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Baptism

We believe that every believer should be baptized according to Jesus’ command in Mat 28:18-20. This baptism is by immersion, as evidenced by 1) the literal meaning of the Greek word translated “baptize”, which means “to dip/soak/immerse”. If the Greek word were translated instead of transliterated, baptism by sprinkling would be not be as common as it is. 2) the accounts of baptisms in the Bible. See esp. Acts 8, in which the Ethiopian eunuch who undboutedly has much drinking water in his baggage on the way through the desert, waits until he sees a place with water to ask for baptism, 3) the Jewish ritual on which baptism is based requires full submersion, 4) water baptism best fulfills its symbolic meaning if done by immersion, symbolizing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (cf. Rom 6).

This baptism is a symbol of, not the means of, salvation, because 1) several people in the New Testament are clearly saved before they are baptized by water, 2) water baptism is never mentioned as the means of salvation (Acts 2:38 does not say whether it is the repentance, the baptism, or both that give remission of sin; passages taken by some to refer to water baptism (Rom 2, Col 2, Tit 3) can be shown to refer rather to the “spiritual” baptism, which is salvation), 3) water baptism occurs after faith, as a testimony of faith, as seen by several examples in Acts, as well as in John’s baptism, 4) salvation by faith alone precludes salvation by baptism, unless the baptism in itself brings the faith, and 5) baptism is not the means by which God gives faith for the reasons previously mentioned, and because faith is a choice based on understanding of the truths of God (e.g. Rom 10:17).

Water baptism is not for infants, for, as previously shown, it is 1) a symbol of regeneration, and 2) infants, who cannot have faith because they cannot understand the preached word, cannot be regenerate.

Water baptism, though not required for membership in the church, is the duty of every believer.

Water baptism does not need to be repeated if performed in a sub-Biblical way, as long as it functioned as a symbol of one’s spiritual rebirth. Whether done by immersion, sprinkling, or some other method, rebaptism is not required – though can be considered in individual cases based on each man’s conscience. This is because 1) it is the symbol of the reality, not the physical proceedings of the symbol, that is the purpose, and 2) it is futile to declare invalid everything that does not completely correspond with Biblical principles. Yet water baptism performed before regeneration has no symbolic value and is therefore invalid.

Water baptism has its power not in who baptizes, but in the name of Him who commanded baptism. It is to be done in the name of Jesus (Acts), in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew) – that is, according to the command and authority of Jesus, and of the Trinity. These commands do not mean that one needs to say the words “in Jesus’ name” or “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” at baptism, but it is probably a good idea anyway. Yet it is unfitting for a woman to baptize a man, for in baptism it is perceived that the baptizer has authority. It is probably a good idea that the spiritually mature, or the one who led the person being baptized to Christ, be the one to baptize – yet again, the power is of Christ, not of men.