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Friday, December 3, 2010

Simple Church Minute 5--baptism

My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
            In the early church, baptism was a sign of initial confession of faith in Jesus.  One can find in the New Testament that baptism and faith are used like synonyms.  Somewhere in the 2nd century, the two started getting divided, with most baptisms taking place on Easter.  By the 4th century, official church leadership had taken over instruction and direction of new believers to the degree that a person had to wait 3 years to be baptized.  The baptism ceremony became a rigid ritual that borrowed from Jewish and Greek culture.  Somewhere along this path, a teaching got started that only baptism forgave sins, and if one committed a sin after baptism, it was unforgivable.  Some, like Emperor Constantine, waited until just before dying to be baptized.  With such a weakened physical state among those wishing to be baptized, the idea came about that, since baptism was a sign of belief, as opposed to actually washing something away, if a person was so ill that they would not be able to withstand immersion, a sample amount of water—sprinkling on the forehead—was a sufficient sign.
            With the disconnection between faith and baptism, infant baptism came along, being taught as the New Covenant equivalent to Old Covenant circumcision, with reference to a case in the New Testament where someone was baptized (quote) and their entire household. (unquote)
            Another interesting connected ritual that has come along this past century has been the insistence of those in some flavors of the church that hold to the literal adult believer’s baptism to call it “water baptism,” as if those who do not follow that direction are somehow not using water.  In biblical days, the Greek word “baptidzo” was also used for the process of pickling pickles and dying cloth, but there isn’t any confusion about that anymore—at least, I don’t think so.
            You can email me at  For more info on organic simple church*, go to or locally, (local website).
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.”  While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better.  I comment on that in blip 94.

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