Posted by: stpowen | August 25, 2009

What About Baptism?

A new book on the subject of baptism which promotes infant ‘baptism’ by sprinkling as being the Biblical mode, is being hailed by some American Presbyterians as a refutation of the Baptist position.  The book is What about Baptism? by Ralph E. Bass, published by Reformation Media & Press.  The arguments being put forward by Mr Bass are not new.  They are the same ones that have been debated ever since the 17th Century.  However, it appears that they may be new to some of the brethren who read the reviews of this book. I will start therefore, as Mr Bass does, by addressing the meaning of the Greek word, Baptizo,and then perhaps move on to the question of the proper recipient of baptism in a subsequent blog.

Before doing so, perhaps a word of explanation is in order.  I do not view the mode of baptism as being of critical importance and would not be writing on it had I not read postings on the web claiming that Mr Bass’s book proves that Baptizo, as found in the Bible, means ‘to sprinkle.’  Indeed, whilst I am quite convinced that the Bible shows that baptism should for disciples only and by immersion, I actually attend a church where people christened as infants are allowed into membership (though not to church office).  We are more concerned with the state of peoples’ hearts than an outward rite (cf. 1Sam 16:7b; 2Chron 30:17-19).

Mr Bass claims that baptizo means, “To envelope, to merse (merge) – to put together so as to remain together, to unite.”  He continues, “It is characterized by the idea of ‘putting in and leaving in’ or ‘envelopment’. The purpose of this envelopment is to produce a change of condition in the object enveloped. In the ancient Greek world if a person was Baptidzo in water, he was drowned. He was enveloped by the water without a withdrawal from the water. This produced a change of condition – from life to death.”

The simplest way to understand the meaning of a word is to study its usage in as many texts as possible.  Fortunately we are saved the very hard work that such a study would involve because a 19th Century scholar, T.J.Conant, in his book, The meaning and use of Baptizein (Wakeman Classic Reprints. ISBN 1-870855-31-0 ), has given every single usage of Baptizo in Classical or Koine Greek, and as we study the word, we can see that it always and invariably means, ‘To dip’, ‘submerge’ or ‘to immerse.’   Sometimes the usage is figurative, as when people are said to be ‘overwhelmed’ by grief, drink, debt or desire.  Very occasionally, ‘sprinkle’ is a possible alternative translation, but never once is it required by the context.

Sometimes the word does indeed refer to being permanently submerged.  We read several times in ancient Greek literature of ships being ‘baptized’ in the sea when they sink and of people drowning as they were ‘baptized’ in rivers or lakes.  However, we read in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, Book XV, 3,3, describing the murder of the boy Aristobulus:  ‘Continually pressing down and submerging (Gk. Baptizo ) him while swimming, as if in sport, they did not desist until they had entirely suffocated him.’  Here we are looking at a series of temporary immersions resulting in a drowning.

Indeed, there are several other times where the word indicates a temporary submersion, such as the plunging of a sword into an enemy’s breast, or as Heliodorus (Aethopics Book IV ch. 17 ) writes, ‘When midnight had plunged (Gk. Baptizo ) the city in sleep, an armed band of revelers took possession of the dwelling of Chariclea.’  Or Gregory Thaumaturgus (Panegyric on Origen XIV ):  ‘He himself would remain on high in safety, and stretching out a hand to others save them, as if drawing up persons immersed (Gk. Baptizo ).    I do not really get the meaning of ‘merge,’  ‘merse’ or ‘unite’ from any of these examples.  I am getting ‘dip,’ ‘submerge’ or ‘immerse.’

So, contrary to what Mr Bass seems to be claiming, baptizo can also mean ‘to dip,’ and it was understood by the Church Fathers to mean that.  Here is Basil the Great (On Baptism, Book 1, Chap 2, 10 ), commenting on Rom 6:3: ‘We were baptized (Gk. Baptizo ), says he, in order that from it we might learn this:  that as wool dipped (Gk. Baptizo) in a dye is changed as to its colour;  or rather (using John the Baptist as a guide, when he prophesied of the Lord, “He will baptize (Gk. Baptizo) you in the Holy Spirit and fire”)….let us say this:  that as steel, immersed (Gk. Baptizo) in the fire kindled up by spirit (wind), becomes more easy to test whether it has any fault, and more ready for being refined;…..so it follows and is necessary, that he who is immersed (Gk. Baptizo) in fire (that is the word of instruction, which convicts of the evil of sin and shows the grace of justification) should hate and abhor unrighteousness, as it is written, and should desire to be cleansed though faith in the power of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.’  To translate baptizo anywhere in this text as ‘pour’ or ‘sprinkle’  or ‘permanently submerge’ simply doesn’t work.  Whether the person baptized, the wool, the steel, the text refers to something being placed into a substance and then withdrawn.

There are more than 200 examples of the usage of Baptizo given by Conant in his book.  Check them out for yourselves.

It is Mr Bass’s contention that baptize has the particular meaning in the New Testament of ‘sprinkle.’  Referring to the book of Hebrews, he writes, “When referring to the ritual purifications in the Old Testament [Heb 9:10] the Apostle Paul notes that these washings (baptismos) were accomplished by means of pouring or sprinkling.”

Well of course, had the writer to the Hebrews noted anything of the sort he would have been wrong.  Some OT purifications were sprinklings, some involved pouring and others were washings. If we look at the consecration of Aaron and his sons in Leviticus 8, we can find all three methods being used.  The briefest flick though Lev 15 will reveal numerous requirements to wash ones clothes and bathe in water. If one looks at the NKJV centre column reference for Heb 9:10, one finds Numbers 19:7:  ‘Then the priest shall wash his clothes, he shall bathe in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.’  A sprinkling?  I don’t think so!  In Heb 9:10, the Apostle is referring to washing by immersion (Gk. Baptizo); in verse 13, he is referring to sprinklings (Gk. Rantizo).  How do we know?  Because he tells us. That is why he uses two different words and that is what his language signifies.

Another helpful text is Numbers 19:17f: And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and running water shall be put on them (i.e. ‘poured’) in a vessel.  A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there……’  Hre we have pouring, dipping and sprinkling all in the same operation.  The Jews distinguished carefully between them, and so should we.

Perhaps it will be helpful to glance at Heb 10:22 at this point: ‘….Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled ( Gk. Rantizo) from an evil conscience and our bodies washed (Gk. Louo) with pure water.’  It may be helpful to explain some of the relevant Greek words here.  Nipto is the Greek verb used for a ceremonial washing of a part of the body.  According to Alfred Edersheim (Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.   Book III, Chapt. XXXI), this washing could be by pouring or, when holy or sacrificial food was to be eaten, by immersion of the hands up to the wrists, in which case it was called by the Jews a ‘baptism’ of the hands.  Louo signifies a bathing of the whole person (cf. John 13:10).  This could signify total immersion, but does not necessarily do so.  Rantizo is the word that specifically means to ‘sprinkle,’ and baptizo, as we have seen, is the word that means to ‘dip’ or ‘immerse completely.’  In this connection, it is helpful to look at John 2:6.  At the marriage at Cana, according to Edersheim, there would have been several hundred gallons of water available for ritual purification, vastly more than would have been required for sprinkling or pouring.

This helps us when we come to Mark 7:2-4. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed (Gk. Anniptos) hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash (Gk. Nipto) their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders.  When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash (Gk. Baptizo). And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing (Gk. Baptismos) of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.’   

Now we’re looking here at two different scenarios.   Whatever the Pharisees were doing they always gave their hands a ceremonial wash before eating.  However when they had been in the market-place and had potentially come into contact with all sorts of sinners and Gentiles,  a mere hand-wash was quite insufficient;  they would bathe their whole selves, and if any furniture were to become unclean for any reason they would place it in water in order to cleanse it.  Surely not the dining couches?  Yes, even them.  They did it in the desert, why not in Israel?  ‘Anything on which any of them [unclean reptiles] falls when it is dead shall be unclean, whether it is any item of wood or clothing or skin or sack, whatever item it is, in which any work is done, it must be put in water’  (Lev 11:32).  According to Moses Maimonides, the 12th Century Jewish authority, if an item was too big to immerse completely, half of it was dunked in the water, then it was taken out, turned around, and the other half immersed.  However, we need not imagine a large piece of furniture, anymore than we suppose that the paralytic in Mark 2:12 carried away a four-poster bed; Jews ate as they reclined and the ‘couches’ were probably nothing more than rolls of matting laid out.

Finally, those who are unfamiliar with Greek may not realize that, Bible versions notwithstanding, people in the NT are baptized ‘in’ water (Gk. En hudati) and ‘in’ the Holy Spirit (Gk. En hagio pneumati). It is amusing that our Bible translators admit that  in Matt 3:6, people were baptized ‘in’ the Jordan (Gk. En to Iordane) but not that they were baptized ‘in’ water in v11.  The Greek construction is identical.  Now someone will say that En can sometimes mean ‘with.’  So it can, but according to Young’s Analytical Concordance, it is translated ‘in’ 1863 times and ‘with’ 139 times.  Its usual and natural meaning is therefore ‘in’ and so it should be translated unless there is a particularly good reason.  Moreover in v16, our Lord came up (Gk. Anabaino, ‘to emerge,’ ‘arise’ or ‘ascend’) from the water (Gk. Apo to hudati) and in Acts 8:39, Philip and the eunuch came up ‘out of the water’ (Gk. Ek to hudati), suggesting, at the very least, they had been in the water.

It should also be added that no one in Scripture is ever sprinkled ‘in water,’ en hudati.   In the Septuagint version of Ezek 36:25, the Greek reads  ‘Rano eph’umas katharon hudor,’  literally, ‘I will sprinkle clean water upon you’ (cf. also Exod 29:21; Lev 6:27; 16:14 ).  Never in Greek literature, to the best of my knowledge, is water ever baptized ‘upon’ anyone.

In my next post, I will look at how the Church Fathers understood baptizo and tidy up any other loose ends.

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Responses

  1. […] can find a review of the book mentioned in the originally post at What About Baptism? Martin Marprelate __________________ Steve Clevenger, Pastor Covenant Reformed Baptist Church Warrenton, VA […]

  2. Steve, that was a well-written response. I haven’t read Bass’s book, but it sounds a lot like a rehash of Dale’s massive 19th-century treatment.

    You refer to Conant’s work. You might also link to Dagg’s “tables of examples” at http://www.founders.org/library/dagg_vol2/ch1.html , which he borrows from the work of a Professor Stuart. Since this is online and easily accessible, it might be helpful to some who can’t get at Conant.

    Stan Reeves, Elder
    Grace Heritage Church
    Auburn, AL
    http://www.graceheritage.org
    http://www.eng.auburn.edu/~reevesj

  3. Hello Steve:

    Thank you for your presentation. Since you have said that you read my synopsis on the other web site, then I am baffled at how you present Mr. Bass’ points here – possibly because of my limitations in the synopsis.

    First, Mr. Bass points out clearly that there are several words used in the Bible which have its root form “to dip”:

    1) Bapto verb “To dip, dye, to put into and remove.”
    2) Baptidzo verb “To envelope, to merse (merge – to put together so as to remain together, to unite)
    3) Baptismos noun “A washing, an act of cleansing.”
    4) Baptisma noun “A rite or ceremony of baptism.”
    5) Baptisteis noun “One who baptizes.”

    It is a mistake to criticize a man’s position by making no distinctions between words, when he does, in his argument, make such a distinction. It is the great error of the dippers to not make a distinction between “bapto” and “baptidzo” when both Greek literature and the Scriptures do such a thing.

    For example: In the Scriptures the “root word” Bapto is never used in the context of Baptism. It is used four times in three passages: Luke 16:24; John 13:26; and Revelation 19:13.

    The word “Bapto” means “to dip.” There is no dispute here either in Greek literature or in the Scriptures. However, it is never used by the Spirit of God to indicate Baptism either its mode or effects. Conant was unable to answer this point from Dale (if you want to investigate the history of the debate). It is sloppy linguistic theory to claim that the root word (in this case “Bapto” universally defines all words that are rooted in it).

    A clear example of this can be found in the English word “Age.” The word can mean (among other things) “a certain period of time” like when we say “the Age of the Dinosaurs” or the “Ice Age.” However, when a suffix is added to it, like in the word “Ageless,” then the definition of it changes: “eternal”, “without age”, “of infinite duration.” Words can mean two entirely different things even when they both have the same root.

    Would you agree with me that when someone walks by and tries to tell you that the word “Ageless” means exactly the same thing as “Age” in the English language that you would think he does not know what he is talking about?

    Second, I do not believe that anywhere in my synopsis that I pointed out that the word “Baptidzo” means “to sprinkle.” If I did, then it is my fault, because Mr. Bass never says that it means “to sprinkle.” Here is what he points out:

    A better definition of baptidzo when we look at the Bible’s use of it (see below) would be to “merge, merse, or unite.” The English word “immerse” and the Greek word baptidzo both mean to place under water without the provision to remove from the water. Thus, they both make a poor substitute for the idea of “dipping.” Baptidzo carries the idea of putting together so as to remain together. The idea of “dipping” (to put in and to pull out) does not properly translate baptidzo. The real meaning of the word, as we shall see when we look at the Biblical use of it, is found in a change of condition.

    You also recognize this in the beginning of your blog, but then you switch your argument to “sprinkling” or “temporary immersion.” You refer to Homer’s Life and Poetry as a “temporary immersion.” Homer actually wrote:

    “For, indeed, hereby he shows greater emphasis, as if the sword were so baptized (baptidzo) as to be warmed.”

    The nature of the sword was changed by its “baptism” – from cold to warm. The baptism is one of decided influence, which Baptidzo can effect, but Bapto cannot. If the point were that the act was a momentary dipping into the body, the Bapto would have been the perfect choice. But if the point were that a change of condition of the sword had taken place, from cold to warm brought about by the enveloping of the sword in blood, Baptidzo would be the perfect option.

    One can look at every single example in Greek literature and find that the word “baptidzo” means “a change of condition” as Mr. Bass has pointed out. Whenever there is a clear reference in the Greek to “dipping” the word “Bapto” is used.

    As I pointed out above: The Scriptures never use the term “Bapto” to indicate Baptism. The Holy Spirit was familiar with the “root-word.” However, He always used the term “Baptidzo” in referenct to Baptism – because that is its Spiritual significance – a uniting to Christ that changes the condition of the elect child of God.

    Dipping does not rightly illustrate the central concept of Baptism – because one is never “pulled out” of union with Christ.

    Blessings,

    Rob

  4. Hello Rob,
    The reason that I did not comment on Mr Bass’s discourse on the various Greek words is that I find it to be something of a red herring. What ‘Bapto’ means is not necessarily a help in finding out what ‘Baptizo’ means, which is what we want to know. Certainly, ‘bapto’ is used far more extensively for dyeing than ‘baptizo, but the meanings are not otherwise so far apart, as the following two Greek writers may illustrate.

    1. Aratus. ‘If the sun dip (Gk. ‘Bapto’) himself cloudless into the werstern flood.’
    2. Orpheus . ‘But when the sun immerses (Gk. ‘Baptizo’) himself in the water of the ocean.’

    It seemed to me that Mr Bass was making two main claims: firstly, that ‘baptizo’ means to ‘merge’ or ‘merse’ or permanently submerge. I tried to show in various examples that while it certainly can mean that, it does not always do so. Very frequently it simply means to ‘immerse.’

    You wrote: “The English word “immerse” and the Greek word baptidzo both mean to place under water without the provision to remove from the water.” I have looked up ‘immerse’ in the Consise Oxford Dictionary, and it will not bear the weight that you and Mr Bass are putting on it. Sometimes things are immersed and removed; sometimes they are immersed and not removed. ‘Baptizo’ simply means to immerse, whether permanently or temporarily. I gave several examples of this. Please read them. There are plenty more if required. You wrote: ‘One can look at every single example in Greek literature and find that the word “baptidzo” means “a change of condition” as Mr. Bass has pointed out.’ I disagree and have supplied examples; please refer to them. Your analogy of a sword being heated by its submersion into an enemy is silly. As soon as it is withdrawn, it goes back to its original temperature.

    The second point that Mr Bass seemed to me to be making was that because (he claims) all O.T. purifications were sprinklings, therefore the ‘baptisms’ referred to in Heb 9:10 must be the same as the ‘sprinklings’ of Heb 9:13, and therefore ‘Baptizo’ in the Bible must (he claims) mean ‘sprinkle.’ If I’ve misunderstood, please enlighten me. I pointed out that there are washings of purification in the O.T. as well as sprinklings. In fact, alomost all the sprinklings listed by Mr Bass are sprinklings with blood. I never heardc of anyone being baptized in blood.

    One other comment that you make: ‘Dipping does not rightly illustrate the central concept of Baptism – because one is never “pulled out” of union with Christ.’ The Bible tells us what baptism signifies, not our own prejudices. It speaks of our dying to sin with Christ and being raised to new life with Him (Rom 6:4; Col 2:12).

    Blessings,

    Steve

  5. Greetings my brother:

    Mr. Bass would not argue with you that the word “Baptidzo” means “to immerse.” In fact, that is his main point. The word does not mean “to dip” (putting in and pulling out) – it means “to immerse” (to put in and remain in, to merge, to immerse).

    The examples that you give concerning Baptidzo side with the idea of a change of condition. When darkness “baptizes” the city – a change of condition happens to the people – they sleep. In the other example the objects are “immersed” – permanently placed in water, and then they are drawn up. The word “baptidzo” is not used to mean that they are “drawn up,” but that the objects were submerged, and they needed to be “drawn up.”

    After quoting Basil in your OP you wrote this:

    “To translate baptize anywhere in this text as ‘pour’ or ‘sprinkle’ or ‘permanently submerge’ simply doesn’t work. Whether the person baptized, the wool, the steel, the text refers to something being placed into a substance and then withdrawn.”

    Mr. Bass does not “translate” the word “Baptidzo” as “to pour or sprinkle.” He does translate it as “immerse” or, “to merge together.” This merging causes a “change in condition.” I do not know how many times this needs to be explained before you get it down correct. Because the rest of your argument here is simply based on a straw man fallacy that concludes that “Mr. Bass teaches that the word Baptidzo means ‘to sprinkle.'”

    This is further substantiated by what you say next:

    “It is Mr Bass’s contention that baptize has the particular meaning in the New Testament of ‘sprinkle.’ Referring to the book of Hebrews, he writes, ‘When referring to the ritual purifications in the Old Testament [Heb 9:10] the Apostle Paul notes that these washings (baptismos) were accomplished by means of pouring or sprinkling.'”

    It is clear to me, and to anyone who has read the book, that you do not at all understand what he is saying.

    What does not compute in your citation of Basil is that he is talking about something temporary. You wrote:

    “so it follows and is necessary, that he who is immersed (Gk. Baptido) in fire (that is the word of instruction”

    Are you saying that Basil means that one is “temporarily immersed” or “dipped” in the word of instruction? As if he/she is placed in and then pulled out? No. It is far more natural to read “baptidzo” here to mean that one is united to the word of instruction.

    I have read Conalt’s book, and it appears to me that he is mis-reading the Greek literature. I have showed this in the few examples you have given here. If you would like to produce more, I look forward to it.

    The example of the sword being changed from cold to hot was an example drawn out of Greek literature that you referred to – from Homer.

    You then write:

    “The second point that Mr Bass seemed to me to be making was that because (he claims) all O.T. purifications were sprinklings, therefore the ‘baptisms’ referred to in Heb 9:10 must be the same as the ’sprinklings’ of Heb 9:13, and therefore ‘Baptizo’ in the Bible must (he claims) mean ’sprinkle.’ If I’ve misunderstood, please enlighten me. I pointed out that there are washings of purification in the O.T. as well as sprinklings. In fact, alomost all the sprinklings listed by Mr Bass are sprinklings with blood. I never heard of anyone being baptized in blood.”

    I blame myself for creating this synopsis. If you turn to the OP in the website that the synopsis is in, then you will find that the discussion of the term “Baptidzo” is in the introduction of his book. The part of the book you are now referring to is the first chapter – I noted that in the OP in this fashion:

    “Chapter One: Its Mode: Illustrated in the Jewish Ceremonies Referred to in the Book of Hebrews”

    This is a new chapter, and Mr. Bass is now talking about the mode of baptism – not the definition of “Baptidzo.” A definition which he established in the Introduction to the book.

    Your use of the Straw Man fallacies in your writing may convince those who are so fanatical about credo-baptism that they will not listen to sound reason, but, if you are trying to reach thinking people – it will not work.

    Mr. Bass’ Biblical analysis of the Mode of Baptism as being sprinkling is right on the mark:

    “Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the burnt purification from sin and flowing water shall be added to them in a vessel. And a clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishing and on the persons who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one slain or the one dying natural or the grave, Numb 19:17-18 (Heb 9:13) See also: Ex 24:6-8 (which is referred to in Hebrews 9:19); Leviticus 8:19 (Hebrews 9:21); and Leviticus 16:14 (Hebrews 9:21 as well).

    Mr. Bass concludes with this point:

    “”Now what do these comparisons of Old Testament references to Hebrews 9 tell us? There is no complexity here: the washings (baptismos) spoken of in the Book of Hebrews are sprinklings.”

    Mr. Bass is not talking about the definition of “Baptidzo,” but the mode of washings done in the Bible – sprinkling.

    The credo-baptist interpretation of Rom 6 and Col 2 is in error. Mr. Bass goes through this extensively in his book, and you will find the synopsis of it in post #21 of the website where the thread is located.

    You may wish to answer these questions:

    If the Mode of dipping illustrates the “death, burial, and resurrection” of Jesus Christ then,

    1) Since Jesus died on the Cross how does dipping specifically illustrate His death?

    2) Since Jesus was laid in a tomb, and not buried in the ground, then how does dipping illustrate his burial?

    3) Since Jesus walked out of the tomb, then how does dipping specifically illustrate His being raised from the dead?

    Paul is using the word “baptidzo” in Romans and Colossians to mean “being united with.” That is being united with (baptized) into Christ we are dead to sin, and alive to righteousness.

    I suggest you read the relevant post before posting again.

    Blessings,

    Rob

  6. Hello Rob,
    You write: ‘Mr. Bass would not argue with you that the word “Baptidzo” means “to immerse.” In fact, that is his main point. The word does not mean “to dip” (putting in and pulling out) – it means “to immerse” (to put in and remain in, to merge, to immerse).
    So let me get this right; Mr Bass is in favour of baptism by drowning; immersing the candidate in the water, but not bringing him out. How very novel!
    Let me give the Oxford Concise Dictionary Definition of ‘Immerse.’ ‘Dip, plunge, (in liquid); cause (person) to be entirely below surface of water, esp. baptize thus; bury, embed, (in); involve deeply, absorb (in debt, difficulty, thought etc.). So the primary definition of ‘immerse’ is ‘dip.’ The two words are largely synonymous. As I have said, the weight that you are putting on baptizo is too great for it; it means to immerse, submerge or dip.

    You continue: ‘The examples that you give concerning Baptidzo side with the idea of a change of condition. When darkness “baptizes” the city – a change of condition happens to the people – they sleep. In the other example the objects are “immersed” – permanently placed in water, and then they are drawn up. The word “baptidzo” is not used to mean that they are “drawn up,” but that the objects were submerged, and they needed to be “drawn up.”’

    On this basis, any sort of dipping whatsoever meets this definition; something goes in dry; it gets wet. This would be particularly true of dyeing; a cloth goes in one colour, it gets permanently changed to another. Therefore ‘bapto’ is synonymous with ‘baptizo.’

    Now let me reference Mr Bass. He referenced Num 19:17-18; Heb 9:13 and wrote: ‘In this Old Testament passage, water was applied by means of sprinkling which the author of Hebrews calls a baptism. ‘ So, with much respect to yourself, Mr Bass is saying that the author of Hebrews thought that sprinklings wre baptisms. He continues; ‘there is enough evidence right here for the case to be closed in the affirmative that sprinkling is indeed a proper mode of Biblical baptisms.’ He is, of course, quite wrong and I have dealt with these passages in my OP. Baptizo means ‘to dip’ or ‘to immerse’ and Mr Bass has no right to suggest that it can mean something else. For you to say that he is not talking about the definition of ‘baptizo’ is a nonsense. That is precisely what he is doing.

    With regard to Rom 6:4 and Col 2:12, Mr Bass’s argument is with the Holy Spirit, not me: ‘Buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised…..’ ‘Nuff said, really. Baptism is not a drama sketch which might need to be accurate in every department; otherwise, how would a piece of bread accurately depict our Lord’s body? Baptism symbolizes the death and resurrection of our Lord along with our own death to sin and new life in Christ. Mr Bass’s arguments are of the sort that try to make out that a horse chestnut is really a chestnut horse. And when he says, ‘There is no rite of purification that is depicted as a dipping in all of Scripture. Purifications were only performed by sprinkling in the Old Testament,’ He is just plain wrong as I showed in my OP.

  7. Greetings Steve:

    It still appears to me that the point is not getting through to you, and I blame myself for it. In order to clarify this matter I will invite you to create a distinction in your mind between the definition of the word Baptidzo, and the Mode of Christian Baptism. If you can see a distinction here, then, maybe you will better understand what Mr. Bass is talking about. In his much larger book which deals with the term “Baptidzo” exclusively Mr. Bass writes:

    “The position of this book is that Baptidzo is not an act but a changed condition brought about by anyone of several possible acts.”

    So, when we see the word “baptidzo” the thought that comes to mind is not “dip” but “a changed condition.” This changed condition can come about in several different ways: Merging, Immersing, Uniting, etc.. The Mode of how this merging is accomplished is determined by its context.

    Now, let us look at how the Bible uses these words, shall we?

    The word “Bapto” meaning “to dip, to dye” is never used in the New Testament to describe the Mode of Christian Baptism. As I noted earlier, and which you convienantly have not responded to, the word is used four times in three different passages which have no reference to Christian Baptism:

    Luke 16:24 – And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip (Bapto)…

    John 13:26 – Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped (Bapto) it”. So when he had dipped (Bapto) it…

    Revelation 19:13 – He is clothed in a robe dipped (Bapto) in blood…

    The word “Baptidzo” is exclusively used to refer to Christian Baptism. The Holy Spirit could have used the word “to dip” but He did not when He refers to Baptism. The reason for this is that the word “Baptidzo” clearly depicts the work of the Spirit of God in the New Birth. The child of God is united (Baptized) to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by the inner working of the Spirit of God.

    Now, since “Baptidzo” can be accomplished in many different ways, then we must look to the context of the word in order to determine what Mode of Baptism is being discussed.

    Until you can agree with this, then there is no need to further discussion, because we will be talking cross purposses.

    Blessings,

    Rob

  8. Hello again Rob,
    You write, ‘I will invite you to create a distinction in your mind between the definition of the word Baptidzo, and the Mode of Christian Baptism.’ Now why would I want to do that? Only if I want to make the word mean something other than what it does mean. The Holy Spirit has used the word Baptizo, which, as every dictionary or lexicon will tell you, means to ‘dip’ or ‘immerse.’ Now to be sure, baptism symbolizes a changed condition; a dying and rising again to new life. I have stated that several times. But that does not alter what baptizo means; it means to dip or immerse.

    I am quite aware of the places where bapto is used in the NT. The reason that I refuse to get drawn away in discussions about bapto is that it is a distraction; it is not the word that the Holy Spirit has chosen to use. However, FWIW the three examples you give all show a changed condition. Lazarus’ finger was dry; now it is wet. If the water was hot, then Lazarus’ finger would have become warm just like the swords you were writing about. The bread was dry; now it is soaked in vinegar or whatever. Our Lord’s robe was white; now it is red. If the blood was warm, so would the robe be. If Baptizo signifies a change of condition, so does bapto.

    I don’t think we’re going to agree on this, Rob, and I am getting distracted from writing on other topics that I want to do. So I’m going to close the comments, but I thank you for your contribution.

    Every blessing,

    Steve

  9. In view of the fact that this thread has been by far the most visited on my blog, and sill seems to be drawing visitors, I’ve decided to reopen the responses.

    So comment away, readers. I may not be too quick in coming back to you, though. I am still snowed under with secular work and in the middle of another article.

  10. I realize I’m really late to the game here, but here is a link to an extensive critique of Dale’s work that I wrote some years ago.

    http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/3062311/james-dale-s-theory-of-baptizo-and-baptism-pdf-august-8-2011-1-34-pm-2-0-meg?da=y&dnad=y

  11. Thank you for that link, Mr Derkson. It is certainly a very thorough critique,and very convincing. I would have found it very useful during my discussions with Robert.


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