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The Gospel of Jesus Christ

Water Baptism

The word "baptize" comes from the Greek word "baptizo," which means "to plunge, dip, or immerse." It can never be interpreted to mean "sprinkle."

Every account of baptism in the Bible was by immersion:
"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water . . ." (Matthew 3:16).

"And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there . . . " (John 3:23).

"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." (Acts 8:38).

Notice that baptism is referred to in the Bible as a burial: Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12.

History also states that baptism by immersion is the correct way:
"Baptism was always a burial. The command to baptize was always a command to immerse." Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, Volume 1, Page 451

"Immersion was the oldest method employed. 'Buried in him by baptism.'" Catholic Biblical Encyclopedia, Page 61, Paragraph 1

"It is evident that the action performed in baptizing was immersion." Encyclopedia Dictionary of the Bible, Page 202

"The early church practiced immersion or submerging under the water." World Book of Encyclopedia, Volume 2, Page 70

"Martin Luther preferred immersion as more true to original practice." Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, Volume 1, Page 188

Jesus' command to baptize converts ". . . in the name (singular, not plural--thus, one name) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19) was understood by the apostles to be a command to baptize their converts "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."

When Peter instructed the inquirers to be baptized "every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ..." he was only obeying His Lord. The words of Matthew 28:19 were spoken by Jesus in Galilee, some days before His ascension. However, included in the final instructions of our Lord to His apostles were these words:

"Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:46-47).

To say that Peter made a mistake on the day of Pentecost would be to distort and ignore the truth. If he made a mistake, why did not Matthew correct him. He was standing by Peter's side when Peter preached his memorable sermon.

The truth is that all of the apostles understood Jesus' command in Matthew 28:19 as a command to baptize in His name. Anything different would have been a contradiction from His final instructions, and Jesus cannot contradict Himself.

The only way anyone was ever baptized in the early church was "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." Note the following examples:

1. Samaritan believers were baptized: "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 8:16).

2. Cornelius and his household: "in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:48).

3. The Ephesian believers: "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:5).

4. Paul, and Roman believers: "into Jesus Christ." (Romans 6:3).

5. Corinthian believers: "in the name of Christ" (I Corinthians 1:12-13).

6. Galatian believers: "into Christ" (Galatians 3:27).

7. Colossian believers: "Buried with (Christ) in baptism . . . " (Colossians 2:12).

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

"...thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).

Some quote Ephesians 4:5, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism," as proof that a person must never be rebaptized. This is a wrong use of the Scriptures.

In Acts 19:1-5, Paul met twelve men who had been baptized "unto John's baptism." John used no formula at all, although he did baptize his disciples by immersion. His baptism was valid only until the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. Paul rebaptized these twelve men "in the name of the Lord Jesus."

The Word of God should always be sufficient proof for us to be obedient to God's will for our lives. However, history also confirms the fact that the early church baptized all of the converts in the name that is above very name --Jesus Christ!

"The early church baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus until the second century." Canney Encyclopedia of Religion, Page 53

"TheNew Testament knows only the baptism in the name of Jesus." Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, Volume 1, Page 435

"It must be acknowledged that the three-fold name of Matthew 28:19 does not appear to have been used by the primitive church, but rather in the name of Jesus, Jesus Christ, or Lord Jesus." Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, Page 88

"Christian baptism was administered using the words, 'in the name of Jesus.' Baptism was always in the name of Jesus until the time of Justin Martyr." Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion, Pages 377, 389

"Baptism was changed from the name of Jesus to the words Father, Son and Holy Ghost in the second century." Brittanica Encyclopedia, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Page 365

We must make a choice between tradition and truth. Paul has given to us these words of warning:

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him" Colossians 2:9-10).

If we are complete in Him, we should be willing to take upon ourselves His name in water baptism!

When we truly repent of our sins, and are willing to be baptized in Jesus name, the Holy Ghost is promised unto us! Peter said:

"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).


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