Monday, 6 June 2011

Disciple Them First, Then Baptize Them

An important verse for Baptists in the debate over Believer’s and Infant Baptism is the Great Commission passage in Matt 28:16-20.

The syntax and order of the phrases are important, for discipling precedes baptizing:

(All authority in heaven and earth is given to Jesus)



1) make disciples

2) baptizing them

3) teaching them to keep Jesus’ commandments.

Note that the priority is on making disciples. There is not much point in baptizing if we’ve not made disciples of them.

Infant baptizers disregard this formula. First, they baptize non-disciples. Second and third, they attempt to make the non-disciples into disciples and try to teach such non-disciples to keep Jesus’ commands.

Of course, the attempt to make the baptized non-disciples into disciples often fails so that the baptism is meaningless, probably counterproductive, and definitely unbiblical.


Jacob said...

Since baptizing and teaching are participles complementing the main verb of making disciples, perhaps baptizing and teaching are steps in the process of making disciples. If this were the case then then baptizing and teaching are either temporal, manner, or instrumental participles. So either, make disciples while baptizing and teaching, make disciples by baptizing and teaching them, or make disciples by means of baptizing and teaching. Funny how baptizing is mentioned first. As a baptist myself, this doesn't seem very strong to my case.

James M. Leonard said...

I think it is noteworthy that the main verb is in fact "make disciples" and not "baptize them."