James Dale's Theory of Baptizo and Baptism

Discussion in 'Baptism' started by Phil D., Nov 29, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    If a person does much reading on the long-standing controversy over the proper mode of baptism, they are likely to encounter the writings of (or references to) the 19th century Presbyterian minister James W. Dale. Indeed, Dale’s five-volume series has been mentioned quite a few times here at the PB on some of the threads related to that topic. It has even been asserted that Dale’s work is perhaps the most important ever produced in terms of determining the true meaning of the Greek verb baptizo, and that it is essentially conclusive on the issue.

    Yet at least one objective fact which stands out in all this is that Dale’s characterization of baptizo is entirely antithetical to what one finds in virtually all mainstream lexicons. This holds true whether these references were produced before or after Dale’s work was published. Consider:

    As have nearly all lexicons before them, Sophocles, Liddell & Scott, Kittel, Thayer, Zodhiates, Wuest, Strong’s, Vine’s, and BDAG all list “dip” and/or “immerse” as being a normal, and in most cases even the primary meaning of baptizo. Numerous reputable theologians throughout history, such as Luther, Calvin, Beza, Gomarus, Turretin and Witsius have plainly and readily concurred.

    Dale, on the other hand, unflinchingly proclaimed: “If anything in language can be proved, it has been proved that baptizo does not express any definite form of act, and, therefore, does not express the definite act ‘to dip’.”

    What then is to be made of such a glaring discrepancy? Was Dale really correct, and virtually all other Greek scholars simply mistaken in this long-studied yet seemingly straightforward matter?

    By all accounts Dale was an admirable man both in his personal life and in his principle vocation as a local pastor. But as I engaged in a somewhat lengthy study of his writings I must say that I found his scholarship to be rather problematic, and even troubling in some respects. This assessment would include a number of highly irregular lingual tenets that Dale posited and then proceeded to build his theory on, and his often odd and seemingly biased translation of the primary sources that were cited as proof of his position. Of course if these foundational aspects of a system are deemed flawed or suspect, little else of it remains unblemished.

    To me Dale even becomes a bit of a tragic figure when, as an apparent outgrowth of his unusual views, he was obliged to conclude that the Great Commission does not refer to the sacrament of water baptism at all. Nor, according to Dale, do the baptismal accounts of the 3000 converts at Pentecost or that of the apostle Paul by Ananias involve the outward rite of water baptism.

    Nonetheless, some of Dale’s current admirers still promote his work as being the best ever when it comes to the subject of baptismal mode. It has also been claimed that Dale’s assertions have never been answered—because, they are essentially “unanswerable”. But despite the aura of insuperability that Dale seems to have attained in some circles, if one researches the issue they will actually find that a fair number of Dale’s contemporaries quite intelligibly challenged many of his basic premises, and rather forcefully refuted the conclusions they led to. The attached review in fact incorporates many of these historical criticisms, which came from immersionists and non-immersionists alike.

    My article is by no means light reading. I think the rather technical nature of the subject matter effectively prevents that. As such, a person will usually (and understandably) have to have a pretty direct interest in an issue like this before they will really want to study it. These factors, along with the considerable length of the review will undoubtedly limit the number of people who read it. (In an effort to treat Dale’s copious writings in an appropriately thorough manner, it ended up being some 55 pages long—but, hey, that’s still only about 4% of the length of Dale’s series!) At any rate, I thought I would post it for anyone who might be interested in looking it over—and maybe want to offer some thoughts of their own.

    View attachment 1978
    View attachment 1977
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Wouldn't it be fair to say, that one of the "issues" that crops up--even to this day--quite often in discussions of baptism (not always, and not so much on this site), is the insistence that the term "baptizo" has a, single, constant, invariable, complete, non-negotiable meaning; and that really no other sense, use, application, derivation, or notion is compatible with the word? I think it is.

    Whatever is wrong about his work, Dale's absolutely correct point is: that words, especially old words, with a history of meaning and uses in a variety of contexts, and insisting that a lexical "base" or univocal meaning is indubitably the key to a theological interpretation of a biblical concept is false, wrongheaded, and impoverishing. When he insists that the meaning of the term must be determined by its use in context, and that usage invariably stretches a term through its employment in situations far removed from its mint, he is correct.

    I'm actually quite confused about several of your claims above.
    1) Is Dale's characterization honestly antithetical to a lexical presentation, which has a significantly different purpose for its manner of presentation?
    2) You oppose to the lexicons (many or all which include various shades of meaning or use, beside a primary signification) Dale's specific statement in which he insists that the bare word alone expresses nothing definite concerning the form of the act of baptizing. And yet, despite the pluriform witness of the lexicons by themselves, a single form IS insisted on, frequently, based on a precommitment or preference for a particular form--which denies the very possibility of alternatives. It seems to me, Dale's "definition" does precisely what he wants it to: it challenges the basic notion that "baptizo" has a single signification that predetermines what a baptism "looks like."

    In the end, one is not obligated to buy into every one of Dale's conclusions, in order to appreciate the comprehensiveness of his survey. And pitting what is basically an exhaustive word-study against the lexicons just seems to me to be a case of asymmetry. :2cents:
  3. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Phil, would you agree or disagree with the reputable theologians who composed the Westminster Confession of Faith when they state, "Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person" (WCF 28:3)?
  4. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Rev. Buchanan (may I simply call you Bruce?), thanks for your thoughts.

    I agree that historically this has at times certainly been the case. Personally I see less and less of it in current immersionist writings. Perhaps you can give some examples of where this continues to crop up.

    I would still say yes. Lexicons uniformly say that baptizo CAN and often DOES mean to dip - Dale unequivocally and repeatedly insisted that it can't, and thus never does. That is a classic antithesis.

    Actually, in the citation of Dale in the OP he did not insist that "the bare word alone expresses nothing definite concerning the form of the act of baptizing." Rather, and as I demonstrate in my review that he repeatedly did, Dale insisted that the very lingual qualities of baptizo forbid it from ever intrinsically denoting the physical act of "dipping."

    If one will actually take the time to carefully read through my review, I think it will show that I bring a whole lot more to bear on the topic than just what lexicons have to say. That was merely my starting point. Furthermore, I have maintained (and painstakingly explained why I think so) that the very lingual premises and the underlying methodology of Dale's study were seriously flawed. Hence, so too were the results.

    I would thus conclude that while there have certainly been some extremists in the immersionist camp (Alexander Campbell and Alexander Carson come to mind), Dale is every bit as much of an extremist on the other side. None of these three seem to be very reliable sources to me.

    ---------- Post added at 02:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:19 PM ----------

    Hi, Tim. I'm not yet entirely sure what to think about this. I'm still in the process of considering a variety of baptismal questions. At this point suffice it to say that I am certainly not ready to pronounce anyone "unbaptized" who received the rite by pouring or sprinkling.

    ---------- Post added at 02:30 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:26 PM ----------
  5. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    But wasn't Dale responding to Carson (among others), simply to show that Carson was wrong in his views?
  6. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

  7. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I was asking a genuine question: Wasn't Carson one of the folks (with a faulty view of the meaning of baptizo) to whom Dale was responding?

    I mean, you obviously think faulty views need responding to -- that's what you consider yourself doing with Dale, correct?
  8. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, Tim, Carson was a frequent target throughout Dales series (have you ever read it?).

    Yes, I do think that faulty views need responding to (including both Alexanders') - but not with an equally faulty one (Dale's). Two erroneous views don't make a correct one.

    Look, I know Dale has attained almost heroic status among many non-immersionists. Believe me, I take no particular joy in being the grubby kid who feels compelled to call out from the gutter - "Look! The emperor has no clothes!"
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  9. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I've read through one of the volumes, or at least a good portion of it -- the one that's available via Google Books. My original question was a sincere one, since you mentioned the name of Carson, I was checking my recollection of the name. Dale was writing to address faulty views of several immersionists; I think that's important to note. Certainly two wrongs don't make a right, but as Bruce indicates above, perhaps you have proved more than you think you have.

    And I don't mean to gripe, but let me let you see where I'm coming from. I take confessionalism very seriously. That is a big part of the nature of this Board, which is one of the reasons I like the PB so much. We have Reformed Baptists and Presbyterians who get along quite well. My wife and I even attend a Reformed Baptist church (a couple of PBers are even members there!) from time to time (e.g., when I am on vacation). But confessionalism is extremely important. I wrestle with it. I think you do as well, judging by your responses. But thus far, on the PB, you come across as having a particular hobby horse with regard to baptism. That wouldn't be so bad if you weren't a member of a PCA church and list the WCF as your confession (which is partly why I asked the question I did in my first post).

    Wrestle with the issue as you wish; that is fine. But what I've seen so far (and this is just my perception, and perception is NOT necessarily reality), you come across as portraying yourself as an "expert" on these things, here to educate the rest of us on this matter. Confessionalism is important; the RBs on here think it is important when they list the LBC as their confession. I suspect they would be a might upset if someone else who labeled himself as an RB began posting articles and links promoting infant baptism. Let me add that I don't think that you are doing this intentionally; I just want you to be aware of how this may look to others.

    Does your pastor and session know your stance on this issue? Holding it is one thing, and wrestling through the issues is commendable. But I know that as a pastor I would be quite alarmed if a member of my church was on an online message board arguing for things seemingly contrary to confessional standards, ESPECIALLY if the name of our church was prominently displayed for the whole world to see. :2cents:
  10. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Tim, thanks for the expanded thoughts and counsel. Please allow me to say a few things here.

    If I come across as a know-it-all - then I truly ask for forgiveness. I certainly don't regard myself as all-knowing with regard to any issue. Yet pride is a vile, ugly sin that I am certainly not immune from. I will try to be vigilant in this area.

    I don't see the issue of baptismal mode as being my hobby horse, as you term it. Rather I would say that it is an area of baptism that has become of particular interest to me. This is largely due to the fact that I have come to perceive some real weaknesses on the non-immersionist side, and have thus tried to thoroughly study those issues. Since it seems to me that many of them are rarely, or perhaps only cursorily addressed anywhere, I have posted some of my research on them here. If this is an inappropriate venue for doing this, then please let me know.

    People are obviously free to disagree with and even pick apart my views - to which I will likely respond. If I believe I am correct on a point, or that the person I am interacting with has missed my point, then in keeping with the description of this forum I will vigorously defend or reiterate it. If, on the other hand, I become convinced that I'm wrong on something, then I truly hope and pray that I will have the integrity to admit it and change accordingly. Likewise for those who come to the discussion disagreeing with me. This is my understanding of iron sharpening iron.

    Some time back I amended my profile to reflect the fact that I have questions regarding both the proper subjects and mode of baptism. As I have also previously explained on a different thread, even while I have questions regarding their presentation of baptism, I still see, all things considered, the Westminster Standards as being the single best, overall formulation of biblical truth. In most other matters were they may differ from the LBC I actually tend to agree more with the WS' articulations. This even includes the issue of the spiritual dimension of the sacraments, including baptism.

    Yes, my pastor and session are aware of my questions. If you think it would be better for me to show different information in my signature, I am certainly open to suggestions.

    Thanks again.
  11. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Tim, may I also respectfully point out that Dale's stance on the Great Commission, and his related denial that baptizing with water "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" is biblically founded, is extremely anti-confessional. I deal with that issue in part 2 of my review, beginning on page 44.

    One of my main motivations in posting the review was in fact to get people to at least question the propriety of unreservedly lauding and recommending an author and series that includes these stunning errors, which has indeed happened on this board.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  12. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Why does Dale feel that his understanding of baptizo requires denying that the Great Commission and the other passages you mentioned refer to water baptism?
  13. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Austin, I'm not sure it's quite right to say that Dale's view of baptizo required that he make those denials - he simply did. I do think it is fair to say that it appears to have been a contributing factor. Like Tim I would refer you to section 8 of the review (Pt. 2 pp. 44ff), although it is certainly helpful to have the background provided in the previous sections.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  14. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I will keep that in mind in considering his application as a member of the PB. :)

    Forgive me if I was too snippy with you. Let's just say it has been a trying day and I may have been illegitimately taking some of my frustrations out of you (actually a trying couple of days; two unrelated issues that I have been dealing with). Forgive me if I have offended you.

    Start a thread about something other than baptism! That's the secret to dispelling the notion of the hobby horse. ;)

    If I may, let me address a few other things:
    • Carson, et al, was wrong to state that baptism means to dip and only dip (or immerse and only immerse); since you say his view was extreme, I assume you would agree.
    • Dale was attempting this faulty notion by giving examples from various sources where baptizo meant something other than "dip/immerse" (whether he succeeded or failed is the meat of this thread).
    • I believe it is incorrect, as you assert in your response to Bruce, that modern immersionists do not adopt "only one meaning" approach to baptism. Certainly it may be true of some of the better read and informed immersionists, but I have heard Baptist parrot the "baptism means immerse and only immerse" line over and over again. Or check out the statement of beliefs of most immersionist churches; they will tell you that the only biblical baptism is baptism by immersion, and most will tell you it is because that is what the word means. In such cases, no consideration is given that the word can mean something else. But perhaps I am misunderstanding you.
  15. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I did not ask whether your pastor/session were aware that you had questions, but if they are aware that you are opposing viewpoints that are contra-confessional on an internet discussion board. Those are two entirely different things.

    To use the example of pastors, it is permissible in some Presbyterian circles for a minister to have scruples with some point of doctrine in the WCF. It is his responsibility to inform his presbytery of that particular scruple. The presbytery can then decide whether this makes him fit or unfit for ministry. All well and good; this is the presbytery's business. But if that minister is accepted by his presbytery and then begins to use his office to teach contrary to the confession, either in preaching or in writing or something along these lines, then we have a problem.

    In the end, it is your pastor and sessions business in how to handle such a situation, and the matter ends with them as far as I'm concerned. I'm simply saying that if I found out a member of my church was doing something similar, I would at least want to speak with him about it, I would probably ask him to stop, and if he did not, I would probably consider it to be a matter of church discipline.
  16. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Tim, no offence taken. I will pray that God will use the troubles you mentioned for your good and His glory - and indeed that He will make the outcome of those divine purposes abundantly clear to you.

    Well, I have only started a grand total of 2 threads...which I would argue does not a hobby horse make...:D To be sure, the considerable length of my threads may be another matter altogether...

    Yes, I agree. But I don't need Dale's extremist claims to inform me of this. I can find this information in any good lexicon.

    I don't think I would agree that this characterization is quite accurate. That is, Dale was positing an entire new theory that unduly went well beyond these polemical purposes. As I quote an admission from one of Dale's staunches promoters in my review: "Students must learn anew that Dale’s results will fly in the face of dictionary [lexicon] entries."

    Well, far be it from me to argue against your personal experiences! Actually, I suppose that I may have be making a bit of a relative comparison in my remark, since what I read nowadays from Baptists on this issue is usually a far cry from what one generally finds in Baptist (Landmarkian) works from the 19th century.
  17. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    My ability to interact with Dale is limited, just a bit. I own only two of the (5-in-4 vol reprint) volumes. And I do not connect internet at work (where my library is). So, I'm not able to deal with his positions (or judge of their representation) in context. I cannot, I won't, vouch for the conclusions that he draws from the data he amasses. If he asserts (against unbiased experts) that baptizo cannot mean "dip," EVER, well... granting that he says this, I would agree it sounds like an extreme position, taken over against another extreme.

    But I do recall that in the course of his work on the Classical Greek use of two related words, bapto and baptizo, his research indicated that the two have a parallel historic/linguistic development, and properly they tend to the descriptions of two distinguishable kinds of acts. To "dip" and to "whelm" are not identical descriptions in English. But their semantic range do come close, and may overlap. Does Dale deny that usage of the two Gk terms EVER overlapped? Again, that would seem extreme; but then, just because you and I choose a term in English for our use, doesn't mean we always say exactly what we want to say. But the historic artifacts are what remain, and we have to make the most of what's present.

    What I will do (and I hope I have the time, truly) is read your papers with an attempt at real balance, and look at what I can get my hands on of Dale's material, perhaps on-line, for comparison.

    Personally, I'm not put off by your interest or inquiry. I hope you do keep the bounds of true submission to your elders. But the best arguments (for anything) deserve careful examination; and the worst arguments deserve the same, if only to point out their flaws, and avoid them.

    For my part, I was for a long time quite put-off by wooden application of "the predominant sense" argument, to the degree that I was almost totally deaf to the illustration baptism presents as judgment (among its many illustrations). Is it possible that, for Dale, the need he felt to liberate Christian baptism from its captivity to a single idea led him to virtual--if not outright--denial that Christian baptism does indeed make use of the "whelming" idea latent (if not patent) in the word?

    To put the matter relatedly: in the past I argued against any Scriptural usage of baptism in an "immersionist" sense, seeing no requirement for that understanding in any text. So strong was my animus, I actually resented the intimation that the Bible retained the least literalistic sense, having passed entirely over into religio-symoblic use. Now, I believe I was in error--not that the Bible uses the term in a religo-symbolic use, because that is the sense in almost every instance the word is used--but I was in error that the "whelming" signification was never primary.

    I had an overreaction, and its one that I think is seen often enough due to hyper-constraints on language sometimes set forth by our Baptist counterparts. The same fault, or greater, could have affected Dale. But consider: we are "unchurched" by the other side in this dispute, who strip us not only of our baptism, but our seat at the Lord's Table, our bodily membership and privileges in covenant, and our vocations, ordination, and ministry.

    All that we claim to possess by virtue of Christ and his appointment is denied to us as illegitimate, as if we seized them unlawfully and have erected a false enterprise in competition with Christ's. Because the door through which we came was no door, but a figment, and so the rest is a vain imagination. Our churches are filled, as are our elder-ranks and our ministry, by people not even identifiable as Christians ("never" having been baptized). Not being baptized Christians, our pulpits are stocked by vain men, pretending to preach the Word, handling it with unwashed hands, and mocking the Lord's Supper whenever they pretend to administer it.

    And all, for what is alleged to have been a misplayed ritual. Done the wrong way, and very likely at the wrong time. There was a time when these principles were thoroughly worked out and regularly practiced in the strict Baptist tradition. In our day and time, such matters are (thankfully) often minimized among our "Reformed-Baptist" friends. So ridiculous a situation would result, if disassociation were fully carried out, it usually seems unthinkable. And yet, there is really no principled reason to permit me to table-fellowship, if I visit such a church. For in their view, they may hope we share one Lord and one faith (but no man can read the heart); but certainly we do not share the one baptism.

    The historic background, I submit, is therefore one possible reason why (in answer to the extreme claims of some Baptists) it may have been too easy for Dale to overreact to overreaching claims, by inverting the exclusivity of the reference of baptism to "immersion," and minimizing those possible connections in the text. That is no excuse for poor reasoning or research; but I'm not ready to abandon Dale (and the extensive literature he collates) as useless for setting forth the true parameters of the linguistic portion of this debate.
  18. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Perhaps that is so, but if I had a dollar for every time I heard a modern Baptist (non-Landmarkian) say, "You must be immersed, because that's what the word means," I could retire early. ;)

    Looking back over Classic Baptism, I was reminded that Carson was (or appears to have been) head of the Baptist Board of Publications. Perhaps that had something to do with the prominence of his views (i.e., baptism "always signifies to dip") and Dale's polemical reaction against them?
  19. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Actually, as the quote in the OP says, Dale insisted that baptizo never denotes "action" but only "condition." As for his notion of baptizo's development, as I observe in the review:

    "However, the necessary basis for this theoretical progression is critically undermined by Dale’s failure to consider the applicable evidence in any chronological order (he rather arranged authors alphabetically within the various categories of definition that he posited). What’s more, within the various lists of examples that apparently pertain to each of these derived, yet presumably sequential categories, Dale often mingled quotations from a variety of Greek authors who had written over the same vast time span of around a thousand years (collectively, the 6th century BC through the 5th century AD). Given the centrality of this developmental theory within Dale’s overall schema, such a glaring oversight of chronology is an extremely inauspicious, and indeed fatal defect." (pp. 43f)

    For all intents and purposes, yes-ish. Bapto always denotes an act, baptizo always a condition. (See especially the Dale quotations on pages 2 and 11.)

    I agree, and I agree.

    ---------- Post added at 08:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:50 PM ----------

    Tim, can you please point me to a specific instance in which I have done this?

    Is stating that baptizo can, and in many baptismal contexts does denote the act of dipping really contra-confessional? Didn't Luther, Calvin, Featly (WD), Lightfoot (WD), Gomarus etc., as I indeed quote them in my paper, state the very same thing?

    Also, isn't it common knowledge that membership in a PCA church (and OPC, for that matter) does not require one to hold to a paedo or non-immersionist view (contra office holders, who must)? Is then expressing opinions and questions on these issues in a public venue somehow subversive or damaging? Might not the very opposite be true?

    Please understand, of course, that these questions are asked rhetorically, yet in all sincerity.

    Duly noted.:)

    ---------- Post added at 08:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:15 PM ----------

    My thoughts exactly. However, a simple polemical response to Carson's extremities would have been fine - Dale's overreaction was not.
  20. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Chapter 28 of the WCF states:

    These are confessional points, obviously. I believe you have stated that you are in disagreement with them, or at least question them, and have done so on this Board. If I am in error, these please clarify your position so that I do not make the mistake again.

    It may be permissible for a member of a Presbyterian congregation to hold a non-confessional position (I am not PCA or OPC; I can only speak for the ARP on this, but I believe all three would be similar in approach), but do you think he should be allowed to publicly dispute the very confessional standard of his church? I can grant that he might personally hold to a position contrary to the confession that he has made his pastor/session aware of, but should he then be permitted to dispute this publicly? Asking questions is one thing; but teaching contrary to the confession is another matter. The situation would not necessary have to involve office holders; for example, a Sunday school teacher could be problematic if he taught a class that was contrary to confessional teaching, or a member of that SS could become a problem by outwardly speaking about against the confession in such a class.

    And just to make a distinction, there is a big difference between a person saying, "I don't understand why you baptize children, pastor. Could you help explain it to me?" and someone saying, "Paedobaptism is just wrong and this church is wrong for doing it."
  21. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    In terms of my direct interaction with the WS position on baptism, I do not believe that I have ever gone beyond the point of saying that I have questions about it. What I have explicitly, and in some cases strongly refuted are certain extra-confessional points that various parties have used to try and support the confession's statements (such as Dale's specific theory on the meaning of baptizo).
  22. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Fair enough, but you will excuse me if I am not sold on the "I'm not being unconfessional, I'm just asking questions" line of thought. Seen it a thousand times before. The results are less than satisfying. But the matter ultimately (or at least ecclesiastically) is between you and your session.

    As I said the first paragraph of my previous post, those are statements from the confession. Do you agree or disagree with them. Having you posted comments, threads, quotes, etc. that seek to call such statements into question? Those are the questions I am asking.

    And just for the record, you have started a grand total of three threads on the PB. One was an entertainment thread ("Adorable Telling of the Story of Jonah"); the other two were on baptism. One was on baptismal art and disputed the work of B.B. Warfield; the latter was written to dispute the work of James Dale. That is, you have started two threads "rejecting" the work of two noted Presbyterians on the mode of baptism. In addition, you have commented quite a bit on other threads started by others discussing baptism (a few posts on "The Primary Thing Symbolized in Baptism", at least one post on "R.C. Sproul on Baptism", and quite a few posts on "Baptism and 2 Questions I Have"). In fact, your first 15 comments on the PB (more than 10% of your total posts to date) were on the thread "Baptism and 2 Questions I Have", which dealt with the subject of paedobaptism. Hence my earlier mention of "hobby horse" and my concerns about the appearance of being unconfessional.
  23. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Tim, I have freely admitted that baptism is an issue of special interest to me - hence my involvement in the threads that you mentioned. Is thisreally such an ominous or unsavory thing? (Nice piece of research into my posting habits, by the way - although it does seem a bit "big brother-ish" to me :)
  24. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Historically, how the word is used in the Septuagint should give us some insight. Sorry if that has been discussed and I am missing it.

    Surely they didn't dip in this passage....
  25. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Saying "baptism is an issue of special interest to me" does not answer the questions regarding confessionalism. If you are seeking to cast doubt upon confessional doctrines via your own research, then, yes, I would say that is an ominous and unsavory thing. Contra-confessionalism destroys denominations and churches. Sowing seeds of inquiry may not seem like much, but the fruit is often very bitter. If you don't think you are being unconfessional here, so be it; I am apparently the lone voice of concern here. As I said, it is ultimately between you and your session.

    The only reason for the resort to so-labeled Orwellian extremes is because you earlier posted "I don't see the issue of baptismal mode [sic -- I said baptism in general, not merely the mode] as being my hobby horse, as you term it." Since you didn't see it, I thought it important to bring your posting tendencies to your attention. Sorry if pointing this out seems ominous and unsavory to you. I assure you it took far less time than critiquing Warfield and Dale. Not that you have anything against Presbyterian doctrine, of course.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  26. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    The verb used here is bapto, as distinct from baptizo. And, yes, I do think that dipping is meant here, although it is pretty clear that the end result was not that the entire bird was immersed in (completely sunk into) the blood and water mixture. In other words, it is a case of dipping that results in only a partial immersion. Even Dale readily ascribed "dipping" as being the primary meaning of the simpler root bapto.

    It is also important to realize that the corresponding Hebrew verb is tabal, for which every resource I have seen gives the primary meaning of "to dip."

    ---------- Post added at 10:06 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:02 AM ----------

    Tim, I do appreciate your thoughts, and will try to take them to heart as best I can. Yet how about calling a truce for now on this particular line of discussion? It just seems that we are mostly going in circles and talking past each other, so the usefulness of continuing escapes me. Again, your arguments are duly noted. I'll give you the last word if you want.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  27. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Randy, I'm not sure that the word bapto (of which this is a derivative) is what is in question. After all, the word bapto is also used for dipping in the NT (e.g., Luke 16:24). The problem is that (unless my memory is sorely failing), bapto is never used in the NT to refer to the rite/ordinance/sacrament of baptism (rather, baptizo). The only other occurrence I can find is John 13:26 (Judas dipping his morsel of bread), where it is used twice.
  28. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    No last word needed, and I am dropping the discussion as well. Let me add that 1) you beat me to the last post concerning bapto and 2) your comments here are very informative (particularly with regard to Dale's use of bapto) and I am in full agreement with your conclusions here.
  29. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Tim. Not bad for a Baptist? Aye? LOL
  30. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Nor even a Presbyterian with baptistic views either. ;)
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page