Sprinkling vs. Immersion


#1

Hey guys,

I’m sorry to bring up this question. I know that y’all (yea…I’m from the South) are probably barraged by this question by all of the Baptists, Church of Christ (which I am slowly journeying out of to the Catholic Church), etc., but my father is coming into town this weekend. He and I talk about theology almost to exclusion of everything else, and we always challenge one another. I know I can (and already have) successfully challenge him on sola Scriptura. However, for me to convince him that the tradition, specifically the RCC’s tradition, is infallible I am going to have to at least give a good defense of a few Catholic doctrines that contradict the ‘clear teaching of Scriptures’ (By the way, I have read books critiquing Sola Scriptura, so I am aware how to challenge him on that. I also know that I have to challenge why he thinks that he, and not the Church, is to be the interpreter of Scripture. Further, I know that I need to challenge him on why he thinks these certain Scriptures are so plain when other denominations do not. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that I would rather not get a lot of supplies telling me that I need to challenge him on his Protestant, individualistic view of Scripture interpretation.)

So, how do Catholics deal with the fact that the greek word for baptism means immersion, and that every instance of baptism we see in the NT is immersion, and even Paul’s comments about being buried with Christ (Rom. 6:3-6, Gal. 3:28).

Also, I am aware that in Luke 11:38 the Greek word baptizmo is used to just mean wash, but that can be interpreted as an immersion of the hands/dishes. So, how can I show my father that this is not as clear as it seems?

Thanks to all who reply and who have replied to my previous posts. I am very thankful. I hope I am not annoying you to death with ‘trivial’ questions.

Micah Cobb


#2

[quote=BigTurkey]Hey guys,

I’m sorry to bring up this question. I know that y’all (yea…I’m from the South) are probably barraged by this question by all of the Baptists, Church of Christ (which I am slowly journeying out of to the Catholic Church), etc., but my father is coming into town this weekend. He and I talk about theology almost to exclusion of everything else, and we always challenge one another. I know I can (and already have) successfully challenge him on sola Scriptura. However, for me to convince him that the tradition, specifically the RCC’s tradition, is infallible I am going to have to at least give a good defense of a few Catholic doctrines that contradict the ‘clear teaching of Scriptures’ (By the way, I have read books critiquing Sola Scriptura, so I am aware how to challenge him on that. I also know that I have to challenge why he thinks that he, and not the Church, is to be the interpreter of Scripture. Further, I know that I need to challenge him on why he thinks these certain Scriptures are so plain when other denominations do not. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that I would rather not get a lot of supplies telling me that I need to challenge him on his Protestant, individualistic view of Scripture interpretation.)

So, how do Catholics deal with the fact that the greek word for baptism means immersion, and that every instance of baptism we see in the NT is immersion, and even Paul’s comments about being buried with Christ (Rom. 6:3-6, Gal. 3:28).

Also, I am aware that in Luke 11:38 the Greek word baptizmo is used to just mean wash, but that can be interpreted as an immersion of the hands/dishes. So, how can I show my father that this is not as clear as it seems?

Thanks to all who reply and who have replied to my previous posts. I am very thankful. I hope I am not annoying you to death with ‘trivial’ questions.

Micah Cobb
[/quote]

Just off the top of my head here. Remember that in Scripture there are instances of Baptisms where the availability of pools of water is unlikely. For instance when St. Paul was Baptized. Or the large crowd 3000 at Pentecost, immersion seems unlikely.

“I am going to have to at least give a good defense of a few Catholic doctrines that contradict the 'clear teaching of Scriptures”

There are no Catholic doctrines that contradict Scripture.


#3

You may want to start with these CA tracts:
Baptism…Immersion only?

Infant Baptism

Next, you may inform him that the preferred method of baptism in the Catholic Church is by Immersion. If this is unpractical, you should baptize by pouring (BTW, this is exactly what the Didache says to do in chapter 7, and that was written ~70 AD - talk about worshiping like the 1st century Christians!). Sprinkling is not an option. If it were, however, there is more evidence for sprinkling than there is for immersion:

Ezekiel 36:25
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and …

This is a prophesy, and it says “sprinkle”. Now let’s see a prophesy that says “immersion” or “dunk”. Not gonna’ happen.

Probably the strongest argument (in my view) is equating circumcision with baptism. Babies were circumcised, and baptism is the new circumcision.

Col 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands…by the circumcision of Christ, 12 …in **baptism

**If babies were to be excluded, wouldn’t that have been mentioned?

God Bless,
RyanL


#4

[quote=BigTurkey]Hey guys,

I’m sorry to bring up this question. I know that y’all (yea…I’m from the South) are probably barraged by this question by all of the Baptists, Church of Christ (which I am slowly journeying out of to the Catholic Church), etc., but my father is coming into town this weekend. He and I talk about theology almost to exclusion of everything else, and we always challenge one another. I know I can (and already have) successfully challenge him on sola Scriptura. However, for me to convince him that the tradition, specifically the RCC’s tradition, is infallible I am going to have to at least give a good defense of a few Catholic doctrines that contradict the ‘clear teaching of Scriptures’ (By the way, I have read books critiquing Sola Scriptura, so I am aware how to challenge him on that. I also know that I have to challenge why he thinks that he, and not the Church, is to be the interpreter of Scripture. Further, I know that I need to challenge him on why he thinks these certain Scriptures are so plain when other denominations do not. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that I would rather not get a lot of supplies telling me that I need to challenge him on his Protestant, individualistic view of Scripture interpretation.)

So, how do Catholics deal with the fact that the greek word for baptism means immersion, and that every instance of baptism we see in the NT is immersion, and even Paul’s comments about being buried with Christ (Rom. 6:3-6, Gal. 3:28).

Also, I am aware that in Luke 11:38 the Greek word baptizmo is used to just mean wash, but that can be interpreted as an immersion of the hands/dishes. So, how can I show my father that this is not as clear as it seems?

Thanks to all who reply and who have replied to my previous posts. I am very thankful. I hope I am not annoying you to death with ‘trivial’ questions.

Micah Cobb
[/quote]

Hey,

Don’t confuse the Latin Catholic Church with the Catholic Church. Our Eastern Rite brethren (Eastern Catholics, not EO) practise baptism by immersion and fully accept the Latin baptism as well. Jesus said “you must be born by water and by the Holy Spirit”, He did not explicitly say that you had to be dunked into a pool of water. Unless your father can demonstrate this, then it is he who is mistaken. :wink:


#5

here are no Catholic doctrines that contradict Scripture.

I’m sorry…I didn’t mean that I thought there were some that did. What I meant was that my father, like most Protestants, have several passages which he believes are ‘clear’ and everyone should be able to read them and understand them his way. Some Catholic teachings contradict this, such as sprinkling as a valid form of baptism. He believes it is obvious that one should only immerse.

Micah


#6

[quote=BigTurkey]I’m sorry…I didn’t mean that I thought there were some that did. What I meant was that my father, like most Protestants, have several passages which he believes are ‘clear’ and everyone should be able to read them and understand them his way. Some Catholic teachings contradict this, such as sprinkling as a valid form of baptism. He believes it is obvious that one should only immerse.

Micah
[/quote]

Micah,

Sorry to bring up the thread again but please just tell your father that the Catholic Church does do baptism by immersion and watch his head spin on that one. Then explain to him the true Universal Church. :slight_smile:


#7

[quote=BigTurkey]…So, how do Catholics deal with the fact that the greek word for baptism means immersion, and that every instance of baptism we see in the NT is immersion, and even Paul’s comments about being buried with Christ (Rom. 6:3-6, Gal. 3:28).

[/quote]

Paul was baptized standing up, inside a house. Unless the house was under water, it’s difficult to conceive of him being immersed totally in water during his baptism.

You might also note that the first baptist parish was started by a guy named John Smyth. He baptized himself then the others. He baptized by pouring. :wink:


#8

You might also point out from this Protestant source, *Illustrated Bible Dictionary, *by M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897:

The mode of baptism can in no way be determined from the Greek word rendered “baptize.” Baptists say that it means “to dip,” and nothing else. That is an incorrect view of the meaning of the word. It means both (1) to dip a thing into an element or liquid, and (2) to put an element or liquid over or on it. Nothing therefore as to the mode of baptism can be concluded from the mere word used. The word has a wide latitude of meaning, not only in the New Testament, but also in the LXX. Version of the Old Testament, where it is used of the ablutions and baptisms required by the Mosaic law. These were effected by immersion, and by affusion and sprinkling; and the same word, “washings” (Heb. 9:10, 13, 19, 21) or “baptisms,” designates them all. In the New Testament there cannot be found a single well-authenticated instance of the occurrence of the word where it necessarily means immersion. Moreover, none of the instances of baptism recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (2:38-41; 8:26-39; 9:17, 18; 22:12-16; 10:44-48; 16:32-34) favours the idea that it was by dipping the person baptized, or by immersion, while in some of them such a mode was highly improbable.

This Baptism by “immersion” only dispute seems more of an internal Protestant dispute. One among many.


#9

Always beware dichotomy in Protestant arguements. They want to put immmersion against pouring (don’t let them go on that sprinkling accusation. We don’t do it). The Catholic Church embraces both as valid and the Bible never says “immerse only”. The baptismal rite speaks of both the burrial and being immersed in Christ as well as pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Baptism by immersion is the fuller sign but a sacrament is an outward sign of the inward grace and so while the sign is important, it is the grace that is of the greatest significance. Baptism is both an immersion in Chirst and a pouring out of the Holy Spirit as spoken in Acts 1. They neglect the reception of the Holy Spirit in baptism which is clear in Acts 2:38.


#10

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