Infant Baptism -- By: Marlowe Reinholdt

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 04:4 (Winter 1961)
Article: Infant Baptism
Author: Marlowe Reinholdt


Infant Baptism

Marlowe Reinholdt

Lakeside Baptist Church, Backus, Minnesota

It has been claimed that when John the Baptist appeared, baptism had long been in use among the Jews as an initiatory rite for proselytes. This concept, however, is not to be found in the Old Testament. Proselytes are mentioned, of course, but Old Testament writers do not mention anything concerning the baptism of proselytes. The title “Baptist” given to John indicates that he introduced the rite! This follows from John 1:25, where the deputation from the Sanhedrin asked him by what right he baptized if he was neither the Messiah nor one of the prophets, which implies that this rite was introduced by him.

John gave the call to repent and with it put forth a rite for all who were willing to own their sins and promise amendment of life. This was a new and different requirement which John had been sent by God to introduce. In the Old Testament, the Mosaic ritual had indeed required washings and purifications, but they were mostly personal acts for cleansing from defilements incurred in ceremony and were repeated as often as new uncleanness demanded. But baptism was performed only once, and those who wanted it had to receive it from the hands of John.

Before we go any further it probably would be wise to define the terms real and ritual in regard to baptism. Real baptism is that which is wrought by the Holy Spirit and ritual baptism is that which is administered by water. Even a pedobaptist such as Lewis Sperry Chafer has to admit that great significance should be attached to the fact that the same term, “baptizo,” is used in defining each of these baptisms, and it follows that any definition of this great New Testament word, if it is to be true, must be applicable to the one form of baptism as well as to the other.

The root word, “baptizo,” is used three times in the New Testament, in Luke 16:24; John 13:26 and Revelation 19:13. The primary meaning is found in the first two passages and means to dip; Revelation 19:13 has the secondary meaning, to dye or stain. Therefore the word “baptizo” in its primary import means “to immerse” or “submerge.” The Greek word “rhantizo” means “sprinkle,” and “cheo” means pour. These last two words are never used with the church ordinance.

The pedobaptists or affusionists argue that baptism comes first and then teaching; that children should ...

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