Credo-Baptism Answers Ok immersionists, help me with these verses.

Discussion in 'Credo-Baptism Answers' started by Pergamum, Apr 18, 2019.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    The issue of the mode of baptism (immersion or sprinkling or pouring) hinges on what the greek means. Words have meanings and the mode of baptism can be found in the greek I used to think.

    However, maybe the greek points to the significance of baptism rather than merely its mode. Ie., it is seen as a washing even if done by pouring or sprinkling.

    I would say the greek words for baptism normally means immersion or dipping. But pedobaptists argue that it means a washing also (even when not done by immersion), or a total envelopment.

    "Exhibit A:
    1 Corinthians 10:1-2 “For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea”

    Were the Jews immersed by a cloud? Certainly not; The Jews passed through the sea on dry ground. (Exodus 14:22).

    Exhibit B:
    Hebrews 9:10 “but deal only with food and drink and various washings (baptismois), regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation”.

    This passage refers to Old Testament ceremonial cleansings, which were never by immersion, but always by sprinkling. The baptisms mentioned in this chapter (verses 13, 19, 21;conf. Num. 19:17-18; Exo. 24:6,8; Lev. 8:19; 16:14) are all via sprinkling.

    Exhibit C:
    Mark 7:4 “and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash (baptisontai). And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing (baptismous) of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches”.

    I am still a baptist, but these 3 verses do give me pause to think.

    Then we have these other evidences:

    "Exhibit D:
    Luke 11:38 “The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash (ebaptisthe) before dinner”.

    Did Jesus immerse himself before eating dinner?

    Exhibit E:
    Leviticus 14:6 “He shall take the live bird with the cedarwood and the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, and dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water”.

    It is scientifically impossible for a bird cannot to be completely immersed in its own blood. This word is bapto in the Septuagint."

    I think this second set of examples is weaker. If I wash my foot in water or dip it, this is an immersion of my foot, after all. And if I dip a bird in blood, it is still a dip and not a sprinkle.

    So, how do baptists specifically handle these examples in the Greek? This is not a thread on the mode broadly, but on the biblical passages above and the greek used. I need help.
  2. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't see why this is even a controversy. Every language has lots of words with a large semantic domain. Some words even mean the opposite of their normal usage in some contexts! (For example, in the 80s and 90s, "bad" meant "good".)

    The question isn't "can baptizo mean something other than dipping?" Everyone agrees it can.

    The questions should be, "what does baptizo mean in the context of the Christian sacrament of Baptism?".

    For 1100 to 1200 years the Church pretty much unanimously agreed that baptizo in the context of the Christian sacrament of Baptism meant to pretty much cover the entire body with water. A hundred or so years in it was accepted that in an emergency sprinkling or pouring would do if the recipient and the "Baptizer" would have dipped / dunked if they were able, but it was still better to dip or dunk. Ask those of the Eastern Orthodox tradition and they'll tell you that it was the Western Church around the 1100 / 1200 time frame that started seriously arguing that sprinkling or pouring was sufficient all the time regardless of whether dipping / dunking was feasible.

    Nowadays you even have people who (for reasons that blow my mind) say that sprinkling is supposed to be normative and that dipping or dunking is even inappropriate! That's just theologically and historically unsupportable.
  3. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    Yeah, I'd say that pretty well sums it up.
  4. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Immersion fits much better the analogy Paul made between us going down into the water to identify with the death of Jesus, and to be raised back up to identity with our new lives now in Him.
  5. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    You and Lloyd Jones. He was a Baptist who believed in baptism by sprinkling. I heard somewhere that he called himself a church of one. So now there are two of you.

    I did my last year of college at St Andrews in Scotland. I attended a baptism in the month of March where the converts were immersed in the North sea. I think that would help one to think about sprinkling lol.
  6. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I am now reading the biography of Alexander Henderson who went to the University of St Andrews and was minister of a church there. Very edifying biography.
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