Real Baptism - part II

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Salty, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    Back in Feb I started a thread about Baptism
    click here for that link

    there was some interesting discusion.

    Here is my OP from the link:

    I was reading my Wycliffe Bible Commentary and came across Acts 8:38. The commentary says " One of our earliest post-Biblical Christian writings, the Didache (c. A.D. 125), says that baptism should be performed in running water if it is possible. (bold is Salty's emphasis)

    Thoughts?

    Salty
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    In the church I serve, the water is running--until the baptistry is filled.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.
     
  3. preacher4truth

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    I'm sure someone will find me wrong on this, and I'll be in utter heresy, but does not baptism show the burial and resurrection of Christ identifying the believer with the death of Christ and His raising as a type, and as telling the world about their salvation and identify them as a believer?

    How does water running add any better meaning to this, verus still water?

    Is there any elaboration of this in the book you've quoted?

    It sounds to me like the verge of yet another rule to add to the church.
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    Here's what the Didache says about baptism:
    So the Didache cuts you some slack if you don't have running water conveniently at hand.

    It also says you should baptize in cold water, but if you can't, warm water will do.

    And it describes baptism as pouring, not immersion.

    Isn't something wrong with this picture?
     
  5. Old Union Brother

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    It is not a rule in our church but we baptize in running water if at all possible. By running water I mean we baptize in a creek that is near the church. Call it tradition if you want to but I have watched baptisms when ice was broken in January and in the heat of summer. I have helped baptize in "running" water in November and April and it has always been a blessing to me. We just built a new church 3 years ago and we didn't even consider putting in a baptistry. Call it old fashion but we like it.
     
  6. The Archangel

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    While the Didache can be helpful for the church today, it is important to remember that the Didache is NOT scripture.

    A very good friend of mine wanted to joint our church (where I am the pastor). His wife had been baptized as a believer, but she was baptized by sprinkling.

    We maintain that baptism is by definition immersion (from the Greek word itself). Therefore, we maintained that she had not been properly baptized (which is to say she had not been baptized at all). We offered to baptize her again for the first time, so to speak. My friend balked at this idea and decided not to join our church. I was very disappointed, but in good conscience I cannot abrogate what I believe to be a clear command of scripture...even for a good friend.

    So, yes, I think something is wrong when it (the Didache or anyone else) says baptism can be valid when it doesn't fit the biblical definition of baptism.

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  7. Zenas

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    Tom, I think it permits pouring only if there is not enough water to immerse, not as the default mode of baptizing.
     
  8. Zenas

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    We get the concept of immersion because the traditional understanding of the Greek word is "to dip." I'm treading on dangerous ground here because I have never had a course in Greek. However, I am told the same word was used for washing of hands. In the Didache, we have a 1st Century document written in Greek, just like the N.T. was a 1st Century document(s) written in Greek. They both use the same word for baptize. So it would seem that if the Didache uses the word baptizein as something that includes pouring, maybe it is. After all, nowhere in scripture does the manuscript say exactly what must be done. It just says "baptizein". The only other thing we have to go on is a couple of instances where it is said that people came up out of the water. This could mean being raised from beneath the surface, or it could mean wading out of the water up on to the bank.
     
  9. The Archangel

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    Typically the word for washing one's hands is nipto. At least, it refers primarily to washing some part of one's body. Louo refers to bathing and pluno refers to washing things.

    There are two interesting things in the scripture that suggest baptism must be by immersion:

    1. Paul's applying of a theological significance to the sign in Romans 6
    [3] Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? [4] We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4 ESV)
    It would appear that Paul thinks it is by immersion since he relates words such as "buried" (presumably picturing going under the water) and "raised" (presumably, again, picturing coming up out of the water).

    2. Every instance I'm aware of that discusses baptism, it always refers to an immersion. For instance, it talks about going into the water or coming up out of the water. These words would not be necessary if sprinkling were in view.

    Now, Mark 7 does uses the baptizo word twice--once to refer to the Pharisees and once to refer to cups and pots, etc.

    But, there is a very interesting idea when usage of the word baptizo is used. It is usually in the active or the passive voice. In other words, someone baptizes a subject or a subject is baptized by someone. I think there is only one instance where baptizo is used in the middle voice (where the subject performs the action on himself or herself) and it is Mark 7:4. The implication is that they, perhaps, bathe themselves to keep up with their hyper-active purity rituals (which is interesting because nipto is used in Mark 7:3 (were the middle voice is used). Interestingly, the second use of baptizo in Mark 7:4 (referencing the cups and pots, etc.) is not even a verb, it is a noun.

    Typical Hellenistic uses of baptizo also refers to a ship sinking.

    Also, it must be remembered, that John the Baptist (better translated as John the Baptizer) did not invent baptism. Baptism was a rite in Judaism for a proselyte convert. A proselyte baptism would have been by immersion.

    Therefore, the best biblical information we have, in my opinion, demonstrates, beyond a reasonable doubt, that baptism is by immersion.

    I hope that helps and doesn't muddy the waters.

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  10. Zenas

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    That's very impressive Archangel. Thank you for sharing it. Now can you offer an opinion why a 1st Century Greek manuscript like the Didache would suggest baptism by pouring? Do you by any chance have access to the Didache in Greek?
     
  11. The Archangel

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    The Didache can be found here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html You have access to several translations and even the Greek text (if you install the proper fonts)

    Chapter 7 deals with baptism and it appears to use baptizo.

    However, to support my claim that the Didache is NOT scripture, it should be noted that the Didache commands the subjects of baptism to fast before the baptism is administered. Again, there is no biblical command to fast before baptism and the Didache is pretty specific: "but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before" (the Roberts translation).

    To "order" someone to fast before baptism as an apparent requirement for baptism is extra-biblical. Similarly, the idea of a range of apparently
    acceptable practices of baptism (including non-immersion) is suspect.

    So, again, while the Didache can be helpful, it is not scripture and, as shown, in some cases it goes above and beyond what the Bible itself says. Therefore, it is not infallibly reliable.

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    I have heard a couple of pastors who sprinkle (not Baptist) say that baptizo does, in fact, mean to dip or plunge. They sprinkle as a matter of convenience. And since they are also pedobaptists, they don't want to immerse an infant. And the mode is not a big deal.

    Anybody else heard that?
     
  13. Aaron

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    Mode is not a big deal to me, either. Baptism is the sign of entering into covenant with Christ, and replaced O.T. circumcision, which was the putting away of the filth of the flesh. Baptism is a washing, an ablution.

    Baptism identifies us with Christ, and initiates us into the church, much like placing a ring on the finger of a bride identifies her with her husband and initiates her into the marriage ("with this ring I thee wed"), but it's a symbol only. It isn't a dramatic reenactment of burial and resurrection...

    Insisting on immersion is no different than the stipulations cited in the Didache. I lean toward immersion as the mode practiced by the Apostles, but where immersion can't be practiced other modes are perfectly acceptable. Can't be legalistic about it.
     
    #13 Aaron, Dec 3, 2010
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  14. The Archangel

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    I haven't heard that so much. What your comment reminded me of is interesting in this discussion, however.

    The Greek Orthodox churches do baptize infants and they do baptize them by immersion (though, I don't think they put the baby's head under water).

    But, it is interesting that the Greek Orthodox church understands baptism to be by immersion and that "sprinkling" is not even done with infants.

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  15. jaigner

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    Health concerns were a part of this. Running water was safer than stagnant water.

    It also shows how resourceful the early Church was forced to be at times. Very often, there would have been no feasible access to sufficient water in which to immerse, let alone running water.

    Me personally? I think Baptists are too dogmatic about this issue, and that immersion or affusion, done in good faith, are both valid.
     
  16. The Archangel

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    The question is, however, is mode a big deal in the Bible? Every example of baptism we have in the Bible is by immersion.

    Baptism is far more than just washing. The Bible, Paul especially, applies more meaning than just a simple washing.

    Paul would disagree with you. Romans 6 clearly shows a connection between baptism and the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. While it may not be a "reenactment," per se, it is clear that the symbolism of going under the water and being raised up out of the water do mean something.

    Baptism is a picture (again, not a reenactment per se) of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and we are not free to tamper with God's picture.

    The Lord's Supper (or Communion) is not without its symbolism. Baptism, according to Paul, has inherent symbolism, just as Communion does.

    It isn't legalistic to insist on something we find in the Bible, it's being faithful.

    If we were to follow your logic on this issue and apply it to the discussion of the trinity that many (liberal) denominations have taken up in the last few years, it would be OK for us to refer to the trinity as "Compassionate Mother, Beloved Child, and Life-giving Womb" (as the PCUSA did in 2006), rather than "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

    I'm sure you would not affirm the re-definition of the trinity based on convenience or considerations of tradition. The Bible clearly reveals God as "Father" (not mother), Christ as "Son" (not the generic child), and the Spirit as "The Holy Spirit" (not some enigmatic "womb"). We are not free to redefine the person hood of God as something other than Father, for that is how He chose to reveal Himself to us. In the same manner, we are not free to redefine baptism as something other than immersion because that is what is understood by the word baptizo itself and how baptism was practiced in the New Testament.

    To compare the Bible to the Didache and vice-versa and to say that a practice in the Bible is not to be insisted on because it is "legalistic" is very dangerous. Not only does it run afoul of the Bible, but it also defines you as something other than a baptist (which is a far less disturbing issue).

    Since you rightly relate the Christian's baptism to the Jew's circumcision, you must understand that circumcision is only one thing by definition. It cannot ever be said that another part of the body was circumcised. Circumcision cannot be done to a finger or a toe or even a nose. By definition it is done to the male sexual organ. Anything less is simply not circumcision. Baptism, by definition, is by immersion. Therefore anything less is not baptism.

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    You're right, it is a symbol, it does identify us with Christ, and it is the door to the local church.

    But Romans 6:4-5 describe baptism as being a "likeness of his death," and that we shall be raised (out of the water) "in the likeness of his resurrection."

    A dramatic re-enactment, maybe not.
    A symbolic picture of his death and resurrection, definitely yes.

    If we are going to claim to be guided by scripture for our faith and practice, then let's not try to find excuses for not immersing.
     
    #17 Tom Butler, Dec 3, 2010
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  18. Tom Butler

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    This conversation we're having her called to mind an incident in my church more than 60 years ago.

    An elderly man became ill. He had avoided church all his life, although his wife and children were actively involved. The Lord saved him on his deathbed, and he wanted to be baptized. But he was so weak, he could not even get out of bed.

    The church leaders stewed over how this man could be baptized. A couple suggested sprinkling, but the church leaders just couldn't bring themselves to agree to that.

    Finally, one of the leaders had this brilliant idea. Let's just declare him baptized, and vote him into church membership.

    But that didn't fly, either. The man died without ever being baptized. I guess taking him to the bathtub at home and dunking him wasn't an option.

    Looking back, it's interesting that there was even debate.

    But it does raise the question--what would your church do in similar circumstances?
     
  19. convicted1

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    Bro Aaron,

    There are a few things I'd like to address in you post here. Please don't take this as me bashing you, because it is not. I just want to give you my take on water baptism.

    Let me start this by saying that no one is saved by water baptism, but it is more than just a symbol.

    1Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

    19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

    20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

    21 The like figure whereunto 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:

    22Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

    How can you answer the good conscience toward God, if you haven't done it? I am talking about those who are able to get to the water, and not those who are saved on their death bed, or those who died before they got to the water. The water baptism is not a mere symbol, but a righteous act, IMHO.

    Matt. 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

    12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

    13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

    14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

    15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

    16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

    17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    Now, Jesus was just as much CHRIST prior to this event than afterwards. This was written of Him and how John would recognize the Christ to come.

    John 1:26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

    27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

    28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

    29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

    30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

    31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

    32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

    33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. Who sent John to baptize with water? It had to be God, correct?

    34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.


    Rom. 6:3 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.


    Gal. 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

    27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
    I think is giving reference to the Holy Ghost baptism(not the one where some claim you start speaking in tongues with that Holy Ghost baptism. When we are saved, we are baptized into Christ Spiritually!!
    28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

    29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.



    So, by the Spirit coming down and aboding(if thats even a word) upon Jesus, it was the sign that John was looking for, to confirm that this was the Messiah to come. So baptism is more than a symbol, but it is the way we put our light on the "candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house.


    If baptism is a "symbol only", then let's start making the cross any way people want to. How would you feel if a member of your church said this; "Let's put the cross upside down in the church, sideways, make it look like a "plus sign" etc, because the cross we use is not the same cross that Jesus died on, and therefore a mere symbol, and anyway will do"(and I know that no one on here would want any of these things to happen). I feel that that's the way baptism is being handled nowadays. "Anyway is okay with me," is the soup de jour. I am not directing this at anyone, just thinking out loud. No one would want the cross in their church placed upside down, sideways, made to look like a "plus sign", or any other way than the way it looks now. So, why would they want baptism to be anything less than FULL IMMERSION? Any other way than that is not baptism. If baptism was good enough for Jesus, why should we settle for less than what He did, by being baptized??I pray that everyone sees where I am coming from on this.


    i am I am's!!

    Willis

    PS Read Acts chapter 10 where Peter went to Cornelius' house. Peter wanted those gentiles to be baptized the same as the Jews!!ps
     
    #19 convicted1, Dec 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2010
  20. jaigner

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    This is heartbreaking.

    Baptize him by affusion.
     

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