Was John the First Baptist?

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TylerR's picture


I kind of agree with the author. I suppose, in the sense that John was the first immerser who instituted what we now know as believer's baptism, you could make that argument. There is still the issue of whether what John did could properly be called Christian baptism, given that:

  • (1) the New Covenant had not yet been inaugurated,
  • (2) Christ's finished work had not been accomplished, and thus
  • (3) the full significance of the symbolism of the ordinance of baptism was not properly known or understood by John 
  • (4) You also have the whole issue of when, precisely, the church began and whether you are a dispensationalist who believes the New Covenant has even been inaugurated yet

But, more to the point, being a "baptist" has less to do with the ordinance of baptism itself, and much more to do with your theology of the Church. In that sense, John the Baptist wasn't really a Baptist at all, was he? Unless you believe the church began with him . . .

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?

Jim's picture

John the Baptist:

  • The last of the OT  prophets
  • There were ceremonial washings that predate him so he was not the first baptizer. 

It's a simple argument* - "John was the first Baptist" ... but it is severely flawed

* He isn't called "John the Presbyterian" or "John the Methodist" ...

And then there is the issue of what is a Baptist? I concede that he is called "Baptist" ... but historical Baptists arose out of England in 1609 with John Smyth 

Rob Fall's picture

I heard the comment along the lines

John was the first NT Saint and the last OT prophet.  He was in essence a dispensational black hole.


Hoping to shed more light than heat..