Washing With the Water of the Word

I found the statement below by Charles Hodge to be fascinating for two reasons. First, he thinks Ephesians 5:26 refers to baptism. But second, and perhaps more surprising, is his view of church history. I agree with him on both accounts.

“Commentators, however, almost without exception, understand the expression in the text to refer to baptism.  The great majority of them, with Calvin and the other Reformers,  do not even discuss the question, or seem to admit any other interpretation to be possible.  The same view is taken by all the  modern exegetical writers.  This unanimity of opinion is itself almost decisive.  Nothing short of  a stringent necessity can justify any one in setting forth an interpretation opposed to this common consent of Christians. No such necessity exists.  Baptism is a washing with water.  It is the washing with which Paul’s readers as Christians were familiar, and which could not fail to occur to them as the washing intended. Besides, nothing more is here attributed to baptism than is attributed  to it in many passages of the Word of God. Compare particularly Acts 22:16.  There can be little doubt, therefore, that by ‘the washing with water’ the apostle meant baptism.” Charles Hodge Commentary on Ephesians, p. 233. Italics are his.

Primacy of the State?

“Most history textbooks presuppose the primacy of the State over the Church, and in fact, they presuppose the State over al other institutions. Most history texts are products subsidized by the State apparatus. Forms of government, names of rulers, and laws enacted form the bulk of the text. In cases where the Christian Church became a bit too pushy-as was all too often the cases in the middle ages-the books lean toward the side of civil government over the Church. The rise of nation states and absolute monarchs rescued mankind from the Church. In some cases, voting rights are exalted over theological truths. It does not matter that Puritan women were taught the truth about Christ; they could not vote in colonial Massachusetts.” Ben House, Punic Wars and Culture Wars, p. 19