The main problem underlying the modern confusion on baptism thus is not paucity of Biblical material, but rather an a priori commitment to certain theological presuppositions. It is so extremely difficult—some would say impossible—to be objective when we try to interpret the Bible. We tend to read it, especially its references to baptism, with preconceived ideas of what it ‘must really be saying’ or what it ‘surely cannot mean.’ (Jack Cottrell, Baptism, 7)

I think there is a good chance at this point in time that most of you know I am no longer serving in the paid ministry. I have been on severance pay for four weeks now, and I have two more to go before I have to figure out how to pay bills again. (Although I’m currently working on it in a variety of ways.)

It is an uncomfortable position that I am in right now. I haven’t been on the other side of the pulpit since 1993 (I include my student preaching days in college). I am having to relearn what it means to be a congregant in that sense. It’s weird, to say the least. Now I sing along instead of leading, bow my head when told, and turn the pages in my Bible at the preacher’s speed instead of setting the pace. Strange, it is, but I am working on it. (I have blogged my first two experiences here and here.)

The purpose of this post is to invite you to help me with a question that has been on my mind since I was asked to resign from the church I served for nearly 10 years. It is a hot-button question we have discussed in one thread or another here, but it is one that I am searching Scripture on right now. I’d like to have a serious, adult conversation about this subject and I promise to read every single comment that is posted in response to it. I am asking you because we all come from different backgrounds and I’m sure to get many different responses to my query.

My question involves baptism. I know this is a contentious issue and one that has divided the church forever. I would prefer that it didn’t divide us and I would prefer that your comments stick to the issue and not devolve into an angst ridden dispute about one another’s salvation.

I have been a member of the Church of Christ/Christian Church (not a cappella) since I was 13 or so (I have been attending since I was 8 or so). Prior to the age of 8, I was a Methodist. I was christened as an infant in the Methodist church. When we moved from one town to the next, we began attending the First Church of Christ and when I was 13 I was immersed (the mode of baptism practiced by the Churches of Christ). You might say I have all my bases covered having been sprinkled and immersed.

Please make no mistake about my own convictions here. I do believe that baptism is very important, bordering on some sense of necessary to conversion if not salvation. I have heard it said, “For some, baptism is the last step in conversion [most Churches of Christ] and for others it is the first step of obedience”. I will also say that I am not a covenant theologian. But I will also say this: I’m in a pickle right now.

I have been to three different denominations in the past three weeks. At all three congregations baptism has been mentioned at some point during the worship.

At the first, a semi-Pentecostal congregation, baptism was mentioned like this: “In two weeks we are having our annual church picnic. This year it will be at such and such a lake. We are happy to be at a lake this year because we can have a BBQ’s, play corn-hole, and so we can get back to baptisms.” Baptism is another part of a picnic.

Last week, we attended an Anglican church. The worship was fantastic and at the end, the pastor said something like, “Next week we will be having some time for baptisms. If you want to be baptized, just let me know and we’ll include you in the schedule.”

This past Sunday, we worshiped again at a Church of Christ. At the end of the sermon, the preacher flowed very naturally into his invitation which included baptism by immersion. It was evident from his invitation and the large tank of water behind him that baptism is a significant part of the liturgy at the church.

So, we have seen three different congregations, three different preachers, three different denominations and three different approaches to baptism. It is quite confusing because those I worshiped with have no doubts about their own peculiar approach to baptism and what it means or doesn’t mean for their pilgrimage in Christ—nor, for that matter, do I (or I wouldn’t have chosen to worship with them to begin with). All three believe it is important in some way. All three practice different modes (immersion, sprinkling, pouring) of baptizing. All three have different mediums (lakes, tanks, fonts) for containing water.

Here’s the trouble I’m having currently. Since I am no longer employed by the Church of Christ as their preacher, I don’t really want to go back. The other churches around my hometown are far too close (one gave birth to my former church, my former church gave birth to a third) to my former employer for me to feel comfortable or they are too far to travel for us to feel like we could be involved in any significant way. Furthermore, we really like the local Anglican Church (second one we visited) and we want to make it our home. The theology isn’t that much different, I am very close with the pastor, and it is close to our home so we can be involved in the ministry. And, if I might say so, the people of that church love Jesus Christ. They really love Jesus.

The problem is, however, that the mode of baptism practiced is different (sprinkling) than what I have traditionally practiced, the reason (s) for doing so is significantly different from what I believe (at least this congregation is more covenant driven in their theology), and, for good measure, it is different from what I have been taught, believed, and preached about baptism in my own ministry. I don’t know how much of a spike this will be for my conscience if we decide to worship with them and make them our church family—which we very much want to do.

So here’s my question to you: What do you think? I’m not selling my church membership. All I am asking is for other thoughts on the subject of baptism.

Can I worship with a congregation and support them financially and otherwise if they don’t happen to believe the way I do? I am sure we would be accepted as members the way we are (we wouldn’t have to undergo another baptism or anything). I am sure that these folks love Jesus Christ and serve him only. We love the congregation and they have already demonstrated to us that they love us (through their pastor’s undeniable and unconditional friendship and love shown to me).

I have been a member of the Church of Christ/Christian Church since I was 13 and I am 39 now. I took a degree from one of their colleges. I have preached in their churches for that last 17 years or so and received payment in one form or another. My dad is an elder in the church. I love the church and there are many good people in the church. But after my most recent experience in the church of Christ, I don’t want to go back. The worship at the Anglican church is alive, full of life, full of the Spirit, full of Christ, Christ-centered; offers weekly communion; prayer is prominently featured, Bible teaching is the norm, and everything that I value and teach my sons and wife about Christ is the creed of this church. We already love the saints that gather to share their weekly pilgrimage with one another.

I’m tired of the legalism. I’m tired of the desert-dry worship that defines the churches of Christ in my part of the world. Frankly, I’m tired of baptism being the last step in conversion and thus being the last step in Christ at all—you know, “I’m baptized so all I have to do is show up and do my duty on Sundays and all will be well.” Theologically, it may be the last step in conversion; practically, it has to be the first step of obedience. It has to be both. I believe I’d rather worship with a congregation full of sprinkled, covenant theologians than a room full of fully-immersed, hard as rock, Sunday morning doing their duty people. I’ve seen too many people buried with Christ in baptism and never raised to walk in newness of life.

My wife and I want to be around people who are living their faith, practicing their baptism, walking with Christ. We believe we have found those people.

But we are stuck at this point of baptism. As my wife and I pray over this matter, I’m asking for your input and advice. What do you think? What is your opinion? Can this difference be overcome? Does it matter if they sprinkle?

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195 Comments(+Add)

1   Zan    
August 11th, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Ok, I will start this off (since I got Chris to fix the comment option!)

You may/may not know I have also grown up in the Christian Church, but I was also sprinkled Lutheran as an infant. My father was an elder, I love this “non”-denomination. AND I believe that baptism is an absolute necessity because it is a commandment. I also recognize that it is God, not me, that imparts the Holy Spirit on those He chooses. I merely believe we should obey, whether we understand or not. It is always nice to understand, but it is not a requirement for obedience.

That being said, you must search your conscience, and stay true to that. I don’t know about your sons, but I would be concerned mostly with the teachings on baptism that they would get from an Anglican church (if they haven’t already been immersed). That being said, your boys are old enough, I imagine, to understand the need to worship at a different type of church, and it isn’t hard to simply explain that while you have differences with certain teachings, that doesn’t prohibit you from fully serving God with those people in that church.

Jerry, God will speak to you on this subject, and He will guide you in a direction that He desires. He knows where He wants you to attend. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and intercede for you. Take your time. Allow God to work His timing. I hope you this encourages you. No matter what, you belong to God, and your “ministry” is wherever you end up. :)

2   Brendt Waters    http://www.csaproductions.com/blog/
August 11th, 2009 at 11:06 pm

0.02 USD from the token Calvinist at a Calvary Chapel:

While the Arminianism/Calvinism debate may not be of as great an import as that of sprinkling vs immersion, I think there is a significant parallel here. My embracing of Calvinism pretty much got me “invited to leave” an SBC church. In the subsequent church search, it was narrowed down to 3 churches of specifically Calvinist inclination and the CC which I’ve been at for 7 years now.

(FYI/FWIW, the official stance of CC on A vs C is “we ain’t goin’ there”, but in practice it varies, though never — to my knowledge — toward Calvinism.)

So here I am, a freshly-minted Calvinist, my “John Piper is My Homeboy” t-shirt on order, and God puts me at an (essentially) Arminian church.

But for me, the biggest part of embracing Calvinism was a better understanding of God’s sovereignty (and the ramifications in my life). And the people at my church have that understanding in spades (and, oddly, better than most Calvinists I know).

I guess what I’m saying here is, don’t let one issue — even if you think it’s fairly important — get in the way. You said:

The worship at the Anglican church is alive, full of life, full of the Spirit, full of Christ, Christ-centered; offers weekly communion; prayer is prominently featured, Bible teaching is the norm, and everything that I value and teach my sons and wife about Christ is the creed of this church. We already love the saints that gather to share their weekly pilgrimage with one another.

That seems like (way?) more of a “match” than most people get with their church.

3   Brendt Waters    http://www.csaproductions.com/blog/
August 11th, 2009 at 11:09 pm

And BTW, your situation is not unprecedented in my experience. One of my friends who also got “invited to leave” that SBC church wound up at a PCA church. Having grown up Baptist, he struggled for quite a while with the issue, even with solid teaching on why they believed in sprinkling, but realized that this was (for him) a secondary issue.

4   Joe    http://joemartino.name
August 11th, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Has anyone read Larry Crabb’s book,
Real Church: Does it Exist? Can I find it?

I’m only partially through but I am loving it…

5   AnonymousJane    
August 11th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

As I grew in faith, I felt convicted to be baptized. Before I began attending church I had been praying and reading the Bible and once I felt the hunger, I wondered how to go about it. I wondered if a pastor would baptize me without insisting that I become a member of the church. I wondered if my uncle would do it because he preaches, but he is strict Southern Baptist and I worried he would not want to perform the baptism without membership.

I am drifting from topic here, but I am unclear about this issue myself. I began attending a church that I felt God leading me to and was sprinkled in the United Methodist way, but what do we do with believers who, for whatever reason, do not want membership but seek baptism? Can we welcome them into the Body without expecting them to attend an organized service in a physical building? When I read about John baptizing people in the river, I get the feeling that baptism was looked at in a different way.

Some people say that under the New Covenant, baptism with water is not necessary because we are baptized with the spirit; that the water ceremony is just a symbol. I only know how God has worked in my life and the conviction I’ve felt, He may work differently on others.

6   Joe C    
August 11th, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Jerry,

I’ll pray for you and your family. God will put you where He needs you and where you’re needed.

As for Baptism, I believe since it’s part of the Great Commission that all Christians should be baptized. Past that I don’t think about it so much. If it was so incredibly important to how, when, and why we did it, then it wouldn’t be vague enough in the Bible for us to have 2000 denominations arguing over it. Perhaps I’m being illogical and wrong, I don’t know.

God loves you, nuff said.

Peace
Joe C

7   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 11th, 2009 at 11:59 pm

AnonymousJane – When a person is baptized, they are baptized into Christ and the church, not a church. Scripture never connects baptism to a local gathering or congregation other than that is the location of the baptism. For that matter, there were not denominations for this to even be an issue. Also, baptism was established as a part of the New Covenant. It wasn’t a part of the Mosaic Covenant.

8   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 12th, 2009 at 12:09 am

There was a period a number of years ago when I was reading through the N.T. as a part of my devotions and I would regularly come across powerful passages that reconfirmed what I had been taught about the importance of immersion. I’d also been learning how to communicate this important truth in my preaching, teaching, and individual conversations (during appropriate/necessary times).

I’m a teacher. I teach even when it’s not my job to teach. I feel very responsible that what I teach is true to the word of God (giving the best I can, recognizing that I do not have it all right). I couldn’t be part of a congregation that prevented/stopped me from teaching what I know is true. I know you won’t be preaching there, but if at any time, you are the person that somebody in that congregation comes to with the question, “What must I do to be saved?” how will you answer the question? Will your answer be okay with the leadership at that congregation? Will you lower your standards or change what you currently hold to as true in order to be a part of that congregation?

Just some thoughts.

9   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 12th, 2009 at 12:20 am

Jerry, I care deeply about the Restoration Movement and the churches tied to the RM. I also care deeply about the Kingdom of God as a whole. We are Christians only, not the only Christians. I also care about you. You need a congregation where you can heal some. If it’s the Anglican church, so be it. If you stay there the rest of your lives, fine. But stay true to the commands of Scripture wherever you find yourself.

10   nc    
August 12th, 2009 at 7:36 am

as an Anglican, I can say that even though I’m now attending a “free church” stream congregation (we had to move for my job), we’ll probably just baptize our own babies at home…AND do the “dedication” thing for the sake of our community–even though I’m personally ambivalent about “dedication” (i.e. i could take it or leave it…simply because, if properly understood in the anglican/episcopal tradition everything being achieved in a “dedication” is found in baby baptism, but with NONE of the communal, people forming notions about who and what God is saving–namely, the Church). I’m not against dedication, but i’ve come to appreciate the anglican paedo-baptist practice because of how it highlights the communal reality of baptism.

our cousins (RM, free churches, etc. etc. etc.) tend toward “believer baptism” and functionally it emphasizes the individual…

So i think both practices are witnesses to important things…and both are equally valid.

I just have my preferences…

this is a potentially divisive issue and godly people disagree…

i would be shocked if this anglican parish you’re attending would make it a really really big deal and push for it…

i know pca churches are known for pushing paedo-baptism…but it would strike me as strange if that was the same tack by anglicans…

anyway…you’ll be fine.

11   E. Vitz    http://n/a
August 12th, 2009 at 11:03 am

Perhaps my analogy will over simplify the decision you face. I apologize beforehand if it seems to make light of your struggle.

Suppose you served in a church for 15 years where the people sitting in the pews carried varying experiences with organized religion. Some grew up Lutheran, Methodist, etc. – each with their own idea on the topic of baptism. Could you serve at that church? Did you serve at a church like that?

Your question seems to be one of, “Could we worship with this church that doesn’t teach exactly as I do?” And not, “Should I change my view on baptism?”

In your experience, how are most people “brought” to Jesus? Is it through the corporate worship service, or through individual relationships with people? It sounds like your teaching will not change. In that case, it seems you have been worshipping in that scenario all your life.

On another note, if you believe baptism is essential, and let’s suppose it truly is… then where do you think God would rather have you? Worshipping with people who already know the truth, or working with people who yet need to know the truth?

12   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 12th, 2009 at 11:44 am

Jerry,
I have always admired your transparency and willingness to seek the counsel of others, even those who you disagree with.

As a Methodist my theology of baptism is not very different from an Anglicans. (nc, please feel free to correct me if I misspeak at all).

Naturally you need to pray (as I know you have) and follow where God is leading you. My hunch is that God is going to lead you and you will end up where God needs your gifts and graces for helping to build the kingdom of God and this may have nothing to do with whether or not a church sprinkles or immerses.

With that said, I am of the conviction that baptism is all about God. It, like many things, is not about us. When I start to ask if sprinkling is right over immersion I am really asking, “Is God limited by mode?” Of course not. The same question could be asked of the pastor: What is the pastor is flawed? Can God work through that? Answer: Of course. So for me, the mode is not the issue.

I will sprinkle or dunk. Depends on the person and situation. We practice infant baptism so most times we sprinkle. You say here:

I’m tired of baptism being the last step in conversion and thus being the last step in Christ at all

I couldn’t agree more. As Methodists we confess that baptism is the FIRST step – it is the beginning of a life long joureny with God where Eucharist is our sustenance along the way, along with worshipping with God’s people.

For me I would be less concerned about the mode of baptism and more concerned about the place it is given in the context of a worshipping community. As nc said, baptism is communal. And it should not be entered lightly. When I baptize an infant I meet with the parents a few times before hand to counsel them on what this means. I teach them that we/they are entering a covenant and their responsibility is to ensure their child is raised in the church and prayed for and brought up in the ways of the Lord. When they come of age they will go through confirmation where they are taught what they couldn’t understand as an infant but become aware of the ways grace has been operative in their life even when they did not know it. It is at this time they are invited to “live INTO their baptism.” It is yet another powerful moment in the life of the church where glory is given to God once more for sustaining us, even when we do not know it.

I’ll stop here. Just some random thoughts I had. Not sure if any of it is meaningful to you or not. I know you will make the right choice, however, and that God will continue to use you in mighty ways.

grace and peace

13   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 12th, 2009 at 11:45 am

Wow. Thanks for the great comments so far. You are all giving me a lot to think about and pray about.

E Vitz…good to hear from you old friend.

jerry

14   Gene    
August 12th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Born Lutheran, therefore sprinkled. Had three kids also sprinkled as infants because we believe that God commands baptism. Left the denomination for a charismatic independent church when the oldest was 6 and the youngest a baby. All three kids chose to be immersed around age 8 and I also chose (as a recommitment of my life to Christ) to be immersed. As a lay-preacher now working on ordination, I don’t have a problem with any mode of baptism. I personally prefer my grandkids to be baptized rather than “dedicated” but that is my Lutheran upbringing showing thru. For me, the hangup is more about Communion than baptism! God is good and He will guide you, just rest in Him.

15   nc    
August 12th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

chad,

i agree…especially when one reads through the baptismal liturgy, the kinds of things the parents/sponsors/godparents/whatever you want to call the presenting primary adults commit to are pretty huge.

you are communally committing to raise and nurture a child in a faith in Jesus so that as they grow older, loving and following Jesus is simply part of their life, their communal context is oriented toward a Christ-centered family of believers.

when my daughters were baptized i was committing to nurture their primary identity as one who belongs to God by grace and grace alone. that my infant daughter is helpless to do…well, anything…and that is my spiritual condition before God without grace.

uh-oh…i’m starting to ramble…i could go on and on about why i love the theological significance of paedo-baptism…

that being said, i don’t think my having grown toward preferring it means that i reject or condemn believer’s baptism.

both are great to me really.

peace out.

16   kenn    
August 12th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

What an interesting topic. Ultimately, whether it’s sprinkle or dunk, isn’t it simply a symbolic gesture? I mean, its not as if a sprinkle is “baptism lite” and a full tank number is REALLY, REALLY baptized? The full commitment to the church and faith is an ongoing process. Sort of like a wedding ceremony. Its just that, a ceremony. The real marriage starts the next day, and everyday after that.

Or as my Catholic friends grudgingly admit, the Host, isn’t really the body of Christ, its either a piece of bread, or a cracker. And it’s only as important as the value you place on symbolic ceremony. The real work of living your faith is a day to day commitment.

17   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 12th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

agreed, nc.

As one of my professors put it, we are ALL infants when we get baptized. We are ALL ignorant of this God who has moved decisively on our behalf. We are ALL infants in our faith and oblivious to the awesome nature of grace. It is a powerful, powerful thing to be able to say to someone you are identified not by the world’s standards or by your faults or by anything else but your baptism. It is in our baptism that our true identity lies.

A child of God.

18   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 3:53 pm

What an interesting topic. Ultimately, whether it’s sprinkle or dunk, isn’t it simply a symbolic gesture? I mean, its not as if a sprinkle is “baptism lite” and a full tank number is REALLY, REALLY baptized? The full commitment to the church and faith is an ongoing process. Sort of like a wedding ceremony. Its just that, a ceremony. The real marriage starts the next day, and everyday after that.

I agree, and I think the marriage ceremony parallel is very good.

Though I think immersion has the edge symbolically since it illustrates the death burial and resurrection of Jesus

19   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

…you are communally committing to raise and nurture a child in a faith in Jesus so that as they grow older, loving and following Jesus is simply part of their life, their communal context is oriented toward a Christ-centered family of believers.

This is the emphasis we place when we dedicate infants. I understand how this could be applied to infants coming into a community, but our view of baptism is that is a response to new faith, new birth – not birth.

This also parallels my experience… I was baptized as an infant, but was re-baptized by immersion as an adult (guess that puts my in league with the Anabaptists) – since the latter was my choice in response to my coming to faith.

20   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

As to Jerry’s original question: given his description of how great the church is, I probably could live with paedo-baptism since it appears they also baptize adult converts.

I think I would have a harder time joining a church that believed in baptismal regeneration.

21   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

What an interesting topic. Ultimately, whether it’s sprinkle or dunk, isn’t it simply a symbolic gesture?

Not everyone believes this – some see it as a requirement for salvation.

22   Steve Blackwell    http://www.indyWatchman.com
August 12th, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Jerry,

The question of baptism is an important one, because it seems to touch our salvation, and consequently we never stop wrestling with God or each other about the matter. I think we would agree that God has a single thought concerning this issue, but man has become content with picking the best fit amongst several viable options and not the discovery of truth. It is obvious that the initial truth of baptism has been distorted or morphed over and over again, into a “best fit” doctrine of convenience. Is this God’s mind for His people? If we can see anything clearly today, from God’s word, concerning His people Israel, it is that He was continually directing them back to center, back to His original plan on every matter, that they were always corrupting. The history of Israel is the history of the Church. Israel was always morphing into something other than what God wanted, because they could never get beyond their human attribute of trying to figure it all out in their heads; they always looked for the tangible instead of the intangible, the fleshly instead of the spiritual.

The Church today is a hybrid, like Israel was a hybrid, a mixture, with so many variables and leaven, that we barely resemble anything truly spiritual, “every man doing what is right in his own eyes.” Is God’s ways now man’s ways? The beginning of the Book of Revelation may very well describe the mixing and morphing of the Church through the ages.

Is baptism really the issue here? Much deeper still is the very scary question of whether the whole modern Church construct is the true expression of God’s mind. Jesus’ recommendation in Revelation is to go back and do our first work over again, to just start over. Like baptism, this is important, because it touches on salvation; “not all Israel is Israel” and not all the Church is the Church.

God’s ways are not man’s ways, and if we look for answers in, and amongst, all the mixture that has resulted over several thousands of years, we may get lost, if we are not lost already. Does God care about immersion or sprinkling, or about a “new man”? Which man method will I ultimately decide pleases God? While men are concerned about “method” God is concerned about a new life, a resurrected life. All of our methods and mixtures have gotten us lost in the deep dark woods of this worldliness.

This is just a partial gleaning of my own discovery, I hope it helps a little.

Steve Blackwell
http://www.IndyWatchman.com

23   Joe C    
August 12th, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Not everyone believes this – some see it as a requirement for salvation.

No offense meant to anyone who might believe this, but, isn’t that very much old testament-style covenant? I’ve seen the verses a thousand times, I understand the sentiment, but I feel the over-arching story of Scripture, specifically the NT, would disallow this practice of Baptismal Regen.

Not to start THAT argument or anything, real question is: Isn’t that very old testament? I.E you have to be circumsized to get in to God’s OT Covenant :: You have to be baptized to enter the New Covenant?

Thoughts?

24   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Jerry,

I’m touched by your honest post, and my prayers are with you.

but it is one that I am searching Scripture on right now. I’d like to have a serious, adult conversation about this subject

I don’t mean to be a smart aleck or overstate the obvious; but since people have disagreed about the topic for centuries you probably won’t stumble upon the answer by “searching the scriptures”. People were being baptized before any of the new testament was written, so the definitive answer you’re looking for may not be in there.

I was baptized as an adult by sprinkling (don’t think anyone has offered that option yet ?). My opinion; I believe all options noted above are perfectly acceptable baptisms as long as water was used and the holy trinity was evoked. I can think of no greater sign that salvation is by the Grace of Christ alone, than by baptizing babies.

I would relate baptism to marriage, but not the way others have noted. Baptisms and Christian marriages are full of symbolism, but that’s not what they truly are.

husbands love your wives AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH

25   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 12th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Brett S: but since people have disagreed about the topic for centuries you probably won’t stumble upon the answer by “searching the scriptures”.

That’s not good advice. A lot of scripture has been ignored to get us to the point we’re at right now. The best thing to do is go back to scripture and – with a clean slate – understand the practice and meaning of baptism. This leads us to the next point…

Brett S: People were being baptized before any of the new testament was written

The question is “How?” Simple – by full immersion. “Why?” Because baptism symbolizes a death to an old life and resurrection to a new life. Why would we not simply follow what scripture prescribes rather than debate whether “sprinkling” has any veracity???

Brett S: and the holy trinity was evoked

Just a side point here. I know Brett is referring to Matt 28 here, but interestingly every other baptism recorded in scripture is done simply in the name of Jesus, in whom the whole family of God is named… “evoking” is not necessary at all.

Chad: When I baptize an infant

Baptism should be the result of belief. Why in the world would you baptize an infant when baptism clearly represents a death to an old life and resurrection to a new life. It completely neuters the meaning of baptism.

You have to be baptized to enter the New Covenant?

Yes.

26   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Joe C.,

Those who hold to baptismal regeneration would look to verses like Act 2:28 (Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”) and say – there is the two step process for forgiveness – repent and be baptized.

27   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

but was re-baptized by immersion as an adult

That’s one that has always bewildered me.

We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins

If you accept the creed as true; technically you can’t say that you were ever “re-baptized” can you?

28   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 12th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

BTW, Jerry it sounds like your decision is pretty much made up… but, just a question: have you considered starting your own church from scratch that preaches what you believe to be true?

29   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 12th, 2009 at 4:59 pm

If you accept the creed as true; technically you can’t say that you were ever “re-baptized” can you?

I was baptized as Catholic (baby), then properly baptized as Christian when I accepted Jesus as my Savior…

30   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 4:59 pm

You have to be baptized to enter the New Covenant?

I would say “No.”

31   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 5:01 pm
We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins

If you accept the creed as true; technically you can’t say that you were ever “re-baptized” can you?

The operative word there is “if” – since I do not believe baptism leads to, or is necessary for, the forgiveness of sins… I can speak of having been rebaptized.

32   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 5:03 pm

…have you considered starting your own church from scratch that preaches what you believe to be true?

This is, after all, the American way.

33   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Hello Paul C,

Great to hear from you! I’m sorry to hear you disagree with my advice. To clarify, I’m not suggesting for anyone to stop reading their bibles and praying to the spirit for guidance; in fact I highly recommend it.

The best thing to do is go back to scripture and – with a clean slate –

No offense Paul C, but that’s pretty bad advice.

34   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 12th, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Neil, I didn’t mean some new denomination.

35   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Neil,

Sorry, my bad. I thought you accepted the creed.

36   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Paul C,

then properly baptized as Christian when I accepted Jesus as my Savior…

I’ve never questioned the fact the you accept Jesus Christ as saviour; I think it’s obvious from most of your comments.
Have you ever considered that you could have been properly baptized as a child, even though you didn’t “accept Jesus” as a child ?
(just asking?)

37   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 12th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Brett – good to hear from you as well. On my bb right now.

See my first comment on this thread as I explain what baptism is – a death to an old life and resurrection in Christ.

That is what baptism represents, hence the need for cognition.

Millions have done forced baptism/conversion at the hands of the RCC early on. Were those baptisms valid even though the heart remained unchanged? Likewise a baby.

It’s a sentimental gesture but has all the validity of baptizing your dog Fido.

38   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Were those baptisms valid even though the heart remained unchanged? – Paul C #36

If you read a little deeper Paul, I think that’s the dillema that Jerry was highlighting in the op:

Frankly, I’m tired of baptism being the last step in conversion and thus being the last step in Christ at all—you know, “I’m baptized so all I have to do is show up and do my duty on Sundays and all will be well.”

39   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 5:52 pm

No offense meant to anyone who might believe this, but, isn’t that very much old testament-style covenant? I’ve seen the verses a thousand times, I understand the sentiment, but I feel the over-arching story of Scripture, specifically the NT, would disallow this practice of Baptismal Regen.

Joe C,

I think that in the over-arching story of scripture, the new covenant is consistently prefigured in the old. Noah and the flood, the parting of the read sea, etc. were not just symbols, they were miraculous events that actually saved people. So “baptism now saves you” in 1 Peter actually mean baptism saves. The “washing of regeneration” in Titus 3:5 is not symbolism, and I don’t see where scripture uses “regeneration” symbolically.

40   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 12th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

If you read a little deeper Paul

I read the op, but was speaking directly to the question you asked in #35. I appreciated Jerry’s op and the fact he holds baptism highly (though not salvific in and of itself).

Re going back to the Bible, you said:

No offense Paul C, but that’s pretty bad advice.

If you just look at every reference to baptism in the NT, you will see a pretty clear trend around repentance and belief. I would take a simple study of baptism, from a biblical standpoint, over 1000 dissertations from the most learned. Sometimes simplicity is the best route.

Why not just understand:

1. what baptism represents? (death to old, life to new)
2. how it was done? (immersion)

and follow suit?

41   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 6:02 pm

OK Paul C,

I’ll go back to the bible with you.
So St. Paul calls baptism the “new circumcision” (Col. 2:11-12).
Could this mean that babies are qualified for the NT just as there were in the OT, or does God exclude infants from the new convenant?

42   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

If you just look at every reference to baptism in the NT, you will see a pretty clear trend around repentance and belief.

There’s a very clear trend around repentance and belief referencing anything in the NT. It’s not like Christ just wants you to repent and believe one time.

43   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 12th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Brett, as I mentioned, you would look at the entirety of baptism, not just hand-pick.

But let’s look at the scripture you mention:

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature

Notice that it happens upon recognition of your state (sinful), then repentance. Then…

not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,

How? Through faith… as follows:

having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

It is by faith… why is this so difficult to accept rather than trying to come up with “traditions of men” like Col 2:8 warns us (same chapter).

44   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 12th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

If you’re comparing baptism to circumcision (which I think is an OK comparison), it becomes pretty hard to make the case for baptismal regeneration based on what Paul says in Romans 4:9-11

9Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.

Abraham was declared righteous prior to being baptized. Ultimately, salvation is about something God does rather than what we do.

45   Joe C    
August 12th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Brett, the Bible is all about Covenants, and the correlations are pretty obvious when you put it like that. I guess more of what I was getting at was that the OT was works (and yet the righteous were saved by faith) and the NT is grace (overly simplistic I know), why throw one “work”(baptism) in there randomly? That is, if you see baptism as a work I must accomplish in order to be forgiven. But that goes away if you say God does the baptism. However it’s still something I would be ‘doing’. It’s all pretty confusing I guess. It’s why I asked for thoughts.

I do not believe baptism by water saves anyone. I pray about questions like this but it’d take some convincing. I know of some people who have told me that unless I believe I am saved by baptism, I’m not saved. And others will say one MUST be baptized by water to be saved. Just doesn’t gel with the story arc of Scripture, to me.

Confusing? Yes. lol. Thanks for the response.

46   Joe C    
August 12th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Good point Phil. Thanks for that. I see what you’re getting at. I suppose that also snuffs the idea of the old covenant saving, so do we believe the new covenant saves? Yes. Now we have another comparison that doesn’t work. @_@

47   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Ultimately, salvation is about something God does rather than what we do.

Phil,

I agree with that. I also think that a proper understanding of the traditional doctrine of “baptismal regeneration” would be that baptism is also something that God does rather that what we do.

48   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Joe C,

Sorry for hogging the conversation. I teach a sacramental theology catechism class to junior hi kids so I’ve been through a lot of these issues on a pretty basic level.

why throw one “work”(baptism) in there randomly?

I don’t mean to oversimplify either, but I think there are two “works” that are not optional for Christian churches, much less thrown in randomly. I happen to believe with many others that there are seven. (but I guess that’s a different discussion)

I’m just offering thoughts since you asked.
Peace,

49   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 12th, 2009 at 7:22 pm

BTW, Jerry it sounds like your decision is pretty much made up… but, just a question: have you considered starting your own church from scratch that preaches what you believe to be true?

I don’t know if this is a serious statement or a sarcastic one.

Either way, no, I won’t ’start my own church.’

I’m done preaching. That part of my life is over. Now I am preparing to be a special education teacher.

jerry

50   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 12th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

I don’t really want this to be a huge debate. I know what I believe about baptism and I’m comfortable with my beliefs about it.

I think the main question, which was addressed by the first 20 or so comments, is how I can believe what I believe and worship with a congregation that does not.

Someone said it sounds like I have my mind made up. On the contrary, I do not. I also have some feedback from my own blog and from facebook. Truly this is a great conversation. And I appreciate very much all or your input and insights.

jerry

51   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Neil,

Sorry, my bad. I thought you accepted the creed.

No need to apologize, Brett, I accept the creed – all but that one phrase.

52   Brett S    
August 12th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

all but that one phrase :)

53   M.G.    
August 12th, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Yeah, I’m laughing at the irony of #50 and#31 being written by the same person… :)

54   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 12th, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Jerry – for the record my question (about starting your own church – not denomination) was not sarcastic at all. I didn’t know you’ve given up on preaching. Just wanted to clarify that.

In regards to your decision seemingly being made, I got that (perhaps faultily) from reading into your enthusiasm when you described one group in particular. It wasn’t meant in any way.

55   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 12th, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Abraham was declared righteous prior to being baptized. Ultimately, salvation is about something God does rather than what we do.

No one is denying that salvation ultimately comes from God, but a sign of us covenanting with Him in this (the step He asks us to take) is baptism.

The disciples baptized before Christ died. It was part of the Great Commission. Peter, when asked “what must we do to be saved”, responds that we must repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. There are numerous other accounts…

2009? It’s a “nice-to-have” if you kind of feel like it, but hey, it doesn’t mean much. It’s kind of like shacking up and marriage: as long as you love each other, God doesn’t mind – after all, nothing changes metaphysically whether you’re married or not.

Sometimes these conversations get so futile as people are trying to discover the LEAST they can do to still be considered saved. Why not just, in faith and humility, do as the Lord has commanded us in this area? Be baptized, as a sign of your new life, by immersion.

Instead we complicate it all with “what ifs?” and “supposes” and “what not”. Amazing.

56   Joe C    
August 12th, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Thanks Brett for explaining where you’re coming from and for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate it.

Peace!

57   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Yeah, I’m laughing at the irony of #50 and#31 being written by the same person… :)

True irony would be if I rejected the whole creed because of the one phrase and wrote my own… that would by more a parallel scenario.

As it is, I just think those that penned the creed were wrong on that one point.

58   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Sometimes these conversations get so futile as people are trying to discover the LEAST they can do to still be considered saved. Why not just, in faith and humility, do as the Lord has commanded us in this area? Be baptized, as a sign of your new life, by immersion.

Paul C.,

I think you may be taking what is a theological and practical discussion and assigning motives. I don’t see that anyone is trying to determine the least they need to do. Personally, I thought it was a nice discussion.

And while I think immersion is the better symbol, and it is what the early disciples apparently practiced – I don’t see any biblical mandate that prescribes this method.

59   Neil    
August 12th, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Jerry,

Sometimes local churches serve as a hospital of sorts… and given the pain (if I may be so bold) you have been through at the hands of a church – if you have found one that allows you to worship and be ministered to – go for it.

60   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 13th, 2009 at 12:02 am

“I don’t see any biblical mandate that prescribes this method.”

You mean besides the Greek word for dunk being used in Jesus’ command from Matthew 28?

61   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 8:47 am

Many of the churches who sprinkle infants are into a covenant picture of baptism, that is they are believing that this baptism brings the infant into the life of the church and by that merit that infant is part of the church family and will be a part of God’s kingdom.

Conservative Anglican theologians I have heard and read explain it thus: Baptizing a child is an act of faith, that the child will have a seed planted in him/her that will germinate and as a teen/adult, that Child will confirm his faith and make a decision to follow Christ.

As an Episcopalian, I was baptized as a child. I was converted at age 12, and at the age of 23 I was told of the importance of believers’ baptism and my wife and I were both dunked at a CM&A church.

As one who studies and loves the scriptures, I think that baptism is an act that follows conversion, that the method is by immersion because it gives the picture of dying with Christ and being raised up again, as a visual testimony of the inward reality that has happened. I also happen to think that it comes only after a process within the local church to test the reality of the conversion experience. I do not think it is something to be done lightly.

That said, could I worship with those who believe differently in Baptism? I can, and I have. I do not think this is a hill to die on, however, all of the born-again people I know have been baptized post-conversion, even those who experienced infant baptism. Most of them seem to renounce their infant baptism; I believe God took that mustard seed of faith from one in the congregation and that God chose to draw me through my religious upbringing into a relationship with Him which started and my conversion, continued up to and through my baptism, and will continue as He sanctifies me until He glorifies me.

Peace on your journey, Jerry.

62   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 13th, 2009 at 8:48 am

I think you may be taking what is a theological and practical discussion and assigning motives.

Not assigning motives… but when we miss the symbolism of baptism we end doing things like baptizing babies. We end up just sprinkling rather than immersion (which actually represents the resurrection to a new life).

I am wondering if, in this particular case, we might here something like:

Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.

63   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 9:20 am

John #60,

Some of the best thoughts you have ever shared here. Thank you. I appreciate the insight and the application to the OP and the peace.

jerry

64   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 13th, 2009 at 9:22 am

My thoughts on baptism and communion have changed a bit over the years. I don’t think baptism (or communion for that matter) were given to the church to be purely symbolic purposes. They’re sacraments – and I believe something happens when they’re done. Heaven and earth come together in some way, and I generally think that we do need to take them a bit more seriously than we do in most Evangelical churches.

As far as sprinkling verses full immersion goes, I really do think that we need to consider that the Jewish custom which baptism was a variation on involved full immersion. John the Baptist wasn’t sprinkling people in the River Jordan. I don’t think, however, that people who were baptized by sprinkling, particularly adult converts, need to be dunked to make it official.

65   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 9:37 am

Phil,

They’re sacraments – and I believe something happens when they’re done.

Amen.
I happen to believe that full immersion is a much better symbol as well, but at some point that gets into a matter of taste, practicalities, and legalities. And no one has ever asked me to make up the rules, thanks be to God!

66   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 13th, 2009 at 9:45 am

As a side note… I was once tempted to sprinkle (but then thought better of it). I was in the interior in Africa (central Kenya) and we just finished a service in which some new believers were going to baptized. We were going to conduct it in a relatively small stream not far away.

Some of the brothers were about to tear off right after service when I asked, “Where are you going so fast?”

“To prepare the river,” was the reply.

“What do you mean?” says I.

“We’re going to throw rocks into the river ahead of time in order to scare off the crocodiles below the surface.”

Needless to say, upon hearing that, we found another location. :)

but at some point that gets into a matter of taste, practicalities, and legalities.

Brett, can you elaborate on this: taste? practicality? legality?

67   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 9:48 am

Pastorboy,
#60
Very good comments.

it gives the picture of dying with Christ and being raised up again, as a visual testimony of the inward reality that has happened. I also happen to think that it comes only after a process within the local church to test the reality of the conversion experience

I agree with the visual testimony, but if that’s all that baptism is, would that mean thats baptisms are meaningless for the blind? (by blind I mean in the literal sense).

And what about the severely mentally retarded? If you can’t really give them a test to see if they are converted enough, are they not allowed baptism in Christ?

68   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 9:53 am

Brett, can you elaborate on this

Maybe later, Paul C.
I can’t argue with you after reading that. #65
The single funniest comment I have ever read on this blog.

69   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 10:13 am

Paul C,

On 2nd thought, submitting to baptism in crocodile river would be the ultimate test of faith wouldn’t it :)

a short explanation of what I was talking about:
http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/baptismal_complexes

70   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 13th, 2009 at 11:03 am

Read the article… lots of errors with it in my view, but I respect that’s what you believe. Still doesn’t answer the question around taste, legality and practicality.

71   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 11:40 am
“I don’t see any biblical mandate that prescribes this method.”

You mean besides the Greek word for dunk being used in Jesus’ command from Matthew 28?

Exactly, clearly the method employed in Scripture was immersion, I simply meant that no where does it prescribe immersion as the correct/proper manner.

I agree immersion best fits the symbolism, I’m just making the distinction between the command to do something and the manner in which it is done.

Communion is similar; we are commanded to do it, but the method, even the actual elements, are not.

72   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 11:52 am

Neil,

we are commanded to do it, but the method, even the actual elements, are not.

Continuing with that comparison.
We are not commanded to limit the actual table of contents in the new testament to a certain number of books either.

73   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 11:54 am

I fall somewhere between purely symbolic and necessary for salvation. I believe both communion and baptism impart something – I hesitate to call it “grace” since grace that may imply something salvific.

I’ll go back to the marriage parralel (as so many theological points do).

On the one hand, wearing my wedding ring is purely symbolic, it symbolizes the covenant between my wife and I… yet, if I refused to wear it, or thought it purely optional that would/could betray my lack of seriousness in my commitment.

On the other hand, not wearing does not make me not married.

74   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 11:56 am

Continuing with that comparison.
We are not commanded to limit the actual table of contents in the new testament to a certain number of books either.

Hmmm… I think this might be a better continuation if there were lots of churches using lots of different canons. Except for a few notable exceptions, the canon is set.

75   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 11:58 am

There is a third option in methodology… pouring water. This is more than sprinkling, yet less than dunking.

Some believe this is how John baptized and how Jesus may have been baptized, by having river water poured over him. it fits the cleansing symbolism.

Of course, it lacks the death/resurrection symbolism.

76   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 11:59 am

Neil,

I believe both communion and baptism impart something – I hesitate to call it “grace” since grace that may imply something salvific.

I wouldn’t be so hesitant to call it grace. What is it if not this?

Sure it is salvific. But no need to assume that salvation is a “one and done” proposition. As the saying goes, “I was saved, I am saved, and I am being saved.”

As I tell my congregation, I am being saved every time we meet to worship together. And the high point of worship is celebrating Eucharist together (or baptism if we have one).

77   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:00 pm

…but at some point that gets into a matter of taste, practicalities, and legalities.

Not sure I have any examples of taste, but I could see where issues of practicality and legality could certainly play into the methods employed.

78   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Chad,

RE 75 – I see what ya mean. I agree that salvation is a “I was saved, I am saved, and I am being saved” – process… that it is progressive.

Yet (and this is where our theology parts I believe) – I also believe there is punctiliar aspect as well. A time I was saved, I was born-again, I was seated, sealed, etc… I understand that our disagreement on universalism comes into play, so it makes describing this more technical.

Since I believe those who are not born again will suffer hell (in whatever form that may take) I also believe in the positional/punctiliar element of salvation.

And not believing baptism is a necessity for that positional/punctiliar change – I speak carefully about imparting grace.

79   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Neil,

Except for a few notable exceptions, the canon is set.

Yeah, that was my point. That why we know to use bread and wine when communion is offered instead of pretzels and pickle juice.

Most of this stuff was settled long before any of us bright birds came on the scene.

80   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

It seems to be a basic rule of the universe that whenever something is simple the devil tries to complexificate it and whenever something is complex the devil is always insisting that it should be simple.

This is from the article Brett linked to – does anyone else see the humorous irony of using the word “complexificate” in that opening sentence.

This is not a judgment or criticism- it just made me chuckle…

81   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Yeah, that was my point. That why we know to use bread and wine when communion is offered instead of pretzels and pickle juice.

Most of this stuff was settled long before any of us bright birds came on the scene.

I wish we used wine – but, alas, we do carry some baggage of our fundamentalist heritage…

82   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I hear that.

Yet I don’t think one need to espouse universalism in order to embrace fully what Wesley called “means of grace” (baptism, eucharist, scripture, worship, etc). I think you, though not advocating universalism, would agree grace is abundant. I think rather than being careful about where we claim God’s grace is present and imparted we need to be even louder and more lavish. People need to hear the good news that in this baptism or in this supper or in this worship or in this marriage God is here! God has promised to be with us in a special, particular way in these moments and we need not be careful in saying so. We need to shout it from the roof tops.

83   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Neil,

I hesitate to call it “grace” since grace that may imply something salvific.

Why hesitate? If baptism comes from Jesus Christ then it’s all grace and all salvific.

84   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:19 pm

RE 81 (and 82),

Chad, I agree – I just wanted to reserve the right to say “Someone can be saved (in the positional/puntilliar sense) without being baptized.

85   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

I hear that.

Sometimes I wonder what the reaction would be if we substituted wine for the juice – but as pastorboy said… some hills are not worth dieing on.

86   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I wish we used wine – but, alas, we do carry some baggage of our fundamentalist heritage…

If I may just put on my pragmatist hat for a moment, as this bears to the point of sprinkling/pouring/dunking in baptism…

I wish we used wine too. But most Methodists do not. And we don’t do it because we are fundamentalists. We do it out of charity. In our day and age alcoholism is a real issue. I don’t know who in my church may struggle with this issue at any given time. And so we just grape juice as a way to say, “We honor you.” Granted, I could use both and in some cases I have. One line of juice and the other for wine. But that is not always practical and in some ways just seems to divide rather than unite. Especially when part of my liturgy preceding communion is to say, “We share in ONE loaf and ONE cup to symbolize our unity in Christ.” To then go to TWO cups would be awkward.

I think we are being faithful to the intent of Eucharist even as we do it differently than it was first done. Likewise, sprinkling or pouring in my church has become common place because it allows us to do a baptism within the church where I believe it should be done. I can do it right in the midst of a worship service where this person may one day also be confirmed, married, and buried. It creates a unity of life with worship.

Granted, we could build a baptismal pool in our church. I’d be all for that. But we don’t have one. C’est la vie.

87   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

I just wanted to reserve the right to say “Someone can be saved (in the positional/puntilliar sense) without being baptized.

Sorta like I want to reserve the right to say someone can be saved without ever hearing the name of Jesus :D

88   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Neil,

“complexificate” – made me chuckle too

I realize that my church is the grandmaster of producing long worded documents, doctrines, and theological ramblings.
But I think it’s a historical fact that most of the carefully worded doctrinal statements developed by the church over the years, were developed in response to heritics trying to change truths they had no right to change.

89   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Granted, we could build a baptismal pool in our church. I’d be all for that. But we don’t have one.

Neither do we… and being dunkers it proved a problem. We used to rent a hot-tub, but no matter how you disguise it, it is still a hot-tub – and it was too shallow.

Then we bought THIS…it works great!

90   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Chad,

Re 85 – …also the issue of serving alcohol to minors…

91   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

…“complexificate” – made me chuckle too

Even more so in a sentence that laments the way humans make things more complex… and how the devil can use that…

92   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 12:33 pm

That pool wouldn’t fit in my chancel area :D

I friend of mine in a newly planted Methodist church here in NC borrowed a feeding trough used for horses. It was big enough to lay someone fully in it and dunk them. I thought that was a creative, inventive way to do it and made note to do something similar in the future.

also the issue of serving alcohol to minors…

Well, I have less a problem with that to be honest. Alcohol itself isn’t the devil. How it is used can be.

93   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Someone can be saved (in the positional/puntilliar sense) without being baptized.

.

A perfect case. Simple stated “Baptism Saves”.
Now if you want to get technical about it there is the whole theology of “baptism of desire” and “baptism of blood”, which I have a hard time figuring out the particulars of.
But the theology was developed because of people claiming that baptism in not salvific, or the other extreme that baptism is a free ticket to heaven.

The church is bound by the sacraments because that’s what Christ gave us. But Christ is not bound by the sacraments.

94   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Alcohol itself isn’t the devil. How it is used can be.

I’ll drink to that!

95   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Brett,
The baptism of blood developed out of the question, “What does a person do who commits a mortal sin after being baptized?” Tertullian was one of the first to insist that the only way a person who betrayed Christ in times of persecution could be sure of their salvation was to go directly to martyrdom (i.e. baptism of blood).

96   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

…there is the whole theology of “baptism of desire” and “baptism of blood”,…

New terms to me, I’ve never heard such things.

97   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:41 pm

94 – OK, in that context I am familiar with the term…

98   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

That pool wouldn’t fit in my chancel area :D

I read some “testimonials” before we bought one… I think it was Vintage Church (Dan Kimball) who said they often set there’s up outside for special services.

99   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 13th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Neil, I think you misunderstood me. The command in Matthew 28 is to go out immersing people.

100   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I think part of the reason this topic is so interesting to discuss is it really highlights how we think God operates (or if God does at all and it is really just about us).

To say there is something intrinsically important in the “immersing” of a person or using water this way or that says to me that the power resides in the water itself or in the dunking. I really don’t think anyone here believes that. I think we would all want to say that the power or the grace is God and God alone.

To get hung up in the details (sprinkle vs immersion), to me, reduces the sacrament to a magic trick dependent on our ability and tools rather than the God who oversees it all and works despite us.

101   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 13th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Chad, I would say that more people who refuse to immerse get “hung up in the details” than those who do immerse. It is just that detail that they can’t get past and the questions begin: Why would God have me do such and such, why can’t I just do this other thing instead?

102   M.G.    
August 13th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Pardon my ignorance, but I thought that everyone immersed adults, and sprinkling is done for paedobaptism because it’s not a good idea to immerse newborns in water.

Am I incorrect? If so, isn’t this a debate about the correct age for baptism, and not the correct method?

103   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Neil, I think you misunderstood me. The command in Matthew 28 is to go out immersing people.

“Immerse” is certainly the primary use of the word, as in a “sunken” boat… another use is “flooded” or more metaphorically, “overwhelmed” – which lends itself to water pouring over…

…though I agree “submerge”is the first meaning on the list.

104   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Pardon my ignorance, but I thought that everyone immersed adults, and sprinkling is done for paedobaptism because it’s not a good idea to immerse newborns in water.

I think there are churches who “pour” water.

105   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Chad,

#99 – that is one way to look at it… but if you take “baptize” by it’s primary meaning (i.e. submerge) then “baptizing” would be submerging. This is not seeing the one method as magical or the power residing in the water – it is seeing it as the meaning of the word.

106   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 13th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Brett: But I think it’s a historical fact that most of the carefully worded doctrinal statements developed by the church over the years, were developed in response to heritics trying to change truths they had no right to change.

This is interesting considering the the fact that no single institution has inserted more heresy/false doctrine into Christianity than the RCC.

Brett: The church is bound by the sacraments because that’s what Christ gave us.

What are the sacraments that we’re bound by?

Chad, I would say that more people who refuse to immerse get “hung up in the details” than those who do immerse.

Bingo! The debate should be a non-issue altogether, but we allow are traditions to supersede the truth.

Chad: To get hung up in the details (sprinkle vs immersion), to me, reduces the sacrament to a magic trick dependent on our ability and tools rather than the God who oversees it all and works despite us.

OK… again, let’s follow the logic here. Baptism symbolizes a death to an old life (burial/immersion) and the resurrection to a new life (coming out of the water).

Is it really “God who oversees it” when we refuse to follow the pattern prescribed to us? It’s really fascinating to me (I don’t believe anything metaphysical happens – it’s like marriage) to see people try to find as much wiggle room to simply NOT admit that faith and immersion is important in the matter of baptism.

107   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 1:56 pm
Chad, I would say that more people who refuse to immerse get “hung up in the details” than those who do immerse.

Bingo! The debate should be a non-issue altogether, but we allow are traditions to supersede the truth.

Paul C., I think this an unfair assessment (similar to my protest of you assigning motives). You are assuming “truth” that others do not recognize… when speaking of mode of baptism. Therefore, to say they are allowing traditions to supersede truth is a false dichotomy.

I just think you could be more charitable, and less argumentative (even when arguing).

108   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
August 13th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

I see water baptism as just symbolic as there is only One Baptism.

In Romans 6:3 it states:

3. Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized (literal translation:all who were immersed) into his death? 4. We were therefore buried with him through baptism (literal translation: immersion) into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.

To use baptism as “water baptism” in this passage loses the meaning of what Paul is saying. We are to abide in Christ Jesus…we are immersed into Christ. Do a study on the phrase “in Christ” and you will see that I am talking about.

There is only One Baptism that saves us… that is when we are filled with the Spirit of Christ sealed with the Holy Spirit and abide/live “in Christ”.

Water baptism is the outward expression or what happened to us when we came to believe. We were “washed” by the blood of Jesus… or washed by his death, and live by His resurrected Life imparted to we who believe.

The water symbolizes our death, burial and resurrection that happened spiritually to us but does not save us in and of itself.

Again, the bible states there is One Baptism…

Ephesian 4:4-6

4. There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called– 5. one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

So the one baptism is either the water immersion or the baptism into Christ by the Holy Spirit… it can’t be both… and only one saves us.

iggy

109   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

…when we refuse to follow the pattern prescribed to us?

A pattern prescribed or described?

110   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

…to see people try to find as much wiggle room to simply NOT admit that faith and immersion is important in the matter of baptism.

More motivation assigning – it is unfair to assume they are trying to find wiggle room… and this is what you are said, that they are trying to find wiggle room.

Or to put it another way: How do you know this is what they are trying to do?

111   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 13th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Is it really “God who oversees it” when we refuse to follow the pattern prescribed to us? It’s really fascinating to me (I don’t believe anything metaphysical happens – it’s like marriage) to see people try to find as much wiggle room to simply NOT admit that faith and immersion is important in the matter of baptism.

If someone is saying the act is purely symbolic (which seems to be what you’re saying), then it seems quite odd to me quibble over the exact method of said symbolic act.

The reason I don’t think baptism is purely symbolic is because I believe it’s a physical declaration of a spiritual reality, and the Christ’s presence is there. To say it’s completely seems to imply that is completely for our benefit, or that it’s simply some sort of meaningless ritual.

112   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Phil,

Although I allowed for something more than a purely symbolic meaning your comment raises two thoughts – how can Christ be present any more in baptism than he is in any worship? Since baptism only happens once, what is the spiritual benefit?

OK, two questions and a thought… I don;t think seeing it as purely symbolic means it is for our benefit – it’s an outward display, which benefits the whole church.

113   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Paul C,

Since you asked.

What are the sacraments that we’re bound by?

These 3 would be sacraments of initiation:
1st – is baptism of course – which I think we’ve been discussing
2nd – Eucharist, communion, the blessed sacrament (I won’t go into detail ‘cause it’s a whole other topic and don’t want to further offend, but I’m fond of the eastern church’s practice of communion for infants)
3rd – confirmation – the seal of the holy spirit, real grace

The 2 sacrament of service would be:
4th holy orders
5th marriage/holy matrimony – Which is the most obvious sacrament in my experience and the most obvious in scripture to me (Love your wives as Christ loved the church)
I’m quite sure my wife is a saint for putting up with me :)

The 2 sacraments of healing would be:
6th – anointing of the sick (see James 5:14-15)
7th – confession/reconciliation – very beautiful thing, and a much better gift than wasting countless hours and money on the wrong end of a psychiatrist’s sofa or a crack pipe

114   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

The reason I don’t think baptism is purely symbolic is because I believe it’s a physical declaration of a spiritual reality, and the Christ’s presence is there.

What is kinda ironic is I could say almost the exact same thing – yet mean almost the exact opposite:

The reason I don’t think baptism is more than symbolic is because I believe it’s a physical declaration of a spiritual reality, and the Christ’s presence is there.

115   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
August 13th, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Surprisingly this guy explains it pretty good.; )

116   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
August 13th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Again, there is only one baptism that saves us and that is not by water… but by the Holy Spirit…

117   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

And to be real technical, some call them “sacraments” which implies the dispensing of something spiritual, grace if you will… those who see them purely as symbolic call them “ordinances” – and most often limit them to the first two.

118   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
August 13th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

There are other baptisms in the bible… and the water represents judgment… when we go under the water we are acknowledging we are dead and our sins will be judged. Yet, when we come out it represents the resurrection of the dead in Christ.

We are not saved by the water… we are placed into Christ and thus judged by God through Christ and then raised to new life as a new creation.

119   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

The reason I don’t think baptism is more than symbolic is because I believe it’s a physical declaration of a spiritual reality, and the Christ’s presence is there.

Neil,

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the same kind of thinking that some of those “emergant” guys use when explaining things like a literal incarnation and resurrection.
Yes, God really did come into the world as little tiny baby. Grew up, was murdered, and literally rose from the dead. He was just as much a real human being as the drunk uncle that shows up and snores through an infant baptism down at the local parish.
Totally unaware of the miracle taking place.

120   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Brett,

Sorry, I do not follow your point in 118…

121   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Neil,

And to be real technical, some call them “sacraments” which implies the dispensing of something spiritual, grace if you will…

Sorry, but I think technically you’re wrong on this. Sacrament does not equal spiritual.
Sacrament equals mysteries. Christs divine nature is not separate from his human nature. And grace in not divided between the spiritual world and the natural world.
Grace is real.

122   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 13th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

The reason I don’t think baptism is purely symbolic is because I believe it’s a physical declaration of a spiritual reality, and the Christ’s presence is there

Phil, I can agree with this… I don’t consider it a mundane ritual at all. It’s the result of the lights going on in someone’s heart for the first time and their desire to follow Christ (hence the burying and resurrection). It’s beautiful in that sense.

sacraments

Brett – trying to put this together (I was a very poor Catholic). What are the ramifications, as it pertains to salvation, around all these sacraments you mention. Suppose I only get 4 out 7 right.

123   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

It is just that detail that they can’t get past and the questions begin: Why would God have me do such and such, why can’t I just do this other thing instead?

Christian P, do you use wine when serving communion? Do you still greet everyone with a “holy kiss”?

As I said with Neil, I think there are good reasons to go either way. It’s not a matter of whether or not dunking is the fix all.

The way people were baptized in the 1st century was common place and was something done by all sorts of people, even pagans. I have no doubt that it was immersion. Yet this does not mean that the onus is on the immersion. The onus is on the name in which it is done.

If “baptism” in the 1st century meant to sprinkle water on people’s heads I have no reason to believe Jesus would not have still said the same command – go baptize in my name. And we’d be arguing today against people who immerse. Jesus wasn’t saying the actual act of baptism (dunking someone) carries some magical power. He was saying to go do this practice in his name so as to identify that person as a child of the true and living God.

Yes it certainly represents death to the old and life in the new. But this is still every bit as true whether one dunks or sprinkles. Unless you are willing to assign some magical powers to the actual water and some magical change in status that occurs in a person when they are immersed in it than no one should be saying one way is right and the other wrong.

M.G. 101: We sprinkle or immerse adults. I leave it up to them as to what they would like to do. We do not, however, rebaptize. We teach adults who were baptized as an infant to remember their baptism and to be grateful for the God who has always been near.

124   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 13th, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Although I allowed for something more than a purely symbolic meaning your comment raises two thoughts – how can Christ be present any more in baptism than he is in any worship? Since baptism only happens once, what is the spiritual benefit?

OK, two questions and a thought… I don;t think seeing it as purely symbolic means it is for our benefit – it’s an outward display, which benefits the whole church.

Well, sure Christ’s presence is with us at all times, but I do think it can be manifested in different ways – I’m not going to say I can perfectly describe what happens.

When I say it’s more than symbolic, I’m not saying that it has anything to do with the actual of salvation or regeneration. I don’t think if a person professing Christ dies before they can be baptized for whatever reason, God will necessarily hold it against them (although I would not want to explain to the Father why I willfully chose not to be baptized if I knew I should).

If we look back at comparing baptism to circumcision, we have to understand that circumcision, which was more than symbolic, was a physical act that declared someone a member of God’s family. But the fact that they were was already established by God. When someone was circumcised, it was an acceptance of the covenant, and by doing so, it was an agreement to start taking part in what God was doing.

I think N.T. Wright makes a good point when he says salvation was not something done for us as much as it is something done through us. So the way I see it, a part of the confusion is that we are talking about salvation as if it merely a way of saving our own butts. If we look at as taking a step to take part in what God is already doing, it becomes a bit less confusing. God is working, and baptism is us physically declaring that we are letting Him work through us. So at that moment, heaven and earth kiss in some way. It’s about living with a realized eschatology.

So yes it’s a symbol or a sign, but it’s not purely symbolic. I look at it sort of like the healing miracles of Jesus. They were a sign that the Kingdom was breaking into earth, but they were certainly more than just symbolic.

125   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Sacrament does not equal spiritual.
Sacrament equals mysteries. Christs divine nature is not separate from his human nature. And grace in not divided between the spiritual world and the natural world.
Grace is real.

I agree that grace is real and not to be divided between spiritual and natural – though your contention that Christ’s divine and human natures are not separate is but another argument that has been raged over the millennia…

I simply meant that some churches use the term “ordinance” instead of “sacrament” because the latter implies (”implies”not equals or necessarily “means”) the dispensation of grace – which they would deny baptism an communion do.

126   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Suppose I only get 4 out 7 right.

I’m no Roman Catholic – but I understand it is not an issue of %’s – no one can go 7 for 7 since two of them are mutually exclusive… the best anyone could do is 6 for 7.

127   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Phil,

Re 123 – very good…

128   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Neil,
#125

no one can go 7 for 7 since two of them are mutually exclusive… the best anyone could do is 6 for 7.

Not really. I’ll definitely never go 7 for 7 but ordination and marriage are not mutually exclusive. The roman catholic church has a long and justifiable tradition of restricting ordination to celibate men, but this is disciplinary matter (not doctrinal), and I suppose the pope could change the rules tomorrow. There are actually a small number of married RC priests serving the church as we speak (former Anglicans and I think some ex-Lutherans are allowed). And the RC has always excepted the married Eastern Orthodox priests/bishops as having fully valid holy orders.

Sorry, for being too technical. I’m usually not a big stickler for details.

129   Neil    
August 13th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Got it Brett… sometimes details are good.

130   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Thanks, Neil.

Of course to further clarify, the pope could not make it valid to ordain women or men (who openly practice unnatural relations with other men), no matter how big a hat he has on. He has no authority to change what he received.

131   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 13th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

What are the ramifications, as it pertains to salvation, around all these sacraments you mention. Suppose I only get 4 out 7 right.

Still didn’t answer my question. What are the ramifications? Are the consequences here?

132   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Paul C,

It’s a good question, but I’m not sure what the ramifications and consequences are? And I don’t think I’m required to know.

I think God could save someone who hasn’t received any sacraments. Maybe he can save someone who received all 7 sacraments and then starts his own church because he wants to add 2 more. I don’t think it’s a technical matter of figuring out what happens to an infant if the building caves in 2 seconds before the water is sprinkled on him, or the eternal destiny of a man on his way to confession for cheating on his wife, if he gets runover crossing the street on his way to the church. We don’t really know God’s plan unless he reveals it to us. I just have a sure hope that he truly revealed the sacraments to the church.

133   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Paul C,

Maybe it’s like the man who prayed to God for a big-mac because he was starving. God sends him $1,000.00, a car, and clear directions to drive east. On the journey he passes by 2 Chikfila’s, 3 Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses, and 2 Dunkin Donut shops.
It is possible that he could end up out of gas, facing a terrible death of starvation (cursing God all the way), because all he wanted was to see those golden arches.

134   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Brett,
Thank you for making my decision about what to do for dinner tonight all the easier.

:)

135   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
August 13th, 2009 at 6:48 pm

1 Cor 1: 14. I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15. so no one can say that you were baptized into my name.

136   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
August 13th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

That verse (above) was to show that Paul was not concerned that the converts he lead to Christ were baptized… if baptism is linked to salvation then Paul would be preaching against this aspect of salvation…

137   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 13th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Brett – thanks for your honesty. The key here is that something like confirmation has absolutely no basis in scripture. Either does infant baptism. Either is marriage a necessity for all. This is called adding to the gospel (read Matt 15 – the whole interaction with the Pharisees applies here). If these were “steps to salvation” I’m sure they would have been clearly outlined as opposed to man-made.

Bottom line: our foundation must be biblical. Get rid of the catechism (man-made).

138   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 13th, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Paul – I’m breaking my own rule of ignoring you, but I have to ask: Do you have altar calls at your church?

139   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 13th, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Do you have altar calls at your church?

I shall be forever thankful for this temporary lull in sanctions. Perhaps this is a step towards me be removed from the “Axis of Evil”. Whatever the case, tonight I will sleep in peace. :)

Not sure how an altar call plays here. But no, not really. We do call for dedication and such, but not altar calls. Though people do come for prayer. We have a worship area in the front where people can basically do what they want: kneel, dance, stand.

140   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Not sure how an altar call plays here

Right next to the hot tub rental section of the bible :)

141   Brett S    
August 13th, 2009 at 8:33 pm

The key here is that something like confirmation has absolutely no basis in scripture – Paul C

Acts 8:14-17 – the people of Samaria were baptized in Christ, but did not receive the fullness of the Spirit until they were confirmed by the elders. Confirmation is a sacrament that Jesus Christ instituted within His Catholic Church to further strengthen those who have reached adulthood.

Acts 19:5-6 – the people of Ephesus were baptized in Christ, but Paul laid hands on them to seal them with the Holy Spirit. This sealing refers to the sacrament of confirmation.

Eph. 1:13 – Paul writes that the baptized Ephesians were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, in reference to confirmation.

Eph. 4:30 – Paul says the Ephesians were sealed in the Holy Spirit of God, in reference to the sealing of confirmation.

Heb. 6:2 – Paul gives instruction to the Hebrews about the laying on of hands, in reference to confirmation, not ordination. The early Church laid hands upon the confirmand to administer the sacrament of confirmation.

Heb. 6:2 – this verse also refers to the cycle of life and its relationship to the sacraments – baptism, confirmation, death and judgment – which apply to all people.

John 6:27 – Jesus says the Father has set His seal on Him. As the Father sets His seal on Jesus, so Jesus sets His seal on us on the sacrament of baptism, and later, in the sacrament of confirmation.

Rev. 9:4 – the locusts could not harm those with the seal of God upon their foreheads. See also Rev. 14:1 and 22:4.

142   nc    
August 14th, 2009 at 9:02 am

actually, re: the meaning of the word baptizo…

probably only means “to dip”…

the philological work around the word doesn’t yield all the claims it supposedly does in some circles…

143   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 9:04 am

Both you and I have been confirmed in the RCC (though I completely reject mine as immaterial). We both know it is a ritual that takes place, for most, around the age of 12 or 13.

It basically takes the place of what baptism should do: namely, be a decision of faith by a believer. Instead, all the kids are rounded up in Grade 7 & 8, go through a few little lessons, and then get confirmed.

Again, confirmation, as you see it, is simply a man-made event. You are confusing the baptism of the Holy Spirit with a ritual/sacrament of confirmation.

Heb. 6:2

This is twisted in your explanation above (like Acts 8 & 19 as well). Paul is not giving any instructions… The laying on of hands here is prayers from the elders, which was a customary way to pray – and still is (as in James 5 or what Timothy received from the elders). Read the verse before (v. 1) for context.

Rev. 9:4

I guess, because I reject my confirmation as irrelevant, I will be swallowed up whole by the locusts. I no longer “have the seal of God on their foreheads”. All I have is a belief in Christ, but apparently that’s not good enough. I need to be confirmed – even though, as an adult, I have repented and have been baptized. Come on Brett.

All these scriptures are far leaps-and-bounds from the truth.

They are like using 1 Corinthians 3 to justify the doctrine of purgatory. Out of context.

144   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 9:38 am

actually, re: the meaning of the word baptizo…

probably only means “to dip”…

the philological work around the word doesn’t yield all the claims it supposedly does in some circles…

According to Moulton & Milligan and their “The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament” – extrabiblical usage of baptidzo includes “submerge” and “overflow” – in other words, these are ways the word was used in general writings of the time… not that the NT writers had to use them that way – but it’s good to know how the word was used by people on the street – so to speak.

145   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 9:42 am

Again, confirmation, as you see it, is simply a man-made event.

Believing that there is value in ritual/tradition (when not contra-biblical) we hold confirmation classes for 8th graders.

The idea is to model what many cultures have, a sort of “right of passage” – although that is rather overplayed… The goal is help the kids own the faith, confirm their faith, allow them to take the first step in the faith becoming their own, not just their family’s/parent’s.

At the end of the course (which is more than just a few little lessons) we offer “believer’s baptism.”

Overall I think it’s a cool tradition.

146   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 14th, 2009 at 9:59 am

I believe there is great value in confirmation as well, Neil. In our tradition it is about teaching young people their faith and offering them an opportunity to “own” it for themselves, as you say. Those who were baptized as infants are “confirmed” in their baptism and taught how to now live into their baptism. Those who were never baptized are given an opportunity to decide if they would like to be.

Through it all the communal (church) aspect of baptism is emphasized and God is glorified every step of the way. For the confirmand who was baptized as an infant we give God thanks for his grace and hand in their lives as they were brought to this point in their faith. It is also a time for the entire church to reaffirm their baptismal vows and to see as living proof in front of them the importance of taking those vows seriously.

147   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 10:07 am

Neil, what I am arguing is that Brett affirms “confirmation” as required sacrament – and he hints that there are ramifications if one is not confirmed.

That is unbiblical.

We have the cart before the horse in a sense. The RCC (and others) baptize babies. That leads to the need to confirm later when the person is actually conscious to choice.

So the foundation of the process is faulty (infant baptism).

But also, the next fallacy lies in the fact that “confirmation” – which is not anywhere in scripture – has been elevated to a required sacrament in the RCC, without which your eternal destiny is at stake. Do you see what I’m saying?

“own” it for themselves

But that is the point of baptism. It is a person repenting, realizing their need for a Savior, placing the confidence and faith in Jesus (however wobbly that faith may start out) and then… being baptized.

148   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 10:10 am

Chad,

The main difference in praxis between what you describe and what we do would be the infant baptism. As I described above, we dedicate infants, but we only baptize those who make professions of faith.

149   Brett S    
August 14th, 2009 at 10:13 am

Paul C,

a ritual that takes place, for most, around the age of 12 or 13.

Not necessarily. In my diocese confirmations ordinarily take place around the age of 16 or 17, but that’s not a forced submission. I really like the practice of the eastern churches that still confirm infants. This can be a much clearer sign of the most often misunderstood principle of catholic theology.
We say that the sacraments act “ex opere operato”; so that even in our hands they remain the work not of us, but of God. They operate regardless of any personal sentiments of the priest or the receiver. The sacraments do NOT act apart from God’s own free and gratuitous initiative and grace. It’s not as if man has finally found a “magic trick” to compel God to act as we want.

I guess, because I reject my confirmation as irrelevant, I will be swallowed up whole by the locusts.

Not necessarily. I kinda like you and I would send you any kind of insect repellants that could help save you; but in the end it’s only God that can keep you from getting swallowed up; regardless of any decisions you have or haven’t made in life.

Technically speaking three (3) of the sacraments are said to leave an indelible mark on a human soul that can never be removed. Confirmation happens to be one of those, so no matter how often you reject it the grace remains. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but I guess there could be baptized, confirmed, priests, separated from God for all eternity in hell.

All these scriptures are far leaps-and-bounds from the truth.

??? I’m not sure what you mean by this, but I have faith that the whole bible is true. (even the parts I don’t understand)

150   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 10:13 am

Paul C.,

I understand the differences between your position and Brett’s – and theologically/biblically I would side with you (although, as I commented above, I would distance myself from the manner in which you tend to defend the positions).

We use confirmation as a teaching tool which often leads to baptism as a public expression.

151   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 10:17 am
All these scriptures are far leaps-and-bounds from the truth. – Paul C.

??? I’m not sure what you mean by this, but I have faith that the whole bible is true. (even the parts I don’t understand) Brett

Basically he is disagreeing with your (the Roman Church’s) interpretation of the passages you offered as supporting confirmation as a sacrament.

152   Brett S    
August 14th, 2009 at 10:25 am

Neil,

I offered the passage because he said that confirmation has no “basis” in scripture. The “roman church” did not interpret these scriptures to conjure up confirmation and the roman rite is not the only church that offers the sacrament.

153   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 14th, 2009 at 10:26 am

147-
Neil, yeah, I am aware of the differences.

Do you guys re-baptize people? Assume someone at age 12 was baptized and then leaves the faith, runs for a decade or so and then has a sort of Damascus road experience. They come and say they want to be baptized because they feel so much more closer to God now. What do you tell them?

154   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 10:32 am

I would distance myself from the manner in which you tend to defend the positions

Sorry Neil. This is an area I need to work on, though I do think we’re all a little soft sometimes in that we take offense over minor things. Rest assured, I bear no ill will to anyone. Also, Brett and I have spoken plainly to each other on several occasions and we’re still on good terms. See here:

Brett: I kinda like you and I would send you any kind of insect repellants that could help save you

Brett: the fact remains that the RCC has departed off a very simple foundation here (and in several other areas). It is clear:

- belief results in repentance and baptism (no infants)
- baptism represents a death and resurrection (not a sprinkle or splash or fire hose)
- confirmation has no biblical precedent (the scriptures you quote are inaccurately rendered and in some cases, not even relevant to confirmation whatsoever)

155   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 10:35 am

The “roman church” did not interpret these scriptures to conjure up confirmation and the roman rite is not the only church that offers the sacrament.

Right :) – that would go completely contrary to the MO of the RCC who rests heavily on the scriptures for its doctrines on:

- Mary veneration
- Purgatory
- Indulgences
- the necessity of sacraments for eternal salvation
- dozens of other man-made traditions

Do you guys re-baptize people?

I know this was posed to Neil, but I answer “yes”.
BTW, you never uncovered what snare you were trying to entrap me in when you asked about altar calls earlier.

156   M.G.    
August 14th, 2009 at 10:38 am

Re:153

I’ve always been a bit confused with thinking that baptism must mean immersion because it represents death and resurrection.

But Jesus wasn’t even buried. He was entombed. So why does baptism have to represent burial, as opposed to simply death?

157   Brett S    
August 14th, 2009 at 10:45 am

It is clear:
- belief results in repentance and baptism (no infants)
- baptism represents a death and resurrection (not a sprinkle or splash or fire hose)
- confirmation has no biblical precedent

Paul C,

Glad to know were still on good terms :)
How come every time you tell me “it is clear” things get more cloudy? And you never give me any proof to the contrary?

Not to mention that with this statement above you are ex-communicating millions of Christians who have no affiliation with the dreaded RCC whatsoever.

158   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 14th, 2009 at 10:50 am

To those who would answer “yes” to re-baptism, why?

I see several problems with that.

1 – It reduces baptism to a purely subjective experience. It obviously has nothing to do with something God has done but is entirely dependent upon one’s feelings and experiences. There are plenty of times in one’s life where we feel really close to God and others times when we feel we are in a wilderness and very far from God. But do we teach people it is our feelings that determine God’s claim on our lives?

2- At what point do you say enough is enough? At what point do you tell a person, no, you can’t be baptized again because this is your 7th time.

3 – For people like Paul C who are convinced that EVERYTHING you do must be spelled out in black and white in Scripture, where is the Scriptural warrant to re-baptize someone? Paul is clear: There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

I would never, ever re-baptize someone. Those who have asked me if they can be re-baptized because they now feel closer to God I teach about the God who never changed His feelings about you. I tell them we don’t redo something God has already done.

159   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 10:59 am

ex-communicating millions of Christians

OK – so let’s everyone just do whatever we think is right. Forget even going to the Bible for clarity. That’s why there is such a mess today… like in the days of Josiah, the word of God is buried and lost (though there’s a Bible everywhere). It’s actually quite tragic.

We prefer to do what is right in our own eyes. Traditions of men supersede God’s ways.

Again: just look up the word baptism and you will see virtually every time it is associated with choice (speaking of making a mature decision) and repentance (a re-orienting of our lives toward God).

Why war against this fact? Not because we don’t see it, but because it’s uncomfortable to consider our traditions might be off-base.

For people like Paul C who are convinced that EVERYTHING you do must be spelled out in black and white in Scripture, where is the Scriptural warrant to re-baptize someone?

Did Paul re-baptize those in Ephesus (Acts 19)?

And I don’t think EVERYTHING needs to be spelled out. But when we do things that fly in the face of scripture, I do believe it should be addressed (ie: Universalism, “God has never done a violent act”, “Songs of Solomon was the most preached-from book in the early church times”, “babies should be baptized and later confirmed”). See what I’m saying?

160   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 14th, 2009 at 11:03 am

I don’t have a problem with re-baptism when it comes to people who were baptized as infants, but I would have a problem with if a person was baptized first when they old enough to have a say in the manner and then for some reason thought they needed to be baptized again.

161   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 14th, 2009 at 11:03 am

Acts 19 – no.
They were not baptized into the name of Jesus. That wasn’t a re-baptism. It was a baptism in the name of Christ.

But when we do things that fly in the face of scripture, I do believe it should be addressed

There is HUGE lee-way between doing things that “fly in the face of scripture” and things that just aren’t spelled out plainly. Confirmation classes are not “flying in the face of Scripture.”

Doing things that help people young in the faith to mature in their faith is not contrary to Scripture.

162   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 14th, 2009 at 11:04 am

Phil,

What are the reasons that you would have a problem in the latter case?

163   Brett S    
August 14th, 2009 at 11:05 am

OK – so let’s everyone just do whatever we think is right. Forget even going to the Bible for clarity. That’s why there is such a mess today…

And so the merry-go-round begins all over again.
I think I’ll sit this one out.

164   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 14th, 2009 at 11:09 am

Phil,

What are the reasons that you would have a problem in the latter case?

Well, if someone decided to be baptized in the first place because they felt faith stirred within them from the Holy Spirit, then it’s like you said, I don’t think we need doubt what God was doing that case. I would reassure that person that even though he may have strayed from, God was and is faithful to him.

I have also known people who felt that they were coerced into being baptized at a certain point, so I don’t really have a problem with re-baptism in that case either.

165   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 14th, 2009 at 11:18 am

I would reassure that person that even though he may have strayed from, God was and is faithful to him.

This is the same thing I say to the person and the church who is now standing before a congregation to be confirmed.

I don’t think it is an accident that the adult or youth who was baptized as an infant is now standing up to make a public profession of his or her faith. It is a time to celebrate the God who is faithful in upholding his end of the covenant and a time for the church to celebrate her role in nurturing this young person from an infancy of faith to a more mature profession of that faith.

Even adults who are baptized because they feel that “stirring” are really infants. None of us fully comprehend the magnitude of what we are doing. But God does. And God is always faithful. Re-baptism, in my opinion, robs the Church the opportunity to proclaim God’s unending faithfulness.

Would Israelites have been re-circumcised when they were old enough to affirm their desire to be part of the people of God?

166   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 11:28 am

Neil,

I offered the passage because he said that confirmation has no “basis” in scripture. The “roman church” did not interpret these scriptures to conjure up confirmation and the roman rite is not the only church that offers the sacrament.

Brett,

All I meant to point out was the differences in interpretation between the Roman Catholic Church and most Protestant churches.

Most Protestants do not see those verses as instituting, or even referring to, a specific sacrament of confirmation.

I understand that confirmation is a result of the interpretations, not a conjuring up from them to support a belief post facto.

167   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 11:32 am

Do you guys re-baptize people? Assume someone at age 12 was baptized and then leaves the faith, runs for a decade or so and then has a sort of Damascus road experience. They come and say they want to be baptized because they feel so much more closer to God now. What do you tell them? – Chad

I can only conjecture since I know of no such cases.

I doubt we would rebaptize someone who was previously baptized as a believer – even if that was done at, say, age 12. They chose to do it, and opening that door could lead to people wanting re-baptized every time they feel closer to God for whatever reason.

We do, rebaptize those who were baptized as infants – if they wish.

168   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 14th, 2009 at 11:35 am

Would Israelites have been re-circumcised when they were old enough to affirm their desire to be part of the people of God?

I understand what you’re getting at, but I still think that in the cases where I have seen re-baptisms, there has been great value to it. I think that the comparison of baptism to circumcision has a lot of merit, but I think it can go too far.

Another thing to consider is that immersion itself was not a new invention by the Church. In Judaism, there were various times when people were immersed as a cleansing ritual. So when John the Baptist was baptizing circumcised Jews, it was a way for them to enact their repentance.

169   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 11:37 am

Chad,

I provided an answer (166) before seeing your follow-up in 157.

170   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 11:43 am
OK – so let’s everyone just do whatever we think is right. Forget even going to the Bible for clarity. That’s why there is such a mess today… – Paul C.

And so the merry-go-round begins all over again.
I think I’ll sit this one out. – Brett

Paul C.,

It’s comments like this I want to distance myself from, – they serve no purpose but to escalate rhetoric. Brett took the high road.

It is poor dialogue methodology to interject such claims just because someone disagrees with your interpretation.

I found Brett’s examples of confirmation in Scripture completely lacking – but to say “let’s just forget the Bible” is poor form.

171   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 14th, 2009 at 11:48 am

Yes, everyone who disagrees with Paul C on any theological issue wipes his butt with pages from the Bible…

172   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 11:48 am

Even adults who are baptized because they feel that “stirring” are really infants. None of us fully comprehend the magnitude of what we are doing. But God does. And God is always faithful. Re-baptism, in my opinion, robs the Church the opportunity to proclaim God’s unending faithfulness.

While I agree that new converts may be “infants”in their knowledge and understanding – they are still making the choice themselves, based on what they do understand, based on their new faith.

That means they are categorically different from literal infants who make no such decision to be baptized.

173   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 11:49 am

Yes, everyone who disagrees with Paul C on any theological issue wipes his butt with pages from the Bible…

Uhhh… ewww!

174   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 11:51 am

Re:153

I’ve always been a bit confused with thinking that baptism must mean immersion because it represents death and resurrection.

But Jesus wasn’t even buried. He was entombed. So why does baptism have to represent burial, as opposed to simply death?

I don’t think the symbolism of death and resurrection requires immersion. But immersion does better illustrate it.

175   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Neil:I found Brett’s examples of confirmation in Scripture completely lacking – but to say “let’s just forget the Bible” is poor form.

I wish I was a little more nuanced, say like Phil:

Phil: Yes, everyone who disagrees with Paul C on any theological issue wipes his butt with pages from the Bible…

Neil – unlike some here (not referring to you and not being sarcastic), I believe that there is such a thing as truth, as opposed to distilling everything down to opinion. When something is false (ie: purgatory) then it is better to acknowledge it as so and point out there is no biblical precedent for it.

Theological discussions should have some basis in the Bible, otherwise there can be no discussion. So when we get into almost 200 comments trying to debate something like baptism and fail to realize what it represents in the first place (death to old, life to new in Christ), then yes, I guess we are on a merry-go-round.

176   Brett S    
August 14th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I found Brett’s examples of confirmation in Scripture completely lacking

There’s a lot more if you really want to be bored with the details. It’s not like I’m making the stuff up:

In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission. (Isa 11:2; 61:1; Lk 4:16-22) The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God.( Mt 3:13-17; Jn 1:33-34) He was conceived of the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission are carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him “without measure.” (Jn 3:34)
This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah’s, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people.(Ezek 36:25-27; Joel 3:1-2) On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit,( Lk 12:12; Jn 3:5-8; 7:37-39; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8) a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost.(Jn 20:22; Acts 2:1-14) Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim “the mighty works of God,” and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age.( Acts 2:11; Cf. 2:17-18) Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn. (Acts 2:38)
“From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ’s will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church.” (Acts 8:15-17; 19:5-6; Heb 6:2)
Very early, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit, an anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was added to the laying on of hands. This anointing highlights the name “Christian,” which means “anointed” and derives from that of Christ himself whom God “anointed with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 10:38) This rite of anointing has continued ever since, in both East and West. For this reason the Eastern Churches call this sacrament Chrismation, anointing with chrism, or myron which means “chrism.”
It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
- it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”;( Rom 8:15)
- it unites us more firmly to Christ;
- it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
- it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
- it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross:

“Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God’s presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.”” – St. Ambrose, De myst

“Age of body does not determine age of soul. Even in childhood man can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: “For old age is not honored for length of time, or measured by number of years. “Many children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood” – St. Thomas Aquinas

177   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 14th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Theological discussions should have some basis in the Bible, otherwise there can be no discussion. So when we get into almost 200 comments trying to debate something like baptism and fail to realize what it represents in the first place (death to old, life to new in Christ), then yes, I guess we are on a merry-go-round.

I’d say all the theological discussions we have here are based on the Bible to a large degree. It’s pretty common for people to quote or to refer to Scripture when making their points. My admittedly crude statement was just meant to point out the fact that you seem very quick to accuse those who disagree with you on virtually any theological issue of not taking Scripture seriously. In theological discussions, that charge is almost like calling someone a Nazi in political debates. It means you are tired of debating the issue, and that it’s not worth your time debating the issue. And honestly, there are times when it’s OK to say that. Heck, you can say that about any issue here if you want. Just don’t hide behind “you don’t take Scripture seriously” spiel.

178   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Just don’t hide behind “you don’t take Scripture seriously” spiel.

Phil, oftentimes we prefer to hold on to our traditions or the doctrines of men even when copious amounts of scripture show otherwise. It is my opinion that in a lot of these cases we are no longer debating the scripture itself, but rather – more deeply – we are really wrestling (or refusing to wrestle) with the ramifications or re-orienting our beliefs.

For example, what if Brett came to the realization that infant baptism is no more valid than baptizing your dog? That would be very challenging. I mean this in all seriousness.

A lot of times we are not debating to arrive at the truth, but to further reinforce our already-held beliefs. I have to say that, on this very blog for example, a lot of my own misconceptions have been challenged and I have been forced to re-evaluate things personally. Other times, my beliefs and convictions are further re-inforced.

179   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 14th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Phil, oftentimes we prefer to hold on to our traditions or the doctrines of men even when copious amounts of scripture show otherwise. It is my opinion that in a lot of these cases we are no longer debating the scripture itself, but rather – more deeply – we are really wrestling (or refusing to wrestle) with the ramifications or re-orienting our beliefs.

Well, Scripture has to be interpreted, and there are some things that are open to debate. Yes, there are some things that are settled, and we rarely debate those here.

I’d say for the whole theological debate thing, there’s much value in Wesley’s quadrilateral – Scripture, reason, experience, and tradition. We have all those things to consider when we’re looking at an issue.

180   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 14th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Baptizing an infant has nothing to do with baptizing your dog.

It is because of non-sense like this, Paul (amongst other reasons), that people choose to not discuss things with you.

181   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

It’s pretty common for people to quote or to refer to Scripture when making their points. My admittedly crude statement was just meant to point out the fact that you seem very quick to accuse those who disagree with you on virtually any theological issue of not taking Scripture seriously. In theological discussions, that charge is almost like calling someone a Nazi in political debates.

In the case of Nazi’s/Hitler it’s called Godwin’s Law… as I have said before there definitely is a Christian corollary that should read:

As a theological argument progresses the probability that someone will claim the other does not take Scripture seriously approaches 1.

182   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Phil, oftentimes we prefer to hold on to our traditions or the doctrines of men even when copious amounts of scripture show otherwise. It is my opinion that in a lot of these cases we are no longer debating the scripture itself, but rather – more deeply – we are really wrestling (or refusing to wrestle) with the ramifications or re-orienting our beliefs.

This is true – but when, in this case Brett, someone offers a host of Scriptures you cannot quip about just forgetting the Bible. It’s the Bible and our various interpretations we are actually talking about.

183   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 2:03 pm
I found Brett’s examples of confirmation in Scripture completely lacking

There’s a lot more if you really want to be bored with the details. It’s not like I’m making the stuff up:

Brett,

I was not referring to quantity of Scriptures offered, I simply meant that I did not agree that the Scriptures presented taught what you say they teach.

In other words, we are disagreeing on interpretation.

Sorry for the confusion.

184   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

This is true – but when, in this case Brett, someone offers a host of Scriptures you cannot quip about just forgetting the Bible.

Firstly, they were cut-and-paste from the Catechism. To make matters worse, the scriptures have been completely pulled from context and assigned meaning that was never intended.

In other words, we are disagreeing on interpretation.

I think the challenge here is that a doctrine was formulated. THEN the search to find scriptures to back it up was undertaken. This is exactly what happened with Purgatory and a host of other teachings.

In the case of Nazi’s/Hitler it’s called Godwin’s Law…

Can’t remember where I heard this the other day:

“When we are threatened by the truth we turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the evidence.”

I think this plays a large role in a lot of theological discussions. That might be a better corollary.

185   Brett S    
August 14th, 2009 at 2:32 pm

the scriptures have been completely pulled from context and assigned meaning that was never intended

Something that Tennesee Mountain Snake-handlers, or African Pentacostal/Crocodile Baptists would never be found guilty of, right.

186   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

184: sorry Brett. I know you’re normally a comical guy, but I honestly don’t get your wit with this one…

187   Brett S    
August 14th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

I simply meant that I did not agree that the Scriptures presented taught what you say they teach.

Neil,

No need to apologize, I assumed that.
I enjoy the discussion and I really do learn a lot from your comments.

188   Brett S    
August 14th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Paul C,
#185
Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

189   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

OK I see what you’re saying now… All the best Brett.

190   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Firstly, they were cut-and-paste from the Catechism. To make matters worse, the scriptures have been completely pulled from context and assigned meaning that was never intended.

Paul C.,

Even if this were true – I have no way of knowing if he simply copied and pasted – he provided Scriptures. And this means your “forget the Bible” quip was inappropriate – that was my point.

You cannot say “Well, let’s just forget the Bible…” in response to someone who just quoted a bunch of verses… argue with the interpretation, sure -

191   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 14th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Neil – I appreciate your spirit here.

For the record, I made the case (as it pertains to baptism) above that:

1. baptism is the result of belief
2. baptism is enacted by immersion, representing a death and resurrection
3. confirmation is simply a means to usurp what baptism is intended to be

Instead, some insist on sprinkling (makes no sense) babies (who are not even conscious of a decision), then confirming them (when they are old enough to make a decision to follow the Lord, which is when baptism should really come into play).

I also addressed some of the verses posted (ie: Hebrews 6). To equate confirmation with the baptism of the Holy Spirit is inaccurate. To equate the laying on of hands with confirmation is inaccurate.

At the end of the day, I like Brett and welcome discussions with him. Sometimes we’ll speak bluntly or directly but it is not to destroy.

192   Neil    
August 14th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Bluntness is fine as long as it is accurate.

193   Brett S    
August 14th, 2009 at 3:47 pm

At the end of the day, I like Brett and welcome discussions with him. Sometimes we’ll speak bluntly or directly but it is not to destroy.

Amen, Paul C.

I have no way of knowing if he simply copied and pasted – he provided Scriptures

Sorry, Neil. I was assuming y’all knew I copied and pasted from the CCC. I left out paragraph #’s, and additional scripture and council footnotes for the sake of brevity.
No attempt was being made to offer any new apochryphal revelation.

194   Neil    
August 16th, 2009 at 6:02 pm

RE 193,

No worries here, Brett. It was Paul C., who brought up the CCC, I simply meant to point out that you had provided Scripture references – even if we disagree on their interpretation.

195   Theodore A. Jones    
August 23rd, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Wow weeeeeee! What a question(s)! Wars have started over less. You have got to be one of the bravest men on earth at this time or one of the most naive to broach this subject. To tell you the truth I avoid your question whenever I state why Jesus’ was crucified. But I’ve got to say there is a correct answer, but you won’t like it. I think maybe a place to start is Jn. 16:8. What you need to understand first is that only relative to the fact of Jesus’ crucifixion has a unilateral negative issue become the permanent responsibility of each man to resolve in order to escape eternal death.
You might make some progress if you understand what I mean.