- What Constitutes Scriptural Baptism?
- Why Baptize by Immersion?
- Who Has the Authority to Baptize?
- What Will Baptism Do For Us?\Who Can Be Baptized?
- Why Be Baptized?
Baptism is ordained of God and should be the first step taken by God’s children. The discussion about baptism has taken many forms. We feel it is best to reference the specific scriptures that describe what God wanted done regarding baptism. All scriptures are from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible.
What Constitutes Scriptural Baptism?
Scriptural baptism may be defined as “the immersion in water of a born again believer by the authority of a local, visible, New Testament church, in the name (by the authority) of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. The succession of the Lord’s churches down through the ages is, in truth, the succession of Heaven’s baptism.
Questions over baptism are no new thing. God’s people have given their lives throughout the church age standing for the doctrine. Baptists were called Ana-Baptist during the reformation period by the reformers, as well as the Catholics, because they refused to accept infant baptism and would not recognize Catholic or Protestant baptism as being scriptural.
Why Baptize by Immersion?
Baptism is a transliterated word. Rather than translating the word baptism the Bible translators brought the Greek alphabet characters into English letters. By so doing the Greek word bapto was brought into English without defining the Greek meaning.
- Bapto – means to dip, immerse or bury.
- Rantizo – is the Greek verb to sprinkle; this word is never used in connection with baptism.
- Ekxeo – is the Greek verb meaning to pour out; this word is never used in connection with baptism.
All New Testament examples of baptism are by immersion.
- Jesus was immersed (Matthew 3:16,17). “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
- The Ethiopian eunuch was immersed (Acts 8:38,39). “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. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”
- John baptized near Salim because there was much water there (John 3:23). And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salikm, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.”
- The Bible states baptism is a burial. (Colossians 2:12). “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Romans 6:4) “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.”
- Baptism pictures the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (1st Corinthians 15:3,4) “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (Romans 6;3-6) “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized 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.”
Who has the Authority to Baptize?
God instituted baptism, and the scripture reveals a chain of authority for its administration. John the Baptist is the first link in the chain of authority. (John 1:6) “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” (Mark 1:4) John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”
Jesus walked approximately 60 miles to receive John’s baptism because he was the only one with the authority. This authority was confirmed by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:14-17) “But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Jesus had all authority (Matthew 28:18) “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”. He gave the authority to baptize to His church (John 3:22) “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.” (John 4:1,2) “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)”. Note here that Jesus baptized no one, himself. He had given his disciples the authority to baptize.
Christ gave the “Great Commission” to His church (Matthew 28:19-20) “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.”
How Many Baptisms Are There?
There is only one baptism (Ephesians 4:5) “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,”.
God recognizes no other baptism (Acts 19:1-5) “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? and they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
If John had baptized these men, they would have known about the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11) “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” It was impossible for John to have baptized these people because he had been dead for 23 years. He was put in prison and killed just a few months after Christ was baptized (Matthew 4:12) “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;” (Matthew 14:10,12) “And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus”. John never left the Holy Land, but these people were in Greece, thousands of miles away.
Apollos probably baptized these people (Acts 18:24) “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and might in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.” The reason God did not recognize this baptism is because Apollos did not have church authority (Acts 18:25) “This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.”. Apollos had been baptized by John and was one of his disciples. John’s disciples did not have the authority to baptize.
Paul had church authority, so God recognized his baptisms (Acts 13:1-3) “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the Work whereto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” The Antioch church sent Paul and Barnabas with the authority to baptize.
What Will Baptism Do for Us?
Baptism puts us in a position to serve God and robes us with Christ (Galatians 3:27) “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” It is an act of righteousness (Matthew 3:15) “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” (Revelation 19:7-8) “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
Baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God (1st Peter 3:2) “While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear”. It separates our life for service (Acts 2:40-42) “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
Who Can be Baptized?
Believers only can be baptized. John demanded repentance and faith before baptism (Matthew 3:7-8) “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”
The first church preached repentance and faith before baptism (Acts 8:12) “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” The thief on the cross was saved without baptism (Luke 23:33, 39-43) “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. . . . And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou are in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest to thy kingdom and Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
The Phillipian jailor was saved without baptism (Acts 16:30-31) “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house”.
Baptism is a work of righteousness, but salvation is not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Titus 3:5) “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
Why Be Baptized?
We cannot receive eternal rewards without scriptural baptism (2nd Timothy 2:5) “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully”. If our life is going to testify for Jesus, it must be done in His body (the church) (Ephesians 3:21) “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen”.
We are new creations (2nd Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”