early by parts of the early church. One of the biggest heresies developed I think when some of the early church advocated that one should postpone baptism as long as possible, perhaps even until the deathbed, because they believed there could be no repentance, or no more than one or two repentances after baptism. They felt it was best to wait until all the passions of youth had gone by.

    Also, I think from some of the early pictures, they felt they needed to baptize their adults the same way they baptized their babies, completely nude! They felt that water needed to touch the whole body.

    Concerning burial and ressurection, some of the early church throughout the Roman Empire must have felt they needed to develop a form of baptism that would compete with some of the "mystery religions" where elaborate passion plays were performed depicting the death and ressurection of their gods. Quoting from Hughes Oliphant Old," In New Testament times baptism had been celebrated in a very simple and straightforward way. Then in the next three or four centuries of Christian history, the rite of baptism developed from a very simple performing of the baptismal washing into an elaborate mystery drama. This process reached its culmination in the elaborate paschal baptisms of the fourth and fifth centuries. The Christian literature of this period has preserved many records of these dramatic ceremonies. One cannot help but be impressed by the dramatic splendor of these liturgical dramas. They were designed to initiate into the Christian Church the pagan population of antiquity. This population was accustomed to the dramatic rites of the Hellenistic mystery religions. The Church sought to win over these pagans with Christian mysteries more splendid than the old pagan mysteries.
    These Christian initiation rites typically began several weeks before Easter with a solemn enrolling of the candidates for baptism. This initial enrolling was followed by several weeks of catechetical instruction; this was a period of intensive teaching, in which the basic doctrines of the Church were explained. Each of these meetings for catechetical instruction was accompanied by special prayers, exorcisms, and other rites. Often the bishop himself preached at these services. On the morning before Easter, the candidates for baptism came to the church to recite the Creed; then that night the paschal vigil began. Toward dawn those who were to be baptized were taken into the baptistry, a building especially designed for baptism. The bishop consecrated the waters of the font with a long prayer which recounted the types of baptisms. The candidates disrobed, they were anointed with oil, and then, after renouncing the devil and all his works and confessing their faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, they were immersed in the baptismal font. After the baptismal washing each one was anointed with chrism by the bishop and received the laying on of hands. The newly baptized were then clothed in white and led into the church to join with the congregation to celebrate the Easter Eucharist.
    If baptism by pouring was normal in the second century, how are we to explain that by the third and surely the fourth century immersion became the preferred mode? Once again, we would want to call to mind what was said about the desire of the late Classical Period to develop impressive Christian mysteries. When Christians began to see in baptism a dramatization of the death and resurrection of Christ, and began more and more to celebrate baptism at Easter, then the symbolic representation of the burial and resurrection became increasingly important. In this setting the dramatization of the burial and resurrection came to overshadow the sign of washing. It was the desire of the Church to make baptism a splendid Christian mystery which made immersion the general mode of baptism by the end of the fourth century. Immersion held sway for the next six to eight centuries."
     

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