House Church Talk - Baptisms and Administrations

Bruce Woodford bwood4d at
Thu Feb 5 19:17:04 EST 2004

Hi David,

You wrote:"It seems to me that the idea of baptisms being rooted in Judaic 
ritual is most prominently observed in Mark 7:4 which speaks of the 
Pharisees baptizing cups, pots, brasen vessels, and beds / tables. Then came 
together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from 
Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, 
that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, 
and all the Jews, except they wash (baptizontai) their hands oft, eat not, 
holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, 
except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they 
have received to hold, as the washing (baptismous) of cups, and pots, brasen 
vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk 
not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread 
with unwashen hands? (Mark 7:1-5 KJV) Luke also has a passage in which the 
Pharisees marvelled that Jesus had not first baptized before dinner. And as 
he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, 
and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had 
not first washed (baptizo) before dinner. (Luke 11:37-38 KJV)"

David, I have never denied that baptisms were definitely a part of old 
covenant rituals. In fact, I have found over 20 instances of baptisms in the 
old covenant scriptures! What I have denied is the assertion that PEOPLE 
(i.e. entire persons) were ever baptized by others in the O.T.  Old covenant 
baptisms (except for Naaman's self baptism in the Jordan) were all baptisms 
of objects or individual body parts such as hands or feet. That is why I 
said something to the effect that John's baptisms of people were the very 
first baptisms of persons by another person ever recorded in the scriptures. 
So the claim that water baptism of people under the new covenant is a 
continuation of an old testament ritual practice is just not true!

But let's move on to your other point of correction. I had written:"Ross, I 
believe that the last person John baptized  was the Lord Jesus, Himself! We 
never read of John  baptizing any others after he had introduced the  Lord 
Jesus publicly and testified that it was he who would baptize people with 
the Holy Spirit and  with fire."

In response, you wrote:"Is this only an argument from the silence of 
Scripture or do you have some reason to believe that John stopped baptizing 
after he baptized Jesus? In any case, I think you are overlooking passages 
which indicate that Jesus and John both were baptizing at the same time. 
Consider the following passages: After these things came Jesus and his 
disciples into the land of Judaea; and THERE HE TARRIED WITH THEM, AND 
BAPTIZED. AND JOHN ALSO WAS BAPTIZING in Aenon near to Salim, because there 
was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet 
cast into prison. Then there arose a question between some of John's 
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 barest 
witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. (John 3:22-26 
KJV) When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that JESUS 
MADE AND BAPTIZED MORE DISCIPLES than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized 
not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. 
(John 4:1-3 KJV) I would be interested in hearing your comments."

Dear brother, thank you for reminding me of the passage in John 3 about John 
baptizing at Aenon while Jesus' disciples were baptizing in Judea. Without 
question this proves that my statement, "We never read of John  baptizing 
any others after he had introduced the  Lord Jesus publicly ..." was wrong!  
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I had simply relied on my own 
memory when I made that statement. Not a wise move!!

Your brother in Christ,

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