It Is Written

Dying to Live

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: John Bradshaw


Series Code: IIW

Program Code: IIW001268

00:00 [Theme Music] It has stood the test of time,
00:12 God's book, the Bible, still relevant in today's
00:18 complex world.
00:22 It Is Written, sharing hope around the globe.
00:36 I'm John Bradshaw.
00:37 Thank's for joining me.
00:38 This is It Is Written.
00:41 The year was 1527.
00:42 The event was an execution.
00:45 The place was Zurich, Switzerland, and the man
00:48 was Felix Mantz.
00:50 His crime?
00:51 Well, Felix Mantz had been baptizing adults by immersion.
00:57 The Zurich city magistrates chose to execute him,
01:00 and not by burning at the stake, which was the common method
01:03 of execution in those days, not by beheading him.
01:06 The punishment that they thought fit the crime
01:08 of baptizing by immersion was death by drowning.
01:12 Now Ulrich Zwingli, a key figure in the Reformation
01:16 and the spiritual leader of Zurich, wrote to a friend
01:19 defending the action of the city leaders.
01:23 These city officials were supporters of Zwingli's Swiss
01:26 Protestant Reformation - and they believed that babies
01:29 should be baptized.
01:31 Mantz had been baptizing adult believers in defiance
01:34 of the ruling of the Zurich city council.
01:36 They had forbidden the practice.
01:39 But why the death penalty for baptizing someone?
01:42 Today, if one church practices infant baptism and another
01:45 church practices baptism by immersion, people would
01:48 typically say, "Okay - you do it your way, we do it our way,
01:52 and we'll agree to disagree."
01:54 You wouldn't expect anybody to think that somebody should
01:56 die for having a different point of view on a subject like that!
02:01 So why did the Swiss reformers think Felix Mantz should die
02:05 for baptizing by immersion?
02:08 And why did Mantz believe so strongly in baptism
02:11 by immersion that he was willing to die for what he believed?
02:15 Today, in free countries where church and state are separate,
02:19 it is hard to understand how a city government could execute
02:22 someone for a harmless religious practice such
02:24 as baptism.
02:26 In order to understand, let's go back in time, back
02:30 to the Europe of the early 1500's. Separation of church
02:32 and state didn't exist.
02:33 In fact, infant baptism was seen as essential
02:38 to the union of church and state.
02:41 People were born as citizens of the state, and soon after
02:45 became baptized members of the church.
02:49 Every person, without exception, was a member
02:52 of the state church before he or she could even think.
02:57 There was no choice in the matter.
03:00 And to a 16th century European, that was just
03:03 the way an orderly society had to be.
03:05 It was pretty much how Christendom had been
03:07 for hundreds of years.
03:10 When the Protestant Reformation came about, most
03:12 of the reformers didn't see a need to modify the union
03:15 of church and state.
03:16 Lutherans simply wanted a Lutheran state instead
03:18 of a Catholic one.
03:20 Swiss reformers under Zwingli preferred their own Protestant
03:23 Swiss cantons.
03:25 Later, in Geneva, Switzerland, Calvin's reform movement was
03:27 backed by the authority of the city.
03:30 In all these places, every person became a member
03:32 of the church through infant baptism, just as in Catholic
03:36 controlled regions.
03:38 No one cld choose not to be in the church
03:40 or the state.
03:41 It was as unthinkable as it would be for us today
03:44 to not be a citizen of a country.
03:47 A man outside the church was about the same as a man
03:49 without a country - only worse.
03:51 At least being without a country doesn't mean you'd
03:54 be lost for eternity, as it was believed being outside
03:57 the church meant back in those days.
04:00 Baptizing babies put everyone in the united church and state
04:04 and kept society nice and orderly with church leaders
04:07 and magistrates in an unchallenged position
04:09 of authority.
04:11 To challenge infant baptism was viewed as an attack
04:14 on the order of society.
04:16 So why was it challenged?
04:18 What was the problem?
04:19 The problem...
04:21 was the Bible.
04:23 Felix Mantz, his friend Conrad Grebel and several others
04:27 believed that the Bible taught that only repentant believers
04:31 could decide to be baptized - which made infant baptism
04:35 a logical impossibility.
04:38 They believed that babies - who can neither believe
04:41 nor repent - couldn't possibly decide to be baptized.
04:45 A decision for a baby to be baptized is made FOR
04:49 the child, and not BY the child.
04:53 So where in the Bible did these men get the idea
04:56 that baptism ought to be by immersion - only?
05:00 We'll find that out in just a moment.
05:04 In Matthew 4:4, the Word of God says, "It is written: man
05:08 shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds
05:12 from the mouth of God.
05:13 Every Word is a one-minute Bible-based daily devotional
05:17 presented by Pastor John Bradshaw and designed
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05:22 Look for Every Word on selected networks or watch
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05:30 Receive a daily spiritual boost.
05:32 Watch Every Word.
05:33 You'll be glad you did.
05:35 Here's a sample.
05:45 What a great example Jacob gave us.
05:48 He had made plenty of mistakes but late one night he wrestled
05:50 with God and said to God in Genesis 32:26: "I will
05:54 not let you go unless you bless me."
05:56 Now, there's the right attitude.
05:58 Lord, I must have your blessing and I am going to hang
06:01 on to you until I get it.
06:03 You can pray that way.
06:04 Lord, I must be delivered.
06:05 I have to know your will.
06:06 I have to have your power in my life.
06:09 Jacob showed us what to do when you fall.
06:11 Instead of running from God, he ran to God.
06:14 Instead of giving up, he took hold of God believing that God
06:17 was willing and able to bless.
06:20 Don't let your falls and failures keep you away
06:23 from God.
06:23 Be like Jacob.
06:25 Knowing he had made mistakes, he took hold of God and would
06:27 not let go until God had blessed him.
06:30 I'm John Bradshaw for It Is Written.
06:32 Let's live today by Every Word.
06:39 Thanks for joining me today on It Is Written.
06:40 I'm John Bradshaw.
06:41 What would compel a man to be so committed to the idea
06:45 of baptism by immersion that he would give his life
06:49 in defense of his belief.
06:51 Felix Mantz was executed in the year 1526, drowned
06:55 in Lake Zurich in Switzerland because he disobeyed the civil
06:58 and religious authorities who said that only infants should
07:02 be baptized.
07:03 So where was this man coming from?
07:05 In Mark's account of the gospel commission, Jesus says,
07:08 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved."
07:12 Mark 16:16 NKJV.
07:15 Which indicates that means baptism is for believers.
07:19 Believing as a condition for baptism is crystal clear
07:24 in the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch
07:28 found in Acts 8.
07:31 The Ethiopian points at a creek or pond near the road
07:34 and asks Philip if he can be baptized.
07:38 "Then Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart,
07:43 you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus
07:49 Christ is the Son of God.'...
07:52 And both Philip and the eunuch went down to the water,
07:56 and he baptized him."
07:58 Acts 8:37, 38 NKJV.
08:02 There are several more places in the Bible where people who
08:04 chose to be baptized were asked to believe.
08:06 It is very clear that a person must believe he or she
08:09 is a sinner and that Jesus is his or her Savior before
08:13 baptism should take place.
08:14 Even those who came to John the Baptist to be baptized
08:17 came "confessing their sins."
08:19 This is what Felix Mantz and others in the 1520s
08:22 understood.
08:23 Only a person with conscious self-awareness could
08:25 intelligently see his or her own sinfulness, experience
08:29 repentance, then believe in Jesus for salvation from sin
08:32 and be baptized.
08:34 We can see this when the apostle Peter, in his sermon
08:37 on Pentecost, called for the people to "Repent ...
08:40 and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
08:43 for the remission of sins."
08:44 Acts 2:38 NKJV.
08:46 Mantz and Grebel and others realized babies can't possibly
08:50 believe, they can't confess their sins, and they cannot
08:52 repent.
08:53 The two teachers pointed out that Acts 5:14 says,
08:56 "believers were increasingly added to the Lord"
09:00 and to the church - not babies who cannot
09:02 consciously believe anything.
09:05 The reformer Ulrich Zwingli had the dubious challenge
09:08 of defending infant baptism against overwhelming
09:11 biblical evidence.
09:12 Of course, he could appeal to custom, tradition and to
09:16 the regular order of society.
09:17 What had normally seemed right to the masses was
09:21 in his Zwingli's favor.
09:22 Zwingli denounced those promoting baptism by immersion
09:25 as schismatics, as dividers, as a threat to the order
09:29 of society.
09:30 He also added a theological argument that played
09:33 tremendously on the fear of the common people.
09:36 Not baptizing babies was wrong and even fatal because,
09:41 well...what if a baby died without baptism?
09:45 Wouldn't that baby lose out on eternal life?
09:48 Mantz and others would point out that the Bible does
09:50 not have a single account of a baby being baptized.
09:54 Only people old enough to believe and repent and make
09:57 their own choice were baptized.
09:59 In spite of the fact that the Bible writers
10:01 didn't have a problem with babies not being baptized,
10:04 this fear of babies being lost if they weren't
10:07 was a strong motivator against believer's baptism.
10:11 So what does the Bible mandate for babies if it isn't
10:15 appropriate for them to be baptized?
10:17 It's actually very simple.
10:19 Mary and Joseph took Baby Jesus to the temple
10:22 to be dedicated.
10:24 Jesus wasn't baptized until He was an adult many years later.
10:28 There is also an account in the gospels of mothers
10:31 bringing their little ones to Jesus so He could bless them.
10:35 Baptism was well known at that time, but neither
10:37 the mothers nor Jesus even mention baptism
10:41 for the babies or the young children.
10:43 God simply parents to dedicate their children to Him and then
10:48 do their best to help their children give their lives
10:52 to God as far as they can understand at each stage
10:57 of growth.
10:59 The Bible teaches that baptism is only effective if a person
11:03 believes and repents.
11:05 Without belief and repentance, baptism is simply a form.
11:11 Baptism cannot create salvation, and baptism doesn't
11:13 earn salvation.
11:15 Without belief, baptism is meaningless.
11:19 But when somebody believes and understands, baptism
11:23 has great meaning.
11:25 So where did infant baptism come from?
11:29 It was fear of babies and young children dying
11:31 and losing eternal life that brought infant baptism
11:34 into the early church in the first place.
11:36 I remember my own father urging one of my brothers
11:39 to make sure that my brother's new daughter was baptized -
11:41 well, christened actually - because my dad believed
11:45 that if she wasn't - and if something tragic were
11:47 to happen - then his granddaughter wouldn't go
11:50 to heaven.
11:51 Now the first clear reference to infant baptism was written
11:54 by an early church writer named Tertullian, who wrote
11:57 around AD 200 - and he was against it.
12:01 Not long after, Origen, the famous teacher from
12:03 Alexandria, wrote that "Infants are baptized
12:06 for the forgiveness of sins."
12:08 According to the historian, Adolph Harnack, Origen
12:11 believed that sins could be committed in a former life,
12:14 necessitating infant baptism for forgiveness of sins.
12:18 Origen also claimed "The church had from
12:20 the apostles a tradition to give baptism even to infants."
12:24 Of course he gave no evidence for those claims
12:27 from the Bible...
12:29 because there isn't any.
12:30 There IS evidence that infant baptism became common in
12:33 the region of Carthage in North Africa between 250 AD
12:36 and early in the 5th Century.
12:39 Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage from 249-258 AD,
12:44 decided baptism should be carried out as soon
12:47 as a baby is born.
12:49 There were 66 bishops of North Africa present when he made
12:52 that decision and there's no record that a single one
12:55 of them objected.
12:56 Augustine, also a bishop in North Africa, wrote in favor
12:59 of infant baptism several times.
13:02 In about 400 AD, Augustine expressed the fear
13:05 of the people.
13:06 He said that an infant who dies before being baptized cannot
13:10 "obtain remission of original sin," that they could
13:14 "not possibly be vivified in Christ."
13:17 In other words, he said, without baptism a baby who
13:20 dies is lost.
13:23 And the Sixteenth Council of Carthage in AD 418 decreed,
13:27 "If any man says that newborn children need not be baptized
13:32 ...let him be anathema," or, let him be damned forever.
13:37 The writings of early church leaders up to AD 500 make
13:40 it clear that baptism by immersion was the norm
13:42 throughout Christendom.
13:44 Even in the Middle Ages, the renowned Roman Catholic
13:47 theologian Thomas Aquinas, who allowed for sprinkling,
13:50 wrote in the 13th Century that "the safer way to baptize"
13:54 was "by immersion, because that is the most common
13:58 custom."
13:59 Sprinkling first came into common use in France,
14:02 then in the German regions, including Austria
14:05 and part of Switzerland.
14:06 Historians tell us that some groups such as the Albigenses,
14:10 and the Waldensians opposed the practice in the Middle
14:13 Ages, but as a result they faced severe persecution.
14:19 Baptism was never by sprinkling in Scotland "until after
14:22 the Reformation, about the year 1550."
14:26 It wasn't until the Protestant Reformation that baptism
14:29 by immersion became more widespread - but it did
14:32 so at a terrible cost.
14:33 Felix Mantz was just the first martyr of thousands of martyrs
14:38 that would follow in his footsteps.
14:40 The sad fact of history is that both Protestant
14:42 and Catholic authorities hunted down and tried to wipe
14:46 out the Anabaptists - the group that Mantz
14:48 was aligned with, a group who practiced baptism
14:52 by immersion.
14:54 The late Cardinal Gibbons wrote in his book Faith of our
14:56 Fathers, "For several centuries after the establishment
15:00 of Christianity, Baptism was usually conferred
15:03 by immersion; but since the twelfth century the practice
15:07 of baptizing by infusion has prevailed in the Catholic
15:10 Church, as this manner is attended with less
15:13 inconvenience than Baptism by immersion."
15:18 Convenience.
15:19 But there's a better reason than that for Christians to do
15:21 what they do - and that would be love for God, and respect
15:26 for His word.
15:27 Not convenience!
15:29 Most people are aware that not all Christians baptize
15:32 the same way.
15:33 So, is there a right way and a wrong way to baptize?
15:37 Or does it even matter?
15:39 Those associated with Felix Mantz
15:41 and Conrad Grebel performed baptisms using
15:44 a bucket and pouring a small amount of water on
15:47 the candidates' heads.
15:49 Many churches today baptize by sprinkling or pouring a little
15:52 water on a person's head.
15:53 But other churches baptize by complete immersion -
15:56 by submerging a person entirely under water: sometimes
15:59 in a baptistery in a church, or maybe, maybe in a river
16:02 or a lake, or the ocean.
16:04 How does the Bible shed light on the proper method
16:07 of baptism?
16:09 That's just ahead.
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17:01 What does the Bible say about the way a person should be
17:04 baptized?Here's what we know about Jesus' baptism.
17:07 It says this in Matthew 3:16, "When he had been baptized,
17:12 Jesus came up immediately from the water."
17:18 He "came up."
17:21 Now that sounds like He had been immersed, doesn't it?
17:24 One comes up after being down under.
17:28 So Jesus was baptized by immersion in the Jordan River
17:32 by John the Baptist.
17:34 Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch by immersion, as well.
17:37 Notice the wording in Acts 8:38 & 39.
17:41 "And both Philip and the eunuch went down into
17:46 the water, and he baptized him.
17:50 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit
17:53 of the Lord caught Philip away."
17:55 Acts 8:38, 39 NKJV "Down into the water;"
17:58 "up out of the water."
18:01 That's immersion, without a doubt.
18:03 As a matter of fact, the Greek word for baptize, baptizo,
18:06 means "to immerse."
18:08 John the Baptist's name meant "John the Immerser."
18:12 Clearly, baptisms in the New Testament were by immersion.
18:15 A fascinating study has been done on the baptisteries found
18:19 in the ancient ruins of Christian churches
18:21 and in the basilicas and cathedrals
18:23 of the Middle Ages.
18:25 Among the ancient ruins, stone-laid baptisteries
18:27 were found.
18:28 Some even have steps going down into them, allowing
18:31 individuals to walk down into the water.
18:35 All of them were large enough for people to get in to
18:38 and to be baptized by immersion.
18:41 Baptisteries carved from huge blocks of marble or built
18:44 into the floor can be found in basilicas and cathedrals
18:47 in many places in Europe.
18:48 In many locations large baptisteries have since been
18:51 filled in, with a font for pouring built over the spot
18:54 where the baptistery used to be.
18:57 Perhaps the most interesting adaptation of a baptistery
18:59 is the one found in the Basilica of St. Peters in Rome.
19:03 An ornate bronze baptismal font holds a small amount
19:08 of water in the front part, but the whole thing stands
19:11 in a large depression in the floor.
19:14 That large depression indicates an earlier form
19:16 of baptism was performed there.
19:18 Records reveal that Benedictus XIII, elected the Pope
19:22 in 1724, anxious to conform to the ancient rite
19:26 of administering baptism by immersion "ordered
19:29 the construction ...
19:32 forming a large basin."
19:33 And this was after thousands of Anabaptists perished
19:35 for practicing believer's baptism by immersion.
19:38 Of course, succeeding popes didn't agree with Pope
19:41 Benedictus XIII, and soon the depression was filled
19:44 in by the baptismal font that can now be seen
19:46 in St Peter's today.
19:48 Well, does the form of baptism really matter?
19:51 If you want to be true to the Bible, you've got
19:55 to believe that it does.
19:56 But why does the Bible teach baptism by immersion?
20:00 Since the word baptize in the Greek means "to immerse,"
20:04 has a person been baptized if they were not immersed?
20:07 What does it really mean to be baptized?
20:11 Baptism has been understood as a way to join
20:13 with the Christian church as a follower of Christ -
20:15 which is a very Biblical idea.
20:17 In Acts chapter 2, 3000 people were baptized and they were
20:22 "added to the church" (which you see that
20:24 in verse 47).
20:25 And in Romans 6, Paul says that people who are baptized
20:29 are baptized into the death of Christ.
20:34 And then just as Christ was raised up from the dead,
20:36 we begin to walk in a new life.
20:39 Listen to this.
20:40 "Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized
20:45 into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
20:49 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism
20:52 into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by
20:56 the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness
21:01 of life."
21:02 Romans 6:3, 4 NKJV.
21:05 So what exactly does Paul mean?
21:07 He explains.
21:10 "For if we have been united together in the likeness
21:12 of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness
21:16 of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man
21:20 was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might
21:24 be done away with, that we should no longer
21:27 be slaves of sin.
21:29 For he who has died has been freed from sin."
21:32 Romans 6:5-7 NKJV.
21:35 Paul is saying that baptism represents the death of our
21:39 old nature of sin and selfishness,
21:42 and a transformation to a new life in Christ.
21:45 In verse 6, He describes the death of our old nature
21:47 as "our old man" who "was crucified with Him."
21:52 What part of baptism represents being crucified
21:54 with Christ; the death to sin and self?
21:57 Well, that would be GOING UNDER WATER.
22:00 Paul calls it "being buried with Him through baptism
22:04 into death" in Romans 6:4.
22:06 What part of baptism represents being resurrected
22:09 like Christ; changed to a new life in Christ?
22:13 That would be COMING UP OUT OF THE WATER.
22:16 So baptism is a symbol of change from spiritual
22:21 deadness-sin in control of the life-to a new
22:25 spiritual life.
22:26 That is why baptism means "to immerse."
22:29 Only immersion can symbolize the change that comes through
22:32 true conversion.
22:34 Jesus described true baptism as being born all over again.
22:37 He said these words to Nicodemus in John 3.
22:42 "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot
22:46 enter into the kingdom of God."
22:48 John 3:5 KJV.
22:50 Sprinkling or pouring simply cannot symbolize the dramatic
22:54 transformation Christ brings about in our lives through
22:57 the Holy Spirit.
22:59 You see, God is in the business of transforming people.
23:03 Like the prodigal son in the parable, those who are lost
23:06 become found, and those who are dead are made alive.
23:11 And if you've given your life to Jesus Christ, He calls you
23:15 to demonstrate that through baptism: a person goes down
23:19 into what essentially is a watery grave - and when you
23:23 come out of that water to walk in newness of life...
23:26 that's then you're really living!
23:33 [music]
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25:26 Today, we have been talking about baptism.
25:28 What the Bible teaches about being baptized
25:30 by immersion.
25:31 And the reason that is so powerfully important
25:33 is because baptism by immersion represents a life
25:37 that is being given fully and completely to Jesus Christ.
25:40 When a person is baptized by immersion,
25:42 they are signifying something.
25:43 My life is given to Jesus and I have come up out of that
25:46 water and I am now walking in newness of life.
25:50 Have you made that decision to be baptized?
25:54 And if you haven't, what are you waiting for?
25:57 Perhaps now is the time for you to make a decision
25:59 that says: "Jesus, I'm giving you my life.
26:03 Jesus, I'm serious about it.
26:05 I want to enter into that commitment ceremony
26:07 with you.
26:08 I'd like to be baptized, have my sins washed away,
26:12 buried in that watery grave.
26:15 I want to walk in newness of life."
26:18 To learn more about this, visit out website
26:26 You'll find information there that will help you
26:28 in your journey with Jesus.
26:29 And I want to encourage you today not to wait,
26:30 but to make that decision that sees you follow Jesus'
26:33 example of being baptized by immersion.
26:35 Let me pray with you about that.
26:39 [Music] Our Father in heaven, we thank
26:42 you today for the wonderful gift, really, it's a gift
26:43 of baptism by immersion, which is all to do with that great
26:46 gift of salvation that you gave to us.
26:50 I know that now there are people who are making a decision.
26:53 It's time for me to be baptized.
26:55 I should not be waiting any longer.
26:57 I need to do what Jesus has asked me to do and I need
26:59 to give Him my heart and my life.
27:02 So that that heart now, Lord, and make it yours.
27:05 Father, I pray that you would lead all of us,
27:08 those who need to be baptized, to be baptized and those who
27:11 have been, to recommit their lives to you right now,
27:14 to walk with Jesus living his life in us.
27:20 We thank you today and we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
27:46 Thanks for joining me today.
27:47 I look forward to seeing you next time.
27:50 Until then, remember: It is written: Man shall not
27:54 live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds
27:58 from the mouth of God.


Revised 2015-02-06