Baptists and the Necessity of Immersion


#1

Something I’ve always wondered about, I hope someone can clear this up for me…

If, as the Baptist church teaches, baptism is symbolic only, and has no effect whatsoever on one’s salvation, why does it matter what form the baptism takes? Sprinkling and pouring are both mentioned in the Bible as forms of “baptism.” I’ll cite verses if you’d like to see them.


#2

Even Baptists have their sacraments. Just don’t tell them that.


#3

Bump! Any Baptists here today? :smiley:


#4

Baptist immerse because Jesus was immersed and Baptist are followers of Jesus.:thumbsup: :amen:


#5

But the “Baptism of John” isn’t the same as Christian Baptism, according to Acts 19.

If someone decides to join the Baptist church and they’ve been baptized in a Presbyterian or Methodist church, why are they required to be re-baptized?


#6

I’m not Baptist, but we do Believer’s Baptism with immersion too. If for some reason a convert was not able to be immersed, pouring or sprinkling can be used instead.

Also, not sure “merely symbolic” is accurate. Protestant baptism is an act of obedience and (at least in our circles) we expect God to bless this obedience with His presence. It is part of the salvation process. “Repent and be baptised…”


#7

Jesus was also only baptized in the Jordan River - So the only valid baptisms are those that are performed in the Jordan River

Didache 7
And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before
earlychurchfathers.org/


#8

In the Assemblies of God baptism is done as a sign of true conversion, out of obedience to Scripture, and to confirm one’s commitment to Christ. It is an outward sign of something that has supposed to have already happened–the salvation of the one being baptized. (I’m just explaining this–I am now a Catholic and no longer hold to this understanding of baptism.)


#9

Would the AoG re-baptize someone who wished to join their church, but had been baptized in another denomination, like Presbyterian or Methodist who typically do not immerse?

I remember at my oldest dd’s baptism, the deacon’s wife who was assisting me told me about when she and her hubby joined that church. They had been immersed face-first at their old church, and this church made them get re-baptized face-up. :confused: It just seems inconsistent that the Baptists teach that baptism is “an outward sign of an inward change” but it’s not essential (you’ll get to Heaven without it) or salvific (it doesn’t really do anything.)


#10

Yes, they re-baptize unless they came from a denomination that believed as they do about baptism. For example, they wouldn’t re-baptize a Baptist because Baptists also teach that salvation comes through making a personal commitment to Christ.

I remember at my oldest dd’s baptism, the deacon’s wife who was assisting me told me about when she and her hubby joined that church. They had been immersed face-first at their old church, and this church made them get re-baptized face-up. :confused: It just seems inconsistent that the Baptists teach that baptism is “an outward sign of an inward change” but it’s not essential (you’ll get to Heaven without it) or salvific (it doesn’t really do anything.)

It’s the same for communion. If Jesus hadn’t established either baptism or communion they wouldn’t have it. To them they’re just following his command, but why, they really don’t know except Jesus commanded it. It’s a prime example of circular reasoning.


#11

Not if they have been baptised with full immersion and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit plus they were a Christain at the time they were baptized (believers baptism)


#12

Where do you get the idea of “full immersion”?


#13

going completely under water


#14

That brings up a question: Say I am a baptized Christian and want to join your congragation. I was baptized as an adult by Presbyterians, and consider myself to be born again, namely, as an adult I have repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.

Would I have to be baptized in your church?

Second scenario: I am a Christian who was baptized as an infant. I have have had a powerful born-again experience and have repented of and confessed my post-baptismal sin while reaffirming my faith in Jesus Christ. I consider this to be the fruit of the Holy Spirit as received when I was baptized.

Would I have to be baptized in your church?

Third scenario: I am a baptized member of your church; I commit serious sin, and repent of it, am I then re-baptized? Could I be re-baptized?


#15

:smiley: Yes.
The NT epistles explicitely connect Christian baptism with the imagery of “being buried with Christ” and then “being raised with Him in newness of life.” Immersion fits this picture. Sprinkling does not. Therefore – we immerse.

It’s pretty clear from the gospels that Jesus walked into the river for his baptism. We think it follows that he was immersed.

Baptist churches recognize other denominations as Christian, and they’re happy to have other Christians participate all day long in all of their activities, but you cannot become a member of a Baptist church unless you are baptized by immersion. Membership is required for serving as teacher, or as a deacon, or for holding a position on the ruling council. Non-members are invited to serve, worship, study, play, etc, equally with members. You could attend a Baptist church for years and not know who are the members and who are not.


#16

I was actually re-baptized in the AoG when I was 18. I have repented of this of course since I was baptized when I was a baby (in the Catholic Church). I was compelled to get rebaptized as an act of obedience. The lesson now is, we cannot fully trust our feelings on matters of truth. There is no such thing as rebaptism. And nowhere in scripture does it say a baptism is only valid if receieved at a certain age with consent. If a baptist can point to one scripture that says a baptism is anything other than someone having water applied in a washing manner (dunking, pouring or sprinkling) in the name of the Father, Son and Holy spirit I will become a believers baptist again.

Mel


#17

Who is “we” that can make such a definitive interpretation of this and require it?

The text has frequently been interpreted to mean that John’s disciples walked into the river and that John poured water over them.

Catholics do not reject immersion. Certainly, immersion more fully demonstrates “being buried with Christ”. So we’re not forbidding immersion but rather allowing for the exigencies of place and space to *permit *pouring.


#18

This is true and a good reason to immerse, but it is still not a command to only use immersion. The idea of ritual washing has many biblical examples such asn pouring and yes, sprinkling. But no where is one mode described as the only valid mode. Even with the Ethiopian Eunuch it is unlikely that they came upon a pond by the road side, but probably some shallow pool. But again, the fullest image is immersion, but there are many places in the world where it is not even possible because of the shallowness of the rivers etc…

It’s pretty clear from the gospels that Jesus walked into the river for his baptism. We think it follows that he was immersed.

Depends how shallow it was. The OT images and inter-testimental images of converts to Judiaism had pouring. He could have walked in and had water poured over his head as well. The symobl of washing is not harmed and many people bathed this way.

Baptist churches recognize other denominations as Christian, and they’re happy to have other Christians participate all day long in all of their activities, but you cannot become a member of a Baptist church unless you are baptized by immersion. Membership is required for serving as teacher, or as a deacon, or for holding a position on the ruling council. Non-members are invited to serve, worship, study, play, etc, equally with members. You could attend a Baptist church for years and not know who are the members and who are not.

So what if one was baptized by immersion as a baby in an Orthodox, Eastern Catholic or Presbyterian Church? If that person grew up always believing in the Lord is that baptism valid, if not, why?


#19

The NT epistles explicitely connect Christian baptism with the imagery of “being buried with Christ” and then “being raised with Him in newness of life.” Immersion fits this picture. Sprinkling does not. Therefore – we immerse.

However, another allusion to baptism is the imagery of Israel passing through the Red Sea (Sea of Reeds…but that’s another thread)…and they weren’t IN the water at all, but passed through on dry land.

Depends how shallow it was. The OT images and inter-testimental images of converts to Judiaism had pouring. He could have walked in and had water poured over his head as well. The symobl of washing is not harmed and many people bathed this way.

Almost certainly John immerssed all who came for baptism…the practice of baptism relates back to purification in the mikvah…which required complete immersion of the body in “living” water. I suppose a case could be made for pouring because of John’s connection with the Essenes…I think in their purification ritual they only walked into waste deep water.

However, if we RATIONALLY look at the New Testament evidence it will pretty quickly become clear that full immersion baptism just wasn’t very practicle. Paul was baptized at the house of the man who took him in at Damascus…and the probability that there was a Mikvah in the house is NEGLIGIBLE…they were expensive and they were usually public because they had to be watched. The same is true of the Centurion whom Peter baptized…and almost for sure there was no water deep enough for full immersion when the Ethiopian was baptized.

For the Catholic Church, when practacable, full immersion baptism is the prefered method…but again…room is needed to do this. What is more important…doing it EXACTLY as Jesus did (if that were important one would think it would be spelled out) or is it important just that we do it…and not so much the how?


#20

Baptist churches always have a “baptristry” – a large tub that they fill with water. This done, it is always possible to immerse. :slight_smile:

So what if one was baptized by immersion as a baby in an Orthodox, Eastern Catholic or Presbyterian Church? If that person grew up always believing in the Lord is that baptism valid, if not, why?

That person would have to be rebaptized because an involuntary baptism doesn’t count.

Baptists have no connection to the Apostolic tradition. They’re not even connected to Luther and Calvin. Baptist history begins in the 1600s, a century after Luther. It’s a wholly unique group that sprung up on it’s own. So — to argue history is to speak a language that Baptists don’t understand. If you want to convince them of the errors of their ways you have to FIRST convince them that Christian Church history matters. Until you do that they’ll believe that it is YOU who is adding something to the Word of God, and they are extremely protective of the Word of God.


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