Casey Crosby

Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Graduate School of Theology

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Wendell Willis

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Anthony L. Ash

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Jeff W. Childers


This study examined the origin of the terms second baptism and baptism in blood and how these terms and the concepts associated with them affected the baptismal theology of the Patristic church. The research showed that these topoi became motifs in specific martyrdom literature (passions) and Patristic writings of the second-fourth­ centuries and were probably invented by Tertullian. The authors examined used these terms in their writings to encourage and exhort those facing persecution to remain faithful-even to the point of death. Second baptism and baptism in blood represented the concept that death in a martyrdom context perfected the faith of the individual, granting forgiveness of sins and an eternal home in heaven. Another concept also developed for catechumens who had yet to be baptized, but still faced death for their confession of Christ. Baptism in blood came to represent a first baptism equivalent to water and secured salvation for this group of believers.

Scripture was also used in the Patristic literature to validate the martyrs's actions, and this subsequently affected the baptismal theology of the Patristic church. The research revealed the usage of two primary gospel passages (Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:50), which equated the martyrs's actions with the "imitation of Christ." Another gospel passage (John 19:34) and epistle (1 John 5:6-8) were used for different reasons. The Patristic authors saw two symbols of baptism from one source in these passages and used them to show the efficacy of blood as equal to water for the forgiveness of sins. Second baptism and baptism in blood soon became permanent theological and sacramental terms in the church. A comparison of the Patristic authors's understanding of all four of these passages was contrasted against modem commentators's interpretations. The primary gospel authors's rendering of Jesus's own figurative use of baptism was also compared with specific uses of baptism in the Patristic literature. These contrasts and comparisons revealed both similarities and differences.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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