House Church Talk - Baptisms and Administrations

Ross J Purdy rossjpurdy at
Mon Feb 9 20:08:07 EST 2004

 Hi Bruce,

You wrote:
> 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
> 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?

I am going to do a little homework on this brother to double check sources.
We will look at the secular uses of the word in the Greek culture of the
first century. Baptize was often used to describe being overwhelmed by some
tragedy, calamity, or debt and such like. It was also used of drunkeness
where the medium was inside the one baptized rather than vice-versa.

 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
> This same purpose for baptism was spoken of by John and Peter as the
> 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!

You are right, the ritual does not remit sin (Those modern Bible versions
will always get you into trouble)! Yet, we have these washings etc.
commanded and demanded. While not in regard to accepting the Messiah, OT
ritual cleansings were serious business.

2Ch 30:17-20 WEB For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified
themselves: therefore the Levites had the charge of killing the Passovers
for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to Yahweh. (18) For a
multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and
Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the Passover
otherwise than it is written. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, The
good Yahweh pardon everyone (19) who sets his heart to seek God, Yahweh, the
God of his fathers, though not cleansed according to the purification of the
sanctuary. (20) Yahweh listened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.

Apparently, those who were not cleansed were suffering some disease brought
on by God. Perhaps would have died from such disease like:

Lev 15:31 WEB "'Thus you shall separate the children of Israel from their
uncleanness, so they will not die in their uncleanness, when they defile my
tabernacle that is in their midst.'"

I would presume that John's baptism was no less serious for the Jews he was
pouring and sprinkling water on. To skip it would indicate a problem with
regard to the character of one's repentance, right?

>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.

No I haven't with respect to John's ministry of manifesting the Messiah. But
I do think that some of the various washings in the OT do refer to people
fully bathing themselves. I realize you would differentiate based on
different words but they were all ritual cleansings and fall into the same
semantic domain.

> 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!

I will concede the uniqueness of John's baptism but we must not seperate
John's prophetic ministry which was to manifest the Messiah from the OT
which also points to Christ.

>From a subsequent post you wrote:
>In your previous e, you asked me how John's baptism was distinct from the
>baptism of the  apostles. I gave you five clear distinctions from
>You have not even acknowledged that I wrote such and yet you continue to
>claim that the two were identical! (" John had a unique ministry but his
>baptism is the same one that Christ commissioned his apostles to carry
>out.") Even after I demonstrated that there was no baptism of priests under
>the old covenant given at Sinai and that the Holy Spirit never designates
>any priestly washing or sprinkling as a baptism, you continue to maintain
>your claim that O.T. priests were baptized! Brother, you remind me of the
>one who said, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!"

I am not confused by the facts, brother, just baptized by the amount of
ground we are trying to manage! I will try to catch up later. As far as OT
priests are concerned, Numbers 8:7 qualifies as a ritual cleansing. While
the Septuagint translators did not see fit to use the word baptize here,
baptism is just another ritual cleansing and can be classed with all the
other ablutions, affusions, washings, pourings, and sprinklings.

>One cardinal rule of dispensationalism is to "distinguish between things
>which differ"! So it is very strange that a dispensationalist would confuse
>things which scripture clearly distinguishes!  It is also very poor
>of scripture to force words into texts (i.e. "baptism") where the Holy
>Spirit of God does not!

The Holy Spirit did not translate the Septuagint, brother! I won't trust the
Septuagint for letting any interpretation stand or fall. Besides, we have no
guarantee that the Septuagint versions we have now carries any resemblance
at all to the Septuagint that existed in Christ's day.

OH YEAH, who is the dispensationalist around here anyway? ;^)

In Christ,
Ross Purdy

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