Theology Thursday - A Presbyterian on Baptists

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. Some are orthodox, but decidedly outside the Baptist orbit. Others are completely heretical. Regardless of heresy or orthodoxy, we hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).

“The author of Hebrews characterizes all of the ceremonial sprinklings of the Old Testament—the sprinkling of those who were ceremonially unclean with the blood of bulls and the ashes of a heifer (9:13), Moses’ sprinkling of the scroll and all the people with the blood of calves mixed with water and scarlet wool (9:19), and his sprinkling of the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies with blood (9:21)—as ‘baptisms,’ that is, as ‘ceremonial washings,’ (9:10). Moreover, the same writer immediately thereafter and Peter as well speak of Christians as being ‘sprinkled’ with Christ’s blood:

Hebrews 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water (see Ezek 36:25).

Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks of something better than Abel’s does.

1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure! (see Isa 52:15).

Surely the universe of discourse of the Book of Hebrews would warrant the conclusion that the author would have regarded the Christian’s ‘sprinkling’ with Christ’s blood—the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament typical sacrifice—as a spiritual ‘baptism’ as well. And just as surely, ‘it would be strange if the baptism with water which represents the sprinkling of the blood of Christ could not properly and most significantly be performed by sprinkling.’”1,2

“With reference to the alleged pattern of baptism in Romans 6:2-6 and Colossians 2:11-12 as being that of burial and resurrection, a careful analysis of these passages will show that Paul’s basic thesis is the believer’s union with Christ in his crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection as the antidote to antinomianism. Baptism by immersion does not modally reflect our crucifixion with Christ, which is one of the four aspects of our union with Christ which Paul mentions in the Romans passage. Murray is right when he affirms:

It is arbitrary to select one aspect [of our union with Christ, namely, burial] and find in the language used to set it forth the essence of the mode of baptism. Such procedure is indefensible unless it can be carried through consistently. It cannot be carried through consistently here [since baptism by immersion does not and cannot visibly reflect our being hung on the cross with Christ, which is as much an aspect of our union with Christ in the passage as our burial with him] and therefore it is arbitrary and invalid.3

We should no more single out our union with Christ in his burial and resurrection and make these two aspects of our union with him the pattern for the mode of baptism than we should appeal to Galatians 3:27 … and argue on the basis of its statement tthat baptism should be carried out by requiring new Christians to don a white robe, that is, by a ‘baptism by donning.’

The fact is that there is not a single recorded instance of a baptism in the entire New Testament where immersion followed by emersion is the mode of baptism. The Baptist practice of baptism by immersion is simply based on a faulty exegesis of Scripture. The ordinance should not be represented as signifying Christ’s burial and resurrection (aspects of the accomplished phase of his saving work, which the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper memorializes) but rather his baptismal work (the applicational phase of his saving work). I would conclude therefore that ‘dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person.”4

Notes

1 Robert Reymond, A Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1998), 933-934.  

2 Quoted from John Murray, Christian Baptism (Philadelphia, PA: P&R, 1962), 24, in Reymond, Systematic, 933.

3 Quoted from Murray, Christian Baptism, 24 in Reymond, Systematic, 934.

4 Reymond, Systematic, 934-935.  

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There are 29 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

There's something wrong with the reasoning in his case for sprinkling, but I haven't quite got my finger on it yet. Something like A = B, B = C, D = C, therefore A = D.

But the larger problem is historical context. The Jews with their Mikvehs in Jesus' and John's and Paul's day were not sprinkling. They were immersing. Further, it's pretty hard to make a case that John the Baptizer was not immersing in the Jordan (though the evidence isn't 100% certain that he was either). Phillip's encounter with the Ethiopian seems strange as well if an immersion isn't in view ("look, here is water"? Surely they both had waterskins or similar that could have been used for a ceremonial sprinkling).

Bert Perry's picture

Aaron, I think he's simply indulging non sequiturs.  On what basis ought we assume, as does the author, that the Jewish readers/listeners for Hebrews would have regarded this as a spiritual baptism?  If they did, does it mean we should as well?  Lots of things there simply don't follow.

My favorite is where he argues that there are no clear examples of "immersion/emersion" for this ordinance.....apparently he hadn't consulted his Greek Lexicon in a while to learn what the core meaning of "baptizo" might be, and what it might mean when Jesus "came out of the water".  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I find his arguments about mode weak. However, over the past few weeks I have been re-evaluating my own position on what baptism pictures. I find a whole lot to agree with when Reymond argues that is seems arbitrary to seize on Christ's death, burial and resurrection and make this THE ONLY THING which baptism shows the congregation. I have always been attracted to the washing metaphor, and the argument that baptism pictures the application of Christ's work to sinners.

I need to take another close look at Romans 6. I remember, when I wrote a short bible study and taught about the meaning of baptism from that passage a while back, that I felt pulled away from the "baptism = symbolism of death, burial, resurrection" position. I resisted that pull, but now I may take a closer look.

That is why it is good to read some folks from outside your own orbit. You are prompted to think about some things! For some groups or organizations, that can be seen to be a bad thing. I disagree.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

Chafer has one of the best arguments for effusion that I have read. It's in his systematic. If I remember correctly, has also sees it as picturing more than just Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Reymond wrote:

With reference to the alleged pattern of baptism in Romans 6:2-6 and Colossians 2:11-12 as being that of burial and resurrection, a careful analysis of these passages will show that Paul’s basic thesis is the believer’s union with Christ in his crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection as the antidote to antinomianism. Baptism by immersion does not modally reflect our crucifixion with Christ, which is one of the four aspects of our union with Christ which Paul mentions in the Romans passage.

As a good fundamentalist, Bro. Yosemite Sam, once said, "them's fightin' words!" Surely somebody out there has some thoughts? 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

JBL's picture

This post has encouraged me to systematically study NT baptism.  I'm still trying to work through a lot of issues, but I wanted to give a little bit of introduction before I comment more in greater detail as my study progresses.

To start off with, it looks like there are four baptisms worth noting in NT record:
The baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5)
Pre-Holy Spirit conferred physical water baptism (Acts 2:38, among others)
Post-Holy Spirit conferred physical water baptism (Acts 10:47-48)
Baptism into Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3, Galatians 3:27)

Also mentioned are the baptism into Moses (I Cor 10:2) and the baptism of the dead (I Cor 15:29).  I will choose not to focus on these.

My concern is that we are mixing and matching the significance and mode of each of the baptisms into what we generically call "Believer's Baptism" today.  I'm just beginning this personal study on a whim, and don't know where this will lead.  Chances are it will just lead to more questions than answers.  But I will try to be balanced and fair to scripture and hope that it might spur some interaction with the people on the forum.

Thanks all!

John B. Lee

Bert Perry's picture

Tyler, regarding the quote, it strikes me that the Scriptures nowhere commend immersion (let's translate it, not transliterate it) as an antidote to antinomianism, and neither do they describe believers as being crucified in baptism--really we would more say that our 'crucifixion in Christ' is a matter of coming to faith, not either sprinkling or immersion.

Plus, if sprinkling were the proper mode, that's an odd way of describing our burial with Christ....even in New Orleans, where they cannot bury coffins because they'll pop back up when water levels get high, they have the decency to put the coffin in a mausoleum, not just sprinkle a little bit of dirt on the body/coffin and call it good.  

Never mind the obvious; given that we all know a lot of "mainline" church "members" who have been sprinkled, but have never ever shown any sign of being saved, we have to ask this question; if we are buried with Him in baptism, are the paedobaptists then burying people who are still alive?  Sounds like barbarism, not a sacrament, to me.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I am glad this post has encouraged you to further study. I'm the one who finds this stuff, and it has had a similar effect on me. I'll say this for now:

  • I've found the best place to study baptism is in the Book of Acts, which gives us the apostolic example of how to preach the Gospel and incorporate new believers into churches
  • I'm convinced believer's baptism is Biblical. I think anybody who marches through the book of Acts will find this. 
  • I think the proper mode is immersion. I also think this is supported by a walk through the book of Acts.
  • I am not completely convinced baptism ONLY pictures Christ's death, burial and resurrection. I would like to explore the interpretation of "baptism = symbolizes our washing from sins and regeneration by the Spirit" metaphor further. I think Reymond's critique on this point has some validity. I need to take a closer look at Romans 6 again in light of it.
  • Reymond's entire discussion is worth reading, but you can probably get the same thing for free from Charles Hodge's systematic. As I said before, it is always interesting to read folks who completely disagree with you. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

It's interesting that Reymond seems to deprecate NT passages that actually mention immersion (using the actual word which later became "baptize") in favor of passages which speak of sprinkling. He does not prove that those passages actually speak of the NT ordinance but then he proceeds to use them to criticize the practice among Baptists. It hardly seems worth responding to his conclusions.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Reymond fired a whole lot of bursts in this excerpt, which is one reason why I chose it. Let me zoom in on meaning here, because that's the point where I feel his arguments are strongest:

  • Heb 10:22 speaks of believers being "sprinkled" from an evil conscience and our bodies being "washed" with pure water. This is clearly a reference to the Old Covenant "sprinkling," and the implications for the New Covenant in Christ's blood are also very strong (cf. Ex 24:8).
  • Our bodies are "washed" by the regeneration of the Spirit.

On the basis of just this text, you can see regeneration as picturing both the application of Christ's atonement to an individual's life and the immersion and washing of that person by the Spirit (i.e. positional sanctification and justification). This is good stuff.

But, the question is this - what metaphors does the NT use when it speaks of the ordinance of baptism? That will settle the issue. This is why Baptists have always held so tightly to Romans 6 - it's a strong passage. I'll need to translate Rom 6:1-7 myself and really dig into some exegetical commentaries before I venture too much further. But, I will say that I'm about 50.0001% sure that 1 Pet 3:21 is speaking of regeneration by the Spirit, not the ordinance . . .

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

Is there any exegetical reason to see the ordinance of baptism in Heb 10:22? If not, I would submit that it is irrelevant at best in a discussion about baptism. It is likely, in fact, that its inclusion would only serve to obscure the actual NT teaching and increase the likelihood of misinterpreting the passages that do actually speak about baptism.

Incidentally, it reminds me of the tendency of the Lutheran scholar Lenski to jump straight to baptism in any text which includes the mention of water. It might be better to actually exegete the text as it stands, but that's just the dispensationalist in me coming out.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.  -John 3:23

Ancient Baptism by Immersion

“In the modern industrial city of Lyon in southern France, there stands a fascinating Catholic church, Primatiale St. Jean, constructed in 1192.  Just outside of the building is a large immersionist baptistry accompanied by an explanatory sign, which acknowledges that the baptistry, though formerly larger, had been downsized due to ‘changes of doctrine.’  Church ruins in Turkey, Tunisia, and Algeria underscore the ancient practice of the earliest church of immersing those who professed Jesus as the Christ in a pool of water.  Such baptistries are sometimes relatively simple and configured in the shape of the cross - often even large, spacious pools which complex symbols fashioned in mosaics.” 

-Dr. Paige Patterson, "What is Baptism?," SWBTS; December 1, 2011. 

David R. Brumbelow

TylerR's picture

Editor

I hear you on the baptistries. One point Reymond argues, however, is that baptism by immersion is rather selective because it seizes on Christ's death, burial and resurrection as the ONLY thing the ordinance pictures. Why, Reymond asks, shouldn't Christians view the "sprinkling" (i.e. application) of Christ's blood as picturing baptism - in which case baptism ought to be done by "sprinkling?" 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

Louis Berkhof, the theological ninja, wrote this about Baptists and immersion:

They base their opinion on Mark 10:38, 39; Luke 12:50; Rom. 6:3, 4; Col. 2:12. But the first two passages merely express the idea that Christ would be overwhelmed by His coming sufferings, and do not speak of the sacrament of baptism at all. The last two are the only ones that really have any bearing on the matter, and even these are not to the point, for they do not speak directly of any baptism with water at all, but of the spiritual baptism thereby represented. They represent regeneration under the figure of a dying and a rising again. It is certainly perfectly obvious that they do not make mention of baptism as an emblem of Christ’s death and resurrection. If baptism were represented here at all as an emblem, it would be as an emblem of the believer’s dying and rising again. And since this is only a figurative way of representing his regeneration, it would make baptism a figure of a figure.

L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co., 1938), 628.

This is a challenge. It's a good challenge. I've felt the weight of this challenge for years. That doesn't mean I'm no longer a Baptist. It just means I realize this is a good challenge that Baptists ought to answer. I need to translate Rom 6:1-7 and answer it for myself, and stop reading what other Baptists have written in defense of our interpretation. Berkhof, like he did in so many other places, crystallizes the heart of the issue in this excerpt. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

I'm not entirely convinced that the symbolism of baptism is the most significant argument to be made, although it seems to be the only argument Reymond and Berkhof can make in favor of their own position. The suggestion that sprinkling is connected to baptism is baseless, as the writer of Hebrews did not refer to baptism when he spoke of sprinkling. I simply do not see any exegetical argument being made in favor of sprinkling, but I see that as the primary argument in favor of immersion.

Baptists are not dependent on Romans 6 and Colossians 2 to define the mode of baptism. We can simply refer to the command in Matthew 28 and the simple meaning of the text. It is, to quote my favorite professor, "Intuitively obvious to the casual observer."

I'm not surprised, however, that two covenant theologians place more emphasis on the symbolism of the text then on its plain meaning. That kind of goes with the territory.

TylerR's picture

Editor

pvawter:

I'm with you on immersion. We can lay that one aside. I'm zooming in on meaning. What does baptism symbolize? Reymond and Berkhof see baptism as symbolizing regeneration.

  • Moses sprinkled the OT saints with the blood of sacrificial offerings as a solemn reminder they were partakers of the Covenant at Sinai (Ex 24).
  • This is the probably what the writer of Hebrews was alluding to when he wrote that Christians have been "sprinkled from an evil conscience" and their bodies have been "washed" with pure water (i.e. the regeneration of the Spirit). This ties Christians to the New Covenant - something dispensationalists have always struggled with.

So, we're together on the mode of baptism - immersion. We're also probably together on the recipients - all conscious believers in the Gospel (believer's baptism). I'm saying that I am open to exploring Reformed understandings of it's meaning.

  • Perhaps dispensationalism (with it's struggle to know how to categorize the New Covenant) has blinded Baptist dispensationalists to the possible implications for the "regeneration meaning" of believer's baptism?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

Tyler,
I fail to see the connection between Moses' sprinkling and baptism. It is simply irrelevant, imo, unless someone can show me where a NT writer used the word "baptize" in such a context. Peter seems to suggest just the opposite in my view, so I see no reason to explore the symbolism of the ordinance from the perspective of Reymond and Berkhof, who assume sprinkling and infant baptism, which compels them to justify it by appealing to the symbolism of baptism.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Berkhof wrote this about Romans 6 and Colossians 2:

The last two are the only ones that really have any bearing on the matter, and even these are not to the point, for they do not speak directly of any baptism with water at all, but of the spiritual baptism thereby represented. They represent regeneration under the figure of a dying and a rising again.

This is the crux. Many writers see the usual texts Baptists appeal to as referring to "spiritual baptism" or regeneration. I've even heard some Baptists admit these passages can be taken that way. It's not just Reformed - some older dispensationalists (e.g. Chafer and Unger) also took these passages that way. This is the challenge, I believe. Is the point of this passage about the ordinance? Or, is Paul speaking about union with Christ and regeneration by using, as Berkhof called it, "a figure of dying and rising again?"

They may not be correct. But, I think its worth seriously considering. Walking through Romans 6, what is the point? Is it really the ordinance? Or, is regeneration and union with Christ the real issue? If so, what implications does that have for the proper symbolism of the ordinance? Is it a picture of Christ's death, burial resurrection? Of our regeneration? Or, can we see both and not be labeled compromisers?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

Why do you say that this is the crux? Especially if you have heard other Baptists and dispensationalists take the same position on the symbolism of Romans 6 and Colossians 2. I would submit that they have completely missed the crux, which is why they appeal so strongly to the symbolism here.

Why are we tempted to see the ordinance of baptism in Romans 6 and Colossians 2? Maybe because Paul used the term. Why do they see baptism in Hebrews 9 & 10 in spite of the fact that the author never used the term baptism? Because they have already concluded that sprinkling is baptism.

That being said, in both passages Paul connects baptism to burial, not crucifixion or anything else, so I think Murray's comments are off base. It is not arbitrary if the NT writer makes the connection for us!

TylerR's picture

Editor

I suppose I see Romans 6 and Colossians 2 as a "crux" because the word "baptism" doesn't always refer to the ordinance (e.g. Mk 1:8, 10:38). It may be referring to the ordinance in Romans 6. But, many folks don't think it is. The issue is to decide whether this "baptism" in Romans 6 is actually the ordinance, or a figure for regeneration. After all, for example, Jesus wasn't talking about the ordinance in Mk 10:38 and Paul wasn't referring to the ordinance in 1 Cor 12:13 . . .

 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

A crux of what? Because from where I sit, it's not like those are make it or break it passages for baptism by immersion. If they are not clearly indicating mode and are speaking of something else, the case for immersion is not harmed, nor is the case for sprinkling helped. Maybe I'm just not seeing what you're getting, though.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I suppose I'll ask this - where in Scripture do you get support for the idea that the ordinance of baptism represents Christ's death, burial and resurrection - and a believer's identification with that?

This is what Baptists teach believer's baptism pictures, usually from passages such as Rom 6 and Col 2. My point is that I am very sympathetic to seeing believer's baptism as picturing regeneration (i.e. the "washing" of the Spirit in the New Covenant), and not our identification with Christ's death, burial and resurrection. 

The crux is what the relevant passages teach about what baptism pictures. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

Well, Paul in Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12 makes a direct connection between burial and baptism, so there's that. Nothing about washing there. I know it's popular to see baptism pictured in Titus 3 (washing of regeneration), but Paul doesn't even mention baptism there. I frankly don't see any reason to connect baptism to washing in the NT.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I agree that Romans 6 is speaking baptism; but what kind of baptism? The ordinance? Or, the baptism of the Spirit which imparts regeneration? No matter which way you take it, Romans 6 isn't usually taken literally. For example:

  • No Christian has literally been "buried" with Christ through baptism unto death. This is a figure - but a figure for what?
  • We have not literally been raised with Christ from death by the Father, and thus commanded to walk in newness of life

This baptism has been seen as either the ordinance itself or as regeneration. Baptists interpret this passage as teaching what the ordinance symbolizes. We are born again (Figure #1) , and thus we identify with Christ's death, burial and resurrection - our old self is dead, buried, and has been raised to newness of life in Christ (Figure #2). This is what Berkhof called "a figure of a figure." The Reformed position sees only a single figure - the baptism of the Spirit in regeneration which raised us to new life.

It seems to me that both positions understand the "baptism" is not literal.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Then there is:

And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’  -Acts 22:16

Ananias was speaking in a figurative way of washing away sins. 

Baptism is a picture, a symbol of salvation, but it is not salvation nor a part of salvation.  That baptism is a picture or symbol of salvation is shown in 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12. 

Notice before Paul (Saul) was baptized, but after he believed, Ananias called him, “Brother Saul” (Acts 22:13), thereby recognizing his salvation. 

Notice also that Ananias, in speaking of washing away your sins included, “calling on the name of the Lord.”

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2015/12/baptismal-regeneration-is-ba...

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

pvawter wrote:

Well, Paul in Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12 makes a direct connection between burial and baptism, so there's that. Nothing about washing there. I know it's popular to see baptism pictured in Titus 3 (washing of regeneration), but Paul doesn't even mention baptism there. I frankly don't see any reason to connect baptism to washing in the NT.

The big thing I can think of that suggest associating washing with baptism is that at times, it's the same word--the same "dipping" that occurs in baptism occurred in a hilltop city (e.g. Jerusalem) where running water per the Roman aquaduct model was impossible.  There can be some ambiguity in "baptizo".   Just like the "rantists" need to be careful lest they assume the ordinance whenever they see the word, and to assume the diverse meanings might mean "affuse" or "sprinkle", we need to remember the same thing.  Baptizo can refer to a number of actions that involve immersion--or would have in Israel for the most part.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

pvawter's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

pvawter wrote:

Well, Paul in Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12 makes a direct connection between burial and baptism, so there's that. Nothing about washing there. I know it's popular to see baptism pictured in Titus 3 (washing of regeneration), but Paul doesn't even mention baptism there. I frankly don't see any reason to connect baptism to washing in the NT.

The big thing I can think of that suggest associating washing with baptism is that at times, it's the same word--the same "dipping" that occurs in baptism occurred in a hilltop city (e.g. Jerusalem) where running water per the Roman aquaduct model was impossible.  There can be some ambiguity in "baptizo".   Just like the "rantists" need to be careful lest they assume the ordinance whenever they see the word, and to assume the diverse meanings might mean "affuse" or "sprinkle", we need to remember the same thing.  Baptizo can refer to a number of actions that involve immersion--or would have in Israel for the most part.


While it's true that the sematic range of baptizo includes washing, and it is even used that way in Mark 7, Luke 11, and Hebrews 9, the contexts of those passages make it abundantly clear that the ordinance is not in view there. When the ordinance is clearly in view, however, the symbolism of washing is curiously absent, with the possible exception of Paul and Ananias in Acts. I just think that there needs to be a much stronger exegetical reason to connect the ordinance of baptism with symbolic washing before it can supercede the burial symbol which is plainly stated by Paul.

G. N. Barkman's picture

I can't vouch for Roman Aqueducts, but Biblical and historical evidence indicates that Jerusalem was replete with many public pools, such as the Pool of Bethesda, and others.  No support for a non-immersion position with the ready availability of suitable pools of water.  There was plenty of water.

G. N. Barkman

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