Why only two ordinances?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by MikeinGhana, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    The majority of Baptists believe that there are only two ordinances for the local church: baptism by immersion and the Lord's Supper. Why is this so? Feel free to discuss why foot washing is or is not to be considered an ordinance.
     
  2. rlvaughn

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    Interesting topic, Mike. I look forward to the discussion.

    I see baptism and the Lord's supper as standing out over and above any other rites or symbolic practices of the apostles and New Testament churches. But there were some others - right hand of fellowship, laying on of hands, feet washing, anointing with oil, headcovering, and perhaps others. I do not see that observing the others poses any threat to the value and importance of baptism and the Lord's supper. Of course, there might be some argument as to whether we should observe the others. I think Baptists almost universally observe some form of the right hand of fellowship and laying on of hands.

    I think the fixated idea of "two ordinances" carries a certain amount of man's contrivance. The two are not so termed in the New Testament, as far as I can tell. Neither are they the only two things ordained by God. I believe Paul refers to husbands & wives staying together and related matters as "ordained" in I Cor. 7, and governmental authority in Rom. 13.

    Many people would look to I Cor. 11:2 for the terminology - Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. Interesting that the headcovering follows shortly in the discussion. "Ordinance" there appears to be tradition (Paradosis, a passed down teaching), which can be good or bad according to who passed on the instruction (good in the case of I Cor. 11 & II Thess.).

    The Philadelphia Confession of faith by Baptists in America in 1742 added articles (to the former London 1689) on singing of psalms and laying on of hands as ordinances. I wonder if they gave the term "ordinance" the same prominence of meaning we place on the word today?

    P.S. - I don't mean I object to the term ordinance; just don't have an obsession with it in relation to these two symbols/commands. It is useful in discussions because it is a common theological term.

    [ December 14, 2005, 06:20 PM: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  3. Johnv

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    All Baptists are required to believe in the two ordinances. It's one of the Baptist Distinctives. If we pick and choose the distinctives, we're not really Baptist.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    Mike,

    These two are what was "ordered" by the Lord hence the idea of "ordinance."

    And they reflect or give a picture of the Gospel in the Lord's death, burial, and resurrection.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  5. TomVols

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    All Baptists are required to believe in the two ordinances. It's one of the Baptist Distinctives. If we pick and choose the distinctives, we're not really Baptist. </font>[/QUOTE]I don't recall being "required" to believe in these two before I got my Baptist decoder ring [​IMG]
     
  6. MikeinGhana

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    Yes Johnv I would say I have to agree with more with Tomvols on this. As you well know there are many Baptists who do not agree with every doctrinal or practical issue. Certainly there are no official requirements to sign on the dotted line to be a Baptist.

    I like what was stated above that the two ordinances usually accepted both picture the gospel. Foot washing certainly does not. In fact it pictures the sanctified life of a servant which comes after salvation.
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    Those bubble gum machine rings have lower standards. All you need is a quarter :D

    Baptism and Lord's Supper are the NT ordinances because they are the only ones with saving symbolism that Christ commanded to be perpetuated. Foot washing (the one usually included as a possible third) doesn't have saving symbolism and was not commanded to be perpetuated.
     
  8. Gold Dragon

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    The footwashers disagree because of these verses.

    Dispensationalist may say Jesus is only talking to the disciples. However, this is no more evident than the communion and baptism commands.

    My church and myself do not practice footwashing as a third ordinance although we do use it often as a powerful image of our servanthood towards each other.
     
  9. El_Guero

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    I have always wondered why marriage did not make the list . . .
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    But "these verses" do not give any saving symbolism. Remember, saving symbolism is one requirement for an ordinance. There are a lot of things that Christ commanded that aren't "ordinances." His command is not the only consideration.

    But I have never seen dispensationalism enter into the foot washing discussion.
     
  11. Gold Dragon

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    Could you give examples of this "saving symbolism" for baptism and communion?

    That simply seems to be the default answer from dispensationalists for things in the gospels that they disagree with.
     
  12. PastorSBC1303

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    :confused:
    Where was that commanded to follow as the Lord's Supper and Baptism?
     
  13. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Baptism in Rom 6 -- buried in death, raised in newness of life; communion in 1 Cor 11 -- participating in his death.

    Historical context is always very important. It is also important to note that "things they disagree with" is not the issue at hand in the gospels. The question is different.
     
  14. rlvaughn

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    To say that baptism and the Lord's supper are the two ordinances because of the saving symbolism or that they picture the Lord's death, burial, and resurrection certainly has merit. But we should understand that this is an explanation of us working from the present backwards to try and understand why these two stand out, rather than that the Bible specifically addresses it in such a manner.

    Probably, if we all consider with, we would agree that saying that there are two ordinances, baptism and the Lord's supper, is a way that we try to exalt and distinguish these two practices. Certainly there is no command, "Thou shalt have two ordinances, baptism and the Lord's supper." The absence of such a command does not mean these two do not hold an important place over and above other New Testament symbols. Their meaning, coupled with the fact that they stand out both in practice and instruction, indicate it is so, IMO.

    Nevertheless, it does not follow that other New Testament symbols or rites are unimportant and/or should not be observed. Feet washing is in fact commanded, though some interpret it spiritually.

    To Johnv's post, I would add that there has always been a minority opinion among Baptist that there are more than two ordinances. Whoever came up with the Baptist distinctives acrostic obviously didn't agree with the minority.
     
  15. tenor

    tenor
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    Where is that command?

    Not attacking, just asking.
     
  16. gb93433

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    Only is you have cow pies between your toes.
     
  17. Johnv

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    The BDR's are on backorder.

    The Baptist Distinctives are not optional for Baptists. They are compulsory. We don't get to pick and choose them.

    Issues aside from the distinctives fall within the distinctive of local autonomy. But if the distinctives are optional, then why do we bother having them?
     
  18. rlvaughn

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    John 13:13-15 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
     
  19. tenor

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    Thank you, I'll have to ponder this one.
     
  20. MikeinGhana

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    The dictinctives are just that because they are Bible doctrines that are very important. Just because they neatly fit the acrostic B-A-P-T-I-S-T-S does not mean they are exclusive to a certain theological demonination or group.

    Not everyone who holds to these doctrines are Baptists. Not all Baptists hold to these doctrines the way you and I might (John). Do all SBC churches hold to the autonomy of the church the way we might? Do the liberal Baptists hold to the sole authority of the scripture the way we might? Do the Landmarkers hold to the soul liberty doctrine the way you and I might? I think probably not.
     

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