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Thoughts on Baptism

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    CHAPTER VII. THE COMMISSION STILL IN FORCE

    There is a large number of persons who appear to be zealous for the rite of baptism, in regard to both its form and its subjects, who yet, to avoid the evidence of the continuous direct presence and influence of the Holy Spirit, affirm that the commission of Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15-18, was given to the apostles alone and expired with them. But this affirmation places its advocates in a very unenviable and inconsistent position. That commission was the authority by which the apostles baptized; and if the commission has expired, there remains no authority to administer the rite of baptism. It will not then do to say, as they say, that we must follow the example of the apostles in this; for the example of the apostles, when they acted under a special commission given only to them, gives no warrant to others, who never received the commission, to follow in the same action after the commission has expired. Such a course would indicate the boldest assumption of authority under any government.TOB 63.3

    Thus it is easy to see that, when any individuals declare that the commission under which the apostles baptized has expired, it is equivalent to an admission that they administer baptism without divine authority. If the Lord suffered that commission to expire, as it contained the only warrant ever given in the gospel to baptize, then they who continue the practice are acting in defiance of the authority of Him who gave and withdrew the commission. They are usurpers of authority under the divine government. That they act according to that commission which they declare to be obsolete, is shown by their using the formula in baptism prescribed only by that commission.TOB 64.1

    We would fain hope that a consideration of this important truth might open their eyes to the inconsistency of their teachings and practice. If their teaching in regard to the great commission is correct, then surely their baptism is invalid, and their use of the sacred names in such a manner, without any authority, is exceedingly sinful—it is taking the name of Deity in vain. And if they persist in their practice of baptizing, then let them acknowledge the force and obligation of the commission, and accept all the consequences which the acknowledgment logically involves.TOB 64.2

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