Summary: A study on the deviation of immersion and sprinkling. Good for a seeker crowd. Also helps an immersed crowd to answer questions raised in public.
We basically all have been raised in the Christian Church/ Churches of Christ. And being that we all have been brought up this way, we all like to think we know how to answer the questions that arise from the outside non-Christian community. Well, neither do I. Today we’ll get in to the subject of immersion.
Baptism, or immersion, can be considered as a positive command. Why do we consider it a positive command??? Well, for starters, it is something that God has commanded us to do. Now, being that we love to serve God, this is a positive thing, for he has commanded us to do it! The Scriptures have given us the word, and it should be clear. We should read and be convinced.
We consider baptism, or immersion, to be just as important as faith…just as important as repentance…we could even go as far as to say it is even more important as good works. Not only this, but we do not believe that there is anything special about the water. It is symbolization, not an idolatry of water. The water does not save us; but Christ Jesus’ blood does, and that is what the water represents. We believe baptism, or immersion, is an act of obedience commanded by Christ in order to receive salvation.
Christ walked about sixty miles so that John the Baptist could baptize, or immerse, him in the Jordan River. At first, John said, “You should be baptizing me, not me you!” But John came into agreement with Him, and John baptized, or immersed, Him. When Jesus came straight up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Him from the skies. With a loud and majestic voice, God said to Him, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!” (Matthew 3:13-17) Christ also commanded His apostles to baptize all people of all nations, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19) All through the book of the Acts of the Apostles it is shown that wherever men came to Christ, they were always saved, convinced, and baptized…or immersed. (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:12-38; Acts 9:18; Acts 10:48; Acts 16:15-33; and Acts 19:5)
Lets talk a little bit about the subjects of baptism…or immersion. All believers are subject to baptism…or immersion. Christ Himself said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16) Doesn’t that sound just so plain and simple??? I find it odd that, in this world, we are so confused over a small passage of scripture that has been clearly stated the way that it should be stated. No person is commanded to be baptized unless he is capable of being taught. If you are unable to learn, then you’ve got a problem. When you are capable of learning the Word of God, then you are able to understand it. To be baptized…or immersed…you should have to be able to understand the Word of God. We are not aware of any account in the Bible of infants ever being baptized. Now, personally, I don’t see anything wrong with baptizing an infant. It doesn’t accomplish anything, but if it makes you feel better, that’s your prerogative. What we must understand is that infants don’t have the knowledge and understanding to recognize that Jesus Christ is the Son of God! I mean, come on! What infant do you know of that can open their mouths and plainly say that they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God??? None that I know of! Like I said before, you can baptize infants all you want, but you must understand that it isn’t doing any good, and you must immerse them when they fully recognize that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and that they would like to accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior. That’s the only way it works! But, on the contrary, if you can find a passage of scripture that says anything about baptizing infants, please let me know!!! Go home and study the verses that I rambled off before, and you will see that any man or woman that was ever baptized…or immersed…had an understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. Any of those men or women are capable of receiving gospel truths.
The nature of baptism…or immersion…makes it impossible for it to apply to infants, inasmuch as it is declared in 1 Peter 3:21 to be the “answer of a good conscience towards God,” and the infant has no conscience in the transaction.
Infant baptism…or immersion…was not introduced until over one hundred years after the death of the last apostle. Therefore it is without Scriptural authority.
Now, lets talk about the actual action of baptism…or immersion. The meaning of the word in the dictionary should determine this. The Greeks had, and still have, a word for immerse, a word for sprinkle, and a word for pour. Now, already in what I have said, it should be clear that there is a difference in all of these texts. Lets see, shall we? Baptizo means to dip or immerse, rantizo means to sprinkle, and cheo means to pour. This is what these words mean in Greek today, and this is what they meant back when Christ was on this earth. Now, if Christ had wanted the disciples to go forth and sprinkle, He would have used the word for sprinkle. If He’d wanted them to pour, He would have used cheo, which meant pour. Even if He ‘d wanted them to use water, regardless of how to use it, He would have used the word hudraino, which means water. But, He wanted them to practice immersion, so He used the word baptizo.