What is Scriptural Baptism?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Tom Butler, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    The context of my question is the definition of scriptural baptism by your church.

    Your church will accept some baptisms as valid and thus qualifying for membership. Are there any that it will not accept?

    Is the mode important to your church?
    Is the design important?
    Is the subject important?
    Is the baptizer important?

    To put it another way, what are the circumstances under which your church (or you) would say to an applicant for membership, "sorry, you're baptism is in-valid. If you want to join with us, we'll have to dunk you?"

    I understand that some congregations accept what is commonly called "alien baptism" or "alien immersion." I'm interested in what baptism those congregations would reject.

    I'll share my views (which some of you already know) after you've had time to chime in and give everybody some grist for the debate mill.
     
  2. TCGreek

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    At my church only persons who have come to repentance and faith in Christ are the proper candidates of scriptural immersion.

    Yes, my church would accept alien immersions.

    We would reject what is termed infant baptism.
     
  3. David Lamb

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    The mode and the subject are important. What do you mean by "design"? The way in which the service is planned, or the intent of the service? "Design" could mean either.
     
  4. Brother Bob

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    We will only recieve a baptism from one of our own churches that make us the several Associations that we correspond with. Other than that, we do not receive "alien" baptisms at all.

    BBob,
     
  5. lbaker

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    This is pretty much what the church we attend practices. We have accepted an elderly gentleman who was supposedly too ill to be immersed at the time, and still hasn't been immersed, to my knowledge, although I'm not entirely comfortable with that decision.
     
  6. Tom Bryant

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    Yes, we will only baptize by immersion


    Yes, only those who have given testimony that they have been saved can be baptized.

    Not really, but they baptize under the authority of the church. We have had dads baptize their children. But we ask the church to authorize a dad to baptize. I wouldn't argue about this at all.

    Several circumstances:
    1. If a person was not saved when they were baptized.
    2. If any other mode other than immersion.
    3. If the church doing the baptism believed that baptism had some saving efficacy. This would include Roman Catholic
    4. If the church was not a Bible believing congregation or denomination. This would include cults.

    In terms of "alien" baptism, we accept other churches baptism if they meet the above criteria.
     
  7. Tom Butler

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    David, by "design" I mean what is the baptism designed to demonstrate? My view of the design of baptism is that it is a picture of the gospel; an outward demonstration of what has happened inside, so to speak.

    I also mean that it has no sacramental value, but is a first step of obedience for a new believer.
     
  8. TCGreek

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    Those are tricky ones when a person is too ill to be immersed.

    I guess a measure of grace is needed at that point. But if he can, the gentleman should be immersed.
     
  9. LeBuick

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    I hope Tom doesn't mind me adding this question to his thread... If so I can gladly start my own.

    Who is the baptism for? Is it for the Church to fulfill it's ordinance or so the believer can be in a right relation?

    I ask this question not as a trick but I have seen fellowships fall apart over the acceptance of what's termed "alien" baptism. Unlike circumcision we can't say proove it so we take apart the believers testimony and past belief's.

    So I wonder, who has the obligation of being baptized?

    Edited to add...

    What if one was circumcised but not Jewish, could they later be circumcised again?
     
    #9 LeBuick, Feb 18, 2008
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  10. Brother Bob

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    I say its for both. It for the one being baptized to answer a good conscious towards God, and its a doorway to the church. (here)

    They can't get membership without the baptism and we just do not accept anyone else's work for membership to our church. We do not question their salvation, just we require our own baptism for membership to our church.

    BBob,:wavey:
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    Brother Bob and I are pretty close in our view of baptism, although not quite. I (not speaking for my church) would accept as valid baptisms by some non-Southern Baptists churches (most IFBs, for instance). I would not accept baptisms from General Baptists, Free-Will Baptists and the like, mainly because they do not accept eternal security.

    If a non-Baptist church could demonstrate like faith and order, I could accept their baptism. Churches which practice infant baptism, do not hold to eternal security, believe baptism is sacramental and/or have an organizational hierarchy are not of like faith and order.

    I believe whoever performs the baptism must do so under the authority of a local church, to whom Jesus gave responsibility for administering the ordinances and protecting their integrity.

    I believe that local churches are the arbiters of what is valid baptism, and not individuals. It's a church ordinance, not a Christian ordinance.

    I hold that baptism is a pre-requisite for church membership and for participating in the Lord's Supper. I understand that some will call it a pre-requisite to church membershsip, but do not hold that it is the gateway to membership. I lean toward the gateway definition, but don't fall out with those who see it differently.

    Most of us Baptists will agree on the mode, the design and the subject of baptism. We tend to part ways over the imporance of the administrator (the local church). A lax view of the administrator's importance is to denigrate the local church. Jesus established it during his ministry, and shed his blood for those churches, and committed to them his instructions for preaching, teaching, worship, fellowship and ministry.

    It sounds sorta narrow to say it, but there are many religious organizations, with many believers in them, who are not true New Testament churches, and whose baptism is therefore unscriptural.
     
  12. LeBuick

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    Glad it was you who responded Tom so I don't feel like I'm thread jacking but you hit right on my point. If I believe in eternal security, despite the Church where I was baptized, if I believe then why would you reject my baptism. Is it the Churches belief or the believers belief?

    I know this passage deals with Jews vs Gentiles but I don't see why it doesn't apply here;

    Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
    23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
    24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
    25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
    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.
    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.


    So I guess my questions is really if there is one Jesus Christ how can there be other baptism's?
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    You've touched on what I think is the principal source of division among Baptists on baptism--who has the authority to baptize and who has the authority to judge the validity of your baptism.

    We are reluctant to say so in this cum-bah-yah age, but the fact is that some religious groups (or denominations) are not composed of true NT churches. They have nice, solid Christians in their membership, but they teach error, and thus are not churches. It follows that their baptism is in-valid, regardless of whether the individual believer thinks it is.

    Baptists are further reluctant to declare themselves as closest to what Christ and the Apostles taught and practiced. That would be narrow-minded, you see. And besides, we're all part of that Universal Church, anyway, aren't we.

    We're also reluctant to declare baptism as one of those major doctrines (because doctrines divide, of course), so we relegate it to secondary status, so we won't consider it worth arguing about.

    Do we Baptists not remember that all the persecution we have ever suffered has been because of baptism? It is the one doctrine that we ought to at least get right, because it is central to our identity.

    And yes, you're right. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. (Eph 1:5)
     
    #13 Tom Butler, Feb 19, 2008
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  14. TCGreek

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    Tom,

    You have raised some important issues, which should not be slighted.

    1. Personally, I think pastors, elders and deacons should be baptizing, but if there's a case where none is present then anyone can do the baptizing (grace allows for this--we need to get away from legalism).

    2. Yes, they teach error on baptism and are not fully NT churches, in the concept of that term.

    3. If adult immersion is what we see in the NT, then, yes, Baptists are on the right track. I believe adult immersion is what we see in the NT.

    4. Baptism is a major doctrine: Christ commanded it to his apostles, its throughout the book of Acts, throughout the Pauline writings and Peter even comes back to it in 1 Pet 3:21.

    5. Paul list baptism among the several Ones that believers should be diligent to maintain (Eph 4:4-6). I really do not think water-baptism should be slighted.

    6. From a church history standpoint, we have shed blood for what the Scriptures teach, and we should not relent for one minute.

    7. More than anything else, it is Scripture.

    Tom Butler, your post is brilliant. :thumbs:
     
  15. David Lamb

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    I know am probably nit-picking here, but don't we see baptism of believers rather than adults, in the New Testament? After all, what age is adult? In Uzbekistan, it is 14, Scotland 16, Tajikistan 17, England 18, Korea 19, Tunisia 20, Argentina 21, and in some American States, as I understand it, it depends on whether or not you are still at school. But I must not get pernickety! :tonofbricks:
     
  16. TCGreek

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    David Lamb,

    Thanks for the clarification. Yes, believers would be a better term to use.

    Thanks again. :thumbs:
     
    #16 TCGreek, Feb 19, 2008
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  17. Brother Bob

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    Eph 4:
    3: Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
    4: There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
    5: One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
    6: One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

    We hold this to be the Holy Ghost baptism to the inward man.

    Act 1:5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

    The water baptism is to the outward man and does not save you. If you do not already have the Holy Ghost baptism when you go to the water, we preach and believe, you go in a dry sinner and come out a wet one.

    We believe if we accept another's baptism, then we are accepting their doctrine and in most cases, do not know exactly what is their faith and belief entirely, so we hold to our own baptism. As I said, we do not question anyone's Holy Ghost baptism if they are a professing Christian, therefore we are not questioning their "one baptism", but we demand they be baptized by our brethren, to become a member of our churh.

    We receive several United Baptist all the time, and their belief is very close to ours, but their practice is not, so we do not accept their baptism either. Some United are very close to us in belief and practice, but we make no exceptions.

    Yes, we believe in total immersion. I have baptized in bathtubs, swimming pools, hospital tubs, in cases of sickness, where they were not able to go to the creek. We have had to have nurses hold their finger over holes in their throats while we baptize. We have had some extremely hard cases to take care of, but God seems to always make a way.

    We as a church, do not question anyone's salvation, but if they want membership with us, then its by baptism only, with full immersion. We do not believe this baptism to be the salvation baptism.



    BBob,
     
    #17 Brother Bob, Feb 19, 2008
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  18. Tom Butler

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    TC, thank for the kind words. I've extraced this comment from your post, because I think it speaks to authority.

    I think the church may authorize whom it will to baptize, even if it's an unordained laymen. As a general rule, however, it should fall to pastors, elders and deacons. My main point is that the church, as guardian of the integrity of the ordinances, must decide. Not some individual.
     
  19. TCGreek

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    Then, it's up to the local church. I can live with that. :thumbs:
     
  20. Brother Bob

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    ARTICLE 10. We believe that no Minister has the right to administer the ordinances and commands of the Gospel except such as are regularly ordained and baptized, and that by immersion by a legal administrator of the Gospel comes under the hands of a regularly chosen presbytery of the Church Association Order to all our churches.

    We do allow a "Lay person" to help with the baptism, in most of our churches.

    BBob,
     
    #20 Brother Bob, Feb 19, 2008
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