Baptism and lawful administer of the ordinance

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PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
Another discussion cropped up in another thread a while back concerning the adminsters of Baptism. Someone suggested that women, or any common disciple was a lawful administer of the ordianance of Baptism. The discussion started here.... http://www.puritanboard.com/f71/great-commission-us-today-26208/


Rich, I was more responding to Amazing Grace because he was talking about baptism.

1. You're puzzled because you're a baptist and I don't hold to the LBCF.
2. Did you notice the restriction that even the LBCF placed on baptism? Is a woman permitted to baptize?
3. I wasn't even speaking of baptism per se. Regardless of how the sacrament is administered, my initial and subsequent posts remain in force. A man is incapable of fulfilling the Great Commission apart from the Church at large.

Yes, a woman is permitted to baptize. Throughout the LBCF, "men" is used to denote both male and female.

For example:
"who will in the great day judge the secrets of all men's hearts by Jesus Christ"
"God had in Christ before the foundation of the world, according to the good pleasure of his will, foreordained some men to eternal life through Jesus Christ"
"the Gospel which is to be preached to all men as the ground of faith"

If you follow the logic, you would say that the gospel is to be preached only to men, God only elected men, and only men will be judged!

The term "men" is not intended to limit those who can baptize to males. The limitation, as stated in the LBCF, is that the baptizer ought to be a disciple who can preach the gospel to someone. If a person can preach the gospel to someone, they can also baptize.
 
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PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
I started jumping in here but we were on a rabbit trail of the topic.

http://www.puritanboard.com/f71/great-commission-us-today-26208/

In addition, Dr. Renihan makes it very clear in his paper that the source document for the 2nd LBC is the WCF. As you know it is virtually a mirror image of the WCF except in those specific areas where there is disagreement and then the 2nd LBC goes to great lengths to explain those differences. But nowhere (that I can find) does the 2nd LBC go to great lengths to explain a difference with chapter 27 of the WCF...



If the 17th century Particular Baptists disagreed with the WCF on this point wouldn't they have clearly explained their differences?

If the LBCF is not a mirror image in a section of the confession, there probably was disagreement. I think the fact that the Particular Baptists omitted this portion from the WCF, plus the testimony of the 1644, is sufficient to show that there was some disagreement with the view set forth in the WCF.

Don,

How can the 1644 testimony be sufficient to show disagreement with the view set forth in the WCF when the WCF had not been done yet? Remember it came in 1646. Plus the purpose of the 1644 was different than the WCF. The 1644 was written to give an answer to the charge of heresy to some who were publishing tracts accusing the Particular Baptists of anabaptist heresies and uprisings. The 1644 was not written to be a definitive confession of Particular Baptist Theology as much as it was a defense that they were not heretics.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
I am skipping some posts because they are included in following posts as quotes.

Sorry for the confusion. I meant the testimony of the 1689 was sufficient to show disagreement with the WCF. Besides changing the WCF to believer's baptism, the 1689 also eliminated the term "sacrament" and rewrote the section on the sacraments only being administered by lawfully ordained clergy that KMK cited.

BTW, Here is a link to Dr. Renihan's article 'The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith in its Historical and Theological Context'.

The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith in its Historical and Theological Context

BTW, the 1689 is closer in relation to the Savoy Declaration. When comparing the two together you see it is the one that the Particular Baptist's used as a main confession to compare with.

Thank you for the link. It should be noted that the Savoy follows the WCF on paedobaptism, the use of the term "sacrament," and that baptism is only to be administered by lawfully ordained clergy. The 1689 departs from both the WCF and the Savoy in those portions of the confession.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
At this point in the thread I then suggested that I would see what Dr. Jim Renihan thought about the topic. So here is something he wrote a few years ago on the rblist. I got his permission to post it here.

It seems that there continues to be a misunderstanding of the 1644/46
doctrine on the administrators of baptism.

Here is an edited
portion of a post that I made in 1997:

The text of the 1644 edition is as follows (taken from Lumpkin, page
167): "The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance, the
Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tyed
to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the
Commission injoyning the administration, being given to them under no
other consideration, but as considered Disciples."

The text of the 1646 edition is: "The person designed by Christ to
dispense baptism, the Scripture holds forth to be a disciple; it being
no where tied to a particular church officer, or person extraordinarily
sent the commission enjoining the administration, being given to them as
considered disciples, being men able to preach the gospel."

The [1646] revisions came largely due to the strictures published by
Daniel Featley in his book "The Dipper's Dip't and Plunged over Head and Heels
. . ." Featley said "A preaching disciple, sounds as harshly as a
Scholar Master, or a Lecturing hearer. . . ." (pg. 183). This was the
fifth of his strictures aimed at the 1644 Confession. The Baptists
revised their statements in response to Featley and published the 1646
edition.

Now, notice carefully what they did in the revision. The 1644 edition
stated that the adminstrator of baptism was to be a "preaching
disciple." This was a reference to the individuals described in article

XLV, who later came to be known as "gifted brethren." [brief
digression: there was a controversy between the high presbyterians and
the Independents and Baptists over who could properly preach. The HP's
said that only educated ordained clergy could preach. The I's and B's
said that gifted men, tried and approved by the church, could rightly
preach. These were the gifted brethren. Under NO circumstances was
anyone allowed to preach who had not been tried and approved by the
churches. They all had a very high view of the preaching office.]
Featley criticized the expression, so they changed it by moving it to
the end of the article "being given to them as considered disciples,
BEING MEN ABLE TO PREACH THE GOSPEL." It is simply a more elegant way of
saying the same thing. They did not believe or practice that any church
member could baptize; nor did they restrict the administration of the
ordinance to elders alone; they believed and practiced that the men who
were recognized by the church as officers, teachers and preachers were
allowed to baptize, but not all of the members.

To confirm this, notice the words of Hanserd Knollys, writing in his
1646 book "The Shining of a Flaming Fire in Zion" (page 9): "We do not
affirm, that every common disciple may baptize, there was some mistake
[by his opponent--JMR] in laying down our opinion. . . . Where it is
conceived, that we hold, Whatsoever Disciple can teach the word, or make
out Christ may Baptize, and administer the orinances. We do not do so;
for though believing Women being baptized are Disciples, Act. 9.36. and
can make out Christ; yea, and some of them (by their experimental
knowledge and spiritual understanding of the way, order, & faith of the
Gospel) may be able to instruct their teachers, Acts 18.26. Rom. 16.3.
yet we do not hold , that a woman may preach, baptize, nor administer
other Ordinances. Nor do we judge it meet, for any brother to baptize,
or to administer other ordinances; unless he have received such gifts of
the spirit, as fitteh or enableth him to preach the Gospel. And those
gifts being first tried by, and known to the church, such a brother is
chosen, and appointed thereunto by the suffrage of the church."

The administration of the ordinances was not tied to office, but to
recognized preachers. Thus, the 1st LCF does not endorse the notion
that any disciple may baptize.

This is the same doctrine as the 1677/89 LCF.

Jim Renihan
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Great legwork Randy. This is a reminder about how arguments from silence can be easily generated. It also demonstrates the importance of having some good source material to ensure that the surface reading of a document doesn't lead a person to an erroneous conclusion. That backstory about Featley is interesting.

It's kind of ironic how we're having a discussion about an over-arching emphasis on education. Unfortunately, as Luther noted, when you've fallen off a horse on one side you usually jump so hard back on the horse that you fall off the other. I do think the constant arguments against an overweening reliance on degrees has tended to depreciate the value of and educated (or even Church sent) ministry among Baptists. I appreciate that the Confession does provide some guards against the idea that just any can administer the ordinances even if the controversy led to the language causing some confusion in that direction.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
There seems to be two choices:

1) 17th century Baptists were confused about the issue and they waffled, hence the differences in 'The True', the 1644, the 1646 and the 1689.

or

2) 17th century Baptists did not express their beliefs clearly in the 1644, hence the corrections in the 1646 and the 1689.

Dr. Renihan proves the latter. And after reading Dr. Renihan's other article from the aforementioned thread:

http://www.reformedreader.org/ctf.htm

I wonder about the wisdom of using the 1st LBC as a confession at all. It seems like the 2nd LBC worked out all the kinks from the 1st. Dr. Renihan, in the above article, points out that some of the writers of the 2nd had never heard of the 1st since it was in such short supply. Could it be that the 1st disappeared for the most part because it was not found to be very useful?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I wonder about the wisdom of using the 1st LBC as a confession at all. It seems like the 2nd LBC worked out all the kinks from the 1st. Dr. Renihan, in the above article, points out that some of the writers of the 2nd had never heard of the 1st since it was in such short supply. Could it be that the 1st disappeared for the most part because it was not found to be very useful?

Good point. At the very least, if one is going to use both you can't just put them side by side and guess what the exclusion or inclusion of a term meant without knowing the backstory. It's not always the case that details are left out because they are repudiating another document. In this case they wanted to make the same restriction but didn't want the baggage associated with a particular term.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
The 1644 was a much shorter document that I think was primarily designed to argue that the Particular Baptists didn't hold to the heretical soteriology and other errors of some of the anabaptists.
 
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