Thread: Kerygmania: Romans 6 and Baptism Board: Limbo / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
From a thread in Purgatory
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
I once had someone tell me that Romans 6 was not referring to water baptism at all.

Hey, that's what I think!
I guess the key verses are 3-4.
quote:
Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
What is "baptism" here if not in water? What other sort of "baptism into Jesus" could Paul mean?

[ 06. May 2007, 11:45: Message edited by: Moo ]
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
If it doesn't mean water baptism here, what does it mean? And where else in Paul does baptism mean anything else?
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Sorry, I was cleaning it and it went off! I had meant to develop my position a bit beyond the last two lines of the OP, and clicked Post Reply - but really, what more is there to be said?

I've always understood that this is the definitive advance in typology beyond the mere "washing" which may or may not have been involved in Jewish Proselyte Baptism, or the "baptism of repentance" of JB. This is sacramental participation in the dying and the rising of Christ.
 
Posted by DarkKnight (# 9415) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
What is "baptism" here if not in water? What other sort of "baptism into Jesus" could Paul mean?

I think Paul does mean baptism in water. Psyduck's rhetorical question may be the key - does Paul ever mean anything other than "baptism in water" when he uses "baptism"? If not, then Gordon has a difficult position to defend, which he will hopefully shortly attempt to do.

If I may indulge in speculation for a moment, perhaps one could make a case that Paul means "baptism into the Holy Spirit". I reckon this is a hard case to make however, because if Paul meant this, he probably would have said it - he was fairly articulate.
Or a case could be perhaps made that Paul is talking of identification with Christ. Which he clearly is. And this is represented symbolically how? Through water baptism.

Looking forward to hearing your arguments Gordon.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
I think that Paul was, indeed, referring to water baptism, but I'm not really a sacramentalist, so I would see the baptism as more descriptive than prescriptive. In other words, as being a symbolic act, but not in itself having any intrinsic or salvific merit apart from that symbolism. It was what church did, and was therefore a ready "visual aid" in understanding that which was actually accomplished in the spiritual realm. A bit like the way in which many people of the more evo persuasion understand Holy Communion.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
The obvious interpretation is so obvious here that I'm dying to know why Gordo thinks it's not about baptism. And indeed what he thinks it is about. Because I smell a tortured interpretation to avoid a sacramentalist conclusion.
 
Posted by Wolfgang (# 10809) on :
 
Whilst I do think that Paul is referring to water baptism here, I don't think it's all he's referring to. When Paul was writing baptism was something which was so closely related with conversion they were almost treated as one and the same thing, hence Acts 2:38 - i.e. you were converted and then baptised immediately after. So when Paul talks about us being "baptised" into Christ's death and "buried with him through baptism into death" he only uses the term "baptise" because it was so closely associated with conversion itself....his readers would be calling to mind that one occasion on which they were converted-and-baptised (inseperable).
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Wolfgang:
Whilst I do think that Paul is referring to water baptism here, I don't think it's all he's referring to. When Paul was writing baptism was something which was so closely related with conversion they were almost treated as one and the same thing, hence Acts 2:38 - i.e. you were converted and then baptised immediately after.[

With this I would agree, and would point to the fact that this is a sacramental understanding, to my mind.

quote:
So when Paul talks about us being "baptised" into Christ's death and "buried with him through baptism into death" he only uses the term "baptise" because it was so closely associated with conversion itself
This bit is I think unsubstantiated, especially the italicised word.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 


[ 11. April 2006, 11:31: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by DarkKnight (# 9415) on :
 
Well said Barny...expresses your utter contempt for the argument better than mere words can.
Hang on...which side are you objecting to? [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Apologies, guys, finger fumble! This is what I wanted to say. I think Mark 10:35-45 has some clues. Particularly here
quote:
37They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."

38"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus refers to his forthcoming trial and crucifixion as a "cup" which, if possible, may be taken away from him. The suggestion in the Mark passage is that he is using "cup" and "baptism" to speak allegorically about his own forthcoming trial, sentence, suffering and death. The significance of the use of the word "baptism" here is the notion of full immersion. (A normal Greek usage of "baptizo" meant to dip, like dipping a garment in a dye, and therefore fully immerse). His "baptism" in this sense is not one James and John should seek to emulate readily.

I think the final clue is here.
quote:
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Turning to Romans 6, I think the verses have the double meaning of both explaining baptism in water and the deeper life challenge of following Jesus - as later explained here in Phil 3:10-11

quote:
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
I think the notion is of a life fully immersed in following Christ. Which includes both the fellowship of his suffering and identifying with his dying and rising. So I think Romans 6 points both to water baptism and the obedient life.
 
Posted by Anselm (# 4499) on :
 
With out removing, at this stage, the possibility that Paul is including the ritual baptism with water, I think that he is certainly talking about more than just water baptism.
Theologically we know that there is a change in era with the coming of Jesus. John the baptist says
quote:
“After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:7-8
And that Paul himself, while using the ritual of water baptism, didn't seem to think it all that important - judging by his comments in 1 Cor 1
Yet the baptism he is talking about in Romans 6 seems quite important and central to the experience of being a follower of Jesus.
 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Wolfgang:
you were converted and then baptised immediately after

A different possibility. Baptism *was* the moment, the act, of conversion. How do single people become married people? By a wedding - a promise, a commitment. How do non-Christian people become Christians? In the Bible, by baptism: a promise, a commitment.

I think baptism in the NT was the decisive step of commitment that non-Christians made in order to become Christians. Baptism was the dividing line - rather like a wedding is the dividing line between being a single person and being a married person.

In the bible, baptism was not a testimony that you had already turned to God and become a Christian. Rather it *was* the way that you turned to God and committed yourself to Christ. By the act of baptism, a non-Christian said "I *hereby* receive Christ as my Lord. I *hereby* become a Christian". This is a commitment in the process of being made, not a symbolic testimony to an earlier commitment.

That is why Peter in the NT can say, "baptism saves you". And why Paul can say a person is buried and rises with Christ in baptism. It is not mere symbolism. People weren't baptised after their conversion: they were baptised *as* their conversion. The act of going into the water was the acted-out prayer, so to speak, of repentance and turning to God. Just as signing a bank cheque commits you to the payment of the money described on it, and a wedding commits you to a marriage.

In the NT, people responded to the gospel by getting baptised - not by just being prayed for (or with) by counsellors and then being declared a Christian.

[ 11. April 2006, 15:43: Message edited by: MSHB ]
 
Posted by the_raptor (# 10533) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
Baptism *was* the moment, the act, of conversion. How do single people become married people? By a wedding - a promise, a commitment. How do non-Christian people become Christians? In the Bible, by baptism: a promise, a commitment.

I think baptism in the NT was the decisive step of commitment that non-Christians made in order to become Christians. Baptism was the dividing line - rather like a wedding is the dividing line between being a single person and being a married person.

Except the commitment to become married usually happens long before the wedding. I wouldn't think many people would still be undecided as they stood at the altar on their wedding day. Marriage is normally what happens after you have made the commitment, and is just a public acknowledgement and celeberation of that commitment. I don't think the physical act of marriage is an anyway important to the issue of the commitment (and divorce statistics back me up).
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
Baptism was the dividing line - rather like a wedding is the dividing line between being a single person and being a married person.

Except the commitment to become married usually happens long before the wedding.
Yes, there is usually a period of time between deciding to get married and getting married. It's called engagement or betrothal. If all goes well, it's followed by a wedding, at which point you're married.

Likewise, there is usually a period of time between deciding to become a Christian and becoming a Christian. It's called the catechumenate. If all goes well, it's followed by a baptism, at which point you're a Christian.
 
Posted by DarkKnight (# 9415) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anselm:
And that Paul himself, while using the ritual of water baptism, didn't seem to think it all that important - judging by his comments in 1 Cor 1

I have to say that I think this remark is eisegetical. Clearly from the verses you have quoted Paul is expressing thankfulness that he was not responsible for baptising many of the Corinthians, because of the factionalism that was resulting in the congregation.

This in no way indicates that Paul thought water baptism was no big deal. He might have thought that, but you have not established it from this section.
And the rest of your post does not explain why Paul is not talking about water baptism as the symbol of what is taking place in a person's identification with the death and resurrection of Christ in Romans 6.

[ 12. April 2006, 07:00: Message edited by: DarkKnight ]
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Anselm:
quote:
And that Paul himself, while using the ritual of water baptism, didn't seem to think it all that important - judging by his comments in 1 Cor 1
Yet the baptism he is talking about in Romans 6 seems quite important and central to the experience of being a follower of Jesus.

I just can't see how I Cor. can be understood as saying that water baptism (we still haven't established what other kind we might be talking about yet) isn't important to Paul. Quite the reverse.
quote:
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
[14] I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Ga'ius;
[15] lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name.
[16] (I did baptize also the household of Steph'anas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.)
[17] For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

I don't think Paul is saying more here than that his Apostolate is centred on the preaching of the Gospel - certainly not that baptism isn't important. In fact, the highlighted words suggest to me that baptism, being in Christ's name, is central. And the link between baptism and the death of Christ is clear throughout.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
I don't think Paul is saying more here than that his Apostolate is centred on the preaching of the Gospel - certainly not that baptism isn't important. In fact, the highlighted words suggest to me that baptism, being in Christ's name, is central. And the link between baptism and the death of Christ is clear throughout.

I wouldn't even say that he is saying that his apostolate is centred on preaching. The reason he is thankful he didn't baptise any of them (well except for the people he then remembers) is that this stops them saying they were baptised in his name (not Christ's) and furthering the division in the Church. He is thankful that the fact (presumably co-incidental?) he did not baptise them means that their baptism cannot become a focus for division.

In terms of what other baptism might be meant, the original person* who told me that Romans 6 was not about water baptism went on to say that it referred to baptism with the Holy Spirit.

*I can't now remember who it was or even where it was, it might have been on the UCCF discussion boards where I posted for a while! I am amused that Gordon popped up briefly to agree with the comment and thus once again conforms to my stereotyped evangelical!

Carys
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
I am amused that Gordon popped up briefly to agree with the comment and thus once again conforms to my stereotyped evangelical!

I aim to please [Biased] And I am rather chuffed to be thought of as a steretopyical evangelical, as not too long ago on these boards I was being relegated to an outer solipsistic darkness of wacko out-there something-or-other. Although not by evangelicals, I seem to recall. By hook or by crook, I'll be mainstream one of these days.

I wasn't lying when I said I have a busy week, I'm all kinds of overdue on several projects so I really only have time to go through this once, with apologies to all who want to ask follow-up questions.

Let's start with the null hypothesis that baptism (Gk baptizw, "I wash"), always involve water in the New Testament. If this is our point of departure, then Romans 6:3-4 must be talking about water baptism, and only the most strained exegesis would suggest otherwise.

However. Is it true that baptism always involves water? If you were a follower of John the Baptist, this was clearly so, as he only ever did one sort of baptism. That Jesus and his followers knew of this is indisputable, since Jesus (at least) experienced this water baptism.

However again. John the Baptist clearly expected that the nature of Jesus' baptism would not involve water. So in Mt 3:11-12 John insists

quote:
originally posted by John the Baptist:
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Given the expectation set up by this passage, together with the complete absence of any baptizing activity by Jesus himself (John 4:2), it is not unreasonable to tread cautiously before we ascribe large quantities of H2O to the activity of baptism. Whether or not water was used after John, Jesus' own attitude to baptism seems to indicate that it was symbolic or metaphorical. He called on his disciples not to baptize, or to baptize with water, but to baptize into (Gk eis the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19).

Interestingly, the comments Paul offers regarding water baptism, in particular the baptism of John, seem guarded and qualified in the extreme. Anselm has mentioned 1 Corinthians 1:13-17, also of interest is Acts 19: 1-7. Here, Paul, quite clearly believes the baptism of John to be inadequate, and we already know from the gospel accounts that this was a baptism of water (Luke records the same contrasting baptisms in Luke 3:16. So what Paul is offering, so to speak, is not water baptism but Holy Spirit baptism.

So there is sufficient evidence from the New Testament to reject our null hypothesis, and assert that baptism does not always involve water. Indeed, given the specific and repeated contrast made by John the Baptist, Paul and (implicitly) by Jesus between the baptism of John and the baptism that followers of Christ are called upon to experience.

So I replace the null hypothesis with a new hypothesis, namely that unless water is specifically mentioned, it is not present in connexion with Christian baptism in the New Testament.

I think it most likely that baptism in Romans 6 means an immersion into Christ and his death, experienced by faith alone.

Interestingly, using my handy-dandy ESV word search , I discover not one reference to the word "water" in the whole of Romans. This is a great mystery. [Roll Eyes]

Apologies, time for posting is severely limited this week.
 
Posted by Anselm (# 4499) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
quote:
Originally posted by Anselm:
And that Paul himself, while using the ritual of water baptism, didn't seem to think it all that important - judging by his comments in 1 Cor 1

I have to say that I think this remark is eisegetical. Clearly from the verses you have quoted Paul is expressing thankfulness that he was not responsible for baptising many of the Corinthians, because of the factionalism that was resulting in the congregation.

This in no way indicates that Paul thought water baptism was no big deal. He might have thought that, but you have not established it from this section.

I think that Paul's statement in verse 17
quote:
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel
does actually relativise the importance of baptism for Paul, when compared to the task of preaching.

It would be interesting to work out the connection between this statement of Paul's and the great commission of Jesus recorded in Matt 28. Did Paul think that this did not apply to him? Or perhaps he thought that preaching was the way to fulfill it?
quote:

And the rest of your post does not explain why Paul is not talking about water baptism as the symbol of what is taking place in a person's identification with the and resurrection of Christ in Romans 6.

That may be because I wasn't actually saying that, rather it was your eisegesis of my post. The first sentence of my post was...
quote:
With out removing, at this stage, the possibility that Paul is including the ritual baptism with water...
I think that Paul in Romans 6 is primarily talking about the experience of being identified with Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (becoming a Christian) that may have been closely associated with the ritual of water baptism in that culture.
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
SUrely the non-water use of "baptism" is one of the purest forms of metaphor. And metaphor only works if the primary meaning is clear and in everyone's mind. The primary meaning of "baptism" has to be water baptism -- otherwise the metaphorical use is meaningless.

Water baptism without the metaphorical overtones was and is known in Judaism -- I'm told it forms part of the rite of reception of a convert.

As the primary meaning involves water, and the usual meaning involves water, I'd want evidence far stronger than adduced so far, and from a base that wasn't trying to prove a prior position, before I walked very far towards the position that the metaphorical meaning has taken over from the primary meaning.

John
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anselm:
I think that Paul's statement in verse 17
quote:
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel
does actually relativise the importance of baptism for Paul, when compared to the task of preaching.

It would be interesting to work out the connection between this statement of Paul's and the great commission of Jesus recorded in Matt 28. Did Paul think that this did not apply to him? Or perhaps he thought that preaching was the way to fulfill it?

Perhaps what Paul saw was baptism linked to the task of making disciples, rather than his primary role of preaching the gospel. I can certainly see a rationale for an itinerant evangelist making the decision not to baptise because he won't be around for the task of discipling the new converts. Leaving the tasks of making converts disciples, and baptising them, to the leadership of the local church - even if he needs to create a local church first.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Let's start with the null hypothesis that baptism (Gk baptizw, "I wash"), always involve water in the New Testament. If this is our point of departure, then Romans 6:3-4 must be talking about water baptism, and only the most strained exegesis would suggest otherwise.
No, let's start with the Greek. βαπτιζω doesn't mean "wash". It means dip, immerse, (middle voice) dip oneself, wash in the sense of immerse oneself in water, , plunge, (in non-Christian lit. also plunge, sink, drench, overwhelm. (Arndt and Gingrich) Liddell and Scott add a (passive) sense of “be drowned”, and senses of ships being sunk, cities being flooded with people, and things being soaked with wine. Also people drowning in debt.

I think that on its own is pretty conclusive. The root meaning of βαπτιζω isn’t “wash” but “inundate, dip, drown, steep in a fluid”.

Interesting that you quote the Matthean expansion of Mark 1:8, with its deployment of fire. Mark does contrast the Johannine water-baptism with Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit, but I don’t think that counts for anything in this argument. The most natural reading is “I have baptized you onlywith water; but he will baptize you also with the Holy Spirit." Particularly in view of the dipping-in-fluid root meaning of the verb.

quote:
it is not unreasonable to tread cautiously before we ascribe large quantities of H2O to the activity of baptism.
The issue is actually the use of water as such, not the quantity. Those early depictions of Jesus which show him up to the knees while JB baptizes him are probably on the mark (apart from the shell in the Baptist’s hand!) In any case, the clear allusion to baptism in John 13 – or are you going to tell us that that’s something else? – is equally clear that a small quantity of baptismal water suffices to inundate.

quote:
Interestingly, the comments Paul offers regarding water baptism, in particular the baptism of John, seem guarded and qualified in the extreme.
Where does Paul say anything about the “baptism of John”?

quote:
Anselm has mentioned 1 Corinthians 1:13-17, also of interest is Acts 19: 1-7.
Er… Paul didn’t write Acts. You can’t derive any direct knowledge about Pauline attitudes from Acts. As far as I know, there is still a critical scholarly consensus that we don’t have a clue what Luke is talking about here. If it’s anything we could make sense of, my guess would be that it’s the beginning of Confirmation. Acts is clearly in conflict with Paul here.

quote:
So what Paul is offering, so to speak, is not water baptism but Holy Spirit baptism.
Are you saying this on any other basis than the Acts quote?

quote:
So I replace the null hypothesis with a new hypothesis, namely that unless water is specifically mentioned, it is not present in connexion with Christian baptism in the New Testament.
Despite the clear meaning of the verb?
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
I am amused that Gordon popped up briefly to agree with the comment and thus once again conforms to my stereotyped evangelical!

I aim to please [Biased] And I am rather chuffed to be thought of as a steretopyical evangelical, as not too long ago on these boards I was being relegated to an outer solipsistic darkness of wacko out-there something-or-other. Although not by evangelicals, I seem to recall. By hook or by crook, I'll be mainstream one of these days.
Aah, but you see, I have to remember that my stereotypical evangelical is a subset of evangelical and that there are evangelicals like Wood and Alan Cresswell and Ken (and many others on the ship) who don't fit my stereotype so I have to be careful in ranting about `evangelicals' because I only mean a sub-group. But this is a tangent.

quote:

I wasn't lying when I said I have a busy week, I'm all kinds of overdue on several projects so I really only have time to go through this once, with apologies to all who want to ask follow-up questions.


I think a lot of us have busy weeks this week, it being a rather important week in the Church's year.

quote:
So there is sufficient evidence from the New Testament to reject our null hypothesis, and assert that baptism does not always involve water. Indeed, given the specific and repeated contrast made by John the Baptist, Paul and (implicitly) by Jesus between the baptism of John and the baptism that followers of Christ are called upon to experience.

So I replace the null hypothesis with a new hypothesis, namely that unless water is specifically mentioned, it is not present in connexion with Christian baptism in the New Testament.

I think it most likely that baptism in Romans 6 means an immersion into Christ and his death, experienced by faith alone.

Ok. So baptism in a Christian context is taken further than the root of immersion (you could have mentioned Jesus to the disciples who wanted to sit on his right and left sides), however, it is a big step from that to ruling out the implication of water everywhere it is not explicitly mentioned in the New Testament. That would be a significant change in the meaning of the word rather than metaphorical development which is all you've proved. Also, my original comment included to `proof texts' the other being 1 Pet 3:18-22. Here water is specifically mentioned. What do you make of this one? This is the stronger of the two for arguing for a salvific effect to baptism anyway.

Carys
 
Posted by Old Grey Whistler (# 11266) on :
 
This is such a good thread I wanted to add a line! I am sure Baptism is either by immersion or at least having a good soak. Romans 6 IS about that baptism because the argument is about the meaning of the whole action. "Spirit Baptism" is a vague phrase meaning different things to different people because it is not at all clear from scripture what it means.

Baptism is the decisive moment when a person consciously devotes him/herself to Christ as Lord and receives the confirmatory promise of God that they are accepted in Christ. The whole argument in Romans 6 holds together powerfully if this is your view.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anselm:
I think that Paul's statement in verse 17
quote:
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel
does actually relativise the importance of baptism for Paul, when compared to the task of preaching.

An additional remark in relation to this comment. I'm working my way through references to baptism in the NT, to see if I can see any of the sort of pattern which would indicate the word is used for something other than water baptism (I'll come back to that once I'm there). But, I got to Acts 18 and read
quote:
many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptised.
Which doesn't quite tally with Pauls comment in Corinthians that he didn't baptise many people. Unless, that is, someone else did the baptism - either someone who accompanied Paul or other Christians already in Corinth.
 
Posted by Al Eluia (# 864) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
. . . my original comment included to `proof texts' the other being 1 Pet 3:18-22. Here water is specifically mentioned. What do you make of this one? This is the stronger of the two for arguing for a salvific effect to baptism anyway.

Carys

What I find interesting about the use of the Flood as a type for baptism in I Peter is that the people who were saved were not immersed in the water! Noah and his family may have been sprinkled a bit with rain before they got in the Ark, but the ones who were totally immersed perished. I guess we just don't want to press the analogy too far in this case.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Al Eluia:
quote:
Noah and his family may have been sprinkled a bit with rain before they got in the Ark,
No, that's not how the typology works in Christian tradition. Noah and his family are the people who pass from an old, dead world to a renewed world through the waters of the flood, which is what we do in baptism. This is made explicit in the "Flood Prayer" which for most Protestant traditions derives in its present form from Martin Luther, but in which Luther certainly draws on much older traditions going back to 1 Pet. 3.
Carys:
quote:
So baptism in a Christian context is taken further than the root of immersion
I don't think that that's so, or that we need to think of anhydrous-seeming references to "baptism" as being metaphorical. There was the tradition of martyrs being baptised through their martyrdom - yes, in their own blood, often, but not if you went like Polycarp!!
quote:
(you could have mentioned Jesus to the disciples who wanted to sit on his right and left sides),
As to the two disciples wanting good seats in the Kingdom - even if the association of water-baptism (I'm getting to hate that phrase!!) with the death of Christ were a Pauline innovation, there's enough time for it to have influenced Mark, and that's certainly the case if it's earlier than Paul.

It seems to me that, once made, the equation baptism=the-death-of-Christ/a-death-like-that-of-Christ is still so crucially dependent on the symbolism of immersion-in/inundation-by/going-through water that it can never be said, in the New Testament, to be metaphorical. You just can't get the water out, no matter how much silica gel you use. And water is always the actuality of baptism, not a metaphor.

Baptism is always Christian initiation, is always identification with Christ in his death. However hard I try, I can't see any other reading as anything but a distortion.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
also of interest is Acts 19: 1-7. Here, Paul, quite clearly believes the baptism of John to be inadequate, and we already know from the gospel accounts that this was a baptism of water (Luke records the same contrasting baptisms in Luke 3:16. So what Paul is offering, so to speak, is not water baptism but Holy Spirit baptism.

I think the problem with this interpretation is identifying the key feature of the baptism of John as that it's by water. The key feature of Johns baptism is that it was a baptism of repentance, it was a sign of turning away from sins. But, what was missing was that there was nothing about what you turn towards - Christian baptism isn't just about repentance, it's about positively turning to God. John offered a cleansing of the old life, in Christ we have the offer of a whole new life entirely. It's that that Paul considered to be lacking.

Yes, there is a definite element of reception of the Spirit in this baptism in Christ. Peter himself picks it up in Acts 2, addressing the crowd at Pentecost. His response to the question "what shall we do?" is "repent and be baptised" - what other than a baptism in water could he mean? He has talked about the outpouring of the Spirit, but never called that a baptism. The crowds would have been very familiar with baptism in water. He must be talking about water baptism. But, he does go on "And you will recieve the gift of the Holy Spirit". Clearly, Christian baptism is linked to the giving of the Spirit, but the giving of the Spirit doesn't seem here to be equivalent to baptism, nor indeed a baptism at all, just an abundant outpouring gift from God.

Now, if we take your hypothesis that Paul is offering Spirit baptism, not water baptism, then one thing I would expect is that the NT refers to the gift of the Spirit as a baptism. Errrmmm ... I'm not sure I can find such a reference. The closest I can find is 1 Cor 12:13
quote:
For we were all baptised by [with or in] one Spirit into one body
Now, the "with or in" alternate readings could easily be what we would call a baptism in the Spirit (eg: of the sort found in the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements), but the "by" reading could make it equivalent to "baptised by John" - it's the Spirit (through the body of believers) who does the baptism. Either way, it's a big bunch of theology to hang on a bit of a verse that's in the middle of a section about Christian unity and the use of gifts for building up the body of Christ and not about baptism (in water or the Spirit). There are, of course, references to annointing in the Spirit, but that also seems to be different from baptism.

Also the "baptism = Spirit not water" hypothesis runs into problems when you come up against examples of conversion in Acts. Consider the Ethiopian eunuch - "here is water, why shouldn't I be baptised", can't be anything but water baptism there. Or, Cornelius. After the household receive the Spirit as the disciples had at Pentecost, Peter asks "Can anyone keep these people from being baptised with water?". In Acts 16, Paul speaks to a prayer meeting by the river, and baptises Lydia and her household - presumably in that same river, there and then. In Acts 19 we have the aforementioned men who'd received the baptism of John - they're baptised, then Paul places his hands on them and they receive the Spirit; it could have been a simultaneous event, but clearly here baptism and the giving of the Spirit are considered to be seperate things. I could go on ... but

quote:
So there is sufficient evidence from the New Testament to reject our null hypothesis, and assert that baptism does not always involve water.
In contrast, I'd reject the hypothesis that baptism in the New Testament relates to the giving of the Spirit. Yes, the Spirit is given. Yes, that can happen at baptism. But, the New Testament doesn't support any notion that this is a replacement for water baptism - at the best baptism is used as a metaphor in describing the gift of the Spirit.

Which leaves the question. When the New Testament uses the word "baptism", what event is it refering to (either directly or by analogy)? It seems clear that it's not receiving the Spirit. The only other thing it could reasonably be is an actual physical washing, in actual real water.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Alan Cresswell:
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Sorry, thought of something, reconsidered, selected all, hit Add Reply instead of Delete...
 
Posted by the_raptor (# 10533) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
Baptism was the dividing line - rather like a wedding is the dividing line between being a single person and being a married person.

Except the commitment to become married usually happens long before the wedding.
Yes, there is usually a period of time between deciding to get married and getting married. It's called engagement or betrothal. If all goes well, it's followed by a wedding, at which point you're married.

Likewise, there is usually a period of time between deciding to become a Christian and becoming a Christian. It's called the catechumenate. If all goes well, it's followed by a baptism, at which point you're a Christian.

What happens if I was baptised as a child? Is that still valid? Considering I wasn't a Christian for a number of years after being baptised I don't think it really does count.

And personally I think that splashing a bit of water on someones head being the defining symbol of them becoming a Christian is bloody stupid. Personally I think you become a Christian when you decide to live by God's will (which I am doing rubbish at, so make that "attempting"). Of course that probably damns me as an evangelical non-sacramentalist protestant that gets Matthias Media guides [Razz]
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Let's start with the null hypothesis that baptism (Gk baptizw, "I wash"), always involve water in the New Testament. If this is our point of departure, then Romans 6:3-4 must be talking about water baptism, and only the most strained exegesis would suggest otherwise.
No, let's start with the Greek. βαπτιζω doesn't mean "wash". It means dip, immerse, (middle voice) dip oneself, wash in the sense of immerse oneself in water, , plunge, (in non-Christian lit. also plunge, sink, drench, overwhelm. (Arndt and Gingrich) Liddell and Scott add a (passive) sense of “be drowned”, and senses of ships being sunk, cities being flooded with people, and things being soaked with wine. Also people drowning in debt.

I think that on its own is pretty conclusive. The root meaning of βαπτιζω isn’t “wash” but “inundate, dip, drown, steep in a fluid”.

Check Mark 7:1-3, where "wash" is a perfectly legitimate and sensible translation in the context. Also, it's hard to see how it could not mean washing in 1 Peter 3:21, where Peter quite explicitly assumes that in the process of baptism, there would be "removal of dirt from the body".

Immediate context has to be the overarching determinant of linguistic meaning, and both of those two examples are pretty obvious, it seems to me.
 
Posted by Mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
And personally I think that splashing a bit of water on someones head being the defining symbol of them becoming a Christian is bloody stupid.

That stupid Jesus. I'll have a word with him next time I see him.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
John 4:2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples)
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Clarification:Some posts above seem to assume that I believe Christian baptism never involves water. That's not so, and Alan C's post a few up helpfully summarizes some of the evidence relatiing to this.

My view is that Christian baptism always involves the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (and that this is no different from Spirit baptism), and may sometimes involve water in varying quantities.

Interesting, Dr Ashley Null argues that for Thomas Cranmer, architect of the Anglican formularies including the Prayer Book, water baptism is effectual only for those who are elect. Cranmer's view (as Null presents it) is not exactly mine, but as an Anglican minister I find it close enough to my view to be useful.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Check Mark 7:1-3, where "wash" is a perfectly legitimate and sensible translation in the context. Also, it's hard to see how it could not mean washing in 1 Peter 3:21, where Peter quite explicitly assumes that in the process of baptism, there would be "removal of dirt from the body".

Immediate context has to be the overarching determinant of linguistic meaning, and both of those two examples are pretty obvious, it seems to me.

Complete rot! And - by the way - a flat contradiction of your previous post! You are the one who said that baptizo "means" "wash". Context irrespective. I can see why you want "baptizo" to mean "wash", because "wash" is a much easier "meaning" to turn into a (waterless) metaphor than "dunk, dip, soak, inundate, immerse in a fluid" which, I said, is the root meaning of baptizo.

Actually, thinking about it, I was the one who gave all those metaphorical senses of baptizo - "drown in debt" "flood a city with refugees" etc. etc. But all these metaphorical meanings turn on the same meaning, whuich isn't "wash." It's "immerse in a fluid", "dip", make wet" etc. In your sense, "wash" is itself an extended, even "metaphorical" use of baptizo in its root meaning.

I don't know if you're trying to build something on the Saussurean recognition that the connection between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary - but what you seem to be saying is that meaning is so completely determined by immediate context that there is absolutely no relationship between one use of a word and any other. In other words, you have to know what the passage means before you know what any of the words in it mean in context. But isn't that basically the claim that you're making here anyway? That you know that this passage can't refer to water-baptism, therefore baptizo can't mean what the dictionary says it means?
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Sorry - should have explained that "Saussurean" bit. Maybe this link will help.
On the 1 Peter passage Gordon Cheng mentions:
quote:
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
This is actually a denial of the importance of the "washing" component of the meaning of baptism!!! Obviously if someone pours water all over you, you'll be 'cleaner' - but that's not - washing's not - what tipping water all over you means. Baptism can mean (among other things) 'washing' - but 1 Peter says there are times when it doesn't. What I'm saying is that, because of the root meaning of the word baptizo, there are no times when it doesn't carry something of the meaning "dip, soak, inundate", whatever else it also means.

Baptism is like Bob Monkhouse's Swiss watch. Totally waterproof. Once you get water into it, you'll never get it out...
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Baptism can mean (among other things) 'washing'

As long as you acknowledge this point, we have no dispute about the exact meaning of the word. I agree that Peter is saying more than this.

As for Saussare, in Sydney Australia with our sunny climate we often enjoy saussare sizzles. [Biased]

But it is also obvious that baptism need not involve water. If I say that someone has had a "baptism of fire", do assume that they necessarily got wet?
 
Posted by DarkKnight (# 9415) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anselm:
quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
quote:
Originally posted by Anselm:
And that Paul himself, while using the ritual of water baptism, didn't seem to think it all that important - judging by his comments in 1 Cor 1

I have to say that I think this remark is eisegetical. Clearly from the verses you have quoted Paul is expressing thankfulness that he was not responsible for baptising many of the Corinthians, because of the factionalism that was resulting in the congregation.

This in no way indicates that Paul thought water baptism was no big deal. He might have thought that, but you have not established it from this section.

I think that Paul's statement in verse 17
quote:
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel
does actually relativise the importance of baptism for Paul, when compared to the task of preaching.

If it is relativised this simply means Paul thought of it as less important than preaching the gospel, which is a long way from saying it wasn't all that important to him, which is what you initially said.

quote:
quote:
And the rest of your post does not explain why Paul is not talking about water baptism as the symbol of what is taking place in a person's identification with the death and resurrection of Christ in Romans 6.
That may be because I wasn't actually saying that, rather it was your eisegesis of my post. The first sentence of my post was...
quote:
With out removing, at this stage, the possibility that Paul is including the ritual baptism with water...


I wasn't eisegeting your post. I just assumed that your post would be addressing the OP. In those terms, while this assertion is a valid and possibly defensible one:

quote:
I think that Paul in Romans 6 is primarily talking about the experience of being identified with Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (becoming a Christian) that may have been closely associated with the ritual of water baptism in that culture.
You have still not made clear why you think the primary reference to baptism here is not to water baptism. And I happen to believe the burden of proof is upon you to do so.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
But it is also obvious that baptism need not involve water. If I say that someone has had a "baptism of fire", do assume that they necessarily got wet?

In contemporary English, it's certainly the case that as in your "baptism of fire" example that the word 'baptism' can be used in instances where there is no water involved. But, such use is almost always with the meaning "initiation", which is an extension of the practise of baptising people with water as an initiation into the Christian church. And, that in itself is a corruption because Christian baptism isn't exactly an initiation - it's far more than that.

So, even in contemporary English where there are examples of idiomatic water-less baptisms, these still draw their meaning from a common understanding of an initiation ceremony involving water.

If Romans 6 is about an idiomatic use of the word 'baptism' to indicate something other than the actually baptism with water that believers received, then it's not clear that that's the case (unlike the much more obvious "baptism by fire" or "baptism with the Spirit").
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
As long as you acknowledge this point, we have no dispute about the exact meaning of the word. I agree that Peter is saying more than this.
I'm not letting you away with that so easily! Now you're bending my words into a shape that suits!! You still haven't conceded, let alone answered, the point I made that the root meaning of baptizo is connected with immersion in/wetting by water. I do have a dispute with you about the exact meaning of the word, dammit!

And "Peter" isn't "saying more than this". He's saying something different to what you say he said. You say he said that baptism was, inter alia (don't think I missed that you blinked!) "the removal of dirt fom the body" (i.e. "washing" - which you said is the meaning of baptizo. I Peter explicitly says that it isn't that.

Baptizo means I immerse, dip, flood, inundate, make wet with water. Then, in different contexts, it can mean other stuff. It can mean wash - but not when the text says it doesn't mean "wash"!!!

It seems to me that the more you try to get off the reef which has holed your argument beneath the waterline, the more you take on... er... wetting-agent. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Sorry, I suggested that βαπτιζω means "dip". I think it's more correct to say that it's βαπτω that means "dip" - along with many of the other meanings of βαπτιζω. I remember coming across an article years ago that held that βαπτιζω was a Jewish/Christian extension of βαπτω: I'm not sure this is consistent with the dates of occurrences cited in Liddell and Scott, but if it is it actually suggests that - as Alan Cresswell has suggested is true for contemporary usage - the conjunction of "wetting with water" and "rite" may be integral to the word's root meaning from the start. But as I say, I'm not sure about that.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Baptizo means I immerse, dip, flood, inundate, make wet with water. Then, in different contexts, it can mean other stuff.

I have a lexicon which cites contemporary secular use of the NT vocabulary. There is a citation from around 150 B.C. where a form of βαπτιζω is used to mean that someone is overwhelmed (by calamities).

Moo
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Moo - Liddell and Scott have similar citations, but the derivation is as metaphor from the primary meaning of immersion in water, inundation, etc.

Interestingly, on "overwhelm" itself, Merriam Webster online suggests
quote:
Etymology: Middle English, from 1over + whelmen to turn over, cover up
1 : UPSET, OVERTHROW
2 a : to cover over completely : SUBMERGE b : to overcome by superior force or numbers c : to overpower in thought or feeling

Whereas The Free Dictionary is even more waterlogged!
quote:
o·ver·whelm (vr-hwlm, -wlm)
tr.v. o·ver·whelmed, o·ver·whelm·ing, o·ver·whelms
1. To surge over and submerge; engulf: waves overwhelming the rocky shoreline.
2.
a. To defeat completely and decisively: Our team overwhelmed the visitors by 40 points.
b. To affect deeply in mind or emotion: Despair overwhelmed me.
3. To present with an excessive amount: They overwhelmed us with expensive gifts.
4. To turn over; upset: The small craft was overwhelmed by the enormous waves.

And the Online Etymology Dictionary
quote:
overwhelm
c.1330, "to turn upside down, to overthrow," from over + M.E. whelmen "to turn upside down" (see whelm). Meaning "to submerge completely" is c.1450. Perhaps the connecting notion is a boat, etc., washed over, and overset, by a big wave. Fig. sense of "to bring to ruin" is attested from 1529.

This ain't getting any drier! I hope Gordon Cheng responds soon, or he'll be quite - er... overwhelmed! [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Al Eluia (# 864) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Al Eluia:
quote:
Noah and his family may have been sprinkled a bit with rain before they got in the Ark,
No, that's not how the typology works in Christian tradition. Noah and his family are the people who pass from an old, dead world to a renewed world through the waters of the flood, which is what we do in baptism.
Oh yes, I understand that. I just thought it was funny to look at the imagery as I did--I often find the oddball way to look at the scriptures.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Well, since you put it that way, Al - and man, I've been fighting against this - since I came across this whole business of flood-typology in Liturgical Studies,I've had a weird mental picture of Noah and family in oilskins and sou'westers, and the Ark crashing through the waves at 50 knots like a lifeboat, and the camera zooming out, and it's all a giant baptismal font... [Paranoid] And the background music is the theme from Hawaii 5-0. [Help]

Is there a support group, I wonder...?
 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
For what it is worth, I can see only one thing regularly called baptism in the NT. It involved the application of H20. As Paul wrote: "There is one baptism..."

The phrase "baptise in the Holy Spirit" I only ever see in a stock formula relating John and Christ: "John baptised you with water, but the One who comes after will baptise you with the Holy Spirit". This stock formula about John and Christ occurs 6 times in the NT, if I remember correctly (once in each gospel, and twice in Acts).

There is no evidence to my mind that the first century Christians ever used this phrase outside this stock formula comparing John and Christ. Talk about "water baptism" and "Spirit baptism" I can only see as totally foreign to the language and understanding of the NT church. I think a first century Christian would be bewildered by such modern terminology. They only knew one thing by the name "baptism" in ordinary every-day language - and it involved getting wet.

The testimony of the early church also seems unequivocally in favour of baptism as the watery rite of entry into the Christian covenant.

The difference between John's baptism and Christian baptism has nothing to do with the element of water as such. John's baptism was an act of repentance; Christian baptism is an act of repentence AND receiving the indwelling Lord. John's baptism was a mere preparation for the coming of the gospel; Christian baptism actually takes up the whole bundle of blessings that come with the Gospel.

Putting a holding deposit on a house is not the same thing as settling the contract and moving in. I can imagine many Jews agreeing with John's message ("The Messiah is coming; Get ready") but baulking at Jesus ("You are the Messiah, The Son of the Living God"). John's baptism was open-ended: *a* Messiah is coming, look for Him. Christian baptism is "narrow": *this* is the Messiah, submit to *Him*.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Well, since you put it that way, Al - and man, I've been fighting against this - since I came across this whole business of flood-typology in Liturgical Studies,I've had a weird mental picture of Noah and family in oilskins and sou'westers, and the Ark crashing through the waves at 50 knots like a lifeboat, and the camera zooming out, and it's all a giant baptismal font... [Paranoid] And the background music is the theme from Hawaii 5-0. [Help]

Is there a support group, I wonder...?

[Killing me] BTW, with you over meaning. Earlier, I suggested that there is some evidence of allegorical use by Jesus - but that doesn't alter the plain meaning of the word.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Psyduck:
quote:
This ain't getting any drier! I hope Gordon Cheng responds soon, or he'll be quite - er... overwhelmed!
Still waiting. [Snore]
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
In fairness to Gordon, he'll be genuinely busy. [Angel] We're all - er... inundated during Holy Week! [Big Grin] Good discussion, though, eh? Not at all dry... [Biased]

(Sorry, Gordon. But by-the-by, isn't this how typology runs wild? Imagery just gets irresistible... Yeah, OK, "And this year's Kerygmania Strained Relevance Award goes to...Psyduck!!" )
 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Baptizo means I immerse, dip, flood, inundate, make wet with water. Then, in different contexts, it can mean other stuff.

I have a lexicon which cites contemporary secular use of the NT vocabulary. There is a citation from around 150 B.C. where a form of βαπτιζω is used to mean that someone is overwhelmed (by calamities).

Moo

You can be drowning in debt. But when you hear on the news at night that a man has drowned that day, you needn't say "What was he drowning in? They don't tell us!" You know that the "unmarked" meaning of the word is drowning "in water".

The unmarked meaning of the word baptise (which I gather is an "intensive" of bapto, which in turn means "I dip"; so "baptizo" would be "I plunge") is "to plunge into water". It can mean swimming ("sea bathing") and a ship sinking (plunging into the depths?) as particular applications of that - and it means the traditional watery rite of baptism in Christian contexts.

In Acts 8.36, coming "unto a certain water", the Ethiopian eunuch asks, "Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptised?" (RV). It seems pretty clear that even the new convert in the NT understood baptism to involve water.

(Please insert a pun here about throwing out the baby with the baptismal water.)
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
MSHB:
quote:
(Please insert a pun here about throwing out the baby with the baptismal water.)
If you are a somewhat dyspraxic clergyperson with a vivid imagination, and a firmer grasp of liturgy than of material objects, this is something you don't joke about!!! [Eek!] [Help] [Frown]
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
ISTM, that baptism being a sacrament is a visible sign of greater reality. I agree with those on this thread who have suggested that water baptism is a visible ratification of an inner (holistic) action of God's grace.

So yes, I think it is possible to consider baptism to be an immersion into the reality of the Trinity. After all, what is more important; the water or the Trinity? The Trinity of course! What are we baptised into if we are not baptised into God? Water baptism signifies, seals, and ratifies an immersion into the life of God, the Trinitarian reality.

For the early church the spiritual reality of immersion into the Triune God is both a ratification and a visible signifier of presumtive regeneration. Sometimes water baptism (paedo-baptism) precedes regeneration i.e. it is the sacrament of prospective grace. Sometimes water baptism follows regeneration (credo-baptism) i.e. it is the retrospective ratification of saving grace received.
 
Posted by Old Grey Whistler (# 11266) on :
 
Errrm... A sign of prospective grace? If Grace is God's free action how can we know in advance what he will do in His freedom?

Baptism in anticipation of conversion sounds like sex in anticipation of marriage and lots of nice girls have got in trouble with that one.

Actually, it is more unreliable since the clergyman can not move God's hand whereas the rascal who promises marriage has the ability to come good on the promise.

If baptism is simply a general sign that God saves people it becomes irrelevant to the baby. Baptising a doll would work as well.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Baptism is not done in anticipation of conversion. It is done in the knowledge that the child of a believing family will be brought up as a believer, and unless they opt out of the faith and back in, will neither have nor need a conversion.
 
Posted by Old Grey Whistler (# 11266) on :
 
Ok... got me.

Substitute regeneration for conversion and see if my post makes sense then.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
I'm refering to the presbyterian position of presumtive regeneration i.e. the child is presumed regenerate on the basis of God's covenant faithfulness until such time as they prove otherwise.. Try reading the prodigal son through such a lens. [Smile]

[ 20. April 2006, 18:46: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Old Grey Whistler:
Ok... got me.

Substitute regeneration for conversion and see if my post makes sense then.

Not really. In my experience, regeneration takes place after conversion.

And a kid who's always been a Christian - what does regeneration mean in their case?
 
Posted by Old Grey Whistler (# 11266) on :
 
Regeneration = being born (again or from above) as in Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus in John 3.

Without one will not even see the Kingdom of God even if one is a child of the covenant (as Nicodemus undoubtedly was).
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Oh right. So when does this occur for the children of believers who are brought up as believers?
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Well, it's worth noting that if you take 'anothen'
to mean "from above", the time reference implicit in "again" (i.e. it has to happen at some particular point in time) is erased. It means that you have to be born into the life than comes from above, i.e. the life of heaven - or maybe better, that that life has to be born in you. There's no indication that that has to be a point-event. It can presumably be a process. Myself, I'd say that a child born into the Christian faith (a notion I have no problems with) emerges into a Christian world of language, and is brought up in that world. In the mainstream Protestant tradition,(infant) baptism and (adult) confirmation would be rites of passage in terms of the life of heaven. As to when exactly the life of heaven is born in an individual, I'd say "God only knows". It's maybe a bit analogous to the question "When was I more than a bundle of cells?" And maybe there's more than one answer to both.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Old Grey Whistler:
Regeneration = being born (again or from above) as in Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus in John 3.

Without one will not even see the Kingdom of God even if one is a child of the covenant (as Nicodemus undoubtedly was).

This is the essential problem with the credo-baptist position. They claim that regeneration is a 'point event' that is ratified and personally witnessed to by water baptism, usually in adulthood. The problem with this is that they still treat their children as little Christians (i.e. they practice presumptive regeneration) rather than treating them as little unregenerate sinners.

The point is this: most credo-baptists actively catechise their children; they don't in practice stick to evangelising them which they should if they lived their theology with complete integrity.

Credo-baptist Sundya Schools teach children to pray, to call Jesus 'Lord', to trust God's promises etc. and yet, when asked, they'll tell you that their children are unregenerate. It's total nonsense!

Question to a credo-baptist: Is it ever appropriate to treatl an unregenerate sinner as if they are already saved?

Answer: No it isn't ever appropriate to treat and unregenerate sinner as if they are saved, unless they happen to be a child in our Sunday School of course!

[ 21. April 2006, 13:15: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Which is rather the point. The fundamental contradiction of the credo-baptist position is that it treats young children as Christians in every way except admitting them to the Rite which - erm - identifies a person as a Christian - Baptism.
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Old Grey Whistler:
Ok... got me.

Substitute regeneration for conversion and see if my post makes sense then.

Not really. In my experience, regeneration takes place after conversion.

And a kid who's always been a Christian - what does regeneration mean in their case?

And of course some of us Christians who were baptized as infants believe our "conversion" or "regeneration" began/occurred at that point.

I know it's fashionable to assume a period of doubt after which there is owned belief -- and no doubt it's normal -- but I and at least two of my friends (all anglican, but of different ages and from different parts of the country, and with radically differnt kinds of belief on the part of parents and godparents) have all managed without doubt. Other spiritual issues yes, but not doubt.

We can testify to a continuous process of growth -- and no beginning point except the pouring of water on an infant head.

John
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
John, do you think 'it' actually began with the sprinkling or before? For me I believe 'it' began before I was even conceived!

Karl, I'm really glad that you and I agree on something! I was beginnibg to wonder if it would ever happen! [Smile]

[ 21. April 2006, 16:57: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
I'm going to locate it at baptism, because that's what's promised in baptism, IMO. The process, as you say, started long before -- long before my parents were conceived, for that matter. But when we go there, we move into areas of theology that are highly theoretical, and I'll admit to being not terribly interested in asking questions to which there can be, in this life, no answers.

John
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
Fair enough. It seems to me that baptism is entry into reciprocal covenantal faithfulness. Of course God's faithfulness precedes the sacrament but our faithfulness, IMO, properly follows it.
 
Posted by Pyx_e (# 57) on :
 
But the truth of the matter Numps is that neither infant or adult baptism ensures faithfulness. I know plenty of adults who have received a believers baptism and stopped believing, often with an ensuing guilt complex.

P
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyx_e:
But the truth of the matter Numps is that neither infant or adult baptism ensures faithfulness. I know plenty of adults who have received a believers baptism and stopped believing, often with an ensuing guilt complex.

P

Agreed. Which is precisely why we can deny Christ but he can't deny himself; no matter how cheesed off he is with us.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyx_e:
But the truth of the matter Numps is that neither infant or adult baptism ensures faithfulness.

P

This is such an important and basic point for me that it rather allows the rest of the discussion to disappear into watery oblivion.

I think we agree on these things:

1. The basic meaning of baptism must involve water, and Psyduck's earlier summary of what the lexicons say is no different to what I think.

2. Baptism can have an extended metaphorical meaning, not only in present-day usage but in 1st-2nd century usage. I found Moo's example fascinating. But no need to go outside the four gospels. Does anyone dispute that 'baptism' in Mark 10:39 is metaphorical, and involves no water whatsoever?

3. As for the Romans 6 of OP, I think it is metaphorical but I lack the energy to deny that water could be involved. I don't think it is, and it seems both bizarre and out of context to assert that it must.

But look, I'm not going to go for the stake for it, but if I ever were to go to the stake I would hope that you would be kind enough to baptize me early and often.

Cheers,

Gordon
 
Posted by Old Grey Whistler (# 11266) on :
 
Well you leave a thread for a couple of days and it grows like crazy.

It is funny reading that we "credo-baptists" believe stuff which many of us don't. Let me briefly state what I do believe.

1. Regeneration. A secret breathing of eternal life into a person by which the Holy Breathe recreates us. The event is only known by its fruit of faith and repentence. No clergyman may precipitate it by "baptism" nor any person induce it in himself by an act of will.

2. Catechising and evangelism. Essentially the same thing. We teach Christ as King to all who will listen. It is the Word taught and proclaimed which is the main means of regeneration in those who are of a responsible age.

3. Baptism. The end of conversion in which the person made willing by regeneration, faith and repentance clothes himself with Christ and through the ministry of a church of Christ receives the promise of eternal remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit and unity with Christ in His death and resurrection.

It is normal for people to know little of how or when the moment of regeneration occurs. The great thing about Baptism of conscious believers is that it is a fixed point in their history from which Paul can argue in Romans 6. Try to apply the argument to people who were "done" as babies today.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
I found Moo's example fascinating.
Moo's example is completely beside the point. It's paralleled by numbers of citations in Liddell and Scott, all of which are clearly metaphors based on inundation, as is hers. I said this previously. Indeed you yourself said
quote:
1. The basic meaning of baptism must involve water, and Psyduck's earlier summary of what the lexicons say is no different to what I think.
Which means that you are contradicting yourself here.

quote:
But no need to go outside the four gospels. Does anyone dispute that 'baptism' in Mark 10:39 is metaphorical, and involves no water whatsoever?
I do. For the same reason. I said so above. I think that was also Alan Cresswell's point above. "Baptism" here means "initiation", means Christian initiation, through water, invoking the death of Christ. You could hold this to be the case because it constitutes a prophecy of Jesus' death, and links it to that of the two disciples, or you could hold that it represents evidence for the fusion of baptism and the death of Christ - as in Romans 6 - in the tradition Mark inherited. Either way, the assumption that there's something called "baptism" in the Christian tradition that doesn't involve being baptised - which is what you're really saying-is completely untenable.

quote:
3. As for the Romans 6 of OP, I think it is metaphorical but I lack the energy to deny that water could be involved. I don't think it is, and it seems both bizarre and out of context to assert that it must.
You are simply asserting this. You haven't actually argued it anywhere.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
OGW:
quote:
The great thing about Baptism of conscious believers is that it is a fixed point in their history from which Paul can argue in Romans 6.
But Luther, when in the depths of bipolar depression, could write on the table in front of him "Baptizatus sum" - "I have been baptized" (sc. as an infant)and painstakingly build everything else back up from there. I don't see how believers' baptism adds anything to that. Anyway, as I say, the logic of Paul's theology of grace, esp. Romans 5: 1ff., seems to me to legitimate infant baptism completely. (I think we may be in danger of segueing over here into the territory of the Purg. thread on rebaptism.)
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
I found Moo's example fascinating.
Moo's example is completely beside the point. It's paralleled by numbers of citations in Liddell and Scott, all of which are clearly metaphors based on inundation, as is hers. I said this previously. Indeed you yourself said
quote:
1. The basic meaning of baptism must involve water, and Psyduck's earlier summary of what the lexicons say is no different to what I think.
Which means that you are contradicting yourself here.

No, the metaphorical meaning of baptism need not involve water. A baptism of fire does not involve water. That neither changes the base meaning of the word, nor does it involve contradiction.

quote:
quote:
Me: But no need to go outside the four gospels. Does anyone dispute that 'baptism' in Mark 10:39 is metaphorical, and involves no water whatsoever?
quote:
Psyduck: I do. For the same reason. I said so above. I think that was also Alan Cresswell's point above.

"Baptism" here means "initiation", means Christian initiation, through water, invoking the death of Christ.



You say this even though water is not mentioned in the Mark passage, and the context dictates that something other than water is on view.

quote:
3. As for the Romans 6 of OP, I think it is metaphorical but I lack the energy to deny that water could be involved. I don't think it is, and it seems both bizarre and out of context to assert that it must.
You are simply asserting this. You haven't actually argued it anywhere.
Not true; I've already noted that the context nowhere mentions water, and that the flow of the argument is entirely to do with Christ's death. The context suggests a metaphorical usage.
 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Not true; I've already noted that the context nowhere mentions water, and that the flow of the argument is entirely to do with Christ's death. The context suggests a metaphorical usage.

Paul's reference begins with an "unmarked" use of the term "baptism": "are ye ignorant that all we who were baptised into Christ Jesus..." (6.3 (RV)). Paul is referring to something that is common knowledge, common experience - so much so that he feels free to say "Or are ye ignorant?" He is talking about Christian A-B-C stuff here, something that any Christian would know - so he doesn't need to spell out the details of what "baptism" is.

But a very different question. If you were preaching a sermon to a mixed group of people (i.e. Christians and non-Christians), and somebody came up to you afterwards and said, "I was really struck by what you said about Christ rising from the dead and being Lord ... How do I become a Christian?" - what would you answer? What does the evangelised, convicted non-Christian need to do to "tie the knot" or "step over the line" or "join the club"? I am not asking for a scripturally correct answer here, but for what you would in practice do. What would happen at Sydney Anglican churches if someone expressed a desire to become a Christian?
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Not true; I've already noted that the context nowhere mentions water, and that the flow of the argument is entirely to do with Christ's death. The context suggests a metaphorical usage.

Paul's reference begins with an "unmarked" use of the term "baptism": "are ye ignorant that all we who were baptised into Christ Jesus..." (6.3 (RV)). Paul is referring to something that is common knowledge, common experience - so much so that he feels free to say "Or are ye ignorant?" He is talking about Christian A-B-C stuff here, something that any Christian would know - so he doesn't need to spell out the details of what "baptism" is.


That is, I think, the strongest argument for the Romans 6 'baptism' to be one that involves water. (Oh, and thanks for changing your name MSHB, an act of great kindness to the entire community [Smile] ) Even here, however, it assumes that the early Christians knew of no other baptism than one that involved water. But I do think, pace Psyduck, that Mark 10 is an example of non-water baptism; likewise I think that when Jesus commands baptism "into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" in Mt 28, he is saying a new (and metaphorical) thing. Otherwise he could simply have commanded baptism, and left the statement unqualified in any way.

quote:
But a very different question. If you were preaching a sermon to a mixed group of people (i.e. Christians and non-Christians), and somebody came up to you afterwards and said, "I was really struck by what you said about Christ rising from the dead and being Lord ... How do I become a Christian?" - what would you answer?
Probably something like "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household." (Acts 17:31)

Psyduck and others will probably point out that in Acts 17, the jailer and his household were baptised, and that in the context it's hard to see that this could be anything other than water baptism. That is fair enough, and I wouldn't want to deprive new Christians of an important symbol of belief. I myself decided to get baptized as an Anglican at the age of 15, shortly after I'd become a Christian. But notice that the cause of rejoicing (in Acts 17 :34 and today) is believing in God.

quote:
What does the evangelised, convicted non-Christian need to do to "tie the knot" or "step over the line" or "join the club"? I am not asking for a scripturally correct answer here, but for what you would in practice do. What would happen at Sydney Anglican churches if someone expressed a desire to become a Christian?
Some churches invite people to show their commitment by walking up to the front of the church and joining in a public prayer prayed by the preacher. Others ask people to pray that prayer privately and to fill in a form indicating that they've done this. Either way, you would expect the person to be put in contact with another Christian and followed up in some way, eg by doing a short series of bible studies on what it means to be a Christian.

Water baptism would be an option but not one that would be pushed particularly heavily. Often if new believers are from an Asian background, they decide to pursue this option as it makes a clear public statement about what they believe has already privately occurred, ie, their sins have been forgiven and they've become followers of the Lord Jesus.

I think declaring yourself as a Christian publicly is an important thing to do, and water baptism often communicates this admirably and in a way that is completely consistent with biblical precedent.

I am not completely comfortable with Cranmer's phrase from the Book of Common Prayer which speaks of the "mystical washing away of sins", but once it's understood that he believes only in baptismal regeneration for the elect, it is reasonably close to what I believe.

Most Sydney Anglicans would, I think, see water baptism as a useful symbol of what God has done for the individual in Christ. It's a bit like putting on the team colours. You are identifying with the team, but you are not really part of the team unless you actually run onto the field with your team and kick the ball in the right direction.

But I digress.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
(I said) You are simply asserting this. You haven't actually argued it anywhere.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not true;

It is, actually. Look - you're doing it again!
quote:
I've already noted [read] stated - unsupported] that the context nowhere mentions water,
And many of us disagree. But all you do, Gordon, is state it again.
quote:
and that the flow of the argument [see how hardit is to keep references to liquid out of it!!] is entirely to do with Christ's death.
Of course it is. Paul is saying that baptism is into the death of Christ.
quote:
The context suggests a metaphorical usage.
Quite the reverse. The context suggests an explanatoon of the meaning of water-baptism.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
likewise I think that when Jesus commands baptism "into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" in Mt 28, he is saying a new (and metaphorical) thing. Otherwise he could simply have commanded baptism, and left the statement unqualified in any way.

Jesus would need to qualify his command because there were a number of different baptisms on the market. There was the baptism of repentance that John performed, and quite possibly some of Johns disciples were continuing to perform. Baptism formed part of the process by which God-fearing Gentiles became accepted within the Jewish faith. These were all baptisms that involved water.

Jesus is here commanding baptism as part of the making of disciples; disciples who would love and serve God the Father, redeemed through the Son and empowered by the Spirit. It's a baptism that picks up some elements of other baptisms; there's an element of repentance from past sins, and an element of initiation into the faith (that's a renewed, enriched Jewish faith). I suspect that the "Father, Son, Holy Spirit" bit is a fairly late addition to the tradition to counter movements that were only performing baptisms into the name of Jesus or the Father (or, indeed, only considered Spirit Baptism to be valid). I certainly see nothing to indicate any sort of non-water baptism being meant here.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
I've already noted [read] stated - unsupported] that the context nowhere mentions water,

And many of us disagree. But all you do, Gordon, is state it again. [/QUOTE]

Okaaay... where does Paul mention 'water' in Romans?
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
likewise I think that when Jesus commands baptism "into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" in Mt 28, he is saying a new (and metaphorical) thing. Otherwise he could simply have commanded baptism, and left the statement unqualified in any way.

Jesus would need to qualify his command because there were a number of different baptisms on the market. There was the baptism of repentance that John performed, and quite possibly some of Johns disciples were continuing to perform. Baptism formed part of the process by which God-fearing Gentiles became accepted within the Jewish faith. These were all baptisms that involved water.
Precisely. And the baptism that Jesus brought was into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whether it involved water can't be assumed, and that we have seen in Matthew's gospel there is a contrast between John's water baptism and Jesus' fire baptism (Mt 3:11).

quote:
I suspect that the "Father, Son, Holy Spirit" bit is a fairly late addition to the tradition to counter movements that were only performing baptisms into the name of Jesus or the Father (or, indeed, only considered Spirit Baptism to be valid).
Textual evidence please?
 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
(Oh, and thanks for changing your name MSHB, an act of great kindness to the entire community [Smile] )

That's me. Quietly earning the gratitude of the whole ship, as Basso so rightly pointed out. I have a 19 inch monitor at home and a 24 inch monitor at work, so my name never looked that big to me.
quote:
Psyduck and others will probably point out that in Acts 17, the jailer and his household were baptised, and that in the context it's hard to see that this could be anything other than water baptism.
I would also point out that on the Day of Pentecost, when convicted Jews approached the apostles asking what they should do, Peter replied, "Repent ye and be baptised everyone of you...and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him." (Acts 2.38-39 (RV)). It seems not only that the apostles preached baptism, but saw it as applying to "all that afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him". This, to me, seems completely in accord with the Great Commission to "go into all the world ... making disciples ... baptising them".

Then in Acts 8 we have the Samaritans: "But when they believed Philip preaching good tidings ... they were baptised, both men and women." (8.12) And the Ethiopian eunuch, "Behold, here is water. What doth hinder me to be baptised?" (8.36ff) - very clearly *water* baptism. And Cornelius and his assembly in Acts 10: "Can any man forbid the water, that these should not be baptised, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptised..." (10.47f)

It seems to me that we have a definite statement of the theory ("Go into all the world ... making disciples ... baptising them") and that it was preached and practiced, time after time, in Acts - not just in Acts 17. No wonder Paul could take baptism as the universal experience of NT Christians when he wrote to the Romans. The onus is really on them that would deny it: there is "one Lord, one faith, *one* baptism" (Eph 4.5 - my emphasis).

quote:
That is fair enough, and I wouldn't want to deprive new Christians of an important symbol of belief.
I think this is the rub. In the NT church, people were baptised as soon as they heard the gospel, were convicted by it, and expressed a desire to become a Christian ("Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?" Acts 2.37 (RV) - Peter's answer was given above).

You see baptism as merely a symbol - an act, that describes a person's turning to God, performed *after* that turning has taken place. I see (and think the NT sees) baptism as the actual, initial act of commitment or turning itself - like an immigrant taking the oath of allegiance (Latin sacramentum) and *thereby* becoming an Australian citizen. Until I sign a cheque, my intention to transfer money is a mere subjective plan; once I sign the cheque, the transfer is authorised - I am committed to it. Ditto signing the contract of sale when buying a house. These are not mere symbols - they are commitments. NT baptism was no mere symbol (a concept foreign to the NT church) but an actual life-changing act of commitment.

The modern idea of baptism as merely a symbol runs into all sorts of scriptural problems. It also denies the unanimous testimony of the early church that baptism was the way a non-Christian becomes a Christian.

And if we don't understand the NT view of baptism, we won't understand Romans 6. Paul's comments about baptism presuppose that a non-Christian was, in the act of baptism, submitting to Christ for the first time, and thereby becoming a Christian. So that particular baptism *is* a death with regard to sin, and rising with regard to Christ. It is no mere symbol.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
MSHB, if I were to argue for the necessity of water baptism, yours is the argument I would favour. It is by far the strongest of the various arguments that have been presented here as you argue not on purely linguistic grounds but treat the narrative framework of the gospels and Acts with due seriousness.

However, I am not sure that the Acts accounts need to be seen as more than a description of a well-known Jewish ceremony that was taken up by the early church as (firstly) a culturally appropriate way to publicly initiate Jewish Christians into membership of the new covenant, and (secondly) a way of demonstrating to all and sundry that Gentiles, too, were to be included alongside the people of Israel. How is this any less plausible than what you have suggested?

Although it is an argument from silence, if this rite was so important to the apostolic church, where are the references to water baptism in Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians (!), Philemon, the Pastorals, Jude, James, the Johannine epistles and Revelation?

quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
You see baptism as merely a symbol - an act, that describes a person's turning to God, performed *after* that turning has taken place. I see (and think the NT sees) baptism as the actual, initial act of commitment or turning itself - like an immigrant taking the oath of allegiance (Latin sacramentum) and *thereby* becoming an Australian citizen. Until I sign a cheque, my intention to transfer money is a mere subjective plan; once I sign the cheque, the transfer is authorised - I am committed to it. Ditto signing the contract of sale when buying a house. These are not mere symbols - they are commitments. NT baptism was no mere symbol (a concept foreign to the NT church) but an actual life-changing act of commitment.

8< etc.- lots of good stuff >8

This is a sophisticated view of the baptismal symbol that seems to go well beyond the evidence of the text. But let me ask one question at this point—why do you refer to 'NT baptism"? Wouldn't it be more accurate to refer to "baptisms"? We know of at least two—the baptism of John and the baptism of the early Christian believers. I am reasonably confident there were more.

Out of curiosity, how would you explain the fact that Jesus baptized no-one? And what is your view of the thief on the cross? That he would of if he could of?
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
the baptism that Jesus brought was into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whether it involved water can't be assumed

But, for it not to involve water when every other example of baptism we know of (John's baptism of repentance or more normal Jewish baptisms) did involve water can't be assumed either. In fact, you have a pattern that has John standing in a river baptising people with water, Jewish properties built with large pools for ritual washing, baptism with water as an initiation into Judaism and later references in Acts to the definite use of water in baptism not to mention a considerable amount of testimony that the practice of the earliest Christians was to baptise with water. That means that an assumption that here Matthew is recording something that doesn't involve water is a much bigger assumption.

I can point to numerous examples where water was certainly involved. In fact I did so earlier, and MSHB has also repeated many of those references. Can you point to a single example of someone being baptised where there's certainly no water involved? I'm talking about a reference along the lines of "and, he was baptised", rather than some metaphorical use of the term 'baptism' akin to modern English uses such as "baptism of fire". I'm happy for you to expand your parameters beyond the uncontested canon of the NT; maybe something in the letters of Clement or Ignatius, or the Didache. Though I strongly suspect that other early documents would greatly support the position that baptism always involved water.

quote:
quote:
I suspect that the "Father, Son, Holy Spirit" bit is a fairly late addition to the tradition to counter movements that were only performing baptisms into the name of Jesus or the Father (or, indeed, only considered Spirit Baptism to be valid).
Textual evidence please?
The "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" bit seems like a later addition because it's a formulaic saying that Jesus himself doesn't use elsewhere. And, it's one that doesn' appear in the earlier documents (eg: Pauls letters) either. It could be something Jesus actually said, but it just doesn't seem all that likely.

That there were other forms of baptism which didn't use the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" formula is probable, but what those were (and whether their existance resulted in the formulaic phrase being included in Matthew) is speculative.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
the baptism that Jesus brought was into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whether it involved water can't be assumed

I can point to numerous examples where water was certainly involved. In fact I did so earlier, and MSHB has also repeated many of those references. Can you point to a single example of someone being baptised where there's certainly no water involved?
In the epistles, all the references to Christian baptism are metaphorical except for Paul's dismissive comments in 1 Corinthians 1. Apart from 1 Corinthians 1 there are 6 references in the epistles to baptism of Christians*, and they all occur in the context of other discussions. They are best understood as an inclusion into the sufferings and death of Christ, ie the baptism of Mark 10:38-39.

*1 Corinthians 12, 1 Corinthians 15, Galatians 3, Ephesians 4, Colossians 2, 1 Peter 3 (1 Cor 10 and Heb 6 are references to Jewish washings. Interestingly 1 Corinthians 10 necessarily involves no contact between the believer and any water whatsoever, or they are not saved)
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:

*1 Corinthians 12, 1 Corinthians 15, Galatians 3, Ephesians 4, Colossians 2, 1 Peter 3 (1 Cor 10 and Heb 6 are references to Jewish washings. Interestingly 1 Corinthians 10 necessarily involves no contact between the believer and any water whatsoever, or they are not saved)

Oops, meant to include Romans 6 and exclude 1 Corinthians 15. 1 Corinthians 15 is a proxy baptism on behalf of a dead person, and despite NT precedent is not practised by major Christian denominations.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
And the Ethiopian eunuch, "Behold, here is water. What doth hinder me to be baptised?" (8.36ff) - very clearly *water* baptism.

Indeed and the other thing which strikes me about that story each time we here it (as we did at Mass one day this week) is that Philip's explanation of the scriptures to him (starting from Isaiah 53) and who Jesus was obviously included explaining baptism so that he knew to ask for it. This indicates to me that baptism (in water) was an essential part of the early Christian message.

Carys
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
And the Ethiopian eunuch, "Behold, here is water. What doth hinder me to be baptised?" (8.36ff) - very clearly *water* baptism.

Indeed and the other thing which strikes me about that story each time we here it (as we did at Mass one day this week) is that Philip's explanation of the scriptures to him (starting from Isaiah 53) and who Jesus was obviously included explaining baptism so that he knew to ask for it. This indicates to me that baptism (in water) was an essential part of the early Christian message.

Carys

No question that the Ethiopian eunuch's baptism was a water baptism. However, as a Jewish proselyte who was completely convinced of the truth of the Jewish religion (Acts 8:27) and had come to Jerusalem to worship, there is also no question that he would have been completely familiar with the various Jewish baptisms that were on offer. Perhaps, I speculate, he was relieved to find a method of initiation into a clearly Jewish religion that didn't involve the use of a knife on his delicate bits.

Oh and just fill me in again on where any reference to baptism, or water, can be found in Isaiah 53? Although I suppose Isaiah 53:12, "he poured out his soul" is a clear and unmistakeable reference to the flowing water of the Jordan, so perhaps that's what you are referring to [Biased]

[ 23. April 2006, 23:26: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]
 
Posted by jinglebellrocker (# 8493) on :
 
quote:
originally posted by Gordon Cheng
In the epistles, all the references to Christian baptism are metaphorical except for Paul's dismissive comments in 1 Corinthians 1. Apart from 1 Corinthians 1 there are 6 references in the epistles to baptism of Christians*, and they all occur in the context of other discussions. They are best understood as an inclusion into the sufferings and death of Christ, ie the baptism of Mark 10:38-39.

Let's say for the sake of argument that you are 100% right, Gordon. What would be the significance of this? Most Christians would agree that water baptism symbolises "inclusion in the suffering and death of Christ."

Are you saying that:
A) Water baptism was not as important to the early Church as most Christians suppose
B) Water baptism was not important to Paul
C) Water bapism is not important to Christianity at all
or
D) Water baptism is important, but not as important as what it symbolizes?
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Both A. and B.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
In the epistles, all the references to Christian baptism are metaphorical except for Paul's dismissive comments in 1 Corinthians 1. Apart from 1 Corinthians 1 there are 6 references in the epistles to baptism of Christians*, and they all occur in the context of other discussions. They are best understood as an inclusion into the sufferings and death of Christ, ie the baptism of Mark 10:38-39.

A metaphor only works if it uses something that people recognise and understand; hence for 'baptism' to be used metaphorically then the people reading the Epistles would need to know what 'baptism' is. Rather than being some vaguely understood rite that the Jews performed, it's actually (IMO) far more likely that a) all Christians had been baptised in water and hence knew the rite, and that b) part of Christian baptism even then was an understanding that baptism was, in a way, a sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ.

quote:
1 Corinthians 15 is a proxy baptism on behalf of a dead person, and despite NT precedent is not practised by major Christian denominations.
I'm going to admit that Pauls passing reference to baptism in 1 Cor 15 isn't entirely clear what he's talking about. Certainly some practice in Corinth he can appeal to as part of his argument that there will be a resurrection. But beyond that it could be almost anything. It could even be just a washing of the body of the deceased (with water) before burial.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Oh and just fill me in again on where any reference to baptism, or water, can be found in Isaiah 53? Although I suppose Isaiah 53:12, "he poured out his soul" is a clear and unmistakeable reference to the flowing water of the Jordan, so perhaps that's what you are referring to [Biased]

If you read the account in Acts it says Philip told him about Jesus starting from the Isaiah passage. Of course, the Acts account is a very short summary of the conversation. I'm sure that a fair bit of biographical information about Jesus would have been imparted by Philip (the Ethiopian may well have heard a lot of stories about Jesus anyway), a mention of John the Baptist wouldn't have been that unusual - it's recorded in the Gospels we have, so why not in the material used by Philip and others in telling people about Jesus?

Besides, if water wasn't important to Philip why when the Ethiopian asked "here's water, what's to stop me being baptised?" didn't Philip respond "who needs water? John said of Jesus 'he'll baptise with the Holy Spirit'". That would save anyone getting wet.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng
quote:

(I said) And many of us disagree. But all you do, Gordon, is state it again.

Okaaay... where does Paul mention 'water' in Romans?

In the word ‘baptize’. You have already accepted that every time the word baptize is used, the idea of water is present.

quote:

I think that when Jesus commands baptism "into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" in Mt 28, he is saying a new (and metaphorical) thing. Otherwise he could simply have commanded baptism, and left the statement unqualified in any way.

What, you mean that if Jesus had meant water-baptism, he would have left it to be done in silence, with no words?

Or are you saying that the addition of the Trinitarian formula can only mean that this is just John’s baptism with go-faster stripes?

Nobody’s disputing a degree of continuity with John’s baptism. Just as there’s a continuity between John’s preaching and Jesus’. The point is that both Romans 6 and Mark 10 make it clear that for the early church, water-baptism was indissolubly linked with the death of Christ. The Romans text in particular embodies the transformation of the rite which is affected by the death of Christ. I’d say – and did – that Mark 10 does that too. Hence:
quote:

Out of curiosity, how would you explain the fact that Jesus baptized no-one?

When we Protestants say that Jesus only instituted two sacraments, we mean in substantial part that he did so by his death on the Cross. You could argue that in a sense the Thief on the Cross was caught up in the saving event to the extent that he was the first-baptized. And in any case, there’s no possibility that he could be baptized, which is the kybosh for the Augustinian monstrosity that no-baptism=no-salvation. For most of the rest of us, being taken into the saving event of Christ means water-baptism – which as Paul says, in Romans 6, is baptism into the death of Christ. This, by the way, is the position of the Westminster Confession. Which is why you could summarize the Presbyterian position as that baptism is terribly, terribly important. But not absolutely essential to salvation. But so terribly, terribly important, that its neglect is sufficient to bring faith into question. That’s a hard, seventeenth-century position, of course, and my own is that I’m very respectful of people who withhold baptism from infants on coscientions grounds. But then, that’s hardly “neglect”…


quote:

But I do think, pace Psyduck, that Mark 10 is an example of non-water baptism;

Again this is just assertion. But it’s a bizarre assertion. You are saying that the death of Christ is baptism, that the disciples will share in a death-for-Christ which will to some extent (not made explicit) a sharing in Christ’s death – and this is baptism without water! This makes absolutely no sense. This isn’t metaphor. This is to say that the baptism means the death of Christ, and that it’s only its application to the Christian water-rite that is metaphor! And that, basically, is your interpretation of Romans 6. Baptism here means the death of Christ, and refers metaphorically to the water-rite! That’s just potty!

quote:

Psyduck and others will probably point out that in Acts 17, the jailer and his household were baptised, and that in the context it's hard to see that this could be anything other than water baptism.

You mean that there’s the remotest possibility that it could be something else than water-baptism? Go on! Make my day! Suggest what else it could have been.


quote:

But notice that the cause of rejoicing (in Acts 17 :34 and today) is believing in God.

More sand thrown in the eyes.

You also skim over the implication of the fact that “the jailer and his family” were baptised – with all that that might mean for paedobaptism positions.

quote:

Some churches invite people to show their commitment by walking up to the front of the church and joining in a public prayer prayed by the preacher. Others ask people to pray that prayer privately and to fill in a form indicating that they've done this. Either way, you would expect the person to be put in contact with another Christian and followed up in some way, eg by doing a short series of bible studies on what it means to be a Christian.

Gordon, is this seriously your view of the practice of the NT church? Thought not. And in particular, where is any of this in Acts 8? The eunuch is baptised, becomes a Christian, and goes off to Candace. Water baptism is clearly a “thing in itself” which makes him a Christian. If Philip shared any of your preconceptions, as expressed in your posts, he couldn’t have baptised him as he did.

Hence:
quote:

No question that the Ethiopian eunuch's baptism was a water baptism. However, as a Jewish proselyte who was completely convinced of the truth of the Jewish religion (Acts 8:27) and had come to Jerusalem to worship, there is also no question that he would have been completely familiar with the various Jewish baptisms that were on offer.

Haenchen doesn’t believe that he was necessarily Jewish – and holds that the description Aιθιψ reinforces it. His point is the deliberate ambiguity of Luke, who is recognized as having a scheme which makes Peter the initiator of the Gentile mission. But even if he was – Carys’s point is still a clincher. He connects the Isaiah 53 passage with the death of Christ, and the faith which is expounded to him on the basis of that passage with baptism. In order to sustain your understanding that he could perhaps be understanding baptism in other-than-Christian terms, you would have to assume that Luke understood this baptism as a Jewish rite too. But the logic of that would have to be that Luke didn’t distinguish between Judaism and the Church – which is absurd, because in Acts 10, baptism is clearly entry into the Church for Gentiles without passing through the Jewish community. Unless you are going to hold that Peter believed that he’d made Cornelius a Jew by baptising him! Baptism in Acts 10 is clearly connected with admission to the Christian faith. So it must also be in Acts 8. The eunuch knew this – maybe it was part of the catechesis he was given there-and-then by Philip – but he asked to be made a Christian, and Philip’s response was to baptise him.

If, just after he’d uttered the words, the chariot had been totalled by a beamer jumping a red light, and the eunuch had died, I’d certainly have no problem saying that he’d died in the faith. But that’s all the concession I can make to you. And I don’t think it alters anything. The guy has decided to become a Christian. He does this by being baptised at the earliest possible moment. It’s only an Enlightenment-modern mindset that separates baptism off as you do, and turns it into an optional extra.

quote:

Perhaps, I speculate, he was relieved to find a method of initiation into a clearly Jewish religion that didn't involve the use of a knife on his delicate bits.

The guy was a eunuch for pity’s sake! Do you seriously think that if he was willing to forgo his cojones for a civil service job and pension [initially misspelled that ‘penison’ – who says there’s nothing in Freud…] he would have flinched at a nick somewhere else for the sake of the Kingdom?
 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Out of curiosity, how would you explain the fact that Jesus baptized no-one?

Like Paul (I Cor 1.17), that wasn't his personal ministry. As Paul expected others to baptise the converts, so Christ delegated that task to his disciples ("Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself didn’t baptize, but his disciples)" Jn 4.2 (WEB)). Maybe he was getting them into practice for the Great Commission! [Smile]
quote:
And what is your view of the thief on the cross? That he would of if he could of?
Well, obviously, there was no opportunity.

This question rather resembles the issue of a will that has been drawn up according to the wishes of the testator, but is unsigned, which would normally invalidate the will. The testator was driving to the lawyer's office to sign the will, and was killed in a car accident. Was the will valid, on the basis that the testator *would* have signed it if they could? It would not surprise me if - in those circumstances - the unsigned will is valid.

But ... the deliberate failure to sign, where there is opportunity, is significant. If the testator got to the lawyer's office ... and then didn't sign the will, we would take that as proof, without further enquiry, that they were not happy with it for some reason. They failed to sign when they could - so it is not valid.

But the thief did all he could. He upbraided the other thief for bad-mouthing Christ, and begged Christ to accept him into his kingdom (when you "remember" someone in your will, you do something for them). This does not mean *we* should ignore baptism, just because the thief couldn't be baptised. He also failed to obey the command "Do this in remembrance of me", but we don't drop the celebration of holy communion on that basis.

(eta reference for quotation)

[ 24. April 2006, 13:25: Message edited by: MSHB ]
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
I would think the reason Jesus baptized no one personally was a pretty easy one--because if that was on offer, nobody would ever choose to go to his disciples instead. His arms would drop off.

And in a couple of years, there would have been horrific arguments about whether being baptized by Christ himself made one spiritually superior or more valid than someone baptized by (say) Thomas.

A kind of baptismal succession, of sorts?
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
Regarding 1 Cor. 15.29:

quote:
Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? ESV
quote:
Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? NIV
quote:
Else what shall they do, that be baptized for dead men, if in no wise dead men rise again [if in all manner dead men rise not again]? whereto [also] be they baptized for them? John Wycliffe
I think that the ESV's 'on behalf of' is a mistranslation that alters the entire meaning of the text by introducing an entirely erronoeous category into the argument. I think it is possible that nearly all translations have got this one wrong! Here's why!

The entire passage is about the theoretical implications of Christ not being raised. It is a hypothetical argument. Paul is creating an entirely theoretical scenario. The scenario is based on the following logic. Paul: OK, if Jesus hasn't really risen from the dead, what about... baptism.

Here's what I think Paul is saying 1 Cor 15.29:

"Now if Jesus is still dead [i.e. there is no resurrection], what will those [i.e. us Christians!] do who are baptised for [the dead] Jesus?

As Wycliffe puts it:

quote:
Else what shall they do, that be baptized for dead men [i.e. a theoreticallty dead Jesus], if in no wise dead men rise again?
The 'the dead' in this passage is a theoretically dead Jesus (singular), not a unidentified bunch of dead Christians (plural). I think Paul is saying that baptism is for Jesus in terms of identification and not vicariously 'on behalf of' some unidentified category of the 'dead'.

So to put Paul's negative argument positively, baptism is for Jesus - who of course isn't dead - in the following ways:


This reading completely negates the concept of ritual baptism for some unidentified dead Christians (who incidentally are not dead according to Paul's theology anyway!). It also refocuses teh argument upon the risen Christ. Paul's point is this: the reality of the Christian Way - in this case water baptism - finds its locus in the reality of a risen Christ.

[ 24. April 2006, 14:09: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
The guy was a eunuch for pity’s sake! Do you seriously think that if he was willing to forgo his cojones for a civil service job and pension [initially misspelled that ‘penison’ – who says there’s nothing in Freud…] he would have flinched at a nick somewhere else for the sake of the Kingdom?

Where does it say he was a voluntary eunuch?
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb
I think that the ESV's 'on behalf of' is a mistranslation that alters the entire meaning of the text by introducing an entirely erronoeous category into the argument.

Both the Greek υπερ and English for can mean 'in behalf of', 'for the sake of'.

Moo
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb
I think that the ESV's 'on behalf of' is a mistranslation that alters the entire meaning of the text by introducing an entirely erronoeous category into the argument.

Both the Greek υπερ and English for can mean 'in behalf of', 'for the sake of'.

Moo

OK. I think that Paul means to ask the question 'What if we are baptised for the sake of a dead Christ? not 'Why are we baptised for the sake of dead people in general?'

[ 24. April 2006, 17:12: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Gordon Cheng
quote:

(I said) And many of us disagree. But all you do, Gordon, is state it again.

Okaaay... where does Paul mention 'water' in Romans?

In the word ‘baptize’. You have already accepted that every time the word baptize is used, the idea of water is present.

You have misread, or I have miswrote. Or actually, I suspect something else is going on, which shows why our impasse on Romans 6 is possibly insurmountable. I believe that you have radically misunderstood the nature of metaphor because of your prior commitment to the view that the word 'baptize' must, on each and every occurrence of that word, involve water.

When you report on this debate and tell your friends that "I certainly carved up the other fellow's argument!" I can only assume that you won't be surprised if they ask you to see the knife, seeing as how the idea of a "knife" is present every time someone talks about "carving". Or if you tell people that you were able to "shoot Gordon's argument down in flames", that you won't be surprised when family members begin to look for a gun or scorch marks, seeing as the words "shoot" and "flames" have been used, and they necessarily imply the presence of guns and fire, respectively.

I wouldn't mind if you'd argued that the word "baptize" in Romans 6 is non-metaphorical on other grounds (as some have), but you really seem to be saying that it's non-metaphorical "because my lexicon says so"—and actually, I don't think it does say so, but never mind.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
In the epistles, all the references to Christian baptism are metaphorical except for Paul's dismissive comments in 1 Corinthians 1. Apart from 1 Corinthians 1 there are 6 references in the epistles to baptism of Christians*, and they all occur in the context of other discussions. They are best understood as an inclusion into the sufferings and death of Christ, ie the baptism of Mark 10:38-39.

A metaphor only works if it uses something that people recognise and understand; hence for 'baptism' to be used metaphorically then the people reading the Epistles would need to know what 'baptism' is.
I understand the metaphor. You understand the metaphor. My dog Tilly understands the metaphor. Psyduck doesn't understand the metaphor, but only because he is committed to not understanding it [Biased]

quote:
Rather than being some vaguely understood rite that the Jews performed, it's actually (IMO) far more likely that a) all Christians had been baptised in water and hence knew the rite, and that b) part of Christian baptism even then was an understanding that baptism was, in a way, a sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ.
[italics mine]

"far more likely" is about as far as you can get on this, I think. For my money, "posibly more likely, depending on what part of the empire you were in" is even better.

If you were a Christian in Rome and you only had Mark's gospel or a verbal or written precursor that closely resembled Mark's gospel—not an implausible hypothesis before Paul's letter arrived—I doubt very much that, on the evidence in Mark, you would go ahead and conclude that water baptism was normal for all Christians. In Mark 7:3, Mark even has to explain this odd Jewish baptism thing for his readers so they can understand what is going on. I imagine the Gentile Roman hearer sitting there scratching his head saying "Those nutty Jews seem to want to baptize anything that moves and a lot that doesn't. Better keep my kids away from them after ekklesia on Sabbath."

Actually, when Paul's letter arrived, given that the word "baptism" only occurred once and then not in connection with water, the Roman Gentile reader would still not (I suspect) feel motivated to rush out, build a font or find the Tiber, and do the water baptism thang.

quote:
I'm going to admit that Pauls passing reference to baptism in 1 Cor 15 isn't entirely clear what he's talking about. Certainly some practice in Corinth he can appeal to as part of his argument that there will be a resurrection. But beyond that it could be almost anything. It could even be just a washing of the body of the deceased (with water) before burial.
Hear hear.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I would think the reason Jesus baptized no one personally was a pretty easy one--because if that was on offer, nobody would ever choose to go to his disciples instead. His arms would drop off.

Unfortunately this same argument for why he didn't baptize has equal or greater force when applied to demon-casting-out or other far more obvious signs of the coming of God's kingdom. Yet it didn't stop Jesus from doing these other activities that he could've delegated to his disciples, thus (if he had delegated) making his own job much easier.

I'd be much more inclined to say, as someone else did, that Jesus (like Paul after him) didn't have a ministry of baptizing. There were more important things to be doing.

[ 24. April 2006, 22:22: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]
 
Posted by Mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I would think the reason Jesus baptized no one personally was a pretty easy one--because if that was on offer, nobody would ever choose to go to his disciples instead. His arms would drop off.

Unfortunately this same argument for why he didn't baptize has equal or greater force when applied to demon-casting-out or other far more obvious signs of the coming of God's kingdom. Yet it didn't stop Jesus from doing these other activities that he could've delegated to his disciples, thus (if he had delegated) making his own job much easier.
Except, of course, for the ones that could only be driven out by prayer and fasting.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Oh and just fill me in again on where any reference to baptism, or water, can be found in Isaiah 53? Although I suppose Isaiah 53:12, "he poured out his soul" is a clear and unmistakeable reference to the flowing water of the Jordan, so perhaps that's what you are referring to [Biased]

If you read the account in Acts it says Philip told him about Jesus starting from the Isaiah passage. Of course, the Acts account is a very short summary of the conversation. I'm sure that a fair bit of biographical information about Jesus would have been imparted by Philip (the Ethiopian may well have heard a lot of stories about Jesus anyway), a mention of John the Baptist wouldn't have been that unusual - it's recorded in the Gospels we have, so why not in the material used by Philip and others in telling people about Jesus?
Thank you Alan, for understanding what I wrote. I did not say that baptism was mentioned in Isaiah 53, but as you emphasise that that was the starting point for a discussion which obviously involved baptism as the eunuch proceeded to ask for it the moment he saw water!

quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
You have misread, or I have miswrote. Or actually, I suspect something else is going on, which shows why our impasse on Romans 6 is possibly insurmountable. I believe that you have radically misunderstood the nature of metaphor because of your prior commitment to the view that the word 'baptize' must, on each and every occurrence of that word, involve water.

Whereas I would say that you have radically misunderstood because of your determination that this passage isn't about Christian baptism in water. This is in fact the point from which this entire thread started as I cited this passage as an example of where I thought evangelicals brought their prior pre-suppositions (about the non-sacramental nature of baptism in this case) to their reading of the text and thus misunderstood what appears to me as a sacramentalist to be the plain meaning of the text!

Carys

[ism/ist what's the difference?]

[ 24. April 2006, 22:55: Message edited by: Carys ]
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
Thank you Alan, for understanding what I wrote. I did not say that baptism was mentioned in Isaiah 53, but as you emphasise that that was the starting point for a discussion which obviously involved baptism as the eunuch proceeded to ask for it the moment he saw water!

At least you can acknowledge that what you've done is argue from silence, as there is no mention of water at any point in the text until the eunuch brings it up. So no, the discussion didn't obviously involve baptism. It is equally reasonable to assume that the eunuch asked because he was familiar with baptismal traditions, having spent a great deal of his spare time in the company of Jews (and we know this because the text tells us, so this is not an argument from silence). And Jews were into baptisms, as any fule or reader of Mark 7:3 kno.

quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
Whereas I would say that you have radically misunderstood because of your determination that this passage isn't about Christian baptism in water.

I don't say it isn't. I'd probably tend towards agnosticism on this question. You just have to argue it on a better basis than "my lexicon says so". But I've already explained why I have a slight tendency to think that it's not a baptism involving water.

[ 24. April 2006, 23:08: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Out of curiosity, how would you explain the fact that Jesus baptized no-one?

I would explain it by saying that baptism is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the Church. Therefore, baptism could make sense only after Jesus had died and had risen, and in fact was only possible after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
Carys said:
quote:
This is in fact the point from which this entire thread started as I cited this passage as an example of where I thought evangelicals brought their prior pre-suppositions (about the non-sacramental nature of baptism in this case) to their reading of the text and thus misunderstood what appears to me as a sacramentalist to be the plain meaning of the text!
With respect, I'm about as evangelical as they come and I don't have a problem with sacraments; sacramenatalism perhaps, but not sacraments. It's perfectly possible to hold an evangelical view of the sacraments that isn't contrary to Anglican doctrine: in fact I'd venture to say that historical Anglican sacramental doctrine is evangelical.

Again, when it comes to paedo-baptism, it is well worth doing some research into the covenantal theology of classical Puritanism before you suggest that evangelicals are naturally opposed to the practice. I for one - along with my Anglican evangelicals - believe very strongly in infant baptism from a biblical perspective.

However, I do think that Gordon has a point regarding Romans 6. It is not always necesssary for baptism in the NT to refer exclusively to ritual immersion or sprinkling with water. For example Jesus does refer to his death as a baptism (Luke 12.49-51); John does 'preach' baptism; in other words there was a kerygmatic element to baptism that required a response. John's baptism was not meaningful or effecatious in and of itself; it was a sign that accompanied the preaching of repentance. But that was John's baptism.

However, the very fact that part of the apostolic proclamation of Christ is to differentiate between John's baptism and Christian baptism: in other words Christian proclamation seems to have involved differentiation and clarification regarding these two different "baptisms" (Hebrews 6.2).

But this in itself doesn't mean that Christian baptism stopped involving water; in all probability 'instruction about baptisms' in the early church was necessary precisely because these baptisms looked the same! Certainly the Apostle Peter drew a salvation-historical type of baptism in the flood narrative; now that's a lot of water (1 Peter 3:20-22) to explain away if you hold firmly to Gordon's metaphorical view.

Peter clearly links water baptism with the resurrection in this passage, as does Paul in 1 Cor 15. It seems fairly likely to me on this basis that Romans 6.5, "For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." is a reference to water baptism as per 1 Peter 3.21, "Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

[ 25. April 2006, 05:18: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng: We're all wasting time here. I think your position is rapidly losing its integrity. You concede things, then withdraw them in the next sentence. (Example below.) Your posts insinuate, but don't substantiate. I think it's possible to illustrate how potty your position is from one passage of yours. I'm quoting in full, and including a reference to a post of Moo's which I previously dealt with, so that you can't acculse me of sleight of hand.
quote:
I think we agree on these things:

1. The basic meaning of baptism must involve water, and Psyduck's earlier summary of what the lexicons say is no different to what I think.

2. Baptism can have an extended metaphorical meaning, not only in present-day usage but in 1st-2nd century usage.

(My emphasis, but your words.) Nobody disagrees with this. Nobody at all. And you say, without a break:

quote:
I found Moo's example fascinating. But no need to go outside the four gospels. Does anyone dispute that 'baptism' in Mark 10:39 is metaphorical, and involves no water whatsoever?

The point of its being a metaphor is that it involves no "baptism" whatever. The idea of baptism is what is present, and the "idea" of baptism is what's important. The "idea" of baptism is what makes it a metaphor.

And the idea of baptism is what the lexical argument is all about.

Let me make it really simple for you. The word βαπτιζω and also βαπτω which it seems to derive from, mean something uncommonly like "dunk". We could have all sorts of linguistic and philosohical discussions about what we mean by "means" - but I reckon that if you'd been up for that, we'd have done it by now. So - a threefold suggestion.

1) I invite you to substitute the word "dunk" for the word "baptize" in each baptismal passage in the NT, and show us how such refrerences can be construed as being to waterless baptism.

2) I invite you to give a dictionary-type definition of βαπτιζω for those passages in which you say it's referent is non-water, non-sacramental. (The only one I've seen is "wash" - and you withdrew that when I demonstrated it was rubbish.)

3) I invite you to come up with an extra-scriptural usage of βαπτιζω that sugests that the primary meaning in that context is what you say it is in the non-water passages.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I would think the reason Jesus baptized no one personally was a pretty easy one--because if that was on offer, nobody would ever choose to go to his disciples instead. His arms would drop off.

Unfortunately this same argument for why he didn't baptize has equal or greater force when applied to demon-casting-out or other far more obvious signs of the coming of God's kingdom. Yet it didn't stop Jesus from doing these other activities that he could've delegated to his disciples, thus (if he had delegated) making his own job much easier.
No doubt people would have preferred to have their miracles "directly from the source." Yet there's a sense of urgency, even panic, when it comes to healing, demon-ousting, etc. that doesn't usually exist with baptism. Faced with a resident demon, I'd certainly grab the first apostle to hand rather than waiting around for Jesus. Even if the apostle at hand were Judas.
 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:

*1 Corinthians 12, 1 Corinthians 15, Galatians 3, Ephesians 4, Colossians 2, 1 Peter 3 (1 Cor 10 and Heb 6 are references to Jewish washings. Interestingly 1 Corinthians 10 necessarily involves no contact between the believer and any water whatsoever, or they are not saved)

Oops, meant to include Romans 6 and exclude 1 Corinthians 15. 1 Corinthians 15 is a proxy baptism on behalf of a dead person, and despite NT precedent is not practised by major Christian denominations.
It is a sound principle of interpretation that any passage which is consistent with both opposing views proves neither.

I read all these passages (Rom 6, 1 Cor 12, Gal 3, Eph 4, Col 2, 1 Pet 3) as references to "baptism" in the unmarked sense, that is, baptism in water. In fact, given that this discussion relates to the interpretation of Romans 6 on this very point, it would be begging the question to adduce that passage as evidence of your "figurative baptism" viewpoint.

You may well be used to reading these passages with a purely figurative "baptism" in mind. I am used to reading these passages with a literal "water baptism" in mind. I acknowledge that one may make some edifying sense of them either way, though to me they naturally make more sense as references to literal baptism. I cannot (and ought not) concede that they are evidence that references to "baptism" in the epistles were generally only figurative, because they all make sense to me in a non-figurative sense. What is consistent with both viewpoints is proof of neither.

It is true that these passages don't spell out in detail what "baptism" is; they take it for granted that the readers already know. If every Christian was baptised in water as their Christian initiation, these passages make perfect sense as referring their watery initiation. The readers would all, everyone of them, have experienced baptism "in water" and would understand exactly what Paul meant without Paul needing to explain the physical details.

Further discussion would involve a detailed exposition of Paul's (or Peter's) argument in each passage. As a general statement, though, I do not see anything in Paul's arguments in those passages that requires or benefits from a purely figurative "baptism" - and I would think such a figurative baptism would actually weaken his argument in some, maybe all, those passages.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
Gordon, if all of these passages do not refer to water baptism where can we go in scripture for our theology of baptism? Are you really saying that the Holy Spirit hasn't provided enough information about baptism in the Scriptures for us to make an informed decision about what it actually means and how we actually do it? It seemes to me that you really are suggesting that the church is wrong to consider baptism to be an ordinance of Christ.

Surely you are in danger of throwing the bathwater out with the baby?

[ 25. April 2006, 09:07: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Gordon Cheng: We're all wasting time here. I think your position is rapidly losing its integrity. You concede things, then withdraw them in the next sentence. (Example below.) 8< snips because I'm trying to deal with one point at a time >8

1. The basic meaning of baptism must involve water, and Psyduck's earlier summary of what the lexicons say is no different to what I think.

2. Baptism can have an extended metaphorical meaning, not only in present-day usage but in 1st-2nd century usage.

(My emphasis, but your words.) Nobody disagrees with this. Nobody at all. And you say, without a break:

quote:
I found Moo's example fascinating. But no need to go outside the four gospels. Does anyone dispute that 'baptism' in Mark 10:39 is metaphorical, and involves no water whatsoever?

[/quote]

I can't see what your problem is, here, Psyduck. I'm really, really not meaning to be obtuse. The basic meaning of baptism involves water. The extended, metaphorical meaning doesn't have to, although it may.

Just confirm for me that this point is clear, would you, because I don't want to tackle the other points until this one's out of the way.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
No, it's not clear at all. I don't think it's clear to anyone else on this thread. You say:
quote:
The basic meaning of baptism involves water. The extended, metaphorical meaning doesn't have to, although it may.

The basic meaning of baptism involves water. We all agree.

The basic meaning of Christian baptism is a rite of admission involving water. I take it we all agree.

The extended, metaphorical use of baptism - inasmuch as we accept that the use is "metaphorical", and I reserve my position on that, as it's clear to me that "metaphorical" is your preferred alternative to "sacramental" - depends directly on its use in the Christian community as a rite of admission. Romans 6 certainly is not an exception to this.

The one possible exception to this - Mark 10 - still retains its connotations of water, inundation.immersion, etc.

I think a fairly close analogy to your argument would be someone arguing that a teacher's use of "high-flying" to speak of a good student has, as metaphor, nothing whatever to do with leaving the ground and soaring through the air because leaving the ground and soaring through the air aren't actually involved in being a "high-flying student."

Gordon, metaphor just doesn't work like this.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:

Gordon, metaphor just doesn't work like this.

Doesn't it?

I have known more than one high-flying student over the years, and never once in my life have I seen them leave the ground.

Now I grant that something must have left the ground, at some time in history for the idea of a "high-flying student" to make sense to me or to others, but the student's altitude is of almost complete irrelevance to me understanding your metaphor, er, what you are getting at.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
In any case, the clincher is the structure of what Paul actually says in Romans 6:3.

quote:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Wouldn't Paul, if he'd intended baptism as a metaphor, have left out the highlighted words? Wouldn't he just have said "Do you not know that all of us have been baptized into the death of Christ Jesus?" Or as you'd have it: "Do you not know that all of us have been 'baptized' into the death of Christ Jesus?" The repetition of the verb seems to me to settle it. It's even clearer in the Greek, I think.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Psyduck

I think it is the clincher. Even if you take the "immerse" interpretation to mean, sometimes, other than water, the language is conclusive. There may be double meanings about (in fact I think there are) but the central link is always water. Mixing my metaphors, all the metaphorical uses flow out of the baptism/water essential link. It is the root link in the thought world from which we have been given the NT language and therefore all considerations of baptism and its meaning must deal with its root connection with water first.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
As I've said before, I think it is possible to consider baptism to be an immersion into the reality of the Trinity. After all, what is more important; the water or the Trinity? The Trinity of course! What are we baptised into if we are not baptised into God? Water baptism signifies, seals, and ratifies an immersion into the life of God, the Trinitarian reality.

What Gordon is saying is that getting wet is irrelevant if one does not understand it to be a rite that points to a greater reality that isn't watery. However, when one does understand baptism to be about more that water - that the water in fact changes significance during the sacramental act - then it is perfectly acceptable to say that Christian baptism means more that the rite which uses water. It is about immersion into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It seems to me that the argument is about whether the water that points to the reality of immersion in the life of God is ontologically effectual or ontologically corroborative. Gordon says it's corroborative and therefore inessential to the Christian identity. Psyduck says that it's effectual and essential to the Christian identity.

But is there a third, forth and fifth way of looking at this? Is teh argument really polarised between these two views?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
m t tomb

That is wonderfully clear. Intuitively, my instincts for unity push me towards a "not either/or" but "both/and" view - and baptism is one of those issues which provokes this in me. About the only thing I'm completely convinced about is this. Water has always been for washing. Its use in baptism has always been for cleansing. The corroborative view after conversion does not obviously rule out water baptism as an effectual enabler, the effectual view of "water first" does not obviously rule out (in fact it seems to me to rule it in) significant "cutting to the heart" by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Regeneration and repentance. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? I know that's a banal way of putting it. My honest human perspective was that my "cutting to the heart" was very powerful. It precipitated a real first time and committed entry into the life of the church and was followed very quickly by believers' baptism. It was only later that it occurred to me that, as someone baptised as an infant, I may simply have been woken up from a long (over 30 years long) slumber. The fact that this discovery was made some time later does not appear to have done me much harm. You may see it as a failure of leadership in the church I joined - but they dont see it this way.

Sometimes I feel a bit like the man healed at the pool of Siloam. "All I know is this. Once I was blind but now I can see". So I hope there is a third way - but not a fourth or fifth. My head has enough trouble with the two I know.
 
Posted by Nigel M (# 11256) on :
 
This has been a great debate! I think, however, that we need to be careful we don’t commit the root fallacy James Barr warned against in his book The Semantics of Biblical Language (originally published OUP, 1961) of assuming etymology guides biblical interpretation. Word formation is not a sure guide to meaning: we can not demand, for example, that ‘to undertake’ is always the same as ‘to take under’, or that parakaleo must mean “call to one’s side” rather than, say, “request”. Dictionaries, after all, come after word usage, not before.

Does Baptizo necessarily mean ‘immerse in water’ in every biblical occurrence simply because it is derived from baptein ‘plunge something into’ or ‘sink’? Words change sense with time and the meaning of a Pauline word must be decided by what it meant in Paul’s day in the context he uses it, not what it meant in Plato or the Church Fathers. Context plays a decisive role in determining which sense of a word is intended. A word in isolation has the possibility of several senses; in a verbal context it usually has only one sense (unless - and this is the exception; not the rule, there is deliberate or accidental ambiguity, double entendre, or punning).

There are a number of possible reasons why Paul refers to Baptism in Rom. 6: a counter to the mystery cult initiation rites (e.g. immersing in the blood of a bull – which is hardly ‘washing’ and certainly not water!’); a reference to the physical act of water immersion upon conversion; a metaphorical link to dying and rising (and surely he did not intend ‘die’ and ‘be buried’ in verses 2 and 4 to be taken literally); etc., etc. Perhaps we are not yet in a position to show from the context which reference Paul was using here. We would need to know more than we currently do about the use of the word by Paul’s readers (in Rome?), as well as the 1st century BC usage by Jews.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Hi, Nigel M, and welcome aboard.
quote:
Word formation is not a sure guide to meaning: we can not demand, for example, that ‘to undertake’ is always the same as ‘to take under’, or that parakaleo must mean “call to one’s side” rather than, say, “request”. Dictionaries, after all, come after word usage, not before.

You are quite correct to note this, and it was something I had in mind as I posted. My point was the slightly narrower one that the word "baptizein" has a restricted and fairly specific field of meaning, and is used in a very small range of contexts in Christian literature, and, on context, Arndt and Gingrich say - rather more narrowly even than I've been arguing - that all the instances in Christian literature have reference to the baptismal rite.

I also note that the instances you give are all compounds, in which the interrelation of meaning-bearing components is an issue. I suppose this could be said about the relation between βαπτ- and -ιζ - (as compared to βαπτω) but I don’t think that any of this carries us any great distance from the meaning-range “dip, immerse etc.”, which was really my point.

Gordon Cheng’s point still seems to me to be that one can envisage a completely anhydrous, (though why he would say this – and he does – when he seems to want to connect baptism to washing) non-immersive “baptism”. I think that the lexicons, though bluntish instruments, are perfectly adequate for a rebuttal of this.

quote:
There are a number of possible reasons why Paul refers to Baptism in Rom. 6: a counter to the mystery cult initiation rites (e.g. immersing in the blood of a bull – which is hardly ‘washing’ and certainly not water!’);
That’s an interesting suggestion, the dear old taurobolium. (Frances Young gives a – literally – bloodcurdling description of this in Sacrifice and the Death of Christ.) That might be background, and Barratt notes affinities between Paul's thought and the hellenistic religious environment.

But the context of the verse is very definitely a dying-to-sin, and given this context, verse 3 makes no sense – to me, anyway – unless it supplies the sense in which the Christian “dies to sin” by “dying with Christ in baptism. I don’t think that leaves much room – or real reason - for a direct comparison with a specific other set of initiation rites.

quote:
Perhaps we are not yet in a position to show from the context which reference Paul was using here.
Actually, I think we are. As I said above, I really don't think that there's any way round the first instance of 'εβαπτσθημεν in v. 3, referring to the rite of baptism as administered to the addressees (and himself of course - interesting that Paul, so far from diminishing the significance of baptism should allude to his own)when they became Christian.

quote:
a metaphorical link to dying and rising (and surely he did not intend ‘die’ and ‘be buried’ in verses 2 and 4 to be taken literally); etc., etc.
I think that there’s a sense in which he did! Well, not literally as we might mean it, but in a sense sacramentally, (which is not the same as “metaphorically”) as a reality at the root of the reality we see and experience. Or maybe we could say, with Bultmann, “existentially”; the real reality of our living is that we have died to sin and risen to new life in Christ. This is the reality we grasp by faith. If we “metaphorize” that too much, we lose a huge amount of the meaning of Romans, and Paul generally: just look at the rest of the passage. I don’t think this is “metaphorical” language. Paul is her certainly talking about a form of Christian reality.
quote:

For if we have been united with him in a death like his [Barratt (New Century Bible)says that this “death like his” is baptism], we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus

I can’t read this without concluding that, for Paul, we are in a very real sense, dead to sin, and – typical Paul, the “already/not yet” – alive in Christ (as faith apprehends this) and awaiting participation in his resurrection. And I can’t but see this as linked to the rite of baptism with water. This, it seems to me, is Paul’s exegesis of the existence of the baptised Christian.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
It is a sound principle of interpretation that any passage which is consistent with both opposing views proves neither. <snips>

You may well be used to reading these passages with a purely figurative "baptism" in mind. <snip> I acknowledge that one may make some edifying sense of them either way, though to me they naturally make more sense as references to literal baptism.

Thank you for this comment, MSHB. I agree completely with the principle that a passage which is consistent with both opposing views proves neither, and thanks for the acknowledgement that the various passages I cited from the epistles could be read in a figurative way.

To add a personal note, I became a Christian at a mid-to-high Anglican Church from a background of atheism, so I traditionally read the passages mentioning 'baptism' in a literal, water-baptism sense. Indeed this reading prompted me to ask for, and receive, water baptism.

This by itself proves nothing, of course; but it would be wrong to suggest that I read the baptism passages inthe way I do because I come from a naturally anti-sacramentalist background. I don't.

The first verse that led me to think there might be a figurative meaning for the word 'baptism' was Mark 10:38-39. Then I realized that the baptism John the Baptist expected Jesus to bring was not his water baptism of repentance, but quite a different baptism of "fire and the Holy Spirit". I believe that John the Baptist was expecting the day of the Lord, manifesting in all-consuming judgement upon the unrepentant and beginning with the brood of vipers in Jerusalem. He was somewhat disappointed and discombobulated to discover that Jesus appeared, and there was no immediate judgement.

But it doesn't change the fact that he saw his water baptism as essentially preparatory to the real thing, and Jesus did nothing in his ministry that would suggest otherwise.

So the ground is well and truly prepared for a figurative reading of 'baptism' by the time we reach the epistles.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Nigel M, welcome aboard.

This point that you've made is basic to what I've been arguing on this thread:

quote:
Nigel M:
Dictionaries, after all, come after word usage, not before.

So I almost baptized my cheeks with tears of relief when I read this response from brother Psyduck:

quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
You are quite correct to note this, and it was something I had in mind as I posted.

Now if we can just take another half-step forward:

quote:
Psyduck: 1. The basic meaning of baptism involves water. We all agree.

2. The basic meaning of Christian baptism is a rite of admission involving water. I take it we all agree.

[I added the numbers]

Yes to 1.

No to 2. Replace "The" with "A" and we have agreement. Your definition 2. is not however the meaning in Mark 10:38-39. This is an extended, metaphorical use of the term "baptism" which is nonetheless indisputably Christian. And doesn't involve water. It's a dunking into suffering and death.

BTW, do we have any evidence at all that James or John received water baptism? Nothing is said of this in Acts, or in James, or in 1,2,3 John, or Revelation (Yes I know they may have been different Johns, but I spread the net as widely as possible to discover if there was anything of relevance). Yet if water baptism was such a necessary part of the fulfilment of Mark 10:38-39 (and it is according to Psyduck), this is an omission which should cause concern.

Whereas there is plenty of evidence from Acts and beyond that the entire apostolic band were dunked into suffering and faced martyrdom for being "in Christ".
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:
Gordon, if all of these passages do not refer to water baptism where can we go in scripture for our theology of baptism? Are you really saying that the Holy Spirit hasn't provided enough information about baptism in the Scriptures for us to make an informed decision about what it actually means and how we actually do it? It seemes to me that you really are suggesting that the church is wrong to consider baptism to be an ordinance of Christ.

I assume you mean "water" baptism here.

Baptism is certainly an ordinance of Christ, but water baptism probably isn't. However, haven't you begun to answer your own question already when you say:

quote:
As I've said before, I think it is possible to consider baptism to be an immersion into the reality of the Trinity. After all, what is more important; the water or the Trinity? The Trinity of course! What are we baptised into if we are not baptised into God? Water baptism signifies, seals, and ratifies an immersion into the life of God, the Trinitarian reality.

I would simply amend your final statement to "Water baptism might or could signify, seal and ratify an immersion..."

Or it might not. In which case it is a meaningless ritual, and potentially damaging to our lives in Christ. So it is incumbent upon the baptizer to make sure that the baptisee (or their godparents) understand exactly what is, and isn't, going on in water baptism.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
A thought occurs. Is it a matter for concern that Jesus doesn't even baptize the apostolic band?

On my view it's not, as he does actually baptize them in John 20:22 in an anticipatory sense, and in reality in Acts 2:1-4. Just not in water.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
In any case, the clincher is the structure of what Paul actually says in Romans 6:3.

quote:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Wouldn't Paul, if he'd intended baptism as a metaphor, have left out the highlighted words? Wouldn't he just have said "Do you not know that all of us have been baptized into the death of Christ Jesus?" Or as you'd have it: "Do you not know that all of us have been 'baptized' into the death of Christ Jesus?" The repetition of the verb seems to me to settle it. It's even clearer in the Greek, I think.
I don't really see how your point is made clearer by the Greek, I'm afraid, but would be interested if you want to explain further.

The repetition means that Paul is picking up on the specific notion of baptism, yes—and the (non-water) baptism he has in mind is the dunking, total immersion, steeping, soaking into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

So Paul's point seems to be that baptism into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is at one and the same time a dunking, total immersion, steeping, soaking into his death. This is where the emphasis falls. It's why the high point of the Christian life is not a sacramental inclusion into the life of God but an ontological inclusion into the life of God through Christ's cross and resurrection. We are, really and truly, in Christ, by trust in his death. Water's beside the point.
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
A thought occurs. Is it a matter for concern that Jesus doesn't even baptize the apostolic band?


1. Why would it be? Baptism as a sacrament follows the resurrection. The last time I looked, we didn't impose on Jesus the rules we (and he) impose on ourselves.

But, even leaving that aside,

2. How do you know he didn't? Arguments from silence, as someone mentioned higher up the thread, are notoriously difficult to make.

John
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
I suppose Jesus could have done a water baptism on his disciples post-resurrection, bizarre as it would seem. although I tend to think John 4:2 would not have been written in the way it was if he had.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
I suppose Jesus could have done a water baptism on his disciples post-resurrection, bizarre as it would seem. although I tend to think John 4:2 would not have been written in the way it was if he had.

Sorry, double post to add that John 20:30-31 also suggests that even if we did have this odd and unrecorded water baptism, it's not necessary for us to believe and so have life. So even if we allow (from silence) that there was some weird U-turn and Jesus started doing water baptisms post-resurrection, it is of no consequence for our faith or Christian life.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:
As I've said before, I think it is possible to consider baptism to be an immersion into the reality of the Trinity. After all, what is more important; the water or the Trinity? The Trinity of course! What are we baptised into if we are not baptised into God? Water baptism signifies, seals, and ratifies an immersion into the life of God, the Trinitarian reality.

I would simply amend your final statement to "Water baptism might or could signify, seal and ratify an immersion..."

Or it might not. In which case it is a meaningless ritual, and potentially damaging to our lives in Christ. So it is incumbent upon the baptizer to make sure that the baptisee (or their godparents) understand exactly what is, and isn't, going on in water baptism.

From the human side of the equation, yes this is important. I like the way the fact that you've included a caveat that factors infant baptism into the equation. I am of teh opinion that water (sacramental) baptism is more than a ecclesiastical rite: it is about entry in the New Covenant (which of course is effectual in Christ's blood shed on the cross) not in the water itself. However, I also believe that water baptism (and our liturgical rites stress this strongly) is not acted upon an individual in isolation from the body of Christ (the Christian community), nor is baptism something that only affects the baptisee, it affects the entire community because it vows to presume that person to be regenerate and to play an active role is catechising them.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Interesting. Is all that stuff you said in the Bible, though? [Biased]
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Yup. In Romans 6. [Biased]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Alan Cresswell made a point much earlier in the thread about Acts 2 and made the obvious comment that the baptism referred to in Acts 2 (for the 3,000 who responded) must be water. I haven't seen that point discussed further (maybe I've missed it). Just to clarify. The language in Acts 2 verse 38 is very hard to reconcile with anhydrous baptism. The two "ands" separate "repent" and "be baptised" and "receive the Holy Spirit".

So, given the general meaning of the word, and the fact that the audience, being jewish, would know all about water baptism for cleansing, I think it would be perverse to argue that the baptism was anything other than a water baptism. Inextricably linked to regeneration and turning to Christ. I argued in another thread that the account of Philip and the eunuch in Acts 8, indisputably water baptism, was following the sequential model in Acts 2. That seems reasonable to me.

So I think you can argue that a practice of water baptism at the point of admission to the church was established right at the beginning and is confirmed by these narratives. How this connects with the baptism/non-baptism of the disciples doesn't bother me. I think they were just doing what they were told to do. Making disciples, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is an inextricable link.

It is arguable that the word is used more abstractly to go more deeply into the meaning of "immersion" in some contexts. Even if one believes that these uses expose a deeper meaning of baptism, none of that implies that water baptism is only corroborative of an inner change. That seems to go against the proclamation and practise at Pentecost.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Alan Cresswell made a point much earlier in the thread about Acts 2 and made the obvious comment that the baptism referred to in Acts 2 (for the 3,000 who responded) must be water.

Indeed. And what a wonderful symbol of repentance it would have been for those 3000 Jews and all who witnessed it. "Something bigger here than John the Baptist." "Amazing—I thought we'd killed that off." Wrong. Jesus is risen; one greater than John the Baptist is here.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Yup. In Romans 6. [Biased]

Romans 6 is a prime example of what I'm talking about: Paul is catechising the baptised (i.e. benefactors of the New Covenant)! As the liturgy says, "Fight valiantly...". All straight from Romans 6-8: Paul's exhortation is to fight sin, our baptismal exhortation is the same.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
It's a clever reconstruction that to my mind assumes what needs to be proved, and is what this thread is about.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
It's a clever reconstruction that to my mind assumes what needs to be proved

What's the "clever reconstruction"? The order of the posts implies that this is what you're refering to, though I could be wrong.
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:
Romans 6 is a prime example of what I'm talking about: Paul is catechising the baptised (i.e. benefactors of the New Covenant)!

If it is what you're refering to, then I don't think there's an assumption there to be proved. All of the NT is addressed to Christian churches(or, possibly most as John and Luke/Acts could be 'evangelistic', ie: aimed, in part at least, at interested non-believers). Romans certainly is. Paul is writing to the Church in Rome, a church of people who have already accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour and been baptised into that faith (leaving aside for the moment the question of whether there was any water involved in that baptism). He is writing to instruct them in the faith they have already received, making sure they have received what he considers to be the most important doctrines of the faith (he himself at that point hadn't visited Rome, so unlike his other letters to churches he had taught personally he couldn't be sure that what they'd received was what he would have given them), Romans is the letter that's closest to a "systematic Pauline theology". Describing the letter as Paul catechising the Roman church seems to be a very accurate description of his intent.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Alan, m.t.'s previous post refers back to the post before that. It's the one before the previous that is the clever reconstruction.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Alan, m.t.'s previous post refers back to the post before that. It's the one before the previous that is the clever reconstruction.

I'm sorry, I'll read that again.

m.t.'s previous post refers back the post m.t. made before his previous post. It's m.t.'s post before his previous post that is the clever reconstruction.

Clear now? [Smile]
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Out of curiosity, how would you explain the fact that Jesus baptized no-one?

I would explain it by saying that baptism is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the Church. Therefore, baptism could make sense only after Jesus had died and had risen, and in fact was only possible after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Just rereading this, I realize that AFAICT from this post Josephine and I define baptism in the same way—a participation in Jesus death and resurrection by which we are made Christians and initiated into the church (small c for me though).
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Alan, m.t.'s previous post refers back to the post before that. It's the one before the previous that is the clever reconstruction.

I'm sorry, I'll read that again.

m.t.'s previous post refers back the post m.t. made before his previous post. It's m.t.'s post before his previous post that is the clever reconstruction.

Clear now? [Smile]

Even I don't know which post you're talking about; and I wrote it! Could you provide a link to it? Not because it's that important, but simply because it's been described as "clever". [Razz]
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon, this is beginning to approach the belief-beggaring.
quote:
I realize that AFAICT from this post Josephine and I define baptism in the same way—a participation in Jesus death and resurrection by which we are made Christians and initiated into the church (small c for me though).
It's for Josephine to answer for herself, but I would be astounded if Josephine equates baptism with some kind of conversion experience that has nothing to do with water. The truth is that most of us on this thread "define baptism in the same way—a participation in Jesus death and resurrection by which we are made Christians and initiated into the Church, expressed in an initiation-rite involving water." (I'm putting the italicized bit that way to try to span the diversity of approaches that undoubtedly exists within this consensus.)

You, with your rite-free, anhydrous conception of a "baptism" that's nothing to do with "baptism" are - unless I am completely misrepresenting you - the sole dissenter from this understanding on this thread. Unless, of course, I am wrong about Josephine, and she posts next from an Orthodox equivalent of the Sydney Anglican position, which is what I believe you are representing. (Again, correct me if I'm wrong.)
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Or, less confrontationally (sorry) - tell us again what your understanding of baptism is, Gordon.

And perhaps be good enough to explain your distinction between Church and church. [Confused]
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:
Even I don't know which post you're talking about; and I wrote it! Could you provide a link to it? Not because it's that important, but simply because it's been described as "clever". [Razz]

Oh dear.

OK, the bit where you said

quote:
From the human side of the equation, yes this is important. I like the way the fact that you've included a caveat that factors infant baptism into the equation. I am of teh opinion that water (sacramental) baptism is more than a ecclesiastical rite: it is about entry in the New Covenant (which of course is effectual in Christ's blood shed on the cross) not in the water itself. However, I also believe that water baptism (and our liturgical rites stress this strongly) is not acted upon an individual in isolation from the body of Christ (the Christian community), nor is baptism something that only affects the baptisee, it affects the entire community because it vows to presume that person to be regenerate and to play an active role is catechising them.

Clever. Internally coherent. I just don't see that it's in the Bible.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Gordon, this is beginning to approach the belief-beggaring.
quote:
I realize that AFAICT from this post Josephine and I define baptism in the same way—a participation in Jesus death and resurrection by which we are made Christians and initiated into the church (small c for me though).
It's for Josephine to answer for herself, but I would be astounded if Josephine equates baptism with some kind of conversion experience that has nothing to do with water.

Okely doke.

Josephine defines baptism in this way:

quote:
originally posted by Josephine:
baptism is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the Church.

If you ask me how I define baptism, I would say that

quote:
baptism is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the church.
AIUI, when Josephine says "Church", she means the Orthodox denomination. I don't, hence small-c "church".

Perhpas Josephine meant to put something in about water, but forgot to. she can say if she wants, but as it stands, I'm happy with what she said.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Josephine defines baptism in this way:

quote:
originally posted by Josephine:
baptism is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the Church.


Again, I'm not going to presume to speak for anyone else, much less someone as capable of speaking for herself as Josephine. But, here's my definition of Christian baptism (which I suspect Josephine would probably more or less agree with).

quote:
Baptism is a ceremony in the presence of a congregation of Christian believers by which someone is immersed or sprinkled in water with words along the lines of "I baptise you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" being said, and is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the Church.
I think the Orthodox position would involve flowing water, and more than a damp patch on a babies head. Also, most Christians would accept that in extremis baptism can occur in the absence of the full congregation of the church (eg: at a hospital bed as someone is dying).
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:
Even I don't know which post you're talking about; and I wrote it! Could you provide a link to it? Not because it's that important, but simply because it's been described as "clever". [Razz]

Oh dear.

OK, the bit where you said

quote:
From the human side of the equation, yes this is important. I like the way the fact that you've included a caveat that factors infant baptism into the equation. I am of teh opinion that water (sacramental) baptism is more than a ecclesiastical rite: it is about entry in the New Covenant (which of course is effectual in Christ's blood shed on the cross) not in the water itself. However, I also believe that water baptism (and our liturgical rites stress this strongly) is not acted upon an individual in isolation from the body of Christ (the Christian community), nor is baptism something that only affects the baptisee, it affects the entire community because it vows to presume that person to be regenerate and to play an active role is catechising them.

Clever. Internally coherent. I just don't see that it's in the Bible.

So you don't think that the following things are integral to the baptimal complex as seen in Scripture?


[ 26. April 2006, 14:18: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
If you ask me how I define baptism, I would say that


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
baptism is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the church.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Sorry, Gordon, but in the context of your other posts, this is as clear as mud. From what I can reconstruct, baptism, as (partially) defined by you above, does not involve water, does not involve a rite, does not involve an action of the church, and does not involve a specific occasion on which anything happens by human agency (leaving out the humanity which is permanently joined to Christ's divinity). There is also another "baptism" which is an optional rite practised by the church, which in some way dramatises baptism as defined above, the "real" baptism, which is essentially a transaction between God and the soul of an individual framed by the death of Christ. Would this be right? It's what you seem to me to be saying.
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Josephine defines baptism in this way:

quote:
originally posted by Josephine:
baptism is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the Church.

If you ask me how I define baptism, I would say that

quote:
baptism is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the church.
AIUI, when Josephine says "Church", she means the Orthodox denomination. I don't, hence small-c "church".

Perhpas Josephine meant to put something in about water, but forgot to. she can say if she wants, but as it stands, I'm happy with what she said.

I beg your pardon, Gordon, but this is twice on one page that you have deliberately distorted what I said in ways entirely contrary to what you know full well that I meant.

I was not, in my post, defining baptism. I was answering a question that you asked. Here's the question, in context:

quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
MSHB, if I were to argue for the necessity of water baptism, yours is the argument I would favour. It is by far the strongest of the various arguments that have been presented here as you argue not on purely linguistic grounds but treat the narrative framework of the gospels and Acts with due seriousness.

However, I am not sure that the Acts accounts need to be seen as more than a description of a well-known Jewish ceremony that was taken up by the early church as (firstly) a culturally appropriate way to publicly initiate Jewish Christians into membership of the new covenant, and (secondly) a way of demonstrating to all and sundry that Gentiles, too, were to be included alongside the people of Israel. How is this any less plausible than what you have suggested?

Although it is an argument from silence, if this rite was so important to the apostolic church, where are the references to water baptism in Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians (!), Philemon, the Pastorals, Jude, James, the Johannine epistles and Revelation?

quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
You see baptism as merely a symbol - an act, that describes a person's turning to God, performed *after* that turning has taken place. I see (and think the NT sees) baptism as the actual, initial act of commitment or turning itself - like an immigrant taking the oath of allegiance (Latin sacramentum) and *thereby* becoming an Australian citizen. Until I sign a cheque, my intention to transfer money is a mere subjective plan; once I sign the cheque, the transfer is authorised - I am committed to it. Ditto signing the contract of sale when buying a house. These are not mere symbols - they are commitments. NT baptism was no mere symbol (a concept foreign to the NT church) but an actual life-changing act of commitment.

8< etc.- lots of good stuff >8

This is a sophisticated view of the baptismal symbol that seems to go well beyond the evidence of the text. But let me ask one question at this point—why do you refer to 'NT baptism"? Wouldn't it be more accurate to refer to "baptisms"? We know of at least two—the baptism of John and the baptism of the early Christian believers. I am reasonably confident there were more.

Out of curiosity, how would you explain the fact that Jesus baptized no-one? And what is your view of the thief on the cross? That he would of if he could of?

Your question was, "how would you explain the fact that Jesus baptized no one?" Presuming that you're speaking the same language I am, that question, in context, has to be referring to water baptism. So I said, in response:

quote:
I would explain it by saying that baptism is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the Church. Therefore, baptism could make sense only after Jesus had died and had risen, and in fact was only possible after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.


You'll note that the part in italics, which you clipped out when you quoted me, is essential to understanding what I said. I was NOT defining baptism. I was explaining why Jesus didn't baptise, in answer to a question that you asked.

I would appreciate a prompt apology for your deliberate misrepresentation of my beliefs.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
If you ask me how I define baptism, I would say that


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
baptism is the participation in Jesus's death and resurrection, by which we are made Christians and initiated into the church.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


There is also another "baptism" which is an optional rite practised by the church, which in some way dramatises baptism as defined above, the "real" baptism, which is essentially a transaction between God and the soul of an individual framed by the death of Christ. Would this be right? It's what you seem to me to be saying.
From what I can tell, I think that this is what Gordon is saying yes. However, it does occur to me that if baptism really is the NT equivalent of circumcision (a rite that the NT overtly and unashamed does spiritualise) then is is possible that Christian baptism might also be understood in similarly figurative (anti-typological) terms.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:
So you don't think that the following things are integral to the baptimal complex as seen in Scripture?

I'm not sure I understand the question, but I would see incorporation into Christ (the first thing on your list) as what Christian baptism is about in Scripture.

"Formal ratification" may or may not be a part of water baptism. The brood of vipers who were baptized by John (or tried to be) had nothing ratified. It seems to be a formal ratification in Acts, though. But not, as I've been arguing, in the epistles.

"Commitment to ongoing discipleship" is the Christian life, but again, is this a water baptism thing? I understand how it might be used in that way in our prayer books, but I don't see the same emphasis in Scripture.

quote:
originally posted by Psyduck:
From what I can reconstruct, baptism, as (partially) defined by you above, does not involve water, does not involve a rite, does not involve an action of the church, and does not involve a specific occasion on which anything happens by human agency (leaving out the humanity which is permanently joined to Christ's divinity). There is also another "baptism" which is an optional rite practised by the church, which in some way dramatises baptism as defined above, the "real" baptism, which is essentially a transaction between God and the soul of an individual framed by the death of Christ. Would this be right? It's what you seem to me to be saying.

That is it precisely!!

[b]Josephine[b], I certainly meant no deliberate misrepresentation, but I apologize for my misrepresentation. It was unintentional. I have never discussed baptism with you previously, and I was unsure to what extent your views reflected simply your own understanding, or that of the Orthodox. Thankyou for the clarification.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:
However, it does occur to me that if baptism really is the NT equivalent of circumcision (a rite that the NT overtly and unashamed does spiritualise) then is is possible that Christian baptism might also be understood in similarly figurative (anti-typological) terms.

Yes, and that is certainly what Calvin believed. But here I part company with the great man. It's another of those ingenious reconstructions that I can't actually see is there in Scripture.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
"Commitment to ongoing discipleship" is the Christian life, but again, is this a water baptism thing? I understand how it might be used in that way in our prayer books, but I don't see the same emphasis in Scripture.
How about Matthew 27.19-20?
quote:
...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Make disciples, baptise disciples, teach disciples. Are you really saying that Christ's command to make disciples, baptise those disciples, and teach those disciples are three separate and categorically unrelated tasks?

[ 26. April 2006, 22:18: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
No, that's fair enough Numps, but I just don't think that Mt 28 is about water baptism. It's about making disciples (that's the main verb in the Greek), explained then as including them into the name of the F,S, and HS (ie they become Christians) and then continuing to teach them.

It would seem to me quite bizarre if Jesus' final words to his disciples on earth concerned some ritualized aquatic ceremony.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
So you do in fact agree that there is a commitment to ongoing discipleship implicit within Christ's understanding of baptism and that entry into the New Covenant is also presented by Jesus in terms of immersion into his death and resurrection? ISTM, that you are saying that the Christian life is a baptised life. A life 'immersed' in God through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. This much we do agree upon.

But to assert that Jesus wouldn't have instituted a parabolic (or even kerygmatic) act to ratifiy such an immersion is also to go beyond scripture. In fact it flies in the face of Christ's ordaining the Lord's Supper as a kergymatic (Luther said it was preaching!) and parabolic act that proclaims the soteriological centrality of the cross.
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
[b]Josephine[b], I certainly meant no deliberate misrepresentation, but I apologize for my misrepresentation. It was unintentional.

Thank you, Gordon.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Ah well, I have a few questions about the supper of the Lord as well, but that is another thread.

I supposed Jesus could of if he wanted to, but I don't think Mt 28 is where he does.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:

But to assert that Jesus wouldn't have instituted a parabolic (or even kerygmatic) act to ratifiy such an immersion is also to go beyond scripture. In fact it flies in the face of Christ's ordaining the Lord's Supper as a kergymatic (Luther said it was preaching!) and parabolic act that proclaims the soteriological centrality of the cross.

Something odd happened—I posted and Josephine's post appeared, with my name on the Boards Home page!

Try again: Jesus could certainly have done this, whether he did is what I am questioning. I can't really see why he would need to, and as I said it seems weird to institute water baptism as his final act. Still, Jesus can do weird if he wants to, it comes with being Lord of all creation. I'm just not convinced he did.

Did Jesus ordain a supper as kerygmatic? That's another thread I guess.
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by m.t-tomb:
[qb]
Jesus could certainly have done this, whether he did is what I am questioning. I can't really see why he would need to, and as I said it seems weird to institute water baptism as his final act. Still, Jesus can do weird if he wants to, it comes with being Lord of all creation. I'm just not convinced he did.


And here, I think, is where some of us find your thought processes hard to follow.

You can't see why Jesus would need to -- on what basis? You know more about it than he did, or than the people to whom he spoke and with whom he acted, and who were actually there?

It seems weird (to you) that he would institute water baptism -- but why? On this thread at least you've started from the basis that he couldn't have meant water basis, not concluded that. Lots of things seem weird to me -- but many of them are real and true and happened. Your own judgement that because something is weird to you, it probably didn't happen, is more realiable than anyone else's because?


You're not convinced he did institute water baptism -- but you have given no reason except your own feelings.

Obviously it is perfectly respectable to question things -- but it normally is considered reasonable to have reasons for your questions.

You are essentially saying, so it seems to me, that based only on reason and external logic, not based on anything actually in scripture but rather based on what is not in scripture, your private opinion trumps all the theologians of the past, including apostles and others who actually knew Jesus and told others what he had said and done. You are arguing from silence, saying that we must assume Jesus did nothing and said nothing except what was recorded in scripture. That seems a mighty stark and barren basis on which to erect a revolutionary re-interpretation of scripture. And puts a lot of weight on the infallibility of your personal logic and the scope of your own mind.

John
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
It would seem to me quite bizarre if Jesus' final words to his disciples on earth concerned some ritualized aquatic ceremony.

Why would you find that any more bizarre than a ritualized food ceremony, aka Communion? That's what He had to leave us -- His words, His actions, the memorials to remember them by. What better way to be totally reminded of His death, burial and resurrection than to go through it ourselves?
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
It seems weird (to you) that he would institute water baptism -- but why? On this thread at least you've started from the basis that he couldn't have meant water basis, not concluded that. Lots of things seem weird to me -- but many of them are real and true and happened. Your own judgement that because something is weird to you, it probably didn't happen, is more realiable than anyone else's because?


You're not convinced he did institute water baptism -- but you have given no reason except your own feelings.

At least not in that post. I've argued my actual reasons further back in this thread. Look, honestly, as I said, Jesus can do whatever weird thing he wants to. If he chose to turn the moon over Sydney a nice shade of green as a personal conduit of grace for anyone who looked at it whilst wearing dark glasses, I would accept that without question, if there was a word of scripture to back it up.

But my actual reasons for thinking that Mt 28 isn't about water is something I've touched on briefly here when I said

quote:
originally posted by me:
However. Is it true that baptism always involves water? If you were a follower of John the Baptist, this was clearly so, as he only ever did one sort of baptism. That Jesus and his followers knew of this is indisputable, since Jesus (at least) experienced this water baptism.

However again. John the Baptist clearly expected that the nature of Jesus' baptism would not involve water. So in Mt 3:11-12 John insists


quote:

originally posted by John the Baptist:
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Given the expectation set up by this passage, together with the complete absence of any baptizing activity by Jesus himself (John 4:2), it is not unreasonable to tread cautiously before we ascribe large quantities of H2O to the activity of baptism. Whether or not water was used after John, Jesus' own attitude to baptism seems to indicate that it was symbolic or metaphorical. He called on his disciples not to baptize, or to baptize with water, but to baptize into (Gk eis the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19).

We can expand on this discussion if you like, but I didn't say more at the time because of our Romans 6 focus.

So I certainly wouldn't reject a word of God in scripture just because it felt weird, and you would be quite right to pick me up on it if I did.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
It would seem to me quite bizarre if Jesus' final words to his disciples on earth concerned some ritualized aquatic ceremony.

Why would you find that any more bizarre than a ritualized food ceremony, aka Communion? That's what He had to leave us -- His words, His actions, the memorials to remember them by. What better way to be totally reminded of His death, burial and resurrection than to go through it ourselves?
The bizarreness of it doesn't bother me in the least, really. As I just explained to John.

However I don't really think what we call "Communion" is an idea found in Scripture either, so I'm not sure the analogy works particularly well for me in any case.
 
Posted by Mousethief (# 953) on :
 
And up to this point, I thought Gordon was using the same New Testament that I am. Just goes to show.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Uh oh. I knew I was asking for trouble when I said that.

"Move to strike, your Honour"

"Upheld. The jury will disregard any testimony relating to Mr. Cheng's views on the Supper of the Lord".

Please? [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
I guess I just don't think it's bizarre. I think it's very representative of the way Jesus taught. He was a very illustrative teacher, and I think He viewed His parables, sermons and actions all as "visual aids" of a sort. I think the institution of a "ritual" (as you call it) of baptism in water is totally Jesus. And totally scriptural.

However, I don't believe Romans 6 is really all about baptism, and I would not use it as my text if I were teaching someone about baptism. I think it is more about being united in Christ by putting off the old man of sin. Baptism is just one part of that.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
However I don't really think what we call "Communion" is an idea found in Scripture either,
How about:
quote:
I Cor. 10 :16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
The AV even renders κοινονια as "communion" - the Vulg. has "communicatio". But I'd say that the "idea" of communion - and therefore of "Communion" - is there in "participation". And in a way which also, because it discloses Paul's attitude to the ordinances, rather militates against your view of baptism as well. But in case I'm doing you a disservice, what is your understanding of the deployment of bread and wine in the early church - and for that matter, of the "Communion" which isn't found in the NT? I'm asking because, again, I think there is likely to be a parallel between your understanding of that and baptism, and I suspect that you'd agree.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:

But to assert that Jesus wouldn't have instituted a parabolic (or even kerygmatic) act to ratifiy such an immersion is also to go beyond scripture. In fact it flies in the face of Christ's ordaining the Lord's Supper as a kergymatic (Luther said it was preaching!) and parabolic act that proclaims the soteriological centrality of the cross.

Try again: Jesus could certainly have done this, whether he did is what I am questioning. I can't really see why he would need to, and as I said it seems weird to institute water baptism as his final act. Still, Jesus can do weird if he wants to, it comes with being Lord of all creation. I'm just not convinced he did.
Jesus' final command was to institute evangelism - the making of disciples; a miracle that (according to your view) may or may not have been ratified by water baptism. If baptism really was a sovereign act of God (in the sane way that Paul describes a spiritualised circumcision) then why does Jesus say that this baptism is something that we are to do? But didn't Jesus say:
quote:
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, and they will be spiritually baptised in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and you will teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Our authority for making disciples is a derivative authority; it is derived from Christ's authority that he had been given. Our practice of water baptism is also derivative; it is derived from the fact that Jesus' disciples baptised in water those who had been called to him by the Father.

I'm beginning to think that you are reading a categorical disconnection between Christ's earthly ministry and his post-resurrection ministry into the NT. It is a form of dispensationalism.

ITSM, that - by virtue of the resurrection - the disciples were more likely to focus on continuity of praxis rather than inventing a new, completely spiritualised, and totally insubstantial understanding of baptism.

For example did the disciples take Jesus example of footwashing literally? O was it just an acted parable? Is the meaning of an acted parable always to be disconnected from the act itself? Or can the act itself be integral to the meaning?
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Sorry to double post - Gordon, just decoded your immediately previous post. If you don't want to continue on these lines, fair enough.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
m t tomb

I think you inadvertantly reversed the order of "Jesus" and "didn't". But that is another fine analysis (man, you have been cooking with gas on this theme).
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
Oops! You're right, Jesus didn't say:
quote:
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, and they will be (spiritually) baptised in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and you will teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.
He directly commanded the disciples to baptise them. In what sense the disciples have the abilty t bring about spiritual baptism? I guess Gordon will say proclamation.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
I think the passage about baptism in Mathew 28 is more about the Spiritual baptism of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, more so then water baptism.

While water baptism is an important part of Peters theology, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is also a big part of it, when you look at the story in Samaria, also when Paul asks the Disciples if the recieved the Holy Spirit when they believed shows that the Apostles believed it to be a tangible experience, and not just a cognitive one of being told they had it.

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Pyx_e (# 57) on :
 
A couple of intresting tangents have cropped up, may I commend you all on staying focused and suggest that if anyone want to start a new thread(s) they are free to do so.

Pyx_e, Host.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
No, that's fair enough Numps, but I just don't think that Mt 28 is about water baptism. It's about making disciples (that's the main verb in the Greek), explained then as including them into the name of the F,S, and HS (ie they become Christians) and then continuing to teach them.

It would seem to me quite bizarre if Jesus' final words to his disciples on earth concerned some ritualized aquatic ceremony.

This is really the nub of your argument ISTM. Here, as in Romans 6, you see the "plain meaning of Scripture" (which is "go and splash water around") as indicating something else entirely. Yet this is a really big argument from silence. You have yet to present any convincing examples of the use of the word 'baptism' (except in places where it's clearly allegorical, and a metaphor derived from a common experience of an initiation into the Church if not getting wet) which don't involve water.

I'd have expected that if Jesus at this point wasn't refering to baptism using water he'd have made it clear. He clearly knew his disciples sometimes had difficulty grasping what he said, so would have made extra clear what was meant. Yet, a few days later we have Peter telling a crowd of people very familiar with baptism as a rite involving water "go and be baptised", without any hint that there's a missing bit of his speech which reads "but don't worry about finding some water because Jesus told us baptism is nothing to do with water". And, again we see the same thing at the house of Cornelius. And, of course, Philip doesn't correct the Ethiopian when he says "here's water, baptise me".

There is every indication that in those first few months and years after the Ascension that the Church consistently interpreted Jesus' words "go and baptise" as meaning "take 'em to the river and dunk 'em in". Any other understanding has to appear from the complete absence of anything in Scripture.

And, of course, if we conclude (as I'm forced to do from reading Acts) that Peter, Philip et al got people wet when they became Christians then I find it very hard to believe that Paul thought something radically different. I'm afraid I'm not one who subscribes to the view that Paul invented practically a whole new gospel from what Peter et al preached, though I know the hypothesis is popular in some quarters.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by craigb:
I think the passage about baptism in Mathew 28 is more about the Spiritual baptism of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, more so then water baptism.

While water baptism is an important part of Peters theology, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is also a big part of it

I addressed this hypothesis earlier, just over half way down page 1. Maybe you could respond to anything in that post you disagree with?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
<meander warning>

Recognising the need to stay in bounds, I think Alan's recent and earlier post have summarised very well what a lot of us have been saying in connection with Romans 6 and baptism. But the view from Down Under (which I do not want to misrepresent) did remind me a little bit of some important 2nd century church history, so (with apologies in advance to Pyx_e) I'll make the point briefly.

Here is an extract from Elaine Pagels' summary of the ancient conflict with the gnostics in her book "Beyond Belief". Pagels is not writing as an orthodox Christian (she isn't that) but as a serious commentator on gnosticism and early church documents. She's not everyone's cup of tea - but I think she illuminates these ancient events well.


quote:
"Such teachers pointed out ... Jesus saying that he had "another baptism to be baptised with" and they explained that this means that those who advance on the spiritual path are to receive that second baptism.

Furthermore, they said this higher baptism marks a major transition in the initiate's relationship with God ....Prolemy calls this second baptism apolutrosis, which means 'redemption' or 'release', alluding to the judicial process through which a slave becomes legally free.

When we look back to our examples of 'evil interpretation' we can see that Iranaues's characterisation, however hostile, is accurate"

Irenaeus saw all this stuff as elitist, divisive, and leading people away from the faith once given. This playing around with the "inwardness" and "outwardness" of baptism has historically led people into dangerously elitist thinking. One might almost say "hot water".

<meander over>
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
G"day Alan,

I read your post, well made by the way.

let me ponder a bit more and I will get back to you.

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:
Carys said:
quote:
This is in fact the point from which this entire thread started as I cited this passage as an example of where I thought evangelicals brought their prior pre-suppositions (about the non-sacramental nature of baptism in this case) to their reading of the text and thus misunderstood what appears to me as a sacramentalist to be the plain meaning of the text!
With respect, I'm about as evangelical as they come and I don't have a problem with sacraments; sacramenatalism perhaps, but not sacraments. It's perfectly possible to hold an evangelical view of the sacraments that isn't contrary to Anglican doctrine: in fact I'd venture to say that historical Anglican sacramental doctrine is evangelical.
My apologies. I missed out a some there! Also, apologies for being slow in apologising; I read that comment as I was about to go out so didn't have time there and then and then I'd not managed to go back and find it having been so engrossed in reading the newer posts! Actually, does what I've said in response to Grits below make my point more clearly?

On your last point in the bit I quoted, I'd say that historical Anglican sacramental doctrine is evangelical in the sense of being scriptural, but I'm not sure we'd necessarily agree entirely about what is historical Anglican sacramental doctrine! But that's a tangent.

quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
No, that's fair enough Numps, but I just don't think that Mt 28 is about water baptism. It's about making disciples (that's the main verb in the Greek), explained then as including them into the name of the F,S, and HS (ie they become Christians) and then continuing to teach them.

It would seem to me quite bizarre if Jesus' final words to his disciples on earth concerned some ritualized aquatic ceremony.

As others have asked, why? Christianity isn't just a spiritualised religion but one in which the material is important. It is incarnational. That is why I see it as inherently sacramental because the incarnation was the proto-sacrament. Thus I see nothing bizarre about Jesus instituting a `ritualized aquatic ceremony'. He gave us baptism because he knows that we are flesh and blood. Oh, and given some of his last words to his disciples before his death instituted a ceremony with bread and wine, it seems quite likely to me (but you'd differ given your views on Communion). Again, it is your presuppositions which are colouring your reading of the text.

quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
However, I don't believe Romans 6 is really all about baptism, and I would not use it as my text if I were teaching someone about baptism. I think it is more about being united in Christ by putting off the old man of sin. Baptism is just one part of that.

I would use it as one of my texts if talking about baptism, but the reason it came up as the basis of this thread is that it is one of my key texts for showing that even those who claim to be operating with sola scriptura bring their understandings, tradition if you like, to their reading of scripture, because how one understands this passage seems as much related to what one already thinks about baptism as what the text itself says. I think this thread as adequately proved my point!

Carys

[ 27. April 2006, 22:19: Message edited by: Carys ]
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:

It would seem to me quite bizarre if Jesus' final words to his disciples on earth concerned some ritualized aquatic ceremony.

As others have asked, why? [/QB][/QUOTE]

And as I've already answered, it doesn't matter. It doesn't affect my argument either way, as I can live with bizarre, unexplainable, mysterious and even divine in my religion. It was not a part of forming my views, which have altered over the years. Please stop telling me my presuppositions are shaping the way I read the text. My original presuppositions were sacramentalist in nature.

("I wish I'd never mentioned it. I'm going to get rid of the stupid shed"

"Then you'd be Arthur "no-sheds" Jackson"


--highly obscure Python ref)

 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:

It would seem to me quite bizarre if Jesus' final words to his disciples on earth concerned some ritualized aquatic ceremony.

As others have asked, why?
And as I've already answered, it doesn't matter. It doesn't affect my argument either way, as I can live with bizarre, unexplainable, mysterious and even divine in my religion. It was not a part of forming my views, which have altered over the years. Please stop telling me my presuppositions are shaping the way I read the text. My original presuppositions were sacramentalist in nature.
Ok, I'll change presuppositions to reading your ideas of baptism into this text, wherever your ideas of baptism have come from. I'm not sure I've followed why you moved away from sacramentalist presuppositions to your current position which seems to be utterly bizarre and non-concordant with scripture, tradition or reason!

Carys
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
The outline of the argument is there in my post on page 1 of this thread, and I'd be happy to expand on any part of it, although I've (with varying degrees of success) tried to limit myself to the Romans 6 passage we're discussing.

Part of the difficulty in approaching the discussion, I would suggest, is that we give such overwhelming weight to our own sacramental traditions without reflecting on the relative infrequency and paucity of references to baptism in the New Testament. When we do come to the New Testament, our traditions and our lexicons take precedence and tend to fill in the blanks whenever we come to the word "baptism".

Which is probably just as insulting to your sense of your own objectivity as your comment was to mine [Biased]

However the evidence that Alan Cresswell and others have already summarized from Acts is, I think, the best biblical evidence we have to think that there was a primitive Christian tradition of water baptism that continued unbroken from the day of the apostles. My own reading is that, like some of the practices imposed upon Gentiles by Jerusalem council in Acts 15, these traditions are dispensable. You can't move from the narrative "is" to the sacramentalist "ought" without committing a naturalistic fallacy.

That there should be a (very) few references to baptisms in the epistles is hardly surprising; just as it is not surprising to find references to New Moon festivals, circumcision, special days, and vegetarian diets.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
The outline of the argument is there in my post on page 1 of this thread, and I'd be happy to expand on any part of it, although I've (with varying degrees of success) tried to limit myself to the Romans 6 passage we're discussing.

Part of the difficulty in approaching the discussion, I would suggest, is that we give such overwhelming weight to our own sacramental traditions without reflecting on the relative infrequency and paucity of references to baptism in the New Testament. When we do come to the New Testament, our traditions and our lexicons take precedence and tend to fill in the blanks whenever we come to the word "baptism".

Which is probably just as insulting to your sense of your own objectivity as your comment was to mine [Biased]

No. Well, at least, I don't find that insulting to my sense of my own objectivity because I don't claim it. That's my whole point!

quote:


However the evidence that Alan Cresswell and others have already summarized from Acts is, I think, the best biblical evidence we have to think that there was a primitive Christian tradition of water baptism that continued unbroken from the day of the apostles. My own reading is that, like some of the practices imposed upon Gentiles by Jerusalem council in Acts 15, these traditions are dispensable. You can't move from the narrative "is" to the sacramentalist "ought" without committing a naturalistic fallacy.

Why? On what basis do you think that the tradition is dispensable?

quote:

That there should be a (very) few references to baptisms in the epistles is hardly surprising; just as it is not surprising to find references to New Moon festivals, circumcision, special days, and vegetarian diets.

Huh?

Carys
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
Why? On what basis do you think that the tradition is dispensable?

There are traditions handed down at the Jerusalem council Acts 15 that are dispensable. Abstaining from "things polluted by idols" may be dispensable, depnding on what things. Abstaining from what has been strangled and from blood is certainly dispensable, as is a lot of stuff to do with Moses. Dispensing with tradition is an honourable tradition, and we see the Pharisees continually complaining about Jesus doing just this in the gospels. Acts 10 shows Peter, in response to a dream, unilaterally dispensing with a universal Christian tradition concerning food laws (although he could have figured it out from Jesus dispensing with this in Mark 7:19, in fact if Peter dictated Mark's gospel it is not surprising that Mark 7:19 is there).

All of which is to say that there is nothing about the universal practice of the primitive Christian church that, in and of itself can't be ditched. We don't have to meet at the temple daily. we don't have to meet anywhere daily. We don't have to hold all our goods in common. And so on.

Now applied to baptism, that means that even if we can establish that water baptism was a universal practice of the primitive church in Acts, we don't have license to go from that universal practice in and of itself to imposing it as a duty for all Christians, especially when there is so much evidence that it relates to a Jewish but non-Mosaic ritualistic precursor; one that has already had a "use-by" date set on it by the words of John the Baptist.

quote:
Huh?

Carys

"Huh?" yourself. Or is this a ritualistic precursor to the Toronto Blessing (=> [Killing me] )

[Biased]

[ 28. April 2006, 00:00: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
<meander warning>

Here is an extract from Elaine Pagels' summary <snip> She's not everyone's cup of tea .


<meander over>

Indeed. This Roman Catholic writer is less than impressed by what he's found. It's a rather damning article. Pagels telling us what Irenaeus said about what Gnostic writers said that might be similar to what some people say today is a bit too Mills and Boon for mine.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
I think the "huh?" must mean that your statement:
quote:
That there should be a (very) few references to baptisms in the epistles is hardly surprising; just as it is not surprising to find references to New Moon festivals, circumcision, special days, and vegetarian diets.
is fairly unsupportable. Which epistles are YOU talking about?

And as far as baptism being a "tradition", I disagree. Tradition has almost an inherent human quality, and I don't consider anything instituted by Christ to be tradition... including the Lord's Supper. (Sorry, Pyx_e, dear -- I couldn't help myself.)
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
I think the "huh?" must mean that your statement:
quote:
That there should be a (very) few references to baptisms in the epistles is hardly surprising; just as it is not surprising to find references to New Moon festivals, circumcision, special days, and vegetarian diets.
is fairly unsupportable. Which epistles are YOU talking about?

Hi Grits

Vegetarian diets and special days are in Romans 14:1-6 .

*There are a few circumcisions floating about in Galatians and Philippians, but not in a positive sense.

*Limiting meat from the diet for religious reasons is in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10.

*Special diets, new moon festivals and Sabbaths are mentioned in Colossians 2:17.

*Special diets are mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:3.

*Food, drink and washings most likely relating to the Mosaic law are mentioned in Hebrews 9:10, where it is explained why these practises are only pointers to true Christian spirituality.

They are all mentioned in connexion either with endorsed Christian practices, or practices that are being commended as things that Christians might or could or should take part in. In each case, there is no expectation that these received traditions would be passed on to new generations of christians, and in some cases there is explicit warning that such practices may be spiritually dangerous.

So we find that various tradtions, some Jewish, some not, are routinely if not frequently picked up as topics for comment by various epistle writers.

My point, therefore, was to show that it is possible that a tradition may be broadly or even universally practised in the primitive church, made reference to in the epistles, and yet with no necessary expectation that such traditions might be continued.

I am suggesting (on the basis of other arguments already touched upon in this thread) that water baptism may well be one of those traditions which we ought not to feel any compulsion to pass on.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
I am suggesting (on the basis of other arguments already touched upon in this thread) that water baptism may well be one of those traditions which we ought not to feel any compulsion to pass on.
So what is binding? And why? What "isn't tradition" in the Christian faith?
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Vegetarian diets and special days are in Romans 14:1-6 .

But it's not like they're being ordained or commanded here, Gordon. In fact, they are used as characteristics of having a weak faith.
quote:
*There are a few circumcisions floating about in Galatians and Philippians, but not in a positive sense.
You're right. Circumcision is mentioned quite a bit (mostly in Romans, actually), but it's being used as an example of the old law and a way of showing that it no longer holds significance if one is in Christ.
quote:
*Limiting meat from the diet for religious reasons is in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10.
*Special diets, new moon festivals and Sabbaths are mentioned in Colossians 2:17.
*Special diets are mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:3.[/quote}
Gordon, just because these things are mentioned or referred to in the Bible doesn't mean they're things we're supposed to do. They are merely used as cites or examples.
[quote]*Food, drink and washings most likely relating to the Mosaic law are mentioned in Hebrews 9:10, where it is explained why these practises are only pointers to true Christian spirituality.

Yes, but you must notice that they are all OLD TESTAMENT practices, which are, of course, all "pointers" to the new law of Christ. Baptism, however, is a New Testament deal.

I still consider baptism to be a commandment -- one of Christ's commandments -- not merely a "tradition".
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
<meander warning>

Here is an extract from Elaine Pagels' summary <snip> She's not everyone's cup of tea .


<meander over>

Indeed. This Roman Catholic writer is less than impressed by what he's found. It's a rather damning article. Pagels telling us what Irenaeus said about what Gnostic writers said that might be similar to what some people say today is a bit too Mills and Boon for mine.
I think there is a lot in the critique of "The Gnostic Gospels" but I was quoting from "Beyond Belief", written over 20 years later, much more considered and, in this case, clearly supporting Inenaeus's criticism of the gnostics. The point of my argument was that even someone who is not orthodox (and has certainly in the past been critical of Irenaeus) sees clearly from the history that the downplaying of water baptism in favour of some "deeper, more spiritual" understanding can be both elitist and divisive.

Come on Gordon! You normally keep up better than that. Pagels continues to have concerns about the development of orthodoxy. That is stil her point of view (one I do not accept). But she is not blind to the elitist, divisive excesses of some of the gnostics. Which included mucking about with water baptism.
 
Posted by Nunc Dimittis (# 848) on :
 
quote:
Now applied to baptism, that means that even if we can establish that water baptism was a universal practice of the primitive church in Acts, we don't have license to go from that universal practice in and of itself to imposing it as a duty for all Christians, especially when there is so much evidence that it relates to a Jewish but non-Mosaic ritualistic precursor; one that has already had a "use-by" date set on it by the words of John the Baptist.

Gordon, confirm for me: do you actually believe in sacraments?

For all your posturing as a "Cranmerian", could I remind you that Cranmer was if not the writer, then highly influential in the writing of that Article of religion that speaks of "two sacraments ordained by Christ"?

Your arguments here about baptism, and elsewhere about the Lord's Supper actually cause me great personal distress. It distresses me that your idea of truth is a faith that is completely void of tangible experience of God's grace, completely predicated only on an intellectual faith, and harmful at best, idolatrous at worst if laden with symbols and sacraments.

I also find it distressing that you think 2000 years of tradition is merely "human" and therefore worthy of being disgarded as inessential.

That you see fit to dismiss such things as the observance of Lent, fasting, regular prayer, intercessions of the saints, the use of penance, anointing, healing etc etc I don't like, but can at least understand from within your worldview.

That you see fit to find ways of getting rid of sacraments altogether as "unBiblical" I find incomprehensible.

I also think it does a great disservice to us as humans made in the image of God. It's not for nothing God gave us the five senses. It's not for nothing God had to assume human flesh and physicality. And it's not for nothing we believe we will be resurrected from the dead.

If there are no such things as sacraments - ordained by Christ himself, God Incarnate - then you leave me a world devoid of the touch of God.

And my heart breaks.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Nunc Dimittis puts into words something I was wondering as well. Are you sceptical about sacraments per se? Or is it sacraments as interpreted traditionally that receive your questioning attention?
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Now applied to baptism, that means that even if we can establish that water baptism was a universal practice of the primitive church in Acts, we don't have license to go from that universal practice in and of itself to imposing it as a duty for all Christians, especially when there is so much evidence that it relates to a Jewish but non-Mosaic ritualistic precursor; one that has already had a "use-by" date set on it by the words of John the Baptist.

In one sense you might have a point, "we've always done it" is no reason in itself to continue with any practice. I happen to think that on the issue of baptism you're wrong to conclude that it's passed it's "use-by date". But, that's almost certainly a different discussion entirely. And, probably one better suited to a different board as we'd then be talking about developments that post-date the Scriptural record of early Christian Tradition.

But, am I reading you right in accepting that baptism (in and/or with water) was a wide-spread practice in the early church? Some of your last few posts (not just the bit I've just quoted) do seem to suggest that, though you're still not convinced it was a universal practice, you're more willing to accept that it was common and wide spread.

Which brings us back to Romans 6. If there was a wide spread or near universal practice of water baptism, it would therefore surely make sense that Paul is here refering to that practice - even if he's expanding upon the meaning of that baptism beyond what might have been understood at the time.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Grits: Water baptism is however, on my view, an Old Testament practice that, like a number of Old Testament practices, eg meeting at the temple, was legitimately carried on into the New Testament era for a time.

When I say it was an OT practice, I mean not that it was ordained there, but that it was developed in the OT era for use then, and was eminently suited to John the Baptist's purposes of preparing people for the coming of Christ. He picked up and used the practice for his own purposes, and it's not in the least surprising that Christianity, beginning as a 100% Jewish religion, did the same.

On sacraments: I have a certain reticence (although not refusal) concerning the use of the vocabulary, as it is found nowhere in Scripture. However if you insist on the point (and for your consolation Nunc) I am of the view that the whole of creation and everything in it is a sacrament, for the one who's been regenerated by the Spirit. Only the Word, however, conveys grace to the unregenerate. The point of connection to the senses is the ear, since "Faith comes through hearing." (Or the eye, if you can't hear, or the touch, if that is how you receive all your words from the world).

I believe I am closer to Cranmer on this than most would like, but that is for another thread.

quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
But, am I reading you right in accepting that baptism (in and/or with water) was a wide-spread practice in the early church? Some of your last few posts (not just the bit I've just quoted) do seem to suggest that, though you're still not convinced it was a universal practice, you're more willing to accept that it was common and wide spread.

Yes that's it Alan.

quote:
Alan:
Which brings us back to Romans 6. If there was a wide spread or near universal practice of water baptism, it would therefore surely make sense that Paul is here refering to that practice - even if he's expanding upon the meaning of that baptism beyond what might have been understood at the time.

Ah! Romans 6! well done.

There would almost certainly be some sense in which Paul was referring to water baptism in Romans 6, as if people don't understand what baptism is at all, then he might as well have used the word 'xvfdjsk' for all the good it would have done them. But even if water baptism wasn't practiced by Roman Christians, they might have seen similar practices in other religions from which they'd been converted, and they might have read or heard of it in Mark's gospel (or Q, for those who are into that sort of thing).
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
I think the "huh?" must mean that your statement:
quote:
That there should be a (very) few references to baptisms in the epistles is hardly surprising; just as it is not surprising to find references to New Moon festivals, circumcision, special days, and vegetarian diets.
is fairly unsupportable. Which epistles are YOU talking about?

And as far as baptism being a "tradition", I disagree. Tradition has almost an inherent human quality, and I don't consider anything instituted by Christ to be tradition... including the Lord's Supper. (Sorry, Pyx_e, dear -- I couldn't help myself.)

But Paul speaks very highly of tradition. In 2 Thes 2.15 he exhorts the flock to...
quote:
...stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.ESV
So it seems that traditions were actively taught by Paul, presumably because 'tradition' - when correctly applied - is a superb means of communicating truth over an extended period of time. In fact tradition, in and of itself, is no bad thing.

As to what these 'traditions' are? I don't know. Could one be water baptism? [Biased] The NIV translates them as 'teachings'; the YLT 'deliverances'; Wycliffe 'traditions'; the NASB 'traditions'; the KJV 'traditions'. Perhaps someone who knows their Greek could shed some light on this?

[ 28. April 2006, 09:45: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
There would almost certainly be some sense in which Paul was referring to water baptism in Romans 6

OK, so you do accept that "baptism" in Romans 6 involves water. It's just that Paul is saying that (water) baptism is more than just getting wet. In modern usage, Christian Baptism symbolises a sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ (depending on your position on the nature of sacraments, that could be either that in baptism we do in some sense 'die and rise again', or that becoming a Christian involves a 'death and resurrection' which is symbolised by baptism). That, of course, draws directly from Romans 6. Whether Paul was using an understanding of baptism that was already in use (and, the "can you be baptised with my baptism?" passage in Mark would indicate that the idea isn't unique to Paul) or inventing (under divine inspiration) a new understanding in addition to the already accepted meaning of baptism is a question we probably can't answer.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
I think the "huh?" must mean that your statement:
quote:
That there should be a (very) few references to baptisms in the epistles is hardly surprising; just as it is not surprising to find references to New Moon festivals, circumcision, special days, and vegetarian diets.
is fairly unsupportable. Which epistles are YOU talking about?
Something like that. I was aware of those things to which he referred* as being mentioned by Paul, but they struck me as being very different from Baptism, but it was nearly half-midnight here and I couldn't work out how to respond and so wanted Gordon to spell his logic out. I'm fairly sure I've gone `huh?' at Gordon before now, although generally followed by some attempt at explaining why I'm completely bemused by his logic.

*And as a vegetarian am always amused by the reference to my weak faith! But more seriously, my reasons for being vegetarian are very different from those of the people about whom Paul was talking there.

quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
They are all mentioned in connexion either with endorsed Christian practices, or practices that are being commended as things that Christians might or could or should take part in. In each case, there is no expectation that these received traditions would be passed on to new generations of christians, and in some cases there is explicit warning that such practices may be spiritually dangerous.

So we find that various tradtions, some Jewish, some not, are routinely if not frequently picked up as topics for comment by various epistle writers.

But as others have pointed out they were Jewish (or other religious?) practices which were no longer necessary in the light of the coming of Christ. I don't agree with your idea that baptism is OT in scope either. Yes, the Jews had the concept which John the Baptist drew on, but the early Church went further than this and gave it new significance. I've finally got round to looking at Mark 7:3 which you've cited a lot on this thread and remain uncnovinced of its link to baptism. Yes, the Jews had ritual washings, but that is not necessarily the same as baptism. As Psyduck argued early in this thread βαπτιζω is not primarily about washing and the verb used in the Greek of Mark 7:3 is νιψωνται so I think you are making too much of the link to baptism. Just becase it involves water doesn't make it baptism!

quote:

I am suggesting (on the basis of other arguments already touched upon in this thread) that water baptism may well be one of those traditions which we ought not to feel any compulsion to pass on.

For reasons that seem flimsy at best to me.

It seems far more likely that baptism is part of `τας παραδoσεις ας εδιδαχθητε of 2 Thes 2:15 to which m. t-tomb. refers in his recent post. Tradition `handing on' is there is Paul, in that passage and also in 1 Cor 15:3 where he says `παρεδωκα ...' `I delivered/handed on to you' which is the verb which relates to tradition which English annoying doesn't have.*

*Welsh has traddodi to go with traddodiad which is very useful.

quote:
Originally posted by Nunc Dimittis:
I also think it does a great disservice to us as humans made in the image of God. It's not for nothing God gave us the five senses. It's not for nothing God had to assume human flesh and physicality. And it's not for nothing we believe we will be resurrected from the dead.

If there are no such things as sacraments - ordained by Christ himself, God Incarnate - then you leave me a world devoid of the touch of God.

And my heart breaks.

Exactly. I tried to make this point early when I talked about the incarnation as the proto-sacrament, but Gordon didn't come back to me on that part of my post. Today is the anniversary of my baptism and so I went to Mass in celebration of this fact, but unfortunately the church to which I went doesn't have a stoup and so I couldn't cross myself with the holy water in memory of my baptism which was a disappointment to me. However, part of my prayer while I was there was giving thanks for the physicality of our faith.

Carys
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Grits: Water baptism is however, on my view, an Old Testament practice that, like a number of Old Testament practices, eg meeting at the temple, was legitimately carried on into the New Testament era for a time.

When I say it was an OT practice, I mean not that it was ordained there, but that it was developed in the OT era for use then, and was eminently suited to John the Baptist's purposes of preparing people for the coming of Christ. He picked up and used the practice for his own purposes, and it's not in the least surprising that Christianity, beginning as a 100% Jewish religion, did the same.

Upon what do you base this theory?
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
That there should be a (very) few references to baptisms in the epistles is hardly surprising; just as it is not surprising to find references to New Moon festivals, circumcision, special days, and vegetarian diets.
Out of those four - for the purposes of this debate - I'd like to draw your attention to circumcision. Circumcision for Paul is most certainly not an irrelavance; neither is it an OT anachronism. It is the very means by which a person becomes regenerate. Romans 2.28-29 says:
quote:
For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew (by which Paul means both Jewish and Gentile Christians) is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.
Circumcision for Paul is about regeneration; it is not a physical rite that can be abandoned, it is a spiritual reality that must be universal. The physical rite of circumcision is a vital part of the law that points to Christ who is "righteousness to everyone who believes." Rom 10.4. Christians literally are "the circumcision"; circumcision isn't irrelevant but Paul does re-spiritualise it.

My point, however, is this:

quote:
The main reason that this great Reformed tradition endorses the baptism of infants of believers is that there appears to be in the New Testament a correspondence between circumcision and baptism. Just as circumcision was given as a sign to the "children of the covenant" in the Old Testament, so baptism - the new sign of the covenant - should be given to the "children of the covenant" today. For example, in Colossians 2:11-12 there seems to be a connection between circumcision and baptism: "In Him [Christ] you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism . . ." So for the sake of the argument, let's grant that there is some correlation between circumcision and baptism.John Piper: How Do Circumcision and Baptism Correspond?
So it would seem that Paul correlates OT circumicsion with NT baptism, but it must also be noted that Paul correlates a spiritualised circumcision (see Rom 2.29) with what he calls 'baptism'.

The question is this? Does Paul's spiritualised circumcision (regeneration) correlate directly to a spiritualised baptism? In other words are spiritual circumcision and 'spiritual' baptism conceptually inter-changable (Gordon's Argument)?

Or is this spiritualised circumcison (regeneration) ratified, sealed and corroborated by a physical rite of baptism (Psyduck et al's argument).

I go for the second option for the following reason. Paul spiritualises OT rite of physical circumcision (the rite of entry into a covenant relationship with God). He quite rightly says that a covenantal relationship with God is established when a person's heart is circumcised i.e. when they become spiritually regenerate.

In Paul's theology circumcison (now spiritualised) remains as his 'metaphor' of choice for regeneration. This is why he gets so upset over the continued use of the physical rite as a sign of regeneration!

So - this being the case - it is completely unnecessary for Paul to spiritualise water baptism in order to make it mean exactly the same thing as spiritual circumcision.

No, what Paul does is this: he endorses water baptism as the physical ratification, seal and corroboration of a inner spiritual circumcsion i.e. regeneration. Therefore water baptism replaces outward, physical circumcision as the visible, physical sign of entry into the New Covenant.

So, here we have it. Water baptism is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual circumcision. Water baptism replaces physical circumcision as the visible component of entry into the covenant. This in effect means that water baptism is the sacrament of spiritual circumcision and therefore cannot in itself be spiritualised.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
I've finally got round to looking at Mark 7:3 which you've cited a lot on this thread and remain uncnovinced of its link to baptism. Yes, the Jews had ritual washings, but that is not necessarily the same as baptism. As Psyduck argued early in this thread βαπτιζω is not primarily about washing and the verb used in the Greek of Mark 7:3 is νιψωνται so I think you are making too much of the link to baptism. Just becase it involves water doesn't make it baptism!

I'm very sorry, I've been meaning to cite Mark 7:4.

My bad.
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
There would almost certainly be some sense in which Paul was referring to water baptism in Romans 6, as if people don't understand what baptism is at all, then he might as well have used the word 'xvfdjsk' for all the good it would have done them. But even if water baptism wasn't practiced by Roman Christians, they might have seen similar practices in other religions from which they'd been converted, and they might have read or heard of it in Mark's gospel (or Q, for those who are into that sort of thing).

Well, I'd like to know which religions from which Roman converts were likely to come indulged in practices similar to baptism. There is a sense in which all religions have cleansing rituals, some of which included sprinkling with water (or blood). But which religions except Judaism really had a "similar practice" with a significance, like the Jewish one, that is beyond simple purification? Religions active in Rome of the 4os and 50s, that is, or in the lands from which large numbers of slaves might have been imported.

As for suggesting that converts in Rome in the 40s and 50s might have read about baptism in Mark -- you're the first person (in this context I certainly won't say "scholar") who has ever suggested such an early date for Mark, or even Q (if it existed at all, as you rightly pointed out).

And BTW, your use of the word "read" in this context I find revealing -- it demonstrates an altogether anachronistic approach to how people learn, how they believe, how they know, and how they pass on what matters to them.

John
 
Posted by Mousethief (# 953) on :
 
And even if Mark had been written by (say) 50 AD, that doesn't mean that copies of it had been printed and distributed to all the local bookshops in the Roman Empire just so people could read it and decide they wanted to convert to Christianity.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:

And BTW, your use of the word "read" in this context I find revealing -- it demonstrates an altogether anachronistic approach to how people learn, how they believe, how they know, and how they pass on what matters to them.

What? I said

quote:
read or heard
.

Just fill me in on the other mysterious way people absorb words without reading or hearing again? They must do things differently in Canada.

And I don't suggest an early date for Mark. In both the post you quoted, and in an earlier post, I suggest that there was some precursor—perhaps Q, perhaps the apostle Peter himself.
 
Posted by Nunc Dimittis (# 848) on :
 
quote:
Just fill me in on the other mysterious way people absorb words without reading or hearing again? They must do things differently in Canada.
Some people learn best by hearing. Some people learn best by touching and feeling. Some people learn best by seeing. Some people learn best by tasting or smelling.

Yes we can experience the gospel without hearing or reading.

While I take your point above about "however words are communicated", I would like to lose the language of written text ("words" "reading" etc) as it priviledges hearing over any other sense. I find this fundamentally at odds with an wholistic approach.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
Upon what do you base this theory?

hi Grits, I assume you mean my theory about baptisms being a Jewish OT era practice.

I see John the Baptist, and anyone ministering before Christ's death and resurrection, as an Old Testament figure. So I am really thinking of him as the prime example of this as far as our discussion goes.

There is a brief discussion of Jewish baptism in wikipedia. The idea of ritual washing for purification is in the Mosaic law; Lev 8:6 and Numbers 19:11-12 being two examples. They aren't specifically referred to as baptisms but they contain the idea.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
And I don't suggest an early date for Mark. In both the post you quoted, and in an earlier post, I suggest that there was some precursor—perhaps Q, perhaps the apostle Peter himself.

Gordon, how can Q be a precursor to Mark? Q is the hypothetical "sayings source" which accounts for the stuff that is in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark. By definition Q can't be a "predecessor" of Mark.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
I see ... anyone ministering before Christ's death and resurrection, as an Old Testament figure.
What - like Jesus of Nazareth, for example?
quote:
So I am really thinking of him [sc. John the Baptist] as the prime example of this as far as our discussion goes.
And then there's this:
quote:
John 3: 26; And they came to John, and said to him, "Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him."

 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Grits: Water baptism is however, on my view, an Old Testament practice that, like a number of Old Testament practices, eg meeting at the temple, was legitimately carried on into the New Testament era for a time.

When I say it was an OT practice, I mean not that it was ordained there, but that it was developed in the OT era for use then, and was eminently suited to John the Baptist's purposes of preparing people for the coming of Christ. He picked up and used the practice for his own purposes, and it's not in the least surprising that Christianity, beginning as a 100% Jewish religion, did the same.

My understanding of John the Baptist is that he is new and different to the OT.

All the OT washings are just that: washings. You went out and washed yourself.

Where John the B was different was this: you had to come to him, you couldn't do it yourself. This was an important discontinuity with the OT. You came to be plunged into real water as your act of repentance ("I hereby repent"). There were no big public "*Come to me* and be dunked" crusades in the OT - there were only a lot of individualistic "go and wash yourself" rituals in private, like Naaman the Syrian who was told to go and wash himself seven times in the Jordan (2 Kgs 5.10).

The necessity of going to another meant that you couldn't just choose to repent by yourself: there was a prophetic standard, John the Baptist might challenge you ("Show the fruit of repentance!") - you were responsible to another. It even acts out the gospel understanding that turning to God isn't simply a personal choice: it is God (through his servant) who calls, and God (through his servant) who chooses to accept or challenge. The gospel isn't "do it yourself", but "submit" to Him who is the real Active One in this process - John's baptism, unlike the OT do-it-yourself washings, reinforced that.

Also, unlike the OT washings, JtB's baptism wasn't a baptism of ritual cleansing, as though wetting the body could make you holy. JtB's baptism was an act of repentance ("baptisma eis metanoian"). John didn't say "Whoever I dunk in the water will be clean", he said "If you want to repent and turn to God, come to me in the water and do it". Only, he didn't say "If you want to...", he said "God the Judge is coming. Turn to Him!"

So I am not at all convinced that John was just continuing the OT cultic washings. I think he was inaugurating something new: getting the people ready for the gospel. He was part of the prophetic line, not the priestly line (he was not his father Zacharias). And even there, he was something new (cf Elisha and Naaman).
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:

And BTW, your use of the word "read" in this context I find revealing -- it demonstrates an altogether anachronistic approach to how people learn, how they believe, how they know, and how they pass on what matters to them.

What? I said

quote:
read or heard
.


Just fill me in on the other mysterious way people absorb words without reading or hearing again? They must do things differently in Canada.

And I don't suggest an early date for Mark. In both the post you quoted, and in an earlier post, I suggest that there was some precursor—perhaps Q, perhaps the apostle Peter himself.

You cast doubt -- well deserved, if not definitive, in my opinion -- on whether Q existed in any useful way. So I naturally took your comments to refer to Mark.

And I thought it was clear, because of your comment about manuscripts and reading (and hearing) that you were more focused on people reading (and being read to) than on people talking to each other. Which at this point I would have expected to be the primary means of teaching and learning. It seemed consonant to me with your focus on the BIBLE AS A WRITTEN ARTIFACT, which you seem to me constantly to be setting in opposition to any other knowledge or means of knowing.

And I'd still like to know what other religions had baptism-like rites that might have shaped the awareness of Christians in Rome of the 40s and 50s.

John
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Just on Q: I don't at all subscribe to the details of any particular source criticism theory for the gospel, but I certainly recognize the primary insight that there must hve been verbal precursors to the four gospels, and possibly written precursors as well. Psyduck is right, Q is the non-Marcan stuff. I am assuming, indeed you have to, that there was pre-Mark as well. Though that may have been just the apostle Peter speaking the words that were subsequently distilled into Mark.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
I see ... anyone ministering before Christ's death and resurrection, as an Old Testament figure.
What - like Jesus of Nazareth, for example?
[/QUOTE]

Yes! Why else do you think he followed the Mosaic law in every detail, and encouraged his followers to do the same. He was an Old Testament (= "Covenant") man. In one sense he was the only Old Testament man, who by keeping it perfectly fulfilled it. It was his fulfilment of it that enabled him to institute the New Testament in his blood. After his resurrection and the giving of the Spirit, he (and therefore all new believers) were New Testament people.

John H: I have no specific knowledge of other Roman religions in the 30s-50s, so I am speculating.
 
Posted by Ian Climacus (# 944) on :
 
Thank you MSHB: I found that very helpful.

[not that the rest of you don't have posts that aren't [Biased] ]

[ 28. April 2006, 22:49: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]
 
Posted by Jerry Boam (# 4551) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Yes! Why else do you think he followed the Mosaic law in every detail, and encouraged his followers to do the same.

Eh? Not as generally understood... Else why that stuff about the man not being made for the sabbath, etc.?
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
The key to that, Jerry Boam, is Jesus' radical and consistent critique of Pharisaic interpretations of Sabbath regulations and, more broadly, the Mosaic law. Jesus dispensed with pharisaic tradition whenever it suited him, even (or especially) you could see from their words that they believed their own traditions to be grounded on Jewish Scripture.

Jesus' way (for me paradigmatic) of overturning tradition was his interpretation of Scripture by Scripture. Mark 7:9-14, tangentially connected to our discussion on baptism, is a classic example of how Jesus believes apparently honourable tradition ought to be reshaped by Scripture.

On your example of the Sabbath, see Mark 2:23-28, where Jesus' makes explicit appeal to the example of David in 1 Sam 21:1-6 to justify his Sabbath practice.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Oh, and for Jesus' attitude to the law of Moses and to the OT Scriptures generally, it's impossible to go past Mt 5:17-20.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
MSHB, I'm in substantial agreement with what you say about washings Vs John the Baptist's baptism "eis metanoian". I don't say they were identical, I merely suggest it as a hypothesis to show where the use of water to cleanse might have found an Old Testament anchor. It is my theory to account for why, thousands of years after Moses, hardline Jews of the New Testament era might press for a range of baptismal practices to be observed.

We can perhaps speculate how the Pharisees might argue for an unbroken line of tradition right back to the Sinaitic covenant to show why it was so useful and important for people to now follow their prescriptions regarding baptism, even though no definitive piece of Torah could be adduced to substantiate their practice.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:

And I thought it was clear, because of your comment about manuscripts and reading (and hearing) that you were more focused on people reading (and being read to) than on people talking to each other. Which at this point I would have expected to be the primary means of teaching and learning. It seemed consonant to me with your focus on the BIBLE AS A WRITTEN ARTIFACT, which you seem to me constantly to be setting in opposition to any other knowledge or means of knowing.

OK., I see what you were saying and please accept my apologies for my tone.

Yes—"talking to each other"—I agree. This would I guess have been the only way non-readers would have had access to the story of Jesus, and even most readers would not have had access to anything in writing, I imagine.

Yet even within their mutual conversation, they must have recognized that their evolving idea of what Christianity was, and what the gospel story was, carried weight only insofar as it could be linked to the apostolic tradition, as conveyed to them by the words of Paul, Peter, or what others could recall of the apostolic teaching they had heard.

And there is a sense in which we, as opposed to they, must privilege the written record, however. For a start, it's all we reliably have. Start shooting holes in that, and the ground we stand on as Christians starts to look very precarious. I don't think that is saying anything radical, it's one of the things that makes any ecumenical effort have any real credibility. The Bible is the ecumenical document and its where our interactions must begin, if not end.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
thousands of years after Moses

Yikes. that would be now.

I meant hundreds. No early re-dating of Moses for me. After all, we can't have him hanging around with the patriarchs, and any earlier than that and we start running into problems with the creation of the world in 4004 BC [Biased] [Biased]
 
Posted by Ian Climacus (# 944) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
...we start running into problems with the creation of the world in 4004 BC [Biased] [Biased]

Heretic! It was 4003.


I disagree with you Gordon, as one would expect [Biased] , but I have a clearer idea where you're coming from. Thanks for the explanations.

[ 29. April 2006, 02:23: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]
 
Posted by Jerry Boam (# 4551) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
On your example of the Sabbath, see Mark 2:23-28, where Jesus' makes explicit appeal to the example of David in 1 Sam 21:1-6 to justify his Sabbath practice.

"David done it" seems like a terribly weak argument, david also committed adultery, does that make it lawful. Also, the priests seemed to believe that it might be permissible to share the bread of the presence if David's men were not impure because of sexual activity... so this doesn't seem like an open and shut case.

I'm not contesting that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law, but that this is a more complicated thing than "he kept it perfectly" unless "keeping it perfectly" means bending it when needed. It seems to me that "...whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same..." is a description of Jesus.

Maybe this is another thread?
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Why else do you think he followed the Mosaic law in every detail, and encouraged his followers to do the same. He was an Old Testament (= "Covenant") man. In one sense he was the only Old Testament man, who by keeping it perfectly fulfilled it. It was his fulfilment of it that enabled him to institute the New Testament in his blood. After his resurrection and the giving of the Spirit, he (and therefore all new believers) were New Testament people.

Once again, I disagree. I mean, haven't you read the sermon on the mount? All He does is totally redefine and restructure Mosaic Law. And, yes, it was because He was the fulfillment of it. And as far as encouraging His followers -- I don't think so. Healing, harvesting, roaming around on the Sabbath? All of His life, His teachings were about mercy and no more sacrifice. And I just love it when He says, "For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day." What could be more clear about who He is and why He's here. Out with the old, in with the new.

I don't think He was the only Old Testament man, but I do think He was the last.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
Yes! Why else do you think he followed the Mosaic law in every detail, and encouraged his followers to do the same. He was an Old Testament (= "Covenant") man. In one sense he was the only Old Testament man, who by keeping it perfectly fulfilled it. It was his fulfilment of it that enabled him to institute the New Testament in his blood.
And would I be right that his divinity, on this view is the principle guarantee of the ability of his humanity to keep the Law and therefore be the pure, undefiled sacrificial lamb?
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
And would I be right that his divinity, on this view is the principle guarantee of the ability of his humanity to keep the Law and therefore be the pure, undefiled sacrificial lamb?

I don't think so, Psyduck. Perfect humanity keeps God's law.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Why else do you think he followed the Mosaic law in every detail, and encouraged his followers to do the same. He was an Old Testament (= "Covenant") man. In one sense he was the only Old Testament man, who by keeping it perfectly fulfilled it. It was his fulfilment of it that enabled him to institute the New Testament in his blood. After his resurrection and the giving of the Spirit, he (and therefore all new believers) were New Testament people.

Once again, I disagree. I mean, haven't you read the sermon on the mount? All He does is totally redefine and restructure Mosaic Law.
I don't think that makes adequate sense of Mt 5;17-20.

Rather he seems to be redefining a Pharisaic minimizing view of what the law requires. He teaches the true law. Indeed, here he instructs people to obey the Pharisees because they "sit on Moses' seat", so high is his regard for the authority of the Mosaic code.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
I don't think so, Psyduck. Perfect humanity keeps God's law.
OK, that surprised me a little. On your account, then, Gordon, what was the purpose of the Incernation?
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Sorry for the posh accent! I meant Incarnation, obviously.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Gosh, that's a biggie for a Romans 6 thread, Psyduck!

Our salvation of course. And to destroy the works of the devil. And to bring glory and honour to God the Father. And to lay all things under his feet so God might be all in all.

Not necessarily in that order of importance, mind.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
But if Jesus could accomplish all that through his perfect humanity and perfect obedience without being God incarnate - then isn't the Incarnation just a nice gesture of solidarity from God?

I'm a bit thrown here because I expected you to be shadowing Anselm in Cur Deus Homo. Obviously what I want to do is to tease out your understanding of the saving event of Christ, so that I can see gow you connect it to baptism - though at the moment that seems to be "not at all". That's the relevance to Romans 6.

Romans 6 seems to me to present a component of Paul's understanding of baptism as connected to our salvation as a participation in the death of Christ. I'm putting it that way so as to avoid begging questions, and I think that put that way an awful lot of people on this thread would agree to at least some extent. Obviously you don't. I'm not entirely sure why, which is why I'm asking.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Ah well, there's this little thing called original sin that had to be broken by some means for there to be a perfect man. The incarnation was the only possible way.

I like Anselm, obviously.
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
And just out of interest:
quote:
[originally posted by Gordon Cheng: Our salvation of course. And to destroy the works of the devil. And to bring glory and honour to God the Father. And to lay all things under his feet so God might be all in all.
I wouldn't disagree with any of these things. I understand our salvation in all these terms. And I connect them with the Incarnation. But none of them are connected with Penal Substitutionary Atonement! And indeed if one takes the full conservative view of PSA, then it alone actually is atonement. It is the doctrine. And as I understand it, the function of the incarnation in this understanding of PSA is to guarantee the human sacrifice that no human being could offer, by the Son's becoming perfectly human.

Have I been imputing stuff to you, Gordon? I'd been assuming that your antisacramentalism, esp. in respect to baptism, was partly down to this view of PSA.

Orrrrrr....

You haven't succumbed to the Orthodox Plot overnight, have you? [Biased] Throw in a fish-hook and a reference to medicine, and I'll wonder if I'm in a parallel universe!! [Ultra confused]
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Cross-posted. And how interestingly!

Hmm. I'm off to think about this. Sleep well, Gordon (hope I got the time-zones right) - and stay away from men with long beards and loaves stamped with crosses! I have a small sum of money on you resisting the Orthodox Plot longer than Benedict XIV...
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
And just out of interest:
quote:
[originally posted by Gordon Cheng: Our salvation of course. And to destroy the works of the devil. And to bring glory and honour to God the Father. And to lay all things under his feet so God might be all in all.
I wouldn't disagree with any of these things. I understand our salvation in all these terms. And I connect them with the Incarnation. But none of them are connected with Penal Substitutionary Atonement! And indeed if one takes the full conservative view of PSA, then it alone actually is atonement. It is the doctrine.
Is it? I am conservative theologically, of course, and I know quite a few theologicalconservatives. But none of them AFAIK believe that PSA exhausts the meaning of the doctrine of atonement. It is central and foundational, no doubt about that. But the idea of the God-forsaken God is, I would say with Luther, a great mystery.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
G'day all.

Whenever we read Jesus and the law, we need to make a big distinction between the oral law and the Mosiac law.

I may be wrong here, and am open to correction - however whenever Jesus spoke about the oral law he said "You have heard it said, BUT... I say"

Yet when it comes to the Mosiac law he says, "It is written"

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
But first... Gordon Cheng:
quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Psyduck:
And would I be right that his divinity, on this view is the principle guarantee of the ability of his humanity to keep the Law and therefore be the pure, undefiled sacrificial lamb?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think so, Psyduck. Perfect humanity keeps God's law.

Also:
quote:
Ah well, there's this little thing called original sin that had to be broken by some means for there to be a perfect man. The incarnation was the only possible way.

Right. So is this because of the derivation of Jesus' humanity solely from the sinless BVM? Is this the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception operating in the background?

In which case I have to put the question again - given that we are not Appolinarians, and Christ's incarnate humanity is complete, why was it not possible for Christ to be simply the perfect human being? Again, why is the Incarnation necessary?

You see, I think that what may be operative at the back here is an Appolinarianism that relegates Christ's humanity to an adjunct of his divinity, and makes it something very different to our humanity. (God in an meat suit.) Thomas Torrance, in a very important article, traces some of the effects of this on Protestant theology and liturgy, including the understanding that there is a gulf between our humanity and Christ's, and an impairment of our ability to identify with Christ. It seems to me that that might explain certain attitudes to Romans 6 - specifically that it can't possibly be about our participation in Christ's death in any real sense through baptism.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
But first... Gordon Cheng:
quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Psyduck:
And would I be right that his divinity, on this view is the principle guarantee of the ability of his humanity to keep the Law and therefore be the pure, undefiled sacrificial lamb?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think so, Psyduck. Perfect humanity keeps God's law.

Also:
quote:
Ah well, there's this little thing called original sin that had to be broken by some means for there to be a perfect man. The incarnation was the only possible way.

Right. So is this because of the derivation of Jesus' humanity solely from the sinless BVM? Is this the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception operating in the background?

You are a tease, Psyduck. It's up to the Romans to play around with the metaphysics of this operation.

Humanity was created good, and fell through the sin of Adam. Although sin is extrinsic to human nature, and indeed to creation itself, at this point humanity was irrevocably tainted by the knowledge of good and evil.

In the miracle of the incarnation, God brings creation and salvation together in the perfect man, the Lord Jesus. But it was, you see, a miracle. Something only God could have done, and then only because he was God. I think it unwise to enquire to deeply into this mystery, don't you?

Once the miracle of the incarnation had been accomplished, the one act of the perfect man was enough to overcome and defeat the one act of the sinful man.

But I'm quite sure you knew this already, Psyduck. Although, quite neatly, you have drawn us back to Romans 6.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
G'day Gordon,

I agree with what you have said about Christ being the prefect man, yet at the same time we need to be careful of saying that Christ was perfect only in his human strength, which can point towards a Spiritless Christology.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
If I have understood you corectly Gordon, you are suggesting that baptism is Paul's way of figuritively speaking about regeneration: immersion into the benefits of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Is that right?

If so, can you explain why Paul makes categorical distinction between water baptism and proclamation of the gospel? In 1 Cor. 17 Paul asserts that 'Christ did not send [him] to baptise but to preach the gospel'.

Now, there can be no doubt at all that Paul is refering to water baptism in this passage. Paul is not using the word baptism as a euphemism for conversion. Consequently, I also think the following inferrence exists: Paul considers water baptism to be pastoral ministry that follows on from evangelistic ministry.

Those who are 'cut to heart' as they hear the gospel preached undergo spiritual circumcision (regeneration). Those people are then immersed in water by the church as a ratification of that spiritual circumcision. They become (regenerated) through spiritual circumcision through the sovereign decision of God; they play no part in their regeneration.

However, entry into a covenant requires the agreement of both parties: hence the provision of water baptism. Water baptism is the reciprocal element of entry into the covenant; it acknowledges and ratifies the soveriegn activity of God in conversion inasmuch as it is 'the response of a good (i.e. cleansed) conscience toward God' 1 Peter 3.21.

So it seems clear to me that water baptism is the human response to regeneration (actual or presumed). It is the human contribution to the covenant between God and a regenerate person (or child of a regenerate person).

Gordon, - in the light of what I've in my last two posts - would you agree that 'spiritualised baptism' (as you present it) seems to confuse rather than elucidate Paul's soteriology?

[ 29. April 2006, 08:59: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by craigb:
G'day Gordon,

I agree with what you have said about Christ being the prefect man, yet at the same time we need to be careful of saying that Christ was perfect only in his human strength, which can point towards a Spiritless Christology.

The Holy Spirit was present with Christ because he was holy; not to make him holy.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
G'day m.t-tomb

quote:
The Holy Spirit was present with Christ because he was holy; not to make him holy.

I disagree with that premise. Did David have the Holy Spirit because he was Holy?

Whenever we look at the life of Christ, we need to ensure we don't exclude the Spirit in our Christology.

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Nunc Dimittis (# 848) on :
 
uh Craig, mt-tomb isn't excluding the Spirit. He is simply saying that the Spirit was with Christ because Jesus was holy, and not that Jesus was holy because of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

There is a huge difference between David having the Holy Spirit, and Jesus having the Holy Spirit - because we believe Jesus was without sin, whereas David showed amply that he was just as ornery a sinner as the rest of us.

Although I think it's all a bit of a brain-stretcher, and can't quite see the distinction, myself. (Between Jesus having the Spirit because he was holy, or being holy because of the Spirit's presence...) [Ultra confused]

[ 29. April 2006, 13:47: Message edited by: Nunc Dimittis ]
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by craigb:
G'day m.t-tomb

quote:
The Holy Spirit was present with Christ because he was holy; not to make him holy.

I disagree with that premise.

Blessings craig b

You're free to disagree with this premise but you're not free to maintain that your view is orthodox: pentecostalsim is pneumacentric; evangelicalism is Christocentric. The choice however is your to make.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
G'day M.T. Tomb,

You made an assertion that Christ had the Spirit because he was Holy!

I'm not denying he was Holy, yet your assertion that that is why he had the Spirit has not been proven.

On what scriptural basis can you show this to be true.

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Hey m.t.

I'll get back to you. I'm just dropping in this, the other metaphorical reference to baptism by Jesus:

quote:
originally posted by Jesus:
I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

It's from Luke 12:50. Again, it involves no water whatsoever.
 
Posted by Mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Gordon, did anybody say "baptism" was never used metaphorically? You seem to be attacking a man of straw.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
craigb, I'll be happy to discuss it if you open a new thread. I'd like to keep this thread on subject. Thanks.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
G'day Gordon,

Are you saying then that our real Christian baptism is when we die?

I see no other scriptural support to support this, yet this seems to be where you are headed with it.

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
Gordon, did anybody say "baptism" was never used metaphorically? You seem to be attacking a man of straw.

Psyduck tells me that baptism only ever involves water, unless he's changed his mind from when he posted this back on page one;

quote:
It seems to me that, once made, the equation baptism=the-death-of-Christ/a-death-like-that-of-Christ is still so crucially dependent on the symbolism of immersion-in/inundation-by/going-through water that it can never be said, in the New Testament, to be metaphorical. You just can't get the water out, no matter how much silica gel you use. And water is always the actuality of baptism, not a metaphor.

[bold mine]

But that's not the reason I quoted Luke. It's just another little brick in the argument that by the end of the gospels, the picture we've built up of the way Jesus speaks about baptism is that it is metaphorical rather than literal. Not that there's a lot of evidence to go on, as the incidence of both word and idea of "baptism" is infrequent in the gospels outside of the ministry of John the Baptist. As indeed you would expect, if their was not a great deal of emphasis laid on the idea of water baptism in the NT.

I should have made it clearer why I was dropping in that ref, but the Cheng family was gearing up for the major rush out the door for 9 am church (where we celebrated the Lord's supper, some readers will be pleased to learn)!

[ 30. April 2006, 04:27: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by craigb:
G'day Gordon,

Are you saying then that our real Christian baptism is when we die?

I see no other scriptural support to support this, yet this seems to be where you are headed with it.

Blessings craig b

No, not at all. Our real Christian baptism is when the Spirit regenerates our heart through the preaching of the word.

It's a washing of the conscience that happens when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus.

Mind you, that's when we die (as Rom 6 teaches), but let's not confuse things by returning to the OP.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
G'day Gordon,

I'm interested in what you say about Acts 19:5.

Did Paul baptise these disciples in water, or was it a spiritual baptism?

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Probably water, as there are manual acts referred to in the following verse.

I'm in agreement with Alan Cresswell and the others on this thread that the Acts baptisms that are explicitly mentioned are water baptisms.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
Why have we started separating the two? I feel they go hand in hand: "...for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ"; "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"; "and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ".

The water of baptism is representative. There is nothing saving in that water. It is the act of obedience and acceptance of Him through baptism that imparts the Spirit to us.

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit..."
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
But Grits, would you agree that Jesus separates the two in Mark 10 and Luke 12/ He looks for a baptism (which James and John are going to share) that is water free?

Anyway, I wouldn't always separate them. If we are going to do water baptism, the ideal is that this reflect some underlying spiritual reality.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
G'day Gordon,

Sorry if I am taking a tangent here,

What is your take on infant baptism, if baptism is a believers baptism?

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Infant baptism is fine.

What's being primarily symbolized in baptism (if 1 Peter is right) is God's washing away of our sins as we are included into Christ. And unless you somehow believe that children can't have a relationship with God, then the symbol, although optional, is appropriate.

Of course in the Anglican system the baptism of the infant is accompanied by the pledge of parents and godparents to instruct the child in the gospel. You can't have the symbol without the reality, and the reality is God washing us by his word.

Obviously though you can have reality without symbol, as I've been arguing.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
Thanks Gordon,

I agree that Baptism is not important to salvation, in that you can be truly saved and filled with the spirit without it.

Do you see it as a important symbol, like a church membership inititation rite, or something that is totally optional?


Blessings craig b Sorry if I am making you repeat yourself, theres a lot of pages to plow through here.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
An allowable symbol, depending on context. At one extreme it can be pure superstition, and so a bad idea. At the other extreme it can be a really useful testimony to family and friends. I am thinking of friends from an Asian background who want to make it crystal clear to the folks back hom ethat they have switched religion, for example.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
G'day Gordon,

I agree superstition is a bad thing to avoid, and your Asian illustration is a good one, do you think that was the meaning in Biblical times for Baptism, and do you think that baptism can help the new believer be established as a member of the church?

I'm thinking of the pastoral implications for new belivers.

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
I'm pretty sure the Acts 10:48 baptism is to show that these new guys, the Gnetiles, are definitely in (as with the Samaritans earlier). That's how Peter seems to use it in Acts 11.

Coudl be the others had a similar function too, although there's nothing explicit. Is there?
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
G'day Gordon,

Nahh theres not a great deal that is explicit going on in describing the reasons for Baptism.

I would say though that Peter describes the going into the waters as symbolising death, and coming up out of the waters as symbolising new eternal life, and that would be a very powerful symbol for the new believer to go through and remember why they went through the process of water baptism.

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Psyduck (# 2270) on :
 
Gordon Cheng:
quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Mousethief:
Gordon, did anybody say "baptism" was never used metaphorically? You seem to be attacking a man of straw.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Psyduck tells me that baptism only ever involves water, unless he's changed his mind from when he posted this back on page one;

Gordon, you have got to stop thinking that people always said what it's convenient for you to say they said. I didn't say this. I said that the idea of baptism always involves water, so that when "baptism" is used metaphorically, the referent of the metaphor is always the water-rite. I'd go further, and say "the Christian water-rite", because I believe that passages like Mark 10 reflect the practice of the early church. But even if one doesn't believe this, I have consistently maintained that this is a "metaphorical" (if you like) extension of "water-baptism", not of some waterless spiritualized synonym for conversion. I think that's clear from my posts.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Okaaay.... so as long as somewhere in history, we can demonstrate that baptism by water happened and happened regularly, then the extended metaphorical meaning is always going to be clear, anhydrous or not.

So if you or your pet frog say, "I'm confused, what's this word 'baptism' I keep reading here in the Bible?", someone can answer, well it originally means washing, dunking, immersion, blah-di-blah with water. But nowadays (and even back then) it can mean quite a number of things, sometimes involving actual water, and sometimes not. You can't be sure until you look carefully at the context in the passage.

That's OK isn't it?
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
What's being primarily symbolized in baptism (if 1 Peter is right) is God's washing away of our sins as we are included into Christ.

Actually, Christian baptism is more than that, as even the 1 Peter reference attests to.
quote:
this water [of Noah's Flood] symbolises baptism that now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the body but the response of a good conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Peter here is linking baptism to the resurrection. Just as Paul does in Romans 6 - in baptism we die and are risen with Christ. There is in the NT a sense of reality to the fact that we have already died to our old selves, and been raised again to the new life in Christ - and Romans 6, and other places, explicitely link that death/resurrection to baptism.

If you limit the idea of baptism to merely a washing away of sins (symbolised by a ritual bath) then it seems to me that you end up in a quandry when the NT picks up the other aspects. So, when Jesus asks "can you be baptised as I'm going to be baptised?" (and then adds, "you will be") there's no problem at all if baptism (symbolised by water) is a death and resurrection that has a reality that is embodied in Christ's death and resurrection.

Note also that the verse in 1 Peter explicitely links baptism with salvation. It's in the entering into the death and resurrection of Christ that we're saved - normally we enter into that through the waters of baptism. Though, some may enter into it directly (eg: the thief on the cross didn't need to be baptised in water, because he was really sharing the death of Christ and the resurrection that day into paradise).

Gordon, I think I've come to the conclusion that your view of baptism is too small. The NT has a much bigger idea, of a truly grand saving act of God, one symbolised and made real in the washing of water.
 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
MSHB, I'm in substantial agreement with what you say about washings Vs John the Baptist's baptism "eis metanoian". I don't say they were identical, I merely suggest it as a hypothesis to show where the use of water to cleanse might have found an Old Testament anchor. It is my theory to account for why, thousands of years after Moses, hardline Jews of the New Testament era might press for a range of baptismal practices to be observed.

We can perhaps speculate how the Pharisees might argue for an unbroken line of tradition right back to the Sinaitic covenant to show why it was so useful and important for people to now follow their prescriptions regarding baptism, even though no definitive piece of Torah could be adduced to substantiate their practice.

But it was John the Baptist who was pressing people to be baptised, not the Pharisees.

Yes, the whole action of baptising might make some sense to the Pharisees because there were some points in common with their washings (viz. the use of river water for John's baptism and also river water, say, for Naaman's sevenfold washing of himself).

But in general John and his baptism got up the officials' noses, didn't it? He challenged the Pharisees. I doubt that he was trying to placate them by pursuing a Pharisee-friendly ritual with the hope they might be enticed into turning to God. (I'm sorry, I am not really sure what you mean here - I cannot see how the Pharisees' views are particularly relevant to John's ministry).

In any event, wasn't John's baptism instituted by God? John refers to "he that sent me to baptize with water" (Jn 1.33). It wasn't as though John was making up this stuff by himself - nor making it up to please the Pharisees, whom he had no compunction about offending.

In any event, washing, and eating and drinking, are fairly universal activities - and certainly understood by many people who don't themselves practice washing. They are not culturally obscure like, say, taking off your sandal (Ruth 4.7).

As sacraments, they (in God's foresight) work for people who are well beyond the bounds of Judaism, as your Asian converts so well illustrate. Many non-Christians (i.e. Muslims, Buddhists, etc) who want to become Christians understand the "decisive dviding line" aspect of baptism much better than we do in our messed-up, 150-denominations, post-Christian culture do. They understand that by baptism they are stepping over THE line, the border-line, between whatever they were and being a Christian. This is the turning point for them: they are leaving behind unbelieving family and friends, turning their back on their old religion, and "cleaving" to Christ.

There is nothing especially Jewish or OT in this scenario.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Some of this I can't quite follow, Alan. Isn't the washing away of sins and salvation, and resurrection, and... a hundred other glorious things, all part of the same package; a reconciliation with God through inclusion into the death and resurrection of his son?

I include all of these things with the idea of baptism. If the one thing I sometimes lack is water, then my view of baptism is not really that much smaller than yours. Just a few drops or a bathtub smaller, depending on your pref.

(x-post with MSHB)

[ 30. April 2006, 08:30: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]
 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
But Grits, would you agree that Jesus separates the two in Mark 10 and Luke 12/ He looks for a baptism (which James and John are going to share) that is water free?

Anyway, I wouldn't always separate them. If we are going to do water baptism, the ideal is that this reflect some underlying spiritual reality.

But the baptism Jesus is alluding to is not his conversion or regeneration, is it?
 
Posted by MSHB (# 9228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
So if you or your pet frog say, "I'm confused, what's this word 'baptism' I keep reading here in the Bible?", someone can answer, well it originally means washing, dunking, immersion, blah-di-blah with water. But nowadays (and even back then) it can mean quite a number of things, sometimes involving actual water, and sometimes not. You can't be sure until you look carefully at the context in the passage.

That's OK isn't it?

Not really, in my opinion.

There are three usages, now I think of it, rather than two:

(1) Baptizo has its secular, literal meaning (e.g. the Greek text that describes a sinking ship as "baptizing" - plunging into the deeps). This is the "original" meaning.

(2) It has its metaphorical meaning - e.g. someone "immersed" (we would say: "up to their ears") in debt.

(3) And thirdly, by NT times, baptizo had become a terminus technicus - a specialist technical term - within the Christian church for a specific Christian ritual of initiation "into Christ" (just as "eucharistia" soon became a terminus technicus, not just for any old prayer of thanksgiving, but specifically for the Prayer of Blessing at the communion of the body and blood of Christ.)

I see no evidence in the NT that the terminus technicus "baptism" (Christian initiation) ever refers to a water-less conversion experience of any kind. Christ's own metaphorical references to his future "baptism" of suffering (he had already undergone the watery baptism of John) was not, as far as I can see, an experience of conversion or regeneration. Nor was the future martyrdom of the apostles (which is what I take Christ's reference to their partaking of his "baptism" to mean) an experience of regeneration or conversion, but of physical death.

I do agree that our Christian ("water") baptism stands in a very real relationship to Christ's "baptism" of suffering, as the very going into water (burial) and coming out (rising) suggest. If this is not a physical baptism, how is baptism (as Paul means the b. word in Romans 6) a "likeness" of Christ's burial? As far as I can see, Paul uses "likeness" for something visible, tangible. A physical baptism in water makes sense here; a purely inward "change of heart" - no matter how theologically and pastorally important a change of heart may be - doesn't make sense as a "likeness" to Christ's burial.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
I include all of these things with the idea of baptism. If the one thing I sometimes lack is water, then my view of baptism is not really that much smaller than yours.

Sorry if I've been misreading you. You seemed to be saying that there's "baptism" (with or without water) and then there's all these other things for which baptism is at best just a metaphor - such as the "in baptism you died and rose again with Christ" of Romans 6.

It was almost as though you were equating baptism with a mere cleansing ritual, and hence (quite rightly IMO, from that small baptism starting point) saying that the baptism that most of the NT attests too is something qualitatively different. I'd agree that the baptism that the NT talks about is qualitatively different from the mere cleansing ritual, not because there's a different sort of baptism but because Christian baptism is qualitatively different from a mere cleansing ritual.
 
Posted by Old Grey Whistler (# 11266) on :
 
I am so grateful to MSHB and Alan Cresswell for their lucidity, patience and biblical good sense.

I think we have minimised baptism for too long and we need it (in its fullness) in the Western Wastelands which I suspect is partly a result of paedobaptist intellectualising around the subject and a weak understanding of the power of God to change lives.

It is the moment when conversion is sealed and completed and we can tell people they will derive a blessing and strengthening from receiving it.

The argument from baptism to continued discipleship in Romans 6 is so clear that only those with a prior agenda would want to muddy the waters. It only works pastorally where the person originally "owned" the Baptism and accepts the implications of their own commitment to Christ.

As an evangelical baptist I am tired of pretending that baptism does not matter in the cause of an evangelical or Christian "unity" which never results in anything.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Old Grey Whistler:
I am so grateful to MSHB and Alan Cresswell for their lucidity, patience and biblical good sense.

I think we have minimised baptism for too long and we need it (in its fullness) in the Western Wastelands which I suspect is partly a result of paedobaptist intellectualising around the subject and a weak understanding of the power of God to change lives.

With repsect I think it is the credo-baptist position that has minimised baptism by turning it into a Pelagian work rather than a sacramental ratification of God's priority in conversion and regeneration. Anbaptismal praxis is totally out of whack with Reformed covenantal theology: you can't have you cake and eat I'm afraid.

[ 02. May 2006, 12:13: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
Water Baptism - another definition: water baptism is the burial service of the 'old self' and the inaugeration ceremony of the 'new self'.

A funeral service does not kill the person for which it is held, but it does ratify the fact that they are dead. Likewise a baptism service (ceremonial immersion in water) does not kill the flesh, but it does ratify the fact that old self has in some sense died.

A question: if Christians under the New Covenant have in some sense 'died' spiritually, is it therefore inappropriate to mark their eventual physical death with some form of ceremony? No.

Likewise, if a Christian has in some sense died to the 'old self' is it therefore inappropriate to mark that death with an acted parable (water baptism) that ratifies that death?

[ 02. May 2006, 14:35: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by m.t-tomb:


Likewise, if a Christian has in some sense died to the 'old self' is it therefore inappropriate to mark that death with an acted parable (water baptism) that ratifies that death?

Although, as i understand it, you are arguing that the sign comes before the person has died to their old self, or at least before we are sure if they have, which seems to be the source of some of the confusion.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
Baptism is the sacrament of grace, of course it should come before actual regeneration. Grace always comes before regeneration; any good Calvinist knows that! [Biased]

The idea of paedo-baptism is that is asserts the priority of God's activity in salvation (the water is an outward and visible sign that we believe in unconditional election): the baby (like us) does not 'choose' God.

The baby is presumed regenerate on the basis of God's covenantal faithfulness until such time as either they become prodigal or 'confirm' their faith in Christ.
 
Posted by craigb (# 11318) on :
 
If a baby became a prodigal, doesn't that therefore mean the effectiveness of baptism is not true?

Blessings craig b
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Not in my understanding. Prodigals do return to Father. And the Father awaits their return in the meantime. He is a good Father, expecting their return and spotting them on the way back "from afar off".

(BTW, to avoid confusion, craigb, I belong to a church which practises believers' baptism.)
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by craigb:
If a baby became a prodigal, doesn't that therefore mean the effectiveness of baptism is not true?

Blessings craig b

I've made no claim that baptism is effective in any way: it is the sacrament of grace. We have no control over God's grace, the infant has no control over their baptism. We have no control over God; he dispenses grace as and when he sees fit. Infant baptism is an acted parable of God's sovereignty in His dispensation of grace: it is not fitting for a person to choose when to be baptised.

In the case of adult baptism, the person does not choose when to be baptised: they are baptised upon conversion which of course is the result of God's grace in election.

In the case of infant baptism, the child does not choose when to be baptised: they are baptised upon the basis of inclusion in the New Covenant by virtue of thier parent's faith (1 Cor 7.14b) until such time as they prove either their rebellion or confirm their election (i.e. break covenant or confirm covenant).

[ 03. May 2006, 08:14: Message edited by: m.t-tomb ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
How do we read baptism in the light of Exodus 33:19 or Romans 9:15? "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy". I say we trust in the goodness and rightness of the God we love. As exemplified to us in, amongst other places, the story of the Prodigal. Some people who have been baptised as infants or as adults ignore, or rebel, or lose interest in following God. None of us is consistent. Human judgements about effectiveness are, I guess, a normal part of our theologising, but cannot in the end resolve the operation of grace in human lives. In the end, we will know more fully.
 
Posted by m.t-tomb (# 3012) on :
 
I'd say that all true saints persevere to the end: they do not fall away or give up. I say this on the basis of Romans 8.29-30:
quote:
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Being glorified is spoken of in the past tense in this passage: it is a given, not an optional possibility. I therefore conclude that those whom God has 'had mercy' will not fall away but will be glorified. Thier glorification is so assured that - at least from the eternal perspective which Paul has glimpsed - it is already so.

Therefore those people who do fall away were not soundly converted in the first place. This is a classical Calvinist answer and I know it doesn't satisfy many people who hold to another view.

However, I would also say that a perosn has not truly fallen away unless they never ever think about God or consider his influence upon their life in any way shape orr form. Anyone who falls away from church or outward observance but still maintains even an inkling of faith has not truly fallen away.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
{bump}
 


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