Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baptism in the Theology of A. H. Strong - The Baptism of John

During his defense of the institution of baptism by Christ, Strong presents the first of two peculiarities in his doctrine of baptism. While he claims that Christ instituted the ordinance of baptism, he also claims that "John's baptism was essentially Christian baptism, although the full significance of it was not understood until after Jesus' death and resurrection."[39] According to Strong, "the baptism of John was an application to Jews of an immersion which, before that time, was administered to proselytes from among the Gentiles," and therefore was an "adaptation of the rite to a new class of subjects and with a new meaning."[40] This new meaning included repentance of sins as well as "faith in the coming Savior." He does not see Acts 19:1-5 as the baptism of believers who had only been baptized according to the baptism of John, therefore invalidating it as Christian baptism. On the contrary, he believes this passage describes "the baptism for the first time of certain persons who had been wrongly taught with regard to the nature of John the Baptist's doctrine, and so had ignorantly submitted to an outward rite which had in it no reference to Jesus Christ and expressed no faith in him as a Savior." So, according to Strong, these had not known John's baptism and therefore, had not experienced "true baptism." Their immersion did not have the right intent, therefore invalidating it and explaining why Paul commands them to be baptized.[41]

We will analyze and discuss these ideas in a later post.

[39] Strong, Systematic Theology, 931-33.

[40] Ibid., 932.

[41] Ibid., 950.

No comments:

Join my blog network
on Facebook