first washed ('baptizo' or baptized) before dinner" (Luke 11 :38b). The strict Jew always observed a ritual of washing his hands by pouring water over them before eating.
5. The ritual of "baptizing" cups, pots, vessels, and tables, was also strictly adhered to by the Pharisees as Jesus states, "And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing ('baptismos' or baptizing) of cups, pots, brasen vessels, and of tables" (Mark 7:4). While we can easily picture the putting of cups and pots under water to wash them, it is difficult to imagine the immersing of brasen vessels and tables in the average Jewish home.
These examples are sufficient to illustrate that the Greek word "baptizo" and its derivatives do not mean only "to immerse" as immersionists frequently claim, but "to wash" -the method of washing not being specified.
After considering all the recorded examples of New Testament baptism, the scriptural references to cleansing and consecration, and the various types of baptisms recorded in the Bible, the Reformed position that all three modes may be used is certainly verified, although immersion lacks the clear examples and direct comparisons which sprinkling and pouring find in Scripture. Certainly, the Baptist and Mennonite position that immersion is the only acceptable mode of baptism is not to be found in the Word of God.
The first major question regarding baptism has been studied, i.e., what are the proper modes (or methods) of baptizing. The second major inquiry is:
Who are the proper subjects, or persons, for baptism?
Two principal answers are given to this question:
1. The Baptist reply that only converted, believing adults are
to be baptized after making personal confession of faith.
2. The Reformed and historic church answer that believing adults, who have made personal confession of faith, and their children are to be baptized.
And as He spake, a certain Pharisee besought Him to dine with him: and He went in, and sat down to meat.
And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that He had not first washed before dinner.
Why do Thy disciples trangress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
And when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.