WATER BAPTISM: NOT a temporary practice  


DISCUSSION about whether water baptism was only a temporary practice during the pre-canon period of the church.

>> Indicates the proponent that water baptism should not be practiced today.
It is then followed by my comments.

>>It is essential that any pastor teacher who teaches on any subject pertaining to the Word of God understand the difference between the pre-canon period of the church age and the post-canon period.<<

There is nothing in the bible that indicates water baptism to be limited to the pre-canon period.

>>We all know, of course, that the scripture is God breathed, and that not one jot or tittle of the Word of God contradicts another.<<

This is true, but where is a contradiction if the baptism ritual is practiced by a local church or an evangelist? If you are talking about "contradiction" then you need clearly stated principles or facts that establish the existence of a contradiction. Furthermore, pastors do not always agree on all things. That does not make one particular pastor "right."

>>What does the Word of God tell us about water Baptism? It would be wise to look in the Word of God, instead of fabricating opinions and positions without the use of the scripture.<<

Are you REALLY being condescending in this manner?? Surely it was not intentional?!? Do you really think that those who hold a different view of a particular doctrine are "fabricating" without the use of scripture? Are we talking of our fellow "categorical" brothers here?

>>The apostle Paul, who was also the pastor-teacher to the Corinthians,<<

Was he? He never identifies himself as such. He always identifies himself as an apostle and as the instrument by which many of them were saved (I became your "father" through the gospel," (1 Cor. 4:15).

>>stated in 1st Corinthians 1:14-17 "I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone say that I had baptized in my own name. . . <<

Notice the REASON why he is glad that he did not baptize very many of them. It is because of the danger that they would attach some kind of merit to having been baptized my him. He is addressing the problem of human celebrity-ship (revolving one's spiritual value system around a MAN). I am of Paul, Apollos, Peter, Christ, Bob - - - He is not suggesting that baptism was not to be done - for indeed IT WAS DONE. And it was done while the Corinthian church was in GOOD SHAPE - at its inception, which is described at v. 1:5-7, "that in everything, you WERE enriched in Him, in all speech (communication activity) and all knowledge (content), even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed with you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ."

>>. . . For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ be made of no effect." The epistles contain the mystery doctrines of the church age, and it is here where we, as believers, derive our most unique spiritual life.<<

The activity in the book of Acts should not be separated from the instruction provided in Paul's Pre-imprisonment letters. It is all in the SAME TIME FRAME. Yes, we need to recognize the difference between that activity which is limited to the pre-canon period, but there is a lot in Acts which is general church age doctrine. Example: Acts 19:2, "did you receive the Holy Spirit WHEN you believed?" This is the way it is after the FORMAL administrations of the Spirit had occurred. It is not expected that when one believes, he receives the Spirit. This is church age, mystery doctrine - understood in Acts. Unless, the bible specifically tells us that water baptism is a "temporary" institution (such as it does with tongues and prophecy, etc.) then we need to be very careful about rejecting it.

>>One could argue and say that Paul only restricted water baptism from the Corinthians, because they were a carnal group of believers. However, that argument does not hold up, because even though the Corinthians were carnal, he gave them instructions on how to observe the communion service. He outlined a protocol for the Corinthians to follow. This if found in 1st Corinthians 12:17-34, and it is a very lengthy dissertation. If the ritual of water baptism were to be practiced today, then it would be logical to conclude that Paul would have given the church at Corinth a protocol to follow, just as he did with the communion.<<

Since chapter 12 is giving instructions for local assembly activity in reference to spiritual gifts ONLY - it seems not to be the place to bring up water baptism, so I don't think your logic here is valid. Furthermore, WHAT special instructions need to be given about water baptism? You go under the water - and then you come out.

>>Paul, however, said "I did not come to baptize." Therefore, why are pastors so eager to baptize, when Paul, the pastor-teacher of pastor-teachers, said that he did not come to baptize?<<

When Paul says that he did not come to baptize, he is giving precedence on the communication side of his ministry. He did not suggest that water baptism was NOT TO be done at all - indeed, IT WAS DONE - and it was done in the same context that Paul was operating under "I was not sent to baptize." OTHERS did it AND he did it. If he was sent "not to be baptize" - why did he do it. He did it because there were occasions when he was so inclined to be the one to carry out the mechanics of baptism (for whatever reason). It is not logical to suggest that since Paul was "not sent to baptize," that makes it only a pre-canon activity. Because he DID BAPTIZE. The point is, that "send not to baptize" MUST mean something other than the idea that baptism was only a pre-canon activity.

>>Of course, I am well aware of passages throughout the gospels and in Acts, in which water baptism was practiced. However, it is absolutely necessary to make a distinction between what was practiced in the pre-canon period of the church age and what should be practiced in the post-canon period of the church age.<<

I agree - but ONLY when the bible indicates that distinction, which it does not for baptism. There is no passage that tells us it is a pre-canon or temporary activity, is there? Just because it was practiced in the book of acts does not restrict it to a pre-canon activity. There are many things that were practiced in the book of acts that extend beyond the pre-canon period.

>>Water baptism did have a purpose, and it's purpose was served.<<

You need to provide references that show what that purpose is and how it has been served.

>>The only ritual that extends into the church age is the communion, as taught in 1st Corinthians, and water baptism is actually discouraged, because it causes problems within and, as you can see, between churches.<<

As I indicated above, there is nothing in the context that suggests that baptism is being discouraged. You are reading into it. EVERYTHING causes problems within and between churches -- that does not mean that these things should be discouraged. Such problems are a "people" problem, not a doctrine problem. Just because people are in disagreement and divided does not mean that the doctrine over which they are divided is wrong.

>>One thing is clear. The Word of God does not contradict itself.<<

Then you best find some CLEAR statements in the word that indicates the discontinuance of baptism. And in the absence of such clear statements, we certainly should be willing to swing the door both ways in favor of Christian unity. But then again, if one must insist on absolute agreement, then I choose to go with the clear, "un-reversed" instructions from Jesus and the apostles that baptism is a significant ritual of testimony for believers of the church age.

>>Acts is not an epistle. Most church age doctrines are derived from the epistles. Pre-canon doctrines of the church age are derived from Acts.<<

These statements are not consistent or accurate. Both pre-canon and post-canon truths are found in both Acts and the epistles.


Questions and comments are always welcome

Return to BIBLE FRAGRANCES index



İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.


Home | Recent Additions | Studies | Commentary


Prophecy | Articles | Topical | About Us