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Part 54: Household Baptism

Every Christian believes in “household baptism” and every Christian should believe in “household baptism” because the Bible teaches “household baptism,” but Christians are by no means agreed on this “household baptism.”

All Christians should be agreed that sectarianism is not Scriptural, that God’s purpose during this present economy of grace is to build into, to build up, and to complete the Church which is the Body of Christ. Note how definitely this is stated in Ephesians 4:11 to 13:

“And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the Body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect Man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”

This Body, when completed, will be with Christ, the Perfect Man, the Fulness of Christ. Now note Ephesians 2:15 to 19:

“Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain One New Man, so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one Body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner Stone.”

Believing Jews and believing Gentiles, together with Christ, will be “One New Man,” both reconciled unto God in “one Body,” “the Household of God.” Now note I Timothy 3:15 and I Corinthians 12:13:

“But if I tarry long that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in THE HOUSE OF GOD, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the Truth.”

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into ONE BODY; whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free: and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

Here we learn that “the Household of God” is called “the House of God,” “the Church of the living God,” “the pillar and ground of the truth.” How are believers made members of “the Household of God,” the Body of Christ? By baptism. Baptized by one Spirit into one Body.

Now note Galatians 3:27—Romans 6:3 and 4—Colossians 2:11—and Ephesians 4:4 and 5:

“FOR AS MANY OF YOU AS HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST HAVE PUT ON CHRIST.” Galatians 3:27.

“KNOW YE NOT THAT SO MANY OF US AS WERE BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST WERE BAPTIZED INTO HIS DEATH? THEREFORE WE ARE BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM INTO DEATH THAT LIKE AS CHRIST WAS RAISED UP FROM THE DEAD BY THE GLORY OF THE FATHER, EVEN SO WE ALSO SHOULD WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE,” Romans 6:3 and 4.

“IN WHOM ALSO YE ARE CIRCUMCISED WITH THE CIRCUMCISION MADE WITHOUT HANDS, IN PUTTING OFF THE BODY OF THE SINS OF THE FLESH BY THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST.” Colossians 2:11.

“THERE IS ONE BODY AND ONE SPIRIT, EVEN AS YE ARE CALLED IN ONE HOPE OF YOUR CALLING; ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM.” Ephesians 4:4 and 5.

There is one Christ. The believer is baptized into Christ. There is one way of salvation. The believer is baptized into the death of Christ; buried with Him by baptism and raised to walk in newness of life. There is one Body. There is only one baptism that will make a believer a member of that Body. That is the one Divine baptism with which man has nothing to do except to receive for himself by faith and then preach it to others.

Inasmuch as it is impossible to get into “the Household of God” without the Divine baptism, every member of Christ’s Body has received this “Household baptism,” God’s baptism that brings him into God’s Household.

HOUSEHOLD – WATER BAPTISM

The Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and others, including the Reformed and Christian Reformed churches, believe in “household baptism,” that is, they sprinkle with water little children. The pastors of most of these churches sprinkle only the children of parents who are members of their denominations.

The Reformed and Christian Reformed churches generally agree with the Presbyterians that sprinkling is the New Testament ordinance which superseded Old Testament circumcision. Inasmuch as baby boys, eight days old, whose parents were God’s covenanted people were circumcised, the little boys and girls of members of the New Covenant Church should be sprinkled. We can’t see just how or why the baby girls are included,

We quote what an outstanding theologian in the Reformed denomination has written, Dr. Albertus Peters

“The Bible is entirely silent about infant baptism, either pro or con. We admit it. We do not profess to get infant baptism from its pages.” “We would not find infant baptism in the Bible, because it is not there, and cannot be gotten out of the Bible.”

The Lutherans are not unanimous in their doctrine, but generally they believe that the children of Lutheran parents are made both Christians and Lutherans by infant baptism.

The Roman Catholics do not accept the sprinkling of any other denomination as valid or efficacious. The sprinkling must be by a Roman Catholic, with blessed, holy water. This ceremony is a cleansing that takes care of original sin, according to their unscriptural “baptism” theory.

BAPTIZED BOTH MEN AND WOMEN

Note Acts 8:12:

“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

Here we learn that both men and women were baptized. As to whether this baptism was by sprinkling, pouring or immersing, we may not agree, but there is no reference to the baptizing of the children.

Note Hebrews 9:10:

“Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers BAPTISMS, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”

We have changed the word translated “washings” to read “baptisms.” Israel’s baptisms were generally by sprinkling or pouring, and the children of the Israelitish parents were included under the covenant with their parents. The word in Hebrews 9:10 is “baptizo.”

Can we not prove household baptism by Acts 10:2 and 48—Acts 16:15— Acts 16:34—I Corinthians 1:16? Note these verses.

“A DEVOUT MAN, AND ONE THAT FEARED GOD WITH ALL HIS HOUSE, WHICH GAVE MUCH ALMS TO THE PEOPLE, AND PRAYED TO GOD ALWAY.”

“AND HE COMMANDED THEM TO BE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. THEN PRAYED THEY HIM TO TARRY CERTAIN DAYS.” Acts 10:2 and 48.

“AND WHEN SHE WAS BAPTIZED, AND HER HOUSEHOLD, SHE BESOUGHT US, SAYING, IF YE HAVE JUDGED ME TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD, COME INTO MY HOUSE, AND ABIDE THERE. AND SHE CONSTRAINED US.” Acts 16:15.

“AND HE TOOK THEM THE SAME HOUR OF THE NIGHT, AND WASHED THEIR STRIPES; AND WAS BAPTIZED, HE AND ALL HIS, STRAIGHTWAY.”

“AND WHEN HE HAD BROUGHT THEM INTO HIS HOUSE, HE SET MEAT BEFORE THEM, AND REJOICED, BELIEVING IN GOD WITH ALL HIS HOUSE.” Acts 16:33 and 34.

“AND I BAPTIZED ALSO THE HOUSEHOLD OF STEPHANAS: BESIDES, I KNOW NOT WHETHER I BAPTIZED ANY OTHER.” I Corinthians 1:16.

Yes, we can certainly prove household baptism by these statements but can we prove that infant baptism is here proved? ‘The argument is that there must have been some real young children in some of these households.

PLYMOUTH BRETHREN HOUSEHOLD BAPTISM

Among the several doctrines that have divided the Brethren, generally called “the Plymouth Brethren,” is the question of water baptism. Few, if any of them, believe in sprinkling or pouring. They agree with the Baptists that “baptizo” means “immerse” and so they are almost unanimous that water baptism means to be submerged, to be put completely under the water. Like all other baptizers they do not know why they practice the water ceremony. They are unanimously agreed that there is not one iota of saving value in the water. They know that water baptism is work, man’s work. They know and emphasize that man has nothing to do with his own salvation except to believe and receive that it is not of works, but altogether by grace. They know that water baptism is not required for membership in the Household of God, the Body of Christ. But they arbitrarily and unscripturally make water baptism a requirement for fellowship in their circle. They thus have built a religious fence around their circle, whereas their founder, Mr. John Darby, purposed the very opposite.

But this circle has been broken, their fellowship has been disturbed by two “baptism” theories. One is called “believer’s baptism,” and the other is called “household baptism.” Those who hold for “believer’s baptism” teach that only those who can, and do, intelligently exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ should be immersed. They generally quote Romans 6:3 and 4:

“Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized in to death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

But a very careful unprejudiced study of the sixth chapter of Romans should cause the student to agree with Mr. Kenneth Wuest, of the Moody Bible Institute

“The mechanical meaning of the word, namely, the introduction of something in a new environment or into union with something else, is in view of Romans 6 and I Corinthians 12:13. It is set in a context of supernaturalism. It refers to the act of God placing us in Christ. This precludes any suggestion of water baptism as a means whereby a believing sinner is joined to Christ. It is a question, of course, as to what the inspired writer had in mind when he used the word, and certainly Paul was not thinking of the rite of water baptism, but of the act of God uniting a believing sinner with Christ, thus using the word in its original meaning rather than its ritualistic connotation. Thus one could render Romans 6:3 “Introduced into Jesus Christ . . . were introduced into His death,” and I Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit we are all introduced into one body.” This is translation here, not transliteration.”

The Brethren who teach “household baptism” represent the minority group. But they are positive that their “immersion” water theory is Scriptural. They stand or fall with their interpretation of I Corinthians 10:1 to 3:

“MOREOVER, BRETHREN I WOULD NOT THAT YE SHOULD BE IGNORANT, HOW THAT ALL OUR FATHERS WERE UNDER THE CLOUD, AND ALL PASSED THROUGH THE SEA; AND WERE ALL BAPTIZED UNTO MOSES IN THE CLOUD AND IN THE SEA; AND DID ALL EAT THE SAME SPIRITUAL MEAT.”

Before we comment on this theory, we ask you to read Exodus 12:37, giving the record of the number of Israelites who left Egypt about 1495 B.C.

“And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. Exodus 12:37.

“And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

“And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

“And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” Exodus 14:19 to 21.

“AND THE WATERS RETURNED, AND COVERED THE CHARIOTS, AND THE HORSEMEN, AND ALL THE HOST OF PHARAOH THAT CAME INTO THE SEA AFTER THEM: THERE REMAINED NOT SO MUCH AS ONE OF THEM.

BUT THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. WALKED UPON DRY LAND IN THE MIDST OF THE SEA; AND THE WATERS WERE A WALL UNTO THEM ON THEIR RIGHT HAND, AND ON THEIR LEFT.”

“Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.

“And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.” Exodus 14:28 to 31.

Note carefully Exodus 14:31. The great miracle of God caused the Israelites to believe in Him and in His servant Moses.

Compare this with Acts 2:22 and John 5:36:

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”

“But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me.”

The wonderful works that God did by Jesus were to persuade Israel to accept Him as Messiah. The wonderful works that God did by Moses was to make Israel accept Moses as leader.

Thus they were baptized unto Moses by the cloud and the Red Sea.

But not one of the Israelites, parents or children, got wet. It was indeed a dry baptism for Israel, but a real submergence into death for the Egyptians. But this could not be symbolic of the burial in Romans 6:3 and 4, because the Egyptians were not raised to walk in newness of life.