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Dispensationalism and Baptism

April 14, 2009

Recently I ran into a discussion about baptism and its origins. It seems that the person felt that Baptism wasn’t even a Christian institution and was something taken from the Jewish religion.

It was hard for me to get my mind around the argument. Well of course baptism was around before the early church. Sure it was no different than the mikveh ceremonial bath. I mean Christianity to Paul and the apostles WAS Judaism. Jesus was the Messiah of his chosen people.

mikvahIn Acts 28:22 Luke refers to The Way as a sect as in a sect of the Jewish faith. As I noted Paul connects us to Abraham, not Pentecost.

The Bible that the Bereans are commended for searching in Acts 17:11 wasn’t your standard New Testament NIV, it was the Old Testament. The poor Bereans have been co-opted for any number of teachings as if they set about to form a dispensational check list. They searched the Old Testament to see if prophecy really did point to Jesus as the Messiah. No dispensational pattern could have been found for those following Jesus because the New Testament didn’t exist in the present form.

It is the same with baptism. Why should anyone be surprised that baptism is ceremonial washing? Why would anyone think that it needed to be changed? Why would they even think they needed to repurpose it as was said? It WAS what God’s people did when they were unclean to signify a right relationship with God and the ability to be admitted into the community.

“An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” John 3:25,26 NIV

In reference to baptism John’s disciples are asked about ceremonial washing. It is the same thing. This only confuses if we do not understand the developmental nature of God’s kingdom.

Why do we fight an argue about what is or isn’t approved when no such system existed in the first century for approval? Why don’t we appreciate how the kingdom developed in real time? Why must we argue that baptism isn’t even Christian when in reality Christ followers were not even identified as such when the movement began?

Can you tell I’m not a big fan of dispensationalism?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2009 1:36 pm

    I believe God’s grace is bigger than we can begin to imagine. I being brought up in a family of CoCer’s was baptized when I was 12 years old. I never doubted why I did it and never had the desire to re-due it. I don’t see any result in scripture for re-baptism except to receive the Holy Spirit becuase they had been baptized by John’s baptism. I have been around so many “believers” that weren’t baptized that I knew they had to have had the Holy Spirit. One example is a man that came in my room in the hospital and layed His hands on me in prayer. A supernatural warmth came from his hands and I could feel the Holy Spirit within me moving throughout my body…tears flooded my eyes as He prayed in confidence for healing in every aspect of my life. Several of my wives friends, believers in Christ showed their grace to us in several ways and you could see the fruit of the spirit within them. Don’t get me wrong I believe that if you become a follower of Christ, a believer, you should be baptized but we also need to remember God is the judge and his grace and mercy are bigger than we can begin to comprehend. Is it essential? I am struggling with it. I do have a discussion on my blog that I posted a while back entitled is baptism essential? Very good discussion from both points of views.

    Darin you do a fantastic job with your blog.
    Keep it up brother.
    Keep making us think!
    I hope you have a great day! 🙂

  2. April 15, 2009 4:12 pm

    Thanks Preacherman.

    The early church stated that if a baptism was done in Jesus name then it was official. The power was in Jesus not who did it or even with what they really thought.

    What I have found interesting is that most of our debates in modern Christianity were dealt with in the early church. If only we really copied them.

    Thanks again for coming by. I read that discussion just didn’t think I had anything to ad.

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