Having studied the Bible and writings of learned men for more than forty-five years on the subject contained in this little booklet, during which time I made a trip through Bible lands, I am thoroughly and clearly convinced that pouring or sprinkling water upon a person in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is the proper mode of baptism, pouring and sprinkling coming from the same root word. To reinforce this opinion I am herewith giving some statements from some of the most learned Greek scholars. The first is from Robinsons Greek and English Lexicon, considered one of the best on the New Testament. He says: "In the earliest Latin versions of the New Testament, as for example, the Itala, which Augustine regarded as the best of all and which goes back apparently to the second century and to usage connected with apostolic age, the Greek verb baptizo is uniformly given in the Latin form baptizo, and is never translated by immergo or any like word; showing that there was something in the rite of baptism to which the latter did not correspond. The baptismal fonts still found among the ruins of the most ancient Greek churches in Palestine, as at Tekoa and Gophna, and going back apparently to very early times, arc not large enough to admit of the baptism of adult persons by immersion; and were obviously never intended for that use."
I wrote a series of articles on "Why Baptize by Pouring and Baptize Babies," and such a demand came for the articles that I decided to put them in booklet form.
While some believe that immersion is the proper mode of baptism, the majority of Protestants believe affusion Is the mode taught in the Bible.
Some who do not agree with us on the mode of water baptism are asking why we do not discuss this subject more if we have any authority in the Bible for our belief.
These articles will at least be a gesture toward answering this question. Another reason is that our preachers seldom discuss water baptism, because they do not believe it is essential to salvation, consequently the most of our members know very little as to what we believe about it. Our members are anxious to know more about what we believe and why we believe as we do. I am sure that our people and others not of our persuasion, who are fair and honest, will welcome this free discussion. Some preachers of some other churches give their opinions on water baptism almost every time they preach, and others do it quite often. Why should not others be accorded this privilege of expressing their views on this subject?
When I was a boy I was baptized by pouring and I was perfectly satisfied. Afterward I heard much preaching that consigned all persons to the bad world who were not immersed. I was made to believe that I might be lost if I did not change my mind about baptism. No one can imagine the unnecessary torture I endured for a long time.
I decided to let the Bible settle the matter and not man. I was made to believe, from the study of the Old Testament, the only Bible the prophets, Jesus and the apostles had, that there was not a single passage in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, that proved immersion as the proper mode of baptism-that immersion did not symbolize what God and the Son of God intended.
The word "immerse" or "immersion" is not found in the King James translation of the Bible, considered by the greatest Bible scholars to be the best translation ever given to the world.
There are thousands in our churches who are confused about the mode of water baptism. Many persons have joined immersionist churches simply because they did not understand the full meaning of water baptism. I can readily see how people become confused over this question. I suffered torture over it. All the explanation I ever heard about the matter was from churches that immerse. "They went down into the water," Jesus "baptized in the river Jordan," "Buried with Christ," "much water," and other such expressions look like immersion to those who do not study the Bible in its true light and meaning. I was unlearned in the Bible and therefore greatly disturbed. I did not know that baptism had been administered fifteen hundred years by sprinkling and pouring before John the Baptist was born. I did not know then that there was no other Bible up to A.D. 100 except the Old Bible called the Scriptures. I did not understand "the law and prophets" that required sprinkling and pouring as baptism and that water used in these ceremonies had to be clean and from running streams. I did not know that a priest had to be thirty years old before he was dedicated as an officiating priest. I did not know that the place where the Eunuch was baptized was a desert and no river there. I did not know that "buried with Christ" meant buried with Him "into death" and not in water. I did not know that "in Jordan" had the same meaning as "in Galilee" and "in Samaria," and that "into the water" meant the same as "into a mountain" and "into the sycamore tree." Jesus went up "into a mountain" and Zaccheus "climbed up into a sycamore tree" and we know that Christ did not go under the dirt or Zaccheus under the bark of the tree.
I did not know that "much water" in the Greek meant "many springs." But after the study of the Bible very closely for more than forty-five years the whole thing is clear.
Those who practice immersion believe that it represents the burial and resurrection of Christ. I believe that water baptism represents the baptism of the Holy Ghost and that this was performed by pouring.
"The Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that lie said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 11:15-16).
Peter is here reminded that Johns baptism was by pouring, for at Jerusalem the Holy Ghost baptism was by pouring. How could "with water" mean immersion, if "with the Holy Ghost" means pouring? See Acts 1:5, "Holy Ghost is come upon you." Isaiah 32:15, "Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high."
The manner of the purifying of the Jews was by sprinkling and pouring. These signified purity. These were so common that sprinkling and pouring are mentioned in the Bible more than 200 times. The Jews sprinkled the people and vessels (see Heb. 9:19-21) and this was a symbol of the purifying of the Holy Ghost. At the marriage in Cana of Galilee, when Jesus performed His first miracle, we read in John 2:6, "And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews."
In the Bible we do not read of rubber suits, baptistries and persons being taken to rivers and creeks as is the custom today. Such are modern inventions and do not belong to apostolic days.
If immersion were the only mode of baptism, many people in the icy regions of the North and deserts like the Sahara where sufficient water could not be secured could not be baptized and God would have commanded an impossibility.
While water baptism is a sacred ordinance and represents the most holy thing in the church Holy -Ghost-yet a wrong emphasis is placed upon it by many people until it seems some would almost idolize it.
It seems that many have put more stress upon the outward ordinance than inward work of the Holy Ghost. People did this in the days of Paul and the apostles. Read carefully the epistles of Paul and you will see that one of the burdens of his ministry was to keep Jewish converts from putting too much stress on outward ordinances such as circumcision, washings, baptisms, etc. He finally exclaimed, "I thank God that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius," etc. "For Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel." "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross."
With the exception of a mere statement about baptism, Jesus never preached a sermon on the subject, neither did Paul nor the apostles. Jesus never baptized a person nor as far as turning to a verse in the Bible and proving it by chapter and verse, can we find where one of the twelve apostles or the eight writers of the New Testament except Paul, was baptized by any mode or baptized any candidate. We infer from certain passages of scripture that they did baptize some, but proving it in the absolute is another thing. Where were Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James and Jude baptized, and where does the Bible say positively that they baptized anyone?
Challenge: Find where any descendant of the early Christians was baptized in mature years! This is proof of infant baptism.
There are two sacraments ordained of Christ-Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. These "are not only badges or tokens of Christian mens profession; but rather they are certain signs of grace." Baptism is "a sign of regeneration or the new birth." In the Lords Supper the bread is a sign of the broken body of Christ, while the wine is a sign of His shed blood.
Abels offering was acceptable, because he offered a lamb with its shed blood, a type of Christ the Lamb of God, which Cain did not do. This type had its full origin in Egypt when the Israelites instituted the paschal lamb or Passover. When the lamb was killed and the blood caught they took a bunch of hyssop and, dipping it into the blood, sprinkled the posts of the house where they were to eat the lamb. This paschal lamb typified the death and shed blood of Christ.
As the paschal lamb was a type of Christ, so water baptism is a type of the Holy Ghost baptism. We read in Isaiah 44:3: "I will pour water upon him," etc. "I will pour my spirit upon thy seed," etc. Matt. 3:11 quotes John the Baptist: "I indeed baptize you with water." "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." What was the sign? Water being poured. What was the reality or the substance? "Holy Ghost poured out." John said: "That He might be made manifest to Israel therefore am I come baptizing with water." Manifest how? By the types familiar to the Israelites. How was the blood of Christ applied? Peter says (1 Peter 1:2), "sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." Isaiah says :"He shall sprinkle many nations." This pointed to His blood. What was the sign or type? Sprinkling or baptizing with water.
In 1 John 5:8 we read: "There are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit and the water and the blood: and these three agree." They agree in teaching the lesson of cleansing. Water is the symbol and spirit and blood, the reality.
I call your attention to a square on this page and some scripture texts with it. Many years before Christ came to earth the prophet Joel said (Joel 2:28): "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my
Having studied for many years, Bible traditions and Jewish customs and having made a trip through Bible lands, I can name possibly forty traditions and customs in Palestine which were in use before Christ, and many of these still in use, which I saw going through that country, such as two women grinding at the mill, plowing with a one-handle plow, men saluting each other with a holy kiss, carrying water and milk in skin bottles, money changers, etc. If such customs are seen there today like they were in the days of Christ and before, why should water baptism be indicated by pouring and sprinkling, if immersion had been the mode of that day? The picture you see with these articles is a reproduction of one of the oldest pictures in existence. The earliest Christian pictures or drawings were found in the catacombs in Rome, one of which I traversed with a lighted candle. The one I went through had eight acres of underground tunnels. Many of the early Christians lived and were buried under ground during those terrible days of persecution in the first three centuries. Three of these pictures drawn during, and shortly after the last days of the apostles, were discovered when the underground caverns were unearthed. John was still living when the first one was drawn. In the first two pictures drawn by the early Christians, the one doing the baptizing is seen standing on dry ground pouring water upon the head. In the other, the baptizer is seen standing in water nearly up to his ankles, pouring water upon the head, as in the first two scenes. The picture you see with these articles is one of the two oldest pictures found in the catacombs. In one of the first, and the last one of these pictures, the heavenly dove is seen descending upon His head. John 1:32.
It was such discoveries in Palestine that led Dr. Whitsit, long time a teacher in the Baptist Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky, to renounce immersion as the proper mode of baptism. Fairfield, another leading Baptist, did the same thing. Both have written books on the subject.
During my trip through Palestine I saw this picture hanging in some of the churches 4nd even saw it hanging on a bridge over the highway. In St. Pauls Church in Valetta, capital of the island of Malta, I saw a lifesize statue of Paul and Publius just inside the church door. Paul was baptizing Publius, pouring water upon his head. The picture of Christs baptism was hanging in the back of this same church. I brought home with me from the banks of the Jordan river a rock with this picture painted on it. In all of the Bible lands where I went, I did not see a single picture that indicated immersion.
God commanded Moses to sprinkle water as symbolic of purification and on through the prophetic age the prophets taught and practiced sprinkling and pouring as religious rites.
John the Baptist baptized Christ, so let us examine the Mosaic law under which He lived that He came to fulfill. What did the law require? It required circumcision (see Gen. 17:12, Lev. 12:3). Christ was circumcised at eight days of age according to the law (see Luke 2:21). It required presentation of the child in the temple. He was presented (see Luke 2:22). It required becoming subject to the law at twelve years of age. This is why He was found in the temple at twelve with His parents (see Luke 2:42). It required priests to be dedicated at thirty years of age and upward (see Num. 4:47, Num. 8:8, and Luke 3:23).
Christ was a priest. Read Heb. 3:1, "Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus." Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest." "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." Jesus said when He came to John to be dedicated: "Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness."
John the Baptist had been instructed in the law and knew it. He knew that a priest was never immersed. He dedicated Jesus for his priestly work. How was It done? According to the law by pouring. When Jesus came to John for baptism, he hesitated, but Jesus urged the demands of the law. What were the demands of the law? Priests had to be thirty years of age when dedicated to this office (see Num. 4:47). How was this done? By sprinkling or pouring water. When Jesus cleansed the temple and the Jews asked by what authority He did it, He referred to His baptism by John, clothing Him with the authority of a priest to minister about the temple.
It was a violation of the law for anyone to assume the office and duties of a high priest until he was dedicated. Jesus never preached a sermon, chose His disciples, uttered a parable, healed the sick or did anything else of the kind until after He was dedicated, for He absolutely tracked the law, that of the Old Testament, Mosaic law. Jesus said to His blinded disciples, "All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the Psalms concerning Me." How anyone can reason out that Christ was immersed, when there was no law for it, is beyond the poor imagination of this writer.
Let us turn a moment and see how God baptized people. Christ baptized by pouring, for the Bible says, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." We know this was done (on the day of Pentecost) by pouring (see Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17). Before Christ was born God baptized the Israelites. Read carefully the following: "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor.10:1-2). What is the difference between "in the sea" and "in the river Jordan"? Who can explain the difference? They were "in the sea" and "were baptized" of the Lord. How was it done? If baptism means immersion then God immersed the Israelites. Let us have the facts. Put David on the witness stand. Here is what he says about this baptism: "The waters saw Thee, 0 God, the waters saw Thee... The clouds poured out water." This baptism, though "in the sea," was performed "on dry land." Read Ex. 14:29: "But the children of Israel walked on dry land in the midst of the sea." They were "in the sea" and "on dry land" and "The clouds poured out water." The word of God calls this baptism, for it says, "and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized." Does not reason teach us here that God baptized by pouring? Cant a twelve-year-old school child understand this? Do not make a god out of your prejudice. Be fair with your own good judgment. Let truth have her perfect work. The Israelites were "under the cloud" (1 Cor. 10:2) and "The cloud poured out water" (Ps. 77:17). Paul says, "They were baptized in the sea." Now the Egyptians who followed them were immersed and died from the effects of this immersion. Our immersionist friends do not talk much about this baptism, and some others like that of Paul "standing up was batpized," etc., but they run to "much water," "many springs" in the land of Aenon-the land of many springs-and "in the river Jordan." Why not try to get immersion out of "in the sea," "on dry land" where "The clouds poured out water" on the Israelites, which was performed by God Himself?
The reason why John the Baptist or John the "Purifier" baptized by sprinkling and pouring is because this was the law God gave and the only law he knew anything about. He never heard of immersion. All ceremonial cleansings 'were performed by affusion. If Naaman dipped himself in the Jordan he disobeyed the law. Adam Clark, one of the greatest Greek scholars of the world, says that the Greek word from which dip is rendered is translated wash and that sprinkle and cleanse are preferred by the best modern authorities. The only excuse for Naaman dipping himself was that he might have been ignorant of the law. The command was to wash himself. See 2 Kings 5:10, "Go and wash in Jordan seven times." In the 14th verse it says he "dipped himself seven times." Here is the law of God concerning leprosy: Lev. 14:7, "And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean." David the Psalmist says: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7). How was this done? What was the law? Num. 19:18-19, "And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: and the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day." In Numbers 19:18 we read: "Because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him he shall be unclean."
Moses sprinkled with water to cleanse, purify, sanctify, etc. The words purge, cleanse, wash and sanctify are used interchangeably in the Bible meaning baptism. The scriptural translation of the word baptize in a literal sense means to cleanse ceremonially with water. The writers of the gospels understood the words "baptize" and "purify" to mean the same. The Jewish law for purifying required sprinkling. New Testament writers call Jewish sprinkling baptism. John the Baptist, who was a Jew, understood Jewish customs of cleansing from physical defilement.
Philo, who lived back there, says: "It was customary for the Jews to sprinkle themselves with river water."
John was a priest in regular order of the same tribe of Levi, Moses and Aaron. His predecessor Moses had baptized a great throng, "For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law... he sprinkled the book and all the people." Read at this juncture, 1 Cor. 10:1-2.
Now read Matt. 3:5-6, "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan." It is estimated that he was in the wilderness from nine to eighteen months baptizing this great multitude of from one to six million people. He was the only baptizer. Immersing 300 a day for eighteen months would be only 162,000 and such a strain as that would kill any human. As far as we know John baptized at only one place around the Jordan and that was at Bethabara, "ford crossing" some half mile or more from the main body of the Jordan river. Read John 1:28. "These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan where John was baptizing."
Johns manner of baptizing this great multitude made some of the people believe that he was Christ because this same book of law and prophecy said Christ would "sprinkle many nations" (Isa. 52:15). They even sent Jews, priests and Levites from Jerusalem down there to ask him if he were the Christ. John 1:25, "Why baptizeth thou then, if thou be not that Christ?" they asked. He answered, "I baptize with water." So did Moses. How? He took "scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book and all the people." Here is Gods command to all the priests, Num. 8:7: "Sprinkle the water of purifying upon them." This is what John "the purifier" did, using no doubt the hyssop weed. It was a command to use this weed.
Jesus was not baptized for our example, because He did not apply for baptism until all the people had been baptized (see Luke 8:21). And, besides, He was thirty years of age at the time of this scene. He would not have us wait until that age to be baptized. Then why was Jesus baptized? He was dedicated to His priestly office as the High Priest of God. When Jewish priests were dedicated water was poured upon their heads and they were anointed with oil. The Son of God had water poured or sprinkled upon His head by John as a sign or preparatory step for the anointing of the Holy Ghost. God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost. Christ was fulfilling the law found in Numbers 4:3: "From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation." See also 1 Chron. 23:3.
Christ came "not to destroy the law but to fulfill it," and for this reason He answered John, "Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteous.. ness '-all the law. He complied with the law that required waiting until He was thirty years of age; why would He not comply with the form of dedication of a priest, which was by sprinkling or pouring water upon the head? The main purpose for which Christ was baptized was to be dedicated to His priestly office, for He was Gods High Priest. He went almost immediately into the temple and drove out those who sold merchandise in there and when they asked Him about His authority He referred to His dedication by John, which gave Him absolute authority under the law (see Matt. 21:25). They admitted His authority. Who would dare say that Jesus was immersed? Where is any authority for it? Why did He stand in the river Jordan for John to baptize Him? Read Joshua 3:8, "And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant saying, When ye are come to the water of Jordan ye shall stand still in Jordan."
The word "straightway" means Immediately and not straight up-perpendicular. It is shocking to hear people use this word to try to prove that Christ went straight up out from under the water, while It only means that as soon as the dedication was over He came away from the scene.
He "went up straightway out of the water" after the ceremony was performed. The two little words "out of" in Matt. 3:16 are from the Greek word "Apo" and every Greek scholar we have read after translates it "from" or "away from." The translators of the English Bible translate it, three hundred and seventy-two or three times, "from" in other Bible phrases. Alexander Campbell translates this word "from" instead of "out of" in his New Testament. The American Bible Union of the Baptist persuasion did the same thing. Greek scholars say that "out of" in Matt. 3:16 is an incorrect translation, and should have been "from." The Revised Version renders it "from." Dr. Carson, who was one of the strongest immersionists in latter times, says: "The proper translation of 'Apo is 'from. 'He came up from the water." See Carson on Baptism, pages 126-140.
Great play is made upon these two words by immersionists (John 3:23). Aenon is a land of springs. You can turn to any good Bible dictionary and you will find that the word Aenon means "springs" and the word "much" is from a Greek word meaning "many." Aenon, a land of many springs. The law required that water for baptizing should be taken from a running stream. Aenon easily met the requirements for John to baptize. Ask someone to name a river in Aenon and see how hard a job he will have.
We now study the baptism of the Eunuch. This is one case of baptism the immersionists put great stress on. It is one of the clearest cases of no immersion. In the first place the way they were traveling was a "desert" (see Acts 8:26). Not much water in a desert and the Eunuch was surprised to see water (see Acts 8:36). In the next place the lay of the land is such that there is no sign of ever having been a river in that section. Ask any scholar to name a river in that section of Palestine. Where Philip baptized the Eunuch there is a spout of water running out from the side of the mountain and there is usually enough water in a hole there to water a horse, travelers going that way will tell you.
In the next place the Eunuch was reading in the book of Isaiah where it says, "He shall sprinkle many nations." He was reading about sprinkling, the way the Jews performed outward ceremonies. There was no practice then of immersion. The only Bible they had (Old Bible) was full of sprinkling and pouring, and nothing else was taught or known. The Eunuch had been to Jerusalem to worship. He was no doubt well versed in the Scriptures. Philip met him and went "up" into the chariot. The chariot had steps. When the Eunuch saw water they stopped and the original Greek says, "They went down out of the chariot to the water." Greek scholars tell us that the Greek word eis from which is translated here "into" is translated "to" more times than "into." If it Is translated "into" that does not signify that it means under the water.
Again, if the English in Acts 8:38 is correct "into" means immersion here, then both Philip and the Eunuch went under the water head and ears and Philip performed the ceremony under the water, and no one saw it done. Read the statement carefully: "They (plural) went down both (plural) into the water both (both) Philip and the Eunuch."
In Romans 6:4 we read: "Therefore we are buried with Christ by baptism into death." And in Colossians 2:12 we read again: "Buried with Him in baptism." In these passages we find the strongholds of our immersionist friends. Neither passage has a drop of water in it. It is "buried into death" and not into water. Both passages mean the same. In Col. 2:12 in the same verse as above we see that the soul is raised through "the operation of God." It is not that our bodies are raised out of water by the physical strength of man. These passages signify the deepest work of grace- separation from sin and made alive to God. These passages are figurative language. They have no more literal meaning of being put under water than the other passages of scripture such as "crucified with Christ" mean that we are to be nailed to a literal cross of wood or that "resurrection" and "raised up from the dead" in Rom. 6:4-5 mean a literal resurrection of the body. Paul says, "We are buried with Christ," not that we were buried in water. To really represent His burial the body of a baptized candidate would have to be left under the water three days and three nights.
There is a lot of difference between being buried with Christ by baptism into death and buried under water by a preacher. The baptism Paul is speaking of here is the same as that spoken of in Luke 12:50, which is the baptism of suffering and death. Our immersionist friends make great capital out of preaching that the word baptizo in the classical Greek always means immersion. But the New Testament was not written in classical Greek. The common run of people do not know this. Here is where they deceive the very elect. Immersion does not represent the burial and resurrection of Jesus. His body was exposed in the tomb and not covered up.
Richard Watson, in his Institutes, says: "It is satisfactory to discover that all attempts made to impose upon Christians a practice (immersion) repulsive to the feeling, dangerous to the health and offensive to delicacy, is destitute of all scriptural authority and of really primitive practice."
Henry Alford, one of the great Greek scholars of the world says: "Almost without doubt this first baptism must have been administered, as that of the first Gentile converts was (see Acts 10:47) by affusion or sprinkling -not by immersion. The immersion of three thousand persons, in a city so sparsely furnished with water as Jerusalem, is equally inconceivable with a procession beyond the walls to the Kedron, or to Siloam, for that purpose."
Paul and Silas went to Philippi, a heathen city, to preach Christ. This new doctrine stirred up a great tumult. They were put in jail uncondemned. "And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the Inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks." Note carefully here that they were put "into the inner prison." This was a Roman prison and the jailor lived inside its walls. Roman prisons had no bath rooms or pools of water in them. Where are jails in our modern civilization with bathing pools for prisoners? Much less do we suppose they had such a thing then. At midnight Paul and Silas prayed and an earthquake shook the prison doors open. It was death to a jailor of a Roman prison if a prisoner escaped. The jailor seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword to kill himself, for he knew it would be death if the prisoners were out and gone. Paul seeing the jailor about to kill himself "cried with a loud voice, Do thyself no harm: we are all here." Not one had escaped. Then the jailor "called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas and brought them out." Brought them out from where? The "inner prison" where he had placed them. Out in the main prison the jailor asked what he must do to be saved. They told him to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." And the jailor "took them the same hour of the night (midnight) and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway." Where are they now? In a room where the family washed and bathed their hands and faces no doubt. Here they washed the blood from the backs of the prisoners and here they were baptized. They did not go out of the prison. It would have been death to the jailor to have done so. After breakfast "The magistrates sent the sergeants, saying, Let those men go." Paul refused to go out of the prison but said, "Let them come themselves and fetch us out." Then the magistrates came "and brought them out and desired them to depart out of their city." Would they have gone out to a river at midnight, even if the death penalty had not been a law?
There are about fifty cases of individual conversions in the New Testament, seven of which were baptized and four of these related to families. You will notice in the Bible that when and where people were converted there and then they were baptized. There is not a single instance in the New Testament where a congregation or person left the place where the conversion took place to go off to hunt a stream of water for baptism. You hear announcements from pulpits today that baptizing will take place at a certain creek or in a pool at a certain church. This is a modern affair. You read nothing of the kind in the Bible. Not a single instance of such a thing is recorded in the Word of God.
Paul was converted in a house in Damascus in the home of one called Judas on the street called Straight. Immediately after his conversion he "arose and was baptized." The Greek bears out the statement that "standing up he was baptized." Ananias said to Paul: "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Ananias was "a devout man according to the law" (Acts 22:12). What was the "law" among the Jews about "washing away" sins or a symbol of cleansing? Read Num. 8:7: "Sprinkle water of purifying upon them.
The Philippian jailor was baptized In the jail. Cornelius who lived at Caesarea called in his "kinsmen and near friends" and while Peter preached to them the Holy Ghost "fell" on them as on the people at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. "Then answered Peter, can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" The logical meaning is, "Who can forbid water to be brought to baptize these who have received the Holy Ghost?" Peter, later, meeting the disciples and telling about his sermon and how the Holy Ghost "fell" on the people at Caesarea as It did on the people on the day of Pentecost, said: "Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost."
The above words are found In John 8:5 when Jesus said to Nicodemus "Except a man be born of water and the spirit he cannot see the kingdom of God." This is a stronghold of some of our immersionist friends and yet there is not a drop of water in this text as far as it concerns water baptism. There are not three births mentioned in this conversation of Jesus--only two. If there had been three births then the sentence should have read, "Except a man be born twice more," etc. "Born again" means another time. "Born of water" is a delicate phrase for the natural birth. In the birth of a child when it is not "born of water" otherwise called a "dry birth" It is almost death to a mother. Nicodemus asked Jesus two questions: "How can a man be born when he is old?" and "Can he enter the second time into his mothers womb and be born?" Jesus immediately answered in these words: "Except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot see the kingdom of God." Then to more fully explain what He meant, He added, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit Is spirit." In other words. "That which is born of the flesh" woman or womb is flesh. Dr. Edmund B. Fairfield, for a quarter of a century a strong Baptist and one of the best Greek scholars of his day, was requested by a Baptist publishing house to write a book In defense of Baptist views on baptism, etc., which he undertook in good faith, but said that tower after tower of his Baptist fort fell, though he labored for two long years to maintain his old ground. He said he could no longer remain a Baptist minister. He says that "born of water" cannot be interpreted as referring to anything but the natural birth." Again he says: "Now to my mind there is no more allusion to baptism In this verse than to the planet Mars or the French Revolution. It is simply natural birth that is here spoken of. Being 'born of water was without doubt a well-known form of speech which Christ used in that sense." In defense of this view he quotes Isaiah 48:1: "Hear ye this, oh house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the water of Judah." This refers, he says, to the national descendants of Judah.
The text of this article is recorded in 1 Peter 8:20-21. It is as follows: "The longsuffering of God waited In the days of Noah, while the Ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water; the like figure whereunto, even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
How anyone can get immersion out of this statement is strange indeed. The antediluvians (wicked people) were the ones drowned or immersed. The "eight souls were saved" by keeping out of the water. If they got any water on them at all it must have been rained on them-sprinkled or poured. This is a clear case. "The like figure whereunto," Greek scholars say, should be translated "the antitype to which." The world was wicked, defiled and steeped in sin. The antediluvians would not obey the Lord and were drowned. Noah and his family came into the Ark and were saved-had a clear conscience. If we repent and do like Noah and his family-come into the Ark-the Holy Ghost gives witness to a clear conscience that we are saved. Heb. 10:22 says: "Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Noah and his family were not immersed.
"Were saved by water." By means of an Ark being built that floated on water. By this method they were saved, not in a flood or being immersed. Noah believed in God and obeyed God and on the water and not going under it was he saved.
Certainly the Lord would not require amode of baptism that could not be performed in all seasons of the year, in all climes and for all persons under all circumstances. Baptism by affusion can be performed at all times, and in all places, for all persons under all conditions and circumstances. This is not true of immersion. Many persons have trusted Christ for salvation in the hour of death like the thief on the cross who could not be immersed. Many persons in the history of the world have died from the effects of being immersed in extreme cold weather. In one county in Kentucky, report says that two preachers died from exposure due to immersing persons in water in cold weather. In great deserts like the Sahara the only water to be found is in deep wells. In the extremecold regions of the North immersion would be impossible. John the Baptist was a Jew and was brought up in the Jewish church with Jesus; and the Jews were great sticklers for the law. All baptisms by the Jews were by sprinkling, pouring and washing. Sprinkling and pouring are familiar terms in the only Bible John and Jesus ever saw. They knew nothing about ceremonies administered by immersion. All evidence that can be produced points to the fact that John baptized the people by affusion. A new mode would have startled a people used to the other way and would have brought denunciation from them. John baptized Jesus and a new mode would have demanded explanation. Jesus kept the law in every point. He came to fulfill the law.
Canaan was a type of heaven, and Jerusalem was a type of the New Jerusalem. The sacrifice was a type of another sacrifice, and the Passover was a type of the Lords Supper. Water baptism is a type of another baptism--the Holy Ghost baptism which all must acknowledge was by pouring and the sign should compare with the substance. See Num. 8:7, Isa. 40:3, Isa. 52:15, Ezek. 36:25, Ezek. 39:29, Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17.
I am writing the following so that I may be clearly understood as to my attitude toward water baptism. I know that there is but one real Church and that is the Church of Christ, constituted of all saved people it matters not to what church denomination they belong. I wish all Christi&n people were in one body and we could affiliate together. I am not raising a howl because some wash feet, some do not use musical instruments in their churches, some baptize by immersion and do not believe in infant baptism. But I am contending that water baptism is not essential to salvation and that it should not be the primary element in preaching. Also I am objecting to our mode of baptism being the continual subject of ridicule by many. Recently a deep water brother stuck a stick in the sand at a river when he was about to baptize some candidates for baptism by immersion, and he poured some sand on the top of the stick and said, "Does that look like being buried in water?" The Bible nowhere says anyone was ever buried in water or that anyone should be buried in water. All that sort of thing is read into the Scripture, for it is not there. It Is buried into death which has a different meaning to water. All over our church our people have been insulted by slurs at our mode of baptism and our way of baptizing babies. I am perfectly willing to concede sincerity and honesty to my brethren who do not agree with me and respect them for their belief; and I am asking the same of them. But to be held up to ridicule as though we are a set of ignoramuses and do not know any better, is going too far In this enlightened age when peple have free access to the history of church and state. Such a thing can go so far that I lose my self-respect to keep quiet because I do not believe It is charity to let people remain in ignorance. We are not willing to take opinions of men for what the Bible teaches. We have the Bible (Old Testament) that Christ and the apostles relied upon. Let us study that old Bible, and see what It has to say about baptism. There was no other Bible for one hundred years after Christ was born. Certainly we can get some idea about baptism from it. Let us not take just the opinions of men any longer. We can read for ourselves so let us do it. This is the way the writer did, and he found the true light in doing so.
When God made a church covenant with Abraham for the generations to follow He made an everlasting covenant and in it He included children. This covenant was to continue as long as the human race. Read Gen. 17:7: "And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee In their generations for an everlasting covenant." Again, Gen. 17:9: "And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations." Circumcision was the sign or "token of the covenant." Read Gen. 17:10-11.
While other covenants God made with the people were local and temporary, like the one made with Noah (Gen. 9:9), and the one at Sinai (Ex. 34:28), etc., this covenant was universal and everlasting as much so as the atonement. God organized the church to last until the end of time and this covenant was to be coextensive with it. It was an unalterable covenant and could never be abrogated. This covenant was made with Abraham 1911 years before Christ was born. Another covenant was made with Moses 1481 years before Christ or 430 years after the covenant with Abraham. Read Gal. 3:17, also Acts 8:25.
Alexander Campbell says concerning this covenant: "This covenant, then, was ratified with Abraham concerning the Messiah and unalterably settled. Consequently, the law, or covenant with the whole nation of Israel, 430 years after this time, could not disannul the promise in another covenant, concerning persons not present, and, therefore no party In that covenant."
Circumcision was the initiatory rite into the visible church before Christ came. It was the sign or "token of this covenant." Before Christ came the sign or token of the Passover was the paschal lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs and wine. Under the new economy Christ left off the peachal lamb and bitter herbs and perpetuated the sacrament of the Lords Supper with only two of these elements-bread and wine. In like manner water baptism alone took the place of the whole ceremony of circumcision. Under the former or old economy when a Gentile family was proselyted into the Jewish chnrch, the only visible church and the church that contained the above covenant, the males were circumcised and baptized with water and the females, old and young, even babies, were only baptized with water. Chrysostom, one of the early Christian writers of the first centuries after the apostles, says: "There was pain and trouble in the practice of Jewish circumcision; but our circumcision, I mean the grace of baptism, gives cure without pain as this is for infants as well as men."
No Bible scholar can produce a single clear-cut pas.. sage of scripture to prove that John the Baptist, any of the twelve apostles or any of the eight writers of the New Testament, except Paul, were baptized by any mode in mature years. Where were Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, etc., baptized if not in infancy? Here we believe is the solution to this question. If they were ever baptized at all it must have been when babies at eight days of age.
Those who oppose infant baptism as a rule deny the fact that there was a visible church organization back of the coming of Christ. When Christ was on earth He did not organize a visible church, neither did He suggest any name for a visible church. Why? Because one was already in existence. It was the church of the "everlasting covenant."
The Christian Standard holding the belief of Alexander Campbell, carried the following statement January 1, 1932: "People came in under the old covenant at the age of eight days by circumcision. That is, they came in before they were able even to 'know the Lord into whose covenant they were entering. Consequently each and all of them had to be taught subsequently the most elementary things, to 'know the Lord."
The form of church government which God gave to the Jews, that which Christ lived under, we live under today. The moral laws which God gave to Abraham and Moses are binding upon us today as they were upon them then. Certain sacrificial laws were nailed to the cross but no moral law was ever revoked. The visible church of today is the church God started with Abraham (see Gen. 17:7 and Ps. 105 :8-10). Some of our friends do not like to acknowledge this fact because that church included children. Jesus said this church would be taken away from the Jews and given to the Gentiles (see and carefully read Matt. 21:33-43). The "vineyard" God planted was the visible church. He "let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen." See Rom. 11:13-25.
It was not a new visible church. Paul, writing to the Ephesians (Eph. 2:20), says they were "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone." The gospel message was in "the church in the wilderness" as it is in the church today. Peter, addressing a multitude of Jews on the day of Pentecost, said (Acts 2:39): "For the promise is unto you and to your children." These Jews had been taught to receive children and give them the token of the Abrahamic covenant. The Jews did not have to be taught such a thing. They had already been educated along this line. Genesis 17:7 and Acts 2:39 harmonize, "to thee and thy seed" and "to you and to your children." See also Gen. 12:3 and Acts 3:25.
When the disciples asked Jesus "Who Is the greatest In the kingdom of heaven?"--the visible church-He "called a little child" and "set him in the midst of them" and said, "Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me" (Matt. 18:5). Pray tell us how some churches receive little children in the name of Jesus? They take them into the Sunday School and record their names and count them, but they will not take them into the church. They take the old sheep into the warm fold, but the little lambs must lie out on the porch or under the shed until they are grown. God nor Jesus treated them this way. God Included them in His covenant with Abraham and said it was to be an "everlasting covenant." Jesus said (Matt. 19:14): "Suffer little children and forbid them not to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven"-visible church.
Those who oppose infant baptism claim that there Is no specific command to do so. Neither is there a spe cific command in the Bible to give the Lords Supper to women. Nothing is said about sex or age. If our friends are honest in this matter of not baptizing Infants because there Is no specific command to do It, why do they not quit giving the Lords Supper to women?
Women belong to a class that Jesus had in mind when He said, "Do this in remembrance of me." There is an axiom that, "Whatsoever is commanded of a class, may be commanded of each Individual In that class." When God said, "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children," He meant males and females. When Christ said, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," He Included children. Are not children a part of all nations? Christ meant, of course, all who were and would become subjects of His kingdom. Christ said of children, "For of such is the kingdom of heaven." Children are in a saved state through the atoning merits of the blood of Christ until they reach the age of accountability. Requirements of faith are made upon those only who can exercise it. All others are saved without faith. Idiots who have been idiots all their lives are in a saved state through the merits of the blood of Christ. Small children are in a saved state and God commanded that they should have the sign of it. Acts 3:25 says: "Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant, which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed."
Psalm 105:8-10 reads: "He hath remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, which covenant He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same unto Jacob for law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant."
Until Christ were only forty-two generations (see Matt. 1:17). So you see that this covenant of "a thousand generations" did not cease when Christ came.
Jesus first commanded His disciples to go "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." These disciples knew, and all who are familiar with Jewish history know, that when a Gentile family was proselyted into the Jewish church, all were baptized (sign of purity, for which all sprinkling and pouring of water was done in ancient times), men, women and children.
When later, some two years, Christ said again to His disciples, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," these men who were familiar with infants being baptized certainly did not understand that this practice should cease. Christ did not tell them to quit it. The reason this may not seem specific to some is because this was a familiar custom among the Jews and why should Christ say any more about it?
We are giving a panoramic view of cases of infant baptism in the Bible as proof of this practice.
In the establishment of the visible church God commanded that children be initiated into it. A penalty was imposed if they were not initiated, "That soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant" (Gen. 17:14).
The Lord commanded circumcision and baptism takes the place of circumcision-a sign of spiritual purity. Christ instituted baptism with water alone, leaving off the ceremony that related to circumcision or the cutting of the flesh. Circumcision, instituted of God, had its place before Christ as did sacrificial laws. Christ instituted infant and adult baptism with water alone in these words: "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Now let us see what God says about the matter. Joel 2:16: It is "saith the Lord"; "Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breast." Does this not take all in-big, little, old and young? What does the word sanctify mean here? One passage for intelligent minds will suffice. Heb. 9:19: "For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats with water and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people." Please do not forget that water baptism was in use for fifteen hundred years before Christ. Turn to 1 Cor. 10:1-2. Verse 2 says: "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." There were at least 100,000 small children in this company. God did the baptizing. Paul calls this baptism, and David says the water was "poured" upon them. Now what condemnation will our friends who oppose infant baptism heap upon God for baptizing 100,000 children? Why condemn us for following not only the command of the Lord but the Lord Himself?
Now we come into the New Testament, but this book did not exist in the days of Christ on earth. When it was finally written, however, it contained certain records. Here is one of the first: John the Baptist was initiated into the church-the only church in the world, Gods visible church-at eight days of age. If he ever had any other baptism except infant baptism at eight days of age, no record was ever made of it. The same is true of all the apostles and all the writers of the New Testament except Paul. Paul was considered a proselyte, otherwise his infant baptism no doubt would have been accepted. Mary had Jesus initiated into the same church at eight days of age. This was His church baptism.
Peter, a Jew, raised in this church that baptized infants, which church God commanded to baptize infants, preached on the day of Pentecost these words: "For the promise is unto you and to your children." If Moses in this same church and under this same covenant, took a hyssop weed and dipped it in water and baptized all the people, men, women and children; and God baptized 100,000 children with their parents at the Red Sea, why should we doubt the fact that Peter who was familiar with the Scriptures baptized children among the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost? He certainly was not ignorant of the customs of his church.
The apostles baptized whole families. John Wesley, commenting on Lydia, who was "baptized and her household," says: "Who can believe in so many families there was no infant? or that the Jews who were so long accustomed to circumcise their children would not now devote them to God by baptism?" Paul baptized "the household of Stephanas" and the jailor and all "his house." The words "household" and "family" mean that there are children in them. A Syrian manuscript of the New Testament, claimed to be the oldest version in the world, relating the baptism of Lydia "and her household" and the jailor and "his house," Acts 16:15 and Acts 16:33-34, reads: "Lydia and her children" and the jailor and "his children" were baptized.
Those who succeeded the apostles left behind written records that clearly prove the custom of Infant baptism among the apostles and early churches of our Christian era. Origen, a Greek, born A.D.185, whose father, grandfather and great grandfather were Christians, extending back to the time of the apostles, says they received the custom of baptizing children from the apostles and that it was a universal custom among the churches. He says: "According to the usages of the church, baptism is given even to infants." He records that he himself was a baptized child.
Justin Martyr, born in Palestine at Shechem, who very likely saw the Apostle John, wrote in A.D. 138 that there were then "Christian persons of both sexes, some sixty, some seventy years old, who had been made disciples from their infancy." What did he mean by being "made disciples from their infancy"? Simply that they were baptized in infancy. He says further: "We are circumcized by baptism with Christs circumcision."
Read again from Justin Martyr: "We also who by Him have had access to God, have not received the carnal circumcision, which Enoch and those like him observed, but spiritual circumcision; and we have received it by baptism."
In A.D. 250, Cyprian and others were In a church council meeting and Fidus, one of the early fathers, wrote to them that infants should not be baptized until they were eight days of age, "and that the law of ancient circumcision should be regarded," to which they answered: "To our Brother Fidus greeting: That whereas you think that the rule of circumcision should be observed, and that children were not to be baptized before they were eight days old, we were of a contrary opinion; and as the grace of baptism is to be withheld from no one and especially from children, our decisIon is that they may be baptized not only before they are eight days old, but as soon as they are born."
Hermas (see Rom. 16:14), a contemporary with the Apostle Paul, speaks of infants receiving the seal of baptism in these words: "Now that seal is the water of baptism."
Clement, whom Paul mentions in PhIl. 4:3, advised parents: "Baptize your infants and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." He did not advise "carnal circumcision." Wby? Christ did away with that part of the old ceremony.
Irenaeus, born A.D. 97, a pupil of Polycarp, who was a convert of the Apostle John, says: "The church learned from the apostles to give baptism to infants." He says again: "For He (Christ) came to save all persons by Himself-all, I mean, who are regenerated (baptized) unto God; infants and little ones and children and youth and elder persons." This throws light on Jewish customs concerning proselytes-all were baptized, parents, young people and children.
Augustine says again: "The whole church has of old held to infant baptism." Pelagius, a contemporary with Augustine and one of the most learned men of the church of his day, in a letter to Innocent said: "Men slander me, as if I denied the sacrament of baptism to infants. I never heard even an impious heretic say they ought not to be baptized." He continues: "For who is so ignorant of evangelic writing as to have such a thought."
Jerome said: "Baptism was given to infants according to the practice of the church." Both Ambrose and Chrysostom tell us that "infant baptism may be traced to apostolic times."
Our friends who oppose infant baptism assert that it is a Romish doctrine originating in the Roman Catholic Church-a "child of popery," they call it.
History refutes such an idea. It was hundreds of years after the birth of Christ before the Roman Catholic Church came into existence. We have produced overwhelming evidence that the apostles and early church fathers baptized children. We have writings of a lot of them and they all agree. No evidence is clearer than that of the early church confirming the baptism of children.
Augustine, one of the early Christian leaders, said: "The custom of our mother church in baptizing infants must not be disregarded or counted needless: nor believed to be anything else than an ordinance delivered to us by the apostles." He says again, "It was not in stituted by councils but was ever in use."
Such statements by Augustine and others were made before there ever was a Roman Catholic Church.
Now we propose to show how and when opposition to infant baptism originated. We quote from Dr. Wall, known as one of the greatest authorities on infant baptism in the world. He says: "For the first four hundred years after Christ, there appears only one man (Tertullian) who advises the delay of infant baptism in some cases; one Gregory, who did, perhaps, practice such delay in the case of his own children; but no society of men so thinking, or any one man saying It was unlawful to baptize infants; so in the next seven hundred years, there is not so much as one man to be found who either spoke for or practiced such delay, but all to the contrary. And, when about the year 1130, one sect among the Waldenses, or Albigenes declared against the baptism of infants as being incapable of salvation, the main body of that people rejected this opinion, and those of them who held that opinion quickly dwindled away and disappeared; there being no more persons holding that tenet until the rising of the German Anabaptist in the year 1522." In the above statement you have the origin of opposition in a nutshell. Tertullian, born A.D. 145, died A.D. 220, was a believer in infant baptism, but he believed in baptismal regeneration, and his idea was to delay baptism until just before death, because he believed it washed away sin. He advised infant baptism in the case of a child dying. He is the only one who even advised delay in baptism to infants for a thousand years or more after the apostles.
Today five per cent of nominal Christians of the world oppose infant baptism. Three hundred years ago one per cent opposed it, and about six hundred years ago there was, you might say, no opposition to It at all.
I have already shown that there was no objection to Infant baptism for hundreds of years after Christ was born. I come now to modern objections to infant baptism, all of which comparatively is among immersionist churches.
They assert that there is no command in the Bible to baptize children. I have produced sufficient evidence, It seems to me, to prove by the Bible that God commanded it in His directions to organize a visible church. God Himself baptized some 100,000 children at one time (1 Cor. 10:1-2). Christ commanded it when He said, "Go ye therefore and teach (disciple) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Christ Himself commanded that children be received in His name (Mark 9:37).
It is claimed that children cannot understand the meaning of baptism. Neither could Jewish children understand the meaning of circumcision and the other part of the ceremony which pertained to water baptism, notwithstanding the parents were required of the Lord to have their children so dedicated. It Is claimed, furthermore, that children do not have the right to choose for themselves. Do children choose for themselves in other matters, such as washing their faces, kind of food they eat, running out in the weather, rain, cold and snow, going to school? Parents look after their children in material ways and why not in religious matters? Why should children be left to chance in the matter of the welfare of their souls? God did not leave them to chance? He made it plain in His covenant with Abraham that children should have the protection of the church.
It is asked, "What good will water baptism do a child?" What good will it do an adult? Answer this question and it will help you to answer the other one.
Objectors say that children cannot keep the commandments, therefore they are not subjects of baptism. We read in Acts 15:24, "Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law." Could an infant back there keep the law? Of course not. Infants at such an age are no more expected to keep the commandments today than Jewish children then were expected to keep the law. They were to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and led to "know the Lord." This is what the Lord expects of us now-have our children dedicated to Him, train them in the way of the Lord and lead them to "know the Lord."
In conclusion we quote from "Infant Baptism" by Rev. C. W. Miller: "It thus appears that the church founded upon the covenant with Abraham, and which for nineteen hundred years, in administering the law of that covenant, received infants to membership and gave them the token thereof, is the church of God today, with no change in her great constitutional law or in her subjects. This being true, infant baptism follows inevitably as the law of Gods church now."
One question we often hear concerning infant baptism is, What good comes from it? This in substance is questioning Gods attitude toward infants, for anyone can see that He was so much concerned about children that He included them in the covenant with Abraham in the beginning of the organized visible church.
Why dedicate a church building to God? Why dedicate a ship, stone monument, or anything else? Are not children of more value than stones and buildings? The tabernacle and sacred vessels in the tabernacle were dedicated, as well as the altar. Jacob set up a stone at Bethel and dedicated it. Saul, David, Solomon, Elisha, Jacob and Moses were all dedicated, and by the way all this was done by sprinkling and pouring. Go to the Bible and see for yourself. Mary had the little child Jesus dedicated. Dont question us about these things, question God and the Bible. In past years penitentiaries have been visited and search made regarding the effect that infant baptism had on individuals. Both Tennessee and Kentucky penitentiaries were visited and not an individual Protestant was found who had been baptized in infancy. Here is a statement from a preacher:
"There was a statement made that there was not a Protestant in the penitentiary who was baptized in infancy. My son was guard at the penitentiary at Frank-fort and I told him to see if there was. He investigated that matter, and he never found a Protestant there who was baptized in infancy the several years he worked there as guard."
I want to pass on this part of my research: It seems that the male child was circumcised at eight days of age. In forty days after birth, the mother went up to the temple to be purified. At the same time the child was presented in the temple to be purified with the mother. See Luke 2:21-22, Gen. 17:12, Lev. 12:6-7.
Purification ceremonies in Old Testament times, use of water, had the same meaning as water baptism under the New Testament dispensation. Bible proof: John 3:25-26. "Then there arose a question between some of Johns disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him."
And last, the Lords Supper reminds us of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Water baptism, by affusion, is our only reminder of the Holy Ghost.
IMARC has tried to contact the author's wife twice, and each time we have failed to make contact. The subject of baptism, however, is very important to the Church. Since Rev. Swift does such an excellent job in explaining it, we felt that it should be published. It is a work that should be read by all Bible Believing Christians. For this reason alone we publish it, and will gladly remove it if and when we are contacted the Swift's and they desire us to do so.