Posts Tagged ‘Reformed Tradition’

John and Yeshua the baptists

January 19, 2010

Last weeks my attention was at the baptism issue several times. I realized more and more that there’s being a twofold dimension in baptism. In short, John and Yeshua are to be distinguished, I think. John was doing the baptism with water which was merely a sign, or manifestation of a decision of the inner heart. What John was doing was the human part. As he said himself: [I do it with water but] He shall baptize you with the holy Ghost and with fire. (Mat.3:11) That gives clearly a second baptism, those of Yeshua.

The first baptism was not something new in the second temple period. It was a common practice to baptize. But with the baptism of Yeshua we see something very special, something very new. A miracle happened. The son of G-d was baptized with the baptism of Righteousness. (Mat.3:15) He was coming to be the Servant of G-d who bears his people through the baptism of dead. (Col.2:10-11) The Righteous One enabled with the Holy Spirit to wash all the sins away from his people. Then, with the baptism of His Spirit a newborn one is there, under the new covenant, manifesting itself in the inner heart and coming out with a new will and good deeds etc. This certainly is not due to a personal act of baptism, but divine. It differs from the first, the personal baptism of John. However, I would not say that it is not related to each other.

I think they belong to each other; baptism has two parts in it. What we see and what we can’t see.

I would like to say something more on the covenantal view here.

The great emphasize on the covenant which is given by the Reformed tradition (following the Roman Catholics) diminished inevitably the personal character of baptism. And with the covenant a promise is introduced with respect to infant baptism. This covenant and promise theology inevitably resulted in a twofold dimension of the covenant: the outward in inward covenant (as is said) which correlates with the circumcision of the flesh and the heart.

Why does the Reformed tradition give such a great emphasize to the covenant issue with respect to baptism? I think the theology of Paul gives the building blocks for it. His bold statement in Col.2:10-13 (having been buried with him in baptism) put the whole issue of baptism into the Paschal redemption which is the covenant relationship.

It’s a difficult topic but interesting, because Yeshua said: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark16:16)