Slamming the Dunk – To Baptise or Not To Baptise?

Baptism

From the thread Special Offer For All Readers Of Signposts02, came the discussion on water baptism. Rather then derail that thread, please discuss here your hermeneutics on Christening/Baptism.

I will be deleting the comments from the thread that was de-railed in a weeks time so that people can continue to comment about the topic. So feel free to post what you have previously said there into this topic so that we can pick up where we left off. I’m hoping to add to this section very soon my views so that everyone can equally rip into me with my views. (I taste like chicken)

Some will surely disagree with me with my views on baptism. I talked about this last week. So Ill be posting up tonight my views on baptism. Enjoy discussing.


28 thoughts on “Slamming the Dunk – To Baptise or Not To Baptise?

  1. No, don’t delete the comments, s&p, or we’ll have to derail this post to discuss the merits or folly of deleting existing comments.

    Threads have a life of their own and should be allowed to breathe on.

    Deletion of comments removes the essence of why this post and thread were necessary.

    If you need to repost the original post in a different form so people can comment on it, go for it, but removing a large swath of text and comment is rather pointless, costly and discouraging for those who commented.

    I, for one, won’t be involved with a blog which is delete happy in this way. You never know if it’s worth saying something or not.

    Let it flow!

  2. Agree with FL re deleting comments. People can still repost their comments here if they want to, for convenience though.

    One of the entertaining qualities of this blog is how we discover interesting side tracks worth discussion in their own right. I agree that its a good idea to start new threads for the bigger ones.

  3. Wow, rp, that’s twice in one day we’ve agreed on something. I think there is hope!

    I wouldn’t mind discussion on the idea that Ephesians 4 says there is one baptism, yet more than one baptism is mentioned in scripture – baptism into Christ, baptism in water, and baptism in he Spirit being the most important. Jesus also implies baptism of fire, or martyrdom for some.

    Perhaps some of the confusion over this doctrine, which is serious, since it has caused schism, division, and even wars, comes from misunderstanding of how this all works.

  4. Hope is a good thing. Then sure. Please post whatever you think is valid to this discussion in reference to baptism.

  5. facelift there are a variety of meanings for the word Baptize “baptistheis”

    “to dip, wash, pour, or immerse” (in/with water)” -the mode of Baptism is irrelevant and a matter of Christian freedom – and has no effect on the validity of Baptism. Early Christian paintings depicted Christians kneeling in water and having water poured over their head.

    So lets get to the heart of the issue – “What is Baptism?” and “Why is it necessary?”

  6. The meaning of the word ‘baptiso’ gave, which was found in very early Greek writings, in fact recipés, is actually significant when you consider what it means to be ‘pickled’. A vegetable, in its natural state, is fully immersed in wine or vinegar seasoned with herbs and spices, and left to soak until it takes on a completely different nature – baptised!

    When we are baptised into Christ at the new birth, the old nature is replaced by the new – his nature. The sin nature is replaced by the righteousness nature. It is a full exchange.

    Being baptised in water signifies our understanding of this fact – that we have been baptised into the body of Christ.

    In this light it is an ordinance; just as communion is an ordinance which signifies our understanding, realisation and celebration of what Christ has already done for us at the cross and through his death; and the marriage ceremony is an ordinance which signifies what takes place at the consummation of marriage – the two become one flesh in covenant before God.

    Then there is baptism in the Spirit, which empowers us to be witnesses.

    With both baptism into Christ, and baptism in the Spirit, or being filled with the Spirit, we are fully immersed, first into Christ, then with the Spirit, so we are fully immersed in water at baptism, which signifies our decision to become disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  7. But how many variations of baptism are there? Wikipedia can help here. I think it’s fairly balanced for this discussion as to it’s various uses (only for Jewish or Christian uses and meanings).

  8. Just like Jesus changed the meaning of the Jewish passover to a Christian ritual of remembrance of His love, so too, (do I believe), Paul changes the meaning of the Jewish hermeneutics of baptism when referencing it with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

    It’s important to note that Paul didn’t see it necessary to baptise people for the sake of salvation.

  9. Good point, that last point, s&p. I hadn’t seen that before in that light. Yet Paul was red hot on salvation. And talked about baptism into Christ.

    John baptised in water for the remission of sin, but sin was taken care of at the cross of Christ, and, according to Hebrews, remission from sin came through blood sacrifice, which again is pointing to the cross of Christ, so John’s baptism looked forward to Christ. Baptism in water after the resurrection identifies us with his death and resurrection. We are buried, in water, and we are raised, from water.

  10. The conversation seems to have turned to ‘is baptism necessary’.

    This is an interesting point because there is ambiguity in scriptures as there is exceptions to the rule which contradict both the scriptures and the teachings of the Church and the majority of orthodox theologians: .

    ——————————————————————————————————————-

    St Peter: “Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21 cf. Acts 2:38, 22:16, Rom. 6:3–4, Col. 2:11–12).

    St Paul: “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism 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. Rom 6:3-4

    St Paul: “In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature,[a] not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. Col. 2:11–12

    Luther: “Baptism is no human plaything but is instituted by God himself. Moreover, it is solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we shall not be saved. We are not to regard it as an indifferent matter, then, like putting on a new red coat. It is of the greatest importance that we regard baptism as excellent, glorious, and exalted” (Large Catechism 4:6).

    Nicene Creed: “We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.”

    —————————————————————————————————————————————-

    The Catholics have a point when they say that Baptism is a ‘Normative Necessity’ rather than an ‘Absolute Necessity’.

    “An absolute necessity is a necessity which holds in all cases with no exceptions. A normative necessity is usually required, though there are exceptions. An example of normative necessity in everyday American life is the practice of driving on the right hand side of the road. This is normally required, but there are exceptions, such as emergency situations. For example, if a small child darts out from behind parked cars, it may be necessary (and legally permitted) to swerve into the left hand lane to avoid hitting him. Thus the necessity of driving on the right hand side of the road is a normative rather than an absolute necessity.

    Now that I would have to agree that Baptism is a Normative necessity. Even though there are outliers, the scriptures indicate that (water) Baptism – and there seems to be a ‘sense of urgency’ with regards to bring people to be Baptized. No waiting or deferral, no theological instructional courses – just repent / believe and be (water) Baptized.

    Jesus himself stated “He who believes and is Baptized will be saved … ” and “Go into the World and make disciples of all nations – Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. (Note for later: There is no restriction on race, gender, age or intellect).

    So –

    What is (water) Baptism…?

    What happens at (water) Baptism…?

    And Why is it necessary …?

    (S&S can you please delete the above duplicate post)

  11. FaceLift said:
    “Good point, that last point, s&p. I hadn’t seen that before in that light. Yet Paul was red hot on salvation. And talked about baptism into Christ.

    John baptised in water for the remission of sin, but sin was taken care of at the cross of Christ, and, according to Hebrews, remission from sin came through blood sacrifice, which again is pointing to the cross of Christ, so John’s baptism looked forward to Christ. Baptism in water after the resurrection identifies us with his death and resurrection. We are buried, in water, and we are raised, from water.”

    No. John the Baptist was a prophet. And just like all the other prophets, his message was the same: Repent. Israel needed to turn from it’s wickedness and unbelief.
    As a sign of repentance, John proclaimed them to be baptised: cleansed.
    This was a Jewish ceremony performed for restoration to a condition of “ritual purity”. This is recorded in the Law of Moses as one became defiled by uncleanliness, similar rituals took place.

    The nation of Israel had come back from exiles. And there very own Jewish temple had been defiled on certain occasions. So it’s important to note that many Jews saw their promised land defiled, family lines defiled, lands defiled (with idols), etc.

    So John the Baptists call was the same call of the prophets for her people to repent. And as an outward sign of repentance, the purification ritual was needed to be done to show their God that they wanted to be pure. Why was this so important?

    Through the prophets, God’s promise to Israel was that if they repented and returned to him, he’d restore them.

    Through Moses: “The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet from among your brethren as [He raised up] me; Him you shall listen to and understand by hearing and heed in all things whatever He tells you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to and understand by hearing and heed that Prophet shall be utterly exterminated from among the people.”

    So baptism was used for the house of Israel to show their God they were willing to change as John the Baptist started telling people in Israel how to live restired undefiled/ uncorrupt lives in their nation. The reason why Jesus followed suit with John the Baptist was because the Jews could only receive the future kingdom if they repented, which we know they did not. In the future they will come to realise the error of not ‘repenting and being baptised’ as their prophets foretold:

    Zech12:10-14
    And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace or unmerited favor and supplication. And they shall look [earnestly] upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn.

    In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of [the city of] Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddo [over beloved King [b]Josiah].(B)

    And the land shall mourn, every family apart: the [kingly] family of the house of David apart and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan [David’s son] apart and their wives apart;

    The [priestly] family of the house of Levi apart and their wives apart; the family of Shimei [grandson of Levi] apart and their wives apart;

    All the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves [each with an overwhelming individual sorrow over having blindly rejected their unrecognized Messiah].

    So we see that John the Baptist alongside Jesus were actually reformationists. If Israel had obeyed, repented and were water baptised, the sign from the Father to the Son that the Father’s Kingdom was now the Son’s Kingdom was through Israel’s actions and purification ritual.

    It was gentiles that wanted to become Jews or live the Jewish (proselytes) too that were also baptised. They were baptised from being defiled gentiles to cleansed people who were to obey Torah zealously.

    Now we can understand LionFish’s comment more eaily now.

    LionFish said:
    “This is an interesting point because there is ambiguity in scriptures as there is exceptions to the rule which contradict both the scriptures and the teachings of the Church and the majority of orthodox theologians:”

    We need to remind ourselves that Peter was commissioned “Apostle to the Circumcised”, (Jews). 1Peter was written to the scattered Jews outside of Israel:

    1Peter 1:1
    “PETER, AN apostle (a special messenger) of Jesus Christ, [writing] to the elect exiles of the dispersion scattered (sowed) abroad in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,”

    LionFish quoted:

    1 Peter 3:21
    “Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

    So we need to note that Peter is talking to Jews who are still (possibly) under law. To them, the message of baptism to them was redemptive because this is what Jesus’ disciples were commissioned to do. There Messiah was just crucified and many probably had difficulty understanding the resurrection and revelations of Paul (which Peter did confess were hard to understand).

    Prior to Peter talking about baptism he talked about Noah and his family (being the remnant) surviving the great flood, and used that as an illustration of baptism. At the end of Malachi, their was a remnant of faithful Jews. Paul himself also takes about a faithful remnant of Jews. Their may have been some strong spiritual link between this water baptism for the Jew to feel as though they can find assurance in Christ that they are spared through this act since it was commanded from Christ and John themselves.
    Just how Naaman felt defiled returning to his land and chose to be reassured by taking Promised Land with him, so (possibly), did the Jew feel defiled living outside of the promised land. As a remnant, they would feel less defiled through this baptismal procedure.

    But we’re not Jews and are not Peter’s audience. We’re gentiles.

    As gentiles who is our apostle? Paul. What does he have to say about baptism?

    Rom 6:3-4
    Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
    We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.

    Col 2:11-12
    In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts).
    [Thus you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead.

    Here it is clear he is talking about our spiritual baptism. Something that is preformed with human hands, but through the purification ritual work of the Holy Spirit in a believers life. But what does he say about man baptising man?

    1Cor 1:12-17
    What I mean is this, that each one of you [either] says, I belong to Paul, or I belong to Apollos, or I belong to Cephas (Peter), or I belong to Christ.
    Is Christ (the Messiah) divided into parts? Was Paul crucified on behalf of you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I baptized in my own name.
    [Yes] I did baptize the household of Stephanas also. More than these, I do not remember that I baptized anyone.

    For Christ (the Messiah) SENT ME OUT NOT TO BAPTISE BUT [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect).

    What? Christ sent Paul out NOT TO BAPTISE?
    We can conclude through Paul and Christ’s command that it is not compulsory for us to be baptised. When a man is lead to God, the Holy Spirit performs the purification ritual in us so that we may walk in purity, righteousness and holiness.

    The other apostles were commissioned by Jesus to spread the good news in all the (adorning) world, baptise and make disciples in many nations. They were never told to stop this ceremony by Jesus himself. Understand that it has something to do with Israel repenting nationally as a whole and recognizing their king among them.

    Remember. If all Israel repented of their sins and got baptised, the Kingdom would have been given to Jesus. But the Father had a greater plan- to allowing us to partake of Israel’s inheritence. Not through the Law or ritual, but through works and righteous acts, yielding to the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

    Even though I do not believe baptism is a biblical thing, I have no problem with it. I find it is a very beautiful and meaningful thing to many Christians.
    When go under the water it represents our death and burial with Christ (old man gone), being resurrected with and in Christ (new man born) and how we now partake in His spirit His nature, righteousness, likeness, life and glory and many other fantastic benefits that are out of this world.

  12. Yikes! I write too much! Please read. I put a lot of effort into the above. It should answer allot.

    One more thing. When talking in Acts about baptism check the audiences. It was the Jews or Proselytes that were baptised. It was the apostles (who were commissioned by Jesus to baptise), speaking to Jews that baptised. They went out only hoping to convert Jews to repentance in receiving soon the Kingdom of God and their King Jesus Christ.

  13. S&P –

    You have made some good points – and have made me think …. Grrrr 🙂

    I think that St Paul’s comment does not contradict the edict of Jesus and St Peter to Baptize new believers (and their households) as St Paul was Baptized himself, practiced this himself on a few occasions, (or had Timothy or Titus do the ‘leg work’), and was speaking to baptized believers when he made that statement – or id not cause dissensions as St Paul had great authority in the Early Church – and may not have wanted to have believers boast that HE had baptized them (ie. He was talking to the naughty Corinthians when he made that statement).

    Similarly, St Peter also went to the house of Cornelius (Acts 10) and Baptized the gentile people gathered there. I would like some time to think about what you said re Context and the audience…

    Yes, it is NOT ABSOLUTELY necessary for Salvation, but is normative necessity because of what it is (ie. a command and I believe a sacrament).

    I am inclined to hold to the command of Jesus to “Go into the world, making disciples of ALL nations – Baptizing them in the name of the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit” means that Baptism is a (normative) necessary part of the ‘mysterious’ faith mix. For me it is God working through Baptism, that means this is a necessary part of the ‘faith mix’ the things that we do, and should do as Christians. It is a beautiful part of the Christian faith.

  14. Well researched and written, s&p. And for the most part I agree, but I don’t see why you gave me a ‘No’, though, since I said the same thing in shorthand form.

    In fact John did baptise for the remission of sins:

    John did baptise in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Mk.1:4)

    And Christ did shed his blood for the remission of sins, to fulfil the requirements of the law (Heb 9:22, 10:18).

    The prophets all looked forward to Christ and the fulfilment, John being the forerunner of Christ, and the greatest of the prophets, according to Christ, coming in the spirit and power of Elijah, to bring restoration to Israel, and between Israel and the goyim, ad restoration between the Fathers, or patriarchs, to the children, or sons.

    So baptism into Christ is the one baptism of Paul – into the body through salvation. Baptism in water is a commanded ordinance, indicating discipleship. Baptism with the Spirit empowers us to be witnesses.

    All are necessary, but baptism into Christ is essential.

  15. Facelift rightly states

    “That In fact John did baptize for the remission of sins: John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Mk.1:4)”

    Then can we agree that Baptism is for the remission of sins?
    That God is doing something wonderful at the Baptism event?

  16. FaceLift:
    “Well researched and written, s&p. And for the most part I agree, but I don’t see why you gave me a ‘No’, though, since I said the same thing in shorthand form.

    In fact John did baptise for the remission of sins:

    John did baptise in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Mk.1:4)”

    Hmm… Maybe me saying ‘no’ was a bit strong. I’ll try to rephrase.
    John’s baptism was to point people to Jesus which they failed to recognise when they crucified him. John’s Gospel of the Kingdom message was the same as Jesus. Jesus baptised the Jews and encouraged his disciples to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and to baptise Jews in this ritual so that they may receive their king. They did not.

    For Christian believers, it is not essential, but for the Christian Jew it is essential. Why? Because through this Gospel preached only to the ‘world’ (adorning world-Jews), and having them baptised as a nation will they acknowledge Jesus as their King.

    Their view on baptism is completely different to gentile Christians. This is why Peter in his letters associated Noah and his remnant with the people of Israel, those that partook in the ritual or now set apart (remnant), from the rest of Israel because of their outward repentance. This outward cleansing ritual was the assurance that as God’s chosen people they were saved, unlike other Jews who are blinded to not follow their God. This is why Peter and John were so adamant and condemning of the pharisees and argued with all the Jews. This is why Jesus never told his twelve to stop baptising. Because when all of Israel (her people) repented of their wrong, he WILL forgive THEM as a NATION and God will reign as Israel’s Messiah.

    This form of baptism had an agenda ONLY for those in Israel.

    However as Christian’s in general it’s different. When one come’s to believe, the Spirit in us takes us through the entire process (as Col 2:11-12 pointed out). Our baptism reflects the Spirit’s work in us and demonstrates Christ’s work that took place 2000 yrs ago.

    Facelift and LionFish, I agree with you that baptism was for remission of sins – for Jews. As Christian’s, no. God had dealt with my sins 2000 yrs ago. I walked in ignorance not knowing I walked in his forgiveness for all my sins I’d ever committed. I was not aware of His mercy until I believed. Only when I believed did I receive His grace when the Holy Spirit moved into my heart- the Spirit’s acting power of purification baptism and the circumcision of the heart. Now that the Spirit convicted me of my sinful nature, Christ through the Spirit crucified my sinful nature, buried my sinful nature and rose me up with His very own Christ-like nature. That’s what was done spiritually by the Spirit and Christ together.

    This is what Christian baptism reflects. The work of Christ through His Holy Spirit in us when we first believe.

    I have done my best to research this topic for the last four years- as I was continually hassled by a cult-church (Oneness Pentecostalism), to baptised again (in the name of Jesus) for the remission of sins. (Because you are not truly forgiven of all your sins if you are baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit they say).

  17. You talked about ‘pickle’ before facelift. Check out what blueletterbible.org says on this:

    This word should not be confused with baptô (911). The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (baptô) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizô) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change.

  18. S&S,

    Re: “Facelift and LionFish, I agree with you that baptism was for remission of sins – for Jews”.

    I have to say, I feel a little uncomfortable with this – as Jesus said to ““Go into the World and make disciples of ALL nations – Baptizing them (ALL NOT JUST JEWS) in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.

    I addition Gentiles were baptized e.g.. Cornelius and friends.

    S&S – I understand the horrible feeling you get when cults chase you – you only need to get Bapstised once into the name of the father, the Son, and the HS.

  19. Facelift,

    It seems we agree on so much on this topic – I can’t believe it…

    1) Baptism is a normative necessity
    2) It is commanded
    3) It is for the reemission of Sins (ie. An essential part of our ‘Faith mix’).

    Because we agree so much, I just though I would let you know I am soon going to Baptsie all of my Children (10 years, 4 years and two years) …. I was a bit slow getting them Baptsied as infants ….

  20. “I addition Gentiles were baptized e.g.. Cornelius and friends. ”
    *cough*proselytes*cough*

    “““Go into the World and make disciples of ALL nations – Baptizing them (ALL NOT JUST JEWS) in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.”
    Um… What translation are you using and what verse is that? I need to check something.

  21. “I just though I would let you know I am soon going to Baptsie all of my Children (10 years, 4 years and two years) …. ”
    Awwwe! Yay!

    *says the one that disagrees with those 3 points*

  22. Hi S&S,

    1) LOL … They were not proselytes … but Gentile believers! 🙂

    2) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Matthew 28:19 NIV.

    I am also of the understanding that the word ‘Nations’ is translated from the Greek ‘ethne’ which means ‘people group’ or ‘people of a common tongue’.

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