The Second London Confession on Baptism Part 3: The Proper Administration of Christian Baptism -- By: Robert P. Martin
Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 03:1 (Spring 2006)
Article: The Second London Confession on Baptism Part 3: The Proper Administration of Christian Baptism
Author: Robert P. Martin
RBTR 3:1 (Spring 2006) p. 48
The Second London Confession on Baptism
Part 3: The Proper Administration of Christian Baptism
Robert P. Martin, Ph.D. is Pastor of Emmanuel Reformed Baptist Church, Seattle, Washington and Editor of Reformed Baptist Theological Review.
In the preceding studies in this series, we focused on issues of great moment to the church and to individual believers. There is no question that the significance and proper subjects of baptism eclipse our present topic in importance. And yet, the proper administration of Christian baptism is a matter of divine revelation, and as such bears on the question of God’s will and honor in his church:
The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (2nd LCF 29.3).
Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance (2nd LCF 29.4).
The teaching of paragraph three is that baptism is to be done in water, and that the baptism of a proper subject is to be administered “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
First, consider that baptism is to be administered using the element of water. This is the only point relating to baptism on which there is no debate. Other substances were used for other religious ceremonies, e.g., anointing was done with oil, some purifications were done with salt, but baptism has always been in water. The reason for this is plain-this is the model set out in the New Testament. As John the Baptist said, “I baptize you in water” (Matt. 3:11; cf., Luke 3:16). On this point, John’s baptism did not differ from the Jews’ baptisms that preceded him or New Covenant baptism that followed him. Part of baptism’s symbolism is that, being administered on condition of confession and repentance of sin, it signifies cleansing from sin.1 By natural association and by
RBTR 3:1 (Spring 2006) p. 49
tradition water was suited to symbolize this aspect of baptism’s meaning.2 The amount of water to be used, of course, is the subject of our Confession’s next paragraph (29.4).
Second, consider that the Confession says that baptism is to be administered “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This formula, of course, is taken from the Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them...
Click here to subscribe