Matthew Fitzsimmons

Baptism

For those of you who don’t know, Nathan (my brother) and I (as well as a few others) have been carrying on a discussion on the subject of baptism with Nathan (Pitchford) in the comments on some articles on his blog.The two articles (which I would recommend you read, including the comments on each) are Credo-Baptism and Covenant Theology and Credo Baptism: A Retraction. For those of you who still persist in Dispensationalism, the arguments on both sides of the issue probably don’t mean a whole lot to you. I would still encourage you to read them, however.

This discussion (the best I’ve had on the subject of baptism, from a standpoint of the arguments used and their basis in Scripture) helped me solidify my beliefs on the subject, and I think that my paedo-baptist position is biblically accurate. The second article is only a tidbit, the first is more in depth but needs to be re-written. It will, however, give you a general idea of what I believe.I say all this as a preface to this: 2 passages that I have never really thought about before in their relation to baptism were brought to my attention today. The first is 1 Peter 3:20-21, an the second is 1 Corinthians 10:1-11.In 1 Peter 3, Peter makes a comparison between the flood and baptism:

…because they formerly did not obey, when Gods patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ …

In regards to the flood, there is no indication in Scripture that the 7 others who were “baptized” with Noah had ever truly believed before the flood. Noah is the only one mentioned as being righteous and having faith. In fact, 2 of Noah’s sons were later cursed, and unless you accept that people can lose their salvation (which is clearly contrary to the rest of Scripture) than these people were never saved. Baptism corresponds to this.

In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul makes a comparison between the crossing of the Red Sea and baptism:

I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ* to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

This comparison shows that, although the children of Israel were baptized with Moses in the crossing of the Red Sea, most of them were not truly saved. Paul further goes on to say that these things took place so that we would have an example, as opposed to this being just the way things were “back then.” What we see from these passages is support for the idea that baptism is not limited strictly to believers. We are given these Old Testament instances that are to be examples for us, at least partly in relation to baptism. I must state that I do not base my theology of baptism solely, or even chiefly, on these passages. I am simply pointing out additional support for a paedo-baptist position.