Baptism as an element of worship

Should baptism be an element of worship in the church?

  • No, baptisms should be performed outside of the church.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other (please explain).

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    52
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Not open for further replies.

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Why is Baptism an element of worship in Reformed Churches?

This may seem a strange question, but according to the Regulative Principle of Worship, we should only do in worship what is commanded to be done in worship.

While there are imperatives to baptize in the New Testament, it is never commanded to be done in the worship service, either explicitly, implicitly, or by good and necessary inference, and every instance of baptism we see performed is done outside of the worship service.

Moreover, the Old Testament equivalent, circumcision, was not performed in synagogue or temple worship or by the priesthood specifically. It was performed on the eighth day, not on a day of Sabbath worship.

So shouldn't the Regulative Principle of Worship exclude baptism as an element of New Testament worship? Or is there freedom to take any imperative in the New Testament and incorporate it into the worship service?
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Thank you for the link, JM.

In brief:
Among which, baptism must be reckoned one, and is proper to be treated of in the first place; for though it is not a church ordinance, it is an ordinance of God, and a part and branch of public worship. When I say it is not a church ordinance, I mean it is not an ordinance administered in the church, but out of it, and in order to admission into it, and communion with it; it is preparatory to it, and a qualification for it; it does not make a person a member of a church, or admit him into a visible church; persons must first be baptized, and then added to the church, as the three thousand converts were; a church has nothing to do with the baptism of any, but to be satisfied they are baptized before they are admitted into communion with it.
(John Gill, Baptism, A Public Ordinance of Divine Worship)
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I see that several people have voted in favor of baptism taking place in the worship service instead of outside. Would anyone like to justify that practice by applying the Regulative Principle of Worship?

I've been in Reformed Baptist churches that practice it both in the service and outside the service (mostly depending on whether there is a baptistery in the sanctuary). I am not sure which view I would consider more Reformed. The latter seems more consistent with New Testament practice and the Regulative Principle of Worship, but the former is more consistent with Reformed traditional practice.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
We practice baptism in the worship service. We do not have a bpatistry but we bring in a horse trough. I am interested to hear what people have to say on this subject. I like to do it during the service because I know that if we do it outside the service many some will not attend. I would like for as much of the congregation to be a part of it as possible. (So their own baptisms can be improved)
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
I see 10 so far that voted "Yes baptisms should be performed in the church" but haven't seen any reasons given why.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
How can you not consider Baptism as a part of the RPW. While I hold that Circumcision and Baptism are different in nature I do believe they are both signs and elements that permit entrance into the Covenant Communities. There are different promises associated between the two and the natures of the Covenants are different. So as in comparison I do believe that Baptism is associated with the RPW as is the LORD's table.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
How can you not consider Baptism as a part of the RPW. While I hold that Circumcision and Baptism are different in nature I do believe they are both signs and elements that permit entrance into the Covenant Communities. There are different promises associated between the two and the natures of the Covenants are different. So as in comparison I do believe that Baptism is associated with the RPW as is the LORD's table.

Hey brother, I think the statement was kind of a question: While there are imperatives to baptize in the New Testament, it is never commanded to be done in the worship service, either explicitly, implicitly, or by good and necessary inference, and every instance of baptism we see performed is done outside of the worship service.

Is there a few verses that command Baptism as an act of worship?

Peace.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
How can you not consider Baptism as a part of the RPW. While I hold that Circumcision and Baptism are different in nature I do believe they are both signs and elements that permit entrance into the Covenant Communities. There are different promises associated between the two and the natures of the Covenants are different. So as in comparison I do believe that Baptism is associated with the RPW as is the LORD's table.

No doubt baptism, like the Lord's supper, is commanded, but unlike the Lord's supper, there's no precedence for it taking place in the regular gathering of believers. In the New Testament baptism occurs immediately after repentance and belief. There is no waiting until the next Lord's Day to be baptized in a worship service.

In contrast, we see the Lord's supper included in Paul's discussion of the gathering of believers in First Corinthians. We see the disciples breaking bread on the first day of the week. We have every indication that the Lord's supper is an element of worship.

So, according to the Regulative Principle of Worship, where do we see baptism commanded in the worship service? Would this not be "adding" to the worship service? Or perhaps there is freedom in whether baptism is to be in the worship service or apart from it?
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
As of late, I have been to busy to answer this question.... Maybe in a day I can expound some more... But for me personally the command lies in Matthew 28:29. Go into all the world, make disciples, baptize, and teach all I that I have taught you....

Unlike most Evangeljellys of today I first do not see this verse to mean that every tom, dick and hairy are to evangelize... Second, I see this for ministers.... Thirdly, how does one teach all that I have taught you and make disciples? Maybe by the preaching of the Word? By who? Perhaps the Preacher? Where does the word get preached at? Perhaps in Worship? Matthew 28 is for setting up churches and evangelizing by the ministry of the Word and Sacrament. When Missionaries go into a foreign nation what do they do... They start a church plant and start to worship God... So the command to baptize in worship rests in Matthew 28... Preaching the whole counsel of God is evangelism pure and simple to both the unbelievers and believers not through seeker services but by the pure word of God by pure Worship according to the Holy Writ by the whole counsel of God. We evangelize when we worship in Spirit and truth.. The preacher evangelizes through God's word making disciples, then comes baptizing followed by the teaching of the whole counsel of God... So baptism is a sacrament that is a worship element.... I also am thinking of the verse in 1 Cor. that tell us that the ministers are the keepers of the Holy mysteries to which are sacraments......

As much as I respect John Gill and love his writings I am going to have to not agree with him this time. I am surprised he took that stance.... But no man is perfect.... :p

How can you not consider Baptism as a part of the RPW. While I hold that Circumcision and Baptism are different in nature I do believe they are both signs and elements that permit entrance into the Covenant Communities. There are different promises associated between the two and the natures of the Covenants are different. So as in comparison I do believe that Baptism is associated with the RPW as is the LORD's table.

No doubt baptism, like the Lord's supper, is commanded, but unlike the Lord's supper, there's no precedence for it taking place in the regular gathering of believers. In the New Testament baptism occurs immediately after repentance and belief. There is no waiting until the next Lord's Day to be baptized in a worship service.

In contrast, we see the Lord's supper included in Paul's discussion of the gathering of believers in First Corinthians. We see the disciples breaking bread on the first day of the week. We have every indication that the Lord's supper is an element of worship.

So, according to the Regulative Principle of Worship, where do we see baptism commanded in the worship service? Would this not be "adding" to the worship service? Or perhaps there is freedom in whether baptism is to be in the worship service or apart from it?
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
As of late, I have been to busy to answer this question.... Maybe in a day I can expound some more... But for me personally the command lies in Matthew 28:29. Go into all the world, make disciples, baptize, and teach all I that I have taught you....

Unlike most Evangeljellys of today I first do not see this verse to mean that every tom, dick and hairy are to evangelize... Second, I see this for ministers.... Thirdly, how does one teach all that I have taught you and make disciples? Maybe by the preaching of the Word? By who? Perhaps the Preacher? Where does the word get preached at? Perhaps in Worship? Matthew 28 is for setting up churches and evangelizing by the ministry of the Word and Sacrament. When Missionaries go into a foreign nation what do they do... They start a church plant and start to worship God... So the command to baptize in worship rests in Matthew 28... Preaching the whole counsel of God is evangelism pure and simple to both the unbelievers and believers not through seeker services but by the pure word of God by pure Worship according to the Holy Writ by the whole counsel of God. We evangelize when we worship in Spirit and truth.. The preacher evangelizes through God's word making disciples, then comes baptizing followed by the teaching of the whole counsel of God... So baptism is a sacrament that is a worship element.... I also am thinking of the verse in 1 Cor. that tell us that the ministers are the keepers of the Holy mysteries to which are sacraments......

Well, I take a little bit of offense because I do think that Matthew 28 applies to all Christians, and I do not consider myself an evangellifish. But that aside ...

Matthew 28 is clearly a missionary endeavor. You are saying that Matthew 28 dictates a context of a Sunday worship gathering. But this is not what we see in Acts. We see the apostles evangelizing, not within the context of a Sunday worship gathering, but going out to preach the gospel, no matter what day it was, to the nations, and baptizing them immediately when they come to faith.

We see Paul preaching, not just in a worship setting, but on Mars Hill to the unbelievers, and in the synagogues on the Sabbath (which, in the NT, means Saturday, not Sunday). We see people baptized, not in a worship service, but after repentance, no matter what day it is, and brought into the church. And making disciples, of course, happens both inside and outside of the worship service.

If Matthew 28 was a command to do those things specifically in a worship context, it doesn't look like the disciples followed the command too closely. I don't have a problem, like John Gill did, of having baptism in the worship service. But I don't see anything in Matthew 28 or elsewhere specifying that baptism ought to be in a worship service. It seems to me that to take this view is to view all of the baptisms in the New Testament as improper, at best.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
You know this thread brought back memories of mine regarding early church baptism when I was studing Christian architecture.......

I just pulled this from wikipedia. Very Interesting...

In Christian architecture the baptistery or baptistry (Latin baptisterium) is the separate centrally-planned structure surrounding the baptismal font.

In the early Christian Church, the catechumens were instructed and the sacrament of baptism was administered in the baptistery.

The sacramental importance and sometimes architectural splendor of the baptistry reflect the importance of baptism to Christians. The octagonal plan of the Lateran Baptistery, the first structure expressly built as a baptistry, provided a widely-followed model, which might be twelve-sided, or even circular as at Pisa. In a narthex or ante-room the catechumens were instructed and made their confession of faith before baptism. The main interior space centered upon the baptismal font (piscina), in which those to be baptized were immersed thrice.

A fireplace was often provided to warm the neophytes after immersion.

Baptisteries belong to a period of the church when great numbers of adult catechumens were baptized, and when immersion was the rule.

As early as the 6th century the baptismal font was built in the porch of the church and then in the church itself. After the 9th century, with infant baptism increasingly the rule, few baptisteries were built. Some of the older baptisteries were very large, so large that we hear of councils and synods being held in them.

As soon as Christianity made such progress that baptism became the rule, and as soon as immersion gave place to sprinkling, the ancient baptisteries were no longer necessary. They are still in general use, however, in Florence and Pisa.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
Pictures of Early Baptisteries

The Baptistry of Parma.
180px-Battistero.jpg


The Lateran baptistery
180px-Lateransbaptisterium.jpg


The baptistry of Florence
180px-Firenze.Baptistry06.JPG
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
Wow, Roman Catholicism has some really nice Baptisteries, thanks for the pics.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
Notice Wiki mentions that it was for full immersion and before infant baptism....... So you could call them Baptist Baptisteries.... :rofl::rofl:


One point for Baptist.... Hoo Raaa :smug:


Wow, Roman Catholicism has some really nice Baptisteries, thanks for the pics.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
So, according to the Regulative Principle of Worship, where do we see baptism commanded in the worship service?

A specific command is not necessary. What the apostles did in irregular circumstances is no rule for ordinary assemblies. It is important to take in all that Scripture says, and not merely fragmentary notices. Baptism is a distinguishing mark between Christians and non Christians, and is therefore a public ordinance. Two points in connection with John the Baptiser's ministry make evident that it should be administered in a public congregation by a minister of the Word.

1. John 1:31, "but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water." Baptism is an open testimony to the truth of Christianity, which is first of all committed to the church.

2. John came "preaching the baptism of repentance." Baptism derives all its significance as a sign from the Word of God, and therefore should be administered by one authorised to preach publicly.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
How can you not consider Baptism as a part of the RPW. While I hold that Circumcision and Baptism are different in nature I do believe they are both signs and elements that permit entrance into the Covenant Communities. There are different promises associated between the two and the natures of the Covenants are different. So as in comparison I do believe that Baptism is associated with the RPW as is the LORD's table.

Hey brother, I think the statement was kind of a question: While there are imperatives to baptize in the New Testament, it is never commanded to be done in the worship service, either explicitly, implicitly, or by good and necessary inference, and every instance of baptism we see performed is done outside of the worship service.

Is there a few verses that command Baptism as an act of worship?

Peace.

Well, You might have me there. As I recall I don't know of any baptisms recorded necessarily as being on Sunday or in tow with a Worship service so to speak. We are not necessarily told what day the household baptisms took place or if it was during a LORD's day service,or if it was always immediately. It is assumed by many that baptisms were immediately performed after confession and repentance. Cornelius' baptism was probably immediate but we still don't know if it was during a LORD's day service or not. The Ethiopian was immediate but he was not the normative as Cornelius' household wouldn't have been normative either. Sam Waldron speaks on the Ethiopian Enoch in the third link below. In the blog links below by Sam Waldron he mentions that one is baptised into the Church. I for one see the Church as a gathering of believers who are the body of Christ. Just putting those together suggests that baptism and worship belong together. Just my two cents.

Here are a few good blogs on Baptism into the Church. I also am not sure Acts is the only place we want to find out about the theology of baptism since there were many things that were not done in a normal way.


- » Why Baptism Must Be into the Membership of a Local Church!

- » Why Baptism Must Be into the Membership of a Local Church!

- » Why Baptism Must Be into the Membership of a Local Church!
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
But for me personally the command lies in Matthew 28:29. Go into all the world, make disciples, baptize, and teach all I that I have taught you....

Unlike most Evangeljellys of today I first do not see this verse to mean that every tom, dick and hairy are to evangelize... Second, I see this for ministers.... Thirdly, how does one teach all that I have taught you and make disciples? Maybe by the preaching of the Word? By who? Perhaps the Preacher? Where does the word get preached at? Perhaps in Worship? Matthew 28 is for setting up churches and evangelizing by the ministry of the Word and Sacrament.

Well, I take a little bit of offense because I do think that Matthew 28 applies to all Christians, and I do not consider myself an evangellifish. But that aside ...

Well, I am going to semi agree with Don here but not with much necessarily as you can tell by my previous post.
Concerning the Evangeljellys comment as those who believe that Matthew 28:19 was for all Christians. I do believe it is a general command also. Do I believe everyone is suppose to baptise? No. But I do believe that everyone can disciple after a certain level of maturity and growth has been theirs in Christ. I do believe everyone can share God's truth and the faith of Christ. And not everyone becomes convinced and trusts Christ because of a Sermon preached on Sunday Morning or Evening. I became a Christian by reading the Bible on my own. Sure I needed the gifts of the church to mature me but I wasn't converted in or by a certain Church. I have also had the pleasure of leading others to the Saviour. I am not ordained. But I do believe I have to commission to go proclaim the word just as John Bunyan had or any Tom, Dick, or Harry whom God calls into his Kingdom. There are many passages where the individual is responsible to know God, His Word, and to proclaim truth, overcome evil, and win our brothers. I am not ordained to Baptise but I am a part of the body of Christ am I am responsible to lead others into the Church. Baptism is the initiation rite into the Church.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
hmm, I was in a rush when I wrote that... let me clarify.... I was not calling all who believe that Matthew 28 evangeljellys.. But I was calling all evangeljellys of today Matthew 28 Evangelist..... There is a difference but I did not clarify enough....

Second Clarification..... Please brother do not take me wrong... I was not saying that Christian should not evangelize..... I believe there are plenty of passages for laymen to evangelize, i.e. Be Salt, Be Light, Give Reason for the Faith within you, Prayer, Money Support for Missionaries, Be a good testimony by conduit for those around you, etc... I was more precise saying that Matthew 28 is not for every tom, dick or hairy...... Matthew 28 is for ministers..... I do not believe laymen are called to baptize, or to teach... Those hold to the office of elder.... Those things hold true for worship and they hold true for the office of elder.... Not the laymen.....

:handshake:

But for me personally the command lies in Matthew 28:29. Go into all the world, make disciples, baptize, and teach all I that I have taught you....

Unlike most Evangeljellys of today I first do not see this verse to mean that every tom, dick and hairy are to evangelize... Second, I see this for ministers.... Thirdly, how does one teach all that I have taught you and make disciples? Maybe by the preaching of the Word? By who? Perhaps the Preacher? Where does the word get preached at? Perhaps in Worship? Matthew 28 is for setting up churches and evangelizing by the ministry of the Word and Sacrament.

Well, I take a little bit of offense because I do think that Matthew 28 applies to all Christians, and I do not consider myself an evangellifish. But that aside ...

Well, I am going to semi agree with Don here but not with much necessarily as you can tell by my previous post.
Concerning the Evangeljellys comment as those who believe that Matthew 28:19 was for all Christians. I do believe it is a general command also. Do I believe everyone is suppose to baptise? No. But I do believe that everyone can disciple after a certain level of maturity and growth has been theirs in Christ. I do believe everyone can share God's truth and the faith of Christ. And not everyone becomes convinced and trusts Christ because of a Sermon preached on Sunday Morning or Evening. I became a Christian by reading the Bible on my own. Sure I needed the gifts of the church to mature me but I wasn't converted in or by a certain Church. I have also had the pleasure of leading others to the Saviour. I am not ordained. But I do believe I have to commission to go proclaim the word just as John Bunyan had or any Tom, Dick, or Harry whom God calls into his Kingdom. There are many passages where the individual is responsible to know God, His Word, and to proclaim truth, overcome evil, and win our brothers. I am not ordained to Baptise but I am a part of the body of Christ am I am responsible to lead others into the Church. Baptism is the initiation rite into the Church.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Matthew 28 is for ministers..... I do not believe laymen are called to baptize, or to teach... Those hold to the office of elder.... Those things hold true for worship and they hold true for the office of elder.... Not the laymen.....

:handshake:

Let me reiterate. I do believe we are to teach, disciple, and admonish as laymen. We are not agreeing here. I do know of unordained men who have taught Sunday School. And it is practised in a lot of our churches under the leadership of the Elders. I have taught Sunday School in a Presbyterian Church. I have taught Sunday School in a Calvinistic Baptist Church. Teaching and Discipleship are things that take place not only on Sunday but on other days of the week also. I have discipled a few guys who are ministers now. Are you saying because I was not ordained the training and discipleship I gave them is outside of the boundaries Christ permits?

This is getting off track from the issue btw.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
I am not saying it is right or wrong, but I am saying that someone who is unordained can not use Matthew 28 for what they are doing....... But this is offtopic..... So I cede at this point on this matter.......


Matthew 28 is for ministers..... I do not believe laymen are called to baptize, or to teach... Those hold to the office of elder.... Those things hold true for worship and they hold true for the office of elder.... Not the laymen.....

:handshake:

Let me reiterate. I do believe we are to teach, disciple, and admonish as laymen. We are not agreeing here. I do know of unordained men who have taught Sunday School. And it is practised in a lot of our churches under the leadership of the Elders. I have taught Sunday School in a Presbyterian Church. I have taught Sunday School in a Calvinistic Baptist Church. Teaching and Discipleship are things that take place not only on Sunday but on other days of the week also. I have discipled a few guys who are ministers now. Are you saying because I was not ordained the training and discipleship I gave them is outside of the boundaries Christ permits?

This is getting off track from the issue btw.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Is Baptism a part of the Worship Service. I think it is by association to Church membership and union with Christ. I do have a question. Was circumcision a part of the RPW? I believe if it was on the 8th day of a new born's life he was to be circumcised into the Covenant. But someone else may know different.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
I guess none of the paedo's want to touch this one with a ten foot pole... :p


:flamingscot:


You know this thread brought back memories of mine regarding early church baptism when I was studing Christian architecture.......

I just pulled this from wikipedia. Very Interesting...

In Christian architecture the baptistery or baptistry (Latin baptisterium) is the separate centrally-planned structure surrounding the baptismal font.

In the early Christian Church, the catechumens were instructed and the sacrament of baptism was administered in the baptistery.

The sacramental importance and sometimes architectural splendor of the baptistry reflect the importance of baptism to Christians. The octagonal plan of the Lateran Baptistery, the first structure expressly built as a baptistry, provided a widely-followed model, which might be twelve-sided, or even circular as at Pisa. In a narthex or ante-room the catechumens were instructed and made their confession of faith before baptism. The main interior space centered upon the baptismal font (piscina), in which those to be baptized were immersed thrice.

A fireplace was often provided to warm the neophytes after immersion.

Baptisteries belong to a period of the church when great numbers of adult catechumens were baptized, and when immersion was the rule.

As early as the 6th century the baptismal font was built in the porch of the church and then in the church itself. After the 9th century, with infant baptism increasingly the rule, few baptisteries were built. Some of the older baptisteries were very large, so large that we hear of councils and synods being held in them.

As soon as Christianity made such progress that baptism became the rule, and as soon as immersion gave place to sprinkling, the ancient baptisteries were no longer necessary. They are still in general use, however, in Florence and Pisa.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
It is very interesting that the early church kept baptism seperate outside of worship and in a seperate building called a baptistry....
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
hmm, I was in a rush when I wrote that... let me clarify.... I was not calling all who believe that Matthew 28 evangeljellys.. But I was calling all evangeljellys of today Matthew 28 Evangelist..... There is a difference but I did not clarify enough....

I thought it was implied, so thank you for the clarification.

Second Clarification..... Please brother do not take me wrong... I was not saying that Christian should not evangelize..... I believe there are plenty of passages for laymen to evangelize, i.e. Be Salt, Be Light, Give Reason for the Faith within you, Prayer, Money Support for Missionaries, Be a good testimony by conduit for those around you, etc... I was more precise saying that Matthew 28 is not for every tom, dick or hairy...... Matthew 28 is for ministers..... I do not believe laymen are called to baptize, or to teach... Those hold to the office of elder.... Those things hold true for worship and they hold true for the office of elder.... Not the laymen.....

:handshake:

You position on this was clear to me when I first read it. I do disagree, though. I think both non-ordained and ordained can teach and baptize. (In brief, I don't see any prohibition on laypersons baptizing, Paul as an Apostle did not consider baptizing a central duty as an Apostle, and the "mystery" = sacrament argument always seemed convoluted to me). But this is not an issue I would divide over.

:handshake:
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Couldn't we say that the Great Commisson was given to the church 'corporately' and therefore baptism should be a corporate form of worship. (Like preaching and teaching) Therefore it would be a form of corporate worship and be regulated as such.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I think both non-ordained and ordained can teach and baptize. (In brief, I don't see any prohibition on laypersons baptizing, Paul as an Apostle did not consider baptizing a central duty as an Apostle, and the "mystery" = sacrament argument always seemed convoluted to me). But this is not an issue I would divide over.

Of course it would (and should) have a peripheral role in their ministry and duties relative to the preaching of the Gospel - but that in itself doesn't imply anything regarding the proper administration of it in the role it did (and does) possess.

And with respect to that administration, as Rev. Winzer noted, it concerns the systematic inter-relationship of entire issues such as the role of the Church and her officers as a whole (possessing the keys of the kingdom, as per Matthew 16), and the corporate nature of baptism as an ordinance of the Church as a covenant community. Even in the Old Testament mention of the people being baptized in the Red Sea, it was administered by Moses as a prophet. In light of those things together, would New Testament believers have had any reason to think the pattern of baptism would have changed? Likewise, these broader issues would also seem to reveal the basis for baptism as part of corporate worship, since it is a corporate sign by its very nature, and is always attached to the preaching of the Word, which we know to be an element of worship.

Also, regarding the issue of the "mysteries" being associated with the sacraments, there's more to it than just thinking that the former simply "refers to" the latter in a plain sense. Rather, the "mysteries" are contained in the Gospel (as per Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:1-12, Ephesians 6:19), and what the sacraments are in their very nature and purpose are signs and seals of the Gospel, pointing back to it, solely serving as visible testimonies of nothing other than the Gospel. And since the Church's officers are the "stewards of the mysteries of God" (as per 1 Corinthians 4, as Michael noted above), that in turn makes sense of just why we see the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of its visible signs as lying with the apostles and pastors in the New Testament.
 
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elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I think both non-ordained and ordained can teach and baptize. (In brief, I don't see any prohibition on laypersons baptizing, Paul as an Apostle did not consider baptizing a central duty as an Apostle, and the "mystery" = sacrament argument always seemed convoluted to me). But this is not an issue I would divide over.

Of course it would (and should) have a peripheral role in their ministry and duties relative to the preaching of the Gospel - but that in itself doesn't imply anything regarding the proper administration of it in the role it did (and does) possess.

And with respect to that administration, as Rev. Winzer noted, it concerns the systematic inter-relationship of entire issues such as the role of the Church and her officers as a whole (possessing the keys of the kingdom, as per Matthew 16), and the corporate nature of baptism as an ordinance of the Church as a covenant community. Even in the Old Testament mention of the people being baptized in the Red Sea, it was administered by Moses as a prophet. In light of those things together, would New Testament believers have had any reason to think the pattern of baptism would have changed? Likewise, these broader issues would also seem to reveal the basis for baptism as part of corporate worship, since it is a corporate sign by its very nature, and is always attached to the preaching of the Word, which we know to be an element of worship.

Also, regarding the issue of the "mysteries" being associated with the sacraments, there's more to it than just thinking that the former simply "refers to" the latter in a plain sense. Rather, the "mysteries" are contained in the Gospel (as per Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:1-12, Ephesians 6:19), and what the sacraments are in their very nature and purpose are signs and seals of the Gospel, pointing back to it, solely serving as visible testimonies of nothing other than the Gospel. And since the Church's officers are the "stewards of the mysteries of God" (as per 1 Corinthians 4, as Michael noted above), that in turn makes sense of just why we see the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of its visible signs as lying with the apostles and pastors in the New Testament.

Hi Chris, thank you for taking the time to address the question directly and intelligently. :up:

I don't think we can draw from the Red Sea example that NT believers would have assumed baptism was corporate. The Red Sea was a symbol of baptism, not an actual example of it. A better correlation can be made with the practice of circumcision and baptism, but circumcisions were not performed by priests or in the worship service or on the Sabbath but on the eighth day after birth.

John the Baptist's baptism was not a corporate gathering. We see baptisms occurring where there is much water, and any day of the week, not in a synagogue, or up on a mountain top, or where believers come and gather to worship.

Simply put, the New Testament practice does not line up with baptisms performed in the context of a worship gathering. The Regulative Principle of Worship depends on a clear distinction between what is contained in a worship service and what is outside a worship service, and baptism is not clearly in the category of an element of worship in the service.

Ministers of the word are set apart because of their authority and mandate to care for the flock. Obviously one of their roles, as a minister of the word, is the preaching of the gospel. They are ESPECIALLY charged with ministering in that capacity.

The problem I see is when the duties are being seen as being exclusive rather than being a special responsibility and duty of elders. The Bible is clear that all Christians are to teach and admonish one another whether they are an officer or not, male or female. The command to teach and preach is not exclusive to elders, but it is a more of a duty for them.

Matthew 28 also says to make disciples, and surely elders, as shepherds of the flock, are especially charged with discipling. But surely discipling is not a duty exclusive to officers of the church.

Similarly, with respect to the ordinances, the elders are more responsible for the administration for them, but there is nothing to indicate that the administration of them must be exclusive. Not only does Paul note that he is called to preach rather than to baptize, but he goes on to say that he baptized very few people personally. It is one thing to say that preaching is a greater duty than baptizing, but given that this worked out in practice that he baptized very few, I think that Paul is saying more than that.

If the ordinances are to be administered in the church, it makes sense to have the officers administer it. But I don't see any Scripture limiting the administration to the officers. First Corinthians, despite all the problems with the Lord's Supper, does not even mention an administrator of it, much less that it ought to be and elder. Nor does any Scripture directly mention either ordinance in the discussion of the qualifications and duties of elders.
 

Southern Presbyterian

Puritan Board Doctor
So should baptism be practiced like near the end of this video?

[video=youtube;zl7LmS87HWc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl7LmS87HWc[/video]

:think:

Not trying to start a fuss. Just wondering how you apply your view of baptism.
 
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