We wrote the main booklet of "One Baptism" seven years ago, in 1990. Since then, our studies, and mostly God's blessing, have reinforced old truths and yielded some new ones. Therefore, as we write this supplement there will be some overlap or similarity to the previous material. But also, there is herein some rich blessed new knowledge from God's Old Word. We pray that you will read and enjoy!
One fact or impression keeps coming back to us again and again. We find that most Christians and professing Christians fit in so very well with the Lord's estimation of many religious people in His days on earth: "And He said unto them. Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." Mark 7:9. "Making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition" Mark 7:13. Dear reader, are your beliefs founded on your own searching and study of the Bible? Or are they only what you have heard and have been taught?
Also, as we begin, we want to add a bit more of material on Christ as a priest (See middle of page 30 of our main book "One Baptism", into which this study is inserted). Our conclusion at that time placed the Lord in the Aaronic priest-hood. However, as Hebrews five tells us, he was "a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec."_ Would his baptism at thirty years of age fit into this priest-hood? While it does seem likely to us that such is the case, we can not prove it. At any rate, Jesus was baptized at 30 years of age, so it does seem to fit and make sense - Does some reader have more truth to offer?
As we continue, we want to divide this study into three main sections:
I. Not one baptism, by immersion in water of one person by another, can be proved anywhere by anyone m either the Old or New Testament.
A. Rather than repeating here, we refer the reader to pages 19-22 of the main book (attached) to show that baptisms were sprinklings or washings in the Old Testament. And, although man has changed it in the New Testament, God never did. See #27 on page 25. Of the three most common attempted proofs of immersion, two are listed on this page (25). The other one that is often mentioned is John 3:23 "And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there." This means as any Greek student well knows, "many waters" or "many springs". The Jews preferred moving waters, which they felt would be cleaner, for their baptisms. Thus no immersion can be proved here. Anyone who claims immersion is the correct method would have to prove its use, which they can not!!
B. The phrase "buried with Him in baptism" in Romans 6:4 can not refer to immersion in water. The Greek word sumthapto can refer only to burial in earth. Thus any immersion in water is forbidden by the Greek original.
C. We mentioned briefly, earlier in this insert supplement, that so many Christians prefer to follow tradition rather than God's Word. Let us now show you a classic and glaring example. A.T. Robertson, as many of our readers will recognize, was almost without peer as a Greek scholar. However, he allowed his thick traditional immersionist glasses to cloud his vision toward the Bible. Can we prove this? Yes, easily. On page 398 of his Hebrews book of the "Word Pictures of the New Testament", he deals with Hebrews 9:10, which all seem to understand as referring to the Old Testament scriptures. "...Meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carmal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation" the word (above) washings is baptismos in the Greek or baptisms. Since it refers to the Old Testament, and the divers washings there were sprinklings and washings and never immersions of one person by another, well, what do we have? We have a clear and undeniable proof that baptism can and does sometimes refer to sprinkling rather than always immersion as Baptists and other immersionists claim.
But what does A.T. Robertson do on page 398 of his book? I quote "Baptismos is, of course, the Jewish Ceremonial immersions". But he lets the Old Traditional cat out of the bag in the next line. He quotes, as one of his proof texts, Numbers 8:7. Lets look it up together. It states, speaking of the cleansing of the Levites from among the children of Israel, "sprinkle water of purifying upon them." Now, remember this is Robertson's own reference. He says this is immersion despite all the proofs to the contrary. We have tried to study the word "sprinkle" to see what it means in the Hebrew etc. The best and all that I can find is that it means to "sprinkle". If any reader can prove to us that sprinkling here means immersion, let us know. Surely A.T.Robertson must have known better! But he chose here to put his church tradition above the Bible! He's gone on with the Lord into Heaven now. This reminds me of what a teacher in Bible school told us just exactly fifty years ago now. He reminded us that these who didn't receive truth down here, "know better now", in glory.
II. Immersion was not done, in fact it was impossible for John the Baptist to do so! To any reader who wants to study this subject out for himself, we want to tip him off ahead of time, that he is in for not only a very blessed and challenging study, but also an exceedingly difficult one. We have spent months and endless months on it, even years.
A. We have shown in the main booklet (attached) that Christ himself was under the law, how much more then, John the Baptist. There are those who claim that John started a new ministry and was not under the law, but they can not prove this. His ministry was in fulfillment of Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. Please read all of attached booklet for more on this. John's baptism was a mass purification to prepare for the Messiah and His kingdom.
B. We aim to prove that John the Baptist could in no way immerse all those whom he did baptize in his short ministry! So we must attempt to ascertain the time frame of this ministry. When did he begin, and when did he conclude this ministry? Matthew 3:1 says, "In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judaea." This is a Hebrew idiom for an indefinite time, so nothing specific is given here. However it has been blessed and thrilling to this writer to see how God shows care to protect His own Word. When I wrote the book "God Says to Follow Paul" I discovered three specific placets where the Holy Spirit of God, the author of scripture, goes out of His way to protect this divinely taught truth to "Follow Paul". I won't elaborate here, but if reader is interested we'll be glad to furnish more information, or sell you this book, or give it free if you'd rather not pay for it.
But now, back to the baptism subject— See how God protects His teaching on baptism in Luke 3:1,2. It clearly identifies the beginning of John's ministry listing seven government religious leaders who were in office at that time. Look it up yourself. God limits the time of his ministry so that we can see that it was not long enough for immersions, but had to be sprinklings!
We are glad that the "Companion Bible" appears to be coming back into greater popularity. While it is not perfect it is very valuable. From page 1438 and from pages 197 &198 in the appendix, and also comparing with Darrel Bocks on Luke (pages 284, 285), and comparing these with other able authors (as Harry Bultema), well it appears that John's period of baptizing and preaching lasted only about six or seven months. Even if we were to allow a year or two years longer for his ministry, still we can prove that baptism by immersion was an impossibility.
C. So lets continue to lay out John's baptism in water program. How many did he baptize?
1.) "then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region about Jordan" Matthew 3:5.
2.) "and there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem..." Mark 1:5.
3.) "and he came into all the county about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Luke 3:3.
4.) "these things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan where John was baptizing" John 1:28.
5.) "and John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water (or many springs) there." John 3:23.
6.) "...beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized" John 10:40.
Now, how many were in these areas? Dr. Bultema in his "The Bible and Baptism" states from Josephus that there were some four million people. We are fortunate in our day to still have the writings of Philo and Josephus, men who lived at the time of Christ and Paul. This writer has researched quite extensively in both of these sources. On 777 in "The Works of Philo" it states, "The inhabitants of Judaea are infinite in numbers, and a nation of great stature and personal strengths". From the small type, over nine hundred page "The Works of Josephus" we glean even more. On page 634 we read "...an army out of Galilee of more than a hundred thousand young men." And Galileo, being close to the baptism area, would give us a strong hint of the population of the latter. Then, on page 641 we are told more of Galilee. "The Galileans have been always very numerous." And again "the cities lie here very thick; and the very many villages there are here, and everywhere so full of people, by the richness of their soil, that the very least of them contain above fifteen thousand inhabitants". Then later on the page it reads "Both countries (Judaea and Samaria).. are full of people". Then, in addition, on the bottom of page 616 it informs us that "Three million of the Jews were present at the Passover A.D. 65". Thus, from amassing all the previous together, it does indeed appear safe to say with Dr. Bultema that there were at least four million people in the baptism area. Now, our next question, how many of these were baptized by John? hi Acts 8:12 it states that both men and women were baptized, so we do expect that most of our readers will agree with us that it was likely the same under John's baptism. Nowhere is there any proof that young children were baptized. We have been unable to find out the cut-off age, that is at what time of life did baptism begin. We know that at age twenty they were considered able to go to war. If any reader knows more on this let us know. But, didn't Jesus' disciples also baptize in Judea? Yes they did. John 3:22- 4:2 tells us that his disciples did so do, but not Jesus himself. But it appears that the length of their service was very short for two reasons: 1.) First Jesus and company pulled out when "the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John". Notice, it doesn't say that they did, but that the Pharisees had heard that such was the case. 2.) Also, as some verses showed a page or two back, it states that all the country went out to John's baptism. Another point of information for those who can endure all out detail (this writer rather enjoys it). On page 1312 of "The Companion Bible" it reminds us of a figure of speech, synecdoche, "when the whole is put for the greater part of the country". So we can see that John baptized by far the most. Is it possible then that Jesus' disciples baptized the rest that John had missed? Likely!
Now, before we go into the mathematics, that some may resent, but that we enjoy and believe is very valuable to our subject, before this we answer the question, did John's disciples help in his baptism. Our answer is no. Some will not agree but we believe we can prove it.
1.) It says only that John baptized. No place says that disciples did.
2.) Scripture clearly informs us when "Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples" Why wouldn't it state then that John's disciples helped him? Also we don't know how many John had, but Luke 7:19 & Matthew 11:2 give us the information that "John called (or sent) two of his disciples." Thus, he must have had at least three.
3.) The Bible mentions that John's disciples were out and about the countryside even after John was imprisoned. Matthew 11:2, Matthew 14:12, Mark 6:29, and likely Luke 7:18-20. But there is no baptism done at all after John's imprisonment. We believe the Bible would have told us if his disciples helped.
If some of our readers object to our reasoning, we remind them that "the shoe is on the other foot". It is up to them to prove that John's disciples did help, which they can not! The Bible does say that John baptized- We wrote previously how God takes care, as He wills in His Word, to protect truths he wants protected, (example then was to be followers of Paul). It seems to us, that if God had wanted baptism by immersion taught and this doctrine protected. He would have made it clear that John's disciples also baptized. This he has not done! For these who want to know just when John's ministry ended, it synchronizes with Jesus going ilL-Galilee, the second time. John 1:43; 2:1; 3:22-4:3. Check the records in Matthew, Mark, and Luke for more information on the subject. Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; Luke 3:20. Another thought just before the arithmetic- Matthew 12:44,45 tells of a house that is "empty, swept and garnished." In its context it seems to us that appears to be speaking to Israel. If so, does it not speak of the completeness of John's baptism?
O.K. here we go: We mentioned the four million population. However, for the many various reasons listed previously we will estimate the number baptized as one million (could be more).
Let's call it 30 weeks of baptizing, which makes 180 days of the total operation, and 1800 hours of baptizing at 10 hours each day. Does the reader know of any immersionist pastor who would be willing or even able to do this? Perhaps there are some who would try if their salary increased proportionately— Now to continue— If one were baptized every two minutes, then we must multiply 1800 X 30 which equals 54,000 baptized during the whole period. John the Baptist walked with God, and from what scripture says he had lived a clean life, and so likely an unusually strong man. Also at the peak of his strength, at thirty years of age, he would likely be able to do this much immersion (surely no more). Some will say, "Oh, he did it miraculously." But scripture indicates no miracles in his ministry. See John 10:41. As any reader can easily see, John would have had to baptize nearly twenty years to do the one million or more. So this rules out any immersion mathematically. It simply does not fit into the time frame!! In addition, as we stated previously, not one immersion can be proved in either Old or New Testament.
Now, lets try it using sprinkling, which Old Testament background shows was and would be used. Remember, scripture shows they would be confessing as they went by. A burdened convicted soul could mention much in the twelve seconds we have allotted.
5 a minute at 12 seconds each
300 each hour
3600 in a 12 hour day- not tedious like immersion
21,600 a week
648,000 in 30 weeks
This writer, at about 40 years of age, worked for a time putting in 14 hour work days for six days a week; doubtless some of our readers have done the same. So John could likely, by standing a bit above them, and sprinkling each one with the hyssop, he could probably do very close to one million. Anyway, as the reader can see, the time frame fits in quite well here. Thus, sprinkling was in, and immersion was out here. Today both are gone— see the rest of the book here.
Since we can easily prove it was sprinklings and washings in the Old Testament, and then if John suddenly began immersing, well then how would John 1:25 have to read. It says now, to John, "Why baptizest thou?" If the method had changed, the surprised, bewildered people would have said, "What are you doing?"
III. Three scriptures showing conclusively that water baptism is not for today at all!
We have included a detailed chart in this insert supplement that shows that 74% of the time in Acts where a "believing" or sufficiently similar information is mentioned there is no baptism connected with it at all. Some will say, "Oh yes, but it happened anyway." This is possible, especially when we realize that throughout the book of Acts the miracles and water baptisms go hand in hand or hand in glove! But , one thing is sure, the Holy Spirit of God, the author of scripture, did not consider it important enough to mention nearly three fourths of the time.
Under Peter, Philip, and Ananias, out of fourteen instances of "believing" (or similar information) five people or groups were baptized- less than 36%.
Under Paul three people or groups were baptized out of seventeen who believed, less than 18%. What pastor today would be content to baptize only 17% of believers?
So, for the total in Acts, eight people or groups were baptized out of 31 who believed, less than 26%.
Before the ministry of Paul, Silas, and Barnabas, miracles were connected with believings except once. But later, under the above servants of Christ, miracles are not mentioned seven times.
Here is some more blessed information that will bless and thrill the honest searcher. See Acts 17:11,12. These Bereand. were especially noted and commanded by God. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed..." If water baptism is so important, then why did God not honor these who were so sincerely searching His Word for His will. Why did He not see to it that there was a water baptism here, here above all places.'f There is none!!
Here is a question for your thinking. How can all the endless divergent views on water baptism be correct as they all disagree? How can God hold men accountable as they all (mostly) claim to follow the Bible? I Corinthians 14:33 declares "God is not the author of confusion". This study and the attached booklet show clearly that water baptism is not for today at all. —
One hears sometimes that there are two ordinances, baptism and ( the Lord's supper. Neither is called an ordinance in the Bible. God ) warns against ordinances for today. Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 2:20. The latter verse shows ordinances as worldly.
As we said before, the burden of proof is on immersionists to show that John immersed- they can not! They know they can not! But rather than face God's Word honestly, they retreat into the closet of tradition and oppose these who defend and uphold the Bible! What will they say at the Bema Judgment Seat? I Corinthians 3:10-4:2.
Now, back to the three scriptures that show that water baptism is not for today at all! I Cor 1:17; Eph4;5; Hebrews 9:10.
A. The first, I Cor 1:17 states clearly "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." John the Baptist was sent to water baptize- the twelve apostles were sent to baptize with water. Paul was not! Some remind us that others did some of it for him. This is true, and we have shown this in the baptizing and believing chart shown in this insert section. Also compare Acts 18:8 with I Cor 1:14-16. Here are some thoughts on the subject: 1.) By a bit of searching, we can easily discover that John the Baptist's and Peter's preaching included water baptizing as part of their message of good news. Paul's gospel (and he calls it "My Gospel" three times), that is, Paul's good news does not include baptism- In our main booklet, attached to this, we have compared I Cor 1:17 with Rom 6:23. Look it up and see what a difference one "but" can make 2.)Then, why did Paul baptize or allow others to so do? It's because God was still dealing with the nation of Israel. In any of Paul's books written after Acts 28 there is no incident or occasion of water baptism. Also the miracles, as tongues, healings and visions went hand in glove with water baptism throughout Acts. After Acts 28 these are gone along with the water. 3.) We are taught some nine times to follow Paul as he followed Christ. So to obey this today is for each pastor to say "Christ sent me not to baptize". Try it, dear Brother, pastor. Yes you may be thrown out of your church, but God's deep joy and blessing will be on your life.
B. Ephesians 4:4-6 "there is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all..." And some thoughts on this:
1.) It states clearly that there is one baptism for today. This one is the one given in I Corinthians 12:13. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body..." To add water is to make two, making God a liar. 2.) You will notice above that there are seven "spirituals" in Gods union. To put one, the baptism, as water is to ruin the whole perfect chain, one work done by man will mar hopelessly one of the perfect seven's of God's Word. 3.)Let us read now the verse just before, Ephesians 4:3 "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Some of our readers likely know that water baptism has caused more hard feelings, arguments, divisions, even many deaths than any other doctrinal subject in Christendom. I simply can not see our God, then, putting water in this passage (Eph 4:4-6 right after Eph 4:3). But some reader will say, "If they all believed as our church does it would be no problem." Of course not, but I expect many (or all) of the other churches say the same thing. What, thesis the answer? Thoroughly study the scriptures, and forget the doctrines and traditions of men.
C. Hebrews 9:10- speaking as taken from the Old Testament"....Meats and drinks and divers washings (baptisms), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation." The \ next four verses, in fact the rest of the book, shows that this time of f reformation has come. Thus we can again clearly show that water baptism along with the "meats and drinks" is all done and gone for today. Today we have only one (Eph 4:5), into the Body of Christ.
II. As we approach the close, a few parting thoughts.
A. Water baptism was from beginning to end an Israelitish practice- yes, some Gentiles were baptized in Acts, but likely only a small minority. Also they were never baptized by any Gentile, only by a Jew. Can all the pastors today who water baptize, can they all say they are all Jewish? Hardly!
B. We believe that the baptisms at Corinth, Acts 18:8, were the last ones recorded as being done in scripture. How appropriate then that Paul should say "Christ sent me not to baptize", I Cor 1:17, when writing to them.
However, some will insist that a few were baptized at Ephesus in Acts 19:1-7.
For those who really wish to study more on this we recommend two books on the subject (write us if you can't locate): "Acts-Volume II" -pages 156-163 by C.R. Stam, and "Baptism in the Bible" pages 118-120 by Henry Hudson.
We believe that these two writers prove conclusively and beyond dispute that these believers in Acts had been water baptized previously and were not re-baptized now. If they were, then this is the only case in the gospels or Acts where such was done. What is the answer here then? Acts 19:5 belongs with verse 4 and shows what was done under John. When Paul had said these two verses, then in verse six Paul "laid his hands upon them." The Dutch translation, we are told, states it correctly thus.
C. But tradition runs deep. Many in quoting Romans 6:3-6 will say, "Don't you see, that's what water baptism by immersion is, a perfect beautiful picture of this passage," For one who has studied the material in this insert, he can readily see that this can not be. The tradition of men has made it water here. It says in verse 3 here, "baptized into Jesus Christ," not baptized into water. Comparing this passage with Colossians 2:12 we see its all "through the faith (or faithfulness) of the operation of God". Its not man's hands at all here, no water!
Thank you for reading,and I promise. God will bless you, give you joy, and use you as you show these truths to others!
P. Norman Carlson
Berean Commitee For An Open Bible
3431 N. Flowing Wells Rd. #53
Tucson, AZ 85705
Some church beginnings
1.) Beginning of Philippian church. Acts 16. Two baptisms at Philippi, then a letter from Paul eleven years later. This emphasizes to "Follow Paul", who had said "Christ sent me not to baptize".
2.) Beginning of Thessalonian Church in Acts 17: 1-4 (arid up through 9), but no baptism mentioned; two letters a year or so later, also showing strongly to "Follow Paul".
3.) Beginning of Berean church in Acts 17:11-13, but no baptism.
4.) "Believing" at Athens (Acts 17:34- see vs. 16-34), but no baptism.
5.) Beginning of Corinthian church in Acts 18:1-18 and baptisms (vs 8). Then two letters 6 and 7 years later emphasizing "Follow Paul", and declaring "Christ sent me not to baptize". Paul also emphasizes his message I Cor 3 and 4: 1,2.
6.) Beginning of Ephesian church Acts 18:19; Acts 19 (all chapter) to 20:1 Shows much results. Acts 19:10 and 19:17-20 but no baptism. A letter to them from Paul six years later declares "One baptism".
7.) Galatia church Acts 16:5,6 and Acts 18:23, but no baptism.
8.) Acts 28:23,24 at Rome shows that some believed, but no baptism, and curtain came down, and "blindness in part is happened to Israel" until a future day; Rom 11:25.