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What is Baptism?

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  • What is Baptism?

    So like it says, I want to discuss why we bother getting anybody wet (adult or child) since the typical discussions tend to focus on talking past each other and use the same terms to mean vastly different things.

    Initiation into a Covenant?

    Act of Obedience?


    [MODS: move if you think there is a better location]

  • #2
    As posted in the other topic in the parenting forum. Here is a good start:

    To understand baptism you must first backup and understand what happened in the Old Testament. God instituted the covenant of works with Adam, who failed to keep his end of the covenant. Then God re-instituted the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17), but this time He coupled it with a sign, circumcision. Every male who was a descendant of Abraham, and anyone within his household (including servants who may not have been related to him) were to be circumcised, along with male infants when they were 8 days old. Fast forward to the New Testament, Jesus fulfilled that covenant and replaced it with the covenant of Grace, which also came with a sign, baptism, which replaced circumcision. This is why any Jew that became a follower of Christ was baptized, along with their entire household (including the women this time).
    Comment>

    • #3
      If God foreknew, whom he would elect in eternity past, and there is no way to the Father except through the Son, then was Adam and Abraham and Moses and David and Peter all saved in exactly the same way? By Grace through Faith.

      Do you believe, that Baptism and Circumcision play ANY part in that salvation?

      There are a lot of verses on Baptism.
      I am attempting to grapple with the view that ALL are non-salvific.

      So I guess, what relationship is there between the Covenant and Salvation? None?
      Can the Covenant change and Salvation be completely unaffected?
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by atpollard View Post
        If God foreknew, whom he would elect in eternity past, and there is no way to the Father except through the Son, then was Adam and Abraham and Moses and David and Peter all saved in exactly the same way? By Grace through Faith.

        Do you believe, that Baptism and Circumcision play ANY part in that salvation?

        There are a lot of verses on Baptism.
        I am attempting to grapple with the view that ALL are non-salvific.

        So I guess, what relationship is there between the Covenant and Salvation? None?
        Can the Covenant change and Salvation be completely unaffected?
        Yes. The Ordo Salutis is the same both in the OT and NT. Old Testament Saints had a forward looking faith to the Messiah since Genesis 3:15. NT Saints have a historical looking faith of Christ having come. This is, of course, different than eschtalogical soteriology.

        1) election/predestination (in Christ),
        2) Atonement
        3) gospel call
        4) inward call
        5) regeneration,
        6) conversion (faith & repentance),
        7) justification,
        8) sanctification, and
        9) glorification.

        Refer to the "Golden Chain" - Romans 8:29-30

        An indepth reference from the WCF. You can click the link numbers for the Scriptural references.

        I. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ,[1] not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church;[2] but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace,[3] of his ingrafting into Christ,[4] of regeneration,[5] of remission of sins,[6] and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life.[7] Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.[8]

        II. The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the Gospel, lawfully called thereunto.[9]

        III. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but Baptism is rightly administered by pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person.[10]

        IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ,[11] but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized.[12]

        V. Although it is a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance,[13] yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it:[14] or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.[15]

        VI. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered;[16] yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time.[17]

        VII. The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered unto any person.[18]
        I think your question atpollard is equivalent to asking an adult whether or not partaking in communion directly affects his/her salvation.

        God bless,
        William
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by William View Post
          I think your question atpollard is equivalent to asking an adult whether or not partaking in communion directly affects his/her salvation.

          God bless,
          William
          With all due respect, which of the following are commonly attributed to "partaking in communion" and administered to the non-elect ...

          Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ,[1] not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church;[2] but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace,[3] of his ingrafting into Christ,[4] of regeneration,[5] of remission of sins,[6] and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life.[7] Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.[8]

          My concern with so comprehensive a view of infant baptism is, does this not make it a largely impotent gesture since most of the children baptized will ultimately not be among the elect? It truly makes baptism as empty a symbolic gesture as circumcision since a Christian is then not one who is outwardly baptized, but one who is inwardly baptized.

          I apologize if I seem to be splitting hairs, but so much of scripture is all about symbolism and the honor of God. I am reluctant to accept anything unexamined that appears at first blush to hold the potential to taint either the symbolism or God's honor.

          Thus I will not condemn infant baptism as wrong, but cannot fully embrace it as irrefutable.

          Comment>

          • #6
            Based on what the history of the early church, Iv'e not seen that advanced forms of baptism beyond sprinkling on the head are necessary. Of course, beyond the debate on how to baptize, there is the question of whose name people should be baptized in. Some churches demand that a person be baptized in the name of Jesus, while other want baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

            Anyhow, in response to the original poster, I'd say that baptism is the Christian entry of one into a convenant, much as circumcision was the Jewish way into a covenant.
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            • #7
              The big question is whether or not baptism is God's work for and in us or our work for God. Lutherans believe that it is God's work for and in us, through His word and water. It seems to me if you take that side of the question that all the other issues dissolve. If, however, you think it is man's work, you open a can of worms- hence modern Christianity's endless debate on the sacrament.
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