More about Baptism

Posted: March 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

Caleb and I were discussing last night the topic of Baptism.  One question I have had posed to me since switching from a creedo to a paedo baptist is “What about where it says we are buried with Him in baptism? Doesn’t this say the mode?”  Here are some commentaries that Caleb sent to me explaining something.  I also wanted to add my own perspective:  Burial back then did not mean buried under the ground in death.  Jesus was put into a tomb, not in the ground.  So, that is more sideways than down.  I am being facetious, but really I don’t see how you can use this text to support mode or representation of baptism, unless you specifically draw, rightly, that his refers to our union with Christ.

“We are in profession quite cut off from all commerce and communion with sin, as those that are buried are quite cut off from all the world; not only not of the living, but no more among the living, have nothing more to do with them. Thus must we be, as Christ was, separate from sin and sinners. We are buried, namely, in profession and obligation: we profess to be so, and we are bound to be so: it was our covenant and engagement in baptism; we are sealed to be the Lord’s, therefore to be cut off from sin. Why this burying in baptism should so much as allude to any custom of dipping under water in baptism, any more than our baptismal crucifixion and death should have any such references, I confess I cannot see. It is plain that it is not the sign, but the thing signified, in baptism, that the apostle here calls being buried with Christ, and the expression of burying alludes to Christ’s burial. As Christ was buried, that he might rise again to a new and more heavenly life, so we are in baptism buried, that is, cut off from the life of sin, that we may rise again to a new life of faith and love.”

Hendrikson – “With all love and respect for our brothers in Christ I venture to say that in connection with baptism Scripture also uses other expressions, which on the basis of this kind of reasoning [burial=immersion], would then also have to be regarded as indicating the proper mode of baptism. If being buried with Christ means that baptism must be by immersion, why should not being crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6) indicate that baptism should be by crucifixion, being planted with Him (Rom. 6:5, AV) that it should be by implantation, and putting on Christ (Gal. 3:27) that it should be by habilitation? As I see it, John Murray is right when he says, ‘When all of Paul’s expressions are taken into account we see that burial with Christ can be appealed to as providing an index to the mode of baptism no more than can crucifixion with him. And since the latter does not indicate the mode of baptism there is no validity to the argument that burial does. The fact is that there are many aspects to our union with Christ. It is arbitrary to select one aspect and find in the language used to set it forth the essence of the mode of baptism’ (Christian Baptism, p. 31).”

  1. Rusty says:

    Sorry Larry, I can’t keep up with your posting pace so I’m just now getting to this one. I always thought the mode for baptism was based on the fact that scripture says Jesus came out of the water…meaning he had to have been in the water and not beside, behind or in front of the water.

    This line of arguementation appears to be a bit of a strawman. The whole thing seems to be clinging to a pretty weak string of semantics. Whether burial is under the dirt, under a rock, under a sheet, in a cliff…whatever it is the intent is pretty clearly covering over a dead body. This to me, is the point and symbolism…a covering over/laying to rest in finality and rising again…no matter how you cover it over/lay it to rest.

    The second quote, particularly, is quite strange to me. If baptists dug a grave in the dirt and climbed in and covered themselves up for their symbol of spiritual conversion, maybe he’d have a case…but they don’t. They use the symbol that is clearly laid out in scripture…going down into the water and coming out again.

    Quibbling over the “technical definition of burial in the time of Christ” is just silly and seems to me to miss the point entirely.

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