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BAPTISM

DIP OR SPRINKLE??

BAPTIZO is the Greek word for baptize.  This Greek word is translated by Greek scholars in the following ways:  "to dip in or under water ." Liddell and Scott  "literally, to dip, to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge." Thayer  "dip, immerse…also 'plunge, sink, drench, overwhelm, etc.'" Arndt and Gingrch  "immersion or submersion for a religious purpose." Cremer

Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran Church (which does not practice immersion: "Baptism is called in the Greek language 'baptismos', in Latin 'meria', which means to plunge something entirely into water, so that the water closes over it." (Works, Book I, p 56)  John Calvin, founder of the Reformed Churches (which does not practice immersion): "The word baptize signifies to immerse, and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient Church." (Institutes. Vol II, Ch IX, p. 559)  Philip Schaff, Reformed scholar specializing in Church History:  "The illustrations of baptism used in the New Testament are all in favor of immersion rather than sprinkling, as is freely by the very best exegetes, Catholic and Protestant, English and German." (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, p. 55-56)

New Testament verses that support that baptizo can be translated by such English words as "immerse," "dip," or "plunge:  "As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove." (Mark 1:10)  "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the death through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Romans 6:4)

BELIEVER'S OR INFANT BAPTISM?

Reasons for infant baptism answered: (1) Lydia in Acts 16:15: There is no evidence of a husband or children.  It is unlikely that she would have taken children on a business trip.  Her household probably refers to her servants.  (2) The Philippian jailer in Acts 16:31-34:  There is no mention of children.  Paul and Silas "spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all others in his house." (Acts 16:32)  It appears that his whole household believed Paul's and Silas' words and were saved, and then were baptized.  (3) Crispus and his household in Acts 18:8:  "Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord;" Again, there is no mention of children.  It also says that they "believed."  (4) The argument that baptism is a replacement for circumcision: (a) Only men were circumcised and both male and female are baptized.  (b) In Colossians 2:11,12 does not say that baptism replaces circumcision, but Paul uses the meaning of the symbolisms of both circumcision and baptism to explain how Christians are miraculously transformed from old men to new men.

Arguments for believer's baptism:  (1) Baptism is a picture of the old life dying, being buried, and resurrected to a new life (Romans 6:4).  (2) The Great Commission requires that believers be baptized (Matthew 28:19).  (3) Peter preached that his first converts should be baptized after they believed (Acts 2:38, 41).  (3) Infant baptism was not practiced in the early church.  Tertullian condemned it about 200 AD. 

IS BAPTISM NECESSARY FOR SALVATION?

Arguments for baptismal salvation answered:  (1) The Gentile men who heard Peter preach at Cornelius's house were saved before they were baptized: "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message….So he ordered that they be baptized in name of Christ…" (Acts 10:44-48)  (1) Paul preached the Gospel, but he did not baptize those who believed: "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel---not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." (I Corinthians 1:17).  (3) Those that use verses such as Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4; and I Peter 3:21 to argue that baptism actually saves us are confusing the symbolic purpose of baptism with it actually doing the saving.  The marriage ceremony usually accompanies marriage, but people can be married without the ceremony.  People also can be saved without the ceremony of baptism.  But, like the marriage ceremony, the ceremony of baptism is meant to be an important part of salvation.  Jesus commanded that believers be baptized.  Therefore, it is often very closely tied to salvation.