What is the single most important event in the life of a Christian? No one can legitimately argue the case against that event being their baptism, yet there are those who would try. Peter wrote in his first letter that ‘baptism now saves us”, yet many look for any possible way to diminish this to include rejecting scripture as being “God breathed” or inspired of God. (2 Tim 3:16) This shouldn’t surprise students of the Bible since Paul warned of the coming compromise in his departing remarks to the elders at Ephesus (Acts 10:28-32) and to Timothy (1 Tim 4:1).
The book of Acts records over 10 specific occasions of baptism in the conversion process, even alluding to the use of “much water” or the “washing away” of sins in the process. Today there are three methods utilized by groups, each one calling it baptism. One group is sprinkling, another is pouring, and yet another is immersing. Is one of them correct? If so, which? In His commands, God always gives the specifics of how. This leads me to believe that there is a correct method of baptism and it can be discerned simply by close study of scripture.
To begin, one needs to investigate the words for each method of baptism. Interestingly, there are no New Testament word references to sprinkling or pouring as a means of baptizing. In fact the word baptize is an anglicized word from the Greek word meaning to dip, immerse, or to be overwhelmed. Paul, in referring to baptism in his writings makes it reasonably clear for the inquisitive student by using the following phrases; “buried with Him in baptism” (Romans 6:4) and “having been buried with Him in baptism” (Colossians 2:12). The alternatives to immersion have found their way into practice only after the passage of time and the death of those who walked with Jesus. This doesn’t even cover the aspects of belief, repentance, and confession as conditions before individuals are baptized in biblical examples. Ask yourself, “Have I been buried in baptism”? Better yet, is my baptism comparative to those we read of in God’s word? I hope you can say, “Absolutely, without a doubt!”
Copyright © 2009, Nolan P. Rutter