I’m a pastor, doing some baptism studies at the moment, & one person wants to know when & why sprinkling became so popular. any thoughts?
In the first two centuries A.D. the sprinkling started with the idea of “Baptismal Regeneration”. If you aren’t familiar with this term it is widely used today in another form by those that say that baptism is necessary for salvation. Such an idea is not backed by scripture. If it were, the thief would have had to leave the cross and be baptized before the Lord could have taken him to paradise. Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
The method arose out of convenience also in these same centuries and seems to be retroactive to the baptism of infants. Also it was said that sprinkling could be used for those who were bed ridden and couldn’t step into a pool of water to be baptized. And some historians don’t place this until later centuries. Here is a quote from a short paragraph from Robinson’s Ecclesiastical Researches. “During the first three centuries, congregations all over the East subsisted in separate independent bodies, unsupported by government and consequently without any secular power over one another. All this time they were baptized churches, and though all the fathers of the first four ages, down to Jerome (A.D. 370), were of Greece, Syria and Africa, and though they give great numbers of histories of the baptism of adults, yet there is not one of the baptism of a child till the year 370.” (Compendium of Baptist History, Shackelford, p. 43; Vedder, p. 50; Christian, p, 31; Orchard, p. 50, etc.)
Whenever it came about the method is just not backed by scripture and those that practice this usually also admit this fact.