Spiritual Baptism: Henry Pinnell on Baptism

Henry Pinnell on Baptism

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Matthew 28:19

Original source: Henry Pinnell (1600’s) on Baptism

“As for Baptism, I leave you and others also to the freedom of your faith therein. But if you will impose the observation thereof, and the obedience thereunto upon me as to an Ordinance, I must first be satisfied. First; whether by Baptism you understand Paedo-baptism, Childish-baptism, or the Baptism of Children? If so, then where is either your precept or pattern for so doing? Or, Secondly; if you will have Baptism of water to be restrained and to belong only to those that are adult and of ripe years; yet then, where is your authority from any institution of Christ after his resurrection, who had before by his death put an end to foregoing Types and Figures of Himself? Therefore; that place {Mt.28:19} will not hold Water, nor serve your turn at all in the sense you urge it, and would have it brought unto; for those words {into the NAME} do rather exclude than imply, in, into, or with water. Nor is it enough that you tell me of the practice of the Apostles, that they did baptize with water and that after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, unless you produce a warrant from Christ, authorizing them so to do, and commanding them and us, by way of injunction to submit unto it, as a necessary and binding duty.

But I say; First, If you will make the practice of the Apostles {their histories as recorded by the Holy Ghost in the Book of Acts} your rule in one thing, why not in another, the ground and authority being equal for both, and therefore both alike binding? And then, why do you not anoint your sick with oil, as the Apostles did, {Ja.5:14} and as James commandeth you? Is the use and virtue of anointing lost, and doth the efficacy of Baptism last? Will water keep longer than oil? Again; why do you not circumcise as Paul did? You will say that Circumcision is abolished, but Baptism is not? Was John any more than a servant, as Moses was? Why then must he abide in the House of God, when the Son himself is come? I do not find that Paul did repent for shaking hands with Moses in circumcising Timothy, more than he did for saluting John, in baptizing some of the Corinthians.

Yet; Secondly, I deny not, but that the Apostles might have an indulgent dispensation given unto them, suitable to the infancy of the Church then, as others may have now answerable to the lowness and weakness of the faith of some in these days, whom I leave to stand or fall to their own Master; but if Baptism be enforced as a Law, I shall question two things, and very much scruple.

First; whether it be not an adding to the Book of God to interline and insert the Baptism of Children into the Bible when there is no such thing mentioned by Christ or his Apostles in all the New Testament, either by way of Command or Custom?

Secondly; whether to conclude Baptism of water and so consequently to impose it on any from that in Matthew 28:19 be not a part of will worship; a making void the command of Christ by men’s traditions; and a taking away from the Book of God? For whereas Christ there brings up Baptism to its height, fullness, glory, purity and perfection; some go about to empty, weaken and make void the sense and scope of that Scripture, by applying that to water, which Christ expressly attributeth and appropriateth to the Father Himself and the Spirit. I have not the faith to believe, that the reasonings and arguments of men, the conclusions, inferences and inductions of Reason are sufficient to make any Ordinance in the Church of Christ, without an immediate, plain, direct, punctual and divine institution from Christ. But enough hath been said of this by others {as Mr. Henry Denne & John Tombes} already. Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}.”

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