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Featured Is water baptism only a symbol and public profession?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Rebel1, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Member

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    If so, what about the Ethiopian eunuch? Why was he baptized immediately upon conversion? How was his baptism a public profession of faith, considering the location?

    Maybe water baptism is more -- an initial act of faith?
     
  2. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member

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    Baptism is something done *to* you, not *by* you. The Great Commission gives evidence of that. Jesus tells the 11 leaders of the church to go, teach, and baptize. Pietism has given us the idea that baptism is a "profession of faith". It's not a concept found in the pages of scripture.
     
  3. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Member

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    Is it only a symbol, in your view?
     
  4. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    It is a response of faith, the answer of a good conscience toward God.

    The biblical record reveals a surprising consistency on the subject, so the immediate baptism of the eunuch was no anomaly -- believers professed Christ and were then baptized, without lengthy delays as we often do today.

    [1] The day of Pentecost -- about 3000 gladly received the word and were baptized the same day (Acts 2:41)
    [2] Following Pentecost -- people were being saved and added to the church daily (Acts 2:47)
    [3] In Samaria -- when they believed, they were baptized (Acts 8:12)
    [4] Eunuch of Ethiopia -- believed and was then baptized (Acts 8:36,37)
    [5] Cornelius' gathering -- believed and were commanded to be baptized (Acts 10:44-48)
    [6] Lydia -- heard the truth and was baptized (Acts 16:14,15)
    [7] Philippian jailer -- baptized the very night he (and his family) believed; didn't even seem to wait until morning (Acts 16:31-33)
    [8] The Corinthians -- were baptized when they believed (Acts 18:8)
    [9] Twelve Ephesians -- heard the truth and were baptized (Acts 19:1-7)
    [10] Paul -- seems to be a possible exception, but notice that on the road to Damascus there was evidently none who could baptize him and when the Lord sent Ananias to tell him what to do, he was immediately baptized (Acts 9:5,9,18).

    Since being baptized is a command, delaying is an incorrect response.
     
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  5. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O. Well-Known Member
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    He was baptized directly upon his conversion because he asked to be.

    Phillip told him that if he believed, that he "may". Not that he had to. It was the eunuch's desire to be baptized.

    The Bible doesn't say that we are to baptize publicly or as a profession of faith. We are to be baptized after conversion, after salvation, because Jesus told us to.
     
  6. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member

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    The Bible speaks much more highly of baptism than most Baptists will admit, and less than most Presbyterians see.

    Therefore, I understand it to be more than strictly symbolic, which explains Christ's baptism, I think.
     
  7. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    The 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith speaks of the two ordinances of the Church as follows:

    Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
    1._____ Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world.
    ( Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:26 )

    2._____ These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.
    ( Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 4:1 )

    Chapter 29: Of Baptism

    1._____ Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.
    ( Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2;12; Galatians 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4 )

    2._____ Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.
    ( Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36, 37; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 18:8 )

    3._____The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
    ( Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38 )

    4._____Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance. ( Matthew 3:16; John 3:23 )

    Baptism is a means of grace in the life of the believer. When we consider our baptism we consider our passing from death to life. We consider what Christ did on our behalf. Our faith is strengthened. In this way, baptism is not just a thing we do in obedience to Christ. It is a means of continued grace to the believer; something we can look back on as a defining moment as to what we confess as a Christian.
     
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  8. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member

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    This is a key point. Baptism is receiving, not giving. We identify with the death of Christ and the benefits of it in baptism.

    Pietists turn even the gift of baptism into a work.
     
  9. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    Personally I have a problem with the terms "means of grace." To me it smacks of sacerdotalistic sacrementarianism.

    To me baptism is like a wedding ring. An unmarried man may wear a wedding ring but that does not make him married. A married man may not wear a wedding ring but that does not make him unmarried.

    But when a married man wears a wedding ring he sends a message to all that he is taken. He belongs to another.

    While at the same time it reminds him that he has taken a vow to love, honor, and cherish his wife so long as they both shall live.

    Our baptism reminds others that we belong to another while it reminds us that we own true faith and allegiance to Christ.

    To me baptism is like the Lord's Supper, a Remembrance. Luke 22:19.
     
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  10. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    I view the term the way the Reformers did. The Reformers distanced themselves as far from Roman Catholicism as they could, but that did not mean they shied away from the spiritual benefits of the sacraments (ordinances). Rightly understood, baptism and the Lord's Supper do strengthen the faith of believers. Sacerdotalism is more of reality in the Lord's Supper when the elements are viewed as having intrinsic spiritual value, which they do not.
     
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  11. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    Yes, check out this Westminter Confession statement on baptism not adapted by the Baptist Confession of 1689:

    The 1689 London Baptist Confession over and over rejected its source text's (Westminster Confession) use of the term sacrament, using ordinance instead.
     
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  12. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I believe it is a part of Christian conversion - not to salvation but no less a part of conversion (the Spirir testifying, as you point out, as an act of faith).
     
  13. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    Which is one of the reasons I am not Reformed. When the Reformers came (or were kicked) out of the Church of Rome they brought way too much of the furniture with them. :)
     
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  14. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Well, we will just have to agree to disagree. Won't we? :)
     
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  15. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Member

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    Some really excellent answers here. Thanks to all of you!
     
  16. David Kent

    David Kent Active Member
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    If you are not reformed does that mean you are in some ways still attached to the RCC?
     
  17. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member

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    Very little biblical backing for some of the assertions in this thread. . .

    Here are some direct texts which cover the subject, and I see no talk of "remembrance", or "symbol" in them.

    This is a very direct statement comparison of baptism with Noah's Ark, which saved its passengers.


    "because [fn] they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ," [1 Peter 3:20-21]​

    Baptism, "for the forgiveness of your sins" is common language used in these texts. Again, no mention of "public profession of faith" or anything like that.

    "And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." [Acts 2:38]​

    "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name." [Acts 22:16]​

    "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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]

    "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit." [1 Corinthians 12:13]
    If baptism is a symbol of anything, it is a symbol of our dying with Christ. It is not a proclamation of our strength or commitment. It's just the opposite. It reminds us of His work and His faithfulness.

    "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death . . .For if we have been united with him in a death like his"
     
    #17 thatbrian, Dec 24, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
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  18. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Not at all - it means exactly what TC said - see -
    The Reformers and their Stepchildren
     
  19. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    This seems to be based on the RCC error that Christianity did not exist outside of the Catholic Church. But even if this were true it would not mean that all who departed from the RCC were either Reformed or remained somehow attached to RCC doctrine.

    There were many who argued that the Reformers remained far to attached to the RCC in terms of doctrine to be biblical. This was the argument of the "Radical Reformation". Much later this became the argument of many Baptist churches and leaders. In my denomination - the SBC - J.R. Graves, R.B.C. Howell are examples.

    We also cannot ignore that if a doctrine is formed as a reaction to Roman Catholic Doctrine it will retain an element of the doctrine it opposes. It will forever be "attached" to the doctrine it seeks to invalidate simply because the adverse itself constitutes its existence.
     
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  20. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Having been water baptized I can assure you that the only thing that happened in addition to my profession of faith was that I got wet. :)

    Now when I was spiritually baptized into Christ, a great many things happened, (1) made alive together with Christ, (2) made perfect, (3) made righteous, (4) justified, (5) saved, (6) made holy and blameless, (7) born anew, (8) made a new creature, (9) predestined to adoption, (10) predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ and (11) became a saint indwelt forever.
     
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