Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Immersion’

Salvation brings deliverance from sins

November 4, 2013 1 comment

Spurgeon 1“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;” that is, he shall have salvation from his old sins. He shall no longer be the slave of drunkenness; he shall get the love of swearing by the throat; he shall have his lying, his anger, his passion, under his feet. “He that believeth and is baptized” shall see all his old adversaries put to the rout; and what he could not do, through the weakness of his flesh, shall be done for him by the power of the Spirit of God; and by divine grace he shall master his sins. He shall begin to live unto God, under new impulses, strengthened with a new power, and so he shall be delivered from his old sins.

Charles H. Spurgeon-Baptism Essential to Obedience-Metropolitan Tabernacle-Lord’s Evening-Oct. 13, 1889

Baptism is the test of the sincerity of our profession of love to him

October 14, 2013 2 comments

Spurgeon 1And, dear friends, once more, baptism is often the test of obedience. He who believes in Christ takes him to be his Master as well as his Savior; and Christ, therefore, says to him, “Go and do so-and-so.” If the man refuses to do it, he thereby proves that he does not intend to be the disciple of the Master. “Oh!” says one, “you know that baptism is a nonessential.” Have I not begged you to cease such idle and wicked talk as that? Have you a servant? Do you go to business early in the morning? Do you like a cup of tea at six o’clock, before you start for the city? The maid does not bring it to you, and you ask, Why have I not had my tea brought to me?” “Oh!” she answers, it is non-essential; you can do your business very well without that cup of tea.” Let such a reply as that be repeated, or let it be given only once, and I will tell you what will be non-essential, it will be non-essential for you to keep that girl any longer in your house; you will want another servant, for you will say, “Clearly she is no servant of mine, she sets herself up as the mistress of the house, for she begins to judge my commands, and to say that this one is essential, and that one is not essential.” What do you mean by “nonessential”? “I mean that I can be saved without being baptized.” Will you dare to say that wicked sentence over again? “I mean that I can be saved without being baptized.” You mean creature! So you will do nothing that Christ commands, if you can be saved without doing it? You are hardly worth saving at all! A man who always wants to be paid for what he does, whose one idea of religion is that he will do what is essential to his own salvation, only cares to save his own skin, and Christ may go where he likes. Clearly, you are no servant of his; you need to be saved from such a disreputable, miserable state of mind; and may the Lord save you! Oftentimes, I do believe that this little matter of believers’ baptism is the test of the sincerity of our profession of love to him.

Charles H. Spurgeon-Baptism Essential to Obedience-Metropolitan Tabernacle-Lord’s Evening-Oct. 13, 1889

The reason we need to confess our faith

October 7, 2013 1 comment

Spurgeon 3But why is confession so necessary to prove true faith? I answer that it is necessary to the very existence of the Church of God; for, if I may be a believer, and never confess my faith, you may be a believer, and never confess your faith, and all round we should thus have a company of men believing, and none of them confessing; and where would be the outward ordinances of the Church of Christ at all? Where would be any minister? Where would be the setting up and growing of the kingdom of Christ? For a hundred reasons, it is absolutely needful for Christ’s kingdom that the believer should openly confess his faith. Do you not see that? And hence baptism, being God’s way of our openly confessing our faith, he requires it to be added to faith, that the faith may be a confessing faith, not a cowardly faith; that the faith may be an open faith, not a private faith; that so the faith may be a working faith, influencing our life, and the life of others, and not a mere secret attempt for self-salvation by a silent faith which dares not own Christ. Remember those words of the Lord Jesus, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me” (and in that place it means, “he who does not confess me”) “before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” There is, therefore, no regenerating efficacy about water, or about immersion, or about baptism in any shape or form; but it is needful as the outward visible expression of the inward spiritual faith by which the soul is saved.

Charles H. Spurgeon-Baptism Essential to Obedience-Metropolitan Tabernacle-Lord’s Evening-Oct. 13, 1889

A well known Paedo-baptist minister spoke concerning true baptism

September 27, 2013 5 comments

Robert_Lewis_Dabney[1]All parties are agreed, that baptism is the initiatory rite which gives membership in the visible Church of Christ. The great commission was: Go, and disciple all nations, baptizing them into the Trinity. Baptism recognizes and constitutes the outward discipleship. Least of all, can any Immersionist dispute this ground. Now, if all other forms of baptism than immersion are not only irregular, but null and void, all unimmersed persons are out of the visible Church. But if each and every member of a pedobaptist visible Church is thus unchurched: of course the whole body is unchurched. All pedobaptist societies, then, are guilty of an intrusive errors when they pretend to the character of a visible Church of Christ. Consequently, they can have no ministry; and this for several reasons. Surely no valid office can exist in an association whose claim to be an ecclesiastical commonwealth is utterly invalid. When the temple is non existent, there can be no actual pillars to that temple. How can an unauthorized herd of unbaptized persons, to whom Christ concedes no church authority, confer any valid office? Again: it is preposterous that a man should receive and hold office in a commonwealth where he himself has no citizenship; but this unimmersed pedobaptist minister so called, is no member of any visible Church. There are no real ministers in the world, except the Immersionist preachers.

The pretensions of all others, therefore, to act as ministers, and to administer the sacraments, are sinful intrusions. It is hard to see how any intelligent and conscientious Immersionist can do any act, which countenances or sanctions this profane intrusion. They should not allow any weak inclinations of fraternity and peace to sway their consciences in this point of high principle. They are bound, then, not only to practice close communion, but to refuse all ministerial recognition and communion to these intruders. The sacraments cannot go beyond the pale of the visible Church. Hence, the same stern denunciations ought to be hurled at the Lord’s Supper in pedobaptist societies, and at all their prayers and preachings in public, as at the iniquity of “baby sprinkling.” The enlightened Immersionist should treat all these societies, just as he does that ’Synagogue of Satan,’ the PapalChurch: there may be many good, misguided believers in them; but no church character, ministry, nor sacraments whatever.” Robert L. Dabney, A Systematic Theology, Chapter 41, “The Dogma unchurches all”

Robert L. Dabney was a famous and well known Pedobaptist Presbyterian minister in the 19th century.

There are many who are saved, despite the fact that they are in error concerning scriptural practices

September 20, 2013 1 comment

broadusChapter 9. Christian Union.

I have thus endeavored to show that the plain teaching of our English Bible, supported by the highest authorities as to Greek scholarship and by the testimony and practice of the living Greeks, cannot be set aside either by the authority of “the church,” the opinions of eminent individuals, or our own notions of convenience, nor yet by the attempts to establish a sacred, as quite different from the classical, sense of the term involved, nor by the strange and wild notions of a recent writer.

And now this protracted discussion shall close with a single remark, I have spoken long and earnestly of a controverted question – one of those which divide Christians. But I am a rejoicing believer in Christian Union. It is too common to speak of this as having no actual existence; to speak dolefully of our Lord’s prayer, “That they all may be one,” as not at all fulfilled. Certainly it is not completely fulfilled in the present state of things; but it is fulfilled as really, and in as high a degree, as the prayer which precedes it, “Sanctify them through thy truth.” Christ’s people are by no means completely sanctified; yet they are sanctified; and though not completely one, yet they are one. All who are truly his are one in him. Not only those belonging to what we call evangelical denominations, but many Romanists, for there are doubtless lovers of Christ among them, as there have been in past ages; and many of the Greek Church; and perhaps some Universalists and Unitarians; and Quakers, who reject all water baptism; and some who, from mistaken views, neglect to make any profession of faith, or as the phrase is, do not join any church; whoever and wherever they may be, though many of their opinions be erroneous and their practices wrong, yet if they are truly Christ’s people they are truly one in him.

Let nothing prevent us from clinging to this great fact and rejoicing in the thought of Christian unity. But assuredly it is desirable – eminently, unspeakably desirable – to have more of union, both in spirit and in organization. We who believe in the Bible ought to be standing together against the bold and arrogant infidelity which is coming in like a flood; we ought to be laboring together. Now such completer union, of spirit and of organization, is possible only on Scriptural grounds; only by taking the Bible as our sole authority, and the Bible as being a book for the people, in its plain meaning. All Christians, except the Quakers, make baptism a condition of church membership. And for the sake of a more complete and efficient Christian union, we urge upon our fellow Christians as the plain teaching of God’s word, that there is no baptism where there is not an immersion.

I close with the Apostle’s benediction, “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” (Eph. 6:24).

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

The absurd theory that immersion is not baptism

September 13, 2013 2 comments

broadusChapter 8. Dr. Dale’s Theory.

Before closing this long discussion, it is perhaps desirable to refer briefly to a new theory as to the act of baptism, put forward some years ago by Rev. Dr. Dale, a Presbyterian minister of Pennsylvania. In three volumes, and with great fullness of detail and elaborate ingenuity, he explains and defends his view, but the substance of his argument may be stated in comparatively few words.

As to the primary meaning of the word baptizo, Dr. Dale does not differ materially from Liddell and Scott. They say it means “to put in or under”; he says it is to put within, which he expresses by a manufactured word, “intuspose,” compounded from the Latin, and signifying “put within.” (Dr. Conant, in his treatise on “Baptizein,” has also given nearly the same definition: “In its literal use it meant to put entirely into or under a liquid, or other penetrable substance, generally water, so that the object was wholly covered by the enclosing element.”) This definition of Dale, and of Liddell and Scott, is doubtless more correct than that which has often been given, that the word primarily means “to dip frequently. ” But Dr. Dale goes on to insist that baptizo is always broadly different in its meaning from the simple word bapto, the basis on which it is formed; that bapto alone means to dip, and baptizo never signifies to dip, but only to put within, giving no intimation that the object is to be taken out again. (Does the word “dip” in itself denote that the object is to be taken out? lt is connected with deep, as the German taufen (the word for baptize) is with tief, and the Greek bath, the root of bapto, is with bath in bathus which means deep. See Curtius, Griechische Etymologie, s. 416.)

Bapto, according to him, would put an object in water and quickly take it out – but baptizo would put it in, and so far as the meaning of the term is concerned, would leave it there. Suppose it were granted that this was true; then we should have Christ commanding us to put men within or under water, as a religious ceremony, and, because he does not expressly add that we are to take them out again, we should be bound, forsooth, to let them remain there. If any of my esteemed brethren of other denominations should take this view of the matter, and request me to “intuspose” them, to put them within the water, in the name of our Redeemer, it may be assumed that my common sense and humanity will cause me to take them out again, as their own common sense and prudence will then lead them to go off and change their garments without needing an express command in either respect.

If, then, Dr. Dale were right in maintaining such a broad and invariable difference between bapto and baptizo, and right in advancing to maintain, laboriously and amusingly, a similar invariable difference between the English “dip” and “immerse,” and between the Latin tingo and mergo, all this would leave the practical duty the same. Let it be granted for the sake of argument, that dip and immerse are not only sometimes different, but always broadly different in the way maintained, still a command to immerse men in water would be practically plain enough for all who are trying to learn their duty. So the theory would all amount to nothing.

But such a broad and invariable difference between bapto and baptizo does not exist, any more than between the English words or the Latin words mentioned. Without discussing the numerous passages involved in this question, I merely mention a single one. Plutarch uses baptizo where be describes the soldiers of Alexander, on a riotous march, as by the roadside dipping (literally baptizing) with cups from huge wine-jars and mixing-bowls, and drinking to one another. Liddell and Scott say it here means to draw wine from bowls in cups, and add “of course, by dipping them.” This is the obvious meaning, which no one can well mistake; and Dr. Dale’s attempt to explain it away is simply amusing. Here, then, we have baptizo used precisely where Dr. Dale’s theory would call for bapto. And there are numerous other cases, not always so obvious, but equally real.

It is a common tendency in language, that a strengthened form of a word shall gradually take the place of the weaker. From bapto, to dip, came the verbal adjective baptos, dipped; and from this verbal adjective, by means of the termination-izo was formed bapt-izo, which we may clumsily describe as primarily meaning to diptize, to cause to be dipped, or to bring into a dipped condition, and may well enough render by put in, or under, or within. Being thus a stronger word, it is frequently used where the simple bapto would be less appropriate or less forcible. But by the tendency I have mentioned, the stronger word gradually came to be preferred to the weaker, with no substantial difference of meaning. The same thing has happened, still more completely, with the words signifying to sprinkle. From raino, to sprinkle, came rantos, sprinkled; and upon this verbal adjective was formed rant-izo, which would thus mean to cause to be sprinkled, or to bring into a sprinkled condition. But in this case there is never any practical difference in meaning between the simple and the derived form. In the classics we find only the simple raino; in later Greek writers and the Septuagint, both this and the stronger rantizo; in the New Testament, only rantizo; in modern Greek, both; and nowhere is any practical difference discernible.

There are other examples of the same sort. E.g., phantazomai, airetizo. The frequentative sense of some verbs, as hriptazo, kuptazo, is probably derivative from the causative or active sense described above. Another derivation would be the intensive sense, where the termination is frequently appended, not to the stem of the verbal adjective, but to the simple verb root, as in aiteo, “ask”; aitizo, “beg”; herpo, “crawl “; herpuzo, “creep.” Curtius gives some indirect support to this view (Griech. Etym., S. 553-55), but the terminations in – zo have never been thoroughly studied.

While bapto and baptizo did not (like raino and rantizo) become identical in meaning, but each has uses of its own, yet the stronger word came to be frequently employed in substantially the same sense as the weaker, seeing that the natural and common way of bringing a thing into a dipped condition is to dip it.

Thus far, then, Dr. Dale has made no important addition to our knowledge of the primary meaning of baptizo. He deserves the credit of having brought out that meaning more clearly than others, though he has not perceived its connection with the etymology. His attempt to establish a broad and invariable difference in meaning between it and the simple form bapto is a mistake, and even if he were right, it would make no practical difference as to the duty enjoined by baptizo. His elaborate efforts to show that Baptist writers, of different generations and countries, have differed in their views as to the mere theory of the word, prove nothing as to the real question at issue.

But Dr. Dale now takes an additional step which is novel and surprising. In the first place, he confounds the literal and figurative uses of the term in question, and substantially claims that in the literal use it can have no more definite sense than it has in the figurative – a process destructive of all exact interpretation. He then attempts to show that the word is used in three different senses: first, intusposition without influence, as when a stone is intusposed in water; second, intusposition with influence, as when a man is intusposed in water, and not being taken out – is drowned; third, influence without intusposition, so that whatever controllingly influences a thing may be said to baptize it. This last can only be called a figment of Dr. Dale’s fancy. By the same sort of process I could reduce to a nebulous condition the meaning of any word whatever. Anything which controllingly influences as to change its condition, may be described as baptizing that object. Thus if I should set fire to this piece of paper and change it to ashes, I should be baptizing it. If I hang a man, or stab him, or poison him, or corrupt his morals, I baptize him. This fanciful notion he attempts to support by a mass of painstaking, but utterly wild interpretation, such as can only excite one’s astonishment.

And the grand result of the whole discussion is, if possible, still more wonderful. Beginning with the position that baptize means immerse, he ends by maintaining that immersion is not baptism. This surpasses the jugglers. Here is the word baptize meaning immerse, or, if you prefer it, intuspose; now a few passes of logical and philological sleight of hand, and behold ! immersion, or intusposition, is not baptism at all. If you feel inclined to say the force of absurdity could no further go, be not too fast, for Dr. Dale, apparently fascinated by his fancies, has in his most recent production practiced an utter reductio ad absurdum upon his own theory.

Our blessed Lord speaks of his dreadful sufferings as a baptism, and also speaks of them as drinking a cup; and Dr. Dale deliberately infers that drinking a cup is baptism. I cannot hold this up to the sheer ridicule it deserves, because the subject is too sacred.

(In noticing one of Dr. Dale’s volumes on its appearance, the present writer predicted that in twenty years the work would be forgotten, and it seems to be coming true.)

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

Some appeal to the baptism of the Spirit to show that baptizo means something other than immersion

September 6, 2013 1 comment

broadusChapter 7-5: Baptizo – Classical and Biblical.

But another class of persons endeavor to go deeper, not relying upon the opinions of others. They say, grant that the classical use of baptizo is as the lexicons mentioned teach, that it always means immerse, and kindred ideas; yet the Biblical use is very different, for in the Bible it certainly sometimes means sprinkle or pour. The attempt is made to show this from various passages; really, it seems that so many are tried because it is felt that none of them are exactly conclusive. I should be glad to go over all that have been thus appealed to, but time does not allow that, and I can only mention those which are most frequently relied on, or which seem most plausible.

(5) One more passage may be mentioned, which some think quite conclusive against immersion, viz.: “baptized with the Holy Ghost.” John the Baptist predicted that the mightier one who was coming would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Literally, it is “in the Holy Spirit,” and this primary and common signification of the preposition ought certainly to be retained unless it can be shown to be inappropriate. And just before his ascension our Lord said: “Ye shall be baptized with (in) the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” On the day of Pentecost this was fulfilled. “There came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them distributed tongues as of fire, and it sat on every one of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” And Peter, in defence and explanation of the speaking with tongues, says that this is that which was spoken through the prophet Joel, “I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh.” … Here a baptism with (in) the Spirit is promised, and the fulfillment is represented by a tongue-shaped flame of fire resting over the head of each person, and is afterwards described as a pouring out; therefore, we are told, there may be baptism without immersion.

Now if you contend that the symbol must be the same in the fulfillment as in the promise, pray notice that the Spirit is as truly represented by the sound which filled all the house, so that they were enveloped in it, as by the tongue-shaped flame over the head. But what is the sense of maintaining that when two symbols or images represent the same thing they must therefore be the same image or symbol? What was predicted as a baptism is afterwards described as a pouring. Well, if I say a man is bathed in pleasure, and presently speak of him as drinking from the cup of pleasure, would any one argue that the action of bathing is the same as drinking from a cup? Peter quotes the prophet as using the image of pouring, while our Lord had used the image of baptism; therefore pouring and baptism are the same thing. Christ is called a lamb, and is also called a shepherd; therefore a shepherd and a lamb are the same thing.

But some say it is absurd in itself to speak of immersion in the Holy Spirit. Why? You cannot conceive of this, and you can conceive of the Spirit as poured out. But both are of necessity figures. The Spirit was not literally poured out any more than men were literally immersed in the Spirit; and why is the one figure any harder to conceive than the other? Cannot you conceive of breath, wind (that is what the word Spirit, pneuma, means) as filling a space, and men immersed in it? Surely that is a perfectly conceivable figure. And does it not most strikingly represent the persons as completely brought under the influence of the Spirit, as encompassed, surrounded, pervaded by it? We are at present more familiar with the image of the Spirit as poured upon men, but how can one deny that the image of men as immersed in the breath of God is both conceivable and impressive?

Some other passages are occasionally brought forward as being supposed to yield an argument against immersion. I have mentioned those which are most relied on, and which look most plausible. And what do they amount to, when even cursorily examined? Remember, that it is necessary to find some case in which the word not only might, but must, have a different meaning. It is not enough to find passages in which some other idea would seem to you more appropriate, but to find one in which the established meaning of the word is quite impossible. If we abandon this great principle, all strict and sure interpretation of language comes to an end. And can it be said that the established meaning of baptizo, viz. : immerse, and kindred expressions is impossible because of the condition of the river Jordan, or the imagined scarcity of water at Jerusalem, or the immersion of cups and couches, or the baptism in the cloud and the sea, or the baptism in the Holy Spirit? You might prefer some other conception, but is the idea of immersion impossible in any of these cases? If not, it must stand.

Men who are determined to get rid of an unacceptable teaching can always raise some doubts as to the meaning of the plainest words. The Universalist works away at the word “everlasting,” until some minds grow confused, and those who wish to agree with him are misled. The Unitarian insists that instead of “and the Word was God,” it might be translated “and God was the Word.” The orthodox answer is that language is necessarily imperfect, and may sometimes be plausibly explained away by a skillful advocate. If God has mercifully given a revelation in human language, we should accept and follow its plain teachings, and not try to gather doubt around them, in order to escape conclusions which we do not fancy. And just this is what we say about the word baptize.

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism