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Thread: Baptism in the nude?

  1. Baptism in the nude?

    I've heard it asserted that the early church baptized converts in the nude. (I know the EOC still does this with infants.) How widespread was this practice? I know of one church father (Cyprian, IIRC) who said this was done, but was this a local or regional or worldwide thing?
    Johnathan Tate
    Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA), Asheville, NC
    Husband of one, father of 5

  2. #2
    Is this symbolizing a rebirth? Since we were born naked the first time. Is this sprinkling or immersion? I don't see the point or how someone would get this out of the text. Maybe it was something pagan that crept in? I assume this would be somewhat private and not done before the church body.
    Aaron Josh Wright
    Elder of Discipleship
    Grace Family Baptist, Spring TX

  3. #3
    Maybe it was just more practical. Your skin dries much faster than a tunic and cloak.

    Village Church of Rosena Ranch

    Transformation Ministries

    "Preparing a sermon is like cooking a meal. You need pots and pans and utensils, but you don't bring them out to the table where people are eating." Derek Thomas

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  4. #4
    I read some resources a long time ago when I was writing a paper against immersion baptism how some people in the early church were baptized in the nude. Here is what some people (as well as I) have concluded:

    It was superstition. Many people baptized in the nude were also the same people who wanted to have their eyes open and blink as they were being immersed--why?--because there was some superstition about the water of the baptism actually effectually doing something for that person (personally, that's why I believe not just baptism in the nude, but also baptism by immersion came about as opposed to the original which was by sprinkling or pouring).

    This is only my opinion and my speculation based on things that I've read while researching, but it seemed to make the most sense to me, because why else would people want to blink during their baptism while in the nude if they weren't thinking that there was something effectual about their baptism's water? Read the apostolic and early church fathers and you will find evidence for immersion baptism, but you'll find even more evidence for baptismal regeneration. Don't you think there could be a connection?

    Sorry I couldn't find an answer to the question of whether it was local or widespread. I think it was a local practice, otherwise I'm sure more would have been written on naked baptism.
    Nathan Riese
    My church:
    My denomination:
    M.div student @ Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

  5. #5
    I remember that Latourette discusses this in his first volume, but I don't have the book in front of me, and I'm not about to Google that for a quote.
    "Ignorance of the nature and design of the law is at the bottom of most religious mistakes." --John Newton

    Member, PCA
    Kingsport, TN

  6. #6
    Francis Nigel Lee (no, I'm not endorsing him word for word) in some of his baptismal writings includes extended quotations (contextual) of the references to the nudity. If you want a quick reference to those quotes on the internet, that's where I'd find them...
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

    Made both Lord and Christ--Jesus, the Destroyer
    Acts 2:36 - 1 Cor. 10:9-10 & 15:22-26 - Hebrews 2:9-15 - 1 John 3:8 - James 4:12

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  7. #7
    Yes, I've read the same in :

    [ame=] Baptism in the Early Church (9780952791317): H. F. Stander, J. P. Louw: Books[/ame]
    Particular Baptist
    Ontario, Canada
    Feileadh Mor

    We must remember that literally all our salvation is in Christ. - Herman Hoeksema

  8. #8
    Quote from Nathan
    why else would people want to blink during their baptism while in the nude if they weren't thinking that there was something effectual about their baptism's water?
    We hope and pray that another denomination doesn't get started of those who wish to blink during baptism while in their birthday suits!

    Richard Tallach
    communicant member,
    Knox Free Church,
    Perth, Scotland GB

    His Name forever shall endure;
    last like the sun it shall:
    Men shall be blessed in Him,
    and blessed all nations shall Him call (Ps. 72:17)

  9. #9
    You know how some fringe Christians think it is a sin for women to wear make up? Well I think it could be more of a sin for some women not to wear make up. ( I know it's an old joke) But for me, I like my women with clothes always on. As for men, now that I'm out of high school and don't go to the gym, I do not care to ever see a nude man.
    Alan Hughes
    Lake Zurich, Illinois

    If you think I'm a Hyper-Calvinist, God planned that thought before the foundation of the Earth. If you try to tell me that God only planned some things and not all things, then your problem is with God not me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    The baptismal procedure according to Hippolytus...

    Hippolytus (c. 170-c. 236): At cockcrow prayer shall be made over the water. The stream shall flow through the baptismal tank or pour into it from above when there is no scarcity of water; but if there is a scarcity, whether constant or sudden, then use whatever water you can find.
    They shall remove their clothing. And first baptize the little ones; if they can speak for themselves, they shall do so; if not, their parents or other relatives shall speak for them. Then baptize the men, and last of all the women; they must first loosen their hair and put aside any gold or silver ornaments that they were wearing: let no one take any alien thing down to the water with them.

    Then after these things, let him give him over to the presbyter who baptizes, and let the candidates stand in the water, naked, a deacon going with them likewise. And when he who is being baptized goes down into the water, he who baptizes him, putting his hand on him, shall say thus:
    Dost thou believe in God, the Father Almighty?
    And he who is being baptized shall say: I believe.
    Holding his hand placed on his head, he shall baptize him once. And then he shall say:
    Dost thou believe in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was born of the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and was dead and buried, and rose again the third day, alive from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father, and will come to judge the quick and the dead? And when he says:
    I believe,
    He is baptized again. And again he shall say:
    Dost thou believe in [the] Holy Ghost, and the holy church, and the resurrection of the flesh?
    He who is being baptized shall say accordingly:
    I believe,
    And so he is baptized a third time.
    And afterward, when he has come up [out of the water], he is anointed by the presbyter with the oil of thanksgiving, the presbyter saying:
    I anoint thee with holy oil in the name of Jesus Christ.
    And so each one, after drying himself, is immediately clothed, and then is brought into the church.
    Burton Scott Easton, trans., The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, reprinted 1962). Part II, §21, pp. 45-47.


  11. #11
    Some churches that don´t have baptism pool have rent swimming halls for baptism ceremonies. I think they have only swimming suit or trunks.
    Looking for the church
    The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)
    Vaasa, Finland

  12. #12
    It's against Biblical law. Even the whole architecture of the temple took into consideration someone not being able to look up the priest's robes. So John didn't do it that way. Case closed.
    Tim Vaughan
    Member, Redeemer Presbyterian, OPC,
    Santa Maria


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