Andrew Fuller Friday: The Connection of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (continued)

The first company who joined together at the Lord’s table were all baptized. That Christ was so himself we are expressly informed; and of the disciples we are told that they baptized others (John 4:2); which would not have been permitted had they, like the Pharisees and lawyers, refused to be baptized themselves.

The next mention of the celebration of the supper is in the second chapter of the Acts. The account given is, that every one of them was exhorted to “repent and be baptized,” and that they who gladly received the word “were baptized;” after which they were “added to the church,” and “continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

The question put by the apostle Paul lo certain disciples at Ephesus, who said they had not heard whether there were any Holy Ghost, “Unto what then were ye baptized?” clearly intimates that there were no Christians in those times who continued unbaptized. He does not ask whether they had been baptized, taking this for granted, but merely to what they had been baptized.

The nature and design of baptism, as given us in the New Testament, shows it to have been the initiatory ordinance of Christianity. It was not, indeed, an initiation into a particular church, seeing it was instituted prior to the formation of churches, and administered in some cases, as that of the Ethiopian eunuch, in which there was no opportunity for joining to any one of them; but it was an initiation into the body of professing Christians. And, if so, it must be necessary to an admission into a particular church, inasmuch as what is particular presupposes what is general. No man could with propriety occupy a place in the army without having first avowed his loyalty, or taken the oath of allegiance. The oath of allegiance does not, indeed, initiate a person into the army, as one may take that oath who is no soldier; but it is a prerequisite to being a soldier. Though all who take the oath are not soldiers, yet all soldiers take the oath. Now baptism is that Divine ordinance by which we are said to put on Christ, as the king’s livery is put on by those who enter his service; and, by universal consent throughout the Christian world, is considered as the badge of a Christian. To admit a person into a Christian church without it were equal to admitting one into a regiment who scrupled to wear the soldier’s uniform, or to take the oath of allegiance.

There are instances in the New Testament in which the word baptism does not mean the baptism by water, but yet manifestly alludes to it, and to the Lord’s supper as connected with it; e. g. 1 Cor. 10:1–5, “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” The Corinthians had many amongst them who had polluted themselves with idolatrous practices, and yet presumed on being saved by Christ. The design of the apostle was to warn them, from the examples of the Jewish fathers, not to rely upon their having been partakers of the Christian privileges of baptism and the Lord’s supper while they indulged in sin. The manner in which these allusions are introduced clearly shows the connexion between the two ordinances in the practice of the primitive churches.

Excerpt from: “The Admission of Unbaptized Persons to the Lord’s Table Inconsistent with the New Testament,” in Miscellaneous Tracts, Letters, & Essays.

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Expositions—Miscellaneous. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 3, pp. 511–512). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

By |May 21st, 2021|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday, Blog|

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