Archive for the ‘Immersion’ Category

Baptismal Salvation

February 2, 2008

I recently received this peice of fan mail:

You’re a sock puppet of Satan. That’s why you baptize babies to send them to hell to burn for all eternity. They grow up duped into thinking they’re already Christians and already saved just because Satan’s minister sprinkled his putrid devil water on them. You’re going to burn for your heresy, and I don’t mean at the hands of Rome: I mean hell. But its what you want, since Satan is your god.

This blasphemy would ordinarily just find its way rapidly to the “deleted” bin, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to distinguish something that this particular blasphemer has asserted.

He suggests that the children we baptize grow up thinking that they are already Christians and already saved because of their baptism. This is not true in Reformed Churches.

Reformed churches do not suggest that baptism saves anyone. Instead, we preach the gospel:

Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

We preach it to those outside the church, but we also preach it to the children of the church. We preach it to those who have been baptized as infants, whether they were baptized in our churches, in the churches of Rome or Constantinople, or in any other church that has a formally Christian baptism. Men are justified by faith in Christ, not by the water of baptism.

To those who are not of the household of faith (outwardly speaking, of course), we do not baptize them until they have repented and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. In places like Europe and the Americas, most of the people who are proselytized have already been baptized, and consequently we do not rebaptize them. On the other hand, in places like Asia and Africa most of the people who are proselytized have not been baptized, and consequently are baptized.

As to the mode of baptism, while most Reformed churches sprinkle as a matter of convenience, all Reformed churches are free to adminster the sacrament of baptism by pouring or immersion. Reformed churches view the mode of baptism to be a circumstance rather than an element of the sacrament. Thus, Reformed churches do not insist on one mode or another.

Obviously, it is worth noting that the writer of this comment is in need of prayer. I hope those Christians who stop by this blog will take a second to pray for his soul. God is great, and God loves to demonstrate his power by converting the most blasphemous of men: look at Saul of Tarsus!

And let us not think that we are somehow better than the person who made this comment. We are not saved by merit, or by being washed with water, but by the grace of God. Therefore, with humility, let us:

Praise our Awesome Creator!


The Real Turretin on: Baptism

January 28, 2008

I found the following excerpt from Turretin in a Baptist essay (I have not checked its accuracy, and the point for which it was presented was clearly to suggest both a particular exegesis of the baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch and a particular historical claim as to the practice of the primitive church):

The passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea wonderfully agrees with our baptism, and represents the grace it was designed to express. For as, in baptism, when performed in the primitive manner, by immersion and emersion, descending into the water, and again going out of it, of which descent and ascent we have an example in the Eunuch, Acts 8:38, 39: yea, and what is more, as by this rite, when persons are immersed in water, they are overwhelmed, and, as it were, buried, and in a manner ‘buried together with Christ;’ and again, when they emerge, seem to be raised out of the grave, and are said ‘to rise again with Christ;’ Rom. 6:4, 5. Col. 2:12; so in the Mosaic baptism we have an immersion and an emersion; that when they – descended into the depth of the sea, this when they went out and came to the opposite shore. The former was an image of death; the latter of a resurrection. For, passing through the bottom of the sea, were they not near to death? and, escaping to the opposite shore, were they not as if revived from the dead? As in former times the persons to be baptized were immersed in the water, continued under the water, and emerged out of it; Matt. 3:16. Acts 8:38; so the old man died in them and was buried, and the new man arose.” Rom. 6:4. Col. 2:12. Disp. de Bap. Nubis and Mans, § 24. Inst. Theol., tom. 3, Loc. 19, Quaes. 11, § 14.

(as taken from here)

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