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220 – August, 08 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

JohnLightfoot

Baptism has always been by Immersion                                                                        

At Westminster in England on August 8, 1644, after another warm dispute, it was voted that “’pouring or sprinkling water on the face’ was sufficient and most expedient.” This event was reported by the historian, Dr. John Lightfoot, who was present. Out of this meeting came the Westminster Confession of Faith, “a creedal standard for all Presbyterian churches.” This conference was called on June 1, 1643. Some Episcopalians, Independents, and Puritans were present but no Baptists. Lightfoot’s entry for Aug. 7, 1644 tells of a “great heat” in the debate over the issue of baptism.  Rabbi Coleman, a great Hebrew scholar and Marshall, a great pulpit orator insisted that the Hebrew word tauveleh – dipping, demanded immersion “overhead.”  The vote was 24 for dipping, 25 against it. How did this Presbyterian body, without a Baptist in it, come to such a “great heat” on this subject of immersion if it were a novelty and among believers in England at that time? The answer is clear. Immersion was practiced from the days of the N.T. Dr. Philip Schaff, a member of the German Reformed Church, wrote:  In England immersion was the normal mode down to the middle of the 17th century. The New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible with the imprimatur of Francis Cardinal Spellman states: “St. Paul alludes to the manner in which Baptism was ordinarily conferred in the primitive church, by immersion. The descent into the water is suggestive of the descent of the body into the grave, and the ascent is suggestive of the resurrection to a new life.” The ordinance of believer’s baptism has historical perpetuity from the days of the apostles until now.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 325-26.

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03 – Jan. 03 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


On Jan. 03, 1644, the British Parliament passed a law making sprinkling mandatory for all, making outlaws of all who were not.  This meant that they would be deprived of the “inheritance of the state, the right of burial, and of all the rights granted to other “sprinkled” citizens.  The purpose of passing this law was to choke the Baptists that were prospering in the land.  The law said that the minister, in the name of the “Father, of the son, and of the Holy Ghost”, was to pour or sprinkle water on the face of the child, “without adding any other ceremony.”  Prior to the time that the Presbyterians gained power in Great Britain, the same law read by “immersion” but the members of the Westminster Assembly who presented the famed Presbyterian Westminster Confession of Faith, came within one vote of demanding immersion as the form of Baptism.  Therefore “so goes the church, so goes the state”.  Prior to that time all denominations in Great Britain practiced immersion except for the Roman Catholics.  It was a novelty for any sect until the Presbyterians introduced it.  Dr. W.H. King of London made a complete search of the subject of Baptism in the British Museum.  He said that he had examined more than 7,000 pamphlets on the subject of baptism, or the opinions and practices of the Baptists.  And that he can report that: “There is not a sentence or a hint…that the Baptists generally, or any section of them, or even any individual Baptist, held any other opinion than that immersion is the only true and scriptural method of baptism, either before the year 1641 or after it.”  We know that baptism does not save us, in eternity, but is “an answer of a good conscience toward God”   ( 1 Pet. 3:21).

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