Baptism and the Ethiopian

Here’s the situation:

Acts 8: 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

So we have the Ethiopian studying Isaiah, Philip goes to him and preaches Jesus to him explaining Jesus’ fulfillment of the prophecy, obviously including the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and then on the Ethiopian’s profession “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” Philip baptized him.

Assuming we all agree this happened in a very very short span of time, here is my question: Would your church or community have baptized the Ethiopian? If it were modern time and an adult came to your church and asked about Isaiah, was told how Christ fulfilled that prophecy, and believed it, and professed “Jesus Christ is the Son of God” would your church baptize them then and there if asked to?

Assuming he hadn’t been previously baptized, sure, with the caveat that in our communion Baptism is typically done in the presence of the congregation, since they have a rather designated role in the further catechizing of the newly baptized. So, “then and there” might be at the next Divine Worship.

Jon

Yep!

In fact, 3000 were baptized in one day from an earlier story in the Acts. Our Church does spontaneous Baptisms for those who accept Christ then and there, and for those who have neglected Baptism.

A couple months ago our Church Baptized 105 people in one weekend. Each is interviewed before to make sure they understand what’s happening.

We don’t know, of course, how long the journey of Phillip and the eunuch lasted – one day or one week or even a month. However, in the time of the Apostles, they often Baptized new believers within a day of their declaring their belief. After the Baptism, they were expected to continue with the congregation of Believers and continue to learn more of their faith. If the Eunuch was reading from Isaiah, he was obvious in possession of a copy of all or part of the Torah & the Prophets, and obviously was being led to believe in One God, the God of the Jews. After Phillip explained about Jesus, the Eunuch believed in the Son of God, and that He came to save sinners and Phillip obviously felt there was no hindrance to the man being admitted to the family of Christ as a believer. Nowadays, we baptize babies, who do not know any of the Scriptures. It does not say, however, that Phillip administered Communion to the Eunuch. The man had more to learn to become fully taught the teachings of Jesus.

But, this would basically equal a “no,” is that a correct take on it (I truly want to clarify)? That times have now changed, therefore for an adult wanting to be Baptized as a Christian it would take more than what the Ethiopian showed?

Jon, I don’t know a lot about baptism in the Lutheran Church, but would the person have to proclaim an intention to continue on in the Lutheran branch of the faith? I know several protestant denominations that would insist on church membership to that particular denomination before baptism. How does it work for y’all?

Does this type of event tend to happen at, say, a revival, or open air preaching? Do the baptized tend to belong to your congregation or is it a more open invite?

We would assume that if someone has approached our communion in this way, there would be an expectation they would continue.

Jon

We look at Baptism as a command; that is, if God said “repent and be Baptized” then not being Baptized is a serious sin. So for anyone who has accepted Christ (whether that day, weeks before, years before, whenever) and there’s an opportunity to be Baptized they are in disobedience with God by not doing so immediately.

Anyone who has accepted Christ and repented of their sins may (must) be Baptized. After that we get them plugged in with the Church. They don’t have to, as we can not force them but again God wants them to continue to grow and learn, so we help with that.

Probably so, at least in every Christian denomination I am familiar with. The Apostles were acting to spread the Good News, and Baptized upon a Profession of Faith in Jesus. Now, we require that an adult know just what being a Christian means, what requirements they need to know & practice to follow the Christian faith. Baptizing someone after a couple of hours of conversation would not keep them in the Faith, they would need more instruction, and I’m fairly sure that Phillip directed the Eunuch to a community of Christians near where the Eunuch lived, or perhaps accompanied him there, and began a community of believers and taught them the Faith. The only time I know of when Baptism would follow immediately upon the Profession of Faith, would be when there is immediate danger of death (or of course of an infant of believers). To Baptize someone, then just send them on their way, leaves them with little knowledge of the requirements set down in Jesus’ own teachings for following their new belief. This would not be at all fair to the new believer, as they would not know how to live their faith, and likely would soon fall away. Elsewhere in the writings of the Apostles, they came upon a group who had been baptized by John (the Baptist), but had no knowledge of Jesus and His teachings. They didn’t greet them as fellow Christians and go on their way. They, instead taught them of Jesus, his teachings and the meaning of His life, ministry and death & resurrection. They then left behind them a core of believers who could follow the teachings of Jesus.

I church hopped quite a bit before I decided, and I have never heard of any church that would make members of people before they had been baptized.

It’s like a prerequiset (sp) in University.

Baptism first, membership second.

And not only Catholic and main line protestant only, I was raised in a fundamental denomination that had that same practice. When I became Catholic my Protestant baptism was accepted and I was not baptized again.

Btw, I was baptized by submersion in the churches of Christ instantly at the same service. So their is at least one sect that follows the example of the Ethiopian.

This information may interest you, OP, as it is from the Ethiopians themselves:

The Mystery of Baptism
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk. 16:6). Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit he can not enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5).

In accordance with such writings of the Holy Scriptures, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church baptizes male infants at the age of 40 days and female infants at the age of 80 days, (Lev. 12:2-7). Yet if an infant is sick, so that the infant may not die before being baptized and be subjected to the unchangeable order of the Lord Jesus Christ, “unless one is born of water and the spirit he can not enter the kingdom of God”, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church baptizes infants just as they come even prior to the above fixed baptismal dates. In addition, if an adult believes and requests baptism, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church willingly complies and baptizes him or her.

It is the same in the Coptic Orthodox Church, which is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s mother church, having sent to Ethiopia in the days of St. Athanasius the Apostolic its first bishops (and the Ethiopian church continued to be governed pastorally by the Egyptian church until they gained their autocephaly by decree of Pope Yusab II, in the 1950s). It is my understanding that this has practical applications in modern Egypt, as well, where the issue is not so much Ethiopians but people of Muslim background who seek to be baptized, but whose baptisms must be done quietly and without any kind of formal catechesis, for obvious reasons (i.e., there is nothing like RCIA classes for converts to the Church; I myself had a period of catechesis before baptism, but it was very informal and more like the scheme in the days of the desert fathers, in that I would sit with father and he would give me little bits and pieces of Coptic history, theology, ecclesiology, etc., and then I would study those and come back later with questions, just like how the pilgrims of the old days were given simple words from the desert fathers and sent on their way).

Andrewstx— I remember you were baptized when you became Orthodox, though you had already been baptized in the churches of Christ?
Dzheremi—IIRC, you were Presbyterian (?) before converting to the Coptic Orthodox Church? It sounds like you were also baptized again?
Is that the norm for Orthodox Churches?

I was Roman Catholic before becoming Orthodox. I had been raised in the Presbyterian church by my mother, but was asked to leave that church after she passed away (when I was 14), so I did. It was another 16 years or so before I found my place in Orthodoxy. :slight_smile:

As far as the norm in the Orthodox Church, I cannot speak for the Chalcedonians (Andrewstx’s communion), but there is some variation in this matter within the Oriental Orthodox/non-Chalcedonian communion. As I understand it, the Coptic and Tewahedo (Ethiopian/Eritrean) Orthodox require rebaptism of all (the COC makes an exception for EO, who are received by charismation only; I don’t know if the Tewahedo observe the same; I kind of doubt it, since there really aren’t any organized EO in their home countries except for the c.500-strong Greek community in Addis and Dire Dawa who date only from the late 18th century or so). The Syriacs and Armenians are comparatively less strict, receiving all Chalcedonians (Eastern and Western) by charismation only, and in this represent the older tradition whereby all Chalcedonians are treated as one people for ecclesiastical purposes. The British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate receives converts to it from the Anglican and Catholic churches, and has recently petitioned the Coptic synod in Egypt that it revive the practice throughout the whole church. It remains to be seen whether this will happen. In the meantime, I was happily baptized. :slight_smile: (There is still but one baptism, and the Orthodox one is the only one the Church recognizes.)

Thanks, Dzheremi.

=Kliska;11521092]Here’s the situation:

Acts 8: 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

So we have the Ethiopian studying Isaiah, Philip goes to him and preaches Jesus to him explaining Jesus’ fulfillment of the prophecy, obviously including the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and then on the Ethiopian’s profession “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” Philip baptized him.

Assuming we all agree this happened in a very very short span of time, here is my question: Would your church or community have baptized the Ethiopian? If it were modern time and an adult came to your church and asked about Isaiah, was told how Christ fulfilled that prophecy, and believed it, and professed “Jesus Christ is the Son of God” would your church baptize them then and there if asked to?

As a Catholic I will answer YES! conditionally.:slight_smile:

Because Catholics have ALL Seven of the Sacraments Instituted [authorized] by Christ:
Baptism
Confession
Eucharist
Confirmation
Marriage
Holy Orders and The Last Rites

The CC exercising the Power and Authority of the KEY"S to heaven [the only keys to heaven BTW]:); has determined and teaches that for ADULTS [Infants can be and NEED TO BE Baptized ASAP after birth [John 3:5 ]; that there are and shall be "THREE sacraments NECESSARY for entry into the Catholic church.for Adults.

These are: Baptism; Confession and The Eucharist [Catholic Holy Communion]

While the bible does NOT explicitly say this; it DOES nevertheless precisely authorize the Church to make and enforce this decision.

In Mt. 16:18-19 the POWERS to BIND and Loose in this context means Christ Gave to Peter and through him to His Successors [Mt. 28:16-20 / Mk. 16:14-45]; the Powers and authority of unlimited Governance of His new Church with its One set of Faith beliefs.

If you’d care for more information than I can place on the forum just let me know.:slight_smile:

I pray that addresses your question my friend?

God Bless you,
Patrick [PJM]

No AFAIK rebaptism is only done in ultra-conservative, old calendar Orthodox churches. In my case it was ROCOR, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. I hadonly been chrismated in the Orthodox Church in America,but that parish was closed by Bishop Dmitri.

And so I had to find another church to go to in Baptist country where Orthodox churches are few and far between and Eastern Catholic churches do not exist. As It was I ended up driving close to 300 miles to find an Orthodox church.

Thanks, Andrewstx.

Before a person is baptized in our church they must first attend membership classes to learn the reason and meaning of being baptized. There must also be a vocal confession of their faith before the congregation. They must also have attended church for a period of time
In the church I attend a person become a member when they are baptized unless they are a baptized member of a church of like faith. Then all they need is a letter from their former church to transfer their membership.

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