[quote=drforjc]Where does it say Christ commanded baptism by submersion? Verse, please.
Again, I don’t believe this. But here is the argument…
They will say:
The best evidence for the necessity of full-immersion baptism lies in the very meaning of the Greek verb ‘baptizo’
, and the related noun ‘baptisma’. Most commonly, a Baptist will argue that ‘baptizo’ means “to immerse, plunge, or dip,” and that there are other distinct Greek words for “pour,” “sprinkle” or “wash” that are never used in the New Testament texts in conjunction with the Christian rite of baptism. Hence, the argument runs, baptism by infusion is simply not a real baptism. In addition, the Baptist will argue that the noun *‘baptisma’ *conveys precisely the meaning of the act of Christian baptism, namely that it is a symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
It is true that *baptizo *often means immersion. For example, the Greek version of the Old Testament tells us that Naaman, at Elisha’s direction, "went down and dipped himself [the Greek word here is *baptizo
] seven times in the Jordan" (2 Kgs. 5:14, Septuagint, emphasis added).
But immersion is not the only meaning of baptizo. Sometimes it just means washing up. Thus Luke 11:38 reports that, when Jesus ate at a Pharisee’s house, “[t]he Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash baptizo] before dinner.” They did not practice immersion before dinner, but, according to Mark, the Pharisees “do not eat unless they wash nipto] their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they wash themselves baptizo]” (Mark 7:3–4a, emphasis added). So baptizo can mean cleansing or ritual washing as well as immersion.
A similar range of meanings can be seen when baptizo is used metaphorically. Sometimes a figurative “baptism” is a sort of “immersion”; but not always. For example, speaking of his future suffering and death, Jesus said, “I have a baptism baptisma] to be baptized baptizo] with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50) This might suggest that Christ would be “immersed” in suffering. On the other hand, consider the case of being “baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
In Acts 1:4–5 Jesus charged his disciples “not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” Did this mean they would be “immersed” in the Spirit? No: three times Acts 2 states that the Holy Spirit was poured out on them when Pentecost came (2:17, 18, 33, emphasis added). Later Peter referred to the Spirit falling upon them, and also on others after Pentecost, explicitly identifying these events with the promise of being “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 11:15–17). These passages demonstrate that the meaning of baptizo is broad enough to include “pouring.”
Additionally, they will claim:
[left] In two of the synoptic Gospels, we read that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as He was “coming up out of the water” after baptism (Mat. 3:16; Mk. 1:10). Similarly, in the account of Philip baptizing the Eunuch, we read that Philip was caught up by the Spirit of the Lord “as they were coming up out of the water” (Acts 8:39). In all three cases, the verb ‘anabaino’ is used to indicate the action of leaving the water.
This phrasing is evidence that New Testament baptism, to include the baptism of John and Christian baptism, was necessarily by full immersion. How else could one come up out of the water unless they had been fully submerged under the water?
To which we may also respond:
In Acts 8:39 the verb *‘anabaino’ *
is in the third person plural (‘anebesan’), and thus refers to Philip as well as to the Eunuch. Surely Philip did not fully immerse himself as he baptized the Eunuch! Even in modern-day Baptist practice, the pastor performing a baptism keeps his own head and shoulders above the water! Indeed, since the verb ‘anabaino’ more commonly refers to a motion of climbing or ascending, we can readily imagine that in the case of Jesus, and Philip and the Eunuch, it describes the action of climbing up the bank and out of the water. Such a motion will be quite familiar to open water swimmers or fisherman in particular.