09 February, 2007

The Baptism of John versus Christian Baptism

Baptism is one of those contentious issues within the church, even within Reformed churches (although it should not be so). Rev. Gerald Procee of the Free Reformed Church has written a very helpful book on Baptism defending the case for infant baptism. He has one section that specifically deals with the argument that we ought to follow Johannine formula for baptism. Here is a short version of what differences he sees between the baptism of John and the baptism of Christians:

We maintain that John's baptism and Christian baptism differ:
1. The baptism of John was in anticipation of and preparation for the coming of Christ. It was eschatologically emphasized, and was fulfilled with the coming of Christ.
2. The baptism of John was not administered in the name of the Triune God.
3. The baptism by John took place only at the beginning of the Gospels and apparently later became obsolete.
4. John's baptism was not an initiation into the Christian Church. Jews were baptized later in Christian baptism, in spite of a possible baptism by John the Baptist.
5. Paul indicates that he rebaptized those who were only baptized in the baptism of John. (Acts 19:3-6).
6. The baptism of John was not with the Holy Spirit. This was reserved only for Christ Himself.
7. John's baptism could not be the sacrament of initiation into the new dispensation for this had not fully come. That could only take place after the resurrection of Christ and was symbolized by Christian baptism.


Mark said...

Can't say as I've ever heard that comparison before. Thanks for the read, it's quite interesting.

Anonymous said...

Strange you should post this. I am reading this book at the moment. I have borrowed it and am looking my own copy. Do you know of any for sale or where I could get one. Til now all my attempts have failed

gavin beers said...

Previous comment was not meant to be anonymous. It was my question.

Nate said...

grprocee@frcna.org is Gerald Procee's email address. I am sure that he would be able to get you a copy!

gavin beers said...

I have tried him before and he did not have any nor could he locate any. I have heard that it is due to be reprinted but I cannot remember when.

I hope to review it soon. It excels other books on the subject in my opinion because of its pastoral nature

Nate said...

I heard that RHB may republish it. Also start emailing some of the Free Reformed Congregations. They have copies on their little book tables. It is worth the effort.

I have really enjoyed him as well. He taught an 8 hour section on baptism at the seminary this week.

gveld said...

I'm currently looking for a new church and found one that I like, however they are credo-baptists. Now my research is far from exhaustive, but I tend to agree with infant baptism based on it being a sign of the covenant and it not being the same as John’s as indicated in the post.

Any thoughts how important of an issue this should be?

I am from West Michigan (Hudsonville) so I do have other options. Also what do you think of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, I noticed they’re not linked in the 'split peas'. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and appreciate your insights.

Anonymous said...


I go to Cedar Church OPC (which meets at Hudsonville Christian School) if you have any questions about the congregation, let me know!


PS) Sadly, however, we're not Psalm singers.

Anonymous said...

haha, I want to clarify what I meant in that comment. My church doesn't sing Psalms. I do.

Haha... but yeah, it is a great church if you wouldn't be able to make it to 28th St.