Baptism Can Be Administered By Any Faithful Male Member of the Body of Christ

As far as the administration of the ordinance of baptism is concerned, we have no doubt in our own mind that it is perfectly scriptural for any member of the church, say, for instance, the deacon, to administer such, where the place of the pastor is vacant.

As “all things are to be done decently and in order,” we give the preference of course to a minister of the gospel wbere his services can be procured, but we have no superstitious idea that it is indispensable to obtain them.

Both Peter and Paul (Acts 10:48, 1 Corinthians 1:14-17,) seem to have entrusted to others, most probably to what are called in ecclesiastical language “laymen”, the administration of baptism; and Philip, who was only a deacon certainly baptized the Samaritan converts.

And the wisdom and foreknowledge of the Holy Ghost seem to have been in these instances specially manifested.

The arrogant assumptions of the clergy, in which the essence of Popery exists, were foreseen, and foreprovided against by these instances left on record in the New Testament, Were there no example of Baptism or of the Lord’s Supper having been administered by other than the apostles, what strength would it have given to Rome’s arrogant claims, and to her daughter the Church of England’s no less bold pretensions, thaI the ordinances, or, as they term them, the sacraments, can only be administered by priestly hands.

And as there is a strong tendency in the modern dissenting priesthood to set up a similar claim, we are glad to take this opportunity of protesting against it, and of asserting the liberty of the churches.

As to sending for “an ordained minister,” the party that proposes that step should, to be thoroughly consistent, go a step further, and send for a Catholic priest.

If a man be sent of God to preach the gospel, he wants no ordination from man; and if God has not sent him into the vineyard, not all the ordination of man can make him a minister.

As Rushton well remarks, in the book which we lately reviewed, dissenting ordination “is but a pitiful imitation of the original. In the Church of Rome the dominion of an anti-christian priesthood appears in all its grandeur, but ours (dissenting ordination) has neither antiquity nor splendour to snpport it. ‘Theirs,’ says the ingenious Robinson, ‘is nature in the theatre of the metropolis; we are strollers, uttering bombast, in cast-off finery, in a booth at a fair’.”

Dissenting ordinations are, indeed, but a poor third-hand-mimicry, borrowed from the Church of England, which copied them from Rome.

We have spoken somewhat decidedly on this subject, as much of the clerical assumption of “Reverend,” wearing of robes in the pulpit, and other arts of priestcraft are clearly traceable to these dissenting ordinations, and are strongly stamped on some of our most zealous declaimers against popery, who do not see how inconsistently they act in condemning Rome when dressed out in her rags, and in protesting against her principles, when one of her strongest, the monarchical character of the priesthood, is manifested in all they say and do.

As we have in a previous number expressed our sentiments concerning the administration of the Lord’s Supper, we need not here repeat them. Suffice it to say, that we consider it quite scriptural for any member of a Gospel Church to break bread to the rest, their consent being obtained, where there is no Pastor.

By J.C. Philpot and John M’Kenzie – 1842

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