Home > Brandenburg, Fundamentalism > Love-Hate Relationship with Fundamentalism pt. 3

Love-Hate Relationship with Fundamentalism pt. 3

November 19, 2008

You’ve heard the expression, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  The sentence appeared first in The Republic by Plato.   The slogan is mostly true, but that doesn’t make it mostly good.  Fundamentalism was invented out of necessity.   Liberalism mothered fundamentalism. Here’s the problem though.  Why did fundamentalism need to be invented?  Couldn’t the institution God ordained in the Bible, the church, have dealt with liberalism in a God-approved fashion?  Couldn’t it still?

We really didn’t need fundamentalism.  We needed something to be done about liberalism, but nothing needed to be invented to do that.  God has already outlined in the New Testament everything a church needs to do to deal with anything that comes along. But fundamentalism was invented anyway.  And it’s too bad, I think.

What else are we going to invent to meet a need created by some sort of disobedience to what God already said?   We had the Depression.  We invented Social Security.   We had low home ownership in urban neighborhoods.  We invented the mortgage crisis.  What will we invent next to deal with a problem?  Perhaps we should try what God said would work and then show some patience.

The first week of this series I listed my sixteen loves for fundamentalism.  There are qualities about fundamentalism I love.  For the rest of my time, I’m expanding on my sixteen hates for fundamentalism.  I’ve finished two.

3.  Fundamentalism confuses the gospel.

I believe that many children are growing up in some realm of fundamentalism without understanding a true gospel.  I believe we have false professions at an epidemic level.  I challenge you to pick up or order “gospel” tracts from many, various fundamental churches or organizations and then look at what is presented as the gospel.  It’s not very pretty.  Some of what you’ll read is bad and then there’s what’s missing that is necessary to represent what the Bible teaches.

There is better preaching in fundamentalism today than what I grew up hearing.  However, the historic widespread lack of exposition of Scripture, I believe, has resulted in the misunderstanding of the gospel.   Without deep roots in Scripture, pragmatism became prominent in fundamentalism through many different means—the influences of Billy Graham and Campus Crusade (four spiritual laws tract), crusade evangelists (D. L. Moody, Billy Sunday, John R. Rice, Bob Jones, etc.), and the techniques of Jack Hyles and his clones (Curtis Hutson, Bob Gray, etc.).  There is actually a tremendous amount theologically in common with those three influences, most notably Charles Finney and the Keswick movement.  Evangelism became man-centered.

Since the days of my youth, some fundamentalists have returned to biblical evangelism.  They have reconsidered the New Testament teaching of the gospel.  They have come back to using scriptural methods.  But they don’t separate on the gospel.  They talk about separation over the gospel, but they don’t separate.  The evangelicals talk about separation over the gospel but don’t separate over the gospel either.  This is where these guys talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, that I had mentioned before. Galatians 1:9-11 is very clear on this:

As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.  But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

We aren’t to fellowship with those who preach a false gospel. Let me give you some obvious examples.  I know this is where I’m going to get in trouble with readers, but if I don’t give you some specifics, you might not understand what I’m talking about.  The gospel is more important than the politics of fundamentalism.  And this really is where the confusion about the gospel in fundamentalism is at.  I’m going to illustrate with bullet points.

  • Clarence Sexton and Kevin Bauder both preach at the 2007 Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International conference.  Curtis Hutson repudiated repentance as necessary for justification.  Sexton’s Crown College maintains the Hutson Center for Church Ministries on campus.  Bauder is president of the Central Baptist Theological Seminary.  Sexton honors Jack Hyles in his on-campus hall of preachers.
  • Ron Hamilton and Jim Binney both participate at the 2008 Pastors’ School at First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN.  First Baptist Church represents some of the worst perversion of the gospel in fundamentalism.  Jim Binney also joins many notable fundamentalists as adjunct faculty at Northland Baptist Bible College.  Ron Hamilton is mixed in with many branches of fundamentalism.

I don’t think “who cares” would be a suitable reflection on matters of fellowship as they relate to the gospel.  We’ve got to care about this as much as God does. Is there really that much closeness between us when we differ greatly on the gospel?  If so, why?  This bothers me as much as anything about fundamentalism.

4.  Fundamentalism devalues the church.

All over fundamentalism, para-church organizations subsist to “help” and “serve” churches.  You’ll see that goal in the mission statements of many of these organizations.  Fundamentalism itself has become bigger than the church as an institution.  Many pastors and their churches look to the para-church institutions for leadership.  Included among these are colleges, universities, camps, publishers, and mission agencies.  These establishments often work outside of the authority of the church and their opinions are often elevated above it.  Many in fundamentalism, contrary to Scripture, are convinced they have a ministry outside of the church.  Many men now consider it a step-up to be invited to lead something para-church.  These institutions have replaced the church in many cases as the means of training young people to serve the Lord.

5.  Fundamentalism misrepresents church history.

As an interdenominational movement, fundamentalism has influenced men toward a Protestant view of church history.  They trace their roots through Roman Catholicism.  This has done much to alter positions on the history of the church, leading to a prominent number of English separatist theorists, who believe that the truth was passed down through state churches.  You don’t have to be a Baptist to be a fundamentalist—it’s OK to be a Bible church, a free Presbyterian, or Methodist.   But the Baptists represent New Testament Christianity historically.  You can find the Baptist distinctives in assemblies stretching back through every century to the Jerusalem church, fulfilling the Lord’s promise of perpetuity in Matthew 16:18.  Fundamentalism offers several versions of church history that are all acceptable within the movement.

Churches who fellowship with infant sprinklers ignore the place of this doctrine in the history of the Baptists in America.  Many suffered for separating from congregational and puritan churches because of this issue.  They were whipped (Obadiah Holmes) and imprisoned.  They were mocked and ridiculed.  What Baptists suffered for in the past, fundamentalists now ignore as a matter of fellowship.  A case in point on this is the inclusion of Ian Paisley among fundamentalists.  Bob Jones welcomed him often.  Clarence Sexton has had him preach at Crown College.  The early American Baptist churches formed out of their stand against infant sprinkling.  Ground upon which these Baptists bled on is now given up in the name of fundamentalism.

6.  Fundamentalism distorts biblical separation.

The Bible does teach separation.  Fundamentalism differs from straight evangelicalism with its emphasis on separation.  However, it is almost impossible to understand the doctrine based on the practice of fundamentalism.  Some who will separate based upon music styles will not separate over a distortion of the gospel.  Others will separate over the exclusive use of a particular translation but won’t separate over infant sprinkling.  One church says mixed nudity (swimming) is fine and the other says it is a sin, but both churches fellowship with each other.

Because fundamentalism is and has been an interdenominational movement where the various denominations have huge differences with one another, fundamentalists have developed a system of degrees of separation.  Certain violations of Scripture can be tolerated, while others cannot.  Ultimately, the list of separating doctrines shrinks to a manageable number to allow men to stay together.  Those teachings not on that list are often called tertiary, non-essentials.  They are doctrines and practices that are expendable, even if they are something God required in His Word.

  1. November 19, 2008 at 8:17 am

    I always appreciate how you make me think! I concur that the gospel ought to be paramount when we talk about separation. This tragedy of gospel confusion and delusion is possible b/c of the abandonment of exposition of the Bible. This is shocking when the first Baptist distinctive is the sole authority of the Bible for faith and practice. Yet the first place we look for training in evangelism is some pastor with a large church. So much is never brought under the light of Scripture for examination. May God help us be faithful to His Word!

    Which leads to a practical problem that I am still not settled on. Do I really need to cut off fellowship with other brethren over every issue? In view of God’s gracious mercy extended to me, it seems unreasonable to cut ties over “minor” issues. What are “minor” issues? Good question. I don’t really have a working definition. Hence my problem. However, the gospel is clearly not one of them!

    I’d appreciate any thoughts…

  2. November 19, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Thanks Jack. I agree with your first paragraph.

    I haven’t taught that we break fellowship on every issue. What I teach is that each local church sets the bounds of its fellowship based on its belief and practice. We fellowship with churches of like faith and practice. We also do not cut people off. We try to have fellowship through scriptural persuasion that takes patience. However, we don’t ignore doctrinal differences.

  3. Sam
    November 21, 2008 at 1:01 am

    “You don’t have to be a Baptist to be a fundamentalist—it’s OK to be a Bible church, a free Presbyterian, or Methodist. But the Baptists represent New Testament Christianity historically. You can find the Baptist distinctives in assemblies stretching back through every century to the Jerusalem church, fulfilling the Lord’s promise of perpetuity in Matthew 16:18. Fundamentalism offers several versions of church history that are all acceptable within the movement.”


    I truly appreciate your defense of the KJV but your history and interpretation above is way off. I don’t mean to be deliberately patronising but you and your friends here have not even done the basic research on Fundamentalism. You equate being Baptist with being Fundamentalist and thats it. This does not even stack up historically. For instance, fifty percent of first American Bible and Prophetic Conferences were Presbyterians. There were also some Anglicans and Methodists thrown in. B.B. Warfield, R.L. Dabney, J. Gresham Machen, C.I. Scofield, A.T. Pierson, DeWitt Talmadge, Billy Sunday, Lewis Sperry Chafer were all Presbyterians intimately involved in the early days of the twentieth century Fundamentalism. In the latter part of the twentieth century, the Fundamentalist battle was been fought by militant separationist Presbyterians such as Carl McIntire in the USA, Ian Paisley in Ulster, and Timothy Tow in Singapore. That does not take into account those who rejected immersion only within Independent Churches such as Martyn Lloyd Jones, Campbell Morgan etc.

    Yes, you are entitled to believe in your distinctives but the fact remains that what your local church believes ie dispensational, KJVO, Immersion only is NOT REFLECTED in any church throughout church history. It is a false and misleading premise to begin your argument with. For instance 3 examples of the so-called “line of blood” – John Bunyan (a Baptist) sprinkled his 3 infant children, the Baptist Confession of Faith in 1689 states they are “Protestants” and CH Spurgeon makes it clear he is not dispensational!

    The issue over sprinkling is puerile because NOWHERE in the BIBLE does it say a person was or is immersed. You can point to this deductive argument and A+B-C = D view but that is not a basis to take such a definitive view on a doctrine. I read of sprinkling and pouring in the NT explicitly stated as associated with the word “baptiso” but not immersion. Please do not cite the “ancient Greek lexicons’ of liberals and Neo-Orthodox writers such as Kittel to upstage what the text actually says, as it does not impress me. If God wanted us to immerse as the only way – HE would have told us! God knows the alphabet and the Greek language and He does not need Kittel et al to come along and define a word for the peasants.

    Bob Jones Sr did not welcome Ian Paisley to Fundamentalism. Both men were not even born at the beginning of Historic Fudamentalism. It is patronising to suggest such a thing. Incidentally Bob Jones Sr and Jr were both Methodists not Baptists.

    You are right to point out the inconsistency of Clarence Sexton in speaking for FBF as he is KJVO and they are militantly anti-KJVO like Mike Harding with his “laughable” comments. Bauder is a Neo-Evangelical and the Hyles brigade are Neo-Evangelical in practice. Sexton must answer for himself as to why he continues to eulogise such men.

    I also agree that American Fundamentalism has failed to produce good commentaries in the last century. Surely, that indicts your own Baptist position as most Fundamentalists are now Baptists (as you say “the Pillar and Ground of Truth”)! Indeed, Baptists have produced exactly “what” in Church history? However, non-Baptist Fundamentalists of the past who did write such commentaries ie Campbell Morgan, Lloyd Jones, Machen you reject because they were not Baptists!

    I appreciate much of what you write but on this issue I have to separate. The irony is that save for your exclusive view of church polity and immersion only stance, you and I would agree on every other major issue such as they KJVO, Pre-Trib Pre-Mill view. We all compromise our doctrinal integrity to some extent in fellowshipping with one another so lets not pretend with live in a homogenous world within Fundamentalism. I am sure you do not agree 100% with your co-writers at the “ministry” at Jackhammer but agree “fellowship” by condensing your doctrinal views to the fundamental doctrines.

    God Bless you all at Jackhammer.

  4. November 21, 2008 at 9:11 am

    I think the point that Kent was making regarding Baptists and fundamentalism is this: By embracing fundamentalism (which is not exclusively baptists as we all know), Baptists are embracing infant baptism and other views which they ordinarily would repudiate. This is not a good thing. This is why he listed it under the things he doesn’t appreciate about fundamentalism. No one is trying to say that fundamentalists are only baptists. That is missing the whole point.

  5. November 21, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Sam said,

    I don’t mean to be deliberately patronising but you and your friends here have not even done the basic research on Fundamentalism. You equate being Baptist with being Fundamentalist and thats it.

    Sam, that would be wrong. We have recognized and do recognize that Fundamentalism has always been an ecumenical movement in the sense that broader Fundamentalism includes Bible churches, Free Presbyterians, and even straight up Presbyterians (like Billy Sunday). I think that this is what Kent was saying in the quote that you cited. He was saying that Fundamentalism has always been a Big Tent, and that Baptist Distinctives emphasize the local church over the movement.

    This is a problem as we see it with Fundamentalism. Those who are the most entrenched in the movement do so to the denigration of God’s Institution, the Local Church.

    By the way, did I read you right that you are separating from Kent because of his view of separation?

  6. November 21, 2008 at 11:23 am


    I love you, but you’re going to need to read my first post in this series to accurately rip me here. That would deal with a lot of what you wrote. I even mention Ian Paisley and how things occurred with him. I didn’t give the fully orbed picture of fundamentalism, but I gave enough in post #1 in my Love-Hate series to reflect the knowledge you espouse in your comment.

    I would say we have a very similar view of the world, Sam. I think you are consistent with your beliefs and I respect you for that. I take your comment as a very kind one. Thanks.

  7. Sam
    November 22, 2008 at 4:40 am

    Kent, Dave and Jack

    Thank you for your responses. As I said, I stand with you all in the KJVO position.

    My problem with Kent’s analysis is that it is oversimplistic. Yes, many Baptists suffered for their views on immersion but so did Presbyterians for their polity, Covenanters because of their worship, Independents such as Bunyan. That is not a argument for rejecting a Fundamentalist Movement today because of paedobaptism amongst some members.

    Immersion Baptism only and local Church governance only are not taught explicitly in Scripture. They are beliefs based on personal convictions or preferences as to passages that can be legitimately interpreted other ways. Yes, I know before Thomas Ross cuts and pastes another 50 pages of his latest thesis that you strongly believe in your interpretation! However, 500 years of Church History has taught us that godly men who have been militant for the true Faith have come to very different conclusions on these issues. That is why it is easy to deduce these are DISTINCTIVES and not fundamental doctrines. This is where Kent ( I argue) is muddled in his orthopraxy as he has elevated his personal distinctives to Fundamental doctrine.

    To allow fellowship outside your personal distinctives but not within your local church/denomination daily context is Biblical and we have examples. The apostle Paul clearly was willing to do things to keep the peace/increase witness within local churches that he personally did not hold to e.g. circumcise Timothy, shave his head at Jerusalem for a vow. However, Paul was not willing to fellowship with apostates, open fornicators, those preaching another gospel as per Gal 2.

    We all draw the line somewhere in this narrow band of permitted fellowship. Free Presbyterians, for example, allow Baptists to preach, attend communion in their churches but they will not allow them to baptise, attend their Presbytery meetings. Likewise for Baptists. That does not stop them preaching at Conventions together or producing books together when these issues are not part of the meeting or for the purpose of the publication. David Cloud speaks for Dean Burgon Society which has Presbyterians in its Leadership Committee but will not speak at a Presbyterian Church even if they are KJVO. That, to me, is inconsistent.

    I think you all should be careful about arguing Presbyterians and Independents are “violating” Scripture. They are only applying the consistent interpretation of Scripture in the light of illumination they have. I could argue conversely, if I was so minded, that you are violating Scripture by elevating your interpretation of local church only or immersion only to a Fundamental doctrine when they are never explicitly stated. We agree this is the Scripture but we differ in how this is interpreted or works out in practice.

    Two books that I have received great benefit from in this view is:

    (1) Puritans by Lloyd Jones
    (2) Evangelicalism in England by Edward Poole Connor (a Baptist)

    Both accurately and objectively show the historic roots of Baptist/Puritan theology and directly address and explain why Luther, Calvin et al made some muddled statements in respect to means of grace and baptism. Your friend Mr Ross could learn a lot from Mr Poole Connor instead of mindlessly seeking to damn the Reformers to outer darkness.

    BTW, I am not separating from Kent – bad choice of words from me. I love him and appreciate him. His writings on the KJV are the best out there and I have learnt much from him. The greatest compliment I could pay him is that he has managed to ban himself by the quality of his arguments from the Sharper Iron Neo-Evangelicals and the High Table of compromised Fundamentalism.


  8. November 22, 2008 at 6:50 am


    Immersion is not explicitly stated? It seems that you are asleep at the wheel. The word baptism means to immerse. Therefore the Scripture does explicitly state that baptism is only by immersion. This is not subject to interpretation; it is a fact of linguistic definition. At the time that Jesus commanded baptism, he commanded immersion. To sprinkle or pour is to disobey Scripture. This is a basic principle (Heb. 6:2).

  9. Sam
    November 23, 2008 at 1:03 am


    I don’t want to get into a protracted argument about baptiso as it would take this thread away from the purpose. The word does not mean to immerse only as the Scriptures uses the verb in a diverse ways e.g. the baptism of the Holy Spirit the BIBLE states is a POURING out. Who should I trust the Bible or you? Rather than look up lexicons by Neo-Orthodox scholars you should allow the Bible to interpret it. Secondly, if you want a secondary source the Septuagint uses baptiso for sprinkling in many translated passages which kind of blows a big hole in your “linguistic” argument as they were Greek scholars who understood the use of the verb better than men like Kittel. Finally, even these Lexicons give diverse meanings e.g. Brown teaches that the word means to submerge and keep under water and I don’t think that is what you practice in your local assembly!

    The bottom line is, however, is that NOWHERE in Scripture are we taught that immersion only (or indeed Local Church Only) is the way to baptise and I will give the Holy Spirit the benefit of the doubt that He knew what He was doing when He inspired the Bible. I have no problem with immersion (I was immersed myself) as it is a good type of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ but thats it.

    For hundreds of years godly men of the Historic Faith have accepted my argument and somehow Providence has blessed them with mighty revivals and in establishing and defending the Faith. Strange for something you say is “a basic principle” and a “violation of Scripture.”

    Donald – Let us approach these distinctives with a touch of humility and respect for others. You would do well to do likewise before exalting yourself above men like McCheyne, Knox, Lloyd Jones, etc. I wish you well.

  10. November 23, 2008 at 7:10 pm


    I gave 14 reasons I was happy about fundamentalism. The same reasons I’m happy about fundamentalism are why you’re my type of person. I respect your being consistent with your beliefs and practices. The fact that you take the strong stand for preservation of Scripture makes me all the more happy. I knew I was a Baptist before I was a fundamentalist and I don’t think fundamentalism is necessary for an unaffiliated Baptist.

    I don’t think anyone is exalting himself about the Protestants that you mentioned. I too don’t want to get embroiled in a debate over the mode of baptism, but my best argument against sprinkling is that we see it nowhere in Scripture. We don’t have one example. Are we to be regulated by Scriptural example? Then we must immerse. Scripture is perspicuous.

    I will read the books you listed. They sound interesting to me. I do read a lot of Puritan writing. Right now our church is reading together The Sinfulness of Man by Thomas Boston.

    Perhaps you might read, Thomas Armitage History of Baptists 2 Vol., or John T. Christian History of Baptists 2 Vol. Have you read Thomas Strouse, My Church?

    Actually, if you had this— http://www.baptist-books.com/BHIST/2348.html —you would be all set.

    Regarding local church only, I don’t see evidence of an universal assembly in Scripture. I see only particular local churches and then in a very few instances the generic usage of the singular noun “church,” speaking of church generically, that is, as an institution. The Schleitheim Confession of Hubmaier in 1527 and the first century patristic, Clement, evidence this in history. The universal church was a later development. I’m sure you don’t want to discuss this right here and now, but this is in answer to your not seeing “local only” ecclesiology in the NT.

  11. Sam
    November 24, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Thanks Kent,

    I will not be drawn again into the baptizo argument unless questioned directly, save to respond to your point that I could likewise argue that we are not explicitly told that anyone was immersed in water in the NT Scripture. I do believe it is most probable that the Ethiopian Eunuch came to the doctrine of baptism in Acts 8 from reading Isa 52:15.

    I will endeavour to read much more Baptist history and the books you recommend also. One thing I appreciate is the work on remnant groups coming from Baptist historians. Naturally, I think they stretch their conclusions and overlook their defects too much, but they have been illuminating and have strengthened the KJV argument.

    I also agree that we do not see evidence of universal assemblies in Scripture. That does not immediately mean I am local church only and anti-denominational as a doctrinal position as I believe that is stretching it too far. When Paul talks of the Church as the Pillar and Ground he does not specify it is local church so again that does for me. One interesting thing which many do not appreciate is that most Presbyterians are for the most part local church governed. It is only as a final court of appeal that they have a Presbytery to intervene to correct abuses of local church elders against the members. However, this is another argument for another day…

    God Bless

  12. November 24, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Roman Catholicism continued to practice immersion widely for over a millennium before switching, several centuries ago, to pouring (Eastern Catholicism still practices immersion), and the founders of the Protestant denominations knew that New Testament “baptism” was “immersion.” Luther stated, in his sermon on baptism in 1518, that “baptism is . . . when we dip anything wholly in water, that it is completely covered over. . . . it should be thus, and would be right . . . [for] the child or any one who is to be baptized, [to] be completely sunk down into the water, and dipt again and drawn out” (Opera Lutheri, I. 319, Folio ed., quoted on pg. 108, Christian, J. T., A History of the Baptists, vol. 1, Texarkana, TX: Bogard Press, 1922.). Calvin wrote that “it is evident that the term baptise means to immerse, and that this was the form used by the primitive Church” (Calvin, Institutes, 4:15:19, trans. Henry Beveridge). John Wesley, commenting on Romans 6:4, states that the “ancient manner of baptizing [was] by immersion” (John Wesley’s Notes on the Old and New Testaments, 1767, electronic ed. Sulu D. Kelley, 1997, quoted in the Online Bible software by Ken Hamel). Unfortunately, neither Roman Catholicism nor the main Protestant denominations put in practice what their founders knew the Bible teaches in this matter. For extensive proof that Biblical baptism is necessarily by immersion, see pgs. 386-444, “Christian Baptism,” in Principles and Practices for Baptist Churches, Hiscox.

    For more, please read “Heaven Only for the Baptized?” at http://thross7.googlepages.com/home. Local-only ecclesiology is also proved there, as that the word ekklesia is only local (see Carroll’s “Ecclesia” on the website). I won’t post it all here–that would make Sam unhappy. But it is there, and it is very convincing. It even convinced Calvin, Luther, and Wesley.

  13. November 24, 2008 at 7:11 pm


    The Bible does in fact explicitly state that baptism must be done by immersion. That is the meaning of the word. And, it also indicates that this is the exclusive method used by the Lord Jesus Christ, his Apostles, and the New Testament Church. The word baptism in the orignial most definitely does mean to dip or immerse. There is near universal agreement on that when the qualifier of the original, normal, natural meaning is considered. Therefore, immersion is both commanded (Mat. 28:20 & Acts 2:38) and practised. In addition, both Matthew 3:16 and Acts 8:39 reaffirm the clear definition of the word showing the position of both the baptizer and the baptized as being in the water, and the baptized coming up out of the water. If they were coming up out of the river bank or area, the Scriptures would make reference to the river, not the water. But, the Scriptures say instead that they came up out of the water itself.

    The fact that some perhaps “spiritual” men accepted changes made to this definition hundreds of years later gives me no reason to deny the fruit of careful hermeneutical analysis of the Bible itself. This is fundamental.

    What does give me reason for concern is how you can deny the fundamental of literal, historical, gramatical interpretation while trying to affirm named “fundamentalists” who deny that type of hermeneutical analysis. This is the purpose of Kent’s post. It seems to me Kent’s got you pegged. You are a fundamentalist without fundamentals. There is nothing more fundamental than careful and biblical hermeneutics.

    As for humility, some mistake confidence and forthrightness as pride. I am sorry, if that is your impression of me. Perhaps you should reserve judgment until you actually get to know me. My wife and six kids don’t think I’m that bad.


  14. Sam
    November 24, 2008 at 10:59 pm


    I do not want to get into a protracted discussion about baptizo so I will summarise my response.

    Lexicons – are mainly written by liberals so I would be careful basing my doctrines on their research. Secondly, they contradict one another e.g. Schrevelius and Hendericus define the word as including sprinkling and pouring. Dale gives many examples from Greek literature where baptizo does not mean to dip or immerse. He writes: “Water poured into wine is said to baptize Bacchus… A drunken man is said to be a baptized man…. A man who drinks at the fountain of Silenius becomes a baptized man…. Cities, and all Asia, are represented as baptized by sleep, by the running away of bakers, by defeat in battle…. A person bewildered with questions is said to be baptized.”
    Thirdly, the Bible often uses words differently from the Classical Greek e.g. Theos, Christos, Metanoia, agape, pistis, sarx, ouranos, deipnon, pneuma.

    Syntax argument – many Immersionists make a big deal out of prepositions in reference to the NT. However, anyone with any Greek grammar experience knows that such an approach is fraught with dangers. Also, logically it falls down as in Acts 8:38-39 it is explicitly stated with the same prepositions that both Philip and the Eunuch went down into the water and then came up from the water which means if we follow your syntax argument that the pastor and the baptismal candidate need both to be baptised at the same time! Perhaps Donald can apply this “literal, historical, gramatical interpretation” the next time he conducts a baptismal service.

    Septuagint – Leviticus 14: 6 makes it clear that the dipping is not immersion as it is impossible to be totally immersed in the blood of one bird. Daniel 4: 33 is clearly not immersion as dew does not immerse and must be interpreted by Num. 11: 9; Deut. 33: 28; 2 Sam. 17:2 as not immersion. Finally, clear evidence of Greek understanding of baptizo has got to be the Apocryphal’s usage in Ecciesiasticus or Son of Sirach, 34: 25, “He that is purified (baptizomenos) from a dead body and touches it again, what does his cleansing profit him?” This ceremony is seen in Numbers 19: 13, 16, 19. A clean person took a bunch of hyssop and dipped it in running water and sprinkled the unclean. Josephus, referring to this, wrote 250 years later. “Baptizing by this ashes put into spring water, they sprinkled on the third and seventh day.” (Jewish Antiquities, Book iv: Chapter 4).

    NT Usage – The BIBLE states that the baptizo of the Holy Spirit is a POURING -not me. So, how you can argue against the plain hermeneutic of that is beyond me. With the greatest respect, I trust the Holy Spirit’s judgment in this above your personal opinion. Just compare Acts 1: 5, 8 and 2: 17 and 18. Other prophets spoke about this baptism as follows: Isaiah 32: 13, Ezek. 39: 29, Ezek. 36: 25, 27, Isa. 44: 3, Zech. 12: 10, Isa. 52: 14, 15. Now here are seven prophecies of the wonderful scene at Pentecost; two speak of sprinkling, and five of pouring, and not one hints at immersion! And to crown it all, Jesus called it “baptized with the Holy Ghost.”

    Again let me repeat, I am not against immersion. It is clearly acceptable Biblically. However, by trying to stretch the clear Biblical evidence, especially in respect of Acts 1:5, to argue for immersion only is not what God has written. That should be the end of the matter!

    Thomas – I will not comment on the Local Church issue now. Another time.


  15. November 25, 2008 at 6:07 am


    The fact is I most certainly DO go down into the water with the baptismal candidate in obedience to the example of the Word of God. Sprinklers and most of those that pour do not. They also do not fulfill the biblical picture of Romans 6 with their different kind of baptism. And, this is the point, obedience to clear Scripture. It’s only not clear to those who will not see.

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