House Church Talk - Baptisms and Administrations

Ross J Purdy rossjpurdy at
Fri Feb 6 17:12:41 EST 2004

Hi Bruce,

Bruce, forgive me for not laying out my thoughts, it was presumptuous to
expect that they would be understood without some notations.

Exo 29:4 WEB You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tent of
meeting, and shall wash them with water.

It is Aaron and his sons who were to be Israel's priests that are getting
cleansed here in preparation for that ministry.

Num 8:7 CEV and sprinkle them with the water that washes away their sins.
Then have them shave their entire bodies and wash their clothes.

The original here is in Hebrew, not Greek, but you are correct that it means
sprinkle. But baptism as a word is not restricted to immersion, it refers
also to pouring and sprinkling or any way of using water for washing when
referring to its ritual usage.

Bible readers tend to associate baptism with water since it is prominent in
Scripture, but the first century Helenist would have associated the word
with death and since the putting aside of the Davidic kingdom, our baptism
is into Christ and His death.

Luke 1:17 speaks of John's ministry to make ready a people for the Lord, a
people chosen to be a royal priesthood, and he did that by performing a
ritual which as Numbers 8:7 says, was to wash away their sins. This same
purpose for baptism was spoken of by John and Peter as the baptism for the
forgiveness of sins. A baptism they would have to undergo in order to be
qualified as a nation of priests as per 1Peter 2:9.

1Pe 2:9 WEB But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a
people for God's own possession, that you may show forth the excellencies of
him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

Exo 19:6 WEB and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy
nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of

Isa 61:6-11 WEB But you shall be named the priests of Yahweh; men shall call
you the ministers of our God: you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and
in their glory shall you boast yourselves. (7) Instead of your shame you
shall have double; and instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their
portion: therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy
shall be to them. (8) For I, Yahweh, love justice, I hate robbery with
iniquity; and I will give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an
everlasting covenant with them. (9) Their seed shall be known among the
nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall
acknowledge them, that they are the seed which Yahweh has blessed. (10) I
will greatly rejoice in Yahweh, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he
has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the
robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as
a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (11) For as the earth brings forth
its bud, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring
forth; so the Lord Yahweh will cause righteousness and praise to spring
forth before all the nations.

Now see the context of the reference to John's baptizing ministry in Acts
10:37 and Acts 13:24-

Act 10:34-44 WEB Peter opened his mouth and said, "Truly I perceive that God
doesn't show favoritism; (35) but in every nation he who fears him and works
righteousness is acceptable to him. (36) The word which he sent to the
children of Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ -- he is
Lord of all -- (37) that spoken word you yourselves know, which was
proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism
which John preached; (38) even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with
the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all
who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. (39) We are witnesses
of everything he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom
they also killed, hanging him on a tree. (40) God raised him up the third
day, and gave him to be revealed, (41) not to all the people, but to
witnesses who were chosen before by God, to us, who ate and drank with him
after he rose from the dead. (42) He charged us to preach to the people and
to testify that this is he who is appointed by God as the Judge of the
living and the dead. (43) All the prophets testify about him, that through
his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins." (44)
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all
those who heard the word.

Act 13:16-34 WEB Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, "Men of
Israel, and you who fear God, listen. (17) The God of this people chose our
fathers, and exalted the people when they stayed as aliens in the land of
Egypt, and with an uplifted arm, he led them out of it. (18) For period of
about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. (19) When he had
destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land for
an inheritance, for about four hundred fifty years. (20) After these things
he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. (21) Afterward they asked for
a king, and God gave to them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of
Benjamin, for forty years. (22) When he had removed him, he raised up David
to be their king, to whom he also testified, 'I have found David the son of
Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.' (23) From this man's
seed, God has brought salvation to Israel according to his promise, (24)
before his coming, when John had first preached the baptism of repentance to
Israel. (25) As John was fulfilling his course, he said, 'What do you
suppose that I am? I am not he. But behold, one comes after me the sandals
of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.' (26) Brothers, children of the
stock of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, the word of this
salvation is sent out to you. (27) For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and
their rulers, because they didn't know him, nor the voices of the prophets
which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. (28) Though
they found no cause for death, they still asked Pilate to have him killed.
(29) When they had fulfilled all things that were written about him, they
took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb. (30) But God raised him
from the dead, (31) and he was seen for many days by those who came up with
him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses to the people. (32) We
bring you good news of the promise made to the fathers, (33) that God has
fulfilled the same to us, their children, in that he raised up Jesus. As it
is also written in the second psalm, 'You are my Son. Today I have become
your father.' (34) "Concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no
more to return to corruption, he has spoken thus: 'I will give you the holy
and sure blessings of David.'

The mention of John's baptism identifies it with what Peter was doing and
with Paul's ministry to the Jews in Acts along with the testimony of the
prophets linking his ministry to Israel's history. John's ministry as
forerunner of the Messiah is in full harmony with the OT baptism for priests
and God's intention to bless the Gentile nations through Israel. The
preaching also anticipates an eschatologic hope of "the holy and sure
mercies of David" which refers to the Davidic kingdom, of course. There is
nothing in the Everlasting New Covenant that repeals or negates that. Israel
had a priesthood under the old covenant arrangement, but as a nation, they
were to be a priesthood over the nations under the new covenant. This all
has to do with the yet open offer of the Davidic kingdom to Israel, an offer
which entails baptism (by sprinkling) to qualify people to become priests.
Of course, John had a unique ministry but his baptism is the same one that
Christ commissioned his apostles to carry out.

Paul pronounces for the third and final time after the Roman Jews reject the
gospel of their Messiah that he would turn to the Gentiles. From his
epistles, we learn that Israel has fallen and no longer has the advantage.
We also learn that the Davidic kingdom offer is put aside until a future
day, and for now, Jew and Gentile will approach God on equal ground to make
up a new corporate entity identified as the Body of Christ with a place in
the heavenlies instead of in the Davidic earthly kingdom.

You wrote, "Brother Ross, the baptism with which the Lord Jesus was baptized
at Calvary was not a baptism in blood, but rather a baptism under the waves
and billows
of the judgment of God for our sins.See Ps.42:7; 88:7; and Jonah 2:3.
Scripture never ever speaks of people being baptized in blood."

A "a baptism under the waves and billows of the judgment of God for our
sins" is the same thing as a baptism of blood, for it was blood that God
required to atone for sin!

I did not say "baptism in blood", rather I said "baptism of blood"! BUT If
we have been baptized/washed in his blood which takes away our sins, we can
perhaps call that a baptism "in" blood which is certainly mentioned in
Scripture, Rev 1:5; Heb 9:14; 1John 1:7. Such a baptism in blood can be
deduced from other passages as well.

You wrote, "Dear brother, Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 2:15 do NOT deal
with baptism at all!"

They both mention the abolishing of old covenant ordinances of which one was
water baptism as I have clearly shown from Scripture. I have also clearly
shown that the water baptism of the OT priests, John the Baptist, the one
commissioned by Jesus, preached by Peter, and one which even Paul performed
a few times early in his ministry are all related. I think these Scriptures
are clear that water baptism is not for us today in contrast to its
requirement for the Levitical priesthood up through the royal priesthood in
Acts. I have shown from Scripture that up until Acts, that Israel had an
advantage over the Gentiles with respect to their relationship to God. This
advantage disappeared by the end of Acts where Paul abandons his ministry
"to the Jew first" and ministers to all with out preference. 1Cor 1 strongly
implies Paul's cessation of water baptism and this is reenforced by his
further lack of preaching it in light of his unifying message, and the fact
that the apostles never really fulfill the Mat 28 commission. How many years
was it before we see any of the apostles moving outside of Jerusalem to the
uttermost parts of the world? How many do we see ever leaving?

Paul is clear in saying he had a new administration to administer in Eph 2
and 3. One in which the Jew and Gentile would by grace both have access
equally. This is in comtrast to the situation in the Gospel accounts and
Acts where the ministry was to the Jew first. Acts covers the history of
Israels fall from favor with God as a nation. Acts shows things happening in
which Gentiles are given treatment unseen before. It is a history in which
we see a transition from a purely Jewish mission unto an international
mission. This international mission was supposed to happen through Israel
but rather occurs in spite of them. With Paul's special commission in Acts
13, we see the beginning of this mission to the Gentiles in spite of
Israel's failure. So I would say the start of a new administration starts in
Acts 13. Acts 28 is not significant for the start of something new, but
rather the end of something old, which is the ministry "to the Jew first".
This overlap accounts for the transitional nature of Acts. One must then
keep dispensational distinctions in mind before trying to apply what is
going on in Acts to today lest they apply that which was being put away. The
practical application for "home church", for those who think this discussion
is irrelevent, is what are we supposed to be modeling. Are we to model the
Body of Christ before it was established by Paul and mix in elements of a
past dispensation, or are we to model the established and fully matured body
of Christ?

Bruce, I think I have answered your challenges adequately from Scripture and
I have provided the above summary with that presumption. You may disagree
and so I invite you to continue the discussion but lets try to break it up
into smaller bites so we are not trying to manage huge exchanges. I think in
terested folks will be more likely to follow the discussion then. I do
appreciate the exchange Brother and I find it is edifying.

In Christ,

Ross Purdy

House Church Talk is sponsored by the House Church Network.

House Church Talk has been renamed. These discussions, via the web, now occur at the Radically Christian Cafe.