On Baptism

C. H. Mackintosh

Scripture gives us the simple fact that believers ought to be baptized.  It says nothing as to whether it should be in public or in private.  It does not tell us that is should be, "In a place accessible to the public".  It is left entirely open.  Who witnessed the baptism of the eunuch?  Where was Paul baptised? or Lydia? or the gaoler?  Where, in the New Testament, are we taught to contemplate the public, either in baptism, or the Lord's supper?  No doubt "the unlearned or unbeliever" may come into the place where Christians assembled; but testimony to the world is not the object when Christians come together for communion or worship.  Matthew 10:32 does not refer specially to the act of baptism.  Our whole life should be a testimony for Christ.  The Christian himself is "the epistle of Christ, known and read of all men".

... We believe that Matthew 28:19 furnishes the proper formula for Christian baptism.  We are not aware of any subsequent revelation on the subject.  "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost".  Here we have the full revelation of the Godhead — the true foundation of christian doctrine.  We see no reason for departing from the form of words prescribed by our Lord Jesus Christ.  Is not His commandment more binding upon us than the example of any or all of His servants?

It is, no doubt, much to be desired that Christians should see eye to eye on every subject; but this can hardly be expected; and most assuredly, we should not allow our happy fellowship with the members of Christ's body to be hindered, in the smallest degree, by difference of judgment on the question of baptism.  So long as a man is true to Christ – His name – His cause – His truth – His glory, I can love him with all my heart, though I may deem him mistaken as to his view of baptism.  May the Lord bind us all more closely to Himself and to one another, by the precious ministry of the Holy Ghost!

I am glad you have called my attention to my little book, "THOU AND THY HOUSE".  I am aware of the use which has been made of it in a recent tract on the subject of "Baptism" – a use which I consider to be aught but disingenuous.  With the theory of that tract I have no sympathy whatever; still less with its monstrous statements.  I believe the course of some of our friends, in urging on this question of baptism will, unless God in His mercy interpose, lead to most disastrous results.  I complain not of any who conscientiously hold this or that view on the subject; but I do complain of those, who instead of preaching and teaching Jesus Christ, are disturbing the minds of God's people by pressing infant baptism upon them.  For my own part – seeing the question has been thus forced upon me – I can only say I have for thirty-two years been asking, in vain, for a single line of scripture for baptizing any save believers or those who professed to believe.  Reasonings I have had, inferences, conclusions, and deductions; but of direct scripture authority not one tittle.

I may further add that there is not a word about baptism from beginning to end of my book, "Thou and thy House".

From Things New and Old, by C. H. Mackintosh.


On Baptism