Question on Church of Christ baptism

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Snitzelhoff, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. Snitzelhoff

    Snitzelhoff
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    I know we have a Church of Christ-er here on the forum. I have a few questions pertaining to the Church of Christ view of baptism.

    1. Must the person being baptized understand that baptism is "for the remission of sins" for baptism to be valid?

    2. Must the person performing the baptism understand that baptism is "for the remission of sins" for baptism to be valid?

    3. Must the person performing the baptism have been baptized himself in order for the baptism to be valid (i.e. is baptism valid if it's performed by an unbaptized individual)?

    Please, only answer if you're Church of Christ, or used to be, and so know what their views are.

    Michael
     
  2. Tazman

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    1. First a person must hear the word, then believe the word by repenting, confess Jesus as Lord baptized for the forgiveness of sins while believing.

    2. Yes (Jesus simply gave the command to his disciples, who will make disciples, and baptize them). So disciple makes disciple.

    3. Refer to the answer of question # 2. A non believer wouldn't attempt to baptize so its kind of an oxymoron. Naturally a person being taught the truth would not baptize themselves. It is however their belief and knowledge of the truth while being baptized that will validate.

    Michael,

    Sorry I couldn't answer your question #1 with a simple yes or no, but it lacked the other natural responses to someone prepared for baptism. Baptism alone does not get your sins forgiven Just like Faith alone and Repentance alone and confession alone.
     
  3. Snitzelhoff

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    Tazman,

    So, the baptizer must himself be baptized and both he and the candidate for baptism must have a proper understanding of its purpose for it to be valid?

    Michael
     
  4. Tazman

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    See answers #2 & 3. collectivly they answer your question.

    It would not make sense for the "Baptizer" to not have the proper knowlege to teach the candidate.

    Romans 10:

    14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"[g]
     
  5. Snitzelhoff

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    So, essentially, if the baptizer had not undergone a valid baptism (wherein both parties understood its purpose), then the candidate's baptism is invalid, and his sins are not forgiven?

    I'm sorry if I seem to be repeating the question; for the moment, I'm merely trying to firmly establish this point.

    Michael
     
  6. bmerr

    bmerr
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    Michael,

    bmerr here. I'm a member of the church of Christ, so I guess I qualify to try and answer.

    1. Yes, the one submitting to baptism must understand what the purpose of baptism is, for he must have been taught the truth in order to obey it.

    2. I'd be a bit less certain about this requirement. Example scenario: Someone from these boards learns the truth about the NT meaning and purpose for baptism, and realizes their need to be Scripturally baptized. They do not know any member of the church of Christ to ask for baptism, but they know a denominational preacher who is willing to assist them. The denominational guy, (who may not understand the NT significance of baptism), assists them in baptism. As long as the candidate understands, I don't see how the administrator's understanding, or lack thereof would have any effect, either positive or negative.

    3. As Tazman said, it would be unlikely for this situation to develop, but I'd still say that it's the baptismal candidate's proper understanding that would be necessary for the baptism to be effectual.

    One could delve deeply into the realm of hypothetical situations regarding many topics. I think I know where you're going with this, but I won't ruin the surprise.

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  7. Tazman

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    If you are asking me if I believe that the validity of someone being baptized is based on the person performing the baptism, then I would say no. Equally, if a person is baptized by someone who who believes, but they themself do not believe, then their baptism is not valid based on their unbelief.

    It is the individuals faith (truth in understanding and commitment) that determines the validity.
     
  8. Link

    Link
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    If I may jump the gun, i think I see where this thread is going. If the baptizer must be legitimately baptized, then how is COC movement baptism valid. Weren't their leaders baptized by someone who was at first baptized with other beliefs? Someone had to start baptism over again, and whoever it was had been baptized without restoration movement doctrine. So if the Cambells weren't baptized by someone who had been properly baptized, in then their baptism would not be valid. Neither would any of the other leaders, and neither would the first generation of the movement, or the second generation, down to today.

    Is that the line of reasoning?
     
  9. Snitzelhoff

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    You said that the validity of a baptism is not based on the baptizer, but if someone does not have a valid baptism, doesn't that make the person unsaved? Can an unsaved person baptize someone into Christ?

    Link, you're right about the line of reasoning, but I'm not there yet. Although, since you did jump the gun, I may as well drop the Socratic questioning and plainly state my case:

    The Churches of Christ, at least as far as I am aware, require that baptisms be performed by one who has been legitimately baptized himself (i.e. a Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, or Baptist could not immerse a person into Christ, being unimmersed [or un-Scripturally immersed] himself).

    If that is the case, then the only way to truly ascertain one's own salvation is to trace an unbroken line of valid baptisms back to the days of the Apostles.

    The main premise of the Restoration movement makes that task impossible because of the view that the Church was completely (or very nearly) apostate until the early 19th century.

    Therefore, from my understanding of Church of Christ doctrine, it is impossible to ascertain the validity of your own baptism, and, thus, the fact of your own salvation.

    Furthermore, from my reading, Campbell himself did not come to his views on baptism until several years after his immersion, and did not repudiate his Baptistic baptism, nor did he find someone of his own view to rebaptize him.

    Thus, in my mind, the entire validity of the Restoration movement is called into question.

    Michael
     
  10. Tazman

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    I believe I aswered your question, unfortunatly I didn't answer as you supposed. But to continue: Gods word is what does the work rather than some one preach for noble or selfish reasons. Therefore it is possible for God to save some one through there own baptism in Jesus regardless of the the messengers purpose. So can an unsaved person "Baptize" (though it is not them who baptize), yes. Baptism isn't connected to the people who administer it as much as it has to do with Jesus.
     
  11. Snitzelhoff

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    Interesting. Your church teaches differently from my former church, which held a view quite similar to the one I erroneously supposed you held (hence, why I thought you held it). However, your view raises questions of its own to me:

    If the administrator of the baptism is so unimportant that whether he is saved or not doesn't even matter, why complicate things by having one? Why can a man not immerse himself? In the event that no saved person is around to baptize the individual, would God rather he immerse himself or he be immersed by an infidel?

    Furthermore, did you change your views over the course of this thread? When I first posed the question:

    You answered:

    Later on, you said:

    Those appear to be contradictory answers to my questions. Can you reconcile them?

    Michael
     
  12. Tazman

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    You answered:

    Later on, you said:

    Those appear to be contradictory answers to my questions. Can you reconcile them?

    Michael
    </font>[/QUOTE]Not a problem:

    1. your initial question delt with someone who understands the need for baptism in order to baptize another, not necessarily stating the totality of the baptizer understanding beyond baptism. That explains my answer to question #1 leading in to #2

    My answer is still the same. IF the one teaching is properly educated acording to answer #1, then naturally the person being baptized should bare the same understanding (personally) and before him and Gob be justified (hince my follow up answer #2). If the Baptizer does not have proper understanding my assumption would be the the learner would lack the same proper understanding thus not obtaining a valid baptism. Both are completely dependent on the Are final choice, however, the "Baptizer" plays the part if they initially met and taught this person. That's true in any circle.

    You later gave a more specific detailed example of some one who learned on there own and who could only find a denominational person to baptize them verses baptizing himself.

    Snitzelhoff wrote:
    This issue is never address as far as my knowledge in the bible, so any answer I give would be conjecture. That's almost like the question "What if no water is around?", well I think we can start asking so many question for a specific reason other than to prove that God is in control.

    But to answer your question, I can't see why a person would not "Baptize" themselves if they understand what they have read, however, Acts 8, the eunuch was taught then asked about being baptized, but he could not understand the scripture without God using the right person to educate.

    BIC

    Tazman
     
  13. Doubting Thomas

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    Hmmm...you might be on to something here.

    Interesting point.
     
  14. bmerr

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    Mike,

    Regarding baptizing one's self, NT baptism is in the likeness of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6:3-5). I don't think anyone would contend that Jesus crucified, buried, and then resurrected Himself. He submitted to death at the hands of others, was buried by others still, and was raised by the power of God.

    NT baptism, IMO, would be dependant upon submitting to baptism administered by a second party. I know of no NT authorization for anyone baptizing themselves.

    About the administrator of baptism and their understanding being essential, I would say that if one desired NT baptism, but only had access to one who was not a Christian to perform it, then it wouldn't be the first time that God had used someone who was ignorant of His will to perform His will.

    Case in point: The Crucifixion.

    Jesus' rejection by the Jews, and subsequent crucifixion were all part of the "determinate council and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). Yet, at the same time, Jesus said, "they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

    Neither the Jews, nor the Romans knew the significance of Jesus' death, yet it all went according to God's plan. His will was done.

    The ignorance of the Jews and the Romans did not negate the efficacy of Jesus' death. Thus, I would conclude that the ignorance of the administrator of one's baptism would not negate the purpose of that one's baptism, provided they understood the purpose themselves.

    In closing, let me say (and I think I can speak for any Christian) that Alexander Campbell and the others involved in the restoration movement are not the standard by which we determine right and wrong.

    Those men did the best they could to free themselves from denominationalism, and return to simple NT Christianity, with the NT as their sole authority for doctrine and practice. That is a noble goal, and we applaud them for the success they had, and the example they set for those who share that goal.

    I'm sure that there were some false doctrines they may have had a hard time loosing themselves from. I know I have had to unlearn many things since leaving the Southern Baptists.

    Phil 3:15-16 comes to mind. It reads,

    "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing."

    If I were to chance a paraphrase, it might read, "If you are mistaken in some areas, keep studying, and make changes when you realize they are needed. Do the best you can with what you know."

    Of course, back then there was miraculous knowledge, which is not available today, but we have the Word of God which we are commanded to study (2 Tim 2:15), and if we do so with honest and good hearts (Luke 8:15), we will come to the unity of the Spirit (Eph 4:3).

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  15. Snitzelhoff

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    Bmerr and Tazman,

    You two seem in agreement, so I'll address you both together.

    You said there is no New Testament authorization for self-baptism. However, I cannot find any New Testament authorization for baptism performed by anyone other than a disciple, going back to Tazman's principle that disciple makes disciple.

    If there must be direct, New Testament authorization for self-baptism to be valid, then would you not agree that there must be for another, lest your theology be inconsistent? So, is there any?

    Indeed, even outside of the New Testament, in the writings of the early Fathers and such documents as the Didache, is there anything hinting at the situation where one illegitimately baptized or unbaptized could legitimately baptize another? I've never heard of anything like that.

    Perhaps I'm wrong, but I find no New Testament authorization for baptism performed by a non-disciple being valid.

    Michael
     
  16. Frank

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    Michael:
    How do you establish biblical authority?
     
  17. Frank

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    Who baptized John? John said he had need to be baptized of Christ? Who, where, and when were the 12 immersed? How do you know?

    Numbers are not a sound argument to make for a valid baptism during the restoration movement?

    The church or saved began with a small number. Cf.Acts 2.
     
  18. bmerr

    bmerr
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    Michael,

    bmerr here. I'd agree that there is no approved example, or direct command to authorize such, but I tried to show a precedent for that type of thing with the crucifixion.

    In short, it has not always been necessary for those fulfilling the determined will of God to know that they were doing so. Jesus knew what His death was for. The Jews and the Romans did not. His death still accomplished its' purpose. Would you agree to that?

    That being the case, I would still hold that as long as a person knew why he must be baptized, it wouldn't matter if the one baptizing him did or not.

    I may be wrong about this. It's not anything I've read about anywhere, so I'm "shooting from the hip". I'm willing to be convinced otherwise if I'm in error.

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  19. Snitzelhoff

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    Frank:

    I don't understand the question about Biblical authority. Biblical authorization is set by command, precedent, or application of a general principle.

    John was the exception ("the," not "an"--I cannot think of any other exceptions), as he was specifically appointed by God to do that.

    I cannot prove that the Apostles were baptized, but with your theology, I'd say they had better have been! If they were, it was most likely by John, but we have no record of it.

    I don't understand your "numbers" statement. I agree that the church started out small. Can you clarify what that has to do with this discussion?

    Bmerr:

    Indeed, the crucifixion did achieve its purpose apart from the knowledge of the Jews and Romans. In fact, cases of God using evil people to achieve His purpose are pretty common throughout Scripture. The principle is certainly there, but can it be applied to baptism? Given the principle that the only Scripturally authorized baptizers (aside from John, as I mentioned earlier in the post) were the disciples, I'm not sure that it can be.

    Michael
     
  20. Frank

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    Mike:
    I am not sure what you mean by precedent. However, I would say the bible authorizes by declarative statement, example,and implication. I would apply these rules to answer the question about the who can or should baptize.
    My point about numbers is simply that God uses and accomplishes his will with relatively small numbers. He always has. The church has always been out numbered by denominationalism. So, the idea that a limited number of Christians during any era is a consideration in obtaining a valid baptism is irrelevant.
    I have been a gospel preacher for more than ten years. I have always baptized in accordance with the new testament of Jesus Christ. If someone enters our congregational fellowship and says they have been baptized, I ask how and why they were baptized. However, I do not immediately ask who? I have never heard of anyone who believes in Calvinism being baptized for the remision of sins. The who then becomes irrelevant.
    The idea one should accept any baptism as valid is erroneous based on the clear teaching of Acts 19:1-9.
    This WHO argument reminds me of the Baptist preacher who asked the question of the gospel preacher, if a man dies on the way to the hospital before he is baptized is he saved? The gospel preacher replied, was he one of the elect or the non-elect? How do you know? The preacher continued his reply by saying " Would he be saved if he died in the ambulance before he believed, repented, confessed? " It became quiet as an oyster in the room, as an oyster does not have much to say.
     

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