From Circumcision to Baptism – Biblical Refutation of the Baptismal Views of Baptists and Anabaptists

In Holy Scripture,  there is indeed adult baptism — as well as infant baptism.   Yet both — not by saturating from below, but solely by sprinkling from above.   However, there is neither antipaedobaptism nor baptismal regenerationism nor submersionism in God’s Holy Word. 

This we shall endeavour to demonstrate adequately below, under ten successive headings. Viz.: (1) Baptism in the Older Testament; (2) Baptism between the Older and the Newer Testaments; (3) Baptism as administered by John; (4) Baptism as administered by Christ’s Ministers; (5) Anabaptist and Baptist views of baptism are contrary to those of the Early Church; (6) Submersion and other post-apostolic baptismal heresies arisen since 250 A.D.; (7) Baptism for the Protestant Reformers Luther and Zwingli; (8) John Calvin’s Biblical views on baptism; (9) The baptismal theology of the genius of Geneva; and (10) Consistently-Biblical baptism for today! 

(1) Baptism in the Older Testament

The very first verses of the Holy Bible teach that God’s Triune’s Holy Spirit has always pre-existed the primaeval waters.   They say He hovered not under but rather over them. Indeed, over their face (namely ‘al peneey hamaayiym).   Genesis 1:1-2 & 1:26.  

As Tertullian remarks1:"The Spirit…was hovering over the waters."    And Jerome:2 "The Spirit of God moved above…[and] over the face of the water, and produced from them the infant world — a type of the Christian child that is drawn from the laver of baptism….   ‘The Spirit of the Lord,’ says Moses, ‘moved upon the face of the waters’ — from which it appears that there is no baptism, without the Holy Ghost."

  Also Professor Dr. Oscar Cullmann notes3 in his book Baptism in the New Testament that "Tertullian…was at pains to demonstrate the essential relation between the Holy Spirit and water, referring to Genesis…where it is said…the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.   This is why the Spirit from then on is bound up with water; and hence baptism…has to do with water." 

After that creation, the Triune God made mankind as His Own image.   Genesis 1:26-28. Indeed, Genesis 2:7 clarifies it was not the entire Adam who was plunged into and under the Spirit of God.   No, the Spirit came into the nostrils of Adam’s face — precisely from above.

Now baptism is the sacrament of initiation, which at Calvary replaced circumcision (Colossians 2:11-13).   Although God before the fall erected His first Covenant with Adam as well as with all his descendants (Genesis 1:26f & 2:15 cf. Hosea 6:7f), there were then no sacraments as such — till after humanity’s lapse into sin.  

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Thereafter, God gave clothes to Adam and his descendants.   That is why babies are to be clothed with or to "put on" Christ — even in their infancy (Galatians 3:27 cf. Genesis 3:21).

But fallen man constantly sins, even from his very birth onward.4   So God renewed His transgressed Covenant — with Noah and his family (Genesis 6:18 cf. Hosea 6:7f).  

Then, Noah and all his covenanted household were baptized by rainwater from above. However, the wicked outside the ark were non-baptismally drowned to death by total submersion from beneath.   Genesis 6:18 & 7:1-23 cf. First Peter 3:20f. 

Too, the Bible insists that adult believers like Abraham, after they had professed faith in Jehovah — were to be circumcised, covenantally, together with their (male) infants.   Then, drops of blood were shed — but there were no submersions!  

Thereafter, at Calvary — where also females of whatever age were elevated and given the sacrament (Acts 8:12 cf. Genesis 3:15f & 4:7) — covenantal circumcision was replaced by baptism (and hence infant circumcision by infant baptism).   Genesis 17:7-14; Acts 2:38f; Romans 4:11f; Colossians 2:11-13.

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