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Baptism   Lord’s Supper
            OF THE CHURCH
I. An Overview of the Ordinances
   A. No One Baptist Theology
      1. Anthony Cross
      2. R. Wayne Stacey
   B. The Two Ordinances of the Church
   C. Definition of Ordinance
      1. Henry Cook
      2. A.S. Langley
      3. “Sacrament”
   D. Not Salvific
      1. Difference from a sacramental view
      2. A.T. Robertson
      3. R. Wayne Stacey
      4. G. Thomas Halbrooks
            Anthony Cross
“The present study has shown conclusively
that there is no single Baptist theology or
practice of baptism, only theologies and
practices, and this diversity accords with
Baptist ecclesiology which continues to tend
towards independency . . . .”
         R. Wayne Stacey
       A Baptist’s Theology
  (NOTE the emphasis in the title.)

“There is something uniquely Baptist about a
theology in which individual Baptists, rather than
just one Baptist, express their own diverse views,
not attempting to speak for all Baptists in these
matters—which no Baptist can” (vii).
            Bill J. Leonard
Baptists in general affirm “Two
sacraments/ordinances of baptism and the
Lord’s Supper (some later include the washing
of feet as a biblical mandate).”
The nine Christian rites observed by
    Sandy Creek Baptist Christ
               Feet washing
               Lord’s Supper
            Laying on of hands
            Anointing the sick
     Love feasts (or communal meals)
         Right hand of fellowship
              Kiss of charity
           Devotion to children
            Anthony Cross
     Definitions of “Ordinances”
1. “’something commanded, something that has
authority behind it, and Baptism and the Lord’s
Supper, we believe, have come down to us from
the Christ Himself.’” (from Henry Cook)

2. “A.S. Langley, however, defined ‘ordinance’ by
what it was not. They were not sacraments
because they did not ‘convey saving grace’, rather
they were ‘symbols observed and preserved by
the churches’ and of value ‘to those who observe
them only as their meaning is discerned’”
             Anthony Cross
            on “Sacrament”
Cross appears to conclude that usually it is
used in the sense of being “’an outward and
visible sign of an inward, spiritual

“More often than not *Baptist+ authors meant
the same thing by either word [sacrament and
                   Ion Bria
“Baptism with water, or the sacrament of
initiation or birth in Christ through immersion in
water and the invocation of the Holy Trinity.”

“. . . *It+ is the beginning of new life in Christ.
Baptism is not given merely for justification or
only for the forgiveness of hereditary sin but
especially as regeneration, as the restoration of
fallen humanity, as the recuperation of positive
identity. . . . Through triple immersion negative
humanity is destroyed”
               Ludwig Ott
“Baptism is that Sacrament in which man
being washed with water in the name of the
Three Divine Persons is spiritually reborn. . . .
Baptism, provided that the proper dispositions
(Faith and sorrow for sin) are present, effects:
a) eradication of sins, both original sin and, in
the case of adults, also personal, mortal or
venial sins; b) inner sanctification by the
infusion of sanctifying grace”
             A.T. Robertson
“’This is the one thing that Baptists stand for
against the great mass of modern Christians. The
Greek Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the
Lutheran Church, the High Church Episcopalians,
and the Sacramental wing of the Disciples attach
a redemptive value to one or both of the
ordinances. It is just here that the term
‘Evangelical Christianity’ comes in to emphasize
the spiritual side of religion independent of rite
and ceremony.’”
              R. Wayne Stacey

We must understand that “ a symbol without significance is
meaningless at best, magic at worst . . . .”

He (and I) prefers the use of “sign” rather than “symbol”
because “whereas a symbol can be arbitrary, a sign
participates in the reality of that which it signifies.”

Further, speaking specifically of baptism, he says, “The act
of being buried beneath the water and being raised from
underneath the water is a sign of the very kind of death
and life that conversion demands.”
        G. Thomas Halbrooks
“Communion is more than a bare memorial that
calls to remembrance something which
happened long ago. It is a remembrance that
draws the fullness of God’s past action in Christ
into the present moment with power, so that
believers experience anew God’s reconciling

Further, “The bread and wine are far more than
mere symbols. They are signs that point to
Christ’s presence.”
           OF THE CHURCH
II. Historical View and Theology
    A. The Emphasis on Believer’s Baptism
    B. The General Baptists
       1. Smyth in 1609
       2. Helwys in 1611
    C. The Particular Baptists
       1. A note on baptizo
       2. The turn to immersion
    D. Later Sources
       1. Baptist Distinctives and Diversities and Differences of
          Emphasis Among Baptists 1964
       2. ABGTS Theological Principles
Affussion or Pouring
           R. Wayne Stacey
The importance of baptism in Baptist life is
addressed by Dr. Stacey: “. . . as such,
baptism’s centrality in Baptist life is indicated
by the fact that the immersion pool
(baptistery) typically occupies the highest,
central, most visible place in a Baptist
             John Smyth, 1609
        The Short Confession of Faith
               in XX Articles
a. Article 12 affirms believer’s baptism: “That the church of
   Christ is a company of the faithful; baptized after
   confession of sin and of faith, endowed with the power of
   Christ.” The emphasis here is on defining the church.

b. Article 14 defines baptism and further affirms believer’s
   baptism: “That baptism is the external sign of the
   remission of sins, of dying and of being made alive, and
   therefore does not belong to infants.”

c. Article 15 explains the Supper: “That the Lord's Supper is
   the external sign of the communion of Christ, and of the
   faithful amongst themselves by faith and love.”
           Thomas Helwys, 1611
       A Declaration of Faith of English
     Remaining at Amsterdam in Holland
a.   Article 10 addresses believer’s baptism and the church: “That the church of
     CHRIST is a company of faithful people (1 Corinthians 1:2. Ephesians 1:1)
     separated from the world by the word &Spirit of GOD (2 Corinthians 6:17) being
     knit unto the LORD, &one unto another, by Baptism. (1 Corinthians 12:13). Upon
     their own confession of the faith (Acts 8:37) and sins. (Matthew 3:6).” Note
     again that the emphasis here is on defining the church.

b.   Article 13 has the same subject: “That every Church is to receive in all their
     members by Baptism upon the Confession of their faith and sins wrought by the
     preaching of the Gospel, according to the primitive Institution, (Matthew 28:19)
     and practice, (Acts 2:41). And therefore Churches constituted after any other
     manner, or of any other persons are not according to CHRISTS Testament.”

c. Article 15 is on the Supper: “That the LORDS Supper is the outward manifestation
   of the Spiritual communion between CHRIST and the faithful mutually (I
   Corinthians 10:16, 17) to declare his death until he come. (I Corinthians 11:26).”
     Baptizo means
“to dip,” or “to immerse”
The 1644 London Confession of the
       Particular Baptists
Article 33 speaks on baptism: “JESUS Christ hath here on earth a spiritual kingdom, which is His Church,
whom He hath purchased and redeemed to Himself as a peculiar inheritance; which Church is a company
of visible saints, called and separated from the world by the word and Spirit of God, to the visible
profession of faith of the gospel, being baptized into that faith, and joined to the Lord, and each other, by
mutual agreement in the practical enjoyment of the ordinances commanded by Christ their head and king.
Matt.11:11; 2 Thess.1:1; 1 Cor.1:2; Eph.1:1; Rom.1:7; Acts 19:8,9,26:18; 2 Cor.6:17; Rev.18:4; Acts
2:37,10:37; Rom.10:10; Matt.18:19.20; Acts 2:42, 9:26;1 Pet.2:5.”

Article 39 is also on baptism: “BAPTlSM is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ, to be
dispensed upon persons professing faith, or that are made disciples; who upon profession of faith, ought
to be baptized, and after to partake of the Lord's Supper.
Matt.28:18,19; John 4:1; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:37.38, 8:36,37,etc.

Article 40 marks the shift to believer’s baptism by immersion: “THAT the way and manner of dispensing
this ordinance, is dipping or plunging the body under water; it being a sign, must answer the things
signified, which is, that interest the saints have in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ: And that
as certainly as the body is buried under water, and risen again, so certainly shall the bodies of the saints be
raised by the power of Christ, in the day of the resurrection, to reign with Christ.
Matt.3:16; Mark 15:9 reads (into Jordan) in Greek; John 3:23; Acts 8:38; Rev.1:5, 7:14; Heb.10:22;
Rom.6:3,4,5.6; 1 Cor.15:28.29. The word baptizo signifies to dip or plunge (yet so as convenient garments
be both upon the administrator and subject with all modesty).”
Baptist Distinctives and Diversities and
   Differences of Emphasis Among
    Baptists, 1964 – On Baptism:
 “Baptism by Immersion The ordinance of baptism is the act of entry into fellowship of the local
 church. Their study of the New Testament led Baptists to conclude that only immersion has
 Scriptural authority as a mode of baptism. The meaning of the originally-used Greek words, the
 contexts of Scriptural descriptions of the act, and the historic evidence of early church practice
 support this contention. The symbolism of baptism revealed in Scripture, which portrays death,
 burial and resurrection, has confirmed Baptists in their conviction that only
         immersion speaks clearly of the meaning of the ordinance.

 Baptists also baptize none but believers. Since baptism is an outward expression of an inward
 experience, the former has no meaning apart from the latter. Thus, baptism of infants who are
 incapable of personal faith, mass baptism of peoples without due regard for their personal
 relationship to God, and baptism of the unconscious or dead have not been practiced.

 Baptism is not viewed by Baptists as mediating in any way the saving grace of God to the individual.
 It is seen rather as one of the significant first acts of obedience to be performed by the individual
 who has experienced spiritual rebirth. In the waters of baptism, one thus reveals symbolically
 death to an old life and resurrection by God’s Spirit to a new life in Christ. This act is attended by
 God’s blessing upon the one who so confesses faith and also upon the community of believers who
 witness this profession.”
Baptist Distinctives and Diversities and
   Differences of Emphasis Among
Baptists, 1964 – On the Lord’s Supper:
 “The Lord’s Supper The second ordinance
 administered by the church is that of the Lord’s
 Supper. While Baptists reject doctrines of
 transubstantiation and consubstantiation, they,
 nevertheless, find genuine spiritual renewal
 through the observance of this memorial feast.
 The memory of Christ’s sufferings and death
 brings to the believer the wholesome experience
 of self examination, repentance, a new-found
 sense of communion with God, a purposeful
 dedication to the divine will, and a new loyalty to
 the body of Christ.”
        Theological Principles
“The church’s two ordinances are the baptism
of believers by immersion and the Lord’s
Supper. They are symbolic expressions of the
message of salvation.”
III. Administration of the Ordinances
    A. The Congregation
    B. Church Officers
    C. A Note on Congregational Autonomy and
         Thomas Helwys
1611 Declaration of Faith, Article 11

The congregation “may, and ought, when they
are come together, to Pray, Prophecy, break
bread, and administer in all the holy
ordinances, although as yet they have no
Officers, or that their Officers should be in
Prison, sick, or by any other means hindered
from the Church”
        G. Thomas Halbrooks
“Anyone who is designated by a body of believers
can celebrate Communion. It is the prerogative
of a body of believers to call forth one whom they
believe to be appropriate to lead them in the
celebration. . . . the congregation can celebrate it
in any way they choose.”

“We are free to develop our own theological
understanding in dialogue with other Baptists.”
          OF THE CHURCH
IV. Concluding Thoughts
   A. On Baptism
      1. Bill J. Leonard
      2. R. Wayne Stacey
      3. Walter B. Shurden
      4. Rebaptism
      5. Open or closed membership
   B. On the Lord’s Supper
      1. Laying on of hands
      2. Open or closed communion
      3. The presence of Christ in the elements
                 On Baptism:
                        Bill J. Leonard

In the 20th century baptism is
    a. a biblical act identifying believers with Jesus and the Kingdom of
    b. a conversion act demonstrating the new birth and incorporation
          into the Body of Christ, the Church
    c. a churchly act marking the entry into the covenant community of
          a specific community, a sign of the covenant of grace in the life
          of the believer and the believing community
    d. a dangerous and dissenting act that frees believers to challenge
          the power and principalities of church and culture
    e. essential to Baptist identity so we should regularly examine our
          baptismal theology and practices
            On Baptism:
               R. Wayne Stacey
“It is, by its very nature, an act of community.”

Further: “The act of being buried beneath the water and
being raised from underneath the water is a sign of the
very kind of death and life that conversion demands.”

Also, “It’s a powerful rite in which life and death, God and
humanity, sin and grace meet in a cold, wet, cleansing

“In the act of baptizing we should,” says Stacey, “realize
that in Christ we die daily and are raised again. Thus
baptism is to be seen as the commencement into a life of
           On Baptism:
             Walter B. Shurden

“Early Baptists found in Acts 8:17 and Hebrews 6:1-1,
among other scriptures, biblical justification for laying
on of hands on baptized believers. In his 1827 History
of the General or Six Principle Baptists, Richard Knight
held that ‘this rite’ was ‘of equal authority with
baptism.’ Whether all Baptists considered it of equal
authority with baptism is highly debatable, but it is not
debatable that General Baptists,        Calvinistic
Baptists, and Separate Baptists at various time
practiced ‘this rite,’”
The Second London Confession
  “We believe that laying on of hands, with prayer, upon baptised
 believers, as such, is an ordinance of Christ, and ought to be
 submitted unto by all such persons that are admitted to partake of
 the Lord's Supper, and that the end of this ordinance is not for the
 extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, but for a farther reception of the
 Holy Spirit of promise, or for the addition of the graces of the Spirit,
 and the influences thereof; to confirm, strengthen, and comfort
 them in Christ Jesus, it being ratified and established by the
 extraordinary gifts of the Spirit in the primitive times, to abide in
 the church as meeting together on the first day of the week was,
 that being the day of worship, or Christian sabbath, under the
 Gospel, and as preaching the word was, and as baptism was, and
 prayer was, and singing psalms, etc. was, so this laying on of hands
 was, for as the whole Gospel was confirmed by signs and wonders,
 and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost in general, so was
 every ordinance in like manner confirmed in particular.”
         On Baptism:
    Bill Leonard on Rebaptism

Theologically multiple immersions are “highly
problematic. Baptism is a sacred event, made
especially holy because it is administered in
the name of God—Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit.” Like a good Baptist, he leaves this up
to the individual congregation, but stresses
the necessity of “serious theological
reflection” before proceeding.
   On Baptism:
Open or Closed Membership
    On the Lord’s Supper:
          Laying on of Hands
   The Confession of the Philadelphia
The laying on of hands “ought to be submitted unto
by all such persons that are admitted to partake of
the Lord’s Supper . . . .”
On the Lord’s Supper:
 Open or Closed Communion
 On the Lord’s Supper:
The Presence of Christ in the Elements
         From the Second London Confession
 “Worthy receiver, outwardly partaking of the
 visible Elements of this Ordinance, do then also
 inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not
 carnally, and corporally, but spiritually receive
 and feed upon Christ crucified & all the benefits
 of his death: the Body and Blood of Christ, being
 then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually
 present to the faith of Believers, in that
 Ordinance, as the Elements themselves are to
 their outward senses.”
 On the Lord’s Supper:
The Presence of Christ in the Elements
                 From the Orthodox Creed
 “The supper of the Lord Jesus, was instituted by him . .
 . for the perpetual remembrance, and showing forth
 the sacrifice of himself in his death: and for the
 confirmation of the faithful believers in all benefits of
 his death and resurrection, and spiritual nourishment
 and growth in him . . . The outward elements of bread
 and wine, after they are set apart by the hand of the
 minister, from common use, and blessed or
 consecrated by the word of God and prayer, the bread
 being broken, and wine poured forth, signify to the
 faithful, the body and blood of Christ, or holdeth fourth
 Christ, and him crucified.”

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