Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Water’

Confession statement 40

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XL. THAT the way and manner of dispensing this ordinance, is dipping or plunging the body under water; it being a sign, must answer the things signified, which is, that interest the saints have in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ: And that as certainly as the body is buried under water, and risen again, so certainly shall the bodies of the saints be raised by the power of Christ, in the day of the resurrection, to reign with Christ.

Matt.3:16; Mark 15:9 reads (into Jordan) in Greek; John 3:23; Acts 8:38; Rev.1:5, 7:14; Heb.10:22; Rom.6:3,4,5.6; 1 Cor.15:28.29. The word baptizo signifies to dip or plunge (yet so as convenient garments be both upon the administrator and subject with all modesty).

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

Sprinkling Examined

broadusChapter 4. The Defense of Sprinkling.

In the face of such facts as have been stated, on what ground do any Christian people defend the practice of sprinkling for baptism? Well, some of them have really never known the facts, or never stopped to think about them. But others, with the facts before them, still defend sprinkling. Respect for my fellow Christians requires that this matter be as carefully considered as the time will allow. Yet I can but briefly mention and rapidly discuss.

There are several distinct grounds which are relied on by different classes of persons.

I grant that New Testament baptism was immersion, some hold that “the church has authorized a change.”

Yes; clinic baptism – baptism of a sick person in bed – began, as early as the third century, to be allowed by some ecclesiastics, e.g., Novatian. They poured water copiously around the dying or very sick man as he lay in bed. This practice arose from exaggerated notions of the importance of baptism. We should say, if the man was too ill to be baptized, it was not his duty; but they were afraid to let a man die without baptism, and as real baptism was impracticable they proposed a substitute which, by copious pouring, would come as near it as possible. There were many disputes as to the lawfulness of this, but it came by degrees to be generally recognized as lawful.

As the centuries went on there was gradual progress. The more convenient substitute was preferred in other cases than illness, was further reduced to mere sprinkling, and became increasingly common. It was long with-stood by Popes and Councils, but grew in popularity through the Dark Ages, until, in the thirteenth century, one thousand years after clinic pouring began, the Pope finally yielded, and authorized sprinkling in all cases.

So the Reformers found it. And, unfortunately for our modern Christianity, they did not insist on a change. Luther repeatedly said a change ought to be made, e.g., “Baptism is a Greek word, and may be translated immersion, as when we immerse something in water that it may be wholly covered. And, although it is almost wholly abolished (for they do not dip the whole children, but only pour a little water on them), they ought, nevertheless, to be wholly immersed, …. for that the etymology of the word seems to demand.” Again, he says that baptism does not simply represent washing for sins, but “is rather a sign both of death and resurrection. Being moved by this reason, I would have those that are to be baptized to be altogether dipt into the water, as the word means, and the mystery signifies.” So elsewhere (see Ingham’s “Handbook of Baptism”, p.89).

In like manner Calvin. In commenting on the baptism of the eunuch by Philip (Acts 8:38), he says: “‘They descended into the water.’ Here we perceive what was the rite of baptizing among the ancients, for they immersed the whole body into the water; now the custom has become established that the minister only sprinkles the body or the head. But so slight a difference of ceremony ought not to be esteemed by us so important that on account of it we should split the church or disturb it with quarrels. For the ceremony of baptism itself, indeed, inasmuch as it was handed down to us by Christ, we should a hundred times rather fight even to death than suffer it to be taken away from us. But when in the symbol of the water we have a testimony as well of our ablution as of our new life; when in water, as in a mirror, Christ represents to us his blood, that from it we may seek our purification; when he teaches that we are fashioned anew by his Spirit, that, being dead to sin, we may live to righteousness – it is certain that we lack nothing which pertains to the substance of baptism. Wherefore, from the beginning, the church has freely permitted herself, outside of this substance, to have rites a little dissimilar.” (“Calvin on Acts”, viii, 38). The ancients, in the time of Philip and the eunuch, practiced immersion; a different custom has now become established, the church allowing herself liberty.

The leaders of the Reformation in England attempted a return – not, indeed, to the full New Testament plan, but that of the Fathers in the third century. The rubric of the Church of England has always been, from the Reformation till now, “shall dip the child in the water, …. but if they certify that the child is weak, it shall suffice to pour water upon it.” This is essentially the principle of the old clinic baptism. And this the Greek Church also tolerates as an exceptional practice.

But among the Reformers, on the Continent and in England, the custom of several centuries, with convenience, etc., triumphed over those attempts, and pouring – nay, even sprinkling – became the common practice.

In this sense, then, the church ” has changed the act of baptism. On this ground the Roman Catholics stand – the church has changed it – so they always meet the complaints and censures of the Greek Church. And intelligent Romanists see exactly how the matter stands among us who are called Protestants. Thus the famous Dr. Döllinger says: “The fact that the Baptists are so numerous, or even the most numerous of all religious parties in North America, deserves all attention. They would, indeed, be yet more numerous were not Baptism, as well as the Lord’s Supper, as to their sacramental significance, regarded in the Calvinistic world as something so subordinate that the inquiry after the original form appears to many as something indifferent, about which one need not much trouble himself. The Baptists are, however, in fact, from the Protestant standpoint, unassailable, since, for their demand for baptism by submersion, they have the clear Bible text, and the authority of the church and of her testimony is regarded by neither party.” (“Kirche und Kirchen,” s. 337.)

I may remark here, that on this subject the Baptists belong to the majority. It is often objected to us that we are an insignificant minority of the Christian world, and it is a point about which we are not greatly solicitous. But if anybody cares greatly for majorities in such a matter, let him observe that, in contending for immersion as necessary to the baptism taught in the New Testament, we have on our side the whole Greek Church, and the whole Roman Catholic Church, and a very large proportion of the Protestant world, particularly of the Protestant scholars.

To return. This is an intelligible position. New Testament baptism was immersion, but the church has changed it. Accordingly, in the Church of England, few scholars ever, for a moment, question that baptizo means immerse or that the New Testament baptism was immersion.

The church has changed it. Very satisfactory for a Romanist, but how can a Protestant rest on this? Chillingworth, the Church of England scholar, left a dictum which has grown famous: “The Bible, I say – the Bible only – is the religion of Protestants.” Was this all a mistake?

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

Immersion is scriptural and essential to baptism

broadusChapter 1. The Question at Issue.

The object set before us is to maintain the proposition, that Immersion in water is essential to Christian Baptism.

The point here involved is not by any means the most important of those upon which Baptists differ with many of their fellow Christians. The questions: Who ought to be baptized? and, What does baptism signify and effect? appear to us, so far as it is proper to assign degrees in matters of divine ordinance, to be of far greater consequence.

To insist on the Scriptural act of baptism is a necessary consequence of a great fundamental principle, which was once held by Baptists almost alone, but which many of our brethren of other connections are now coming to share-the exclusive authority of Scripture. We do not say simply the authority, nor the paramount authority, but the exclusive authority of Scripture. Baptism is performed at all, simply because the Scriptures direct us to perform it; therefore we feel bound to inquire what it is that they direct, and to do that. We cannot acknowledge any other authority. The opinions and practices of eminent Christians in past ages, yea, of our own best friends, our pastors, our parents, must not be regarded, except in so far as they may help us to determine what is taught on the subject in the Scriptures.

And it is not an inquiry as to the mere manner of performing a duty. The popular phrase, “mode of baptism,” seems to us to beg the question. The real question is, What is baptism? Compare the case of the Lord’s Supper. No Protestant insists strongly on any particular mode of observing the Lord’s Supper. We may have our preference, and may recommend it – as sitting around a table, kneeling around a railing, sitting in the pews, etc., – yet we do not insist. But when the Romanist gives only the bread to the laity, reserving the cup for the priests, all Protestants cry out. The Romanist might say, “Why, does not the bread really represent the great fact that Christ gave himself for us? Does not the body include the blood? May we not get all that is essential to the ordinance in taking the bread alone?” We – all who are commonly called Protestants – answer two things: First, to take the wine also, makes a more complete and expressive representation. Second, our Lord told us to eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of him; what right have we to alter that which he appointed, is if we knew better than he?

Now just the same ground do Baptists take as to baptism. They do not insist strongly on the mere manner and circumstances of its administration. Thus, it is a mere question of taste and convenience whether it shall be performed in a stream or a baptistery. Dr. Judson preferred to baptize face foremost. Even the practice of trine immersion, which was once very common, and still exists in some quarters, while it is in our judgment unwarrantable and improper, may be considered a matter of no great importance. The question is, not what is the most appropriate manner of performing baptism, but what is the act to be performed. And when any think proper to alter this act, we object most earnestly, and for the same two reasons as in the other case. First, the act enjoined gives a more complete and expressive representation of those things which baptism denotes; in fact, without it the representation is grievously defective. Second, our Lord told us to baptize; what right have we to alter his appointment? He did not tell us to recline at a table as he was doing, and take bread and wine, but he told us to take bread and wine; and we do not insist on the reclining: we insist on the bread and wine. He did not tell us to be baptized in the Jordan, or in a river, as he was, but he told us to be baptized; and we do not insist on the Jordan, or any river, or any other mere circumstance, but we insist on the baptizing.

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

John Tombes’ Catechism on Baptism Pt 2

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

1. Is Baptism with Water an Ordinance of Christ, to be continued by his Disciples till the end of the World?

Baptism with Water is an Ordinance of Christ, which is to be continued by his Disciples till the end of the World; as appears by his command, Mat. 28.19,20. Mark 16.15,16. it is to be joined with Preaching of the Gospel, and making Disciples, by Preaching, and teaching them to observe all that Christ commands; and so to be continued while these are to continue, which is proved to be till the end of the world, by Christs promise of his being with them till then, which were vain, if the things appointed were not to be done so long.

2. Is not the end of the world, as much as the end of the Age?

It appears that Matthew means by the end of the World, the last time, or day, wherein there will be a separation of good and bad, the one to be burned with fire, and the other to shine as the Sun, in that in the places wherein Matthew, useth the self-same form of speech (to wit Mat. 13.39,40,49. Mat. 24.3.) he canot be understood to mean any other.

3. May not the baptizing in Mat.28.19. Mark 16.16 be understood of some other Baptism, than that of water?

The Baptism there, must needs be understood of Baptism by Water, sith Baptizing, where ever it is made of John Baptists, or the Disciples Act, which they did or were to do, is meant of Baptizing with Water, as John 4.1,2 and in many other places it appears; and the Apostles by their practise and command, Acts 2.38,41. Acts 10.47,48. shew that they so understood Christ’s appointment, Matt. 28.19. Mark 16.16.

4. May it not be meant of Baptizing by the Spirit, or afflictions?

It canot be so understood, sith Baptizing with the Spirit is no where ascribed to any other than Christ, Mat 3.11. Luke 3.16. Nor is baptism with the Spirit a duty for us to do, but a free gift of Christ; not common to all Disciples of Christ, but peculiar to some: and to appoint them the baptizing by affliction had been to make the Apostles persecutors.

A Short Catechism about Baptism by John Tombes, B.D.

Heb 6.2. Of the Doctrine of Baptisms. Luke 7.35. But Wisdom is justified of all her Children. London: 1659

We should walk by faith believing in God’s providential rule

That is why I have said that the Texas Baptist Convention once foolishly got scared over a little financial flurry, forgot that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. They ought to have gone on serenely laying out their work, having faith in God, who is able to raise the dead.

Surely if God could in the wilderness for forty years feed so many families, and see to it that their clothes did not wear out, that there was a shade over them every day so that the sun did not smite them, and that their camp was illumined by night – a light brighter than the most luminous display of electric lights in the cities of our time – if he could call rocks to open and send forth waters, and the quail to come at his bidding, and angel’s food to fall at his will, what are we, Christ’s people in New Testament days, that we should hesitate on account of difficulties in the way of discharging duties incumbent upon us?

B. H. Carroll Commenting on Ephesians 1:22-2:10 (Christ the head over all things to the church)

Let us remember Christ in his baptism

Ah! let us spend five minutes in remembering Jesus Let us remember him in his baptism, when descending into the waters of Jordan, a voice was heard, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Behold him coming up dripping from the stream. Surely the conscious water must have blushed that it contained its God. He slept within its waves a moment, to consecrate the tomb of baptism, in which those who are dead with Christ are buried with him.

Charles H. Spurgeon—The Remembrance of Christ—A sermon delivered on Sabbath Evening January 7th 1855

Why were you baptized?

September 7, 2012 Leave a comment

I have therefore selected as an appropriate text the query propounded by the priests and Levites to the first great baptizer, “Why baptizest thou then?” (John 1:25.)

This question is a trenchant one and probes for the reason of the thing. Why, why baptizest thou? In order that you may feel the full force, the penetrating power of this inquiry, it will be changed so as to apply directly to you as individuals – ”Why art thou baptized?” Angels and devils, no doubt, stand in the same questioning attitude. The world which you have left reiterates the solemn interrogation. Let your own conscience take up and repeat to your soul, “Why, oh, why am I baptized?” I warn you before God this day to be able to give a reasonable answer to this question.

In order that you may be able to give a reason, a reason sufficient to satisfy God, angels, men and your enlightened consciences, I invite your prayerful attention, first, to a discussion of the question negatively and then to a consideration of some Scripture references that in my judgment disclose the philosophy of this solemn institution.

In the first place then, bear in mind that you are not baptized “to cleanse you from original sin.” There is no intrinsic virtue in water to secure the object and no extrinsic virtue is given to it by authority of God.

No priestly mummery can impart this holy efficacy to water.

There is no holy water.

“The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin” – original sin, and every other kind of sin.

B. H. Carroll—Reasons for Being Baptized