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%

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
I'm not entering a baptism debate, but thought the following historical references might be of interest for some. The Westminster Divines had this to say about the sacrament of baptism in public worship:

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chap. 21:

5. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear;a the sound preaching;b and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence;c singing of psalms with grace in the heart;d as, also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God:e besides religious oaths,f vows,g solemn fastings,h and thanksgivings upon several occasions;i which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.k

a. Acts 15:21; Rev 1:3. • b. 2 Tim 4:2. • c. Isa 66:2; Mat 13:19; Acts 10:33; Heb 4:2; James 1:22. • d. Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; James 5:13. • e. Mat 28:19; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 11:23-29. • f. Deut 6:13 with Neh 10:29. • g. Isa 19:21 with Eccl 5:4-5. • h. Est 4:16; Joel 2:12; Mat 9:15; 1 Cor 7:5. • i. Est 9:22; Psa 107 throughout. • k. Heb 12:28.

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chap. 28:

2. The outward element to be used in this 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.a

a. Mat 3:11; 28:19-20; John 1:33.

Westminster Directory of Public Worship:

Of the Administration of the Sacraments:

AND FIRST, OF BAPTISM.

BAPTISM, as it is not unnecessarily to be delayed, so it is not to be administered in any case by any private person, but by a minister of Christ, called to be the steward of the mysteries of God.

Nor is it to be administered in private places, or privately, but in the place of publick worship, and in the face of the congregation, where the people may most conveniently see and hear; and not in the places where fonts, in the time of Popery, were unfitly and superstitiously placed.


The child to be baptized after notice given to the minister the day before, is to be presented by the father, or (in case of his necessary absence) by some Christian friend in his place, professing his earnest desire that the child may be baptized.

Before baptism, the minister is to use some words of instruction, touching the institution, nature, use, and ends of this sacrament, shewing,

"That it is instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ: That it is a seal of the covenant of grace, of our ingrafting into Christ, and of our union with him, of remission of sins, regeneration, adoption, and life eternal: That the water, in baptism, representeth and signifieth both the blood of Christ, which taketh away all guilt of sin, original and actual; and the sanctifying virtue of the Spirit of Christ against the dominion of sin, and the corruption of our sinful nature: That baptizing, or sprinkling and washing with water, signifieth the cleansing from sin by the blood and for the merit of Christ, together with the mortification of sin, and rising from sin to newness of life, by virtue of the death and resurrection of Christ: That the promise is made to believers and their seed; and that the seed and posterity of the faithful, born within the church, have, by their birth, interest in the covenant, and right to the seal of it, and to the outward privileges of the church, under the gospel, no less than the children of Abraham in the time of the Old Testament; the covenant of grace, for substance, being the same; and the grace of God, and the consolation of believers, more plentiful than before: That the Son of God admitted little children into his presence, embracing and blessing them, saying, For of such is the kingdom of God: That children, by baptism, are solemnly received into the bosom of the visible church, distinguished from the world, and them that are without, and united with believers; and that all who are baptized in the name of Christ, do renounce, and by their baptism are bound to fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh: That they are Christians, and federally holy before baptism, and therefore are they baptized: That the inward grace and virtue of baptism is not tied to that very moment of time wherein it is administered; and that the fruit and power thereof reacheth to the whole course of our life; and that outward baptism is not so necessary, that, through the want thereof, the infant is in danger of damnation, or the parents guilty, if they do not contemn or neglect the ordinance of Christ, when and where it may be had."

In these or the like instructions, the minister is to use his own liberty and godly wisdom, as the ignorance or errors in the doctrine of baptism, and the edification of the people, shall require.

Commenting on the Directory of Public Worship, Rowland Ward says (Richard A. Muller & Rowland S. Ward, Scripture and Worship: Biblical Interpretation and The Directory For Worship, pp. 127-128:

The common practice in Scotland was for baptism to be administered on the second Lord's Day after the birth, and with rare and controverted exceptions,[32] the baptism was always in the presence of the congregation. In England, the large majority of baptisms were private, and it was common for the midwife to present the child for baptism;[33] so there was a definite acceptance of the Scots' position at these points. Fonts in older pre-Reformation churches were at the doors; this was discountenanced as unsuited for baptism in the face of the congregation.

[32] For examples see McMillan, Worship, 254ff.
[33] Leishman, Westminster Directory, 106, citing Robert Baillie.

Westminster Form of Presbyterian Church Government:

Pastors.
THe Pastor is an ordinary and perpetuall Officer in the Church, Jer. 3:15,16,17. Prophecying of the time of the Gospel, 1 Pet. 5:2,3,4; Ephes. 4:11,12,13.
First, It belongs to his office;
...
To administer the Sacraments, Matth. 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16; 1 Corinth. 11:23,24,25, compared with 1 Cor:10.16.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
LBC 39. That Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ, to be dispensed only upon persons professing faith, or that are Disciples, or taught, who upon a profession of faith, ought to be baptized (Added later: "...and after to partake of the Lord's Supper.") Acts 2:37, 38; 8:36-38; 18:8

41. The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this ordinance, the Scriptures hold forth to a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular church, officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples.
Isa. 8:16; Mat. 28:16-19; John 4:1-2; Acts 20:7; Mat. 26:26

:cheers:
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
This from the Didache:

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize.
7:2 Having first recited all these things, baptize {in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit} in living (running) water.
7:3 But if thou hast not living water, then baptize in other water;
7:4 and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm.
7:5 But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
7:6 But before the baptism let him that baptizeth and him that is baptized fast, and any others also who are able;
7:7 and thou shalt order him that is baptized to fast a day or two before.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
LBC 39. That Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ, to be dispensed only upon persons professing faith, or that are Disciples, or taught, who upon a profession of faith, ought to be baptized (Added later: "...and after to partake of the Lord's Supper.") Acts 2:37, 38; 8:36-38; 18:8

41. The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this ordinance, the Scriptures hold forth to a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular church, officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples.
Isa. 8:16; Mat. 28:16-19; John 4:1-2; Acts 20:7; Mat. 26:26

:cheers:

:up:
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
I'm not NCT but like they way their confession reads on the subject:

Article 26.

The Meaning of Baptism

The ordinance of baptism is the formal profession of faith for the believer. It is an outward sign of an inward reality. When someone is baptized he is saying that he is now trusting in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation, and desires Him to be the Lord of his life. Baptism is a necessary part of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and is to be practiced by His church until the end of the world. Romans 6:1-4, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:37-41

The Mode of Baptism

The key element in the ordinance of baptism is water. Baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Scripture does not require one particular method or mode of baptism. 1 Peter 3:18-22, Romans 6:1-4, Acts 8:36-40

The Practice of Baptism

Scripture recognizes every believer as a priest. Therefore, any believer is authorized to perform the ordinance of baptism. Since baptism is the believer’s formal profession of faith, and since many of the baptisms recorded in Scripture are private, it is not necessary for baptism to be performed in a public service. It is proper for a believer to baptize someone once they have professed faith in Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:9-10, Acts 8:26-40, Acts 16:16-40
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I don't see how baptism could ever be considered a 'private' act of worship. (unless you baptize yourself which is not described in scripture) By definition baptism is an act of 'corporate' worship. So is preaching and teaching. (unless you are preaching to yourself, but that isn't really what the GC is all about) And since they are corporate by definition, I would not be so bold as to say with authority that the regulative principle does not apply.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't see how baptism could ever be considered a 'private' act of worship. (unless you baptize yourself which is not described in scripture) By definition baptism is an act of 'corporate' worship. So is preaching and teaching. (unless you are preaching to yourself, but that isn't really what the GC is all about) And since they are corporate by definition, I would not be so bold as to say with authority that the regulative principle does not apply.

Brother I think you misunderstood the quote.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I don't see how baptism could ever be considered a 'private' act of worship. (unless you baptize yourself which is not described in scripture) By definition baptism is an act of 'corporate' worship. So is preaching and teaching. (unless you are preaching to yourself, but that isn't really what the GC is all about) And since they are corporate by definition, I would not be so bold as to say with authority that the regulative principle does not apply.

Brother I think you misunderstood the quote.

I was not responding to your quote in particular but the idea that the GC applies to 'individuals'. It is impossible to preach 'individually' unless you preach to yourself in your bedroom. Same with teaching. Same with baptism. These acts of worship, by definition, require a plurality of worshippers and therefore are rightly catagorized as 'corporate' acts of worship.

This would be different than prayer, for example, which can be an act of 'private' or 'individual' worship. Perhaps the same could be said for Bible reading, memorization and meditation or even tithing.

All I am saying is that seeing that baptism is corporate...personally...I would stick to the RP and keep it as part of some kind of corporate worship service.
 
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