Previous Questions and AnswersIs foot-washing an ordinance to be practiced by the local church?
What is your belief on foot washing and predestination?
Foot washing is practiced by some churches as an actual ordinance of the church to be observed just like the Lords Supper and Baptism. We do not practice foot washing as an ordinance for the following reasons.Baptism is an ordinance of the local church to be observed upon new Christians. It is commanded in the Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 says, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, BAPTIZING THEM in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the association of the Christian with that. Romans 6:3-8 says, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him." Baptism associates the Christian with dying to sin and living a new life for Jesus Christ. That ordinance is only to be observed once as soon as possible after a person gets saved. Ephesians 4:5 says, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." The only reason that a person should ever be re-baptized, is if that person was not truly born again when he or she was baptized the first time (Acts 8:36-38, "The eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him."); or if the baptism was done in the wrong manner, a person should be re-baptized (like being sprinkled or poured upon); or, if the baptism was done by an unscriptural person (like a woman preacher), or by an unscriptural church (like a church that is in doctrinal error), then the baptism should be repeated in a scriptural manner. But baptism is only to be done once in a scriptural manner, and then not repeated. (Please also see the Baptism Bible Course at "http://www.pathwaynet.com/libertyb/biblecrs/baptism/baptism1.htm" for more information). In the case of the ordinance of the Lords Supper, the Lord tells us to repeat it as often as we want. I Corinthians 11:17-34 says, "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come." You will notice that in the case of baptism and the Lords Supper, there are definite instructions. Baptism is to be observed once, and in a specific manner. The Lords Supper can be observed often, but in a very specific manner as stated in the above passage. When it comes to footwashing, there are no such clear instructions given. John 13:3-17 says, "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." If footwashing is an ordinance of the church, then how often is it to be done? It never says. If footwashing is an ordinance, who is to do the washing? Just the preacher? Just the preacher and the deacons? Everyone? It does not say. In what manner is the footwashing to be done? Is the one doing the washing supposed to lay aside his garments like Jesus did, and come out in front of the whole congregation just wrapped in a towel? Are only mens feet to be washed, like in the above passage? What about the women and children? There are just too many things which are not clearly spelled out about the matter of washing feet, to make it a clear church ordinance. The passage seems to be given for THE EXAMPLE of being humble leaders, and truly caring for one another. "So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I HAVE GIVEN YOU AN EXAMPLE, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." As to the matter of predestination, please see "http://www.pathwaynet.com/libertyb/question/prequest/predestn.htm" for that answer.
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