House Church Talk - Baptisms and Administrations

Bruce Woodford bwood4d at
Fri Feb 6 21:48:07 EST 2004

Hi Ross,

I'll try to heed your suggestion and shorten up on these posts a bit!

First of all, I need to ask your forgiveness for not looking with care at 
the first verse you referred me to in your last post. (Ex.29:4)  I looked at 
the previous context (v.3) which spoke of the bullock and the two rams, but 
did not read verse 4 carefully. Thus I wrongly concluded that the washing 
referred to was of the animals! It was rather the washing of Aaron and his 

However, I do not think there is any warrant to conclude that every washing 
which involved people was a baptism!  You are right that baptisms may take 
place by the actions of dipping/immersion, pouring or sprinkling. However, 
in order for one to actually be baptized they need to be PLACED IN the 
baptismal medium.  For example, when I take a shower, the shower head pours 
or sprinkles water upon me. My whole body is soaking wet so that, in fact, I 
am entirely IN WATER.  However, if I  momentarily step outside while it is 
raining and I am sprinkled with a few drops of water, that is NOT a baptism! 
  There are a few drops of water ON my head, but you could not say that even 
my head was "IN water" let alone my whole body!

In my previous post to David, I listed all the places (which I have found) 
in the Septuagint where "baptisms" are referred to.  Ex.29:4 is not one of 

BTW, what translations are you using? I'm not familiar with the WEB or the 
You quoted Num.8:7 from the CEV . It claims that washing with water washes 
away sins!!!  That alone makes that version highly suspect to me!  But this 
verse only refers to "sprinkling" and "washing" but it does not use the word 
for "baptism". So regardless of religious organizations which attempt to 
justify infant baptism by citing such verses that refer to sprinkling, there 
is no scriptural justification to confuse "sprinkling" or "washing" with 
baptism when the word "baptize" is not used.

You wrote:"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."

Dear brother, scriptural baptisms are associated with a variety of mediums: 
not just water, but also blood, oil, blood and water, vinegar and honey! 
Prior to Romans 6, I am not aware of the action of baptism ever being 
associated with death, or that anyone was ever before "BAPTIZED INTO DEATH". 
  So I wonder why you would say that first century Hellenists would have 
associated the word with death"??  Why Hellenists? Why particularly first 
century Hellenists?

You wrote:"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."

Dear brother, I think you have made an assumption regarding John's baptism 
which is never stated in scripture! I think you have assumed that the 
purpose of John's baptist was for the remission of sins! It was not! 
Scripture is perfectly clear that "without the shedding of blood there is no 
remission."  Heb.9:22   Also Lev.17:11 " is the blood that maketh an 
atonement for the soul."   Rather, John preached a "baptism of repentance". 
Repentance, the change of mind regarding the "Lamb of God" was the central 
theme of John's preaching. Only as John's hearers repented of their sins and 
believed ("on Him which should come after him, that is on Christ Jesus" Acts 
19:4) would they receive forgiveness of sins!  Baptism never has, never 
could and never will bring forgiveness of sins. But repentance toward God 
and faith in the Lamb of God always has, does and will bring repentant 
believers forgiveness of their sins. In this regard, notice very carefully 
the words of Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3:  You do not read that "John preached 
BAPTISM FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS"!!  Rather you read, "John did baptize in 
the wilderness, and preach the baptism of REPENTANCE FOR THE REMISSION OF 
SINS."   (emphasis mine.)

John was not preaching a different Gospel, or a different way of salvation 
from other gospel preachers of scripture!  His message, although designed to 
PREPARE his hearers to receive and believe on Christ, certainly did not 
teach a different way of salvation, or a different means of approach to a 
holy God!

This is probably sufficient for now. I'll continue from here responding to 
the remainder of your post tomorrow.  But just to summarize what we have 
discussed so far, I still do not think you have provided any scriptural 
indication that baptism of entire persons by others was ever an O.T. 
practice. So John's baptism could not have been a continuation of something 
practiced before.  None of the "washings" and "sprinklings" to which you 
alluded were ever associated with repentance, or with faith in the Lamb of 
God on the part of the washed or sprinkled ones!  Old covenant priests were 
made priests NOT on the basis of repentance and faith, but rather on the 
bases of:
-their birth into the tribe of Levi,
-their gender as males and
-their age (20-50 years old).

But under the new covenant, God brought in a priesthood that had nothing to 
do with physical genealogy, nothing to do with gender and nothing to do with 

That's all for now.

Your brother in Christ,

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