I enjoy reading John Calvin on baptism. The other day I read something that has stuck in the back of my head, so I thought I’d share it and see what you think. Here is Calvin’s comments on who should administer the sacrament of baptism.
It is here also pertinent to observe, that it is improper for private individuals to take upon themselves the administration of baptism; for it, as well as the dispensation of the Supper, is part of the ministerial office. For Christ did not give command to any men or women whatever to baptise, but to those whom he had appointed apostles. And when, in the administration of the Supper, he ordered his disciples to do what they had seen him do (he having done the part of a legitimate dispenser), he doubtless meant that in this they should imitate his example.
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997). Institutes IV, xv, 20
I feel like it has become more common these days for churches to allow believers to baptize other believers, for example fathers baptizing their children. Personally, I like the idea of “protecting” the sacraments so that they don’t become “common.” But, I also wonder if this is an area that falls into the “priesthood of all believers.”
So, what do you think? Can any believer baptize? What scriptural support do you see for/against?
Photo Credit: Jeremy Nelson