15 July, 2009

Discussion with Rob on immersion Baptism

(Rob) “Thank you brother for writing. If I am the victim of false teaching want to correct it. However, the vast majority of my beliefs come from reading the Holy Bible itself. I am careful of denominations.

About Baptism:

1)The meaning of Baptism is to immerse

2) In the Bible, those baptized “Come up out of the water.”

Acts 8:39 - After the eunuch had been baptized, he came up out of the water.

Mark1:9 One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized Him in the Jordan River. 10 As Jesus came up out of the water, He saw the heavens splitting apart....

Matthew 3:16 After His baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened ....

In order to come up out of the water, he first had to be down in the water.

When denominations sprinkle or pour, does the person then come up out of (or from) the water? No, because they never went down into it!
When people are immersed, do they come up out of the water? Yes!

3) We are buried and then raised with Christ when we are baptized, which implies full immersion:

Colossians 2:12 - Buried with Him in baptism in which you also were raised with Him.

I would like your feedback. I have yet to speak with a serious Catholic and I would like the opportunity to learn from you if you are willing.

In Christ
Rob “

(Cristoiglesia) Thanks for your response. Baptism does not mean to immerse. It means to wash or to cleanse from Koine Greek in its normal usage and it is certainly the meaning when applied to the Sacrament of Baptism. It is to remove sin and especially original sin and to initiate one into the family of God by replacing circumcision which was the Old Covenant sign.


Notice that each of the verses you cited does not say that anyone was immersed. In fact, one would have to read the verses with great prejudice to come up with such an interpretation. This is called eisegesis and is a great error in biblical hermeneutics which always results in error. For example, if I step into a river and then I step out of the water have I been immersed? Of course not and that is all that the verses say. There is no mention of what specifically happened between going down into the water and coming out of the water. One should not add to what the Scriptures say to match their presuppositions. Could Jesus have been immersed? Yes, but the Bible does not say that He was.

Now, I can appreciate your pointing out the symbolism of one being immersed as coming from spiritual death into spiritual life but it is incorrect to focus on this aspect of Baptism to the exclusion of its real purpose which is to cleanse to facilitate the born again character of the soul post Baptism and to bring one into the New Covenant relationship with God. With Baptism we are one in the Church in a familial relationship with God. Jesus said that Baptism is necessary for eternal life.

Now, the only place in any first century writing that the methodology of Baptism is taught is in the “Didache” or the instruction of the apostles. It says the following:

“Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.”(about 70AD)

Historically, it is true that most often the Church in the early centuries Baptized by pouring three times in the name of the Trinity but less often by immersion and very rarely by aspersion. In fact, I know of no record where aspersion was used but it likely was used occasionally. The only church I know that uses aspersion is the Methodist Church. The Catholic Church today uses immersion and pouring as the methods of Baptism today.

Thanks for the verses regarding Baptism as they clearly point out, as I said, that the Bible is silent as to the methodology. We just do not know from Scripture how anyone was baptized. The earliest records of the baptism of Jesus is in the art of the early Church where Jesus is depicted being baptized by John the Baptist in shallow water with John pouting water over His head with a pitcher. In conclusion, what I am saying is one must be very careful not to read into Scriptures something they do not say. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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