Posts Tagged ‘John A. Broadus’

John Albert Broadus

broadus(b. Culpeper County, Va., Jan. 24, 1827; d. Louisville, Ky., Mar. 16, 1895). Scholar, teacher, preacher, and denominational leader. The fourth child of Major Edmund and Nancy (Sims) Broadus, he came into a home which, though not wealthy, was distinguished by intelligence, culture, and piety. When he was about 16, he was converted. His early education had been at home and in a private school. From 1844 to 1846 he taught in a small school and engaged in disciplined independent study. In the fall of 1846 Broadus entered the University of Virginia to prepare for the ministry, receiving the M.A. degree in 1850. During the next year he taught in a private school in Fluvanna County, Va., preached in small country churches, and diligently studied church history, theology, sermons, and the Bible. During this year two notable events occurred-his ordination, Aug. 12, 1850, and on Nov. 13, 1850, his marriage to Maria Harrison, a daughter of Gessner Harrison (1807-62), professor of ancient languages at the University of Virginia.

Calls of various kinds came to the young teacher, and he finally accepted the post as tutor in Latin and Greek at his alma mater and pastor of the Baptist church at Charlottesville. After one year he resigned his teaching position in order to devote full time to his pastorate. This he did with the exception of two years when he was given a leave of absence to serve as chaplain at the University of Virginia.

In 1858 Broadus was asked to become a member of the faculty of the new Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Though he had a part in planning the institution, he declined the offer because of his attachment to preaching and pastoral work. After months of struggling with the decision, he agreed to become a member of the first faculty when the seminary opened in Greenville, S. C., in 1859. For the next 36 years he was professor of New Testament interpretation and homiletics, and his life was inextricably bound to the school.

While the seminary was closed during the Civil War, Broadus preached in small churches and spent some time as chaplain in Lee’s army in northern Virginia. When the seminary reopened in 1865, it struggled for existence and remained open largely because of the heroic efforts of Broadus and James Petigru Boyce (1827-88). However, during this period of stress and strain, Broadus did some of his best work. In 1870 he published On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, a book which has become a classic in its field. Broadus received nationwide recognition as a preacher and teacher and was offered many influential pastorates, professorships, and other positions.

The last years of Broadus’ life brought increasing recognition. He published the following works: Lectures on the History of Preaching(1876, revised, 1896); Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (1886); Sermons and Addresses (1886); Jesus of Nazareth (1890); Memoir of James Petigru Boyce (1893); Harmony of the Gospels (1893); twenty or more pamphlets, tracts, etc.; and many periodical articles. In 1889 he gave the Yale Lectures on Preaching and is the only Southern Baptist ever to be accorded this honor. He died Mar. 16, 1895, almost at the zenith of his fame, and was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Ky.

Biographical Sources:

Robertson, A. T. Life and letters of John Albert Broadus, 1901.

Bogard, Ben Marquis. Pillars of orthodoxy, 1900.

“John A. Broadus” Shapers of Southern Baptist Heritage – Southern Baptist Historical Society.

Archival sources in Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives

Broadus, John A. Collection. MF 1308.

Broadus, John Albert. Addresses, essay, lectures. MF 5899.

Broadus, John Albert. Daybook, 1857-1894. MF 1308-1.

Compere, Ebenezer Lee. Papers, 1852-1945. AR. 2.


1998, Southern Baptist Historical Library & Archives



Source [Reformed Reader]

Should Women Speak In Mixed Public Assemblies?

By John A. Broadus, D. D., L.L.D.

There is at present a strong tendency in some parts of our country to encourage women in the practice of public discourse to mixed assemblies. This connects itself more or less, with the movements for female suffrage, though some strongly favor the one who are opposed to the other. Christian civilization has by degrees greatly elevated the female sex; and now the demand is, in many quarters, that women shall be encouraged to do, if they like, anything and everything that men do. On the other hand, many of both sexes are persuaded that the Holy Scriptures, which have been the chief cause of the elevation of women, place certain restrictions about their public activities, and enjoin some kind of subordination of wife to husband. The question arising in connection with these movements of opinion and practice are many and various, and some of them appeal to powerful human prejudices and sentiments. It is by no means proposed that this tract shal1 take the wide range thus indicated. It will be confined to the question raised at the outset, and to the limitations with which that question is stated; and will be chiefly occupied with an attempt to explain the passages of scripture which appear to forbid women speaking in mixed assemblies. No thoughtful person would like to profess that in our country at the present moment he can make this investigation in a completely impartial and dispassionate manner; but it is obviously very desirable that writer and readers in such a case should earnestly strive to deal fairly with their own minds and with the truth of God.




Read the entire article here.

Part7-Objections Considered and Answered

October 3, 2014 1 comment

Many are the objections brought against this doctrine. Sometimes the objectors are loud and furious. Alas! that so many of these objectors are in Baptist ranks. To preach this old-fashioned doctrine of our faith as did Bunyan, Fuller, Gill, Spurgeon, Boyce, Broadus, Pendleton, Graves, Jarrell, Carroll, Jeter, Boyce Taylor and a host of other representative men of our denomination is to court the bitterest kind of opposition. John Wesley himself never said harsher words against this blessed tenet of our faith than do some so-called Baptists of today. Arminianism that offspring of popery, has had an abnormal growth in the last decade or two as the adopted child of a large group of Baptists.

1. IT IS OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION LIMITS GOD’S MERCY. Right here we criticize the critic, for he who makes this objection limits both God’s mercy and power. He admits that God’s mercy is limited to the believer, and to this we agree; but he denies that God can cause a man to believe without doing violence to the man’s will, and thus he limits God’s power. We believe that God is able to give a man a sound mind (#2Ti 1:7) and make him willing in the day of His power. (#Ps 110:2) At this point we must face two self-evident propositions. First, if God is trying to save every member of Adam’s fallen race, and does not succeed, then His power is limited and He is not the Lord God Almighty. Second, if He is not trying to save every member of the fallen race, then His mercy is limited. We must of necessity limit His mercy or His power, or go over boots and baggage to the Universalist’s position. But before we do that, let us go “to the law and to the testimony,” which says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion…Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy and whom He will He hardeneth” (#Ro 9:15-18). It needs to be said for the comfort and hope of great sinners, that God’s mercy is not limited by the natural condition of the sinner. All sinners are dead until God makes them alive. He is able to take away the heart of stone. No man is too great a sinner to be saved. We can pray for the salvation of the chief of sinners with the assurance that God can save them if He will. “The King’s heart is in the hands of the Lord as the river of water; He turneth it whithersoever He will” (#Pr 21:1). We rejoice to say with Jeremiah that there is nothing too hard for God. We can pray for the salvation of our loved ones with the feeling of the leper, when he said, “Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean” (#Mt 8:2). When Robert Morrison was about to go to China, he was asked by an incredulous American if he thought he could make any impression on those Chinese. His curt reply was, “No, but I think God can.” This should ever be our confidence and hope when we stand before sinners and preach to them “CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED”.

2. ANOTHER OBJECTION TO ELECTION IS THAT IT MAKES GOD UNJUST. This objection betrays a bad heart. It would obligate the CREATOR to the CREATURE. It makes salvation a divine obligation. It denies the right of the potter over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel to honour and another to dishonour. By the same parity of reasoning it makes the governor of a sovereign state unjust when he pardons one or more men, unless he empties the prison and turns all the prisoners loose. Our view of election is in harmony with what even the Arminians allow to be proper and just for a human governor. All can see that a governor, by pardoning some men, does not harm others, who are not pardoned. Those who are not pardoned are not in prison because the governor refused them a pardon but because they were guilty of a crime against the state. Isn’t God to be allowed as much sovereignty as the governor of a state? Salvation, like a pardon, is something that is not deserved. If it were deserved, then God would be unjust if He did not bestow it upon all men.

Salvation is not a matter of justice but of mercy. It wasn’t the attribute of justice that led God to provide salvation but the attribute of mercy. Justice is simply each man getting what he deserves. Those who go to hell will have nobody to blame but themselves, while those who go to heaven will have nobody to praise but God. #Ro 9:22,23

3. IT IS AGAIN OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION IS AGAINST THE DOCTRINE OF WHOSOEVER WILL. But the objector is wrong again. Our view explains and supports the doctrine of “WHOSOEVER WILL”. Without election the invitation to “WHOSOEVER WILL” would go unheeded. The Bible doctrine of “WHOSOEVER WILL” does not imply the freedom or ability of the human will to do good. The human will is free, but its freedom is within the limits of fallen human nature. It is free like water; water is free to run down hill. It is free like the vulture; the vulture is free to eat carrion, for that is its nature, but it would starve to death in a wheat field. It is not the buzzard’s nature to eat clean food; it feeds upon the carcasses of the dead. So sinners starve to death in the presence of the bread of life. Our Lord said to some sinners, who were in His very presence “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life” (#Joh 5:40). It is not natural for a sinner to trust in Christ. Salvation through trust in a crucified Christ is a stumbling block to the Jew and foolishness to the Greek; it is only the called, both Jews and Greeks, who trust it as the wisdom and power of God. #1Co 1:23,24

Here is a physical corpse. Is it free to get up and walk around? In one sense, yes. It is not bound by fetters. There is no external restraint. But, in another sense, that corpse is not free. It is hindered by its natural condition. It is its nature to decompose and go back to dust. It is not the nature of death to stir about. Here is a spiritual corpse—a man dead in trespasses and sins. Is the man free to repent and believe and do good works? Yes, in one sense. There are no external restraints. God does not prevent but offers inducements through His Holy Word. But the corpse is hindered by its own nature. There must be the miracle of the new birth, for except a man be born from above he cannot see or enter into the Kingdom of God. #Joh 3:3-3:5

It is painful to some of us to see our brethren forsake the faith of our Baptist forbears at this point and join the ranks of the Roman Catholics and other Arminians. If anyone doubts this charge let him read the article of faith adopted by the Catholics at the council of Trent (1563). I quote their statement on the freedom of the human will—”If anyone shall affirm that since the fall of Adam man’s free-will is lost, let him be accursed.” But alas, in this day, such a spirit is not confined to the Roman Catholics. Horatius Bonar makes the following quotation from John Calvin: “The Papist theologians have a distinction current among themselves that God does not elect men according to their works which are in them but that He chooses them that He foresees will be believers.”

Ah, the real trouble with the objector is not election; it is something else. His real objection is to total depravity or human inability to do good. I can do no better here than to quote from Percy W. Heward of London, England. He says, “It seems to me that the majority of objections to God’s sovereign grace, to God’s electing love, are actually objections to something else, namely objections to the fact that man is ruined. If you probe beneath the surface you will find that very few object to election. Why should they? Election harms no one. How can the picking of a man out of doom harm anyone else? The real objection at the present day is not to election, though that word is made the catchword of sad controversy—the real objection is to that fact which is revealed in Psalm 51, that we are shapen in iniquity, that we are born sinners by nature, dead in sins, until, as we read concerning Paul in Galatians 1, “It pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace to reveal His Son in me…” Ah, beloved friends, we deserve nothing but doom. Acknowledge this and election is the only hope. Acknowledge that we are poor lost sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, only evil continually; acknowledge that there is in man no natural spark to be fanned into a flame but that believers are born again of incorruptible seed which the Lord places; acknowledge that if anyone is in Christ that there is a new creation, for we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus; -and election must be at once recognized.”

Every real believer on his knees subscribes to our view of election. You cannot pray ascribing some credit to self. Sovereign grace will come out in prayer though it may be left off the platform. No saved man will get down on his knees before God and claim that he made himself to differ from others who are not saved, but with Paul he says, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” And in praying for the lost we supplicate God to convict and convert them. We do not depend upon the freedom of their wills but beg God to make them willing to come to Christ, knowing that when they come to Christ He will not cast them out. #Joh 6:37

A Methodist minister once went to hear a Presbyterian minister preach. After the sermon, the Methodist said to the Presbyterian, “That was a pretty good Arminian sermon you preached today.” “Yes,” replied the Presbyterian, “We Presbyterians are pretty good Arminians when we preach and you Methodists are pretty good Calvinists when you pray.” MORE TRUTH THAN POETRY HERE

4. IT IS ALSO OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION IS A NEW DOCTRINE AMONG MISSIONARY BAPTISTS. The fact is that it is so old-fashioned that it has about gone out of fashion . The ignorance betrayed in such a claim is indeed pitiable. In refutation we resort to two sources of information (a) Confessions of faith; (b) Statements of representative preachers and writers.


The Waldenses declare themselves as follows: “God saves from corruption and damnation those whom He has chosen from the foundation of the world, not from any disposition, faith or holiness that He foresaw in them, but His mere mercy in Christ Jesus His Son, passing by all the rest according to the irreprehensible reason of His own free-will and justice.” THE DATE OF THIS CONFESSION WAS 1120 !

The London Confession (1689) and the Philadelphia Confession (1742) read as follows: “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined or foreordained to ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace; others being left to act in their sins to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.”

The New Hampshire Confession (Article 9): “We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God according to which He graciously regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free-agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of His free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.”


John A. Broadus, former president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary: “From the divine side, we see that the Scriptures teach an eternal election of men to eternal life simply out of God’s good pleasure.”

A.H. Strong, former president of Rochester Theological Seminary: “Election is the eternal act of God, by which in His sovereign pleasure, and on account of no foreseen merit in them, He chooses certain of the number of sinful men to be recipients of the special grace of His Spirit and so to be made voluntary partakers of Christ’s salvation.”

B.H. Carroll, founder and first president of the Southwestern Baptist Seminary: “Every one that God chose in Christ is drawn by the Spirit to Christ. Every one predestined is called by the Spirit in time and justified in time, and will be glorified when the Lord comes.” Commentary on Romans, page 192.

J.P. Boyce, founder and first president of Southern Baptist Seminary: “God, of His own purpose, has from eternity determined to save a definite number of mankind as individuals, not for or because of any merit or works of theirs, nor of any value of them to Him; but of His own good pleasure.”

W.T. Conner, professor of theology, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas: “The doctrine of election means that God saves in pursuance of an eternal purpose. This includes all the gospel influences, work of the Spirit and so on, that leads a man to repent of his sins and accept Christ. So far as man’s freedom is concerned, the doctrine of election does not mean that God decrees to save a man irrespective of his will. It rather means that God purposes to lead a man in such a way that he will freely accept the gospel and be saved.”

Pastor J.W. Lee, of Batesville, Miss.: “I believe that God has foreordained before the foundation of the world that He would save certain individuals and that He ordained all the means to bring about their salvation on His terms. Men and women are not elected because they repent and believe, but they repent and believe because they are elected.”

To the above list of well known and honoured Baptists we could add quotations from Gill, Fuller, Spurgeon, Bunyan, Pendleton, Mullins, Dargan, Jeter, Eaton, Graves, and others too numerous to mention. It is sadly true that many of our pastors hold election as a private opinion and never preach it. We personally know a number of brethren who say that election is clearly taught in the Bible, but that we cannot afford to preach it, because it will cause trouble in churches. This is worse than compromise: it is surrender of the truth. It is a spirit that leads preachers to displease God in order to please men. The writer believes that silence upon this subject has wrought more harm than open opposition to it. Those who openly oppose election will, sooner or later, make themselves ridiculous in the eyes of all Bible loving Baptists.

5. IT IS FURTHER OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION MAKES MEN CARELESS IN THEIR LIVING. It is said that belief in the doctrine leads men to say, “If I am elect, I will be saved; if I am a non-elect I will be lost, therefore, it matters not what I believe or do.” The same objection has been persistently made against the doctrine of the preservation of the saints. This is bald rationalism. It is the setting of human reason against divine revelation. It takes no account of the operation of the grace of God in the human heart. If Baptists surrender election on such a ground, to be consistent, they will have to surrender the doctrine of preservation on the same ground. Election does not mean that the elect will be saved whether they believe on not, nor does it mean that the non-elect will be damned regardless of how much they may repent and believe. The elect will be saved through repentance and faith, and both are gifts from God as already shown; the non-elect do not repent and believe.

The objection we are now considering is simply not true to fact. Believers in election have been and still are among the most godly. Augustus Toplady challenged the world to produce a martyr from among the deniers of election. The Puritans, who were so named because of the great purity of their lives, with few exception (if any), were believers in personal, eternal, unconditional election, and of course, in the security of the believer. Modernism, that spawn of the pit, is rapidly adding to the number of its adherents, but they are coming from the ranks of Arminianism. Others have challenged the world to find a single Higher Critic, or a single Spiritualist, or a single Russellite, or a single Christian Scientist, who believes in the absolute sovereignty of God and the doctrine of election. Without an exception these awful heretics are Arminians to a man. This is a significant fact that is not to be winked at.

6. OBJECTORS CLAIM THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION DESTROYS THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS. They boldly assert that if unconditional election should find universal acceptance among us that we would cease to be a missionary people. There is an abundance of historical evidence with which to refute this claim. Under God, the father of modern missions was William Carey, a staunch Calvinist. Andrew Fuller, first secretary of the society that sent Carey to India, held tenaciously to our view of election. It did not destroy the missionary spirit of these men. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Belief in election did not destroy the missionary spirit in Judson, Spurgeon, Boyce, Eaton, Graves, Carroll and a host of other Baptist leaders. The Murray church, which Dr. J.F. Love called the greatest missionary church on earth, heard election preached by Boyce Taylor for nearly forty years. The greatest missionary churches among us today are those that have been purged from the heresies of James Arminius.

Election is the very foundation of hope in missionary endeavour. If we had to depend upon the natural disposition or will of a dead sinner, who hates God, to respond to our gospel, we might well despair. But when we realize that it is the Spirit that quickeneth, we can go forth with the gospel of the grace of God in the hope that God will cause some, by nature turned away, to be turned unto Him and to believe to the saving of the soul. Election does not determine the extent of missions but the results of it. We are to preach to every creature because God has commanded, and because it pleases Him to save sinners by the foolishness of preaching. We believe more in election than the Anti-mission Baptists. We believe that God elected means of salvation as well as persons to salvation. He did not choose to save sinners apart from the gospel ministry. #Ro 1:16

Election gives a saneness to evangelism that is greatly needed today. It recognizes that sinners “believe through grace” (#Ac 18:27) and that while Paul may plant and Apollos may water, God gives the increase. Arminianism has had its day among Baptists and what has it done? It has given us man-power, but robbed us of God’s power. It has increased machinery but has decreased spirituality. It has filled our churches with Ishmaels instead of Isaacs by its ministry of “sob stuff” and with the methods of the “counting house”.

If this little tract need further Scriptural support, the following Scriptures will give it: #Ps 65:4 Ac 13:48 Joh 6:37,44,45 17:1,2 Mt 11:25,26 1Co 12:3 2Co 10:4


Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part I-Bible Doctrine of Election

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

Some appeal to 1 Corinthians 10:1

August 30, 2013 1 comment

broadusChapter 7-4: 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.

(4) Another passage relied on by some is I Cor. 10:1: “That our fathers were all under the cloud, and all went through the sea, and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” This, we are told, cannot be understood as an immersion. Certainly, not a literal immersion. What happened to them was only something like baptism; and it was certainly quite as much like immersion as it was like sprinkling or pouring, and most people would think a good deal more so. They left the shore, and going down into the bed of the sea, with the sea on either side and the cloud above, they were in a position somewhat resembling baptism. And as Christians publicly began to follow Christ by being baptized unto him, so it may be said that the Israelites began following Moses by being baptized unto him in the cloud and in the sea. Some persons actually tell us there was a sprinkling or pouring, because of the poetical expression in Psalms 77:17: “The clouds poured out water.” Do they really believe the Israelites were made to cross the Red Sea during a pouring rain and a terrific storm of thunder and lightning? The Psalmist alludes in verse sixteenth to the division of the Red Sea, but then pauses to speak of the general phenomena of storms. At least, so it is explained in the commentary of Addison Alexander, the learned Presbyterian Professor.

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

Some argue that the word baptizo doesn’t always mean immerse in various passages of scripture

August 23, 2013 1 comment

broadusChapter 7-3: 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.

3. But besides these more general considerations, various particular passages are urged as showing that the word baptizo in the New Testament is not always taken in the classical sense of immerse and kindred ideas.

(i) The river Jordan is mentioned. I learn that some years ago a clergyman in South Carolina stated that the Jordan is quite too small a stream to admit of immersion. It is more than two hundred miles long, and in all the region where the baptizing is described as performed is very hard to ford, even at the lowest water of summer. On the other hand, an estimable minister who died some time ago in Kentucky, stated in a sermon that he had been to the traditional place of our Lord’s baptism, and that the bank is so steep and the current so swift and deep, and strong as to make immersion there impracticable. Now this honored gentleman perfectly knew that every spring, when the river is high as he saw it, in the week preceding Easter, there come four or five or seven or eight thousand pilgrims from all parts of the East, to this very place, the traditional place of our Lord’s baptism, and there these thousands – men, women, and children – do actually immerse themselves and one another in the river, not as baptism (for they have been immersed in infancy), but as a sacred bath at that holy spot. He knew as well as I do that this happens every spring at that very place, and yet it never occurred to him to connect that fact in his mind with his own timid notion that immersion would there be impracticable. I am satisfied he was a good man, and have no idea that he meant to deceive; but how strangely good men can sometimes manipulate their own minds. The traditional place is not particularly well suited to baptism when the river is high. As to the bank, it could be cut down and made perfectly convenient in an hour. But there are much better places higher up the Jordan toward the Sea of Galilee. I saw some which struck a practiced eye as admirably convenient and beautiful – and that may possibly have been one reason why John moved up the river, as he appears to have done.

(2) Much is said about the scarcity of water in Jerusalem rendering it unlikely that the three thousand, on the day of Pentecost, were immersed. This seems, to some unreflecting people, a very strong argument when they are told that around Jerusalem there is, in ordinary dry weather, no running stream whatever, except the little rivulet from the fountain of Siloam; that even the brook Kidron does not contain a drop of water except in the rainy season, and the city was supplied by aqueducts, pools, and cisterns. Accustomed to think, with the schoolboy, that it is a remarkable providence that great rivers so often flow by great cities, and having never studied the water arrangements of ancient Jerusalem, these persons very naturally say: “Why, certainly; in a city without a river, a city so scarce of water, they would not have spared enough for immersing three thousand men.” But only think a moment. Even if we knew nothing of the methods by which Jerusalem was actually supplied, here was a city of say two hundred thousand as its ordinary population, besides several hundred thousand visitors for a week at a time, during the feasts – a great population, with all their wants, including the washing of their clothes, and a people who attached extraordinary importance to ceremonial purifications and to personal cleanliness – and you say that in this great city they could not spare water enough for baptizing three thousand persons?

Besides, Jerusalem was repeatedly besieged. During the siege by Titus a vast multitude from the country crowded the space within the walls, and were kept enclosed there from April to September. There was scarcity of food, but , in none of the great sieges, not even in this last, of which we have so minute an account in Josephus, is there a word said about the scarcity of water in the city. In the one apparent exception, it is the besiegers that suffered from a scarcity of water (Josephus, Ant., 13, 8, 2). It is plain that Jerusalem must have possessed remarkable arrangements of some kind, giving an immense supply of water. And examination has sufficiently disclosed the character of these arrangements, as various writers have shown. (See especially a tract by Dr. G. W. Samson, “On the Water Supply of Jerusalem.” published by the American Baptist Publication Society.)

I will add, not as caring to lay any stress on it, that in observing the remains of the immense pool just outside of Jerusalem on the West, which Robinson identifies with the Lower Pool of Gihon, I was struck with its adaptation to baptism. The pool, six hundred feet long, was made by building two walls across the deep ravine, so as to retain the water brought down in the rainy season. The steep banks on either side present a succession of flat limestone ledges at various depths and often many feet wide, so that at whatever depth the water might be standing in the pool, there would be excellent standing room for a great number of persons, with the proper depth for baptizing. As there was an abundance of drinking water in the city from the cisterns and aqueducts, this pool was probably used for watering cattle and perhaps for washing clothes, while the limestone sides and bottom would keep it always clear. Persons who have educated themselves to dislike immersion might fear to stand on these ledges and practice it, but the Jews of that day were accustomed to purificatory immersions, and would have no fear nor difficulty.

(3) The gospel according to Mark (7:1-5) tells us that it was the custom of the Jews to baptize (immerse) themselves when they came from the market, and to baptize (immerse) cups, couches, etc. It is said with great confidence that of course this cannot have been immersion. But did you ever notice that if you understand it as merely washing (as in our version) you make the latter part of the evangelist’s statement feeble and almost meaningless?

Some Pharisees and scribes were watching Jesus and his followers, to find fault with them. And seeing some of his disciples eating bread without having washed their hands, they asked Jesus why his disciples did not walk in this matter according to the tradition of the elders. In narrating this the Evangelist Mark, who writes especially for Gentiles, pauses in the midst of the narrative to explain to his Greek and Roman readers that the Jews were very particular about this matter of washing the hands before eating, and washing them “with the fist,” scrubbing one hand with the other, that is, washing very carefully – observing the tradition of the elders. In fact, he says, they do something more remarkable than this; when they come from the market – where some unclean person or thing may have touched some portion of their body – they do not eat till they have immersed themselves. And he adds that many other things they have received by tradition to hold, immersions of cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and tables (or it should be “couches “). These practices were so wonderful, and gave such proof of the extreme scrupulosity of the Jews, that it is not strange the writer of the Gospel should have gone on to mention them, though nothing was necessary to explain his narrative but the first statement, that they did not eat without having washed their hands.

But if you say that the word baptizo, in the fourth verse, only means “wash,” as the word does in verse second and verse third, then what was the use of adding verse fourth at all? If, according to verse third, they do not eat without having carefully washed their hands, what is the use of adding that when they come from the market they do not eat unless they have washed? This certainly must mean something different from washing their hands, and something much more remarkable, or it would have been a waste of words, a very empty tautology, first to tell us that they do not eat at all, under any circumstances, without having carefully washed their hands, and then to add that when they come from market they do not eat without having washed. One would suppose not, if they wash before eating even when they have not been to market. Perhaps some one says, the washing in verse fourth means purifying, they purify themselves when they come from market. Of course it means a purification, but the washing of verse third means a purification too. That of verse fourth must be a different and more thorough purification, something more than the careful washing of hands, or else you make the inspired evangelist talk nonsense.

And notice the further addition. He goes on to tell his Gentile readers that these singular and scrupulous Jews have many other traditional observances, as immersions of cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and couches. Now if you say this cannot have been immersion, but only washing in some other way, then why should the sacred writer have gone so far away from the immediate subject of his narrative merely to say that the Jews washed cups and pots? Most people do. And if it be said the point is that this was a ceremonial washing, a religious purification of the articles mentioned, we may answer that that would not seem remarkable to the Romans. They practiced numerous lustrations. A Roman shepherd would sprinkle his sheep with water once a year, accompanied by sacrifices, to preserve them from disease and other evils. Why should Mark go out of his way to inform Romans that the strange Jews made lustrations of cups and couches? But understand baptizo in its own proper sense, and all becomes plain and forcible. The Jews not only wash their hands carefully before eating, but when they come from market, where they know not what may have touched some part of their persons, they immerse themselves; and this suggests, and leads the evangelist to mention that they have many other like thorough and painstaking purifications enjoined upon them by their traditions, as immersion of cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and couches. Thus the several facts of verse third and verse fourth rise as a climax, and we see the propriety of pausing to mention these various proofs of painstaking scrupulosity. (Compare Meyer on Mark. Some early documents show that this statement was regarded as wonderful, by changing “immerse themselves” to “sprinkle themselves,” and by omitting “couches.” if these Greek-speaking folks had enjoyed our modern lights, and known that baptizo itself may mean sprinkle, or anything you please, they would have felt no occasion for making such changes.)

But one says : “I cannot believe that they immersed beds; that is absurd.” Well, the beds might mean pallets, consisting of several thicknesses of cloth quilted together – as when the paralytic was told to take up his bed and walk, or like the beds they give you now in some houses of Palestine. More probably, however, they mean the couches beside the table, on which the guests reclined to eat, as the subject of the whole connection is their observances about eating. Now suppose there has been contagious disease in one of our houses, that a person has died of small-pox, or even of typhoid fever, will any careful housewife think it too much to take the bed, on which be died, all to pieces – if, in fact, she does not burn it – and carefully cleanse every part of it? Well, if she would be thus anxious to avoid contagion in her household, the Jews were equally anxious to avoid ceremonial impurity, when, for example, some “unclean” person was found to have reclined on one of their couches. And if she would not shrink from such pains in order to effect a thorough cleansing, why should we pronounce it incredible that the scrupulous Jews would take equal pains to effect a thorough religious purification?

Grant that in such cases the law of Moses did not always require immersion of the unclean object or of the person. The evangelist is expressly speaking of the traditional observances, and the Jews had become so very scrupulous that the tradition often required more than the law did. So we find them still doing in the time of Maimonides (twelfth century), and he asserts that such was the real requirement of the law. “Whenever in the law,” he says, “washing of the flesh or of the clothes is mentioned, it means nothing else than the dipping of the whole body in a laver; for if any man dip himself all over, except the tip of his little finger, he is still in his uncleanness.”

“A bed that is wholly defiled, if a man dips it part by part, it is pure.” (Quoted in Ingham’s “Manual of Baptism,” p. 373).

This last statement of his may relieve the extreme solicitude sometimes expressed as to how a bed could be immersed; and both statements show how scrupulous the Jews had become in employing the most thorough form of purification even where it was not required.

This also explains the conduct of Judith in the Jewish romance, who, living in a heathen tent and eating the food of the heathen, goes at midnight with her maid into a ravine and immerses herself, and returns “clean.”

The church-Father, Epiphanius, born in Palestine, of Jewish parents, in the fourth century, describes, in his great work on Heresies, a party of Jews whom he calls Hemerobaptistae ” Daily baptizers,” whose doctrines, he says, are the same as those of the scribes and Pharisees. Their peculiarity is that “both spring and autumn, both winter and Summer, they baptize themselves every day, maintaining that a man cannot live unless he baptizes himself in water every single day, washing himself off and purifying himself from every fault.” Epiphanius says this shows lack of faith; for if they had faith in yesterday’s baptism they would not think it necessary to repeat it to-day. And he declares that if they keep sinning every day, thinking that the water will cleanse them, it is a vain hope; “for neither ocean, nor all the rivers and seas, perennial streams and fountains, and the whole rain-producing apparatus of nature combined, can remove sins when, namely, it is done not according to reason nor by the command of God. For repentance cleanses, and the one baptism through the naming of the mysteries.” The same “Daily Baptizers ” are mentioned in the so-called “Apostolical Constitutions ” in a portion probably quite as late as Epiphanius.

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

The purification theory about baptism

August 16, 2013 2 comments

broadusChapter 7-2: 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.

2. There is the purification theory, put forward by Dr. Edward Beecher and others. In John 3:22-25, we are told that Jesus was baptizing (through his disciples); next, that John also was baptizing, for he was not yet cast into prison; and then it is added: “Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying.” From this it is argued that the word baptize is synonymous with purify. Now baptizing was certainly a very striking form of purification. The fact that baptism was going on might very naturally lead to a discussion between some of John’s disciples and “a Jew” (the correct text) about the general subject of purification and the relation of this to other purifications. Being a peculiar, remarkable, and novel purification, it was perfectly natural that baptism should lead to discussion of the general subject. But why in the world are we to say that the terms baptism and purification are synonymous, that baptism means nothing more definite than purification, and that any form of purification might be called a baptism? Suppose a murder has occurred, and leads some persons into discussion concerning death, are we to conclude that the terms murder and death are synonymous and that any form of death may be called a murder? Yet because the occurrence of baptism led to a discussion concerning purification, we are told that these terms are synonymous and that any form of purification is a baptism. Now upon this assumption rests Dr. Beecher’s theory – a huge inverted pyramid resting upon a single point, and that point a mere assumption and one in itself unwarrantable and unreasonable.

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

Some say the sacred use of a word is frequently quite different from the classical use

August 9, 2013 1 comment

broadusChapter 7-1: 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.

I. It is said that, in the case of certain other words, such as pastor, bishop, elder, church, supper, the sacred use is frequently quite different from the classical use; and this is thought to afford a presumption that there is also a difference as to the word baptize. But most of these words have not changed their meaning to something quite different; there is only a figurative or novel application, while the ground idea remains the same. Thus the pastor is a shepherd (figuratively), the bishop is an overseer (spiritually), the church is an assembly (actual or ideal). So baptize is still an immersion, having only a special reference and meaning. The word “supper” has been much insisted on, as having a wholly different sense in the New Testament from its classical use. But when the Apostle Paul speaks of the Christians as coming together to eat “the Lord’s Supper,” (I Cor. 11:20) it was a supper. We continue to apply the term “supper” when it is eaten at other times of the day, but Scripture does not so apply it. Besides, our Lord did not tell us to eat a supper, but to eat bread and drink wine. This is what we must do; and we make here no substitute, either for the elements (bread and wine) or for the action (eating and drinking). So the appeal to “supper” is quite inappropriate. The use of “elder,” however, seems to be a case in point, for this word has changed its meaning. But the change is not in sacred, as distinguished from secular use. The application of the term “elder” to a person who is not old is found in classical Greek, as also in Latin and English. The Greek word presbus, an old man, is used in classical Greek to denote an honorable man, an ambassador, a senator. So with the Latin senator, and the English alderman. This, then, is not a case in which the word acquires an entirely different sense in sacred from what it had in classical use. And so all the examples cited break down, and this supposed analogy and consequent presumption, much relied on by some, amounts to just nothing.

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism