The meaning of the words baptism according to Non-Baptist Scholars.

Discussion in 'Baptism' started by Mayflower, Feb 24, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mayflower

    Mayflower Puritan Board Junior

    The meaning of the words baptism according to Non-Baptist Scholars.

    1. Bellarmine (Roman Catholic), Disputations, Vol. III, p. 279: "Ordinarily baptism is performed by immersion, and that to represent the burial of Christ."

    2. Dollinger (Old Catholic), The Church and the Churches: "Baptists are, however, from the Protestant point of view, unassailable, since for their demand of baptism by submersion they have the clear Bible text."

    3. Maldonatus (Catholic), Commentary on the Gospels. On Luke 12:50: "Whence it is, that also martyrdom is called a baptism; a metaphor, as I think, taken from those who are submerged in the sea, to put them to death. For in Greek, to be baptized is the same as to be submerged."

    4. Est (Catholic), Commentary on the Epistles. On Rom. 6:3: "For immersion represents to us Christ’s burial; and so also his death. For the tomb is a symbol of death, since none but the dead are buried. Moreover, the emersion, which follows the immersion, has a resemblance to a resurrection. We are therefore, in baptism, conformed not only to the death of Christ, as he has said, but also to his burial and resurrection."

    5. Arnoldi (Catholic), Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. On 3:6: "BAPTIZEIN, to immerse, to submerge...It was, as being an entire submersion under the water,—since washings were already a confession of impurity and a symbol of purification,—the confession of entire impurity and a symbol of entire purification."

    6. Bishop Bossuet (French Catholic): "To baptize signifies to plunge, as is granted by all the world." (Quoted by A. Booth, Pedobaptism Examined, Vol. I, p. 48).

    7. R. Wetham (Catholic), Annotations on the New Testament. On Matthew 3:6: "The word baptism signifies a washing, particularly when it is done by immersion, or by dipping, or plunging a thing under water, which was formerly the ordinary way of administering the sacrament of baptism."

    8. Calmet (Catholic), Biblical Dictionary: "The Jews dipped themselves entirely under the water, and this is the most simple notion of the word baptize."

    9. Martin Luther (Founder of the Lutheran church). On the Sacrament of Baptism: "First, the name baptism is Greek; in Latin" it can be rendered immersion, when we immerse any thing into water, that it may be all covered with water. And although that custom has now grown out of use with most persons (nor do they wholly submerge children, but only pour on a little water), yet they ought to be entirely immersed, and immediately drawn out. For this the etymology of the name seems to demand."

    10. Adolf Harnack (Lutheran). In the Independent, Feb. 19, 1885: "1. Baptizein undoubtedly signifies immersion (eintauchen). 2. No proof can be found that it signified anything else in the New Testament and in the most ancient Christian literature. 3. There is no passage in the New Testament which suggests the supposition that any New Testament author attached to the word baptizein any other sense than immerse or submerge."

    11. J. J. Van Oosterzee (Dutch Lutheran). Practical Theology, p. 419: "History teaches that baptism at a very early period degenerated from the primitive simplicity. It was originally administered by immersion."

    12. Witsius (Dutch Lutheran). Oecon. Foed. IV, ch. 16: "It cannot be denied that the original signification of the word baptizo is to plunge-to dip."

    13. Augustus Neander (Lutheran). Church History, I, p. 310: "In respect to the form of baptism, it was in conformity with the original institution and the original import of the symbol, performed by immersion."

    14. Bleek (German Lutheran): "Baptizo is the prevalent expression for baptism as it originally took place by immersion under water." (Quoted by J. R. Graves, John’s Baptism, p. 212.)

    15. J. L. Mosheim (Lutheran). Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Cent. 1, part II, ch. 4, para. VIII: "The sacrament of baptism was administered in this century, without the public assemblies, in places appointed and prepared for that purpose, and was performed by the immersion of the whole body in the baptismal font."

    16. J. P. Lange (Lutheran). On Infant Baptism, p. 81: "Baptism in the apostolic age was a proper baptism—the immersion of the body in water."

    17. Augusti (Lutheran). Vol. V, p. 5: "The word baptism, according to etymology and usage, signifies to immerse, submerge, etc; and the choice of the expression betrays an age in which the latter custom of sprinkling had not been introduced."

    18. Bretschneider (Lutheran). Theology, Vol. II, pp. 673, 681 (1828): "An entire immersion belongs to the nature of baptism."

    19. J. A. Bengel (Lutheran). Comment on Rom. 6:4: "Many waters: also the rite of immersion is required."

    20. H. A. W. Meyer (Lutheran). Critical Commentary on the New Testament. On Mark 7:4: "Moreover, ean mee baptisontai is not to be understood of washing the hands (Lightfoot, Wetstein), but of immersion, which the word in classic Greek, and in the New Testament, everywhere means."

    21. Herman Venema (Lutheran): Eccl. Hist., Ch. 1, sec. 138: "It is without controversy, that baptism in the primitive Church was administered by immersion into water, and not by sprinkling."

    22. Fritzsche (Lutheran). Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Vol. I, p. 120: "Moreover Causaubon well suggested, that DUNDIN means to be submerged with the design that you may perish, EPIPOLAZEIN to float on the surface of the water; BAPTIZESTHAI to immerse yourself wholly, for another end than that you may perish. But that, in accordance with the nature of the word BAPTIZESTHAI, baptism was then performed not by sprinkling upon but by submerging, is proven especially by Romans 6:4."

    23. Olshausen (Lutheran). Comment on Matthew 18:1-15: "Particularly Paul (Rom. 6:4) treats of baptism in the twofold reference of that ordinance to immersion and emersion, as symbolizing the death and resurrection of Christ."

    24. Guericke (Lutheran). Church History, Vol. I, p. 100: "Baptism was originally administered by immersion."

    25. Salmasius (French Lutheran). Apud Witsium, Oecon. Fced. Book IV, ch. 16: "The clinic only, because they were confined to their beds, were baptized in a manner of which they were capable: not in the entire laver, as those who plunge the head under the water; but the whole body had water poured upon it. Thus Novatus, when sick, received baptism; being perikutheis, besprinkled, not baptistheis, baptized."

    26. Rosenmuller (German Lutheran). Scholia, Matthew 3:6: "To baptize is to immerse, or dip, the body, or part of the body which is to be baptized, going under the water."

    27. Tholuck (German Lutheran): Comment on Romans 6:4. "For the explanation of this figurative description of the baptismal rite, it is necessary to call attention to the well-known circumstance that, in the early days of the Church, persons, when baptized, were first plunged below and then raised above the water." (Quoted in J. R. Graves, John’s Baptism, p. 212).

    28. William Wall (Episcopalian). History of Infant Baptism, Part II, ch. 2, p. 462: "Their [the primitive Christians] general and ordinary way was to baptize by immersion, or dipping the person, whether it were an infant or grown man or woman, into the water. This is so plain and clear by an infinite number of passages, that as one cannot but pity the weak endeavors of such pedobaptists as would maintain the negative of it; so also we ought to disown and show a dislike of the profane scoffs which some people give to the English anti-pedobaptists, merely for their use of dipping." This is a remarkably candid concession for him to make in rebuking his own people and agreeing with the Baptists—the anti-pedobaptists.

    29. Conybeare And Howson (Episcopalians). Life and Epistles of Paul. On Romans 6:3-4: "This passage cannot be understood unless it be borne in mind that the primitive baptism was by immersion."

    30. Joseph Bingham (Episcopalian). Antiquities of the Christian Church, Book XI, ch. 11, sect. 1: "The Ancients thought that Immersion or burying under Water did more lively represent the Death and Burial, and Resurrection of Christ, as well as our own Death unto Sin, and Rising again to Righteousness...For which Reason they observed the way of baptizing all Persons naked and divested, by a total Immersion under Water, except in some particular cases of great Exigency, wherein they allowed of Sprinkling, as in the case of Clinic Baptism, or where there was scarcity of Water." Bingham was one of the great Antiquarians of all time.

    31. Cave (Episcopalian). Primitive Christianity, Part I, ch. 10, p. 320: "The party to be baptized was wholly immersed, or put under the water...As in immersion there are, in a manner, three several acts—the putting the person into the water, his abiding there for a little time, and his rising up again—so by these were represented Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection; and in conformity thereunto our dying unto sin, the destruction of its power, and our resurrection to a new course of life."

    32. Dean Stanley (Episcopalian). Syria and Palestine, Ch. 7, p. 306-307: "He came baptizing, that is, signifying to those who came to him, as he plunged them under the rapid torrent, the forgiveness and forsaking of their sins."

    33. J. Lingard (Episcopalian). History and Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church, Vol. I, p. 317: "The regular manner of administering it was by immersion, the time the two eves of Easter and Pentecost, the place a baptistery, a small building contiguous to the church."

    34. Bishop Ellicott (Episcopalian). "There seems to be no reason to doubt that both here and in Rom. 6:6, there is an allusion to the immersion and emersion in baptism." (Quoted in J. R. Graves’ John’s Baptism, p. 218.)

    35. J. B. Lightfoot (Episcopalian). On Matthew 3:6: "That the baptism of John was the immersion of the body, in which manner both the ablutions of unclean persons and the baptism of proselytes was performed, seems evident from those things which are related of it; namely, that he baptized in the Jordan, and in Enon, because there was much water; and that Christ, being baptized, went up out of the water."

    36. Daniel Whitby (Episcopalian). Annotations on Romans 6:4: "And this immersion being religiously observed by all Christians for thirteen centuries, and approved by our church."

    37. Jeremy Taylor (Episcopalian). The rule of Conscience, Book III, Ch. 4, Rule 15, 13: "’Straightway Jesus went up out of the water (saith the Gospel); He came up, therefore he went down. Behold an immersion, not an aspersion.’ And the ancient churches, following this of the Gospel, did not, in their baptism, sprinkle with their hands, but immerged the catechumen or the infant...All which are a perfect conviction, that the custom of the ancient churches was not sprinkling, but immersion in pursuance of the sense of the word in the commandment and example of our blessed Saviour."

    38. H. H. Milman (Episcopalian). History of Christianity, III, p. 317: "The baptism was usually by immersion; the stripping off the clothes was emblematic of ‘putting off of the old man.’"

    39. Bishop Burnet (Episcopalian). Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles: "The danger of dipping in cold climates may be a very good reason for changing the form of baptism to sprinkling."

    40. Bishop Towerson (Episcopalian). Of The Sacrament of Baptism, Part 3, p. 53: "Now, what the command of Christ was in this particular, cannot well be doubted of by those who shall consider the words of Christ (Matt. 28:19), concerning it, and the practice of those times, whether in the baptism of John, or of our Savior. For the words of Christ are, that they should baptize, or dip those whom they made disciples to him (for so, no doubt, the word Baptizein properly signifies)."

    41. Bishop William Sherlock (Episcopalian). "Baptism, or an immersion into water, according to the ancient rite of administering it, is a figure of our burial with Christ, and of our conformity to His death." (Quoted in E. T. Hiscox, New Directory for Baptist Churches, p. 404.)

    42. Samuel Clarke (Episcopalian). Exposition of Church Catechism, p. 294: "In the primitive times the manner of baptizing was by immersion or dipping the whole body into water."

    43. Bloomfield (Episcopalian). Recens. Synop. On Romans 6:4: "Here is a plain allusion to the ancient custom of baptizing by immersion and I agree with Koppe and Rosenmuller, that there is reason to regret it should ever have been abandoned in most Christian churches, especially as it has so evident a reference to the mystic sense of baptism."

    44. Prof. Browne (Episcopalian), in Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Art. Bap. Sup: "The language of the New Testament and of the primitive Fathers sufficiently point to immersion as the common mode of baptism."

    45. G. A. Jacob (Episcopalian). Eccl. Polity of the New Testament, p. 258: "It only remains to be observed that baptism, in the primitive Church, was evidently administered by immersion of the body in water—a mode which added to the significancy of the rite, and gave a peculiar force to some of the allusions to it."

    46. Abp. Tillotson (Episcopalian). Works, Vol. I, p. 179: "Anciently those who were baptized were immersed, and buried in the water, to represent their death to sin; and then did rise up out of the water to signify their entrance upon a new life. And to these customs the Apostle alludes."

    47. Benson (Episcopalian). Comment on Romans 6:4: "Buried with Him by baptism-alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion."

    48. Bishop Fell (Episcopalian). Note on Romans 6:4: "The primitive fashion of immersion under the water, representing our death, and elevation again out of it, our resurrection or regeneration."

    49. Sir John Floyer (Episcopalian). History of Cold Bathing, pp. 15, 61: "The church of Rome hath drawn short compendiums of both sacraments; in the eucharist, they use only the wafer; and instead of immersion, they introduced aspersion...I have given now what testimony I could find in our English authors, to prove the practice of immersion from the time the Britons and Saxons were baptized till King James’ days; when the people grew peevish with all ancient ceremonies, and through the love of novelty, and the niceness of parents, and the pretense of modesty, they laid aside immersion."

    50. W. F. Hook (Episcopalian). Church Directory (1854): "In performing the ceremony of baptism the usual custom was to immerse and dip the whole body."

    51. J. H. Blunt (Episcopalian). Dictionary of Doctrinal and Historical Theology (1870): "The primitive mode of baptizing was by immersion, as we learn from the clear testimony of holy scriptures of the fathers."

    52. Wilson (Episcopalian). Christian Dictionary, Art. Baptism: "To baptize, to dip one into water, to plunge one into water."

    53. A. R. Fausset (Episcopalian). Critical and Experimental Commentary, on Colossians 2:12: "Baptism is the burial of the old carnal life, to which immersion symbolically corresponds: in warm climates, where immersion is safe, it is the mode most accordant with the significance of the ordinance."

    54. John Calvin (Founder of the Presbyterian Church). Institutes of the Christian Religion, B. IV, ch. 15, on Baptism, 19: "The word baptize itself signifies immerse, and it is certain that the rite of immersion was observed by the ancient church."

    55. Philip Schaff (American Presbyterian). History of the Apostolic Church, p. 570: "Respecting the form of baptism, therefore (quite otherwise with the much more important difference respecting the subject of baptism, or infant baptism), the impartial historian is compelled by exegesis and history, ‘substantially to yield the point to the Baptists, as is done, in fact (perhaps somewhat too decidedly, and without true regard to the arguments just stated for the other practice), by most German scholars."

    56. J. Cunningham (Scotch Presbyterian). Growth of the Church, P. 173: "Baptism means immersion and it was immersion. The Hebrews immersed their proselytes; the Essenes took their daily baths; John plunged his penitents into the Jordan; Peter dipped his crowd of converts into one of the great pools which were to be found in Jerusalem. Unless it had been so, Paul’s analogical argument about our being buried with Christ in Baptism would have had no meaning. Nothing could have been simpler than baptism in its first form."

    57. MacKnight (Scotch Presbyterian): "He submitted to be baptized—that is, to be buried under the water by John, and to be raised out of it again, as an emblem of His future death and resurrection." (Quoted in J. R. Graves, John’s Baptism, p. 216.)

    58. Chalmers (Scotch Presbyterian): "The original meaning of the word baptism is immersion and we doubt not that the prevalent style of the administration in the apostles’ days was by an actual submerging of the whole body under water." (Quoted in J. R. Graves, John’s Baptism, p. 216.)

    59. George Campbell (Scotch Presbyterian). Translation of the Four Gospels, Note on Matt. 4:11: "The word Baptizein, both in sacred writers and classical, signifies to dip, to plunge, to immerse; and was rendered by Tertullian, the oldest of the Latin fathers, tingere, the term used for dying cloth, which was by immersion. It is always construed suitably to this meaning."

    60. Theodore Beza (Presbyterian). Annotations on Matthew 7:4; Acts 19:3; Matthew 3:2: "Christ commanded us to be baptized, by which word it is certain immersion is signified."

    61. Assembly of Divines (Presbyterian). Annotations on Matthew 3:6; Romans 6:4: "In this phrase (Col. 2:12) the Apostle seemeth to allude to the ancient manner of baptism, which was to dip the parties baptized, and, as it were, to bury them under the water for a while, and then to draw them out of it, and lift them up. To represent the burial of our old man, and our resurrection to newness of life."

    62. Leigh (Presbyterian). Critica Sacra, on Acts 8:38: "The native and proper signification of it is, to dip into water, or to plunge under water."

    63. Giovanni Diodati (Presbyterian). Annotations on Matthew 3:6: "Baptized—that is to say, ducked in the water, for a sacred sign and seal of the expiation and remission of sins."

    64. G. J. Vossius (Presbyterian). Disputat. De Bapt. Disp. I, Thes. I, p. 25: "Baptizein, to baptize, signifies to plunge. It certainly therefore signifies more than epipolazein, which is, to swim lightly on the top; and less than dunein, which is, to sink to the bottom, so as to be destroyed."

    65. John Wesley (Founder of the Methodist Church). Note on Rom. 6:4: "Buried with Him—alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion." From Wesley’s Journal, from his embarking for Georgia, p. 11: "Mary Welsh, aged eleven days, was baptized according to the custom of the first church, and the rule of the church of England, by immersion."

    66. Adam Clarke (Methodist). Comment on Romans 6:4: "It is probable that the Apostle here alludes to the mode of administering baptism by immersion, the whole body being put under water."

    67. George Whitefield (Methodist). Eighteen Sermons, p. 297: "It is certain that in the words of our text (Rom. 6:3-4) there is an allusion to the manner of baptism, which was by immersion."

    68. J. C. L Gieseler (Methodist). Eccl. Hist., First Period, Div. III (A. D. 193-324), ch. 4, para. 71: "The condition of catechumen usually continued several years; but the catechumens often deferred even baptism as long as possible on account of the remission of sins by which it was to be accomplished. Hence it was often necessary to baptize the sick; and for them, the rite of sprinkling was introduced."

    69. G. P. Fisher (Congregationalist). The Beginnings Of Christianity, p. 565: "Baptism, it is now generally agreed among scholars, was commonly by immersion."

    70. Coleman (Congregationalist). Antiquities: "In the primitive Church, immersion was undeniably the common mode of baptism."

    71. Moses Stuart (Congregationalist). Essay on Baptism, p. 51: "Baptism means to dip, plunge, or immerse into any liquid. All lexicographers and critics of any note are agreed on this."

    72. Doddridge (Congregationalist). Family Expositor on Romans 6:4: "It seems the part of candor to confess, that here is an allusion to the manner of baptizing by immersion, as most usual in those early times."

    73. Waddington (Congregationalist). Church History, Ch. 2, sect. 3: "The sacraments of the primitive Church were two: that of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The ceremony of immersion, the oldest form of baptism, was performed in the name of the three persons of the Trinity."

    74. Leonard Woods (Congregationalist). Lectures: "Our Baptist brethren undertake to prove from ecclesiastical history, that immersion was the prevailing mode of baptism in the ages following the Apostles. I acknowledge that ecclesiastical history clearly proves this."

    75. L. L. Paine (Congregationalist). Professor of Eccl. Hist. in Bangor Theological Seminary: "It may be honestly asked, by some, was immersion the primitive form of baptism, and if so, what then? As to the question of fact, the testimony is ample and decisive. No matter of Church history is clearer. The evidence is all one way, and all Church historians of any repute agree in accepting it...It is a point on which ancient, mediaeval and modern historians alike—Catholic and Protestant, Lutheran and Calvinist have no controversy...But on this one, of the early practice of immersion, the most distinguished antiquarians, such as Bingham, Augusti (Coleman), Smith (Dictionary of the Bible), and historians such as Mosheim, Gieseler, Hase, Neander, Milman, Schaff, Alzog (Catholic), hold a common language." (Quoted in J. R. Graves, Act of Baptism, pp. 20-21. Dr. Paine further says: "Any scholar who denies that immersion was the baptism of the Christian church for thirteen centuries betrays UTTER IGNORANCE or SECTARIAN BLINDNESS." (Quoted by Graves, ibid, p. 33.)

    76. Zwingli (Swiss Reformer). Annotations on Rom. 6:3: "Into his death." "When ye were immersed into the water of baptism, ye were engrafted into the death of Christ; that is, the immersion of your body into water was a sign, that ye ought to be engrafted into Christ and his death, that as Christ died and was buried, ye also may be dead to the flesh and the old man, that is, to yourselves."

    77. Philip Melanchthon (German Reformer). Catec. Wit. (1580): "Baptism is immersion into water, which is made with this admirable benediction."

    78. Matthew Poole (Episcopalian). Annotations on John 3:23: "It is apparent that both Christ and John baptized by dipping the body in the water, else they need not have sought places where had been a great plenty of water."

    79. Turretin (Swiss Calvinist). Institut. Loc. 19, quaes. 11, sec. 4: "The word baptism is of Greek origin, and is derived from the verb Bapto; which signifies to dip, and to dye; Baptizein, to baptize; to dip into, to immerse...Hence it appears, that Baptizein is more than epipolazein, which is to swim lightly on the surface; and less than dunein, which is to go down to the bottom; that is, to strike the bottom so as to be destroyed."

    80. Limborch (Dutch Arminian). Complete System of Divinity, Book V, chap. 27, Sect. l. Comment on Romans 6:4: "Baptism, then, consisting in washing, or rather immersing the whole body into water, as was customary in the primitive times...The apostle alludes to the manner of baptizing, not as practiced at this day, which is performed by sprinkling of water; but as administered of old, in the primitive church, by immersing the whole body in water, a short continuance in the water, and a speedy emersion out of the water."

    81. J. J. Wetstein (Bible Critic). Comment on Matthew 3:6: "To baptize, is to plunge, to dip: The body, or part of the body, being under water, is said to be baptized."

    82. Geikie, Life and Words of Christ, Vol. I, p. 405, says of John: "He led them in groups to the Jordan, and immersed each singly in the waters, after earnest and full confession of their sins."

    83. Curcellaeus, Relig. Christ. Institut., Book V, chap. 2: "Baptism was performed by plunging the whole body into water, not by sprinkling a few drops, as is now the practice. For ‘John was baptizing in Aenon, near to Salim, because there was much water; and they came and were baptized,’ (John 3:23). Nor did the disciples that were sent out by Christ administer baptism afterwards in any other way: and this is more agreeable to the signification of the ordinance (Rom. 6:4)."

    84: Hugo Grotius (Arminian). Synops. Ad. Matthew 3:6: "That baptism used to be performed by immersion, and not by pouring, appears both from the proper signification of the word, and the places chosen for the administration of the rite, (John 3:23; Acts 8:38); and also from the many allusions of the apostles, which cannot be referred to sprinkling, (Rom. 6:3, 4; Col. 2:12)."

    85. Zanchius, Works, Vol. VI, p. 217: "Baptism is a Greek word, and signifies two things; first, and properly, immersion in water: for the proper signification of Baptizo, is to immerse, to plunge under, to overwhelm in water."

    86. Joseph Mede, Discourse on Titus 3:5, in Works, p. 63 (Edit. 1677): "There was no such thing as sprinkling, or rantismos, used in baptism in the apostles’ days, nor many ages after them."

    87. Vitringa, Aphorismi Sanct. Theolog., Aphorism 884: "The act of baptizing, is the immersion of believers in water. This expresses the force of the word. Thus also it was performed by Christ and the apostles."

    88. Storr and Flatt, Biblical Theology, Book IV, sect. 109, para. 4: "The disciples of our Lord could understand His command in no other way than as enjoining immersion, for the baptism of John, to which Jesus Himself submitted, and also the earlier baptism of the disciples of Jesus, were performed by dipping the subject into cold water."

    89. G. B. Winer (German Protestant). Manuscript Lectures on Christian Antiquities: "In the apostolic age, baptism was by immersion, as its symbolical explanation shows."

    90. Rheinwald, archaeology, p. 303, note. 1 (1830): "Immersion was the original apostolical practice."

    91. August Hahn (German Protestant). Theology, p. 556: "According to apostolical instruction and example, baptism was performed by immersing the whole man."

    92. Starch, History of Baptism, p. 8: "In regard to the mode, there can be no doubt, that it was not by sprinkling, but by immersion."

    93. Von Coelln, History of Theological Opinions, Vol. I, p. 203: "Immersion in water was general until the thirteenth century; but among the Latins it was displaced by sprinkling; but retained by the Greeks."

    94. Claudius Salmasius (French Protestant). De Caesarie Virorum, p. 669: "Baptism is immersion; and was administered, in ancient times, according to the force and meaning of the word. Now it is only rantism or sprinkling; not immersion, or dipping." Apud Witsium, Oecon. Foed., Book IV, chap. 16, sec. 13: "The ancients did not baptize otherwise than by immersion, either once or thrice."

    95. Jean Daille (French Protestant). Right Use of the Fathers, Book II, p. 148: "It was a custom heretofore in the ancient church, to plunge those they baptized over head and ears in the water...This is still the practice, both of the Greek and the Russian church, even at this very day:"

    96. Danish Catechism, On Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15-16: "What is implied in these words? A command to the dipper and the dipped, with a promise of salvation to those that believe. How is this Christian dipping to be administered? The person must be deep-dipped in water, or overwhelmed with it." (Quoted in Abraham Booth, Pedobaptism Examined, Vol. I, p. 42.)

    97. Magdeburg Centuriators (Lutheran). Century I, Book 2, chap. 4: "The word Baptizo, to baptize, which signifies immersion into water, proves that the administrator of baptism immersed, or washed, the persons baptized in water."

    98. John Owen, in Ridgley’s Body of Divinity, quest. 166, p. 608, note: "Though the original and natural signification of the word imports, to dip, to plunge, to dye; yet it also signifies to wash or cleanse."

    99: Articles of Smaldcald (Lutheran): "Baptism is no other than the word of God, with plunging into water according to his appointment and command."

    100. Robert Barclay (Quaker. The Quakers do not practice a literal water baptism of any sort, and should therefore be considered impartial witnesses). Apology, Proposition 12, sect. 10: "Baptizo signifies immergo; that is, to plunge and dip in; and that was the proper use of water baptism among the Jews, and also by John and the primitive Christians, who used lt."

    101. John Gratton (Quaker). Life of John Gratton, p. 231: "John did baptize into water; and it was a baptism, a real dipping, or plunging into water, and so, a real baptism was John’s."

    102. Thomas Ellwood (Quaker). Sacred History of the New Testament, Part II, p. 307; speaking of Pentecost says: "They were now baptized with the Holy Ghost indeed; and that in the strict and proper sense of the word baptize; which signifies to dip, plunge, or put under."

    103. William Penn (Quaker). Defense of Gospel Truths, against the Bishop of Cork, p. 82-83: "I cannot see why the bishop should assume the power of unchristianing us, for not practicing of that which he himself practices so unscripturally, and that according to the sentiments of a considerable part of Christendom; having not one text of scripture to prove that sprinkling in the face was water baptism,—in the first times.—Then it was in the river Jordan; now in a basin."

    104. Thomas Lawson (Quaker). Baptismalogia, p. 117,. 118: "Such as rhantize, or sprinkle infants, have no command from Christ, nor example among the apostles, nor the first primitive Christians, for so doing...The ceremony of John’s ministration, according to divine institution, was by dipping, plunging, or overwhelming their bodies in water."
  2. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    As a Baptist, while I never considered the mode the essential element, these are interesting props for the typical understanding by baptists as to mode.
  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    So much for sola scriptura, eh? Many scholars have thought that immersion was actually a Romish innovation.

    See the following for short introductions:
    Rowland Ward's Baptism in Scripture and History
    W.A. Mackay Immersion and Immersionists
    Jay Adams Meaning and Mode of Baptism

    Also see James W. Dale's books on the meaning of baptizo.
  4. Mayflower

    Mayflower Puritan Board Junior

    The meaning of the words baptizo and baptisma according to lexicons.

    1. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: "To dip repeatedly, to immerge, cleanse by dipping or submerging.

    2. Liddell and Scott Abridged Greek lexicon: "To dip repeatedly, dip under...II. To baptize. Hence Baptisma...that which is dipped." (This is the standard work on classical Greek).

    3. Harper’s Analytical Greek Lexicon: "To dip, immerse. Baptisma—immersion; baptism, ordinance of baptism.

    4. Sophocles’ Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (Covering the period from B. C. 146 to A. D. 1000): "To dip, to immerse, to sink...There is no evidence that Luke and Paul and the other writers of the New Testament put upon this verb meanings not recognized by the Greeks."

    5. T. S. Green’s Greek-English Lexicon to the New Testament: "To dip, immerse; to cleanse or purify by washing; to administer the rite of baptism."

    6. Trommius’ Concordantiae Graecae: "To baptize; to immerse, to dip."

    7. Stephanus, Thesaur. Graec. Ling. (Ed. Of 1572): "To plunge, or immerse. To plunge; that is, to plunge under, or overwhelm in water."

    8. Cremer, Lexicon of New Testament Greek: "Immersion or submersion for a religious purpose."

    9. Shoettgenius’ Lex. In Nov. Test. (Ed. Of 1765): "Baptizo, from Bapto: properly, to plunge, to immerse."

    10. Robinson’s Greek Lexicon of the New Testament: "To immerse, to sink."

    11. Schleusner’s Lexicon (Ed. Of 1808): "Those who were to be baptized were anciently immersed." "To immerse and dip in, to immerse into water."

    12. Bretschneider’s New Testament Lexicon: (Ed. Of 1829): "In the New Testament, used only for a sacred submersion."

    13. Buttman’s Greek Grammar, p. 88 (Ed. Of 1829): "To immerse."

    14. Parkhurst’s Lexicon: "to dip, immerse, or plunge in water. To baptize, to immerse in or wash with water. Figuratively, to be baptized, immersed, or plunged in a flood, or sea, as it were, of grievous afflictions and sufferings."

    15. Conversation’s Lexicon, Art. Taufe: "In the age of the apostles baptism was very simple. They and their successors dipped their candidates into a river or tank filled with water."

    16. Pape’s Greek-German Dictionary (Ed. Of 1880): "To dip in, dip under."

    17. Alstedius’ Theological Lexicon, cap. 12, p. 221: "Baptizein, to baptize, signifies only to immerse; not to wash, except by consequence."

    18. Leigh’s Critia Sacra. On Baptismos (1646): "Signifies immersion in water; from the very etymology, it would appear what had been originally the custom of administering baptism."

    19. Hoffman’s Universal Lexicon (1898): "The Jews, apostles, and primitive churches used immersion."

    20: A. Symson’s Lexicon of the New Testament (1658): "To dip or plunge into water."

    21. P. Minert’s Lexicon of the New Testament (1728): "Baptisma, properly and from its origin, denotes, a washing which is performed by immersion."

    22. Donnegan’s Greek Lexicon: "To immerse, to submerge:"

    23. Heideggerus, Corpus Theolog. Christ., loc. 25, para. 21: "The words Baptisma and Baptismos, baptism (from Baptein, to plunge, to immerse), properly signify immersion."

    24. Hedericus’ Lexicon (1778): "To plunge, to immerse, to overwhelm in water; to wash away, to wash."

    25. Scapula (1652): "To dip, or immerse; as we immerse anything for the purpose of dyeing, or cleansing in water. Also to dip, to plunge, to overwhelm in water."

    26. Suicerus, Thesaurus Eccles: "Wood and clothes are said to be Baptesthai, baptized, when they are dipped; because they are quite immersed in the dyeing fat [vat], that they may imbibe the color. Baptizo, to baptize, hath properly the same signification."

    27. B. Faber, Thesau. Erudit. Scholast. (1717): Baptism, is immersion.

    28. Stockius (1735): "Generally, and in virtue of its etymology, it signifies immersion, or dipping into. Particularly and properly, it denotes the immersion or dipping of a thing into water, that it may be cleansed or washed."

    29. Schrevelius (1685): "To baptize, to plunge, to wash."

    30. Schwarzius, Comment. Crit. Et Philog. Ling. Grace: "To plunge, to overwhelm, to dip into. To wash, by plunging." "Sometimes to sprinkle, to besprinkle, to pour upon." This is the only lexicographer that this writer has ever found who gave sprinkle or pour as the occasional meaning of this word, and the authorities which he cites are not to the point, but rather prove the reverse. Like him, many want modern usage to shape the ancient meaning. See Abraham Booth, Pedobaptism Examined, Vol. I, p. 58, for the full quotation of the authorities cited.

    31. Constantinus, (1592): "The act of dyeing, that is, of plunging."

    32. Pasor, (1735): "To baptize; immerse, to wash."

    33. Prof. Rost, German-Greek Lexicon (1829): "The primary signification of baptiso is plunge, submerge or immerse."

    34. Larcher-Hedrich, Greek Lexicon (1816): "To immerse."

    35. J. Alberti, Glossarium Graecum (1735): "Baptize, immerse."

    36. Kaltschundt’s Lexicon (1839): "To dip, immerse."

    37. William Veitch, On Greek Verbs (1848): Baptizo. To dip."

    38. Stocku Calvis (1725): "Baptisma originally designated immersion in water to make clean."

    39. Greenfield: "To immerse, immerge, submerge, sink."

    40. Wright: "To dip, immerse, plunge, baptize, overwhelm."

    41. Suidas’ Lexicon (circa 10th Century): "To immerse, to immerge, to dip, to dip in."

    42. DeStourdza (A native Greek, who should know the meaning of a Greek word if anyone does): "Baptizo signifies literally and always ‘to plunge.’ Baptism and immersion are therefore identical, and to say ‘baptism by aspersion’ is as if one should say ‘immersion by aspersion,’ or any other absurdity of the same nature." (Quoted in A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, p. 937).

    43. Dunbar, Greek-English Lexicon (1840): "To dip, immerse, submerge, plunge, sink."

    44. Morel: "To immerse, to immerge, to overwhelm in water."

    45. Robertson, Thesaurus Grace: "To baptize, to immerse, to wash."

    46. The same testimony is borne by the lexicons of Grove, Bass, Ewing, Lainy, Jones, and more recently by Arndt and Gingrich, George R. Berry, W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, and others, for all scholarship worthy of the name is fully agreed in this meaning. Dr. George Campbell, Presbyterian, declared:

    I have heard a disputant, in defiance of etymology and use, maintain that the word rendered in the New Testament, baptize, means more properly to sprinkle than to plunge, and in defiance of all antiquity that the former was the earliest, and for many centuries the most general practice of baptizing. One who argues in this manner never fails, with person of knowledge, to betray the cause he would defend.—Lectures on Systematic Theology, p. 480, Quoted by W. B. Boggs, The Baptists, p. 78 (Emphasis mine—DWH).

    A few years ago, John T. Christian wrote the leading Greek scholars of England and America and asked them if there was an authoritative Greek-English lexicon which gave as the meaning of baptizo the words sprinkle or pour. The following are some of the answers he received (These are quoted in W. M. Nevins’ Alien Baptism and the Baptists, pp. 17 et equ.):

    47. Prof. H. W. Humphreys, Vanderbilt Univ. "There is no standard Greek-English lexicon that gives sprinkle, or pour as one of the meanings of the Greek word baptizo."

    48. Prof. W. S. Tyler, Amherst College: "I do not know of any good lexicon which gives sprinkling as a rendering of baptizo."

    49. Prov. Dodge, University of Michigan: "There is no standard Greek-English lexicon that gives either sprinkle or pour as one of the meanings of the Greek word baptizo."

    50. Prof. Flagg, Cotnell University: "I know no lexicon which gives the meaning you speak of for baptizo."

    51. Prof. H. Kynaston, University of Durham, England: "The word baptizo means to dip, or sink into water, not sprinkle. I know of no lexicon which gives sprinkle for baptize."

    52. Prof. G. C. Warr, King’s College, England: "Certainly the classical meaning of baptizo is to dip, not sprinkle or pour."

    53. Prof. John Stracham, Owens College, England: "I never, to my knowledge, met with the word in the literal sense of sprinkle, and I doubt if it has any such meaning."

    54. Prof. G. E. Mamdin, University of London, England: "I do not know of any Greek-English lexicon which gives the meaning to sprinkle, or pour. If any should do so, I should say it makes a mistake."

    55. Prof. R. C. Jebb, University Cambridge, England: "I do not know whether there is any authoritative Greek-English lexicon which makes the word mean sprinkle or pour. I can only say that such a meaning never belongs to the word in classical Greek."

    56. Prof. Goodwin of Harvard University also adds the weight of his testimony when he says:

    The classical meaning of baptizo, which seldom occurs, and of the more common bapto, is dip (literally or metaphorically), and I never heard of its having any other meaning anywhere. Certainly I never saw a lexicon which gives either sprinkle or pour, as meaning of either. I must be allowed to ask why I am so often asked this question, which seems to me to have but one perfectly plain answer.—Quoted in A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, p: 933.
  5. Mayflower

    Mayflower Puritan Board Junior

    The Meaning Of The Words According To The Ancient Writers.

    1. The Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. This ancient church manual is generally dated in the second century, and gives these instructions for the ordinance:

    And concerning baptism, baptize thus: having first gone over all these instructions, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, in living water. But if thou hast not living water, baptize into other water, and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm. But if thou hast neither, pour out water on the head thrice, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.—The Didache, chapter VII, quoted from James Heron, Church of the Sub Apostolic Age.

    James Heron says, "Indeed, the preposition in the phrase ‘baptize into other water,’ points directly to immersion; and there is little room for doubt that this was the common mode of baptism in early times."—Church of the Sub Apostolic Age, p. 138. Some will doubtless object that this document condones pouring, but it is noteworthy that: (1) This is to be done only as a last resort. This was written when the heresy of baptismal regeneration had begun to make itself felt. (2) Even so, this is not called baptism, for that demands immersion, but the word used is ekcheo, to pour. The writer of the Didache does not prostitute the word baptizo by applying it to pouring. (3) This document is not of divine origin, and so, carries no authority except of example.

    2. Barnabas. The epistle bearing the name of Barnabas is now generally acknowledged to be wrongly ascribed to the Biblical Barnabas, but it is of early date, perhaps as early as the first half of the second century. The Epistle of Barnabas says: "We indeed descend into the water full of sins and defilements, but come up, bearing fruit in our heart." This can be nothing other than immersion and emersion.

    3. The Shepherd of Hermas. This is also of about the middle of the second century. "‘Why sir,’ I said, ‘did these stones ascend out of the pit, and be applied to the building of the tower, after having borne these spirits?’" "‘They were obliged,’ he answered, ‘to ascend through water in order that they might be made alive; for, unless they laid aside the deadness of their life, they could not in any other way enter into the Kingdom of God...The seal, then, is the water: they descend into the water dead, and they arise alive.’"—Similitude Nine, Chap. 16.

    4. Justin Martyr, 140 A. D. speaks in his Apology, Sec. 79, 85, 86, of baptism as a "washing in the water." In his Dialogue with a Jew, 14, he refers to baptism as a "bathing," and connects it with Isaiah’s reference to the cisterns mentioned in Jeremiah 2:13. Certainly both fountains and cisterns in the Holy Land would be more fitting for immersion than for sprinkling.

    5. Tertullian, about 204 A. D. On Baptism, chap. 7: "As of baptism itself there is a bodily act, that we are immersed in water, a spiritual effect, that we are freed from sins." On The Resurrection Of The Body, chap. 47: "Know ye not, that so many of us as were immersed into Christ Jesus, were immersed into his death? ...For by an image we die in baptism; but we truly rise in the flesh as did also Christ." Against Praxeas, chap. 26: "And last of all, commanding that they should immerse into the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

    6. Hippolytus, Bishop of Portus, near Rome. About 225 A. D. Discourse On The Holy Theophany, 10: "For he who goes down into the bath of regeneration, is arrayed against the evil one, and on the side of Christ: He comes up from the baptism bright as the sun, flashing forth the rays of righteousness."

    7. Gregory of Nazianus, about 360 A. D. Discourse 40, On The Holy Baptism: "Let us therefore, be buried with Christ by the baptism, that we may also rise with him; let us come up with him, that we may also be glorified with him."

    8. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem about 348 A. D. Instruction III, On Baptism, 12: "For as Jesus assuming the sins of the world died, that having slain sin he might raise thee up in righteousness; so also thou, going down into the water, and in a manner buried in the waters as he in the rock, art raised again, walking in newness of life." Initiation;. II, 4: "And ye professed the saving profession, and sunk down thrice into the water, and again came up. And there, by a symbol, shadowing forth the burial of Christ." Instruction VIII, On the Holy Spirit, II, 14: "For the Lord saith: ‘Ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days after this.’ Not in part the grace; but all-sufficing the power! For as he who sinks down in the waters and is baptized, is surrounded on all sides by the waters, so also they were completely baptized by the Spirit."

    9. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. 328 A. D. Discourse On the Holy Passover, 5: "In these benefits thou was baptized, O newly-enlightened; the initiation into the grace, O newly-enlightened, has become to thee an earnest of resurrection; thou has the baptism as a surety of the abode in heaven. Thou didst imitate, in thy sinking down, the burial of the Master; but thou didst rise again from thence, before works witnessing the works of the resurrection."

    10. Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea. 370 A. D. On The Holy Spirit, XV, 35: "Imitating the burial of Christ by the baptism; for the bodies of those baptized are as it were buried in the water…The water presents the image of death, receiving the body as in a tomb."

    11. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. 374 A. D. On The Sacraments, Book II, chap. 7: "Thou was asked: Dost believe in God the Father Almighty? Thou saidst, I believe; and thou didst sink down, that is, wast buried." The same work, Book III, chap. 1, 1: "Yesterday we discoursed respecting the font, whose appearance is, as it were, a form of sepulcher; into which, believing in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we are received and submerged, and rise, that is, are restored to life."

    12. Jerome. 392 A. D. Commentary on the Epistle To the Ephesians, Book II, chap. 4: "And thrice we are immersed (Latin, merqimur), that there may appear one sacrament of the Trinity."

    13. Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople. 398 A. D. Commentary on I Con, Discourse 40, 1: "For to be baptized, and to sink down, then to emerge, is a symbol of the descent into the underworld, and of the ascent from thence. Therefore Paul calls the baptism the burial, saying: ‘We were buried, therefore, with him by the baptism into death.’" On The Gospel of John, Discourse XXV: "Divine symbols are therein celebrated, burial and deadness, and resurrection and life. And all these take place together; for when we sink our heads down in the water as in a kind of tomb, the old man is buried, and sinking down beneath is all concealed at once; then, when we emerge, the new man comes up again."

    14. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. 398 A. D. Homily, iv: "After you professed your belief, three times did we submerge (Latin demersemus) your heads in the sacred fountain."

    15. Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria. 412 A. D. On Isaiah, Book I Discourse 1, On Isaiah 1:16: The ancients were fond of seeking types and figures for the Christian rite of baptism in the Old Testament. After saying "men are justified, not by works of the law, but through faith and baptism," he adds, "And this the ancient law figured to them as in shadows, and preached before the grace which is through the holy baptism."

    These do not exhaust the quotations from these ancient writers, but these are a cross-section of what the early writers had to say about the mode of baptism. We have not recorded any of the later writings, but only those of the first five centuries. For those curious to see the later writers on this subject, Dr. T. J. Conant, in his work "Baptizein" records every usage of the Greek word baptizo in Greek writings still extant, and he also records many instances of later writers to show how they used the word.

    In quoting these ancient writers, our only object was to show that they used the word in the sense of immerse, as is the true import of the word. Therefore, we do not in the least, condone the erroneous ideas held by many or even most of them of them, that baptism was a saving ordinance. Since all of grace (unmerited favor), it cannot be obtained by any act of man. Baptism is simply an act of obedience whereby one outwardly confesses what has taken place inwardly. It is an act "of (not for) righteousness," (Matt. 3:15. cf. Tit. 3:5), done by a person who has already become a child of God by completely trusting in the Lord to save him.

    Before passing to the next proof, we shall adduce several authorities to further show that baptism was by immersion for thirteen centuries, and that only in recent centuries have men replaced immersion by sprinkling or pouring.

    16. Coleman (Congregationalist). Ancient Christianity, chap. 19, sec. 12: "The practice of immersion continued even until the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Indeed, it has never been formally abandoned."

    17. Joseph Bingham (Episcopalian). Antiquities of the Christian Church, Book XI, chap. 11, sect. 4: "As this (dipping) was the original apostolical practice, so it continued the universal practice of the Church for many ages."

    18. Augusti (Lutheran). Archae, Vol V, p. 5; VII, p. 229: "Immersion in water was general until the thirteenth century, among the Latins; it was then replaced by sprinkling but retained by the Greeks."

    19. Whitby (Episcopalian). Annotations on Rom. 6:4: "And this immersion being religiously observed by all Christians for thirteen centuries, and approved by our Church."

    20. Hagenbach (Lutheran). Hist. Doct., Vol. II, p. 84, note: "From the thirteenth century sprinkling came into more general use in the West. The Greek Church, however, and the Church of Milano still retained the practice of immersion."

    21. J. J. Van Oosterzee (Lutheran). Christian Dogmatics, p. 749 (N. Y. edition): "This sprinkling, which seems to have first come generally into use in the thirteenth century, in the place of the entire immersion of the body, in imitation of the previous baptism of the sick, has certainly this imperfection, that the symbolical character of the act is expressed by it much less conspicuously than by complete immersion and burial under water."

    22. Von Colln. History of Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 303: "Immersion in water was general until the thirteenth century among the Latins; it was then displaced by sprinkling, but retained by the Greeks."

    23. Dr. Stackhouse, History of the Bible, Book VIII, chap. 1, pp. 1234-1235, note: "Several authors have shown, that we read no where in Scripture of any one’s being baptized, but by immersion; and from the acts of councils and ancient rituals have proved, that this manner of immersion continued (as much as possible) to be used for thirteen hundred years after Christ."

    24. Dr. Brenner, Hist. Exhibit. Bapt., p. 306: "Thirteen hundred years was baptism generally and ordinarily performed by the immersion of the person under water, and only in extraordinary cases was sprinkling, or affusion, permitted. These later methods of baptism were called in question, and even prohibited."

    25. Encyclopedia Ecclesiastica. Article on Baptism: "Whatever weight, however, may be in those reasons, as a defense for the present practice of sprinkling, it is evident that during the first ages of the Church, and for many centuries afterwards, the practice of immersion prevailed."
  6. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    What landmarkist site is this cut and pasted from? See, I can do it too ;):

  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Ditto to Chris,

    A word to the wise--and this applies, for me, to all threads. If there is a lot of "copy/paste" going on, I generally don't read it.
  8. Seb

    Seb Puritan Board Junior

  9. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman

    If all of these fellows thought that the mode was strictly by immersion, why did they not all adhere to it?
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    W.A. Mackay, Immersion and Immersionists pp. 81-82
  11. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Please note that most of these authors do NOT say the meaning of the word baptise is to immerse, but only state immersion is how baptism was practised in the early church. For those few who do comment on the word, and say its proper meaning is immerse, they are only referring to what we today would call the *denotation* of the word, because they then go on to speak of the *connotation* of the word in terms of washing, e.g. John Owen.

    Immersionists generally misunderstand the state of the question in their controversy with sprinklers. Sprinklers do not undertake to prove that sprinkling was the mode in which people were baptised in the early church. They simply maintain that there is no mandate provided in the NT which requires immersion as the mode of baptism. It only needs to be shown that baptizein is used in the New Testament with the primary meaning of "to wash," in order to susbstantiate the sprinkler's claim that the application of water to the person being baptised is all that is necessary to constitute the act of baptism. "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit," John 13:10. As the person being baptised is already regarded as having been sanctified and cleansed "with the washing of water by the word," all that is required in the administration of the sacrament of baptism is the application of water to one part of the person's body as a sign of the inward grace. It is only on the false supposition that baptism itself effects something with respect to the person's salvation that the mode of baptism could become a matter of significance.

    In the Lord's supper the *elements* of bread and wine with the sacramental *action* of eating and drinking are necessary for a valid administration of that ordinance. There is no inisistence that the people sit down to eat a whole meal, but a fragment of bread and a sip of wine suffices. Likewise the *element* of baptism is water, and the sacramental *action* is washing, and these suffice for a valid administration of the ordinance without having recourse to a bath.
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Baptists quote Calvin as saying, "The word baptize itself means immersion, and it is certain that the rite of immersing was observed by the ancient church." They are careful to omit the words immediately preceding this quotation. The reader will know why, when I quote them. Here they are: "It is not of the least consequence (minimum refert) whether the person baptized is totally immersed, and that once or thrice, or whether he is merely sprinkled by an affusion of water. This should be a matter of choice to the churches in different regions though," etc. Then follows the garbled quotation noticed above. (Inst. iv. ch. 15, sec. 19). Let Baptists take Calvin's words as he wrote them and the exclusive immersion theory is annihilated, and there will not be a close communion Baptist Church on earth.

    Mackay, Immersion and Immersionists pp. 82-83
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Again, is what we have above really what Stuart believed, or is it yet another quote taken out of context in an attempt to persuade the ill informed?

  14. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Yikes, so much more heat than light in Dabney's quote. It would apply to those who are adamant on immersion as the only valid means of baptism. As a baptist, I would NEVER go so far as to say that, nor to deny the true faith of my brethren in the sprinkling baptizing community.

    Chris, could this be a catch 22 for non immersionists? A non partisan reading of the evidence generally supports immersion as the original practice. If one wants to go RPW, would it not entail attempting to practice baptism and the Lord's Supper in as biblical a manner as possible? Baptists who insist upon immersion, yet countenance grape juice would seem as far down the same slippery slope as Presbyterians who insist upon wine, but practice sprinkling. :think:

    Note, I am NOT dealing with the issue of infants vs. believers, merely the mode considered on its own merits.
  15. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I have not read as deeply into this as I would have liked, but many Reformed and Presbyterian writers past and present believe immersion was a Romish innovation, and not all of them write in such a sharply polemical style. :) I mentioned three short works earlier in the thread that argue for sprinkling or affusion as the Biblical mode, with Adams being the most widely available. I can say that if I believed that immersion was the Biblical mode and necessary for the proper administration of Baptism that I would not be a Presbyterian. (Again this points to the absurdity of most of the quotations given in this thread.) That's not to say that immersion is invalid. I think that most Baptists just assume that Presbyterians sprinkle out of tradition or due to the difficulty of immersing infants (it doesn't stop the Greek Orthodox).

    I do think Dabney is correct in his conclusion, especially when realizing that most, and probably almost all Baptist congregations in his day practiced closed or close communion, thus barring all paedos from the table until they were immersed and joined a Baptist church. The apparently prevailing practice today of open communion by Baptists is a recent innovation, and in my opinion one that probably to some extent was an attempt to escape the dilemma that Dabney illustrates. But it results in a situation where those who are not regarded as being validly baptized are invited to the table but still prohibited from membership. Bunyan's view that baptism is no bar to communion has been a distinct minority throughout Baptist history although it appears to be gaining some adherents with some Reformed leaning Baptists today. Fewer Baptists would hold that proper baptism is no bar to church membership, with Piper attempting and failing to change Bethlehem Baptists' practice.
  16. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Hmmm.. Daney does not quote Scripture even once...

    Quotes about the "odious ecclesiastical consequences of the Immersionist dogma.. [say that 10 times quickly] are a far cry from an examination of the Greek of the NT which speaks of dipping.

    Hmm...the accusation of cutting and pasting...there was another member here, Speardane, that always accused people or cutting and pasting arguments. Are you two good friends? :duh:
  17. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Alter ego. Cutting/pasting is one thing. Cutting and pasting 15 pages nonstop is quite another.
  18. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Wow, then you are more attached to your mode as the only one than I am! In my last pastorate as a Baptist, while we only baptized by immersion, we accepted members regardless of the mode by which they were baptized.

    You are correct, however, I suspect that most of us baptists believe that presyterians sprinkle for reasons of tradition, not biblical exegesis. I was always taught that a good argument could be made for immersion, sprinkling, and affusion just as it can be for congregationalism, presbyterian polity, and episcopalianism.
  19. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Ha, alter Peter Parker and Superman. Ivanhoe and Speardane. Good cop bad cop.

    Bring up Spear Dane and Ivanhoe both on the same thread and have them argue it out - that would be awesome!
  20. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    My statement was that if I thought immersion necessary to the proper administration of Baptism that I could not be a Presbyterian. That's not so much an attachment to my mode as it is a reaction to the exclusivism of the immersionist view. The Presbyterian view is that all three modes are valid. I don't know of anyone who argues that immersion is invalid (although I understand it came within one vote of being declared so at the Westminster Assembly). Typically the strongest you will see it stated that immersion is irregular but not invalid.

    If I recall correctly, wasn't your last pastorate in the ABC? Baptist churches are autonomous and I guess can do what they want (I know of a pastor whose church is in the CREC and is paedobaptist and FV but still says they are in cooperation with the SBC and sees no reason to stop) but "believer's baptism" by immersion is generally regarded as the sine qua non of Baptist identity, although as you state in more liberal conventions where Baptist distinctives are no longer emphasized this apparently is no longer so. I would agree that the issue of the proper subjects of baptism is where the essential difference really lies, but for many Baptists the issue of mode has been and remains of at least equal importance. Rowland Ward notes this in the book I cited above. He points out that as time went on, Baptist writers on the subject started devoting more and more time to the issue of mode. The tide seems lately to be turning with some.

    While I understand that some of our baptistic brethren here on the PB are not dogmatic on the issue of mode, I don't know of any Baptist confession (anabaptists aren't in view here) that doesn't assert that immersion is the only valid mode.

    Unless I have you confused with someone else, I recall you noting that you attended one of the broader evangelical seminaries that presented all sides of every issue. That's certainly not what you would find in the SBC seminaries and others that believe that immersion is the only valid mode. I would be somewhat surprised to hear that the SBC seminaries would have taught that differences on mode of baptism and form of church government were inconsequential even while they were in the clutches of liberalism since "soul competency" and the priesthood of the believer are essential aspects of the liberal SBC identity and as I understand it these concepts were often tied in with their views on baptism and the autonomy of the local church.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2008
  21. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Neither was any scripture appealed to in the OP. Rather, it was a list of quotations taken out of context in an attempt to convince the reader that the authors believed the opposite of what they actually believed.
  22. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    I'm not surprised anymore by what is left out of lists such as this.

    Notice that the original author, while acknowledging that Liddell/Scott/Jones is the standard of lexicography in Classical Greek, only cites the abridged version, and that selectively. He leaves out the fact that these terms are also variously used to describe a drenching caused by a down pour (Hippocrates), a metaphor of crowds pouring into the streets of Jerusalem during the siege (Josephus), and similar entries. Nor does he include the fact that these terms are also employed to describe the various washings not requiring immersion (Luke and Hebrews).

    As well, and of great interest in this word study, is the realization that what Christ termed the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:5 is shown in Acts 2:3 as a settling down and resting upon their heads from above. This parallels the imagery of OT passages on the coming of the Holy Spirit, which picture it as a sprinkling or an outpouring upon God's people (Ezekiel/Joel) rather than as an immersion - even though Christ uses the term "baptizo" to describe this action :eek:.

    I'm not feeling particularly combative, as much as incensed by intentionally misleading scholarship.
  23. hollandmin

    hollandmin Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not overly concerned about the mode, but as a reformed Baptist, it boils down to what the baptism represents.

    I have experienced in the past individuals who were deathly afraid of dunking their head under water, should I tell them that their baptism isn't valid because they weren't immersed? Of course not. Do I believe that baptism is by immersion? Absolutely, but I would never keep someone who has confessed their faith in Christ from being baptized in a way other than immersion if there was a problem with the immersion itself.

  24. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Dennis, truth is that both sides can make compelling arguments regarding mode. I'm not willing (as some are) to brush mode aside as inconsequential. I think mode is very important. I don't want Presbyterians apoligizing for paedo/sprinkling just as I don't want Baptists apologizing for credo/immersion. Run the flag up the pole! Embrace it or reject it. Don't straddle the fence.
  25. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    No fence straddling intended. It is more offensive to insist on rebaptism due to a prior baptism by a defective mode than it is to admit into fellowship a believer who was baptized "imperfectly."
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2008
  26. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    I have no problem with that. My comments were directed more at the larger picture.
  27. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    Here is an extract of an email I sent to some one recently on this issue:

    If you get taken to task in the future by exclusive-immersionists then the essential classic to point out to them is James W. Dale’s five-volume work, The Meaning of Baptism. Charles Hodge makes good use of him in his Systematic Theology the relevant chapter being online here (Systematic Theology - Volume III | Christian Classics Ethereal Library). His son, A. A. Hodge, provides a helpful summary in his Commentary on the Westminster Confession (

    It is often, but erroneously, supposed that the controversy between our baptist brethren and the rest of the Christian Church with respect to Baptism is a question of mode; they affirming that the only right mode is to immerse -- we affirming that the best mode is to sprinkle. This is a great mistake. The real Baptist position -- as stated by Dr. Alexander Carson (p. 55) -- is, that the command to baptize is a simple and single command to immerse, in order to symbolize the death, burial, and resurrection of the believer with Christ. The true position maintained by other Christians is, that Baptism is a simple and single command to wash with water, in order to symbolize the purification wrought by the Holy Ghost. Hence the mode of washing has nothing to do with it. It is necessarily perfectly indifferent, so that it be decent. According to our view, the essential matter is the water, and the application of the water in the name of the Trinity. According to their view, the essential matter is the burial, total immersion, in water or sand, as the case may be. The evidence of the truth of the view entertained by the vast majority of Christ's Church is as follows: --

    (1.) The word baptizo, in its classical usage, means to dip, to moisten, to wet, to purify, to wash. Dr. Carson admits that he has all the lexicons against him.

    (2.) In the Septuagint, Bapto and baptizo occur five times. Thus, Dan. iv. 33, Nebuchadnezzar is said to have been wet (baptized) with the dew of heaven. Ecclus. xxxiv. 30: "He that baptizeth himself after the touching of a dead body;" -- but this purification was performed by sprinkling. Num. xix. 9, 13, 20. See also 2 Kings v. 14, and Judith xii. 7.

    (3.) In the New Testament, baptizo is used interchangeably with nipto, which only means to wash. Compare Mark vii. 3, 4; Luke xi. 38; Matt. xv. 2, 20: and observe -- (a.) That to baptize is there used interchangeably with to wash. (b.) The washing was to effect purification, for the unbaptized hands are called the unwashed and unclean hands. (c.) The common mode of washing hands in those countries is to pour water upon them. The rich have servants to pour the water on their hands; the poor pour the water on their own hands.

    (4.) When John's disciples disputed about baptism, it is expressly said to have been a dispute about purification. John iii. 25; iv. 2.

    (5.) The same idea is uniformly expressed by the word baptism, or baptisms, in-the New Testament. In Mark vii. 2-8 we read of the baptisms of cups, pots, brazen vessels, and tables (couches upon which several persons reclined at table). These things could not be, and were not, immersed. The whole object of the service was not burial, but purification. In Heb. ix. 10 Paul says that the first tabernacle "stood only in meats and drinks, and divers baptisms;" and below, in verses 13, 19, 21, he specifies some of these divers baptism--" For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh;" -- and " Moses sprinkled both the book and all the people, and the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry."

    (6.) Baptism with water is emblematical of baptism by the Holy Ghost, the object of which is spiritual purification. Matt. iii. 11; Mark i. 8; Luke iii. 16; John i. 26, 33; Acts i. 5; xi. 16. Spiritual baptism is called "the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Tit. iii. 5. Baptism with water symbolizes baptism by the Holy Ghost. But baptism by the Holy Ghost unites us to Christ, and makes us one with him in his death, in his resurrection, in his new life unto God, his righteousness, his inheritance, etc., etc. Spiritual baptism carries all these consequences, and water baptism represents spiritual baptism; therefore we are said to be baptized into Christ, into his death, into one body -- to be buried with him, to rise with him, so as to walk with him in newness of life -- to put on Christ (as a garment), to be planted together with him (as a tree), etc. None of these have anything to do with the mode of baptism because it is simply absurd to suppose that the same action can at the same time symbolize things so different as burial, putting on clothes, and planting trees. The real order is: washing with water represents washing of the Spirit; washing of the Spirit unites to Christ; union with Christ involves all the consequences above mentioned.

    (7.) Baptism of the Holy Ghost, of which water baptism is the emblem, is never set forth in Scripture as an "immersion," but always as a " pouring" and " sprinkling." Acts ii. 1 -- 4, 32, 33; x. 44 -- 48; xi. 15, 16. Of the gift of the Holy Ghost it is said, he " came from heaven," was " poured out," " shed forth," " fell on them." Isa. xliv. 3: " I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed." Isa. lii. 15: " So shall he sprinkle many nations." Ezek. xxxvi. 25 -- 27: "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean," etc. Joel ii. 28, 29: " I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh."

    (8.) The universally prevalent manner of effecting the rite of purification among the Jews -- from the analogy of which Christian Baptism was taken -- was by sprinkling, and not by immersion. The hands and feet of the priests were to be washed at the brazen laver, from which water poured out through spouts or cocks. Ex. xxx. 18 -- 21; 2 Chron. iv. 6; 1 Kings vii. 27 -- 39. See also Lev. viii. 30; xiv. 7, 51; Ex. xxiv. 5 -- 8; Num. viii. 6, 7; Heb. ix. 12 -- 22.

    (9.) In 1 Cor. x. 1, 2, the Israelites are said to have been "baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." Compare Ex. xiv. 19 -- 31. But the Egyptians who were immersed were not baptized; and the Israelites who were baptized were not immersed. Dr. Carson (p. 413) says Moses got "a dry dip!" In 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21, it is said that Baptism is the antitype of the salvation of the eight souls in the ark. Yet the very gist of their salvation consisted in their not being immersed.

    (10.) Among all the recorded instances of Baptism performed by John the Baptist and the apostles, there is not one in which immersion is asserted, while there are many in which it was highly improbable -- (a.) Because the apostles baptizing and the early converts baptized were all Jews, accustomed to purify by pouring and sprinkling. (b.) Because of the vast multitudes baptized at one time, and the known scarcity of water in Jerusalem and generally in the situations spoken of. The eunuch was baptized on the roadside in a desert country. Acts viii. 26 -- 39. Three thousand were baptized in one day in the dry city of Jerusalem, which depends upon rain-water stored in tanks and cisterns. Acts ii. 37 -- 41. Vast multitudes swarmed to John. Matt. iii. 5, 6. The jailer was baptized in prison at midnight Acts xvi. 25 -- 33. Paul was baptized by Ananias right at his bedside. Ananias said, " Standing up, be baptized;" and " standing up he was baptized." Acts ix. 18; xxii. 16. (c.) The earliest pictorial representations of baptism, dating from the second or third century, all indicate that the manner of applying the water to the body of the baptized was by pouring. (d.) It is done in the same way universally by Eastern Christians at the present time.​
  28. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    I wasn't actually apologizing nor would many presbyterians take kindly to it as such. Frrankly, my point is that the Greek is on the side of the immersionist, not the sprinkler (cf. G.R. Beasley-Murray). And, just as people of good will can read the Bible and come up with three entirely different forms of polity (largely based on what tradition they are already attached to!), my cynical guess was that a lot of sprinklers come upon their position for reasons of tradition, certainly not because of an inductive study of the NT text. But, this side of the glass through which we all see darkly, I would rather accept what I count a "defective" mode rather than insisting on a rebaptism which seems to raise a whole bunch of other problematic issues.
  29. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Dennis, if you can get hold of the Dale 5-volume work, you will find that the evidence favors the sprinkling by a vast majority of instances. Dale looks at every instance of that word in the known literature of ancient Hellenic culture. Personally, though, I think that sprinkling, pouring, and immersion are all legitimate forms of baptism. Thanks to Richard for pointing out Dale's work. If he hadn't, I would have.
  30. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    OK, you evil doppelgänger of deceptively boyish looks . . .
    Listen here. I happen to work for a living and do not have time for 5-volume books on baptism. Besides, your seducing me into a 5-volume work on baptism would be just what satan ordered to distract me from my cocky confidence in unexamined premises. Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up . . . or something like that. Remember, you have lived many years less than I have and "lived" spelled backwards is "devil." So, take your devilish ideas about 5 volume works and go do something useful like researching every instance of καὶ in the NT or playing on the freeway or counting beard hairs or . . . something! :lol:

    Thanks for the tip on Dale. But, I'd still like to hear someone deal with Beasley-Murray.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page