Scriptural Baptism

Pastor David Green

 

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4–6)

 

The title of my article is “Scriptural Baptism.”  It could simply be entitled “Baptism” because if it ain't Scriptural, it ain't baptism!   I do believe that this is a very important subject.   God's Word only recognizes one kind of baptism and more people have been murdered for this subject than any other doctrine. 

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM

 

In today's religious world and even in many so-called (Reformed?) Baptist circles, we are told this is a “non essential issue” and it really does not matter anymore.  OH REALLY?!?   Show me the Scriptural mandate that says it is not important and I will sit down and join the Presbyterians!

 

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.” (Matthew 3:13)

 

Jesus thought it to be important to be scripturally baptized that He walked 60 miles to be baptized.   If it did not matter, he could have remained unbaptized.

 

 

And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 19:1–5)

 

These twelve individuals had gotten wet but they weren't baptized.  So, Paul baptized them scripturally.   What happened here is that these men were not baptized by John but someone else who had been baptized by John.  That person lacked authority since John was never commissioned to grant authority to baptize to anyone else.   Many so-called church theologians will disagree on the reasons why they had to be baptized by Paul but in the end, you still have unscriptural baptism followed by scriptural baptism.  Not a Catholic or Protestant can change this.  

 

THE ELEMENTS OF SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM

Proper Authority

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” (John 1:6)

 

The very first baptisms were done by a man named John who had the authority of God.  All scriptural baptism has to be done under the proper authority.  Without the correct authority, there can be no baptism.

 

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 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.” (Matthew 28:16–20)

 

The authority by which scriptural baptism is accomplished today is through church authority.  The Lord's churches were given this authority by Jesus Christ, our only head.  Only those churches which have descended chain link by chain link from the first church in Jerusalem can have such authority.

 

Proper Candidate

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:” (Matthew 3:7–8)

 

Only those who know Jesus as their personal Saviour can be considered as fit candidates for baptism.  Scriptural baptism has always followed the formula: “Blood before water.”

 

And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 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 8:36–37)

 

The eunuch had to be saved before he could be baptized.  Prior to his confession he was not a candidate for the baptismal waters.

 

Proper Mode

After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.” (John 3:22–23)

 

John needed to baptize in a place where there was much water.  Scriptural baptism is immersion and therefore, must include much water!

 

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)

 

Notice the wording here: They (the eunuch and Philip) went down both into the water...and then they come up out of the water.

 

The very word baptism is transliterated from the Greek baptizo which always means immersion.  From Matthew to Revelation you will not find anything other than immersion. 

 

Proper Design of Baptism: Symbolic and Figurative

Baptism is not a sacrament, but it is an ordinance.  It has no saving qualities whatsoever.   It is a picture.  Notice the following:

 

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

 

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)

 

When a believer is baptized she is publicly declaring her death to her old way of life that she is raised to walk in newness of life to serve Jesus Christ through the New Testament church.  

 

QUALIFICATION FOR CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

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)

 

There are essentially two requirements before a person should even be considered as members of any of the Lord's churches: (1) salvation and (2) baptism.  And in that order too!

           

It is not enough that an individual be satisfied with their own baptism, for their satisfaction might just be out of ignorance.  The church has every right and responsibility to examine to see whether the baptism was scriptural or not.  And the church has the responsibility to baptize those who were not scripturally baptized.  Any baptism which does not line up with the scriptures is alien baptism and no baptism at all.

 

CONCLUSION

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4–6)

 

There is only one scriptural baptism!

 

 

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