Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Baptismal Regeneration 12 -- It's Typology Time

Baptism cannot be rightly understood apart from the full canonical corpus. It is not an isolated event, it is rooted in the whole story of God.

This is where Old Testament typology comes in. The first O.T. typology is the story of creation itself. Here, the Spirit hovers/broods over the waters. When God speaks, creation emerges from the water. Baptism is a hat tip back to this. Think of the Baptism of Jesus -- the Spirit descends like a dove in the water of baptism. Among other things (a bunch in my estimation) this is an echo of the creation story.

It makes sense actually. Baptism is a manifestation of new creation. It is in water that God again speaks to call forth his creation for the original purpose he intended for it -- to be infused with the his glory.

More to come ....

This prayer from the 1979 BCP Baptismal Liturgy is full of typology.

We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life. We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into his fellowship those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Notice that this prayers says, "Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into his fellowship those who come to him by faith." This prayer is prayed at both credo and paedo baptisms. The prayer presumes that believer's/adult baptism is the theological norm. Of course this creates all sorts questions about babies and faith -- I promise we will get to that. However, I have some more points I want to hit before we get there.


Jim said...


Very good stuff here, very thorough. Like many other instances where mere words and logic cannot do justice to mystery. I've seen some references to baptism as being analagous to circumcision in the Old Testament. I don't think it was here on your site, but it may have been!

If believers could be baptised on behalf of the believing dead, why should children not be baptised?

Blessings, Jim

Jim said...

Actually, now I see where you have said that you believe baptism replaces circumcision. Do you see infant baptism as being different in nature and effect from adult credobaptism? If so, would you expect a mature believer, genuinely making a first time profession of Christ to undergo a believers baptism? Not being argumentative, just asking for clarity.

For me, I am good either way!

Peter said...

Good question.

No, once one is baptized one is baptized. No-rebaptism.