The Christian Ekklesia and the Great Commission

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Dr. Walter, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. Dr. Walter

    Dr. Walter
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    Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


    I personally believe this commission "unto the end of the world" is the key to discerning the true character of the church of Christ in every generation including our present generation.


    For example, the New Testament congregation cannot exist apart from ALL the essentials of this commission and ALL the essentials of this commission cannot exist apart from the New Testament congregation.

    This commission begins with taking the gospel to all nations (Mk. 16:15) however, it is only "them" among all nations that receive the gospel that are to be baptized and instructed in the all things. The third aspect is impossible to observe as commanded apart from the New Testament congregation. First, because it requires the prerequisites of gospel reception and baptism before instruction in the all things. Second, it is impossible to teach them how to observe "all things" apart from actually assemblying together. Third, part of the "all things" Christ commanded to observe require membership in such a New Testament Church (Mt. 18:15-18).

    Furthermore, the gospel and baptism define the proper membership of the New Testament church as they are both prerequisite to the third aspect of this commission and so we see this in practice in Acts 2:41-42:

    "As many as received the word" = Go preach the gospel
    "were baptized" = "baptizing them"
    "were added unto them"
    "continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine" = "teaching them to observe"

    Notice that the Apostles understood the third aspect of the Great Commission necessarily included first incorporating them into a New Testament church as "added unto them" stands right between baptism and continuing stedfastly in the Apostles doctrine.

    Hence, the New Testament church membership is defined by the gospel and baptism prerequisite. No church can be found in the New Testament that was not built after this pattern or consisted of ungospelized and unbaptized persons.

    Hence, define the gospel from "another gospel" (as there are only two gospels in this world just as there are really only two contrasting ways "broad way" versus "narrow way" or "works" versus "grace") and you eliminate all churches that embrace "another gospel" as true churches of Christ as no true chruch of Christ can embrace "another Gospel" without being "accursed" by Christ.

    Hence, define scriptural baptism and you have an additional qualifier as to what churches among those who preach the true gospel are true versus false churches of Christ as there is no church of Christ in the Scriptures composed of unbaptized members. Another baptism is not scriptural baptism. My contention is that sprinkling and pouring does not constitute scriptural baptism. Immersing, pouring, sprinkling of lost people or infants does not constitute scriptural baptism. Immersing, pouring and sprinkling in order to be saved, obtain literal remission of sins does not constitute scriptural baptism. Any kind of administration by unauthorized administrators does not constitute scriptural baptism.
     
    #1 Dr. Walter, Jul 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2010
  2. Zenas

    Zenas
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    Dr. Walter, I think you're headed in the right direction with your thoughts on this, although I might take issue with some of the details. You have stated that baptism by pouring or sprinkling is no baptism at all. Since Scripture does not tell us exactly how to baptize, I assume you are referencing to the Greek "baptizo" which is understood to mean to dip or something similar. I submit that understanding may be too narrow and I base this on the instructions contained in the Didache:
    As you can see the Didache authorizes pouring in certain circumstances. Now I am not advocating this theology, at least for the purpose of this post. However, since the Didache was written in the 1st or 2nd Centuries, in Greek, I submit that its linguistics would be comparable to to the original manuscripts of the Bible. Clearly, if the Didache includes pouring as a form of baptism, than so does the Bible. The language is the same.
     
  3. RAdam

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    Language isn't the issue. Whether God inspired it is. God didn't inspire the Didache. I don't care when it was written, it isn't God inspired. Scripture is.
     
  4. Dr. Walter

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    Baptism by immersion stands on much more foundations than merely the historic use of baptizo. Whether you interpret "baptism" in Romans 6:5 or in Colossians 2:12 to be fugurative or literal the descriptive word "buried" demands immersion UNLESS you pour and sprinkle sufficiently to bury a person and then you end up with immersion as well.

    Furthermore, baptism as immersion has to do with its purpose or design. It is designed as a ceremonial symbol as is circumcision (Col. 2:11-13) then it symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:4-5; Gal. 3:27) and sprinkling and pouring cannot symbolize that but immersion does perfectly.

    Since, the scriptures are the final authority for me and not some document that tradition can't prove who actually wrote it or when it was written then I reject it as much as I reject many of the rediculous beliefs that can be found in the Ante-Nicene Fathers.

    Finally, even the Didache recognizes other modes as EXCEPTIONS to the rule which all admit to be immersion. Who gave them the right to make an exception? Not the Lord or the scriptures.

     
  5. Zenas

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    Sometimes I think I’m in a parallel universe with some of you. You see the word “Didache” and immediately you go off on a rant about it not being the inspired word of God. I didn’t say it was, in fact I don’t agree with a lot of what it says. However, we know it was written in Greek and we know it was written in the 1st of 2nd Centuries. Shouldn’t we be able to compare words in uninspired literature with the same words written in the same language at the same time in inspired literature? Of course we can, be it Plato’s Republic, or Sirach or the Didache. And my point is that the Greek word for baptism is sufficiently broad to include pouring.
     
  6. Zenas

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    You make a good point about immersion as showing the burial and ressurection of Christ. However, as stated in my previous post, the meaning of a Greek word will be the same whether used in Scripture or secular writings. Furthermore, do you baptize by immersion in living [running] water? A few small churches go to the creek or river to baptize but most of them do it indoors in a large container of tepid water. They didn't do it that way in the N.T.
     
  7. DHK

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    I disagree with you. But even if I give you the benefit of the doubt, and say it is, there is no way that the Bible could teach anything but immersion. The meaning of the word is just the nail in the coffin so to speak. One needs to look at all the other evidence as well.
    What does baptism picture:
    --the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    --our death to sin, and resurrection to a new life in Christ.
    --Romans 6:3,4 gives the above picture quite aptly. Pouring or sprinkling would destroy these pictures, and what is pictured in the Scripture.
    --The Ethiopian Eunuch went down into the water and came up out of the water. He was rich, a man of great means. If pouring or sprinkling were a possible means of baptism he could have used a canteen or something similar. No, instead they found a body of water big enough to be immersed.
    --Jesus baptized where there "was much water."
    In every instance there was "much water" that was required for baptism, and never was there any infants baptized.
     
  8. dan p

    dan p
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    What is the CONTEXT ???

    Hi DR Walter , one question on Matt 28:19 and 20 , Who is the CONTEXT written too ???
     
  9. ReformedBaptist

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    I think much damage can be done by arguing concerning the mode of baptism. The issue between infant baptism and believers baptism looms a bit larger because the issue is larger. But whether I sprinkle or pour or immerse is, as they say, not a hill I am willing to die on.

    This idea of an authorized administrator is also odd and troublesome to me. Where in Scripture does it teach that only an elder or deacon may administer the ordinances?
     
  10. Dr. Walter

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    The content defines its application. It was given to "disciples" (v. 16) to make disciples "until the end of the world." A "disciple" is defined by the disciple making process given - an instructed observing assembly of baptized believers.
     
  11. Dr. Walter

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    I think strong damage can be made by avoiding the mode of baptism. You destroy the gospel picture and thus pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you believe that baptism is a SYMBOL, then, the only value of a symbol is to correctly portray the TRUTH it is designed to symbolize. That truth is the gospel of Jesus Christ, His death, BURIAL and resurrection. Sprinkling and pouring cannot possibly convey that truth and therefore cannot be regarded as SYMBOLIC except for ERROR.

    The Greek langaugae provides a Greek term for sprinkle, "rantizo" and a Greek term for pouring "epicheo" but the scriptures NEVER use these terms even ONCE for this ordinance.

    You just s well join the Catholic Church if TRADITION is going to be your final authority for baptism.

     
  12. ReformedBaptist

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    I hope you did not take my questioning of you as an attack on your doctrine. I was sharing my thoughts and concerns regarding the mode of baptism. But I also asked where in Scripture does it tell us who are the proper administrators of the Lord's ordinances? I do not ask this question as a challenge, but rather as an inquirey.

    Also, let it be said that using tradition to be my final authority has never come into my heart. So, I am not sure where that reply originiated from except that you might have thought I was attacking your doctrine by my reply.
     
  13. Dr. Walter

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    The church is called the "house of God" in I Tim. 3:15 in the context of qualifications for church officers (I Tim. 3:1-13). This descriptive title "the house of God" in regard to those ordained to serve in it brought to the Jewish minds the very qualifications of those who were ordained by God to administer the ordinances in what had been recognized as "the house of God" for centuries among the Jews. The speaker is a ex Jewish Rabbi (Paul). The audiance or addressee is a Jewish young man that had been brought up in the Old Testament Scriptures by his Jewish mother and grandmother (Timothy) and was the ordained Pastor at Ephesus. This connection between the qualifications of the church offices and the description of the church as "the house of God" would not only bring up the affinity between the ordained ministry in the temple and their qualifications to a jewish man but all the implications of Deuteronomy 12.

    Those being directly commissioned to administer baptism in the Great Commission were the ordained leadership in the church at Jerusalem (Mt. 28:19-20) and it seems that the ordained leadership were the first to apply this commission in Acts 2:41-42.

    Every administration of Baptism after this giving of the Great Commission in the New Testament was administered by a church ordained man (Peter, Philip, Paul and Barnabas were ordained missionaries by the church at Antioch - Acts 13:1-3). The only exception to this rule is Ananias but even tradition has it that Ananias was the first Pastor of the church at Damascus.

    There is no Biblical support for women and children to administer the ordinances and there is no CLEAR Biblical support for unordained male members to administer the ordinances. Of course the church can "ordain" designate by church authority a male member to administer the ordinances as the church seems to be the final administrative authority in regard to the keys of the kingdom (Mt. 18:17-18 - PLURAL "you" in verse 18).
     

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