Frank D Rees
Professor of Systematic Theology, and Dean
Whitley College, the Baptist College of Victoria
In this paper, I want to suggest that a theology
of baptism of believers by immersion is the fundamental basis of our identity
as Baptist communities. It gives the essential Trinitarian and missionary
character to all our worship and our lives as faith communities. In short, if
we know what baptism means to us, we also know who we are and how we worship:
and not only worship as gathered people, but worship God with all we do and
are. We are called to be communities who are immersed in the life of God, in
acts and lives of worship.
Story of an aboriginal ritual:
I would like to begin with a story about a
ritual practice which occurs in a number of Australian aboriginal communities.
I must explain that I am not part of such a community, and have no place in any
such ritual. I know only what I have
First, we need to understand that every baby
born into an aboriginal community belongs to a totem group. Family groups have
a totem, which is often an animal. For those people, this animal is their
direct link with the created order. They belong to this group and one thing
they will never do is eat that animal. This totemic system thus ensures the
preservation of all the species. It is also the basis for preventing
inter-marriage, as you can never marry within your totem group.
When a child is born, she is given a name, and
by birth she already belongs to a totem family.
Soon after birth, a naming ceremony, as we might
call it, occurs. A hole is dug in the earth big enough for the baby to rest in.
She is ceremonially placed in this soil, signifying that the earth is our
mother, as they say. We come from the earth and we go to the earth. But then
the baby is bathed in oil. This oil is in fact the body fat of the totem
animal: the body of the animal has been boiled down until its body fat is
liquid and is then used to bath the child all over. Then the baby is lifted
into the air: signifying that she may go in all directions, following the four
winds, but wherever she goes she always belongs to this place, this land, this
country. Then the baby is washed in water, to remove any evil spirits that may
surround her: and thus she is set free to live, in her place, with her people,
in her name.
As it is explained to me, this ceremony suggests
a life orientation. The child from the outset belongs. Through this ceremony,
the person can speak of their place, their people and their name. This is not
something they can ever remove or lose, even though they may travel, or be
removed from their place and their people. This identity also involves
obligations and relationships and expectations, on all sides. Belonging is a
way of life: it draws the child into that life, and it gives the child that
I would like to suggest to you that Christian
baptism is meant to function in this way: far more, far more than the highly individualistic and
experiential focus that it has in contemporary practice. It is meant to be the most fundamental
expression of our life, our identity, our place in the scheme of things. If there
was some way our churches could recover these dimensions of Christian baptism,
which I believe are inherently biblical, then the church would be transformed
in the character of its life as a missionary community. I would like therefore
to explore the implications of our baptism and some other worship practices, as
a basis for understanding Baptist identity.
It seems to me that we have, in many places, a
crisis in baptism. Recently I asked a group of students (all active in local
church ministry) whether they would see it as a central goal of their ministry
to get people to be baptised, and most said ‘No’, because they found that it
was not meaningful to their people. It isn’t a meaningful thing to do. What has
happened to us that committed Christians, young and old, need to be persuaded
that baptism is a meaningful thing for them to do? To begin with, it suggests
an individualistic understanding of faith, and baptism. I will be baptised if someone can convince me that it is
meaningful or worthwhile for me.
Second, it clearly shows that in many churches people come to faith and
discipleship without baptism being a part of that: it’s a kind of optional
add-on. This contrasts starkly with Acts 2.
41 where we read that all who welcomed Peter’s message were baptised: it
was the thing to do, immediately.
So against a background of a widespread loss of
the significance of baptism, I want to suggest that our baptismal heritage
offers rich resources for understanding the whole of our identity as Christian
communities. I want to suggest that our worship and with it our whole lives as
a communal priesthood offered to God can be understood through the metaphor of
baptismal worship. Baptist communities are called to be immersed, continually,
in the life of God and the mission of God’s Spirit. This is our reasonable
worship (Rom. 12. 1). Our gatherings
for worship and our practices in worship give expression to, and further
stimulus to, our individual and collective lives of worship: the collective
priestly offering of all the believers. It is into this life that we are
baptised. Our baptism is the symbol of this life of immersion in God.
Three dimensions of Baptismal practice:
As a brief articulation of this perspective, I
would like to suggest three dimensions of Baptismal practice which also
indicate the character of our life together as an immersed community.
First, the Christian believer is baptised into a
community of God’s people called the Church.
The baptismal act immerses us in the life of this people of God and
directs us to the life of Christ shared with, among and in this community. The
London Confession of 1644 describes
this group as ‘called and separated from the world, by the word and the Spirit
of God, to the visible profession of the faith of the Gospel, being baptised
into that faith, and joyned to the Lord, and each other, by mutuall agreement,
in the practical injoyment of the Ordinances, commanded by Christ their head
What we see here is that the community of faith,
the Church, is the community which is made alive (regenerated) by Christ,
through the Spirit. Sacramentalists, and some streams of baptistic thought, may
wish to argue that it is baptism itself which effects this regeneration; others
resist this view. Whichever line we take, the point at issue here is that those
who have been baptised are now
participants in a living body, the body of Christ, who is in this paragraph
described as the head and king of this
So we see another of the central biblical images
of the Church here, the body of Christ. Along with it the paragraph also
clearly identifies the medium of Christ’s reign, the Spirit.
It is on this basis that from the outset
Baptists (along with all orthodox Christians) have baptised in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In this act, we are immersed into
the mission of God. Christians are, through baptism, directed to the life of
Christ, not only as an example in the past but, through the Spirit’s enabling,
a way of living in the present. This is an ontological as well as an ethical
claim: the baptised are alive in Christ. The risen Christ lives in them and
they live in him. The Anabaptist ‘Waterland Confession’ sets this out very
clearly, identifying the ‘internal’ spiritual significance of baptism.
whole action of external, visible baptism places before our eyes, testifies and
signifies that Jesus Christ baptizes internally in a laver of regeneration
and renewing of the Holy Spirit, the penitent and believing man: washing
away, through the virtue and merits of his poured out blood, all the spots and
sins of the soul and through the virtue
and operation of the Holy Spirit, which is true, heavenly, spiritual and living
water, [washing away] the internal wickedness of the soul and renders it
heavenly, spiritual and living in true
righteousness and goodness. Moreover baptism directs us to Christ and his holy
office by which in glory he performs that which he places before our eyes, and
testifies concerning its consummation in the hearts of believers and admonishes
us that we should not cleave to external things, but by holy prayers ascend
into heaven and ask from Christ the good indicated in it (baptism): a good
which the Lord Jesus graciously concedes and increases in the hearts of those
who by true faith become partakers of the sacraments.
confession here is that the baptised believers receive from Christ, through the
Spirit, a new and spiritual life. We are immersed into the life of God in
Christ, to reach out for the things Christ sets before us: true righteousness
and goodness. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are presented here as the mediums
through which we participate in this divine life, this new creation.
God forgive us for the times we have presented
baptism (merely) as a necessary thing so that people can vote at the Church
meeting! Baptism is nothing less than
the effective symbol of our individual and collective, once and continual, immersion
in the mission and life of God, laid out before us in Christ as a good news
invitation, and made effective in and through us by God’s Spirit.
So our baptismal practice, in our heritage, has
these three dimensions: we are immersed into the community of God’s people; we are
immersed into the body of Christ; and we are immersed into the life of the
Spirit. These dimensions of baptismal practice (which are our ecclesiology) suggest that we need to recover a more
clearly theological understanding of what is actually happening in baptism.
Here I sense that our concern to avoid elements of sacramentalism has robbed us
a proper focus on what God is doing in the baptismal drama. We have made it so
much something we do; and as Western
culture has become more and more individualist, people have seen their baptism
as something they do, even to the point where individuals arrange their own
baptismal services, choosing locations, time and place, guest lists, music and
readings, and who is to perform the act.
In these situations, baptism has lost its churchly character and become
an optional ritual which people may or may not find meaningful. As a
consequence, the church has lost this baptismal sense of its very identity.
A drama of three actors:
Christian baptism needs to be seen as a drama of
three actors. The main actor in the drama of baptism is God. Baptism is
an act of God, who makes real the power of Christ’s resurrection in the lives
of women and men today.
the Holy Spirit baptizes. We are indeed baptised by the Spirit and in the
Spirit: this is not some separate or subsequent event, this is the very meaning
of baptism. It may be possible to distinguish what the Pentecostals call
water-baptism from spirit-baptism, but this separation is not supported by the
scripture: it makes water baptism into something too human. Baptism for Jesus
is with water and the spirit (John 3.5) or as we see it in Acts people are
baptised with water and immediately
receive the Spirit (Acts 2. 38, and many other instances. The story of Simon
the silversmith in Acts 8. 9 - 24 is surely presented as the exception which
proves the rule.)
God who raised Jesus from the dead, by the agency of the Spirit, is also the
one who raises us, through baptism, and makes the resurrection a reality in our
there comes an individual, who makes the response of repentance, a
genuine turning to God in response to
the good news of resurrection reality.
is a response of faith, which shows itself as trust, hope and obedience. Faith
is not exhausted by the idea of believing, indeed it is so much more that
believing may well by a minor part of it: it is much more a response of
trusting and doing. The response of faith is a life, not just an intellectual
assent. In any event, though, baptism is a response to the message and reality
of God’s redemptive work in Christ, reaching individuals in the here and now
with the reality of Christ’s living presence. The response of faith is the
individual’s positive engagement with that reality.
then thirdly there is the community: people are not baptised by
ministers, they are baptised by the community of faith, by the church. The
congregation does not witness a baptism, as a spectator event: the congregation
is active in the whole drama, bringing that person to baptism, sharing the
faith-commitment, itself affirming what they affirm and receiving what they
receive, and celebrating their new birth, and in so doing the community
receives this new member and commits itself to their care and nurture. This is a
very active role. The community involved in baptism is indeed one of the gifts
of God to every new Christian, a family of faith in which to grow.
All this suggests to me that baptism is a
performative act. It effects orientation to the life of God. Just as Jesus in
his own baptism was nourished by the Spirit as God’s chosen and beloved, and
directed with overtones of the Servant figure in Isaiah towards his mission of
service and suffering, so too our baptism identifies us with God and gathers us
into God’s continuing mission in this world.
One way in which Baptists have tried to express
these implications of baptism, at times in our history, has been through the
laying on of hands. Biblically, the laying on of hands is associated with
calling and commissioning. Amongst early Baptist communities, there was an
interesting dispute about this practice. It is worth considering for a few
In the 17th century, there was a lively debate
and in fact a quite intense division amongst British Baptists about the
practice of laying hands upon all those who were baptised. Barrie White’s
study, The English Baptists of the 17th
Century has a detailed section about this controversy and some of the
attempts to heal the divisions within and between particular congregations over
this matter, and a useful discussion of some of the issues involved.
It is to be remembered that John Smyth had
referred to this act in association with ordination of church officers. The
laying on of hands was intended to identify the officer, in a time of prayer,
designating that person as a leader, but it was also done to assure that person
that God gives to them the power to serve in this ministry.
The act was both identifying and empowering.
General Baptists became particularly interested
in the implications of Hebrews 6. 1 to
8, which they saw as indicating 6 Principles of the Christian’s life. These words follow on from chapter 5, where
we read of the concern that the Christians receive a good foundation in faith.
The writer regrets that they still need milk rather than solid food, but urges
them in Chapter 6 to hold onto the sure foundation, because (it suggests) once
this is lost it is impossible to restore. Here then are the six principles:
repentance from dead works, faith towards God, the doctrine of baptisms, the
laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
The General Baptists differed from the Particular
Baptists only in the fourth, the laying on of hands. Some Particular Baptists
did this, while almost all General Baptists did. Laying hands on the baptised
is specified in the ‘Orthodox Creed’ of the General Baptists of 1679. In 1674, Thomas Grantham wrote about this principle
arguing that in not laying on hands in this way the churches were neglecting
‘the Sealing Spirit of Promise’. As Barrie White observes, General Baptists
saw the imposition of hands as an act which confirmed both the believer and the
church’s commitment to obedience to Christ and the pattern for the church which
they saw laid down in Hebrews 6. To commit themselves fully to this way was
also to draw upon the Spirit’s presence, so they argued that not to lay hands
in this way was to deny themselves some measure of the Spirit’s presence and
power. This explanation is supported by William Rider’s tract, ‘Laying on of
hands asserted’, (1656).
While I cannot here pursue the course of this
controversy, in which incidentally the Particular position (opposing the laying
on of hands on all the baptised) seems to have won out, I think it is worth
asking what really was at stake. It is not clear to me that it is simply about
a second element in the process of becoming a church member, as H. Leon McBeth
suggests, though it is something like that.
The laying on of hands, at the time of baptism,
was seen to invoke the Spirit and thus to express the seal of the new covenant
upon the new believer. It did not mean that those whose hands touched the
person in some literal sense mediated the Spirit. Only God gives the Spirit:
the Spirit moves where it wills, not where we say it will. But at least one of
the issues here was whether the seal of the Spirit was for all those called to
faith in Christ, as witnessed in Baptism.
On this both Particular and General Baptists were agreed. While the
Particular Baptists reserved the laying on of hands for the ordination of
ministers, this did not imply that only these people received the Spirit.
So what did this sign mean? Here I run the risk
of over-interpreting events and movements of the distant past and attributing
theological meanings which may not have been there. Nonetheless, I think we can
infer some things from the significance given to this practice. To say that the
Spirit is given to the newly baptised is to say that they now live in God and
are gifted and called for this life. It is also to say that each member of the
community can look to this person as an expression of God’s presence amongst
us. It is to say that this person has some gift from God, for us—which we must
receive, value and use. And it is to say that this person also has a
responsibility to contribute their gift to the life of our community. In short,
what is signified here is a notion of how the Spirit gives life to the whole
church. Each person is gifted, in some way, and they are invited and given
scope to speak in the meetings because they have been baptised into Christ and
have, as Hebrews 6 puts it, received a sure foundation and a taste of the
goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come.
Much earlier, General Baptists had been
ridiculed because their preachers were not educated types: in 1645 a tract had
criticised Baptist preachers such as ‘an honest glover … a reverend Taylor
(tailor?) … a learned scholler … a renowned cobbler, … a button-maker, and
divers others’. In 1647, Edmund Chillenden issued a paper,
‘Preaching without Ordination; or a Treatise proving the lawfulness of all
Persons to preach and set forth the Gospell, though no minister, nor any other
Officer in the Church of God.’
What these things signify, I suggest, is that General Baptists saw the gifts of God’s word coming to them through many lives and many people, and it was for this reason that their meetings invited more than one speaker and left open the opportunity for others to respond. The laying on of hands signified this radical openness to God’s gift in and through each other and a continuing expectation that the gifts of the Word and the ‘powers of the age to come’ really were with them.
An interesting historical and theological
question is why the Particular Baptists opposed this practice (remembering that
initially not all rejected it, but by and large it was strongly opposed). The
Particularist position seems to have been focussed on the office of the
Messenger or Teaching Elder, who was to be called by the local congregation to
this ministry and ordained by the laying on of hands. Though some groups denied
this, most held that this ordination and laying on of hands was, as the
Particular Baptists of 1704 said, ‘an ordinance of Jesus Christ still in
So whereas the Particular position did not deny the right of all to speak in
the meetings, nor the gift of the Spirit to all, they reserved the laying on of
hands for the recognition and edification of those specifically called to the
ministry of teaching and preaching. By 1693 the Western Association, meeting in
Bristol, affirmed that the Lord’s Supper and Baptism should be administered by
an ordained elder, but they allowed (recognising that they must not
limit the Holy One) that this might be done by one who was called by the
congregation but had not yet been ordained by the laying on of hands.
So what do we make of all this? In many places,
until recent times, Baptists have not laid hands on the newly baptised. It is
interesting to note, however, that the practice has been re-introduced in a
wide variety of contexts, perhaps as the influence of Pentecostal movements has
come into Baptist churches.
In my own local church, hands are laid upon people leaving the church to go to
another place, usually as a sign of commissioning and blessing. I think a case
can be made for the re-introduction of the practice at baptism. I am not sure that we would continue to
exegete Hebrews 6 as offering us 6 principles of Christian faith, in the way
the early Baptists did; nor perhaps would we see this as an issue of sufficient
worth to cause dividing from our
fellow-Baptists. But there is surely something of great importance in this
historic practice. We are baptised into the missionary life of God in the real
world, here and now. We are invited to have a part in the mission of the
Spirit, and this part is mediated to, and through, each believer. We are each
given a gift, for the whole mission of the church. And we are, each of us, a
gift to and for the whole mission of the church. This is ‘laid upon us’ and for
this we are accountable.
In passing, it is worth noting an interesting
personal anecdote concerning the laying on of hands, which illustrates the
unhappy separation of baptism and the reception of the Spirit from the
corporate life of the church. In April 1890, as a young man of 19 years, the
celebrated F W Boreham was baptised at
the ‘Old Baptist Union Church’ in Stockwell. This took place without him
being a participant in the life of that church, or at that stage any Baptist
church. The pastor urged him to receive the Holy Spirit as hands were laid upon
him. Boreham records in his autobiography: ‘it really did seem to me that a
gracious tide of spiritual power poured itself into my soul, and, for weeks
afterwards, I lived in such ecstasy that I could scarcely believe that the
earth on which I was walking was the dusty old earth to which I had always been
accustomed.’ (By the time Boreham went to Spurgeon’s College the following
year, he was a member of the Kenyon Baptist church.)
There are some critical issues here, though, for
Baptist identity and witness today. One of these is the question of why this
discussion of all the baptised as equipped for ministry in and with the Spirit
was so quickly limited to the question
of teaching and preaching in the context of the gathered church. This is the question
of the equipment of all the saints for the work of ministry not only in the
gathered life of the community but in all the expressions of Christian life, in
citizenship, in home and family, in working life and in neighbourhood. Today,
we see our lives as expressed in many different areas. We even call them
different lives: we say, ‘my work life’ or ‘my home life’, and (sadly) ‘my
spiritual life’, as if each of these is a life apart from the others.
The theology of baptism and the early idea of
laying on of hands, suggested above, call for an understanding of our life and
identity as Christians to be worked out in all aspects, in work and home, in
citizenship and sporting clubs, and in the gathered life of the church. All
these should be one, integrated and holistic expression of our baptism—our
immersion in the life of God, the creator and living Lord of all the world.
Another critical issue here concerns whose hands might be laid upon the newly
baptised. In the context of ordinations, in other traditions, the idea of
apostolic succession fairly clearly defines whose hands are laid. Those who
ordain are those already ordained. In the early Baptist ordination of deacons
and pastors, the hands were those of the elders and, commonly, pastors visiting
from neighbouring congregations. There seem to be some vestiges here of the
older ideas of office and apostolic succession. If today we wished to restore
the practice of laying hands on all the baptised, to express the inclusion,
gifting and responsibility of all in the
mission of God, it is a vital question whose hands would represent the
whole community in this act.
One interesting question is whether today we
have any other expressions, in our worship,
of these theological dimensions of our identity and mission. It might be
suggested that the practice called ‘the right hand of fellowship’, extended to
new members when they are ‘received’ into membership, is the successor to the
laying on of hands. This would continue the view that the laying on of hands was
part of the process of becoming a member, in which perhaps the members of the
church affirm (by a second act) what has been done by God in the first act. I
suspect in fact that this has been the trend, implying that being baptised
involves a person’s relationship with God, while joining the church involves
their relationship with other Christians. All too easily, this has made joining
the church optional. To say this, however, implies that the church is not
involved in the act of baptism. Furthermore, it ignores the clear association
of the act of laying on of hands with the invocation and mediation of the
Spirit. On the positive side, the right hand of fellowship expresses trust and
encouragement to new members, recognising them as gifts to the local church and
assuring them of the continuing support and prayer of their fellow members. It
is worth noting that many churches now also pass the peace, an act in which
people shake hands to express that collective fellowship in Christ. So this act
can be seen as a continuous affirmation of the symbolic meaning of the right
hand of fellowship first extended upon baptism and entry into membership.
It seems to me that the most important question
to consider here is how the gathered life of the church, including and most
importantly the worship service, acts of baptism and the laying on of hands,
gives expression to the priesthood of all believers. This idea is perhaps the
most misunderstood of all in our heritage, especially where it is taken to
mean, as one commentator put it a generation ago, ‘getting the laity to help
the clergy with their work’.
with an outright refusal of the distinction between clergy and lay, I would
suggest that we need to re-think the idea of the priesthood of all believers in
such a way as to recognise, with the
earliest Baptists, that all Christians are called into ministry, each of us and
all of us, as one life together in and with God. This is not a priesthood of
each Christian, but of all. There is one, collective priesthood in which we
each have a contribution.
I think it vital to say that the priesthood of all believers does not mean that
anyone can do anything, in the ministry of the church, totally, nor specifically
in the gathered activities such as worship. The priesthood of all believers
does not mean that everyone is gifted for everything; nor that some are gifted
for everything (despite their messianic pretensions). Rather it means that all
are gifted, and that together there is a ministry which is offered to God as an
expression of our life in Christ, our one great high priest. We are together
called to be ‘a royal priesthood, a holy nation’ (I Peter 2. 9).
in explaining what this means for Baptist life, I find it helpful to
distinguish the gathered life and the dispersed life of the local congregation.
The gathered life of the church includes all its organisational expressions,
the groups and meetings and missions and machinations, while the dispersed life
includes all that the people do and are, at home and work, at leisure and in
the wider community.
want also to argue very firmly for the importance of the dispersed life as the
primary context for ministry and worship. The priesthood of all believers is
about offering the whole of our lives, and our whole life as a people of God,
terms of the worship of the gathered community, however, the priesthood of all
believers, understood in this way, is quite crucial. It is not about who can do
what. Rather, it is about whose life is mentioned and challenged and prayed for
and offered in worship.
as we asked the critical question, ‘Whose hands?’, in the laying on of hands,
or the right hand of fellowship, so too it is a critical question whether the
worship service is in fact the gathering of the whole lives of all the people.
If we see our whole lives as immersed in the mission and life of God, then the
worship service must be a gathering and naming of that whole life, individually
and collectively, in prayers of thanksgiving and of supplication. Our preaching
and praying will be acts of discernment and expectation: seeking where God is
and what God is doing, and pleading God’s blessing for those we know who are in
need, in prison, in suffering and confusion, or praising God with those who are
enjoying health and success in their
endeavours. In such worship there must be prophetic challenge and positive
inspiration, and a sending of all in the assurance that we do not take Christ
into the world, rather we meet him, we go with him, alive in the Spirit. In
short, if our lives are shaped by our baptism, if we are immersed continually
in the life of God, then the worship service will be the gathering and the
focussing of who we are, in all aspects: it will be the offering of all that we
are, to the glory of God.
 ‘The London Confession, 1644’, reproduced in W L
Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions of Faith,
Revised edition, Valley Forge: Judson Press, 1969. Section XXXIII, p165.
 W J McGlothlin’s translation of the 1580 Confession
of the ‘Waterlanders’ is reproduced in Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions of Faith. The section quoted is Article XXXII.
Lumpkin, op cit, pp60-61.
 The argument sketched here has been published in my
essay entitled, ‘Future Church - a Crisis in Baptism?’, in Ken Manley (ed), Future Church: A Baptist Discussion,
Hawthorn, Victoria: Baptist Union of Victoria, 1996, pp81 - 91.
 Here it is worth noting that Jesus is the chosen one,
affirmed as such in the baptismal narratives. So too, 1 Peter 2. 8 speaks of
Christians as a chosen people. This element is not considered in our later
discussion of a holy nation and royal priesthood, but would need to be
considered in a more comprehensive study. The difficulties of the exclusive and
possible supercessionist implications of this idea need to be addressed. In the
context of the baptismal narratives, the stress of the expression seems to be
more on the situation of the chosen one as beloved, nourished and held precious
to God, rather than any implications of preference over or exclusion of
 B R White, The
English Baptists of the Seventeenth Century, Second edition (A History
of the English Baptists, Volume 1, General Editor, Roger Hayden), London:
The Baptist Historical Society, 1996. pp38 - 40.
 W T Whitley, The
Works of John Smyth, Vol. 11, p388, cited in A. C. Underwood, A History of the English Baptists,
London: Kingsgate Press, 1947. p 36.
 Thomas Grantham, The
Fourth Principle of Christs Doctrine Vindicated, quoted in Underwood, op
 For a discussion of how this controversy was played
out, and eventually faded out, in the subsequent century, see Raymond
Brown, The English Baptists of the 18th Century, (A History of the English Baptists, Volume 1, General Editor, B R
White), London: The Baptist Historical Society, 1986. pp 44 - 48.
 H. Leon McBeth, The
Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness, Nashville: Broadman
Press, 1987, p195.
 This section is quoted by Underwood, from Louise F.
Brown, The Political Activities of the
Baptists and the Fifth Monarchy Men in England During the Interregnum,
(Washington, 1912) p5, n7. Underwood, op cit, p86.
 Underwood, op cit, p75.
 Underwood, op cit, p131.
 Anthony Cross makes this observation also, in Baptism and the Baptists: Theology and practice in twentieth century Britain, Carlisle: Paternoster, 2000. p.405. Cross observes that the laying on of hands in one situation was explained as ‘the recognition of the seal of the Spirit and commissioning for work in the priesthood of all believers’.
 F W Boreham, My
Pilgrimage: An autobiography. London: Epworth Press, 1940. p88.
 A strong biblical argument for the priesthood of the whole church is presented by John A T Robinson in On Being the Church in the World, Chapter Four, ‘The Priesthood of the Church’, London: SCM Press, 1960. There is a helpful Baptist discussion of this idea in Nathan Nettleton’s unpublished Masters thesis The Liturgical Expression of Baptist Identity, Chapter 11. (Melbourne College of Divinity, 2001).