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Editor's note: Mr. Ford lists the footnotes beginning with # 1 on each page. They are listed consecutively in this essay. - jrd

Baptist Waymarks,
Samuel H. Ford, 1903

Chapter XVIII
Irregular Immersion

[p. 130]

IN the organization of a church it is required, among the Baptists, that "the persons being first orderly, according to the command of Christ, give up themselves to the Lord and to one another."1

What, then, is it to be orderly baptized?

"In 1791, a case was brought before the Ketocton Association which produced considerable agitation. Jas. Hutchinson, who was born in New Jersey, but raised in Loudoun County, Virginia, had gone to Georgia, and there first became a Methodist, and then a Baptist preacher. Previous to his joining the Baptists, he had been baptized by a Methodist. When he offered to join the Baptists of Georgia, it was made a question whether his baptism, being performed by an unbaptized person, was valid? The Georgia Baptists decided that it was valid. In the year above mentioned, Mr. Hutchinson came to Virginia to see his relatives in Loudoun County. While he was there, his preaching became effectual to the conversion of many.
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1 "Philadelphia Confession," p. 78.
[p. 131]
Mr. Hutchinson baptized them. These things stirred up the question in the Ketocton Association, whether the baptism of Hutchinson and his disciples was valid? The decision here was just the reverse of the decision in Georgia. They determined not to receive either him or those baptized by him, unless they would submit to be re-baptized. After some time they consented, and the ordinance was re-administered."2

In 1787, the First Church of New York sent to the Philadelphia Association the following query:
"Whether a person, applying, to one of our churches for admission as a member, and satisfies the church that he has been previously baptized by immersion, on a profession of faith in Christ, but at the same time confesses the person who administered the ordinance was, at the time, neither ordained to the work of the ministry, nor baptized himself by immersion, but only chosen and called by a religious society to officiate as their teacher or minister, should be received?"3
This was laid over to the next Association, and answered as follows:

"In answer to a query from the First Church in New York, of last year, held over to this time, respecting the validity of baptism by a person who had never been baptized himjself, nor yet ordained,
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2 Semple's "History of Virginia Baptists," p. 302.
3 See "Minutes of Philadelphia Associaiton," p. 229.

[p. 132]
we reply, that we deem such baptism null and void:

"First. Because a person that has not been baptized must be disqualified to administer baptism to others, and especially if he be also unordained.

"Second. Because to admit such baptism as valid, would make void the ordinances of Christ, throw contempt on his authority, and tend to confusion; for if baptism be not necessary for an administrator of it, neither can it be for church communion, which is an inferior act; and if such baptism be valid, then ordination is unnecessary, contrary to Acts 14:23; I Timothy 4:14; I Peter 1:5, and our Confession of Faith, Chapter 27.

"Third, Of this opinion we find were our Association in times past, who put a negative on such baptisms in 1729, 1732, 1744, 1749, and 1768.

"Fourth. Because such administrator has no commission to baptize, for words of the commission were addressed to the apostles, and their successors in the ministry, to the end of the world, and these are such as whom the church of Christ appoint to the whole work of the ministry." 4
This extended quotation from the minutes of the Philadelphia Associaiton covers the whole ground, and refers to the previous answers of a body back to 1729.

"This is the oldest Association of Baptists in
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4 See "Minutes of Philadelphia Association," p. 238.
[p. 133]
America, and as a matter of course its adjudications ought to be respected and have their due weight, not only because of its age, but because from the first it had within its bounds some of the ripest scholars and ablest divnes in the denomination. David Benedict, for many years past has, without doubt, held a more extensive correspondence with the Baptists upon this continent than any man in America, and therefore has a better right to know what the practice of the denomination has been upon the subject under consideration than any other man. He says in his "Church History of Ancient and Modern Baptists," in a note at page 943:
"I have ascertained by my extensive correspondence that by far the greater part of our denomination both re-baptize and re-ordain all who join them, from whatever churches they come. A majority omit re-baptism in favor of those candidates who come from the Freewill Baptists, the Methodists, and Campbellites, or Reformers."
The following from the oldest Association in Kentucky, bears on the same subject: 5

"The committee to which the following queries from the First Baptist Church in Lexington were referred, viz:
"First. Can persons baptized on a profession of faith by an administrator not regularly ordained,
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5 Minutes of Elkhorn Association, 1822.
[p. 134]
be received into our churches, under any circumstances whatever, without being again baptized?

"Report in answer to the question, that it is not regular to receive such members. In the minutes of 1802, this Association defined valid baptism to consist in the administration of the ordinance by immersion by an administrator legally called to preach the gospel, and ordained as the Scriptures direct; and that the candidate for baptism make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and that he be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by dipping the whole body in water.
"J. Vardeman,
E. Waller,
James Fishback,
John Edwards,

Committee."

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[Samuel H. Ford, Baptist Waymarks, ABPS, 1903. Typed from the original document by Linda Duvall. The document was provided by Pastor Steve Lecrone, Burton, OH. - jrd]

Chapter 19



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