Why Believers’ Baptism is the Biblical Model

Several months ago I was provoked to developed an extended discussion on believers’ Baptism of Jesusbaptism as the model for the New Testament church.

In four points, I develop a case for Believers’ Baptism (why some might call credo-baptism) as the model of both the New Testament and the earliest Christianity:

1. The biblical case for baptism is of believers, by immersion, following their conversion.

2. The theological case for baptism only leads to baptism of believers, by immersion, following their conversion.

3. The historical case for baptism shows that the earliest Christians only utilized baptism for believers, by immersion, following their conversion.

4. The archeological case for baptism shows that for the earliest Christians their worship venues and structures provided for baptism of believers, by immersion, following their conversion.

Through these points of discussion I contend that the model of the earliest Christians, and as a result the New Testament, was baptism of believers by immersion following their conversion.

Since the baptism discussion will likely come up in any number of settings for the local church, it is helpful to present my position in advance of future discussions. Perhaps this will aid your own preparations. This paper was developed for use by both clergy and laity alike, and though it does not aim for scholarly acumen it perhaps might contribute in that era as well.

Here is the paper, hopefully you will find it edifying and strengthening.

Believers Baptism Paper – Garet Robinson


The Devil and the Church of England

This morning I ran across a couple of posts on my Twitter feed that were talking about a decision by the Church of England concerning the reference to Satan in the christening ceremony. According the latest piece from the Telegraph,

The Church of England is introducing a christening ceremony that removes the requirement on parents and godparents to “repent sins” and “reject the devil”….

In the current version, in use since 1998, vicars ask parents and godparents if they “reject the devil and all rebellion against God” and if they “repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour”.

However, the new text asks them instead to “reject evil, and all its many forms, and all its empty promises”, with no explicit mention of the devil or sin. 

The Daily Mail (apologies for the ridiculous sidebars) adds to this by listing the change in the actual service in a helpful graphic illustrating the differences.

CorleoneNow, this new service plan is an alternative option for christening services (which just get a baby wet anyways and do nothing for them salvifically) and is not normative for Anglicans. The larger picture though is that we’re seeing a most definite move from a historical and orthodox theological grounding. While these ideas have certainly been floated in private and spoken of in remote circles in the past, with the shift in leadership within the Church of England away from worrying about such troublesome things as biblicism and historical orthodoxy, there are certainly more moves ahead.

For what it’s worth, I’m not so much worried about the lack of reference to Satan in the christening service but the weakened charge and confession of being a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Part of the Anglican theology of baptism is that the faith of a child’s parents, grandparents, and godparents does matter to the child being christened. Though I entirely disagree with any notion of baptismal imputation or salvation, to remain faithful to their own theological dogma, the Church of England needs to remove this alternative and reclaim the traditional statements.

Of course, the Devil is in the details.

Satan is a real figure who is clearly outline in both Old and New Testaments of the Christian canon of 66 books known as the Bible. Satan has a definite origin as the leader of a rebellious sect of angels (yes I sound crazy…crazy like Augustine of Hippo.) Denying his involvement in the world in opposition to the plans and will of God ultimately leads to a weakened view of sin and salvation. Besides, it denies a historic tenant of the Christian faith.

Nevertheless, let’s just remember the reality is that Satan enjoys living in the shadows of doubt and the realm of clandestine activity. After all, the greatest trick the Devil ever played, with all due respect to Kaiser Soze/Verbal Kind, wasn’t tricking the world that he didn’t exist…but starting with theologians and churchmen.

Kaiser Soze