reason for offering this tract in print is to meet a
very present and ever growing need in Baptist
churches. Baptism is being labeled by many as a
non-essential. Alien baptism (a baptism not
meeting Scriptural requirements thus foreign to the
Scriptures) is having a hey-day by churches who once
taught and stood for the truth.
churches masquerading under the Baptist name have
falsely reasoned that the authority for baptism rests
in the Christian ministry. This makes baptism a
Christian ordinance rather than a church ordinance.
This false reasoning has led to recognizing any
immersion of a saved person to be valid regardless of
the authority of that immersion. Historical
Baptists have maintained and are maintaining that
proper authority for baptism rests within a New
Testament Church. This would mean that only
immersion performed by a New Testament Historical
Baptist Church would be valid. This we believe
and this we practice.
great doctrine of baptism has distinguished Baptists
from all others down through the years. Baptists
are not Paedobaptist (baby baptizers), thus
distinguishing them from much of organized
Christianity. Baptists do not believe in
baptismal regeneration, thus distinguishing them from
much of organized Christianity. One cannot help
but feel that if this doctrine was good enough to
distinguish Baptists from others in the past it is
mandatory to distinguish us today in an age of
tract is not offered to replace the great works on
baptism by our distinguished ancestors. It is
offered primarily that the membership of the church
this author pastors might have available in written
form that which will help them to understand, love and
contend for this great doctrine. Pastors come
and go while members usually spend a lifetime in the
same church. If they are grounded the church
will be protected from the alien immersion error and
many of the other errors to which it leads. We
also pray that this tract might be used effectually by
other churches in defense of truth for the glory of
BAPTISM: PROPER MODE
are many today who would have us to believe that
sprinkling or pouring are proper modes. Neither
of these two are mentioned in the Scripture in
reference to baptism. The Greek word for baptize
means to immerse or dip. We refer the reader to
any Greek lexicon since we do not have the space to
give references. We will say that no true
scholar will deny the real meaning of this word.
us see if these other meanings (pour - sprinkle),
could be true of the New Testament word, baptize.
To do this, we will find where the word is used and
substitute the three words, sprinkle, pour and
immerse. In the Gospel of Mark1:9, we read,
"And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus
came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of
John in Jordan." Was Jesus poured of John
in Jordan? Certainly not, for Jesus was not liquid or
material to be poured out of a container into Jordan.
Was Jesus sprinkled of John in Jordan? We
sprinkle salt on our potatoes. Certainly John
did not do this with Jesus in Jordan. Was Jesus
immersed of John in Jordan? This alone can be
true as we understand the English language. See
also Mark 1:5, Matt. 3:6 and Luke 3:7. Only the
word immersed can be used successfully in each place
the word baptize or its cognates appear.
us examine the baptism of Jesus in Matt. 3. We
are told in verse16 that Jesus came up out of the
water. This could not be true if He was
sprinkled or poured. The same thing is said in
OF THE EUNUCH
place in the Scripture where the water is spoken of is
in the baptism of the eunuch that Philip baptized.
"And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and
they went down both into the water, both Philip and
the eunuch, and he baptized him, and when they were
come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord
caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more
and he went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:38-39).
Can this language possibly mean sprinkling or pouring?
They both (the word both is used twice in verse 38)
went down into the water, both came up out of the
water. This did not take place inside a
Christening vessel or a sanctified container. No
one would say we are sprinkled or poured into a river
or a body of water.
agree that Rom. 6 teaches that baptism pictures the
burial, resurrection, and the death of Christ.
The picture of death is presupposed, for how can one
have a burial or resurrection without a death?
Burial means to cover over. We bury our dead
under the ground. How can this be pictured by
either sprinkling or pouring? We must conclude
with the Scripture, that immersion is the proper mode
is interesting to note, before we leave the mode, that
very few who use either sprinkling or pouring ever try
to prove their authority from the Bible for so doing.
They merely say it is more convenient to use these
modes and say that Christ would not object to their
changing the Scripture around for convenience sake.
TO THE PATTERN
was not to build the tabernacle at his convenience or
in any manner he chose. "According
to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of all the
instruments thereof, even
so shall ye make it." Ex. 29:9. This
tabernacle pictures something
also (Heb.9:23-24), as does baptism (Rom.6:4-5), so
let us use God's
blueprint in the manner of baptism as Moses did in
BAPTISM: PROPER SUBJECT
have a Scriptural baptism, a proper candidate is
this we mean
one who meets all requirements as set down in the Word
of God prior or
preceding the ordinance of baptism. Many in our
land today feel that the only
thing necessary for baptism is merely the desire to
have the ordinance performed.
Others believe that birth in the physical world is all
that is necessary. These
perform the ordinance of baptism upon their infant
eight days after their birth. This idea comes from the
that baptism replaces the act of circumcision.
The Jews had the act of
circumcision performed upon their male children eight
days after their birth.
Circumcision was for Israel as a nation, believers and
unbelievers. It was
performed only upon the males. If baptism merely
replaces circumcision it should
only be administered upon the males and that at eight
days. Thus we see
circumcision and baptism as separate things.
this matter as in all others, let us not see what man
thinks or feels to be right,
but let us turn to the pages of the sacred history
(The Bible) and see what
the Almighty Authority has to say... "let God be
true, but every man a liar..." (Rom. 3:4).
The Bible declares without any doubt that a proper
candidate for baptism is one who has
already been saved.
us consider the account of those baptized into the
first church on the day
of Pentecost. "Then they that gladly
received His Word were baptized and the same day there
were added unto them about three thousand souls."
(Acts 2:41). Preceding this verse Peter
had preached a sermon with such power that the people,
under conviction for sin, asked the question
"What shall we do?" Peter told them
they must repent and because of this repentance be
baptized. This is seen in verse 41. They
that gladly received His Word
were baptized. Here as everywhere else in the
Scripture, these folks were
already saved when they were baptized into the
church. The receiving of His Word is what saves
one from sin (John 1:12).
we turn to the account of Philip again and his
experience with the eunuch. "And Philip
said, If thou believest with all thine heart,
thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe
that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37).
This verse was given in answer to the question,
"See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be
baptized?" Before the servant of God would
perform this ordinance he made sure that the candidate
was already saved. After Philip was convinced of
the eunuch's salvation he baptized him (verse
case of Lydia's baptism affords evidence that
salvation precedes baptism.
In the book of Acts 16:14, we are told that the Lord
opened the heart of Lydia and
she attended unto the Word of God spoken by the
Apostle Paul. Could we have better assurance of
her salvation than to know that
God Himself opened her heart so that she received and
understood what Paul had said?
Countless multitudes would be saved today if the lost
world attend unto the words of God's
called preachers! We see after this took
place in verse 14 that she was baptized in verse 15.
are forced once again, to conclude with the Word of
God, that one must be saved
before he or she can be a candidate for baptism.
BAPTISM: PROPER ADMINISTRATOR
is here where many would depart from us upon the truth
of baptism. Some
would accuse us of hatred for all other denominations.
This however, is
not true. We feel that the Word of God gives
authority only to a Baptist church
for the administration of baptism. Please bear
with us as we examine the
anyone to perform an action of the government, he must
be given authority to do so by that government.
Not just anyone
can perform the action of the
Secretary of Defense. This authority is given to
someone by the President of the United States.
Not just anyone has the right to arrest
someone. This belongs to
the law enforcement department. So it is with
baptism. God appoints whom
He would to administer baptism. If you do not
believe this you are forced to
say that just anyone can baptize! The drunk on
the street; the woman in the
house of ill-repute; the Masonic Order; the Catholic
Church; or just anyone
who wishes to do so. Certainly you do not
find whom Christ gave this authority, turn with me in
your Bible to Matt. 28:19-20 where we read these
words, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I
am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
Amen." Here then is the commandment given
to baptize. To whom was it given? When we
find this answer we have the authority of baptism.
In verse 16 of Matt. 28 we see to whom Jesus was
investing the authority of baptism. "Then the
eleven went away into Galilee, into a mountain where
Jesus had appointed them."
eleven composed the church of the Lord Jesus Christ,
organized in His ministry (Matt. 16:18 and 18:17).
Let us for a minute lay aside prejudice and see which
church this was that Jesus built. He did not
build all the denominations existing today. They
all teach different things and God is not the author
of confusion. A mere look at history will give
us the answer to this question. History gives a
founder for every denomination existing today except a
Baptist church. Let us look: (1) the Catholic
Church founded in 313 by Constantine; (2) the Lutheran
in 1520 by Martin Luther; (3) the Episcopal in 1534 by
King Henry VIII; (4) the Presbyterian in 1536 by John
Calvin; (5) the Methodist in 1740 by John Wesley; (6)
the Christian (Church of Christ, Disciples) in 1827 by
Alexander Campbell; (7) the Church of God in 1825 by
John Winebrenner; (8) the First Church of God in 1880
within the churches of God existing and founded by
John Winebrenner in 1825. We could go on with
every other denomination but we do not have the space.
Campbell, founder of the Christian Church says the
following of the Baptists; "The Baptists can
trace their origin to Apostolic times and can produce
unequivocal testimony of their existence in every
century down to the present time." So is
the testimony of all honest historians of all
denominations. The Baptist churches have no
founder this side of Jesus Christ, therefore, it is
the church to whom is given the ordinance of baptism.
argue that Jesus was, in these verses we have just
considered (Matt. 28:19-20), speaking to His Apostles
and thus giving them as individuals the authority for
the Great Commission. It needs to be observed
that Christ promised..."lo, I am with you alway,
even unto the end of the world. Amen." Each
of the individuals Christ spoke to died within a
generation. If the commission was given only to
them as individuals, it must have died with them which
would prove the Saviour's words, "until the end
of the world" to be false.
is the answer to this seeming difficulty? Jesus
was speaking to His church as an institution.
When the apostles died, the church as an institution
kept on with the commission. With the Lord's
churches today, His promise is being fulfilled.
will prove further now the necessity of proper
authority. Jesus is our supreme example.
Let us see His baptism and who performed it. In Mark's
Gospel 1:9, we are told, "And it came to pass in
those days, that Jesus came from Nazarath of Galilee,
and was baptized of John in Jordan." If anyone
could baptize why did Jesus walk the sixty odd miles
from Nazareth of Galilee to where John was baptizing?
The reason is simple. Jesus, Himself, sought out
the proper authority. Think of all the bodies of
water our Saviour passed on His way to where John was
baptizing! Think of all the people He could have
gotten to immerse Him in the water! But He did
not. He proceeded to John. Why John?
The Bible does not leave us in the dark upon this
question. In the Gospel of John 1:6, we read
these words, "There was a man sent from God whose
name was John." John, then, was sent from
God to administer baptism. Jesus sought him out.
Jesus is our example and we are to follow in His steps
(I Pet. 2:21). We should do no less than our Master.
then, do not hate other denominations when we refuse
to accept their members into our churches upon their
baptism. We love them and their souls. We
simply are convinced of God that their baptism does
not meet the requirements of the Word of God.
Consider this with an honest mind.
BAPTISM: PROPER DESIGN
the proper design we mean for the proper reason.
Many say the reason for baptism is to wash away sins
or to secure salvation to the candidate. These
are reasons or designs given by men and therefore fall
short and miss entirely the design or reason given by
the Almighty in the Bible.
the baptism of Jesus, our Saviour said His baptism was
to fulfill all righteousness. If we understand
the life of Christ as represented in the Bible, we
know Christ was already righteous. Therefore
baptism could only fulfill all righteousness in a
figurative sense. The Apostle Peter assures us
that baptism is a like figure of something (1
Pet.3:21). Turning to Rom. 6:4-5, we find the
answer to what baptism is a figure of. We are
here told that baptism pictures the death, burial and
resurrection of Christ. This is the gospel.
It is the thing that saves us (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
By following our Lord in baptism we picture the death,
burial and resurrection and thus in a figure fulfill
of our opponents who believe that baptism is designed
to save a person, do so because they misinterpret the
Scriptures. We shall honestly consider the
passages of Scripture that they bring forth to try to
prove that baptism saves us.
first we shall consider is found in Mark 16:16,
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved; but he that believeth not shall be
damned." To suppose that this Scripture
teaches that baptism is necessary for one to be saved
is gross error. Mark has made a simple statement
of truth. He could have said and been just as true,
"He that believeth and partaketh of the Lord's
Supper shall be saved." Mark makes this
clear in the last half of this Scripture when he says
that believeth not shall be damned. This
Scripture deals with believing and nothing else.
If baptism was necessary for a person to be saved,
Mark would have said, "He that believeth not and
is not baptized shall be damned." If
baptism does save our soul it follows that the absence
of baptism is what condemns along with not believing.
Jesus said in John3:18, "He that believeth on Him
is not condemned, but he that believeth not is
condemned already..." So this passage in
Mark is in agreement with all Scripture that salvation
is by faith in Jesus Christ apart from baptism.
Was the thief on the cross baptized? He was not
yet he was saved! Did Jesus make an exception
with this thief? If we believe in making
exceptions to what God has said we are no better than
the Catholics who change the Scripture to meet their
next passage used by those in favor of baptism in
order to be saved, is found in Acts 2:38.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be
baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the
gift of the Holy Ghost." Their faith that
baptism gives us the remission of sins is based
upon the thought that the word 'for' in this passage
means in order to get. Anyone who knows the
English language knows this to be wrong. If I
say that Adolf Ichman was hanged by the Jews 'for'
killing millions of Jews, do I mean he was hanged in
order to kill millions of Jews? If I punish my
children 'for' disobeying me, do I punish them in
order that they will disobey me? This is absurd.
Ichman was hanged because he had killed millions of
Jews already. My children are punished because
of disobeying me. This is the only logical
this passage of Scripture the word 'for' means because
of. Let us read it again. "Then Peter
said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of
you in the name of Jesus Christ because of the
remission of sin..." Peter urges the people to
repent of their sins and because of this repentance to
be baptized. I firmly say for people to repent
and be saved, and go onto say,
then be baptized!
leaving this passage let me ask one favor of those who
believe they must be baptized in order to be saved.
Turn to Matt. 3:8. "Bring forth fruits meet
'for' repentance." Who will say we are to
bring forth fruits in order to get repentance? No one!
John the Baptist is here dealing with the Sadducees
and Pharisees (verse7) who wanted to be baptized.
John would not baptize them until first they brought
forth fruit to prove that they had repented.
Then he would baptize them.
same Greek word translated 'unto' in Matt. 3:11 is
translated 'for' in Acts 2:38. Over Matt. 3:11
we may well write, 'Here lies baptismal regeneration,'
for none can believe one is baptized in order to get
repentance. He is baptized because of
would be quite proper, at this time to look at the
candidate for Paul's baptism in Acts 19:1-7.
Many bring them forth as proof that baptism saves.
Since most paedobaptists and exponents of baptismal
regeneration deny that John's baptism was Christian or
belonging to this dispensation, they say that these
men at Ephesus needed the baptism of one under the new
dispensation in order to be saved. Thus they
believe Paul's baptism resulted in their salvation.
first examine this Scripture and see just what it does
teach. First, it would seem from the context
that these men were baptized by Apollos and not John.
In the chapter before this one we are told Apollos
knew nothing but the baptism of John (Acts 18:25).
In Acts 19:1 Apollos is mentioned again as now being
in Corinth. In Acts 18:24 we are told that he
was preaching at one time in Ephesus. In strict
context Apollos must have been the administrator.
we are told in verse 2 that they had not so much as
heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. We are
told in Rom. 8:9 that... "if any man have not the
Spirit of Christ he is none of His." The
logical conclusion then, is that these men when found
by Paul were still in their sins. When Paul
preached to them that they should believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ (verse 4), they heard with their hearts
and were saved (verse 5). Following their faith
in Christ which saved them, they were baptized.
Only after their having been saved were they proper
candidates for baptism.
us briefly summarize this passage. Paul, coming
to Ephesus, found certain
men who were trusting that the baptism which they
received from Apollos
had saved them. Of them it might be said, they
were true Campbellites.
Paul preached that baptism didn't save and that it
takes the Holy
Ghost. Realizing then that they were lost, they
believed Paul's report about
Christ, were saved, then baptized.
friend, one must repent and believe, then seek to
fulfill all righteousness by following the Lord
in baptism. Those
who have their hope of salvation in baptism
shall spend eternity in hell because the only
salvation in the Bible
is by faith in Jesus Christ plus nothing whatsoever.
passage brought forth by learned members of the
Christian Church of
Christ and Disciple of Christ churches to strengthen
their hope of salvation
in baptism is in Acts 22:16. "And now why
tarriest thou? Arise and
be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the
name of the Lord." Many suppose that this
text says that the waters of baptism wash away
literally, the sins
that we have. In the Bible nothing is much
clearer than where
our sins are. If sins were on the outer surface
of our bodies maybe water
could wash them away as it does dirt. But sin is
much different than dirt.
Water and soap get dirt but it takes the blood of
Jesus Christ to cleanse
away our sins. 1 John 1:7... "and the blood
of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth
us from all sin." Man's sins lie deep
within him. Jeremiah realized this when he said,
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked; who
can know it" (Jer. 17:9). Moses tells in
Gen. 6:5, "And God
saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,
and that every imagination
of the thoughts of his heart was only evil
continually." The waters
of baptism cannot reach these parts of man wherein
sins lie. Even if they
could the water has no power to cleanse them. If
the water could, why did
Christ have to die?
just prior to his being baptized by Ananias was called
brother (Acts 9:17).
This can only mean that he was saved before his
baptism and therefore
a brother to Ananias. Paul was to be baptized
and therefore in a figure
wash away his sin. To be baptized pictures the
resurrection of Christ and
pictures that we too are to walk in newness of life
putting away our sins (Rom.
me ask the question, if baptism washes away sin what
happened to the
sins of the people in the Old Testament times when the
ordinance of baptism
did not exist? Were they all lost?
AND GOSPEL SEPARATED
baptism does not save but is a design to show what has
already taken place (namely salvation) is very well
proven by the apostle in 1 Cor. 1:17. Paul
absolutely says that baptism and gospel are two
separate things. Paul was
sent by Christ, not to baptize; but to preach the
gospel. We are told what
the gospel is in this same book in chapter 15.
"Moreover brethren, I declare
unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which
also ye have received,
and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if
ye keep in memory
what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in
vain. For I delivered
unto you first of all that which I also received, how
that Christ died
for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He
was buried and that
He rose again the third day according to the
Scriptures" (verses 1-4). Paul
says it is the gospel by which ye are saved. The
gospel he says is the death,
burial and resurrection of Christ. If then, we
are saved this way it follows
that baptism does not save nor has any part in our
salvation for it is not
a part of the gospel.
considering the thought of baptism saving us, we
should look at the
verses in the Bible that speak of salvation. In
doing this we will never find
mention of baptism in order to be saved. In the
Acts 16:30, we have a man
desiring salvation and seeking to know how to be
saved, asking the direct question to the
apostles. "And brought them out, and said,
Sirs, what must I
do to be saved?" If God is honest we should
find the answer following. Remember
that it is God answering the question through
should not accept the answer of Alexander Campbell.
Many would rather
believe him than God. Alexander Campbell answers
the question thus,
"In and by the act of immersion, as soon as our
bodies are put under the
water -- at that very instant -- all our former or old
sins are all washed away."
See his book on Christian Baptism, page100.
God's answer comes forth
thus, "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and thou shalt be
saved and thy house" (Acts 16:31).
"For God so loved the world, that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish,
but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Not
one mention of baptism here.
Who are you going to believe? I am going to
believe God. "God forbid: yea,
let God be true, but every man a liar..." (Rom.
BAPTISM NOT FOR
INFANTS by T. E. Watson
(Henry E. Walter
by J. R. Graves (Baptist Sunday School Committee,
THE ACT OF
CHRISTIAN BAPTISM by J. R. Graves (B.S.C., 1928).
THE RELATION OF
BAPTISM TO SALVATION by J. R. Graves (B.S.C., 1968).
BAPTISM by J. R. Graves (B.S.C., 1928).
TRILEMMA by J.
R. Graves (B.S.C., 1928).
THE ORIGIN OF
SPRINKLING FOR BAPTISM by R.A. Venable (B.S.C., 1968).
MODE AND ITS SUBJECTS by Alexander Carson (Sovereign
Grace Bookclub, no date).
TRAIL OF BLOOD
by J. M. Carroll (Ashland Avenue Baptist Church,