Comparing Biblical Tradition With Modern Denominational Practices Of Baptism

2661 words - 11 pages

Comparing Biblical Tradition with Modern Denominational Practices of Baptism

One of the main reasons for the different denominations is their core, or fundamental, difference of belief concerning baptism. I hope to show many of the individual beliefs that are held by the different denominations, and to go back to the Bible and show what it has to say concerning baptism. The point is not to distinguish who is right and who is wrong, but to make people think about what they have been taught in their denomination, and to compare it to what the Bible has to say on the matter. If we go back to the original Greek we find several words used for baptism, baptizing, and baptized. All of these words have their root in the Greek word ƒÒƒÑƒàƒäƒç, Bapto; meaning to overwhelm, i.e. cover wholly with a fluid. The most common Greek word used to describe the act of baptism is ƒÒƒÑƒàƒä_ƒê_ƒÙƒå. This is the word used throughout scripture for baptism. If translated directly into the English language, its meaning is: "The process by which a man or object is completely immersed in water and then withdrawn from it again." (Barth 1948) This is what John the Baptist did; he baptized them by immersion in the Jordan River that came to him, after they repented of their sins (Matthew 3, Mark 1, and Luke 3). Here we have our requirements for baptism as laid out by the Bible: 1) You must repent of your sins 2) You must be immersed in water 3) You must come to be baptized (not be brought) Later in Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus adds to these requirements that the believer: 4)Be baptized by another believer 5)Be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit According to the scriptures "John the son of Zechariah in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar came out of the wilderness and preached baptism for the repentance of sins" (Luke 3; RSV). He baptized people in the River Jordan, amongst those that he baptized was Jesus. He only baptized those who came out to him and repented of their sins. Upon Jesus's request, John, who did not believe himself worthy to baptize Christ, did so. Even here with Christ's own baptism we see him following the second, third, and fourth rules. As for the first and fifth rules Christ was without sin and thereby had no need to repent of it and Christ had not given the command of the fifth yet. Here Jesus himself is showing us that baptism is something good and, something that every believer should do. Jesus even says that this own baptism is "fitting(ƒàƒâ_ƒàƒßƒÞ) to fulfil all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15 RSV). The Greek word ƒàƒâ_ƒàƒßƒÞ presumably indicates, in an indirect manner, the divine will (Beasley-Murray 1963). This implies God's own will in Jesus's baptism. God himself endorses baptism again by opening the heavens after Jesus's baptism and says " This is my son in whom I am well pleased"(Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22 RSV). We also see that Jesus himself told his disciples to baptize people early on in his ministry...

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