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Buried With Him in Baptism
By Rosco Brong

Biblical Baptism Buries the Bodies of Believers -- "Much Water" was used by the first Baptist

"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." (Colossians 2:12)

A person can no more be baptized with a few drops or even a few quarts of water than he can be buried with a few specks or even a peck of dirt. More than this is needed for burial. The first Baptist preacher baptized in a certain place "because there was much water there" (John. 3:23), and Baptists have been using much water ever since.

The Biblical Act
That the Biblical act of baptism was immersion in water is admitted by all competent scholars. No respectable authority claims otherwise.
Moreover, the ordinary English reader, having no knowledge of Greek, will come to this conclusion from a careful reading of the New Testament in the King James version, a translation made by a group of baby sprinklers.
As to people who know Greek, the Greek Orthodox Church, which surely knows its own language, practices immersion. And not only Roman Catholic authorities, but eminent Protestant leaders who continued to follow Rome in pouring or sprinkling, though "protesting" against some other unscriptural practices, have freely admitted that Biblical baptism was immersion. Among such honest (on this point) Protestants were Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley.
Today only a few partisan zealots ignorant of language and ignorant of history attempt to defend sprinkling or pouring as baptism from a scriptural standpoint. The usual argument is that sprinkling and pouring are more convenient and that the matter is of no great importance anyway.
Still, the plain fact remains that the Biblical act of baptism is immersion in water, and if we are to be baptized WITH JESUS, we too must be dipped or "buried" with Him.

The Biblical Actor
The Biblical actor in the drama of baptism is as clearly defined as the act itself. Jesus set the example for later actors to follow, and only believers in Him are qualified to walk in His steps.
John the Baptist demanded "fruits meet for repentance" as prerequisite to baptism, and Jesus required by precept and example that the making of disciples precede their baptism. (Matthew. 3:7-9; 28:19; John. 4:1.) Other Baptists through the centuries have followed the same rule.
At Pentecost "they that gladly received his word were baptized..." (Acts 2:41.) So always in the New Testament, the person baptized is a professed believer. Not a single instance of so called "infant baptism" can be found in the Bible.
The Biblical actor in baptism has died to sin and self, even as He Who knew no sin died to His own (human) will that He might do the will of the Father Who sent Him. It is in this spirit of self surrender to the will of God that we are "buried with him in baptism."

The Biblical Agent
If human authorities have power to choose and appoint their own agents to administer their affairs, much more does the God Who made the heavens and the earth have power to designate His chosen agents with authority to represent Him in carrying out His commands.
That the administration of Biblical baptism involves the question of authority of the agent is evident from John 1:25: "... Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?"
John as God's first agent of baptism had his authority from the highest of all sources. Later, we find Jesus baptizing through the agency of His disciples. (John. 4:1, 2.) Finally, with His disciples organized as a church (Matthew 18:17), He left with them orders to continue making, baptizing, and training disciples to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20.)
Obviously the Biblical agent of baptism for our day is no individual disciple mentioned in the New Testament, for all these individuals long ago ended their labors upon earth. Just as obviously though the continuing agency must be the church, neither the abstract institution nor any church in concrete reality can as a whole serve as agent in the actual administration of baptism.
What remains is that a church administers baptism through its appointed ministers, and this is not only logical and scriptural, but is generally agreed to by nearly all Christendom, including true churches and false. But again it is obvious that God has not appointed false churches to serve as agents for Him. (See I Corinthians 14:33.)
To put it briefly and simply, if we would be "buried with him in baptism," we should remember that Jesus was baptized by a Baptist preacher.

The Biblical Aim
We do not decently bury a man to kill him, but because he has already died. Likewise the aim of baptism is not to kill the old man of sin but to signify that he is already dead.
The Biblical aim of baptism is not determinative, but declarative. It is not to attain salvation, but to proclaim it.
Biblical baptism aims at advertising two literal resurrections and one figurative. The literal resurrections are the bodily resurrection of Christ, now already accomplished, and our own bodily resurrection, still future. The figurative resurrection is our beginning of a new spiritual life unto God after having died to sin.
Biblical baptism aims not to secure but to symbolize the washing away of sins (Acts 22:16), a washing actually secured in the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5). Baptism is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but does aim at a good conscience toward God (l Peter 3:21).
As an army uniform does not make a soldier, but declares the wearer to be one, so in Biblical baptism we "put on Christ," aiming to let ourselves be known as His people, since we are already "the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26, 27.)
If we are truly "buried with him in baptism," then, we must aim simply to show forth the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior, in Whom is fulfilled all righteousness. (Matt. 3:16.) Any thought of contributing to our own salvation in this act is an insult to Christ and perverts what should be an act of loving obedience into a wickedly presumptuous sin.

Minimum Essentials
Whatever else might be said of detailed teaching of scripture concerning baptism, the four points here mentioned certainly constitute minimum essentials for Biblical baptism. The Biblical Act, the Biblical Actor, the Biblical Agent, the Biblical Aim, how can there be Biblical baptism with anyone of these missing?
A so-called baptism that does not involve immersion of the whole person in water is not Biblical baptism.
A so-called baptism of an unsaved, unregenerated person is not Biblical baptism.
A so-called baptism without the God-given authority of a true New Testament church is not Biblical baptism.
A so called baptism aiming to attain salvation by human merit, instead of aiming to proclaim a salvation already obtained through faith in the crucified, buried, resurrected Savior is not Biblical baptism.
Only if our baptism includes the Biblical Act, the Biblical Actor, the Biblical Agent and the Biblical Aim only then are we truly "buried with him in baptism."

[From Rosco Brong, Christ's Church and Baptism, [n.d.] pp. 54-48. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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