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The Didache #42131
Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:00 PM
Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:00 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 551
Eastern US
john Offline OP
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john  Offline OP
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I've been reading through some of the early church documents recently and am now reading through the Didache. Many of the verses seem similar or almost identical to those in the Bible, but there are equally many verses that are clearly not Biblical. Also, except for the sections on Communion, Christ is not really mentioned, and even in the sections on Communion it is questionable to me whether the writer(s) of the Didache had a proper belief about who Christ is and what he accomplished.

Although an open-ended question, I would be curious to hear others' thoughts about the Didache, e.g., is it truly characteristic of the early church, how useful is it for us to study today, does it handle Christ appropriately, was it influenced by the various heresies that were common in the 1st century, etc.

To me it seems like a very legalistic document that contains only glimpses of the Gospel, although a person I was discussing it with said that the document was written with the Gospel as an assumed starting point and was intended to be more practical for daily life (an argument I can't really agree with).

Thanks,
John

Re: The Didache [Re: john] #42134
Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:55 PM
Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:55 PM
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Virginia
CovenantInBlood Offline
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John,

The Didache, in my opinion, is a bit of a mixed bag. Much of the first section about the Two Ways is simply quoting or paraphrasing Scripture, but some of it can make you scratch your head. It is evidently a Jewish-Christian text on the whole, and the understanding of Communion is less than adequate. Interestingly the document does provide support the Lord's Day Sabbath & for the twofold offices of deacon & bishop/elder. Curiously it appears to support immersion in running water as the preferred mode of baptism, but it also provides for affusion (pouring). How representative this is of the early church seems difficult, at best, to determine.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
Re: The Didache [Re: CovenantInBlood] #42140
Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:43 AM
Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:43 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
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Eastern US
john Offline OP
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Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
The Didache, in my opinion, is a bit of a mixed bag. Much of the first section about the Two Ways is simply quoting or paraphrasing Scripture, but some of it can make you scratch your head. It is evidently a Jewish-Christian text on the whole, and the understanding of Communion is less than adequate. Interestingly the document does provide support the Lord's Day Sabbath & for the twofold offices of deacon & bishop/elder. Curiously it appears to support immersion in running water as the preferred mode of baptism, but it also provides for affusion (pouring). How representative this is of the early church seems difficult, at best, to determine.


Kyle,

I appreciate your comments. I've been in a discussion with some people about the usefulness of using the Didache as a study tool for Christian growth and have been trying to clarify my on thoughts on the subject. As you say, it does contain a lot of head-scratching material.

John

Re: The Didache [Re: john] #42158
Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:02 PM
Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:02 PM
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Devon, England
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grace2U Offline
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I would not look to the Didache or indeed any of the Church Fathers for help with Bible doctrines. They don't agree with each other, and, more importantly, they don't agree with the Bible.

The Didache is interesting, however, when it reveals how First Century Greek-speaking Christians understood the word 'baptizo.'
Quote
7:1 And concerning baptism, baptize in this way: After stating all these things beforehand, baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in living water.
7:2 And if you do not have living water, baptize into other water, and if you are not able to baptize in cold water then do so in warm.
7:3 And if you do not have both, pour water on the head thrice in the name of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit.

Notice here that you can baptize in running water; you can baptize in cold water or warm water, but you cannot baptize by pouring, because that would be a non sequitur. Baptizo means 'dipping' or 'immersion.' It doesn't mean 'pouring' or 'sprinkling.' Pouring is allowed by the Didache, but it doesn't call it 'baptism.' grin

Steve


Itinerant Preacher & Bible Teacher in Merrie England.
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Re: The Didache [Re: grace2U] #42162
Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:39 PM
Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:39 PM
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Peter Offline
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Originally Posted by grace2U
I would not look to the Didache or indeed any of the Church Fathers for help with Bible doctrines. They don't agree with each other, and, more importantly, they don't agree with the Bible.

The Didache is interesting, however, when it reveals how First Century Greek-speaking Christians understood the word 'baptizo.'
Quote
7:1 And concerning baptism, baptize in this way: After stating all these things beforehand, baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in living water.
7:2 And if you do not have living water, baptize into other water, and if you are not able to baptize in cold water then do so in warm.
7:3 And if you do not have both, pour water on the head thrice in the name of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit.

Notice here that you can baptize in running water; you can baptize in cold water or warm water, but you cannot baptize by pouring, because that would be a non sequitur. Baptizo means 'dipping' or 'immersion.' It doesn't mean 'pouring' or 'sprinkling.' Pouring is allowed by the Didache, but it doesn't call it 'baptism.' grin

Steve

ranton
Really I am getting tired of this Steve. Let's quote the entire section on baptism from the Didache shall we?
Quote
Didache 7:1
But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize. Having first recited all these things, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living (running) water.

Didache 7:2
But if thou hast not living water, then baptize in other water; and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm.

Didache 7:3
But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Didache 7:4
But before the baptism let him that baptizeth and him that is baptized fast, and any others also who are able; and thou shalt order him that is baptized to fast a day or two before.


As you can plainly see when the entire section is quoted affusion is a method that was employed if the other methods were not available. You know Steve picking and choosing the text is the method of someone with poor hermeneutic skills. Or as Pilgrim is want to say: "A text without context is just a pretext" Please don't embarrass the Baptists on this board. rantoff


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
Re: The Didache [Re: Peter] #42163
Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:04 AM
Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:04 AM
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Devon, England
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grace2U Offline
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Yes, but he does not say, "If you do not have both, baptize by pouring." He couldn't, because baptism is dipping. I fully agree that when sufficient water was not available, pouring (affusion) was regarded by the Didache as acceptable. That, however, is not the point I was making.

FWIW, in my church, we will accept into membership folk who have been 'christened' as infants and do not feel it right to be 'baptized' again. My point is solely concerning the Greek.

Steve


Itinerant Preacher & Bible Teacher in Merrie England.
1689er.
Blogging at
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Re: The Didache [Re: grace2U] #42164
Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:54 AM
Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:54 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,526
NH, USA
Pilgrim Offline

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Originally Posted by grace2U
Yes, but he does not say, "If you do not have both, baptize by pouring." He couldn't, because baptism is dipping.

nope See here: The Mode of Baptism, by John Murray.


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Re: The Didache [Re: Pilgrim] #42166
Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:06 AM
Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:06 AM
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Devon, England
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grace2U Offline
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by grace2U
Yes, but he does not say, "If you do not have both, baptize by pouring." He couldn't, because baptism is dipping.

nope See here: The Mode of Baptism, by John Murray.

I am aware of the arguments of Prof. Murray. Suffice it to say that I don't find them convincing.

However,in the light of other comments, I have now taken a Trappist vow on the subject of baptism unless my views are specificaly solicited.

Steve


Itinerant Preacher & Bible Teacher in Merrie England.
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Blogging at
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Re: The Didache [Re: grace2U] #42167
Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:40 PM
Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:40 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,040
Virginia
CovenantInBlood Offline
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Virginia
Steve,

Clearly pouring is considered a mode of Christian baptism in the Didache. This is simply beyond dispute. That it elides the term "baptize" in 7:3 has to do with word economy, not with baptizo supposedly meaning "dip."


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.

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