Barry Newman's Blog

January 23, 2010

Biblical Baptism Revisited (part VII)

Filed under: Baptism — barrynewman @ 9:08 pm

The Baptismal Water Ceremony in the New Testament (continued)

Indeed, the command uttered by Peter, “Repent and be baptised” (Acts 2: 38) can be considered to be an expression similar in form to the statement, “Marry the girl and give her a wedding ring”.  The giving of a wedding ring is a common feature of many marriage ceremonies. Water baptism was a common feature of the ministry of John the baptiser who saw himself as preparing the way of the Messiah and the ministry of the Messiah himself. And both preached the necessity of repentance. Given the well known association, either directly or indirectly, of a literal water baptism with the Messiah it would have been natural for Peter, in proclaiming the Messiah and the need to repent to say, “And be baptised”. However just as the giving of a ring does not in itself bring about the marriage neither does baptism bring about repentance, but in each situation the two go hand in hand.  One of course is essential; the other is a ceremony accompanying the essential.

What may have began as an enacted sign soon became an established ceremonial custom.  Later, beyond the New Testament period, baptism in one form or another, unfortunately became an established religious rite.

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