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Is foot-washing scriptural?

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As I was researching something else, I ran across a website about Primitive Baptists. It had a Frequently asked Q & A about Primitive Baptists. My question is, is the practice of foot-washing scriptural and if so why don't IFBs practice foot washing - or maybe your church does practice it? I have never been in a church that could be called "foot-washing baptists."

John explains that, at the end of the Last Supper, the Lord began to wash the feet of the disciples. After performing this great act of humility, the Lord said, 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 unto you (Jn 13:14-15). Primitive Baptists understand that this commandment is to be followed in literal detail as well as in spirit. Many will dismiss these actions of Jesus as being no more than symbolic gestures; however, these same persons understand the last supper to be a literal example. We fail to see the consistency in this. If we are to take one as a symbolic gesture, we must take the other as being such also. Conversely, if the Lord intended literal observance of the last supper, then literal observance must have been intended for feet washing as well. The scriptures leave no doubt that the last supper is to be literally observed (I Cor 10:16-21, I Cor 11:23-30). I Tim 5:9-10 indicates that feet washing was practiced by the New Testament church. Neither this text nor the example of Jesus can be dismissed as a cultural phenomenon since texts describing the cultural practice of feet washing have individuals washing their own feet (Gen 43:24, Judges 19:21, Song 5:3). Unfortunately, such plain reasoning is easily obscured by human vanity, yet it was this very vanity that Jesus would have us destroy in the act of feet washing.

Question: Why do Primitive Baptists wash feet during communion?









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The foot washing was done as an example to show that we should each be the servant of one another. The point of the foot washing was not that we should wash one anothers feet, but rather that we should be willing to humble ourselves and give of ourselves for the sake of others. We are not to think we are "too good" to perform this or that service for others or to believe we are entitled to have others do for us what we wouldn't be willing to do for them.

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Some denominations see the example of foot washing as a third ordinance of the church. Although early Christians washed feet as an act of hospitality (1 Tim. 5;10), they never practiced this as a church ordinance. The real meaning of Jesus' action was twofold. First, washing feet was a slave's task, so Jesus washed the disciples' feet out of humility, attempting to teach them the principle of servant leadership. Second, foot washing symbolized cleansing. Although Christians are clean, having been "bathed" with the washing of regeneration (Tit. 3:5), sins committed after salvation "soil our feet," hindering our fellowship with God and renewing the need for a cleansing to restore fellowship. When a Christian senses sin in his life, he should confess this sin to God, who will forgive and cleanse (1 Jn. 1:9). Jesus said, "He that is washed" - referring to salvation - "needeth not save to wash his feet" - cleansing for renewed fellowship. He could not get saved again - "Ye are clean."

Love,
Madeline

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When I was in the Mennonite Church we practiced footwashing alongside communion (well we washed feet first~men and women were separated for this~then did communion) and found it to be an enriching experience. They use scriptures for the ordinance, but it is not a required practice.

Also they practiced the "Holy Kiss". Yeah, I sorta passed on that one myself opting instead for the "Holy Hug" :cool Seeing two old Mennonite farmers kiss each other on the lips was kinda odd for me the first time I saw it. The older generation would pair off with each other and we younger generation would pair off for this during the feetwashing. The old timers would kiss when they greeted each other on Sunday mornings.

Now in the Old Order Mennonites I guess they're still a kissin'.

Hey, Paul said greet each other with a holy kiss, so they take it literally.

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When I was in the Mennonite Church we practiced footwashing alongside communion (well we washed feet first~men and women were separated for this~then did communion) and found it to be an enriching experience. They use scriptures for the ordinance, but it is not a required practice.

Also they practiced the "Holy Kiss". Yeah, I sorta passed on that one myself opting instead for the "Holy Hug" :cool Seeing two old Mennonite farmers kiss each other on the lips was kinda odd for me the first time I saw it. The older generation would pair off with each other and we younger generation would pair off for this during the feetwashing. The old timers would kiss when they greeted each other on Sunday mornings.

Now in the Old Order Mennonites I guess they're still a kissin'.

Hey, Paul said greet each other with a holy kiss, so they take it literally.


A lot of conservative Mennonites still practice the holy kiss, but not all do so on the lips, many do so on the cheek.

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Foot washing is not seen in the early church as are baptism (a specific command) and the Lord's Supper (another specific command).


Technically, one could say that the "holy kiss" is a command. :Green

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Technically, one could say that the "holy kiss" is a command. :Green


Sure, just like "Take Mark, and bring him with thee...." What if I don't know a guy named Mark? :Green

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Sure, just like "Take Mark, and bring him with thee...." What if I don't know a guy named Mark? :Green


Well...the holy kiss was a command right? Given to a church right? So where does that leave us now?

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Okay now this is the FIRST time I have ever heard anyone say anything about a "holy kiss." Not being a "touchy-feely" type of person I never knew this was a commandment in the Bible! I generally greet people with a polite handshake or a light hug, and a cheek kiss if they are someone special to me. I wonder if this is where the custom of kissing the hand came from?

Romans 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.
2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.
1 Thessalonians 5:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.

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Some denominations see the example of foot washing as a third ordinance of the church. Although early Christians washed feet as an act of hospitality (1 Tim. 5;10)' date=' they never practiced this as a church ordinance. The real meaning of Jesus' action was twofold. First, washing feet was a slave's task, so Jesus washed the disciples' feet out of [b']humility, attempting to teach them the principle of servant leadership. Second, foot washing symbolized cleansing. Although Christians are clean, having been "bathed" with the washing of regeneration (Tit. 3:5), sins committed after salvation "soil our feet," hindering our fellowship with God and renewing the need for a cleansing to restore fellowship. When a Christian senses sin in his life, he should confess this sin to God, who will forgive and cleanse (1 Jn. 1:9). Jesus said, "He that is washed" - referring to salvation - "needeth not save to wash his feet" - cleansing for renewed fellowship. He could not get saved again - "Ye are clean."

Love,
Madeline


Have you ever written any of the articles for Wikipedia? If you haven't maybe you should start! I mean that in a GOOD way! :thumb :clap:

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Romans 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.


How is this a command for the modern day church? :puzzled:

There were some personal things written at the end of each epistle, I don't believe those were commands.

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The Enterprise Baptists (my MIL's church is part of them) practice footwashing. She enjoys it greatly, and feels that we are sinning because we don't practice it. My husband has tried to explain to her that this was an example (very well put, BTW, Madeline!), and that it is not a sin to do, but it is not necessary to practice, either.

We have some friends who are missionaries in Belarus, and he said that when he first got there, he was greeted with a "holy kiss" by one of the brethren there - smack on the lips. Ugghh! :lol: In a lot of places, greeting with a kiss is done by air kissing both sides of the face...that would be more tolerable to me. But I don't think it was included as a command for us to do!

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Okay now this is the FIRST time I have ever heard anyone say anything about a "holy kiss." Not being a "touchy-feely" type of person I never knew this was a commandment in the Bible! I generally greet people with a polite handshake or a light hug, and a cheek kiss if they are someone special to me. I wonder if this is where the custom of kissing the hand came from?

Romans 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.
2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.
1 Thessalonians 5:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.


Yup those are the verses...but we can explain them away as "cultural"? That's what Quakers do with baptism, that is was something just for "back then". It's also how the covering (which the plain mennonites still wear) is explained away.

So we can pride ourselves on obeying scripture, but I guess we still sorta pick what we like?

There was an old mennonite preacher named George Brunk II and I remember a quote of his regarding interpretation:

"If the literal sense makes sense then it's nonsense to use any other sense." So that's why, along with believer's baptism and remembrance communion they practice feet washing and the holy kiss and wearing of the covering.

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I can see where the covering could have some ground to stand on, and perhaps the holy kiss to an extent, but not the foot washing since it's clear that the foot washing was given as an example of humbling oneself and being a servant to all.

Also, with regards to the holy kiss, I see nothing in Scripture that says such a kiss should be a lips-to-lips kiss. Such a practice seems contrary to other portions of Scripture.

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I can see where the covering could have some ground to stand on, and perhaps the holy kiss to an extent, but not the foot washing since it's clear that the foot washing was given as an example of humbling oneself and being a servant to all.

Also, with regards to the holy kiss, I see nothing in Scripture that says such a kiss should be a lips-to-lips kiss. Such a practice seems contrary to other portions of Scripture.



Yep! No way my husband would approve of men "greeting me with a holy kiss" smack on the lips...methinks that kind of greeting could get out of hand and become unholy right quick!

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I think the actual act of feet washing in this case was something that was cultural to that time. as their feet would get dusty but the principal as john said is that we are to be humble and not think that any action is below us.

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So we can pride ourselves on obeying scripture, but I guess we still sorta pick what we like?
So that's why, along with believer's baptism and remembrance communion they practice feet washing and the holy kiss and wearing of the covering.


1 Corinthians 11 states that a woman's hair is her covering - so there is no explaining away of Scripture in that regard.

John 13's primary focus is on forgiveness and being a servant - that still applies today. THAT is what Jesus was commanding, not the footwashing.

As far as the holy kiss - was it a command, or was Paul telling some of his friends to do it? Was it a command for all Christians everywhere to kiss all other Christians they meet and greet? Or is it teaching us to be friendly and go out of our way to greet other believers? The way we greet people here in North America is by handshaking.

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So are we supposed to be foot-washing' date=' hair-covering, face-kissing Baptists then? I think I need to pray about this some more! :pray[/quote']

:gross:

Hope not cuz I hate feet and I hate kissing anyone that isnt' family so...I'm in trouble if so!

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Jhn 13:4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
Jhn 13:5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe [them] with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Jhn 13:7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Jhn 13:14 If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
Jhn 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Jhn 13:16 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.
Jhn 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Being spiritually reared in the independent fundamental Baptist movement, I, too, was taught that Jesus was merely giving an example that we should serve one another with humility as he did, and this text does imply that. However, it also says we are blessed if we do it (footwashing) also.

I beg your pardon in advance this is lengthy, but bear with me. I visited a church several years ago that practiced footwashing (the holy kiss too, we'll slay that giant later,) and I was able to observe. The men separated from the women and went into a fellowship hall. The ladies gathered in the back of the auditorium and began singing hymns, and to be quite honest, it sounded like the angels singing.

The men sat in a large circle and took off their shoes and socks, humbling? yes, but this is a teaching about humility and brotherly love. I watched as men began going to a brother, asking if he could wash his feet, and going to one of two #2 metal basins. The first brother knelt and began washing the others feet and blessing him and praying for him and his family. When he was done they swapped places and the other brother washing the first's as well. Upon drying his feet with towel that was beside the basin, the brothers arose, embraced, and occasionally gave a kiss on the side of their manly bearded cheek. I want to insert, these were manly men, they were construction workers, farmers, and tradesmen of various types. I knew them personally and they were godly men who lead their homes and were exemplary in the church as well as the community.

One brother asked if he could wash another brothers feet and they headed for the basin. The one kneeling looked up with tears in his eyes and confessed that he was wrong in a disagreement they had over some issue and humbly asked for forgiveness. Needless to say they were instantly reconciled in such an atmosphere of brotherly love and humility.

I saw that it did a world of good among the men of the church as well as to the fellowship at large.

We, are a bit too RED, WHITE, AND BLUE, John Wayne, guns a blazin', baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, (and, yes, Chevrolet,) American. Unfortunately, it has cause us to read the Bible through red, white, and blue, colored glasses and we oft say, "That is not for our culture," or something like that. This can be an excuse for not obeying the word of God.

This issue is not, "Do I like this?" but, "Am I going to obey clear commands in scripture?" If we are not going to obey here, where else are we going to culturally justify disobedience to scripture? And, if we lead by this example should we be let down when our children and the next generation of Christians sink to greater depths of disobedience.

Should we practice the "HOLY" kiss?

Rom 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
1Cr 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.
2Cr 13:12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.
1Th 5:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
1Pe 5:14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace [be] with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

O.k., if I have heard this once, I have heard it a dozen times, (this is the firey preacher lettin' it rip,) "If God said it once, that's good enough, BUT, if he says it more than once, you'd better pay attention!" You've heard that, haven't you? Well, FIVE times God (he inspired scripture for all peoples throughout all ages,) said, greet the brethren with an holy kiss. You decided who you are going to obey.

Again, I saw this pracitced, brothers with brothers, sisters with sisters, ONLY AND ALWAYS, (just to be clear.) Always on the cheek, and never carried away to some imagined perversion. It is called a holy kiss because it is. I know the quotes from the early church fathers are not scripture, but they are a testimony to the practice regular in the church and Christian community at large in the early centuries.

The problem with these things are they are not "Baptist," but they are Bible, so we need to take off the red, white, and blue, 2007 issue glasses, and let God be true and all men liars. I know introduction of this in most (99.9%) churches would lead to all out war (God forbid if you introduced head covering.) But, I would encourage those of you who are students of the word AND disciples of Christ to prayerfully and carefully consider these things.

Points to ponder,
Bro. Ben

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Suzy our Christians need to be obedient to the word of God.


This is true. But I do not see where foot washing is an ordinance. One of the main Baptist distinctives is "TWO ordinances", baptism and the Lord's Supper. Jesus told us to have the Lord's Supper in remembrance of Him, not wash feet.

I'm not saying its wrong to do it, but its not a Biblical mandate either.

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