Friday, November 21, 2014

Why Debate the Mode of Baptism?

“It is sometimes asked, ‘Why dispute as to the mode of baptism? What difference whether the element be applied to the person, or the person put into the element?’ They who thus speak cannot have given much consideration to the matter. First, this subject possesses an incidental importance. Let me illustrate. At present no set of Christians seem to attach very much importance to the mode or posture of the body in the observance of the Lord's Supper. Some partake of that ordinance sitting, some standing, and some kneeling, and no one, on this account, charges another with any impropriety. But supposing a denomination should arise who would adopt reclining as their posture, and who would declare that this being the original mode of observance none other was valid, and they who adopted any other posture did not really observe the ordinance at all, but mocked the Almighty, and were guilty of a great sin. And supposing this denomination, should acquire considerable strength, and manifest an extraordinary zeal in seeking to lure the young and uninstructed of other churches within its own folds, would it not then be the bounden duty of every intelligent Christian, and especially of every religious instructor, to contend earnestly for Christian liberty on this matter, by upholding the truth, as well as by exposing the errors of these zealots, and warning of their proselyting efforts.

Now, if this language be transferred from the mode in the- observance of the supper to the mode in the observance of baptism, we have before us a description of the Baptist denomination, the only difference being that, while ‘reclining’ was undoubtedly the original mode in which the supper was observed, immersion was just as undoubtedly not the original mode of baptism. Baptists have made immersion the corner-stone of their denominational structure. According to their theory, there is, outside of their own circle, no baptism, no Lord's Supper, no Christian ministry, no Christian Church: and of course, therefore, no Christian man.” – W.A. McKay

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