Nearly 600 people have viewed our two baptism videos that are posted online (I know, not exactly "viral," but you can view them by simply typing "Richland ARP" in the YouTube search engine and you will locate them). It was inevitable that someone who disagreed with our theological approach would object, so I am providing one conversation and a more "expanded" reply for our church family. Here is how the conversation should be followed:
Chaosmite: Correction: baptízō – properly, "submerge" (Souter); hence, baptize, to immerse (literally, "dip under"). 907 (baptízō) implies submersion ("immersion"), in contrast to 472 /antéxomai ("sprinkle"). Please learn Greek before spreading what you think it means.
KM: Ouch! That has a little sting to it. I'd like the congregation to know that as a seminary student, I took 5 post-grad semesters of New Testament Greek. I wasn't the smartest student in the class, but I earned good marks and graduated with honors. Additionally, there is not a sermon that is prepared for church derived from the New Testament that I do not consult the Koine Greek language. I have tools and resources I consult often. My education was, "Old School;" no online computer internet pages to consult, just books and reference guides. Today, everyone and anyone can consult the literature that is available online. What I studied in books, is now at your fingertips right now. Because this individual seemed to be sporting for a fight (and seems to be accessing his own online material), I responded with a simple link to a source that everyone would recognize as a basic authority on Biblical definitions: http://bibleencyclopedia.com/baptism -- to get to the nugget: "The Greek words from which our English "baptism" has been formed are used by Greek writers, in classical antiquity, in the Septuagint and in the New Testament, with a great latitude of meaning. It is not possible to exhaust their meaning by any single English term. The action which the Greek words express may be performed by plunging, drenching, staining, dipping, sprinkling. ... Wherever these words occur in the New Testament, the context or, in the case of quotations, a comparison with the Old Testament will in many instances suggest which of the various renderings noted above should be adopted ... "The assertion that the command to baptize is a command to immerse is utterly unauthorized" (Hodge)."
If you followed this explanation for the meaning of "baptism" mentioned in the Bible and FOR ALL OF GREEK LITERATURE throughout history, to be "baptized" can represent anything from a ship sinking, to a man drowning in financial debt, and to ceremonial washings having nothing to do with total submersion.
Another website that includes exhaustive research and documentation is: http://www.benkeshet.com/webhelp_baptism/WebHelp/The_Meaning_of_Baptizo/chpte10_baptizo_old.htm. Now, let me share a concern at this point. Undoubtedly, if you visit this page, you will note the extensive documentation employed to arrive at his conclusions; but as a caution, just as I have both agreements and disagreements with other Christians on a variety of debates, so do I with other conclusions this author makes on other topics -- too much to explain here. However, the conclusions on the meaning of baptism are as follows: "...baptizo, unlike bapto to dip, but like bapto to dye, does not express a form of act, but a condition - condition of intusposition primarily, and condition of controlling influence, secondarily. Bapto, in one of its aspects, demands a movement which carries its object, momentarily, within a fluid element; and in another of its aspects demands a condition which is met by flowing, pouring, or sprinkling… Baptizo, in one of its aspects, demands a condition which may be effected by flowing, pouring or sprinkling; and in another of its aspects, demands a condition which may be effected by anything, in any way, which is competent to exercise a controlling influence over its object. The two leading meanings, to dip, to dye, have modifications in usage...refusal to accept any farther modification in the meaning of this Greek word is not well grounded."
Again, this website documents every possible reference to baptism in every possible usage throughout the whole of ancient Greek literature. While "bapto" has a primary usage of, "to dip," it can also mean, "to wet, wash, moisten, dye, stain, smear, gild, temper, and imbue." The author concludes that baptism is not rigidly connected to the action, but to the "influence" of the action. In other words, baptism changes the status, character, and condition of the person/thing baptized, whether by immersion or anointing, baptism is the "washing" that signifies the change -- it is not consistently done by only one particular way.
Chaosmite: Acts 2:41, Greek bible didn’t have the word gladly, so that was added into KJV, I’m so glad you took your time on researching Greek, it really shows.
KM: He's coming after me again! It is not "added" to the KJV, it is translated as such. The Young's Literal Translation, along with a few others, also highlight that Peter's message was "gladly received" or "welcomed and embraced" by the original hearers of his sermon on Pentecost. My online Greek dictionary for "received," in Acts 2:41, provides this definition: αποδεχηομαι Pronunciation: ap-od-ekh'-om-ahee Definition: 1) to accept from, receive 2) to accept what is offered from without, from 575 and 1209; to take fully, i.e. welcome (persons), approve (things):-accept, receive (gladly). see GREEK for 575 see GREEK for 1209
Here's another: ἀποδεξάμενοι (apodexamenoi)
Verb - Aorist Participle Middle - Nominative Masculine Plural; Strong's Greek 588: To receive, welcome, entertain (with hospitality), embrace. From apo and dechomai; to take fully, i.e. Welcome, approve.
The reference to Acts 2:41 represents that those who heard the message were a group who "welcomed, embraced, approved, and gladly received" his message. This is important for two reasons: 1) Those who heard were first cut to the heart with guilt for their treatment of the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ, whom they crucified. Peter provided them with an answer to their guilt and shame and provided them with a gospel hope! 2) There must have been some there who weren't "entertaining with hospitality" this message, in fact, only the ones made glad with the gospel responded to the call for baptism and received the Holy Spirit. For the untold thousands of people in Jerusalem that day, not everyone responded with faith and obedience. This is still true of our preaching today.
Chaosmite: Baptized of the spirit is from God, and of the water is a public symbol that you got saved.
KM: My debate here is with a person who has an allegiance to a non-Reformed view of baptism. This last salvo is a summary of that position: If you are saved, God's Holy Spirit will lead you to publicly announce that salvation by symbolizing it by baptism. I actually agree with this. Our creed says that there is only one baptism for the remission of sins -- that would be the baptism of the Holy Spirit -- this would clearly be accomplished by the sovereign grace of God. To demonstrate that you believe in God's saving work, and to set yourself apart from the rest of the world that is actually under God's condemnation, believers ought to be baptized -- set apart as the people of God and united to Christ by faith and obedience.
But I also believe that everything I just said above applies to our children! The waters of baptism symbolize the saving work of God, cleansing us from sin and aligning us with the kingdom of God -- a transfer from the kingdom of darkness (which our children are born to by their fallen nature in Adam) into the kingdom of light (as we are "born again" into the kingdom that is ruled by Christ which is not of this world). Our children, as disciples, must learn and live out their faith by obeying the commandments of God and taking confidence in His word -- just like the covenant people of the Old Testament. But the New Testament covenant is better! It is applied to both boys and girls, young and old, by water and the Spirit. And just as Israel was a chosen people with a covenant sign, setting them apart to receive the inheritance of God -- so we, as the church, are to embrace a similar covenant sign, chosen in Christ, set apart, prepared to receive all the blessings of Christ's eternal kingdom!
If you have more questions, please send them along. This is simply part of the covenant promise given to Abraham, "All nations shall be blessed through you." We still believe in this today! -km
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