Witsius on the judgment of baptism

‘Witsius focused on baptism by immersion and wrote that water has the power to drown and suffocate. He said that what is true of water is also true of the blood and Spirit of Chris, in that both mortify the old man. Witsius drew on Gregory of Nazianzus, who called baptism the “deluge of sin.” Witsius elaborates on the theme of baptism as drowning judgment and states that immersion in water represents the “tremendous abyss of divine justice” that Christ suffered. As the person goes under the water and remains for a moment, it represents the burial of Christ, which was His lowest degree of humiliation, “when he was thought to be wholly cut off.” Lastly, when the person rises out of the water, it represents the resurrection of Christ. This imagery, argues Witsius, comes from Romans 6:3-4.’

– J.V. Fesko, Water, Word and Spirit

I don’t see this as necessarily an argument for immersion as a mode of baptism. This may support the validity of immersion, but the point is the theological significance of the external matter of the water.

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