Baptizing 3,000 in 1 day


#1

First of all, I strongy affirm the use of pouring as a valid method of baptism.

Nonetheless, I am wondering if a common argument used to defend pouring is flawed. It revolves around Acts 2:41, when 3,000 were baptized in a single day in Jerusalem. It has been stated (even by Catholic Answers) that this is impossible. Does anyone have any conrete evidence of that for my reference?

I’m wondering because I know the temple mount complex was designed to include a complex of ritual baths. These were available to purify the overwhelming crowds that flocked to Temple and Jeruslem on feast days like Passover. It seem all too possible that 3,000 could have been immersed in that space, especially since they had all day. (All indications in Acts 2 are that the baptisms begun at 9 AM). Likewise, the Pool of Bethesda (215 x 190 ft.), and the Pool of Siloam (50?x50?) were located within the city. I don’t know, it seems plausible to me that it could have been done entirely by immersion. Does anyone else have any ideas? Should we avoid using this argument? (lol… I’ve always used it, I’m rather reluctant to leave it, but I’m more interested in the facts I guess.)


#2

Try this argument:

From “Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine” by Michael Sheehan:

It is not true that full immersion remained common even in the early Church: of the dozen or more 3rd and 4th century baptisteries excavated in Greece, only two have fonts a metre or so deep, and most are under 50cm, i.e., knee-deep if full. The same patterrn is true of baptisteries found in Syria, Palestine, Egypt and N. Africa. A fresco from the first half of the 3rd century in the Catacombs of St. Callistrus, Rome, shows a baptism being performed in water a few inches deep. From all these it is clear that an adult candidate stood in a shallow pool, and some water was gathered from it and poured over his head.

Sources: J.G. Davies, The Architectural Setting of Baptism, Barrie and Rockliff, London 1962; S.A. Stauffer, On the Baptismal Fonts: Ancient and Modern, Grove Books, Nottingham 1994; Bellarmino Bagatti OFM, The Church from the Circumcision: History and Archaeology of the Judaeo-Christians, Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem 1984, p. 245; Id., The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine: History and Archaeology, Francisc. P. Press, Jerusalem 1984, pp. 301-8.

NotWorthy


#3

You may have already seen this, but here is some info from the Didache (circa AD 140):

Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

You can see that a few different ways were acceptable.


#4

I’m not sure how it might have been done back in the early days, but I once heard a missionary Bishop describe a similar task in Africa. He considered a crop duster fitted with Holy Water…


#5

I guess I dont understand the OP question?
Why is Baptizing 3000 in 1 day impossible?

Anyway about the pouring vs dunking part, if you have a infant I dont think you would want to submerge them in water, pouring makes perfect sense here. And that quote by DeFide was nice.


#6

[quote=Catholic Dude]I Anyway about the pouring vs dunking part, if you have a infant I dont think you would want to submerge them in water, pouring makes perfect sense here. .
[/quote]

my grandson’s baptism it seemed like 3000 but it was probably only about 30, during Mass, they have a huge baptismal pool at the entrance of the nave, with a smaller, taller font for infants. About half the babies were stark naked and got dunked. fortunately parents had a choice so my grandson got poured on. they tell me it is a running water fountain, so that we should not worry about germs, but it looked like the idea of a celibate priest who does not spend a lot of time around babies. Sure enough one of the boy babies reacted in typical boy baby fashion and a few bystanders got baptized as well. they also told us the water was warm, but the squealing of the babies as they hit the water made the church sound like the cattle auction pens up the road from my place here in texas.


#7

[quote=puzzleannie]my grandson’s baptism it seemed like 3000 but it was probably only about 30, during Mass, they have a huge baptismal pool at the entrance of the nave, with a smaller, taller font for infants. About half the babies were stark naked and got dunked. fortunately parents had a choice so my grandson got poured on. they tell me it is a running water fountain, so that we should not worry about germs, but it looked like the idea of a celibate priest who does not spend a lot of time around babies. Sure enough one of the boy babies reacted in typical boy baby fashion and a few bystanders got baptized as well. they also told us the water was warm, but the squealing of the babies as they hit the water made the church sound like the cattle auction pens up the road from my place here in texas.
[/quote]

Thats funny, so was the priest one of the bystanders?


#8

It takes about 3 seconds to say the formula to baptize someone. Therefore, 1 person can baptize 20 people in a minute, 1200 in an hour, and 3000 people in 2 1/2 hours.

So, yes it is very possible to baptize 3000 people in one day.


#9

Considering that there were 12 apostles doing the baptizing, it can be done in a fraction of this time.

Notworthy


#10

[quote=adventistnomore]First of all, I strongy affirm the use of pouring as a valid method of baptism.

Nonetheless, I am wondering if a common argument used to defend pouring is flawed. It revolves around Acts 2:41, when 3,000 were baptized in a single day in Jerusalem. It has been stated (even by Catholic Answers) that this is impossible. Does anyone have any conrete evidence of that for my reference?

I’m wondering because I know the temple mount complex was designed to include a complex of ritual baths. These were available to purify the overwhelming crowds that flocked to Temple and Jeruslem on feast days like Passover. It seem all too possible that 3,000 could have been immersed in that space, especially since they had all day. (All indications in Acts 2 are that the baptisms begun at 9 AM). Likewise, the Pool of Bethesda (215 x 190 ft.), and the Pool of Siloam (50?x50?) were located within the city. I don’t know, it seems plausible to me that it could have been done entirely by immersion. Does anyone else have any ideas? Should we avoid using this argument? (lol… I’ve always used it, I’m rather reluctant to leave it, but I’m more interested in the facts I guess.)
[/quote]

Adventist No More,

This is probably a holdover from my Protestant days, but I must confess that I never thought of the 3,000 being added on the day of Pentecost to mean that they were all baptized on that day. I had always figured that it meant that 3,000 had declared themselves and the baptisms got sorted out later. But even if they were all baptized on that day, assuming the Apostles worked in pairs, that would be five “stations,” at two a minute (and baptizing someone in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit takes less than half a minute), is five hours of baptizing. It would make for a long day, but would certainly be possible–even if the baptizing didn’t start until lunchtime.

  • Liberian

#11

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