In this page we are going to look at the Christian ritual called Baptism. I hope to go through this and make the whole ritual a lot clearer. I aim to do this by prayerfully seeking and answering common questions posed by this area. In order to do this I will start by discussing Baptism of water and then move onto Baptism of the Holy Spirit in a separate article.
To let you understand where I am coming from, I am a Scottish non-denominational non-Catholic with a background in brethren, Mormon, Presbyterian and Anglican worship.
Most Christian (and also the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) practices baptism in one form or another. This is a highly debated topic, not the actual ritual itself but in many ways it is the way it is performed.
Where do we get the name Baptism from?
The term Baptism comes from the Greek word “Baptizo” which means the following:
1) to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)
2) to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe
3) to overwhelm
There are two schools of thought or ways that people believe that Baptism should be done, one is called “head sprinkling” and another is called “full immersion”. Although you could argue that the Greek word supports both (by the definition dipping) I believe that the best form of Baptism is a full immersion Baptism. I personally do not join in the arguments between both camps as to me it is not an issue I believe we should be dividing ourselves over.
I have 2 reasons to support my reason that Baptism should be a full immersion rather than a simple sprinkling of the head.
1) This was the example that Jesus set for us when he was Baptized by John the Baptist (John 1)
2) The definition itself of the original word in the original text supports my belief that a person should be immersed, should be overwhelmed by water. For me a simple sprinkle does not do the job.
When should I get Baptized?
This is a very divisive area in Christianity, I can only give you what I believe and the reasons why I believe that and the option is then left up to yourselves to reject it or accept it. In areas such as this when there is great controversy, I seek the LORD in prayer and also consult the Word of God.
I believe the correct time to be Baptized is after you make a life changing commitment to follow the LORD Jesus Christ. I believe that all participants in Baptism should be fully aware of the ritual that they are doing, that they are making an outward sign that they wish to be cleansed of their own life and start a new beginning with Jesus.
For this reason I am not a fan of “Infant Baptism” for reasons above, I don’t think that the child who is a few days old has the capacity to understand the significance of Baptism. I do believe however that children who have not reached an age of accountability will be sent to Hell by God.
If I am not Baptized will I not get to heaven?
This is a doctrine that I have heard a lot of and I wish to address plainly. I have decided to avoid most pitfalls and keep matters plain. When Paul and Silas were asked “What must I do to be saved?” in Acts 16 verse 30. They replied (in verse 31)
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (KJV)
There was no “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house and also be baptized” true enough, they were baptized shortly afterward but it was not part of the deal.
Lastly, what about the man who converted seconds from death, lets look at Luke 23 when the thief on the cross recognizes Jesus as his messiah.
V40) But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? V41) And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. V42) And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. V43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (KJV)
There was no “hang on, you cannot be saved due to there being no ritual performed” The God I serve looks at the heart, not by a “going through the motions”
It is a very dangerous doctrine to assume that unbaptized people will not get to heaven. That would suggest that God would take infants who died in the womb, folks who became Christians on their deathbeds and simply hundreds of scenario’s that would suggest anything other than the just God I serve.
Baptism itself is not unlike the Jewish circumcision. The Jewish people did that ritual to make an outward sign to God. Christians do a Baptism for much the same reasons.
If you are a Christian and you have not been baptized I would certainly ask you to seek the LORD’s face in prayer and read up on the subject.
From personal experience, I did at Loch Lomond in Dumbartonshire by Pastor Matt McGoldrick of Calvary Chapel Glasgow. You don’t have to go as cold as that as many churches have access to heated pools.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.