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Baptism discuss Who can perform Baptism? in the Theology forums; A different kind of Baptism question So basically I have two questions in one: Who can perform Baptism? And when? I have heard of a ...

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    Who can perform Baptism?

    A different kind of Baptism question
    So basically I have two questions in one:

    Who can perform Baptism?
    And when?

    I have heard of a case were some friends of mine meet a Guy that wanted to be a Christian and therefor also wanted to be Baptised but his mother would not allow it and he was not adult yet, so my non pastor friends considered this an emergency baptism and Baptised him.

    Is this okay?
    And please give more excamples if you have any.
    Martin - Reformed
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    Is it just me or does "emergency baptism" sound superstitious? I mean, baptism is important but it's not as if there is some stain of original sin that needs to be removed by water.

    And sorry that I can't answer your question.
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    Good question! I would think only a pastor could but I'm not sure.
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    PresbyDane's Avatar
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    What are your arguments for that?
    Martin - Reformed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Re4mdant View Post
    A different kind of Baptism question
    So basically I have two questions in one:

    Who can perform Baptism?
    And when?

    I have heard of a case were some friends of mine meet a Guy that wanted to be a Christian and therefor also wanted to be Baptised but his mother would not allow it and he was not adult yet, so my non pastor friends considered this an emergency baptism and Baptised him.

    Is this okay?
    And please give more excamples if you have any.
    Here you go:

    This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (1 Cor. 4:1, ESV)
    There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospels, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord: neither or which may be dispensed by any but a minister of the Word, lawfully ordained.
    (Chapter 27, Westminster Confession of Faith)
    Q. 176. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper agree?
    A. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper agree, in that the author of both is God; the spiritual part of both is Christ and his benefits; both are seals of the same covenant, are to be dispensed by ministers of the gospel, and by none other; and to be continued in the church of Christ until his second coming.
    (Q&A 176, Westminster Larger Catechism)
    The sacraments of the church are entrusted to her ministers and should not be administered apart from the church's authority. Lay baptism as you describe usually also displays a denial of the relationship between baptism and church membership. You can't visibly baptize someone into the invisible church.

    -----Added 3/21/2009 at 06:09:55 EST-----

    PB's own Dr. McMahon has written on this very topic:
    Who May Administer the Sacraments?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Re4mdant View Post
    so my non pastor friends considered this an emergency baptism and Baptised him.
    Sounds like your friends believe in some form of baptismal regeneration, so I would suspect they have a larger problem to deal with than did the un-baptised youth. By focusing on the narrow question (who), have you missed the bigger issue?

    As to the smaller question, I'd refer you, for a start, to the WCF proof texts.

    Westminster Confession of Faith
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    Well I have looked at this question I just wanted other peoples arguments, considering that I will have to talk to them about it, I wanted all aspects covered
    Martin - Reformed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Confessor View Post
    Is it just me or does "emergency baptism" sound superstitious? I mean, baptism is important but it's not as if there is some stain of original sin that needs to be removed by water.

    And sorry that I can't answer your question.
    So-called "emergency baptism" was taught by the RC's when I was in grade school in the 50's and 60's. It was all right for anyone to perform, not just a "priest". Back then RC's taught that an unbaptized baby went to Limbo (since abolished by the pope). In order to save their soul you were supposed to perform an emergency baptism. And yes, they believed it was precisely to remove that "stain of original sin" and replace it with the "indelible mark" of baptism. I'd give you a quote from my old Baltimore Catechism, but I unceremoniously dropped it into the recycle bin a while back.

    Found it http://www.catholicity.com/baltimore.../lesson24.html #318
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    Well it seems like some of the old RC traditions have hung around these lutheran parts, eventhough I will not be able to get them to admit the baptism was to remove sin.
    They will say it was to give the sign of belonging to God + receiving the Holy Spirit
    Martin - Reformed
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    Confessional Lutheranism (WELS/ELS) states that so long as a person is a believer and bapitises in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit the baptism is valid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dearly Bought View Post
    This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
    If you assume "mysteries of God" = sacraments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berean View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Confessor View Post
    Is it just me or does "emergency baptism" sound superstitious? I mean, baptism is important but it's not as if there is some stain of original sin that needs to be removed by water.

    And sorry that I can't answer your question.
    So-called "emergency baptism" was taught by the RC's when I was in grade school in the 50's and 60's. It was all right for anyone to perform, not just a "priest". Back then RC's taught that an unbaptized baby went to Limbo (since abolished by the pope). In order to save their soul you were supposed to perform an emergency baptism. And yes, they believed it was precisely to remove that "stain of original sin" and replace it with the "indelible mark" of baptism. I'd give you a quote from my old Baltimore Catechism, but I unceremoniously dropped it into the recycle bin a while back.

    Found it Baptism #318
    I am aware of the Romanist view on baptism; that's why I thought I might throw my little comment in there.

    Also, thank you for the link to the Baltimore Catechism.
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    The "Classical" Anglican view is that under normal circumstances, it is the Trinitarian Formula performed by a Bishop, Priest, and sometimes a Deacon, we have a "provision" for extreme circumstances: Example, we have a Medical Doctor who at least once performed a Trinitarian Baptism on an infant who would have expired before Clergy could arrive at the Hospital.
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    Two children are playing in the garden by the water fountain, one child baptizes the another one in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Two children are playing in the kitchen, one child breaks the bread and they eat the bread and drink the wine. Definitely, this is not a baptism and Lord's Supper. So is the "baptism" by someone other than a minister of the gospel, even if they have the right intention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berean View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Confessor View Post
    Is it just me or does "emergency baptism" sound superstitious? I mean, baptism is important but it's not as if there is some stain of original sin that needs to be removed by water.

    And sorry that I can't answer your question.
    So-called "emergency baptism" was taught by the RC's when I was in grade school in the 50's and 60's. It was all right for anyone to perform, not just a "priest". Back then RC's taught that an unbaptized baby went to Limbo (since abolished by the pope). In order to save their soul you were supposed to perform an emergency baptism. And yes, they believed it was precisely to remove that "stain of original sin" and replace it with the "indelible mark" of baptism. I'd give you a quote from my old Baltimore Catechism, but I unceremoniously dropped it into the recycle bin a while back.

    Found it Baptism #318

    I have a first-hand example of that. One of my friends is an Italian-American woman who grew up in New York City; in her neighborhood everyone was either Italian or Jewish. When she was young she was taught by the Sisters that lay people could perform emergency baptisms on infants to keep them from going to Limbo.

    Sooooo. . . . when she used to do babysitting for her Jewish neighbors, unbeknownst to the parents, once they were out of the apartment she used to do baptisms on the little infants and toddlers so that they would go to Heaven! Part of me was appalled when I heard this, part of me thought it was pretty funny.
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    How about lay leaders in Third World churches where Christianity springs up spontanously and the church designates its leaders. Thus, they are not "ordained" by shcools or a presbytery, but they are clearly the local leaders in churches that have just "happened" as people have discovered the Word of God and have tried to gather around it in obedience.

    I can count dozens of examples of this happening.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    How about lay leaders in Third World churches where Christianity springs up spontanously and the church designates its leaders. Thus, they are not "ordained" by shcools or a presbytery, but they are clearly the local leaders in churches that have just "happened" as people have discovered the Word of God and have tried to gather around it in obedience.

    I can count dozens of examples of this happening.
    That might constitute a similar situation to Phillip. If we are assuming the Bible washed up on the shore or the missionary was eaten buy a lion.

    I would suggest they find a way to contact an established church and get oversight.
    If God is working in them this way I am sure He would prompt them to do this form Acts.
    Then like the rest of us have a traveling minister perform the sacraments until they can ordain elders in the local church.
    They may not need a seminary grad to be a minister initially either.
    I don't see a requirement for seminary in scripture.
    DonP

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    How about lay leaders in Third World churches where Christianity springs up spontanously and the church designates its leaders. Thus, they are not "ordained" by shcools or a presbytery, but they are clearly the local leaders in churches that have just "happened" as people have discovered the Word of God and have tried to gather around it in obedience.

    I can count dozens of examples of this happening.
    In China, there is an official established church. Although the tone at the top is highly liberal, and most ministers tend to be liberal. I still consider their bapitsm valid and true. However, for those house churches, I have a very low view over them, and the validity of their baptism is greatly doubted, just like the children example I brought up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by YXU View Post

    In China,
    However, for those house churches, I have a very low view over them, and the validity of their baptism is greatly doubted, just like the children example I brought up.
    Why is that YX? Are they very weak theologically? Charismatic or just no elder oversight or not many ministers so they do it themselves??
    DonP

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    On what Scriptural basis does the Westminster Confession make that claim? Confessions are significant, but they aren't Scripture.

    Jesus exhorted his disciples to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them." If someone is biblically "eligible" to make a disciple of someone (which would be any Christian, as far as I can tell), then why would they not also be "eligible" to baptize the individual. My daddy baptized me. He's not an ordained minister. Am I therefore not really baptized? I would tend to think that as one with spiritual oversight of me (at that point in my life) and as one with a vested interest in my spiritual development (as he would be the one used to bring me to the knowledge of my sinful state and of God's saving grace), that this was perfectly appropriate. I'm not suggesting that people just go around randomly baptizing other people! (And I don't think I'm particularly comfortable with the scenario described at the beginning of this thread.) But where is the scriptural foundation for the idea that only an officially-ordained minister may acceptably baptize someone? And, for that matter, ordained by whom? Who decides which ordinations are sufficient and which are not? What body ordained Philip? Paul? Who baptized those in Corinth? (Paul says that he did not baptize most of them.) Whoever it was, who ordained him?
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    Quote Originally Posted by A2JC4life View Post
    On what Scriptural basis does the Westminster Confession make that claim? Confessions are significant, but they aren't Scripture.

    Jesus exhorted his disciples to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them." If someone is biblically "eligible" to make a disciple of someone (which would be any Christian, as far as I can tell), then why would they not also be "eligible" to baptize the individual. My daddy baptized me. He's not an ordained minister. Am I therefore not really baptized? I would tend to think that as one with spiritual oversight of me (at that point in my life) and as one with a vested interest in my spiritual development (as he would be the one used to bring me to the knowledge of my sinful state and of God's saving grace), that this was perfectly appropriate. I'm not suggesting that people just go around randomly baptizing other people! (And I don't think I'm particularly comfortable with the scenario described at the beginning of this thread.) But where is the scriptural foundation for the idea that only an officially-ordained minister may acceptably baptize someone? And, for that matter, ordained by whom? Who decides which ordinations are sufficient and which are not? What body ordained Philip? Paul? Who baptized those in Corinth? (Paul says that he did not baptize most of them.) Whoever it was, who ordained him?
    Please see Who May Administer the Sacraments? by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon. I think you have to clarify your question a bit. The baptism administered by a lawfully ordained Reformed minister who apostatizes later in his life is considered as valid by paedoabaptists. I was baptized as an infant by a Roman Catholic priest, and most paedobaptists would consider that as a validly administered baptism. Are you asking who is authorized to administer baptism or what constitutes a valid baptism or both?
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    Sooo...when my dad baptized me last year in front of our church I wasn't actually baptized since he is not a minister of the gospel? Wow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AThornquist View Post
    Sooo...when my dad baptized me last year in front of our church I wasn't actually baptized since he is not a minister of the gospel? Wow.
    Are you responding to my post? I'm not following you here. I asked Rachel to clarify her question since she seems to be asking two different ones. What constitues a valid baptism is one thing. Who is authorized to administer baptism is another.
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    I'm adding specific questions in an attempt to flesh out the discussion created by the OP. Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding, but I have gotten the distinct impression through the preceding discussion that the prevailing view is that the two things (who is authorized to administer baptism and what makes a baptism valid) are thoroughly intertwined. At least some of the comments lead me to believe that at least some here believe that if a baptism was administered by an unauthorized person, then it wasn't really a baptism and, therefore, the individual has not actually been baptized. (Think the example about the children. It is, of course, an extreme example, but the principle seems intact.)
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    The Scriptures are silent in regards to who has authority to baptize. In the book of Acts, Philip (one of the seven) baptized those he preached to (Acts 8:12, 38). He was neither an apostle or teaching elder. The "Seven" are believed to be deacons in the early church. However, most denominations only give authority to certain individuals to baptize, like the minister. When I pastored an independent church, both the minister and the deacons had authority to baptize. Jesus commissioned the apostles (as representatives of the church) to make disciples and baptize. Most regard the part about baptism to be in reference to those given authority by the church. I was a member of a Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) for a short time. I remember seeing a brief liturgical form for "emergency baptisms" which allowed any believer to perform.
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    Quote Originally Posted by A2JC4life View Post
    On what Scriptural basis does the Westminster Confession make that claim? Confessions are significant, but they aren't Scripture.

    Jesus exhorted his disciples to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them." If someone is biblically "eligible" to make a disciple of someone (which would be any Christian, as far as I can tell), then why would they not also be "eligible" to baptize the individual. My daddy baptized me. He's not an ordained minister. Am I therefore not really baptized? I would tend to think that as one with spiritual oversight of me (at that point in my life) and as one with a vested interest in my spiritual development (as he would be the one used to bring me to the knowledge of my sinful state and of God's saving grace), that this was perfectly appropriate. I'm not suggesting that people just go around randomly baptizing other people! (And I don't think I'm particularly comfortable with the scenario described at the beginning of this thread.) But where is the scriptural foundation for the idea that only an officially-ordained minister may acceptably baptize someone? And, for that matter, ordained by whom? Who decides which ordinations are sufficient and which are not? What body ordained Philip? Paul? Who baptized those in Corinth? (Paul says that he did not baptize most of them.) Whoever it was, who ordained him?
    Rachel,
    You have, in a sense, answered your own question. The passage you cite is in the context of Christ's commission to His apostles relative to their task of leading the Church.

    Matthew 28:16-20 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

    The Lord rules and reigns over His Church and is the Chief Shepherd of it. His apostles were given the task of taking all that He taught them
    [Acts 1:1-3 Acts 1:1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. ]

    Thus we have from the days of the Apostles looked for Apostolic authority in all that we do in His Church. That Apostolic authority resides in the canon of completed Scripture.
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    So, then, would you say that only the church leadership has the biblical authority to make disciples?
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    Moderator's Note: This is a confessional board and the confessions are very clear as to who can/should preform baptisms. Personal experiences and opinions therefore have no place in this discussion. Please see the confessions themselves for the Scripture that backs up the confessional understandings.
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    Again, as James said above, please read below what the confessions say, whether Presby or Baptist:
    1689 LBC
    These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.
    Westminster
    II. The outward element to be used in the sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the gospel, lawfully called thereunto.
    This is the confessional position. Once you have read and acknowledged this, please feel free to ask as many questions to help understand this position, but refrain from stating the this position is wrong.
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    I would think that John the Baptist had all the qualifications necessary.
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    Yes, John the Baptist was a prophet raised up by God and specifically appointed by heaven (see John 1:33, Luke 20:4) to institute the rite of baptism. He was certainly more than qualified.
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    MAT 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

    1CO 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread.

    1CO 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

    HEB 5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

    ...So these are the Scripture references I see for WCF 27.4 (or however y'all like to quote confessions). I'm so sorry, but I simply don't understand how these in any way demonstrate that only a minister of the gospel can administer a baptism. Just in reading the context I am left saying "Uhh..." because it appears to me that there would have to at least be a stretch to have this claim substantiated. Would any of you be willing to explain how these verses apply?

    And while we are on this topic, would anyone be willing to explain how, if only ministers have authority to perform baptism, a person is still deemed "baptized" if they are "baptized" by someone who doesn't have proper authority?

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    Ideally it should be done by someone who can preach so that the sacrament is accompanied by the Word.

    If it's not ideally done - e.g. by a Roman Catholic priest - it shouldn't necessarily be repeated as that takes away from the symbolism of regeneration/baptism in the Spirit being only a once for all experience - and some quite heretical churches are still part of God's Visible Church.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AThornquist View Post
    MAT 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

    1CO 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread.

    1CO 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

    HEB 5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

    ...So these are the Scripture references I see for WCF 27.4 (or however y'all like to quote confessions). I'm so sorry, but I simply don't understand how these in any way demonstrate that only a minister of the gospel can administer a baptism. Just in reading the context I am left saying "Uhh..." because it appears to me that there would have to at least be a stretch to have this claim substantiated. Would any of you be willing to explain how these verses apply?

    And while we are on this topic, would anyone be willing to explain how, if only ministers have authority to perform baptism, a person is still deemed "baptized" if they are "baptized" by someone who doesn't have proper authority?
    All of the Scriptures quoted are in reference to called/authorized/ordained men. Men who have been set apart unto the gospel ministry. Yes, we are all to spread the gospel and yes, we are are to help in disciplining younger Christians. However, we are not all called to preach (i.e. be the undershepherd of the flock) and neither are we all called to administer the sacraments of Christ's Church. Only His properly called and authorized ministers should do so.
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    I am dittoing Andrew's questions. Also, I don't know that the wording of the confessions (particularly the LBF, which is the one to which I essentially ascribe) necessarily requires as strict an application as is being suggested here.

    If I believe that any Christian capable of leading someone to the Lord is also authorized to baptize that person, then according to my understanding, that person is "qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ." So I'm not sure I understand how being confessional nullifies the debate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by A2JC4life View Post
    I am dittoing Andrew's questions. Also, I don't know that the wording of the confessions (particularly the LBF, which is the one to which I essentially ascribe) necessarily requires as strict an application as is being suggested here.

    If I believe that any Christian capable of leading someone to the Lord is also authorized to baptize that person, then according to my understanding, that person is "qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ." So I'm not sure I understand how being confessional nullifies the debate.
    The intent of the confessional writers in mentioning someone "qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ" would seem to preclude your example. See their prooftexts (and the content) to see what they meant.
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  37. #37
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    Andrew and Rachel,
    You may be interested to know that "sacrament", which is from the Latin sacramentum is used in ecclesiastical Latin for mysterion, "mystery". Throughout its history, the church has understood 1 Cor 4:1 to refer to the sacraments. That is, even apart from the other references offered by the confession, this verse alone should establish the point.

    As for your earlier question, Andrew, there is some difference of opinion on the matter, but we might consider someone baptized who was baptized improperly. Using Hodge's requirements, if the baptism had the right form (water), formula (trinitarian) and intention, then it is valid. (See Thornwell for a different view) However, that is not to say that it was appropriately done. If a woman stands and preaches, assuming she faithfully expounds the word, no one would say they had not heard the word of the Lord. Nevertheless, her doing so would be inappropriate and, itself, a violation of the word of God. What is proper or regular and what is valid are related but distinct questions. A baptism is only properly done when administered by a minister of the gospel, though it might be otherwise valid. At least that is my understanding of the matter.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gord View Post
    I would think that John the Baptist had all the qualifications necessary.
    Luke 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people In the remission of their sins,
    John's qualification to baptise was based on his Priestly office. He could perform all of the various rituals of an old cov. priest, including the many baptisms given by Moses.

    This is the reason we can have 100% certainty as to the mode (sprinkling) that he employed.
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    1. Regarding Phillip baptizing the Ethiopian, it is more than a simple matter of saying, "Look, don't you realize Phillip did it? Therefore, laymen can/should baptize." We need to remember that Phillip was an approved preacher of the gospel, performing miracles, having communication to preach the gospel from the angel of the Lord himself. He is clearly no ordinary person. See especially Acts 21:8 -- this same Phillip (one of the Seven) was an Evangelist, even as Timothy.

    2. The connection of the Word and sacrament ought to give anyone pause here: just as it does not belong to anyone to preach in the church, much less does it belong to anyone to administer the sacred signs and seals which confirm and are necessarily accompanied by the word. This belongs to the ministers of the gospel.

    3. The teaching and ministry of private persons is far different from the public ministry of the Word. Out of charity, private men and women exhort, encourage and direct the other members of the body; the stated, sacred ministry, however, belongs to those commissioned to preach. Therefore, yes, all disciple, but in different manners.

    4. The fact that the Great Commission extends to the whole church in no way indicates that every member of the church has the same duties or responsibilities in carrying it out. Those who pray and support the ministers of the Word in their preaching play just as large and important a role in the great commission as the preachers themselves; especially when they help my exhorting, praying for and encouraging their brothers who have received the preached word.

    5. As these things belong to the church to dispense, it ought to fall to the shepherds of the church to prudently dispense them in and before the congregation. A private man cannot take judgment of these matters upon himself. These things fall on (as Paul describes them) "the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God."
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prufrock View Post
    just as it does not belong to anyone to preach in the church,
    The LBF actually disagrees with this, as well. It says that those ordained to do so should preach, but that this does not preclude others in the church from doing so, as well. (Let me see if I can find the reference.)

    I'm not sure of the conventional method of citing this, so hopefully this will be understandable.

    XXVI. 11. Although it be incumbent on the Bishops or Pastors of the Churches to be instant in Preaching the Word, by way of Office; yet the work of Preaching the Word, is not so peculiarly confined to them; but that others also (a) gifted, and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.
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