Through the years the Catholic Church has developed a series of Sacraments. Baptists, on the other hand, practice Ordinances. There are major differences between Ordinances and Sacraments.
Latin Word - "to consecrate" (a soldier's oath)
Means of Grace
7 in Catholicism
Picture of Grace
2 in New Testament
Memorials of Atonement (Foot washing is not a memorial of the atonement)
The very words tell us much of their meaning. "Sacrament" means to consecrate. When something is consecrated it is made more holy, it is set aside. Sacraments are works that the Church teaches are necessary for salvation. An "Ordinance" is an order. It is a commanded activity.
False Teachings Concerning Sacraments: Catholicism
The false teachings of Catholicism go back hundreds of years. At the Council of Trent (1545-1563), the Roman Catholic Church stated:
- "If anyone says that baptism is...not necessarry for salvation, let him be anathema (accursed-damned)."
- Roman Catholics believe that Baptism is the sacrament that gives our souls the new life of sanctifying grace by which we become children of God and heirs of heaven. By means of sanctifying grace received in Baptism we are spiritually reborn...
- Baptism takes away original sin; and also actual sins and all the punishment due to them...
- ...Children should be baptized as soon as possible after birth, because Baptism is necessary for salvation. Infants who die without baptism of any kind do not suffer the punishments of those who die in mortal sin. They may enjoy a certain natural happiness, but they will not enjoy the supernatural happiness of heaven.
- The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament and a sacrifice. In the Holy Eucharist, under the appearance of bread and wine, the Lord Christ is contained, offered, and received.
- After the substance of the bread and wine had been changed into Our Lord's body and blood, there remained only the appearance of bread and wine. By the appearance of bread and wine we mean their color, taste, weight, shape and whatever else appears to the senses....This change of bread and wine into the body of Christ continues to be made in the Church by Jesus Christ, through the ministry of His priests. Only ordained priest have the power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. When they consecrate, they act in the person of Christ, through the power received in the sacrament of Holy Orders.
The Roman Catholic Church clearly teaches that Sacraments make us holy and give us eternal life. Note the "power received in the sacrament of Holy Orders" equips the priest and only the church's priest to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Therefore, the church decides who may be saved.
Roman Catholics and Episcopalians teach that the bread and wine actually bcome the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. This doctrine is called transubstantiation (meaning, a change of substance. In the Catholic theology, the supposed conversion of the bread and wine in the Eucharist, into the body and blood of Christ). In my conversations and correspondence with members of these churches, many today do not believe this miracle takes place. This common rejection of belief does not change the fact that the Roman Catholic Church and its devout members still believe this heresy.
The Lutheran Church changes the emphasis only slightly.
- In baptism God bestows the gift of the Holy Spirit on the new life of faith in Jesus Christ. As we continue the use of the Word, the Spirit continues his works in us.
- Through baptism our children have at work in them the power of God's Spirit to turn from sin to God...They are alive; they have within themselves (in what the Bible calls our "new man" or "spirit") the power to grow in Christ.
The Lutheran would not say that baptism saves, but rather that baptism gives the baby or convert the Holy Spirit, Who then draws the baptized to saving faith. They get this false doctrine by taking Ephesians 4:4-5 and 1 Corinthians 12:13 out of their context and then giving a forced meaning to the words present. In both of these texts, the topic of context is the Body of Christ. Paul is teaching in Ephesians 4 that the local church ought to be in unity, for we all have the same Lord jesus, we all believe the same gospel, and we have all been baptized by the same Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul plainly says that it is the Holy Spirit who immerses; places us into the Body of Christ. Immediately after both of these texts, Paul goes into the benefits of the body, the local church - gifts, offices, and purposes of the church.
Lutherans believe that the Holy Spirit baptism into the Body of Christ and water baptism are taught by these two passages to be one and the same. They teach that when a baby is baptized, the baby becomes indwelt by the Holy Spirit and then will be drawn by the Holy Spirit to saving faith.
In practicality there is no difference between what the average Lutheran and the average Catholic in America believe. Both churches teach that baptizing a baby ensures the child's salvation.
Although the Protestant Reformers, notably Calvin and Luther, gave much emphasis to sola fida (faith alone), they did not seperate themselves enough in practice or teaching from Catholicism.
We can see the error in A Short Exposition of Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism.
- Question: What does baptism give or profit? Answer: It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.
- Question: What is the Sacrament of the Altar? Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.
- Question: What is the benefit of such eating and drinking? Answer: That is shown us by these words, Given ,and shed for you for the remission of sins; namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salavation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. [A Short Exposition of Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism (In the translation authorized by the Evangelical Lutheran Synocial Conference of North America) St. Louis: concordia Publishing House, 1912]
The Lutherans reject the "miracle" of transubstantiation. However, notice that Luther taught that the "true body" of Christ was "under the bread and wine." We call this teaching Consubstantiation (meaning the union of the body of our blessed Savior with the sacramental elements. The Lutherans maintain that after consecration of the elements, the body and blood of Christ are substantially present with the substance of the bread and wine, which is called Consubstantiation or impanation).
- Augsburg Confession, Art. X: "That the body and blood of Christ are truly present under the form of bread and wine and are communicated to those that eat in the Lord's Supper."
- The Way of Salvation, Chapter XV: "The bread and wine are earthen vessels that carrry the Heavenly treasures of Christ's Body and blood, even as the letters and words of the Scriptures convey to the reader or hearer the Holy Spirit. [Gerberding, G.H., D.D. The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1919]
Some Lutheran theologians will reject the term consubstantiation, but then go on and teach that the body of Christ is indeed present at the Table and is "in and with" the elements.
Lutherans teach that the ministry of the Word (church attendance) and receiving Communion bring sanctification and holiness. They believe "holiness living" as preached by Baptists is works based and has no part in progressive sanctification.
Listen, even though the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) should be appreciated for their conservative, separatist positions, they too stand with other Lutherans in false doctrine concerning the Sacraments. The following are quotes from their doctrinal statement "This We Believe:"
VI. The Means Of Grace
- We believe that God bestows all spiritual blessings upon sinners by special means, ordained by Him. These are the means of grace, the Gospel in Word and sacrament.
- We believe that also through baptism the Holy Spirit applies the Gospel to sinful man, regenerating him (Titus 3:5) and cleansing him from all iniquity (Acts 2:38). The Lord points to the blessing of baptism when He promises, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). We believe that the blessing of baptism is meant for all people (Matthew 28:19), including infants, who are sinful (John 3:6) and therefore need the regeneration effected through baptism (John 3:5).
- We believe that all who partake of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper receive the true body and blood of Christ "in, with and under" the bread and wine. This is true because, when the Lord instituted this sacrament, He said, "This is my body given for you...This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you" (Luke 22:19-20). As we partake of His body and blood, given and shed for us, we by faith, receive the comfort and assurance that our sins are indeed forgiven and that we are truly His own.
- We reject all teachings that see in the Sacrament of the Altar nothing more than signs and symbols for faith, thereby denying that Christ's true body and blood are received in the Lord's Supper. [This We Believe, Watertown: Northwest Publishing]
The Missouri Lutherans have been considered to be evangelical by many, but their doctrinal statement is no better.
- Chapter IV: Baptism, A Divine Means of Grace
- Others may come and say: You have no authority in the Bible for baptizing infants. Without entering fully upon this point we briefly say: It is enough for a Lutheran to know that the divine commission is to "baptize the nations" - there never was a nation without infants. The children need Grace: baptism confers Grace. It is specially adapted to impart spiritual blessings to these little ones. We cannot take the preached Word and apply it to them. God established infant membership in His Church. He alone has a right to revoke it. He has never done so. Therefore it stands. If the Old Testament covenant of Grace embraced infants, the New is not narrower, but wider.
- The pious Baptist mother's heart is much more Scripturally correct than her head. She presses her babe to her bosom, and prays earnestly to Jesus to bless that babe. Her heart knows and believes that that dear child needs the blessings of Jesus, and that He can bestow the needed blessing. And yet she will deny that He can bless it through His own sacrament - "the washing of water by the Word."
- Chapter V: The Baptismal Covenant Can be Kept Unbroken. Aim and Responsibility of Parents.
- ...Unless we are willing to throw aside all sound principles of interpretation, we can extract from the words of inspiration only one meaning, and that is that the baptized child is, by virtue of that divine ordinance, a new creature in Christ Jesus.
- Our church does not teach with Rome that "sin (original) is destroyed in baptism, so that it no longer exists."...Luther also writes that "Baptism takes away the guilt of sin, although the material, called concupiscence, remains.
- It is now the parents' duty; or rather it should be considered the parents' most blessed privilege to keep that child in covenant relationship with the blessed Redeemer.
- The teaching of our Church, therefore, is that the baptized child can grow up a child of Grace from infancy and that, under God, it rests principally with the parents or guardians whether it shall be so. And this Lutheran idea, like all others, is grounded in the Word of God.
- It is therefore possible for God not only to give His Grace to a child but to keep that child in His Grace all its days...
- He ordained that infants at eight days old should be brought into His covenant...Everywhere it is taken for granted that the children who have received either Old or New Testament sacrament of initiation are His. Nowhere are parents exhorted to use their endeavors to have such children converted, as though they had never been touched by divine Grace...
- Let the baptized child then be looked upon as already belonging to Christ. Let the parents not worry as though it could not be his until it experiences a change of heart. That heart has been changed. ...If the parent appreciates theis fact and does his part, there will be developed, very early, the truest confidence and trust in Christ, and the purest love to God. The graces of the new life may be thus early drawn out, so that the child in after years will never know of a time when it did not trust and love God and as a result of this hate sin. [Gerberding, G.H., D.D., The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1919]
- Chapter XIII: The Lord's Supper - Preliminary Observations
- This sacred institution, also, is a part of God's Way of Salavation. It is one of the means of Grace appointed and ordained by Christ.
- It is true that multitudes do not regard it as a means or channel of Grace. To them it is only an ancient rite or ceremony, having no special significance or blessing connected with it. It is at most a symbol, a sign, or representation of something entirely absent and in no way connected with it. If there is any blessing at all attached to it, it consists in the pious thoughts, the holy emotions and the sacred memories, which are in some way deepened by it. At best, it is a memorial of an absent Savior, and in some form a representation of His sufferings and death.
- Now, if this were all that we could see in the Lord's Supper, we should not regard it as a part of God's Way of Salvation, but our church sees much more in it. With her it is indeed an essential and integral part of that Way...
The Reformed and Presbyterian Churches are sisters to the Lutherans in their theology concerning Sacraments. In "Membership in the Reformed Church," they say of Sacraments:
- ...By the third century the word had a specialized meaning. Thus, the Heidelberg Catechism defines the sacraments as "holy visible signs and seals, appointed of God for this end, that by the use thereof He may the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the Gospel."
- The Reformed Church believes that although our Lord's actual glorified body is not partaken by the communicant and the substance of the elements remains as it was, yet the communicant by faith enters into a special union with his glorified Lord.
This false doctrine of the Sacraments is truly what separates Protestants from Separatists. A Protestant is one who protested Rome. They have in their churches many traditions demonstrating their history with Rome. A Separatist is one who never was part of Rome, but rather remained separate from the Roman Catholic Church. Baptists descend from those who remained Separate from Rome. They are not Protestants. That they are not Protestants is seen most visibly in thier doctrine concering the autonomous, indigenous chruch and its ordinances.
Baptists (along with the Assemblies, Church of Christ, Pentecostals, and Nazarenes) practice immersion. Prior to A.D. 250 there was no other kind of baptism. By the end of the third century, the false doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration (Baptism is necessary for salvation) had begun to creep into many churches. The first to be baptized by means other than immersion were the very sick. Over the next several centuries, as the false doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration spread, babies began to be baptized. It was not until the thirteenth century that sprinkling became the most common form of baptism in professing Christendom.
The Greek word baptizo is transliterated "baptize" in the English Bible (To transliterate is to take the letters of one language and change them into the letters of another language. To translate is to change a word in one language into a word that means the same in another language). The word "baptize" had made its way into the English language before translation work was done. God's choice of this word is very significant. It means "to dip or plunge." The term was associated, among other things, with dying cloth. There are many other Greek words which could have been used. Hiscox, in his authoritative work on Baptist polity (The New Directory for Baptist Chruches), documents for over forty pages that the Bible and its language teach baptism is immersion.
Most of those who immerse believe baptism to be a picture of grace and not a means of grace. In the middle of the nineteenth century, salvation by baptism was taught by Alexander Campbell. Campbellism today is believed by some Pentecostals and by the Disciples of Christ (Church of Christ). This addition to the gospel is rejected by Baptists. Simon Menno, father of the Mennonites who much influenced early Baptists, tells of his struggle to separate church tradition and infant baptism from the teachings of Scripture.
- "I examined the Scriptures with diligence and meditated on them earnestly, but could find in them no authority for infant baptism. As I remarked this, I spoke of it to my pastor, and after several conversations he acknowledged that infant baptism had no ground in the Scriptures. Yet I dare not trust so much to my understanding. I consulted some ancient authors, who taught me that children must, by baptism, be washed from their original sin. This I compared with the Scriptures and perceived that it set at naught the blood of Christ. Afterward I went to Luther, and would gladly have known from him the ground; and he taught me that we must baptize children on their own faith, because they are holy. This also I saw was not according to God's Word. In the third place I went to Bucer, who taught me that we should baptize children in order to be able the more diligently to take care of them, and bring them up in the ways of the Lord. But this, too, I saw, was a groundless representation. In the fourth place I had recourse to Bullinger, who pointed me to the covenant of circumcision; but I found as before, that, according to Scripture, the practice could not stand. As i now on every side observed that the writers stood on grounds so very different, and each followed his own reason, I saw clearly that we were deceived with infant Baptism." [Adams, John Q., Baptist: Thorough Reformers, p. 66-67]
Hiscox explained the place of ordinances in the local church.
- "These two, therefore, Baptism and the Supper...are not only visible signs which appeal to the senses, but they are teaching institutions which appeal to the understanding and the heart. They are the two symbols of the New Covenant; the two visible pillars of the spiritual temple; the two monuments of the New Dispensation. Christ has appointed no others." [Hiscox, Edward T., The New Directory for Baptist Churches, Philadelphia: The Judson Press, 1894]
Baptists take the emphasis off the physical elements. They do not consider baptismal water to be special or blessed. They do not consider the physical bread and juice to be holy or miraculous.
- "...We say there is no difference between this bread and other bread of the same kind except in the purpose for which it is used...We say there is no more efficacy in the Lord's Supper than in baptism. Each is a symbol and the only blessing and the only blessing is that which comes from obedience to Christ and from meditation upon the truths set forth in those symbols...the baptism is only a picture setting forth Christ's burial and resurrection, and the Supper is only a picture of Christ's death. [The People Called Baptist (SBC) Recurrent Church Ordinance]
- Conservative Baptists believe that the ordinances have no sacramental value. They cannot confer grace. For the Scriptures teach that salvation comes only by God's grace through faith alone...to attempt to connect it to an external rite is to destroy its meaning and purpose entirely. [Conservative Baptist Distinctives - Chapter 4]
When Baptists speak of the ordinances they use words like "emblem, symbol, picture."
- XV. We believe the Scriptures teach that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer in Christ, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior, with its effect, in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a Church relation, and to the Lord's Supper.
- XVI. The Lord's Supper We believe the Scriptures teach that the Lord's Supper is a provision of bread and wine, as symbols of Christ's body and blood, partaken of by the members of the Church, in commemoration of the suffering and death of their Lord; showing their faith and participation in the merits of His sacrifice, and their hope of eternal life through His resurrection from the dead; its observance to be preceded by faithful self-examination. [New Hampshire Confession - from Hiscox]
Rejecting Transubstantiation and Consubstantiation, Baptists teach the Lord's Supper, like baptism, is a symbol. It is a solemn sign post pointing out Jesus Christ and His wondrous work. We do not minimize or trivalize the Ordinances. Neither do we try to make them something God never intended them to be.
Baptists believe the practice of the Ordinances belongs to the local church. We do not teach that the Ordinances must happen within the physical building of a local church, but that they must happen under the authority of the local church (i.e. Bible Colleges ought not practice baptism. Scritpure-publishing organizations ought not have Lord's Supper. I will not serve Lord's Supper for the residents of a nursing home. Now, I would serve Lord's Supper in a nursing home to the believers present if my church determined to have a service there).
Sometimes the best way to teach something is to show what it is not. In the case of baptism, there is much false doctrine within Christendom, so I will show what baptism is not. Unbiblical doctrine concerning baptism can be summed up in the following points.
1. Wrong Procedure: anything other than immersion.
As stated earlier, the very word God used for baptism demands immersion, not sprinkling or pouring. Biblical accounts of baptisms also point to immersion.
- Matthew 3:16: "And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him."
- John 3:23: "And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized."
- Acts 8:38-39: "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
In Paul's epistles as he teaches concerning Holy Spirit baptism into the body of Christ, the illustration seen in the mind of the reader is always that of immersion.
- Colossians 2:12: "Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead."
Baptism pictures the crucifixion, bruial, and resurrection of Christ.
- Immersion is an outward expression of an inward experience. [Mattsen, Stephan; Baptism, The Believer and the New Testament Scriptures]
There is absolutely no biblical evidence for any other kind of baptism. The Bible plainly teaches baptism by immersion. Challenge a pedo-baptist to show you in God's Word the practice of sprinkling babies.
On the subject of the Procedure of baptism, I'll bring up the discussion of whose name to use when baptizing. Some churches, not most Baptists, make a strong emphasis on the importance of baptizing in the name of Jesus, and Jesus alone (Acts 8:38-39). Jesus commanded us to baptize in the Name of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19-20). I believe an over-emphasis of the exact wording used in baptism can lead to false doctrine. I prefer to follow the directions given by the Lord.
2. Wrong Purpose - for salvation or Wrong Persons - anyone saved.
The Scripture plainly teaches salvation through faith alone (Romans 3:28). Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be in heaven. There was no time for a baptism service, not even a sprinkling!
- Luke 23:39-43: "And one of the malefctors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise."
The thief called out to Christ and the Lord saved him.
Mark 16:16 is sometimes used by Campbellites to teach that baptism is required for salvation. Notice that damnation is to those who believe not, not to those who are not baptized (John 3:18).
- Mark 16:16: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
In Scripture, baptism follows salvation and salvation requires acts of the human will.
- Romans 10:9,10,13: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
It is impossible for the very young to confess, believe, or call. It is also impossible for these choices to be made by a group of people. Baptism is for individuals who have made a decision to receive Jesus Christ as Savior.
On the very first day of the Jerusalem church, a pattern of belief followed by baptism was established.
- Acts 2:41: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Phillip insisted on knowing of the Ethiopian Eunuch's belief prior to baptizinig him.
- Acts 8:36-37: "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Phillip said, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
Pedo-baptists would argue that household baptisms in Scripture included babies. There are five cases of households being baptized in Scripture: Cornelius, Lydia, the Philippian jailer, Crispus the chief ruler, and the household of Stephanas in Corinth. In three of these cases, there is emphasis on hearing and belief before baptism. A baby cannot hear, understand and believe. In the other two cases, in order to prove infant baptism, and assumption of the presence of babies would have to be made, and an assumption of their inclusion in baptism, and, further, an assumption that they were sprinkled!
In the case of Cornelius and his house, there is an emphasis on hearing the Word and receiving the Holy Spirit before baptism.
- Acts 10:22,24,44-48: "And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his hous, and to hear words of thee....24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends...44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days (emphasis added)."
There is an emphasis on all the house believing.
- Acts 16:31-34: "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house (emphasis added).
3. Wrong Persuasion - not for this age (dispensation)
There are those who I would call "hyper-dispensationalists" who would teach that baptism was an apostolic-church ordinance and is not for today's day of grace. They would teach that Paul's prison epistles make no mention of water baptism, and, therefore, Paul taught that baptism was not for the mystery - the Gentile church.
I give three arguments against this doctrine. First, Christ was baptized and we are to become like Him.
- Matthew 3:16: "And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him."
- Philippians 2:5: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
Second, Christ commanded us to baptize and this command was never altered by Christ or the Apostles.
- Matthew 28:19-20: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Third, the Corinthian church practiced baptism.
- 1 Corinthians 1:14-18: "I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
Some of those who are hyper-dispensationalists would point out that Paul was glad he had not baptized many of the Corinthians. Let's look at this in the perspective of the context. In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul is rebuking the church for their divisive following of personalities. Paul is glad that he had not added to their divisiveness by administering the ordinance to those causing the disturbance. Note, Paul baptized Gentiles! These people would point out that Paul claimed his ministry was to preach, not baptize. I believe Paul, if given the opportunity, would say he was also called to baptize in fulfillment of the commands of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20), but that as a preacher of the gospel, preaching - not baptizing - was his primary work.
4. Wrong Place - anywhere but within the context of the local church.
A study of the first chapters of Acts reveals baptism as the doorway into the local congregation's membership.
- Acts 2:41: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousands souls."
Baptist traditionally require the vote of the congregation for baptism for the baptized become members as they are baptized.
Most Baptist churches will not Baptize an individual who does not desire to be a member of that congregation. We assume membership and baptism to go together. Baptized believers ought to be members of a local church. The New Testament is a local church document. I believe every Scriptural baptism happens under the authority of a local church. If there is not a church in the local area, begin one!
Life baptism, the Lord's Supper was commanded by Christ. He said the disciples were to do this. Southern Baptist scholar, A.T. Robertson says the verb tense used here indicates they were to "keep on doing this." [Robertson, A.T., Word Pictures in the New Testament - Luke, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1930, p.92]
- Luke 22:19: "And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me."
The Lord's Supper, like Baptism is a symbol. As a symbol, the emphasis is not upon the physical bread and wine. Augustus Strong notes that in Greenland there was no bread, so dried fish was used.
Paul teaches us several things concerning The Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:
1. The Lord's Supper was to be observed during church meetings. Notice the repetition of "ye come together" and "among you" in these verses.
2. The Lord's Supper is to be held as often as the local church desires. There is no certain time frame established in Scripture. This passage simply says "when" (v. 18,20,33) and "as often as" (v. 26). The early church met daily and likely had Lord's Supper every Sunday as they celebrated the Lord's resurrection. Some churches today have Lord's Supper once a year. Most Baptist Churches today observe the Lord's Supper several times during the course of a year, once a month being very common.
3. The Lord's Supper ought to be a demonstration of church unity. Paul was agitated to think they had eaten the Lord's Supper with a divisive spirit (v. 19-22,33). The Lord's Supper ought to be a time of fellowship.
4. The Lord's Supper ought to be a solemn occasion (v. 20-22, 34). A Lord's Supper ought to be a joyous time, but not flippant or light-hearted.
5. The Lord's Supper is a Memorial Service. The Lord's Supper is a time for remembrance (v. 23-26). We ought to be reminded by the elements of the sacrifice of our Lord. Like Baptism, it is the gospel for the eye.