Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Importance of Baptism as Christ's Ordinance

Benji Ramsaur, a blogger friend and frequent commenter, emailed me the other day about the views of the 18th Century Sandy Creek Association of Baptist Churches on baptism.

Wade, I don't know if you ever thought about it, but it looks to me that the Sandy Creek Associaiton Confession (1816) is in agreement with you on Baptism and the Lord's Supper being ordinances of Christ. Here is statement #8 from their confession.

8. That baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of the Lord, and to be continued by his church until his second coming. (emphasis mine)

I already knew what Benji pointed out to me. Still, he has done a favor by reminding us all of the doctrinal beliefs of some of our Southern Baptist forefathers regarding the ordinance of baptism. If the Sandy Creek Baptists were correct about this ordinance, and I believe they were, then the believer's baptism identifies him as a follower of Jesus Christ. Let me repeat what I just wrote so it can sink in Baptism identifies a believer with Jesus Christ -- not a local church.

The local church's responsibility is to ensure that, as a prerequisite to church membership, the member candidate has identified himself with Christ through baptism by immersion. When I was baptized, I was not baptized 'into membership within a local church,' but I was baptized into Christ.

In other words, when Christ died for His people at Calvary, I was included with them and in Him, and my water baptism symbolizes my union and identification with Him in His death (Colossians 2;12). When Christ was wrapped in linen and buried in the tomb for His people, I was included with them and was in Him, and my baptism is a picture of my identification with Him during His burial (Romans 6). When Christ rose from the dead, making complete satifaction and atonment for the sins of His people, I was included with them and was in Him. My water baptism is my outward confession of my eternal possession -- deliverance from the wrath to come through the person and work of Jesus Christ for me.

The Practical Application of Baptism as the Lord's Ordinance

If you can locate a copy of Pascal's text on North Carolina Baptist History, you'll find this note (page 109, Vol. 2):

The only meeting house in which the visiting Moravian ministers preached was that on Deep Creek, 30 miles from Salem, finished in 1772. Nearly always Soelle's successors (Soelle was a Moravian missionary who often helped the Baptists) preached in the houses of the friendly families found there by Soelle; uusally they were heard by large and attentive congregations, of whom some were Baptists, including preachers and exhorters. On these visits the Moravian minister often baptized (by immersion) believing children brought by parents to the preacher at the homes where he was entertained.

It's worth noting that Moravian theology is derivative of Brethren and Lutheran theology. Their theology needs to be more transparent on the doctrine of eternal security. At best, they are ambiguous. Deep Creek was part of the Sandy Creek Association until 1805. These Baptists at Deep Creek church had absolutely no problem accepting into their fellowship believers who were baptized by a visiting Moravian evangelist because the baptisms performed by the guest Moravian evangelist did not identify the believers baptized by him with the Moravian church, the Moravian doctrine, or the Moravian movement -- it identified those believers with Jesus Christ.

What's good enough for the Sandy Creek Baptists in the 18th Century is good enough for my Southern Baptist church in the 21st Century. When someone petitions our church for membership, we examine their faith and baptism. Their faith is to be in Christ alone for salvation, and their baptism is to be by immersion, picturing the believer's identification with Christ. It's the Lord's ordinance, not ours.

In His Grace,



Strider said...

Wade, thanks for not letting this issue slide. I consider it a one and a half tier issue! We can not allow men to claim Jesus' baptism for themsleves and their organizations. It belongs to Christ. I posted on this a couple of weeks ago. To see what an IMB M is teaching you can check this out:
baptism teaching

Anonymous said...

We can agree, I think, that baptism does not belong to any particular church or denomination of churches, but to the true universal church, as hairy as that can be practically at times in function.
However, I think both you and Benji are making too much of the statement, "8. That baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of the Lord, and to be continued by his church until his second coming." At least it seems so, as the statement stands on its own without additional commentary from the writers. Would anyone deny that baptism belongs to the Lord? I don't think so. One could also just as easily emphasize the second half of their statement to support the view that baptism is to be carried out by the church, which they would then be left to define what the true church is. And we all define that down to one degree or another.
Brad said...


Good comment. I think you may find that when people stop talking about baptism being the Lord's ordinance and call it the church's ordinance, then baptism becomes the initiation rite into the local church and not what it really is, the identification with Christ that a believer makes known to the world.

Bob Cleveland said...


In Acts chapter 2, the church had finally arrived at the spiritual place that it's still at, 2000 years later. Jesus had come, been crucified, been resurrected, ascended, and the Holy Spirit had come to indwell believers. Peter's sermon to the crowd, 3000 of whom were saved, was the first display of the gospel as it now stands (other than the existence of the canon of scripture, today). So, when they asked him what they must do to be saved, his answer was the first one ever, given to seekers who sought to be saved in the same manner and with the same knowledge we have today.

So ... what was Peter's answer?

"Repent and be baptized, for the remission of sin."

From where I sit, baptism is of no effect for a non-believer, but it's a command for believers.


Why do we even argue about it?

peter lumpkins said...

Good Morning Wade,

I trust yesterday glorious. I liked your post but I am afraid the conclusion may not be warranted. You conclude:

"These Baptists at Deep Creek church had absolutely no problem accepting into their fellowship believers who were baptized by a visiting Moravian evangelist..."

First,, Wade, "these Baptists" did not constitute Deep Creek church until 1777 but the era you are speaking of seems to be about 1771-2.

Second, it's highly, unlikely that the folk bringing their children to be Baptized were Baptists. The text does not suggest such. But even more imortantly, Moravians almost exclusively spoke German. Indeed Mr. Murphy, the first pastor of Deep Creek (1777), was, according to Paschal, the only English speaking pastor till after the War.

How it is that it is so easily concluded that Baptists of the 18th century would be so accommodating to Moravian baptism when they were so darn particular pertaining to Baptism within their own fellowship--for Separate Baptists, only properly Baptized, properly ordained ministers could actually perform baptisms--is fantastic.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter said...

Mr. Peter Lumpkin,

I have forwarded your question asked in fantastic amazement to the resident expert on Separate Baptists, Mr. Gene Bridges, who himself is the one that gave me the Deep Creek anecdote. Mr. Bridges, you have my permission to take as long as you desire in response and to type as long a comment of a response as you desire.

I'll keep mine short and sweet. The Separate Baptists of Sandy Creek and the Charleston Baptists of Philadelphia Confession fame, both viewed baptism as an ordinance of the Lord, and would have followed John Gill on the ordinance of baptism in the beginning of their associational ties. Over time, in a departure from Scripture, and through an emphasis on unique American baptist tradition, the emphasis on the ordinance of baptism became as you view it today. Further, I hope you are not implying in your comment that a church, like Deep Creek, is NOT a Baptist church before or until they join an association of Baptist churches, are you?



Anonymous said...


Tremendous post! I have feared that in much of the swirl of other SBC events, we have forgotten the question of baptism and I'm more than thankful to see you address it again. I am hopeful that as more of us give careful, biblical thought to the idea of baptism and its relationship to the church we will conclude that it is an issue of identification with Christ and not the church.

I'm curious to know if you foresee the IMB Trustee Board revisiting the question of biblical baptism in the very near future?

Anonymous said...


Great post. I fully agree. Question: Would this mean that the Lord's Supper is an ordinance of the Lord as well, and not of the church? That would be how I read it. Would this argue against closed communion? I see no warrant for closed communion in Scripture at this point, but in taking that position, I realize that I am in disagreement with the BF&M2000 on that issue. What do you think?

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

Thank you for appealing to Gene Bridges as an authority on Separate Baptists. I look forward to his teatise, provided, of course, I have enough time to read it ;)

That Deep Creek followed "baptism as an ordinance of the Lord", as I read back through my comment, I am at a loss to what you are responding. And, whether they thought they were following Gill is something else entirely.

Personally, I think whatever position Separate Baptists held, they were tenaciously conscious, given their aversion to creeds and confessions, that their position adhered to Scripture, not Gill.

Even more vague to me is your final concern; "I hope you are not implying in your comment that a church, like Deep Creek, is NOT a Baptist church before or until they join an association of Baptist churches, are you?"

I do not recall, Wade, even alluding to Deep Creek joining an association, which they did sometime before 1790. I merely stated Deep Creek constituted as a church in 1777.

Consequently, it would be difficult for them to possess "no problem accepting into their fellowship believers who were baptized by a visiting Moravian evangelist..." before constituting as a Church. Even then, however, it's questionable that they would accept Moravian baptism.

I surely anticipate Gene's comments.

Grace. With that, I am...


Anonymous said...


Here's another good quote about the Sandy Creek Baptists. It seems to be that they would have been all for the IMB baptism guideline.

"Is it consistent with the spirit of the gospel, and according to the Scriptures, for any regular Baptist Church to receive into her fellowship any members or members of another denomination, who have been baptized by immersion, without baptized them again?"

The association responded:

"Answer: We think it is not. The vote on this query was unanimous. The Baptist is the only denomination that is not guilty of schism – of making a division when it came into existence. They existed prior to any Pedo-baptist denomination now in existence. Baptist have never seceded from any other denomination. All other denominations have either seceded from Rome or one another; they made a division when they came into existence, instead of receiving their baptisms as valid, they are to be marked and avoided for causing divisions. Romans 16:17

We cannot admit the validity of their baptism without admitting that they are true and Scriptural gospel churches, if we do this we unchurch ourselves, for God never step up or authorized but one Christian denomination. He is not the author of confusion or of antagonistic denominations.

The Baptist is the only denomination that can claim descent from the apostolic churches, though the true and persecuted and witnessing church, that fled into the wilderness for 1269 years. See Rev. 12:6 and 14

That the Baptist have descended from this true church is susceptible of the clearest proof. This is not true of any other denomination. We all know the day when, and the man or men who set them up, and no one of them had existence before A.D. 1500. Ordinances cannot be validly administered by both Baptists and Pedo-baptists. God is not the author of but one of them, consequently we cannot receive members upon baptism administered by them, without repudiating the ordinances administered by ourselves."

(In 1839, the association responded to a query from one of its churches asking about the validity of alien baptism. Please note that in 1839, J.R. Graves, the so-called founder of "Landmarkism", was but a youth of 19. The church’s query and the association’s answer are taken from Purefoy’s "History of the Sandy Creek Association", pg. 179. – Ben Stratton) said...

Ben, you are always welcome to post with your gracious attitude. I told my wife that this post would get a response from my gracious Landmark friend. :)

Thanks for making me an honest man. :)

Strider said...

Ben quotes:
Answer: We think it is not. The vote on this query was unanimous. The Baptist is the only denomination that is not guilty of schism – of making a division when it came into existence. They existed prior to any Pedo-baptist denomination now in existence. Baptist have never seceded from any other denomination. All other denominations have either seceded from Rome or one another; they made a division when they came into existence, instead of receiving their baptisms as valid, they are to be marked and avoided for causing divisions. Romans 16:17

This hurts my soul. It proves that the Sandy Creek boys were Arminian at least- If that isn't salvation by works I don't know what is. It certainly was God's lucky day when baptists decided to be baptists.

Thanks Ben, but I will stick with the Bible instead. We are baptized into Christ and just as he died once I only need to be baptized once. His Grace is sufficient for me as a baptist and to all who call upon him regardless of their 'schismatic' heritage.

volfan007 said...


i'm confused. how does ben's statement make the sandy creek boys arminian? and, what did you read in that quote that would make you think they taught a works salvation?

i'm no landmarkists, but i do believe that a church that holds to sound doctrine ought to baptise folks. i dont think we that we should call a mother baptising her children in her backyard and true baptism, nor should we call someone baptising a friend in a swimmng pool a true baptism. a church ought to baptise new believers, and they would become a part of that church family.


Anonymous said...

You said “Would anyone deny that baptism belongs to the Lord?”

Well, I think that is a good question. Look at these quotes by Dr. Brad Reynold’s.

“The committee rightly understood that baptism is an ordinance given to the local church as a prerequisite to church membership (article VII).”

“With a misunderstanding of ekklesia some argue that the “Great Commission” was given to the invisible universal church. However, the text (Matt 28:18-20) clearly states Jesus gave it to the disciples, who remained in Jerusalem and apparently gave it to the local church, which formed on the day of Pentecost. This deduction is arrived by understanding both the meaning of ekklesia and the authority of the local church in Acts.”

* Both quotes taken from Dr. Brad Reyonld's Blog "Guardian Ministries", post entitiled "Baptism, BFM2K, M's and Youth", Dec. 19, 2006.

It seems to me that Dr. Reynold’s is saying he thinks that the local church was “given” the ordinance of baptism from Jesus through the disciples. Now, if Jesus gave this ordinance away so that it ultimately ends up in the hands of the local church, then it seems to me that it is no longer His, but the local church’s. In other words, it seems, according to this view, to indeed end up a local church ordinance, not an ordinance of the Lord.

* I am certainly open to further clarification on this view.

Wade (or anyone else),

Are there any Baptist confessions that you know of before the twentieth century that communicated that baptism was an initiation right into the church?

Bob Cleveland said...


It seems to me, on reflection, that we're making two commands into one. The first commandment was to the guys in earshot, by Jesus, to go and baptize. The second was given to listeners at Pentecost to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.

If the church wants to think of itself and its authority and its position, that's one argument. But that has nothing to do with the believer. And the "church" seems more intent on that, than the real condition and the experience of the believer.

Maybe that's why the church has the name it does, in some circles. More concern for itself than for the believer.

Anonymous said...

I am not the student of church history that many of you obviously are, nor do I, as a church planter in the great Northeast, have the time to look this stuff up, so if some believe the ordinance no longer belongs to the Lord, but the church alone, then I am equally as chagrined as you.
My point was simply that the quote seems to state that because baptism belongs to the Lord, it also belongs to his bride the church. I also seem to remember that these baptists would define church pretty narrowly, if not exclusively. Therefore, if I emphasized the second portion of the quote I could make just as strong an argument for the church's authority over baptism as Christ's body in the earth. It all depends on how one defines "his church."
Brad Guenther

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, as some have already noted, I believe you are probably reading too much into both the 1816 confession and the reference to the Moravians.

Beyond that, I assume that your statement -- "What's good enough for the Sandy Creek Baptists in the 18th Century is good enough for my Southern Baptist church in the 21st Century" -- must be limited to what you think they believe about baptism? If not, where will you stand on washing the saints' feet, the holy kiss, anointing with oil, laying on of hands, etc. as ordinances?

I love Baptist history. The main problem with it, used as proof, is that it proves we have believed all kinds of things.

WTJeff said...

In past posts regarding egalitarianism, many argued that the simple, straight forward message of the scriptures supported a complimentarian position. Now, in an instance where the straight forward position of scripture seems to support baptism identifying one with Christ not a local church, it's argued we need to have a proper understanding of ekklesia in order to deduce otherwise. Please understand, Brad Reynolds could wipe the floor with me when it comes to matters such as these, and I don't mean to demean any conclusion he has reached. (Through hours of study, I'm sure.) It just seems to me that we all pick and choose at what times we rely on the "clear teaching of scripture" and when we need to understand something about the culture in which it was written.

If we applied a consistent hermeneutic, would this be the case? I ask for my own understanding, not with any agenda. I'm interested in what you guys have to say.


Jeff Parsons
Amarillo, TX

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,

One thing that is interesting is that the Sandy Creek Baptists actually fellowshiped with the Moravians.

By todays standard by virtue of the SB blogging world, the leaders of the Sandy Creek Baptists would be labeled as liberals who were trying to destroy the SBC.

Here`s why....

Count Zinzendorf (1700-1760) organized the Moravians into a church body by encouraging elders and pastors to seek God for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. Many twenty-four hour prayer meetings were conducted during his watch, where "praying, singing and weeping" was the norm.

On August 10, 1727 .. Pastor Routhe, a Moravian pastor, was leading a meeting at Herrnhut, when he was overwhelmed by the presence of the Lord and fell to the floor. The entire congregation, overwhelmed by the Spirit and presence of the Lord, sank to the floor with him. The service went on past midnight with prayer, singing, weeping and supplication.

After many of this type of meetings, Zinzendorf was quoted as saying "To believe against hope is the root of the gift of miracles; and I owe this testimony to our beloved Church, that Apostolic powers are there manifested. We have had undeniable proofs threrof in the unequivocal discovery of things, persons and circumstances which could not humanly have been discovered, in the healing of maladies in themselves incurable, such as cancers, consumptions, when the patient was in the agonies of death, all by means of prayer, or of a single word".

These folks don`t sound like the kind of Christians that most of the people that like to keep everything as first tier issues would associate with today.

Thankfully, the Sandy Creek Baptists didn`t have that problem.

Anonymous said...


Even if I highlighted the last part, the sense, to me, of the Sandy Creek statement still comes out like this:

That baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of the Lord, AND [these ordinances of the Lord are] TO BE CONTINUED [i.e., practiced] BY HIS CHURCH UNTIL HIS SECOND COMING.

Therefore, I don;t see how this statement can be saying that baptism is both an ordinance of the Lord and an ordinance of His church.

Continued by His church?


An ordinance of His church?

I don't see that.

Blessings to you


R. L. Vaughn said...

Alan Cross: "Question: Would this mean that the Lord's Supper is an ordinance of the Lord as well, and not of the church? That would be how I read it. Would this argue against closed communion?"

Alan, it seems that the Sandy Creek Baptists didn't think so. According to article 10 they held, "That the church has no right to admit any but regular baptized church members to communion at the Lord’s table."

ml said...


Here is an article from 1899 by Samule Ford from a Baptist History site about Baptist and Church membership [actually many of the articles are relatively good reading]. I believe you will find the article consistent with your viewpoint and well articulated in the old verncular. [OH There is also a great article on Wine-that is not a typo-and the other ordinance of the church.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Benji, you asked, "Are there any Baptist confessions that you know of before the twentieth century that communicated that baptism was an initiation right into the church?"

I am somewhat unsure of your question and terminology "initiation right", but assume you must be using the BF&M as your 20th century starting point? "Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper." -- BF&M 1963, 2000

Southern's Abstract of Principles and the New Hampshire Confession don't call baptism a "church ordinance", but carry the idea of it being prerequisite to church membership.

"Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus...It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord's Supper." -- Abstract of Principles of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1858

"We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost...that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a Church relation, and to the Lord's Supper..." -- New Hampshire Confession of Faith, 1833

Kehukee (1777) Association's article 16 is representative of a type of article once found among lots of local associations: "We believe that no minister has no [sic] right to administration of the ordinances, only as are regularly called and come under the imposition of hands by the presbytery." said...


Outstanding recommendation.

Thanks for the link. I would highly recommend everyone to read Does Baptism Admit To Membership In A Gospel Church

Anonymous said...

r.l. vaughn,

You are probably not the only one confused.

First of all, I misspelled a word. I should have said initiation "rite", not initiation right.


Second, I asked about something that Wade did not bring up in his post.

However, I do think the idea of baptism being an "initiation rite" might be connected to baptism being a "church ordinance".

Now, I understand the reality of the presence of confessional language talking about baptism being a prerequisite to church membership.

But, I don't think there is any communication of baptism being an "initiation rite" or a "church ordinance" in:

1. The First London Confession
2. The Second London Confession
3. Principles of Faith of The Sandy Creek Association
4. The New Hampshire Confession
5. The Abstract of Principles
6. The Baptist Faith and Message 1925

But when one finally gets up to the 1963 BF&M, it states "Christian baptism...Being a church ordinance..."

And the BF&M 2000 follows the 1963 with the exact same language--"Christian baptism...Being a church ordinance..."

So, this idea of baptism being a "church ordinance" seems, to me, to be of recent origin in relation to these important confessions I have mentioned (which are either SB or connected to SB history).


Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Here are the relevant articles of the “Principles of Faith of the Sandy Creek Association” (1816):

“6. That the visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful persons, who have obtained fellowship with each other, and have given themselves up to the Lord and one another; having agreed to keep up a godly discipline, according to the rules of the Gospel.
7. That Jesus Christ is the great head of the church, and that the government thereof is with the body.
8. That baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of the Lord, and to be continued by his church until his second coming.
9. That true believers are the only fit subjects of baptism, and that immersion is the only mode.
10. That the church has no right to admit any but regular baptized church members to communion at the Lord’s table.”

Strider said...

David the Volfan- Sorry about the obtuse Arminian joke. It was suppose to be funny because the reformed folks often accuse non-reformed arminian folks of 'works righteousness' based on the concept that they believe they must 'choose' God rather than salvation being completely a matter of God's grace. I don't want to debate that here. It just struck me funny because in Ben's quote of the Sandy Creek guys they sounded so arrogant to me. So full of the 'we are right and have always been right and we are much better than those schismatic guys across the road' that I just could not let it slide. I think someone somewhere said we should treat others better than ourselves- except when blogging of course.
I am sympathetic with your view of baptism. I love the church. I work hard to nuture and build up the church. But the view of Baptism as belonging to the church as its initiation right is no where in scripture- aside from the 1963 BFM of course. Church fellowship/membership is vital to the christian life but we are making a mistake when we use baptism to enforce church fellowship. Baptism is discussed thoroughly in the Word. It symbolizes our own deaths and our identification with Jesus Christ. The baptizer is never mentioned. The place of baptism is never specified. The time of baptism is NOW. Once someone is baptised into Christ then His Bride the Church has authority and responsibility to nuture and disciple that person. I think one could prayerfully add all kinds of rules and guidelines for our fellowship from that point- but baptism belongs to Jesus.

peter lumpkins said...


I trust you are well. It seems like I mentioned this before in one of our conversations. Allow me to throw this in on this thread.

You are correct that the 1963 and 2000 BF&M state that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are Church Ordinances: they read respectively: "Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper." (Article VII).

What you fail to note is that all three confessions of the 20th century also state that the ordinances are ordinances of Jesus Christ. Notice:

"A church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ..." (Article XII, The Gospel Church, 1925)

"A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two ordinances of Christ..." (Article VI, The Church, 1963)

"A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ..." (Article VI, The Church, 2000).

Apparently, 20th Century Baptists were not convinced, as you seem to be, that there is a strong disjunction between "Ordinance of Jesus Christ" and "Church Ordinance." And, frankly I agree with them. It is simply overreaching in the language, at least to me, to argue that the Baptist view of the ordinances has changed because of the alleged discrepancy you seem to find in "ordinance of Jesus" and "ordinance of the church."

Grace today. With that, I am...


ml said...

Wade and All,
The next obvious question concerns the mode of baptism? Does mode matter in cases were the baptism is legit as a believers connection to Jesus? OR do sprinkled people still need to be immersed if they come to a Baptist church?

Let me recommend a sermon used at North Point in Atlanta by Andy Stanley. I am not completely where he is, but wrestling through.

Go to the bottom of the page and listen or watch. This is a great sermon that touches on the issue being discussed and also talks about mode. It will take you about as long to listen as to read through one of the blog threads. :)

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Our church committee is still working on our constitution:

We believe that the ordinance of baptism is the immersion in water of a professed believer in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried and risen Savior, and his own death to sin, the burial of his old life and his resurrection to a new life in Jesus Christ as Lord. In following the Great Commission, the position of who baptizes is not important, but the Spirit of worship is important. Baptism is not identifying a believer with a local church, but it identifies him with Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...


You bring up a valid point about what those confessions say in relation to the ordinances. However, I have no recollection whatsoever of you mentioning to me something about baptism (if it is baptism you are referring to).

We have talked Sandy Creek, Particular Baptist, etc. before, but not baptism to my knowledge.

However, it still seems to me that the language of baptism being a "church ordinance" is recent language in the confessional history I alluded to.

And I am open to hearing an articulation of why that is, if I am correct, and an articulation for how baptism is both Christ's ordinance and the church's.

Also, I would like to hear an articulation of why there is a need to say that baptism is a church ordinance.

Take Care


Anonymous said...

In the early church - such as our example from the book of Acts - there wasn't a dichotomy between baptism and "membership" in the local church. Public baptism was a death sentence by either Rome or Judaism. If you presented yourself to an apostle, evangelist or elder to be baptized, you were also presenting yourself as commited to the local congregation (which by the way, was One - "one Lord, one faith, one baptism").

As Christianity spread into the second century, heresy and "renouncing Christ" due to persecution became common. To prevent this, the church established Baptismal Symbols (creeds - of which Iranaeus' Rule of Faith seems to be the first). They had to be learned AND confessed prior to (or on the day of) baptism. This was the point when the church became much more proprietary toward baptism and expanded its view of the nature of the church. Schisms only fueled this to a greater extent.

It seems to me that we should place a greater concentration upon the nature of the person's faith. This was root of the early church controversies, and where they focused most heavily. As far as I read - and I am far from an expert - there wasn't any rebaptizing. If there were, it sure wasn't emphasized or written about much at all. A baptized Montanist didn't need to be "rebaptized" upon joining the African church. One reason for this is that many schisms still believed the core essentials of the faith that made one a disciple of Christ. They needed to go through a penitence rite - but we'll save that for another discussion!

Robin Foster said...


If we are baptized into Christ alone, then that runs contrary to scripture.

1 Cor 12:13
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

What were we baptized into? One body?

When we take baptism and declare that we only baptize into Jesus, we separate Jesus from the body.

God Bless

Strider said...

The body is Christ- not your organization.

Robin Foster said...

Immanuel Baptist church is not an organizationl. We are part of the body of Christ. said...

One body - Christ is the head - and baptism is into HIS body -- not your organization Robin. said...

Bro. Robin,

Are people who are not members of your church 'part' of the body too?

ml said...

bro Robin,

I think the distinction here is not a local assembly or a denomination but the body universal. And I think the topic is in reference to baptism as an ordinance/ritual for church membership on a local level vs baptism as a link to Christ on a universal level [although I could be wrong]. Baptism as a connection to Christ suggests an acceptance of the body of Christ since one is aligning him or herself with the Christ movement universally [see the Ethopian and Philip]. But, as it is an act of obedience, I do not have a problem saying Baptism is one requirement for fellowship in our church so long as we do not confuse the baptism act as a membership ritual but as a distinct method to visualize our new association or connection with Christ. I think that is the heart of the issue. Should baptism be a membership ritual for a local assembly in contrast to a public statement of connection to the founder of a universal movement centered on obedience to Christ through faith. If you follow the logic in 1 Cor 12 this is an opening to the diversity of the body [not confused with a local assembly] arranged strategically by God universally. said...


Could not have said it better.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
I feel a little guilty on taking credit about ‘our church constitution on baptism’ as I added the last line after reading your post today.

Without analyzing your comment, what caught my eye, was your saying, “…there wasn’t any re-baptizing.”

In 251 AD, Anabaptist (the minority that never came out of the Catholic church as they followed the teachings of Jesus explained by Paul from day one) were given their ‘hated name’ by their enemies because they re-baptized those who had been baptized while babies for salvation.

Robin Foster said...

Bro. Wade

First, IBC is not MY organization nor is it an organization like the Lions Club. It belongs to Christ. A living vibrant body under the Lordship of Jesus.

Second, we all belong to the body of Christ, if we have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior.

I am sure you are in agreement with the BF&M when it states, "A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers" and when it says, "The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of theredeemed of all the ages."

There are two senses of which the church is spoken of in the NT.

Therefore, while IBC and other people are part of the redeemed of all ages, they are not part of this local body of baptized believers.

ml said...

bro Robin,

You are clear here and so the next question for you is this:

John comes to you. He is a Lutheran believer who accepted Christ as a young adult. Was baptized as a believer showing his connection with Christ and His body. Now he wants to fellowship with your assembly. What do you tell him? What does he have to "do"? If he must be re-Baptized then baptism has become a ritual for church membership. I think that is the heart of the discussion at hand.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
You’re right about NOT requiring re-baptizing of a ‘FORMER’ Lutheran. But surely you would require him to ‘believe’ like Baptists and NOT just because he wants to fellowship.

Robin Foster said...


We don't rebaptize anyone unless they request it. To not rebaptize someone is to treat the ordinance as a sacriment rather than what it is: A testimony of our identification with Christ and what he has done for us and our identification with the Body that has identified themselves with Christ also. It is a testimony all regenerate believers should be willing to make again. If this person is Lutheran then they most likely have been sprinkled and not baptized.

I would tell him of our identification with Christ and our local body as symbolic of the ordinance of Baptism. Baptism represents our identification with the death burial and resurrection of Christ. One significant aspect of this discussion that some don't agree with is eternal security that is represented in the resurrection. (Romans 6:8-9). Notice, if we have died with Christ (past tense) we will live with Him (Future tenses). When I trust Christ as my Lord and Savior, He promises to bring me to Him and eternity.

I know this may be more than you wanted, but I would ask him to be baptized. I believe that Wade would also if he has been sprinkled.

Sorry about the short answer, but I am on my way to an appointment. Thanks for the cordial discussion.

Anonymous said...


Can you give me a specific historical writing that refers to "Anabaptists" in 251 A.D.?

The only legitimate (and albeit, non-Landmarkist) reference to rebaptism is by Dionysius around 256 AD. Even with this, it is an indirect reference. The entire church (of which Dionysius took a prominent part) was CONSIDERING the question of rebaptizing heretics.

Using this example, the question was not about some small group of Christians who were rebaptizing those who had come from the larger catholic (small "c") church. The opposite was happening. It was the larger catholic church who debated the rebaptism of heretical sects. It was a debate - not an established practice, yet.

The very word "rebaptizer" or "Anabaptist" was not even used until the radical reformation. Landmarkists (of which I have several friends) have such a "romantic" view of their own theology.

For the record, I am a pastor of a Baptist church. We have baptized many people who were baptized as infants or sprinkled as adults (in the latter, usually by their request).


ml said...

Rex Ray, yes we would want them to agree in principle with the BFM.

Phil and Mary Ann said...


Mark Dever in chapter 10 "Baptism in the Context of the Local Church" of Believer's Baptism, edited by Tom Schreiner and Shawn Wright may answer your last question about baptism being an ordinance of the local church.


Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

In regard to the wording article on the church in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, notice the phrase “all of the redeemed of all the ages.” Notice the similarity to B. H. Carroll’s phrase “all the redeemed of all time” at the end of the following quote:

“Of the 117 instances of use in the New Testament certainly all but five (Acts 7:38; 19:32, 39, 42; Heb. 2:12) refer to Christ's ecclesia. And since Hebrews 2:12, though a quotation from the Old Testament, is prophetic, finding fulfillment in New Testament times, we need not regard it as an exception. These 113 uses of the word, including Hebrews 2:12, refer either to the particular assembly of Jesus Christ on earth, or to His general assembly in glory (heaven). . . . But while nearly all of the 113 instances of the use of ecclesia belong to the particular class, there are some instances, as Hebrews 12:23, and Ephesians 5:25-27, where the reference seems to be to the general assembly of Christ. But in every case the ecclesia is prospective, not actual. That is to say, there is not now, but there will be a general assembly of Christ's people. That general assembly will be composed of all the redeemed of all time.”

B. H. Carroll, “Ecclesia,”, accessed 23 April, 2007.

Carroll was the founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Carroll concluded:

“Here are three indisputable and very significant facts concerning Christ's general assembly:

(1) Many of its members, properly called out, are now in heaven.
(2) Many others of them, also called out, are here on earth.
(3) An indefinite number of them, yet to be called, are neither on earth nor in heaven, because they are yet unborn, and therefore non-existent.

It follows that if one part of the membership is now in heaven, another part on earth, another part not yet born, there is as yet no assembly, except in prospect.

And if a part is as yet non-existent, how can one say the general assembly exists now?

We may, however, properly speak of the general assembly now, because, though part of it yet non-existent, and though there has not yet been a gathering together of the other two parts, yet, the mind may conceive of that gathering as an accomplished fact.

In God's purposes and plans, the general assembly exists now, and also in our conceptions or anticipations, but certainly not as a fact. The details of God's purpose are now being worked out, and the process will continue until all the elect have been called, justified, glorified and assembled.”


Sorry about the length.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Dr. J. M. Carroll’s ‘Trail of Blood’ has a chart that shows Anabaptist were named in 251. Here are some quotes from his book:

Now to sum up the most significant events of this first five-century period:
(1) The gradual change from a democracy to a preacher-church government.
(2) The change from salvation by grace to Baptismal Salvation.
(3) The change from "believers' baptism" to "infant baptism."
(4) The Hierarchy organized. Marriage of church and state.
(5) Seat of empire changed to Constantinople.
(6) Infant baptism established by law and made compulsory.
(7) Christians begin to persecute Christians.
(8) The "Dark Ages" begin 426.
(9) The sword and torch rather than the gospel become the power of God (?) unto salvation.
(10) All semblance of "Religious liberty" dies and is buried and remains buried for many centuries.
(11) Loyal New Testament churches, by whatever name called, are hunted and hounded to the utmost limit of the new Catholic temporal power. Remnants scattered over the world are finding uncertain hiding places in forests and mountains, valleys, dens and caves of the earth.

Let it be remembered that changes like these here mentioned were not made in a day, nor even within a year. They came about slowly and never within all the churches. Some of the churches vigorously repudiated them. So much so that in A.D. 251, the loyal churches declared non-fellowship for those churches which accepted and practiced these errors. And thus came about the first real official separation among the churches.

These great churches necessarily had many preachers or elders (Acts 20:17). Some of the bishops or pastors began to assume authority not given them in the New Testament. They began to claim authority over other and smaller churches. They, with their many elders, began to lord it over God's heritage (III John 9). Here was the beginning of an error which has grown and multiplied into many other seriously hurtful errors. Here was the beginning of different orders in the ministry running up finally to what is practiced now by others as well as Catholics. Here began what resulted in an entire change from the original democratic policy and government of the early churches. This irregularity began in a small way, even before the close of the second century. This was possibly the first serious departure from the New Testament church order.

Brian, did you notice the first change was “from a democracy to a preacher-church government”? I think history is being repeated by Baptist church autonomy being “governed by His laws” as interpreted by the SBC in the BFM.

Anonymous said...


Where do we find a NT church with a democratic form of govenment? I can't think of an example.


Anonymous said...


Where do we find a NT church with a democratic form of govenment? I can't think of an example.


ml said...

bro Robin,

In one place you appeal to a reference to one faith one baptism but then suggest a willingness to be re-baptized [over and over?]. The only instance that I see of a "re-baptism" is when the disciples of John are baptized in the name of Jesus. Which is a new association for them to the cause of Christ. Hence, once one is baptized "in the name of Jesus" that is it. There does not have to be any more baptisms; unless baptism is a ritual for church membership or you could unbaptize someone. Also, I don't see this as sacrimental since baptism is not salvific--the thief on the cross was not baptized and had no opportunity to obediently follow Christ in this way. But your reply goes to the heart of a thread I have been trying to see how different people would respond. Here it is stated differently [and I am questioning the logic of the syllogistic logic seen throughout this thread on this conclusion even though I admittedly also operate under it]:
1. baptism is an act of obedience by a believer showing a connection with Christ through his suffering and resurrection
2. Baptism is by immersion [I heartly confess this is the plain interpretation of the transliterated word] into the name of Jesus
3. Anyone not immersed is in direct disobedience to God and not a member of the boby of Christ?

For example, Bro Brian wrote: If this person is Lutheran then they most likely have been sprinkled and not baptized. The implication here is this: if baptism [by immersion] is a requirement for church membership then the only "true" churches are those that are assembled believers who have been immersed. The conclusion is stated no less emphatically than by J.M. Pendelton, Eaton et. al., when he says [as quoted by R. Stanton Norman in More Than Just A Name] "an unimmersed congregation . . . even if a congregation of believers, is NOT a New Testament church . . . There can be no visible church without baptism." [emphasis mine]

Wade correct me if I am wrong but is this the very issue to which you are trying to narrow in on? does mode matter? I beileve infant baptism is invalid since it cannot be a believers baptism. Can an adult who is sprinkled in Jesus' name be said to have a valid baptism experience? That is where Andy Stanley concludes in his sermon on Baptism. What about others? I am not here completely, but if the intent of Baptism is to connect with Jesus as an act of obedience does mode matter? Has anby one read Wayne Ward on this?

Just thinking out loud.

Anonymous said...

Anon or Rex Ray (I'm not sure who's who),

I asked for a specific historical reference. Because you cited "The Trail of Blood," the following comment I made still seems to stand:

The only legitimate (and albeit, non-Landmarkist) reference to rebaptism is by Dionysius around 256 AD.

I am familiar with Carroll's work; however, I wouldn't use a book that is disputed among Baptists as a historical prooftext for Baptist successionism.

I recommend the book Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History by Goldrick - a former Landmark adherant.

Since the goal of this post was NOT to debate the validity of the Landmarkism, I will refrain from commenting further - unless it directly pertains to baptism.


I'm sorry for getting off track, here. I certainly don't mean to hijack your post.

Brian Giaquinto

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that we Baptists are double minded on this issue and we always will be. We very strongly proclaim that baptism has no salvific properties, i.e. you can be a Christian, and even go to heaven if you haven't been baptized. In other words, baptism does not "save" anyone. But, we also say that you can't be a member of a baptist church unless you have been baptized by immersion. So, you can be a "christian" without being baptized, but you can't be a "baptist" without being baptized. It seems to me, that would make baptism an initiation rite into the baptist church, whether we want to admit it or not. The real question is are we baptists first, or christians first.


Anonymous said...


we are christians first and baptists second, of course. but, if you want to be a baptist christian then you need to get baptised.


davidinflorida said...

Pastor Brian,

I believe that it would be hard to find a reference to Anabaptists around the year 250, as they as part of the Reform movement around 1500.

They didn`t believe in baptizing infants, only believers. Because of this, they were severely persecuted.

They would probably be persecuted by some hear today, as it was not unusual for the Anabaptists to dance, fall under the power of the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues.

peter lumpkins said...


I very well could be mistaken about conversing with you about this particular issue. Yet my concern still is valid, of course.

What it seems to me you must demonstrate is that, given the only three convention wide confessions we possess and their apparent interchangibility between "Church Ordinances" and "Ordinances of Christ" how Baptists forsook the view that the ordinances were Christ's and not the Church's. It seems like a pretty doggone big task to me.

Grace, Benji. With that, I am...


R. L. Vaughn said...

Benji, thanks for your explanation on "initiation rite" and "church ordinance".

All, coming back to the thought in the original post -- using the Sandy Creek Baptists as exemplary on the ordinance of baptism -- what do you think about the fact that most of the early Separate Baptists held to nine rites rather than two? Does their acceptance of other ordinances give you pause when it comes to their view of the ordinance of baptism?

Just curious. It doesn't bother me much.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Peter: The question I have is, holding your view, where does that leave Christ?

Anonymous said...


You said "What it seems to me you must demonstrate is that, given the only three convention wide confessions we possess and their apparent interchangibility between "Church Ordinances" and "Ordinances of Christ" how Baptists forsook the view that the ordinances were Christ's and not the Church's."

What I am wondering is why there was a perceived need to add the language of "church ordinance" to a BF&M well after 100 years of Southern Baptist history.

Why was merely communicating that baptism was an ordinance of Christ not seen as sufficient?

RKSOKC66 said...

If one could gain knowledge about the proper theology through experience then I would be able to weigh in on this issue.

I have been baptized three times:

1. As an infant (sprinkling)

2. As a teenager by immersion in a church that I later found out believes -- incorectly -- that baptism is necessary for salvation.

3. As a teenager by immersion in an SBC church.

I am not counting on any combination of these to really count much with God.

I think it strange that evidently all sides in this debate acknowledge that a person can be a Baptist but not a Christian or a Christian but not a Baptist and one of the demarcation points is mode of baptism, and who administers it, and for what reason.

To me -- as a dumb layman -- this is close to arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

If anyone thinks I should be Baptised a forth time for some reason I guess I'd comply.

I'm always pretty complient when it comes to these "arguments between warring baptist camps". I simultaneously agree with both sides of many issues -- because to me virtually all issues are tertiary.

I'm so simplistic that to me all three BF&Ms are the "same".

peter lumpkins said...

Hey Debbie,

In all honesty, I was reiterating what I thought was the view of those Baptists who drew up and accepted the BF&M beginning in 1925. And, given the language, it seems to me they used "Ordinances of Christ" and "Church Ordinances" interchangibly.

But to answer your question about my view, I see, similar to the 20thC Baptists, no need to avoid holding simultaneously that the ordinances of Jesus Christ are also ordinances of His Church.

Thus when we speak of Ordinances as "of Christ" what do we mean but that they are FROM HIM as to origin and source? He stands behind them and validates them as from God.

On the other hand, when we speak of Ordinances as "of the Church," we surely mean something distinctive but not to be separated FROM CHRIST its source. Rather, the Church is the steward of them, in the very same sense that she is the steward of the Gospel. Thus, they are ORDAINED by CHRIST as the source & authority, but they BELONG now to the CHURCH to dispense. The Church carries out the ORDAIN-ANCE.

And, at that point, it seems to me, is where the real debate begins. The discussion about the Lord's Supper & Baptism is really a discussion about ecclesiology. I am definitively not a Landmarkist, if by that one means to trace the one and only true Church back to the 1st Century. It is neither possible, in my view, nor necessary.

On the other hand, those folk like myself who find a strong, Local Church motif in the NT have often been mistaken as Landmarkists for the similarities just stated. Good Professors like Drs. Brad Reynolds and Malcolm Yarnell have, even from this community, been mistakenly identified as Landmark as well. And understand, I have respect for Landmarkism as a viable view. I just don't embrace it.

That said, Christ gave believer's baptism by immersion to His Church to dispense upon all those who offer a credible, public vow to follow Christ. And who dispenses it but the Local Church of the Lord Jesus? For my part, the debate about baptism was long ago settled.

Grace, Debbie. With that, I am...


peter lumpkins said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for asking. But, it really wasn't 100 years lapsing before Southern Baptists "added" anything, to my knowledge, about Baptism.

The very first confession of faith voted on by SBs was the 1925 version. Language about Baptism & Lord's Supper being both "Church Ordinances" and "Ordinances of Jesus Christ" are incipient from the beginning of our confessional existence.

E.Y. Mullins in his little volume entitled Baptist Beliefs, written in 1912, over a decade before the 1925 BF&M, wrote clearly of "Ordinances of Jesus Christ" and "Church Ordinances."

In the final paragraph under the heading "The Church", he writes: "The ordinances of a church are baptism and the Lord's Supper." One paragraph later, under the heading "Baptism", he could note without the least hesitation "Baptism is an ordinance of Jesus Christ establisned for perpetual observance by his people." (pp.67,68 respectively).

From my understanding, there is not a change at all. Rather it seems it may be those today who, because they may not possess a strong, Local Church motif found in the NT by Southern Baptists before us, may be attempting to read their views back into them. Consequently, confusion persists.

I trust your evening well. With that, I am...


Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
You asked, “Where do we find a NT church with a democratic form of government?”

By the actions of the first church counsel at the Jerusalem church in Acts 15, I believe it was democratic by the amount of discussion.

“So the apostles and church elders set a further meeting to decide this question.” (verse 6)

If it was ‘elder rule’, after this private meeting of the ‘higher ups’, their decision would have been announced and the meeting would have been over.

But it wasn’t over. I believe Peter tried to give the decision of the private meeting. “…after long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows…” (verse 7) And after he spoke, it still wasn’t over was it?

It wasn’t over even when James stabbed the private meeting in the back.

It was over when the multitude that Peter had shamed into silence had a one hour standing ovation for James for keeping the hated Gentiles from having a free gift of salvation that they had been working for all their lives.

Their voices were a majority vote that drowned out any protest or further words from Peter and Paul. The majority had voted and the majority was wrong.

Of course the last part is not in the Bible…only a speculation how the roots of Catholics started their ballgame with a homerun.

Anonymous said...


I seems to me that your reply misses the mark. Where does this proove the church settled on a democratic form of rule? And where is there any support for such a notion in the rest of the NT? I think the form of rule you admire is fairly recent and mostly American in its origin, but you may be able to better instruct me on this.


Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
“You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.” (Acts 21:20) There could have been 20 to 50 thousand in the Jerusalem church.

“Our Jewish Christians here at Jerusalem have been told that you are against the laws of Moses, against our Jewish customs, and that you forbid the circumcision of their children. (verse 21) Ut oh, they’ve been told Paul is a bad guy.

“Now what can be done? For they will certainly hear that you have come.” (verse 22) Looks like Paul is on a ‘Dead or Alive’ poster.

It seems James and the elders had no problem with Paul. If the church had NOT been democratic, their ruling could have removed him out of danger.

Anonymous said...

I respect your opinion, but still can't quite buy into the notion that the early church was ruled by the vote of individual members,
within separate congregations.

But, I have a lot to learn about many things, this matter being one of them.


R. L. Vaughn said...

Peter Lumpkins: "[some]...may be attempting to read their views back into them. Consequently, confusion persists."

Peter, I agree that we often create problems reading our own concepts back into historical documents. In connection with confessions/articles of faith, it is good to read the writings of contemporary Baptists (contemporary with the confession).

Anonymous said...


You said “From my understanding, there is NOT A CHANGE AT ALL. Rather it seems it may be those today who, because they may not possess a strong, Local Church motif found in the NT by SOUTHERN BAPTISTS BEFORE US, may be attempting to read their views back into them. Consequently, confusion persists.” (emphasis mine)

Modern SBC man: “IV. Church: Proper baptism must be performed in connection with a true church. BAPTISM IS A CHURCH ORDINANCE AND NOT A CHRISTIAN ORDINANCE. As this is perhaps the least understood view, a necessary discussion of the definition of a true church must also occur.”--Dr. Thomas White []


Thank you for the quote from Mullins. Do you (or anybody else) have any quotes from the Southern Baptists of the 19th century calling baptism a church ordinance?

I am open to seeing that kind of language from those older SBC Baptists if it exists.

Phil and Mary Ann,

Thank you

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Phil & Mary Ann,

Greetings. Thank you for the quotes. I'd like to respond, if I may.

First, Drs. White & Dagg were using "Christian Ordinance" in entirely two different ways. Dr. White was attempting to maintain that Baptism does not and should not reside in the authority of a single Christian to administer.

Thus as he explains the heading you cited, (#IV), he speaks of the inappropriateness of a six-year old boy baptizing in his back yard, among other things. Interestingly, Dr. Dagg surely would agree, for he argues that only qualified ministers should baptize.

He writes: "From the investigations in the preceding part of this work, we have learned that a candidate has no right to baptize himself, or select his own administrator, without regard to his being duly qualified according to the divine will. The proper administrators are persons called of God to the ministerial office, and introduced into it according to the order established by the apostles. To such persons the candidate was bound to apply; and, if he received the ordinance from any other, it was as if he had selected the administrator at his own will, or had immersed himself."

On the other hand, Dr. Dagg used "Christian Ordinance" in a general sense as you employ here.

In addition, Dagg is most explicit in his insistence that Baptism is both an initiatory rite into the local church as well as uses terms pertaining to Ordinances similarly interchangible as did Dr. Mullins and the early BFM (1925).

Dagg writes of the ordinances:

"The Lord's supper is properly a church ordinance"

"Regarding the Lord's supper as an ordinance committed to the local churches, to be observed by them as such, the question, who are entitled to the privilege of communion, is decided by a simple principle. None are to be admitted but those who can be admitted to the membership of the church."

"[Dagg warned to not]corrupt any of Christ's ordinances" and to "keep the ordinances of God as they were delivered." (here speaking of Baptism and The Supper)

"The Lord's supper, in a lively figure, shows forth the death of Christ; and baptism his burial and resurrection. These standing ordinances of the Christian church lead the mind directly to the great Author of our salvation, and to the atoning sacrifice by which that salvation had been effected."

"There is, indeed, one passage, and only one, in which the washing of feet is mentioned; and this passage, 1 Tim. v. 10, furnishes decisive proof that it was not practiced as a church ordinance, as were baptism and the Lord's supper."

"It is our duty to maintain the ordinances of Christ, and the church order which he has instituted..."

"The idea that immersion, as an ordinance of Christ's church, is incompatible with his design that his religion should spread to all nations and climates, is alike disproved by Scripture, and by the facts of history in the spread of Christianity."

Actually, there are many more quotes than these that conclusively demonstrate Dr. Dagg's view that Baptism was an initiatory rite and ceremony, the lack of which, barred one from local church membership. Moreover, one may easily observe he used interchangibly "Christ's Ordinances", "Ordinances of God", Ordinances of the Church" for Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Dagg wrote in 1858. This pattern of speaking about the Ordinances is well established Baptist doctrine.

Grace. With that, I am...


peter lumpkins said...

Dear r.l.vaughn

I most wholeheartedly agree, my brother. Hence, the Mullins' commentary was most helpful. Note also the string of quotes from Dr. Dagg.

With that, I am...


Phil and Mary Ann said...


Someone is using my name and attributing statements to me that are not mine. The only thing I wrote was a reference to a chapter Mark Dever wrote on April 24. Someone else is using my name.


Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
I’m sorry I haven’t been completely honest with you. I thought my pastor was you until I asked him about it. (We have discussions.) I thought I was writing to him when I wrote: “It seems James and the elders had no problem with Paul.” (That’s what most people think, but not me.) They didn’t tell they were the ones that told how ‘bad’ Paul was. Now, they had a tiger by the tail: if their congregation stoned Paul, what would Gentile Christians think of them?

Birth of Christianity p. 466 “James was the authoritative leader of the Jerusalem mother-church, which was operating two major missions, one to the Jews and one to the pagans. In a combined community, such as that at Antioch, Christian Judaism had to prevail over Christian paganism. Peter and Barnabas presumed that kosher regulations were no longer important. Before James’s intervention, they ate with the pagans like pagans.”

In a nutshell, the Jerusalem church was democratic but ‘controlled’ by their leaders. Paul’s churches were democratic, but as soon as he left “false teachers…[with] long letters of recommendation [would] tell them they must obey ever law of God or die.” (2 Corinthians 3: 1, 6)

“…have fooled you into thinking they are Christ’s apostles. They make you their slaves and take everything you have, and take advantage of you, and put on airs, and slap you in the face.” (2 Corinthians 11:13, 20)

“…Christians—false ones, really—who came to spy on us to see what freedom we enjoyed in Christ, as to whether we obeyed the Jewish laws or not. They tried to get us all tied up in their rules.” (Galatians 2:4, 5)

Wade, I apologize as this is a long way from ‘baptism.’

Anonymous said...

Peter, Phil and Mary Ann,

Allow me to clear away the confusion (I hope).

I have had difficulties posting things on Wade's blog and I had to send my comment to another to post it for me. When I originally sent it I told this person to put my name at the bottom because I made the mistake of not putting it down when I sent it to him. Somehow he made a mistake and did not put it down in the comment section before he published my comment. But there is nothing intentional on both our parts. However, Phil and Mary Ann, I am sorry for my mistake, and Peter, I am sorry for the misunderstanding.

If you look at phil and mary ann's name at the bottom, there is a "comma" after it and then a Thank you. I was thanking them for the Dever reference.

And Peter thank you for the Dagg quotes. I’m not sure if he saw it as an initiation rite but he did clearly communicate that Baptism was a church ordinance.

I hope I have, by God’s grace, tried to approach this subject as one open to learning and both of you have helped me.

Thank you.

Benji [there I got it:)]

peter lumpkins said...


Thanks, Benji for the clarification. And I am sure that Phil is understanding as well.

I concede to you Dr. Dagg is surely not as clear in displaying his view of Baptism as an initiation rite as he is in displaying the interchangability of "Church Ordinance" and "Christ's Ordinance." And, I thank you for pointing that out, my brother.

Given that, it's been much too long since Dr. Dagg and I had some good fellowship. I think I may go and sit with him over the next few weeks or so and point blank ask: "Professor Dagg: The way you see it, do you think baptism is viewed as an initiatory ceremony or rite in entering the NT Church?"

Grace, today, Benji. I am glad we all continue to learn from one another. I am always challenged by your thoughts.

With that, I am...


peter lumpkins said...

Dear Phil,

I am sorry for the confusion. And I believe Benji has clearly communicated the glitch.

Grace to you today. With that, I am...


Anonymous said...

A few more late thoughts/points.

1. The emphasis was mine in the Dr. Thomas White quote above.

2. I simply said of Dagg that "he did clearly communicate that Baptism was a church ordinance." Therefore, Peter thanking me for communicating that "Dr. Dagg is surely not as clear in displaying his view of Baptism as an initiation rite as he is in displaying the interchangability of 'Church Ordinance' and 'Christ's Ordinance.'" is without justification since that is not what I communicated.

3. Since "Ordinance of the Lord" has a distinctive meaning from "Ordinance of the church", then it seems, to me, that only the first ordinance meaning can be found in the pre-1963 Historical Baptist Confessions I mentioned.


Anonymous said...

A little more clarification on point #2 above.

What I am trying to get at is that I said nothing about the "interchangeability" that Peter claims I did.


peter lumpkins said...

Dear Benji,

Actually I was looking back thinking I might see Mr Bridges' comment since Wade had said he forwarded to him as the "resident expert' for Separate Baptists. Sometimes Mr. Bridges writes these belated messages. Thus the last couple of comments you penned, I found surprising.

First, you simply misread what I actually wrote. I was not quoting you when I offered my concession, Benji, about "interchangibility." That is my term, not yours. What you did concede is that Dr. Dagg viewed Ordinances as 'of the Church."

Second, Benji, point #3, makes simply no useful sense. From my perspective, you'd have been better served to have let this lie and pick it up another day. As it stands now, the very good conversation we experienced ends with a confused, mangled "correction."

I trust for you a graced weekend. With that, I am...


Anonymous said...


You said "I thank you for pointing that out..."

What else could you be claiming I pointed out other than that "Dr. Dagg is surely not as clear in displaying his view of Baptism as an initiation rite as he is in displaying the interchangability of 'Church Ordinance' and 'Christ's Ordinance.'"?

One does not have to quote another to claim that someone else communicated something.

In fact, you also seem to be claiming that I believed Dagg did display "his view of Baptism as an initiation rite".

Please explain. I have certainly been wrong before in misunderstanding what people have communicated.

Thank you