- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about religion, God, church the Bible
- Published on Saturday, 05 February 2011 23:19
Are those who teach what is known as “household baptism” justified in using the crossing of the Red Sea, referred to in 1 Corinthians 10: as a type of Christian baptism, and in asserting that, as undoubtedly infants were carried across the Red Sea by their mothers, they therefore were baptised unto Moses, and so infants now should be baptised?
Certainly these friends must be hard put to it to find authority for their practice of baptising households to-day, if they have to go back to this far off Old Testament event to justify it. We are asked, moreover, to believe that had Moses and the elders held Believer’s Baptism, they would have been obliged cruelly to leave all the infants on the west bank of the Red Sea to the mercy of the pursuing Egyptians, on the plea that such were not fit subjects for baptism. I remember one well-known clergyman in Brighton (the “Reverend” H. B.), who wrote a tract to justify the sprinkling of infants, and he built his argument on the probability of the wind sprinkling the Israelitish infants, as they were carried through the Red Sea. It seems hard to believe that fancy could go further. We may be sure that no-one from Moses to the youngest Israelitish mother had the slightest idea that a figure of Christian baptism was being carried out during the crossing of the Red Sea.
But if for the sake of argument, all who shared in the crossing were baptised, then this was true of “the mixed multitude” and of the flocks and the herds. Perhaps those who christen bells and ships rely on this passage. We see, however, from Numbers 4 that the children did not count, but only those of Israel who were numbered “from twenty years old and upward,” for in verses 29 and 33 a difference is made between those who were numbered (v. 29) and their children (v. 33). Whereas the former (except Caleb and Joshua) would be excluded for good, all the children would be brought in when their fathers’ carcases were wasted in the wilderness. We may be sure that the infants no more shared in the baptism of the Red Sea, than in the daily eating of the manna and drinking from the rock that followed them. No doubt it is legitimate to see in the crossing of the Red Sea a figure of the death and resurrection of Christ and of believers’ association with Him, but it is not, properly speaking, a figure of Christian baptism, for that would be a case of a figure representing a figure. Rather what is set forth is what has already taken place for all believers, namely, their baptism in the Spirit. Christi n baptism is in no way in view in 1 Cor 10 and it is a great mistake to think that wherever the slightly different word, “baptismos” that occurs in our Authorised (e.g., Mark 7:4, 8; Hebrews 6: 2; Hebrews 9:10), The reference clearly is to the ceremonial purifications of the Levitical service.