"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The Mode of Baptism, According to Scripture, Part 4, the Last
Finally, Hodge reviews the examples of baptism in the New Testament. He concludes that none require immersion, and in several, immersion is highly unlikely.
Before considering particular examples, Hodge gives two general reasons weighing against immersion: 1) because the Apostles and most of their early converts were Jews, accustomed to purification rites performed by sprinkling or pouring (as discussed in Part 2); and 2) because of the large numbers baptized at one time, under the arid conditions predominant in Palestine.
Three thousand were baptized in one day in Acts 2:5-6, in a Jerusalem dependent on wells and culverts for water. The Ethiopian eunuch of Acts 8:26-39 was baptized by the roadside at a random stop in the countryside in the desert. While there could be a seasonal brook beside the road, there wouldn't likely be a pool! And most clearly of all was the baptism of Paul by Ananias in Acts 9:18 and 22:16. Not only was he baptized at bedside, hardly likely to be a pool, but Ananias explicitly tells him to stand to be baptized, which Paul then does.
I write this, not to tell any Baptist that he has been baptized wrongly, but rather to free the conscience of the one who is concerned about his own baptism. God isn't waiting with a writ to shove in your face about the mode of your baptism! Also, I write for the Presbyterian or Anglican who is accused of being somehow biblically-deficient or tradition-bound. The Bible doesn't sustain that accusation, so your conscience should be free.
To get to part 1, the beginning of this essay, click here.
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43