BAPTISM:  WHAT IN THE WORLD FOR?

 

 

The First & Second Century Church

 

IGNATIUS, who wrote about 90 AD said in his Epistle to Polycarp, v. 6: Let your baptism abide with you as your shield; your faith as your helmet; your love as your spear; your patience as your body armour.  Let your works be your deposits, that ye may receive your assets due to you.

 

A collection of MISCELLANEOUS writings called Didache 9, written about 100 AD, says, No one is to eat or drink of your eucharist except those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord.  For also concerning this the Lord has said, 'Do not give that which is holy to the dogs.'

 

JUSTIN MARTYR, who wrote about 150 AD, said in his Apology I, 65, After we thus wash [baptize] him who has been persuaded and agreed entirely with our teachings, we take him to the place where the brethren have gathered together to make fervent prayers in common on behalf of themselves and of the one who has been illuminated in baptism and of all others everywhere.  We pray that we who have learned the truth may be counted worthy and may be found good citizens through our works and keepers of his commandments so that we may receive the eternal salvation.  When we cease from our prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. 

     Next there is brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of water mixed with wine.  Taking these he sends up praise and glory to the Father of all through the name of his Son and of the Holy Spirit and makes thanksgiving at length for the gifts we are counted worthy to receive from him.  When he completes the prayers and thanksgiving, all the people present sing out their assent by saying 'Amen.'....give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water for which thanksgiving has been given, and they carry some away to those who are absent."

 

Great Theologians

 

About 1550 - JOHN CALVIN - BAPTISTS, PRESBYTERIANS, REFORMED CHURCHES:  "Baptism...resembles a legal instrument...for he commands all who believe to be baptized for the remission of their sins.  Therefore, those who have imagined that baptism is nothing more than a mark or sign by which we profess our religion before men...have not considered that which was the principal thing in baptism - which is, that we ought to receive it with this promise, 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.'" (Institutions, Book 4, Chap. 15, paragraph 1).

 

About 1700 - MATTHEW HENRY - PRESBYTERIAN:  "In baptism our names are engraved upon the heart of this Great High Priest....God doth in this ordinance seal and make over to us all the benefits of the death of Christ....Baptism seals the promise of God's being to me a God" (Treatise on Baptism, pg. 12,40,42).

 

About 1750 - GEORGE WHITEFIELD - METHODIST:  "He who persists in this act of rebellion against the authority of Christ will never belong to his kingdom....Does not this verse urge the absolute necessity of water baptism?  Yes: when it may be had.  But how God will deal with persons unbaptized we cannot tell" (Commentary, John 3:5, Vol. 4, pg. 302, 355).

 

About 1775 - JOHN WESLEY - METHODIST:  "Buried with him in baptism...alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion.... By baptism we enter into covenant with God....made members of Christ; made the Children of God.  By water, as the means, the water of baptism, we are regenerated or born again" (Commentary on the New Testament, pg. 350 and Preservative, pg. 146-150).

 

About 1800 - ADAM CLARK - METHODIST - "Undoubtedly the Apostle here means baptism...Baptism is only a sign, and therefore should never be separated from the thing signified....It is a rite commanded by God himself and therefore the thing signified should never be expected without it" (Commentary, John 3:5 and Titus 3:5).

 

About 1880 - CHARLES SPURGEON - BAPTIST - [Although in Sermon No. 573 in 1864 he said,] "Do we who baptize in the name of the sacred Trinity as others do, do we find that baptism regenerates?  We do not....Baptism does not save the soul...the preaching of it has a wrong and evil influence upon men....most atrocious that in a Protestant Church there should be found those who swear that baptism saves the soul....He has no right to be baptized until he is saved...."  [By 1881, 17 years later in Sermon No. 1627 based on Romans 6:3-4, he said,] "They had faith, and a glimmer of knowledge sufficient to make them right recipients of baptism....He who has been baptized into Christ sees Christ in baptism....our representative union with Christ...we were thus buried with him....Baptism is an acknowledgment of our own death in Christ....You are brought up again from the pit of corruption unto newness of life....now you have been dead and buried and have come forth into newness of life....baptism represents resurrection....this life is entirely new.

 

Even Denominational Creeds Agree

 

LUTHERAN:  Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism, Part Four, Articles I-IV:  "Baptism is not simply water, but it is the water comprehended in God's command [Matthew 28:19-20]....It worketh forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and confers everlasting salvation on all who believe....the water without the Word of God is simply water and no baptism....a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost; as St. Paul says to Titus in the third chapter verses 5-8....It signifies that the old Adam in us is to be drowned....St. Paul, in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 6, verse 4 says:  'We are buried with Christ by baptism into death'."


 

CALVINISM:  Institutions, c. xvi:  "Baptism resembles a legal instrument properly attested, by which he assures us that all our sins are canceled, effaced and obliterated so that they will never appear in his sight, or come into his remembrance, or be imputed to us.  For he commands all who believe to be baptized for the remission of their sins."

 

PRESBYTERIAN:  Confession of Faith, Chapter xxviii, Sec. i:  "Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be to him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his engrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life."

 

The Larger Catechism:  "Baptism is...a sign and seal of engrafting into Christ, of remission of sins by his blood and regeneration by his Spirit."

 

WESLEYAN/CHURCH OF NAZARENE:  Church Constitution, Articles XIII:  "We believe that Christian baptism is a sacrament signifying acceptance of the benefits of the atonement of Jesus Christ, to be administered to believers."

 

Only those acts which are mentioned in the verses are listed.  In other words, even though we assume they all believed, if not in the verses, it is not checked.

Scripture

     People

Heard/Read

    Believed

   Repented

Confessed

    Baptized

     Prayed

    Sinner's

     Prayer

   Moved to

   Christian

     Nation

Acts 2:

37-41, 47

3,000 Jews - Jerusalem

          x

          x

          x

 

          x

 

 

Acts 8:

5-6, 12

People in Samaria

          x

          x

 

 

          x

 

 

Acts 8:

30-39

Ethiopian

          x

 

 

          x

          x

 

 

Acts 9:

3-6, 17-19

Saul/Paul**

(future

apostle)

          x

 

 

 

          x

 

 

Acts 10:

1-2, 48

Cornelius & Household*

          

 

 

 

          x

 

 

Acts 16:

14-15

Lydia & Household

 

          x

 

 

 

          x

 

 

Acts 18:

1, 8

Corinthians

 

          x

 

 

          x

 

 

Acts 19:

1-6

Ephesians

 

          x

          x

 

          x

 

 

Acts 22:

7-16

Saul/Paul**

(future apostle)

          x

 

 

 

          x

 

 

*Receiving Holy Spirit is another study.  Notice, even though he was morally upright, he still had to do something else.

**Notice, even though he had seen a vision of Jesus, he still had to do something else.