I was discussing baptism the other day and was
reminded that it's one of the most contentious
issues among churches claiming to be "Christian."
What is Baptism?
Vine's Expository Dictionary defines baptism as
"consisting of the processes of immersion, submersion
and emergence." Therefore, in order for one to
be baptized in water, it is necessary to be submerged
under the water and then to emerge from the water.
Immersion cannot be obtained through sprinkling
History bares out that immersion in water was
exclusively practiced by First Century Christians.
Erroneous doctrines of sprinkling and pouring
did not come into existence for many years after
the apostolic age.
False Religious Beliefs
In general, there are five false beliefs (and
resulting practices) regarding baptism in churches
- Babies are sinners in the womb.
- The church administers affusion (i.e.,
sprinkling or pouring) to the babies for
the forgiveness of sins.
- The church administers immersion to the
babies for the forgiveness of sins.
- Adults are sinners.
- The church administers affusion, but
not for the remission of sins.
- The church administers immersion, but
not for the remission of sins.
- The church does not administer affusion
The Lord's Church
Different from other churches, the Lord's church
obeys Jesus (Heb. 5:9).
The church teaches that baptism is for the remission
of sins to individuals who believe, have repented
of their sins, and have confessed Jesus to be
the Son of God (Mk. 16:16; Lk. 13:3, 5; Matt.
10:32-33; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).
History: Baptism and Affusion
The teaching held by the Lord's church dates back
to the first century, when Jesus was upon the
earth and commissioned the apostles to evangelize
the world. Jesus commanded the apostles to make
disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and the Son and the Holy Spirit; he who believes
and is baptized will be saved, but he who does
not believe will be condemned (Matt. 28:19; Mk.
Affusion was not practiced until A.D. 251 when
it was ministered to Novation in place of immersion
because he was sick. And in AD 1331, at the Council
of Ravenna, sprinkling was recognized as a substitute
for immersion by the Roman Catholic Church.
In the 3rd century, the false doctrine of original
sin was invented by men and churches began to
baptize (immerse) babies. Though some denominations
still immerse babies today, others have changed
to practice affusion in regard to babies, followed
by a practice of confirmation when the child is
History: Baptism not Essential for Salvation
In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Gnostic sects invented
the doctrine that baptism was not essential to
salvation, which was vigorously refuted by Christians.
Tertullian [AD 145-220] wrote an article titled,
Is baptism necessary for salvation?, in
which he says:
For the law of baptizing has been imposed,
and the formula prescribed: "Go," he says, "teaching
the nations, baptizing them into the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). "Unless a man has been
born again of water and Spirit, he shall not
enter into the kingdom of the heavens" (John
3:5). Those words have tied faith to the necessity
of baptism. Accordingly, all who became believers
after that time were baptized . . . (Tertullian,
translated by David W. Burcot, A Glimpse at
Early Christian Church Life; Tyler, TX: Scroll
Publishing Co., 1989; p. 109-10).
Later in the 16th and 17th centuries, during
the reformation, the doctrine that salvation is
not necessary for salvation was reinvented by
preachers revolting against Roman Catholicism,
eventually resulting in the prayer of faith
and the mourners bench.
Word of God
The truth is revealed in God's word (Jn. 17:17),
which is "profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, for training in righteousness;
so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped
for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
We are commanded to not exceed what is written
in God's word (1 Cor. 4:6; cf. 2 Jn. 1:9). We
must obey God's word, and reject the false teachings
of men (Mk. 7:6-9).
What does the Bible say about baptism and salvation?
- Mk. 16:16 We must believe and be baptized
to be saved.
- 1 Pet. 3:21 Baptism now saves us.
- Acts 2:38 Our sins are forgiven when
we are baptized.
- Acts 22:16 Our sins are washed away
when we are baptized.
- Rom. 6:3 We enter into Christ when
we are baptized.
- Col. 2:11-13 We are made alive together
with Christ and forgiven our trespasses when
we are baptized into Christ.
- Acts 2:40, 47 We are saved and added
to the church when we are baptized.
Correspondingly, every Bible record of a person
becoming a Christian includes baptism (Acts 2:1-47;
8:4-13, 26-40; 9:10-19; 10:34-48; 16:11-15, 16-34;
18:1-8; 19:3-5; 22:6-16).
Choose Which to Believe
There are many doctrines of salvation in the world,
but only one results in eternal salvation.
- "There is one body and one Spirit,
just as also you were called in one hope
of your calling; one Lord, one faith,
one baptism, one God and Father of
all who is over all and through all and in all"
So it's important that we study God's word to
understand salvation as He commands, and reject
salvation as taught by teachers of man-made religions.
The Bible says "baptism now saves you" (1 Pet.
3:21), a doctrine rejected by many churches today.
Maybe you've never heard the truth from God's
word and need to obey. Maybe you've not been baptized
at all; or maybe you were baptized according to
a false religious doctrine, and you need to obey
If you've not obeyed God, I hope and pray you
obey before it's everlastingly too late. Because
there's a day coming when each of us must give
an account to God when He judges the living and
the dead. On that day, people who have obeyed
God and faithfully served Him will enter into
eternal life, but all others will be sent away
into eternal punishment (Rom. 14:12; 1 Pet. 4:5;