May a woman baptize?

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Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
With the absence of a single example in the New Testament of a non-ordained person administering baptism and the logical inferences surrounding both the nature of the sacrament and the particular duties of elders, I would have to answer "no" to the Ops question. At least as it relates to what is normative.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
With the absence of a single example in the New Testament of a non-ordained person administering baptism and the logical inferences surrounding both the nature of the sacrament and the particular duties of elders, I would have to answer "no" to the Ops question. At least as it relates to what is normative.

Were people ordained in the NT?
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
I remember being taught that more or less anyone at all could validly baptise if it was a case of urgency - say a baby likely to die, and only the mother there.

---------- Post added at 09:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:14 PM ----------

....does that sound reasonable? It wouldn't set a precedent for a case like the OP
 

ericfromcowtown

Puritan Board Sophomore
I remember being taught that more or less anyone at all could validly baptise if it was a case of urgency - say a baby likely to die, and only the mother there.

---------- Post added at 09:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:14 PM ----------

....does that sound reasonable? It wouldn't set a precedent for a case like the OP

I think that this is tied to Rev. Buchanan's comment (#58) above about the belief in "emergency baptisms" being a consequence of an improper understanding of what baptism is (if I understood Rev. Buchanan correctly).
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I think the idea of "emergency baptism" comes wholly from theological error about the nature of signs, what baptism means, what it's supposed to do, etc.

So for instance, what does that mother (or midwife, or nurse, etc.) think she's doing, when she "baptizes" the child? What would that act have to do with the true purpose of baptism? If the act is contrary to the intent of the institution as defined by Scripture, how is it the means-of-grace it supposed to be (according to Ref. theology)?

I hope that everyone reading would see the futility of baptizing a stillbirth, right? OK, but that stillbirth--if God's elect--is surely in heaven. So, the baptism isn't something indispensably necessary for entrance into bliss. Furthermore, what more could the mother (or doctor, or even a pastor or elder) do for that child as it struggles, perhaps ineffectually as it turns out, for life--more than handling him, loving him, praying for him, murmuring Christ's Word in his ears (more or less what they had been doing for about 9 months already)?

Baptism is principally and publicly, "for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church" (WCF 28.1). Beside which, it is a sign to the baptized of his faith. Obviously, a child entered into the place where his faith is sight, had never any time to reflect or even be thankful for his faith in this world. What then of the parents' faith? Is it not strengthened in the administration of the sacraments? Certainly, but the place for them is in the gathered church. The elect child, dying in infancy, is folded abruptly (from our vantage) into the church triumphant.

We were providentially denied the opportunity to do for him what we would have done (for his benefit, and that of all the rest of us) if he had remained with us long enough to publicly receive him. It's OK. The rite is a consequence of his natural birth, not the efficient cause of his new birth. It would have been an occasion of blessing him; it would not have been the reason God blessed him.

If we could possibly do it the right way, if I were present and had an elder with me, if we could have a few minutes with our members for genuine worship--including Word (most important) and Sacrament--I can see the church reaching out to this one to acknowledge him, before he slips away. But that's how it should be done, if we are going to go to extraordinary lengths to make the most of that brief earthly life. Baptism is a sign that the church enfolds its faithful ones. The church marks those to whom it comes (even when some individuals appear to come to the church); as well as those who are born within its walls (so we confess in the WCF).

Concern that someone (old or young) is going to miss "the blessing that can only come by baptism" confuses the whole issue, I am afraid.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Look a this from the angle of worship. Is it biblically proper to administer the Lord's Supper apart from a worship service duly constituted under the elder's authority? Us Presbyterians would say no.

Similarly we would look at baptism. It is not properly administered outside of a worship service duly constituted under the authority of the elders. This at least tells us that the baptism must in some manner be noticeably administered on the basis of the authority of the elders.

Baptism is not administered properly outside of a worship service? As far as I know, there are no instances of baptism in the New Testament administered during a Sunday worship service.

Those in the RPCNA can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Reformed Presbyterians have their baptisms outside of the regular worship service because of the Regulative Principle of Worship: baptism is never explicitly commanded as part of the worship service.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Baptism is not administered properly outside of a worship service? As far as I know, there are no instances of baptism in the New Testament administered during a Sunday worship service.

Those in the RPCNA can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Reformed Presbyterians have their baptisms outside of the regular worship service because of the Regulative Principle of Worship: baptism is never explicitly commanded as part of the worship service.

"The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as, also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God ..." (WCF 21:5)

"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; ... (Westminster Directory of Public Worship)
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Baptism is not administered properly outside of a worship service? As far as I know, there are no instances of baptism in the New Testament administered during a Sunday worship service.

Those in the RPCNA can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Reformed Presbyterians have their baptisms outside of the regular worship service because of the Regulative Principle of Worship: baptism is never explicitly commanded as part of the worship service.

"The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as, also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God ..." (WCF 21:5)

"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; ... (Westminster Directory of Public Worship)

Don't forget LBC 22:5...

The reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and hearing the Word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord;18 as also the administration of baptism,and the Lord's supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, with fastings, and thanksgivings, upon special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Thanks, Ken. I posted that late (and because of the mention of Presbyterianism and the RPW), but since the OP is dealing with a confessional Baptist context, the LBC is more appropriate to cite.
 

J Miles

Puritan Board Freshman
Section 20. To whom the dispensation of baptism belongs. Not to private individuals or women, but to the ministers of the Church. Origin of the baptism of private individuals and women. An argument in favour of it refuted.

It is here also pertinent to observe, that it is improper for private individuals to take upon themselves the administration of baptism; for it, as well as the dispensation of the Supper, is part of the ministerial office. For Christ did not give command to any men or women whatever to baptise, but to those whom he had appointed apostles. And when, in the administration of the Supper, he ordered his disciples to do what they had seen him do, (he having done the part of a legitimate dispenser), he doubtless meant that in this they should imitate his example.

Calvin's Institutes Book 4, Chapter 15

My :2cents:
 
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