I catch a lot of flack when I say paedobaptism is invalid and I catch more flack when I say if you were not baptized by immersion upon a profession of faith you cannot take part in the Lord’s Supper. Grimes explains the view held by Strict & Particular Baptists very clearly. What is meant by “alien immersion?”
By the term “Alien Immersion” is meant immersions performed outside of Baptist churches, by persons who are in no way connected with them.
We come now to the doctrinal statement of the English Baptists as found in their Confession of Faith. We take the first (1643) and last (1689) of the Calvinistic Confessions of the seventeenth century. The first of these has this to say upon this point: Art. 41 –“The person designed by Christ to dispense baptism, the scripture holds forth to
be a disciple, it being nowhere tied to a particular church officer or person extraordinarily sent, the commission enjoining the administration, being given to them as considered disciples, being men able to preach the gospel.”
The latter of these (1689) says:
Art. 28 – “Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.”
The former of these was adopted by seven Baptist churches in London ; and the latter by more than one hundred “Baptized” (Baptist) churches in England and Wales .
If language has any meaning it seems apparent that in both of these articles the administration of baptism is confined to the pales of the church, and must be performed by the authority of the same. In the first, it must be a disciple and also it must be a man capable of preaching the gospel. In the latter it confines it not only to the church, but to those called and set apart for that specific purpose. The seeming difference may be explained in this way: When the first Confession was adopted the clergy, of the State Church , had made themselves very obnoxious, and had assumed such authority as to create a prejudice with the Baptists against anything that savored of clerical domination. This article, no doubt, was intended to assert church authority on the one hand and rebuke an arrogant clergy on the other. When the latter Confession was put forth matters had changed up, and assumed a somewhat normal attitude. It would be hard to get stronger and plainer language than is found in the Confession of 1689.
But, the question comes back: “Did the framers of these Confessions intend to confine the administration of baptism to the authority and agency of Baptist churches? Were they Baptists of the strict type?” This must be answered in the affirmative.
There was a living link which binds the two Confessions together. The name of William Kiffin is appended to both these Confessions. He was the first to sign the Confession of 1643, and the second to sign the one of 1689. He was a leader of Baptist thought in his day. When you would learn the doctrinal standing of William Kiffin and Hansard Knollys, you wold know the doctrinal caste of the Baptists of England in the seventeenth century. Concerning Kiffin we find the following in Cramp’s Church History: “The young man (Wm. Kiffin) became an independent inquirer, prepared to follow the leadings of truth regardless of consequences. Observing that some excellent ministers had gone into voluntary banishment rather than conform to the Church of England, he was induced to examine the points in dispute between that church and her opponents. He had been five years a member of the Independent church, then under the care of Mr. Lathrop, when, with many others, he withdrew and joined the Baptist church, the first in England of the Particular Baptist order, of which Mr. Spilsbury was pastor. Two years after that, in 1640, a difference of opinion respecting the propriety of allowing ministers who had not been immersed to preach to them –in which Mr. Kiffin took the negative side- occasioned a separation. Mr. Kiffin and those who agreed with him seceded, and formed another church, which met in Devonshire Square . He was chosen pastor, and held that office until his death, in 1701 (sixty-one years), one of the longest pastorates on record.” –Baptist History (Cramp), p. 447, and Both sides, p. 22.
Such was the type of the Baptists who framed the London Confession of Faith. He and his church did not only reject the administration of the ordinances at the hands of unbaptized ministers, but made the preaching to them of such a minister a test of fellowship, sufficient to create a division in the church. Can any one conclude for one moment that such Baptists would tolerate alien immersion? or frame a Confession of Faith in any way favorable to it? or that they would even wink at it?
We would not undertake to say that there were not some individuals in England who held connection with Baptist churches that would tolerate alien immersion. And that they have grown more loose during the last century is admitted. What we mean to say is that the Baptists of England and Wales during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as a denomination, stood unflinchingly against all such innovations as alien immersion and mixed communion. [source]