Hebrews 6:2, pg. 1164, says as mature Christians, we should "leave the ________________________ teaching" including "instructions about ____________________."


By the time the book of Ephesians was written how many baptisms were there?  (See Ephesians 4:5, pg. 1135)  _____________________





Matthew           3:7                   John's

                        20:22               Of Fire

                        21:25               John's

Mark                1:4                   John's

                        10:38f              Of Fire

                        11:30               John's

Luke                3:3                   John's

                        7:29                 John's

                        12:50               Of Fire

                        20:4                 John's

Acts                 1:22                 John's

                        10:37               John's

                        13:24               John's

                        18:25               John's

                                19:3                 John's

                        19:4                 John's


Romans 6:4 (pg. 1094)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "We were therefore ________________________ with him through ________________________ into death in order that, just as Christ was ________________________ from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a __________________ life."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  How do we immitate Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection?   _______________________________________________________________________________________________


Ephesians 4:5  WHAT GOD SAYS:  (See top of page)


Colossians 2:12 (pg. 1143)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "Having been _________ with him in ____________________ and _____________________ with him through your faith in the _____________________________ of God, who _____________________________ him from the dead."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Can we be buried by having a little dirt or water poured over us?  _______________




1 Peter 3:21 (pg. 1178)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "And this _______________________________ symbolizes

_______________________ that now ______________________ you also -- not the removal of dirt from the body but the ________________ of a good ________________________ toward _____________.


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  What is the final act that saves us?  __________________________________




Hebrews 6:2 (pg. 1164)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  (See top of page)





Matthew           3:1                   John the B.

                        11:11               John the B.

                        11:12               John the B.

                        14:2                 John the B.

                        14:8                 John the B.

                        16:14               John the B.

                        17:13               John the B.


Mark                6:24f                John the B.

                        8:28                 John the B.


Luke                7:20                 John the B.

                        7:28                 John the B.

                        7:33                 John the B.

                        9:19                 John the B.


Mark                6:14                 John the B.





Matthew           3:11                 John's


Mark                1:4                   John's

                        1:8                   John's


Luke                3:16                 John's


John                 1:25f                John's

                        1:33                 John's

                        3:22                 John's

                        3:26                 John's

                        4:1f                  John's

                        10:40               John's


Acts                 1:5                   John's


Acts 8:38f (pg. 1064) WHAT GOD SAYS:  "....Then both Philip and the eunuch went _______________________

_______________________ the __________________________ and Philip _________________________ him.  When they came _______________ ________________ of the water...."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  If baptism were pouring, why would Philip have to go down into the water with him? _____________________________ ________________________________________________________________________


Acts                 11:16               John's

                        19:4                 John's


1 Corinthians 1:14-15 (pg. 1103)  Note that back in verses 11-13 Paul criticized the Christians in Corinth for becoming clannish depending on who baptized them.  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into __________________ name."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  We are to be baptized into whose name?  _____________________________  NOTE:  Verse 13 infers they were all baptized.  Would Paul have been addressing in whose name they were baptized if they had never been baptized?  ________________________


1 Corinthians 1:17  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "For Christ did not send me to _________________, but to _______________ the _______________________."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Read 3:6 on the next page regarding Paul's partnership with Apollos.  "I [Paul] __________________________ the seed [Word of God], Apollos ___________________________ it, but _________

made it grow.  Who apparently did most of the baptizing, following up on Paul's preaching?  _________________



                                          UNDER HEADING OF "TO BE BAPTIZED"


Matthew           3:6                   John's

                        3:13ff               John's

                        20:22f              John's


Mark                1:5                   John's

                        1:9                   John's

                        10:38f              Of Fire


Mark 16:15-16 (pg. 989)  WHAT GOD SAYS/JESUS' ACTUAL WORDS:  "He [Jesus] said to them, "Go into all the world and _______________________ the good news to all creation.  Whoever ______________________

and is ____________________________ will be ________________________, but whoever does _____________ believe will be condemned.


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  I will be saved if I do what two things?  ______________________________

and __________________________________________________________________.


Luke    3:7                   John's

            3:12                 John's

            3:21                 John's

            7:29f                John's

            12:50               Of Fire


John     3:23                 John's


Acts     1:5                   Holy Spirit (only spoken to 12 Apostles)


Acts 2:38 (pg. 1057)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "Peter replied, "________________________ and be _____________

______________________ one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the ___________________________ of your ________________.  And you will receive the ____________________ of the Holy Spirit."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  I am to be baptized so what will happen to my sins?  ____________________



Acts 2:41  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "Those who _____________________________ his message were ________________________________, and about ________________________________________ were ________________________ to their number that day.


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  If I accept Peter's message that day, I will do what 3,000 did that day and do what?  ___________________________________________________________


Acts 8:12f (pg. 1064)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "But when they ___________________________ Philip as he

_______________________________ the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were ________________________________, both men and women.  Simon himself believed and was _______________."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Proof of my belief is exhibited in what act?  _______________________


Acts 8:16  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "....because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Remember in Mark 16:15, Jesus said people were to baptized in what three names?  _______________________________________________________________________________________

Since the gospel was still new, the Apostles came to give them the Holy Spirit so as to correct their misunderstanding.  Are the Apostles alive today to do this?  Therefore, I must be baptized into all three names.


Acts 8:36  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "As they traveled along the road, they came to some _________________________ and the eunuch said, 'Look, here is __________________________.  Why shouldn't I be baptized?'"


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Philip couldn't just pour water from his drinking jug; they had to wait to they came to a body of water to go down into.  Therefore, when I am baptized, I cannot have water _______________

over me to be valid.


Acts 9:17-18  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "'...Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here - has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the _____________________________.'  Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again.  He got up and was _____________________."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  I am filled with the Holy Spirit by doing what thing that Saul [the future Apostle Paul] did?  __________________________________


Acts 10:47-48  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "'Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with _____________?  They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.'  So he ___________________________ they be ______________________________ in the name of Jesus Christ."


NOTE:  Verse 45 shows that, for the first time, God was accepting Gentiles into his kingdom.  The Jews needed a special sign that they were accepted by God, so God gave them the Holy Spirit before their baptism.


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  If Peter ordered them to be baptized, how important does this make baptism to me?  ____________________________________


Acts 11:16  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "'Then I [Peter reporting to the story in Jerusalem] remembered what the Lord had said:  'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'  So if God gave them the ________________ gift as he gave us...who was I to think that I could __________________________ God.'"


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Back in Acts 2:38, Peter had told people to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit how?  ____________________________________________________________.  In this incident in Acts 11, he is reflecting the special giving of the gift to the first Gentiles.  But ordinarily, according to Acts 2:38, I receive the gift of the Holy Spirit how?  _________________________________________________


Acts 16:14b-15  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "The Lord opened her heart to ________________________ to Paul's message.  When she and the members of her household were ________________________, she invited us to her home."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  How am I, today, to respond to Paul's message about Jesus?  ______________



Acts 18:8  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household _____________________ in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him ________________________________ and were



WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Can a baby believe?  ______________________________


Acts 19:3-6  (Here is another example of early believers not quite understanding what to do and the Apostles (not ordinary Christians) intervening and correcting the situation.


Acts 22:16  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "'And now what are you ______________________ for?  Get up, be _____________________________ and ____________________ your _________________________ away, calling on his name.'"


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Baptism does what to my sins?  _______________________________


Romans 6:3 (pg. 1094)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "Or don't you know that _____________ of ____________ who were ______________________ into Christ Jesus were ________________________ into his ____________________?"


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Through baptism, I imitate what thing that Jesus went through?  ________________________________________________


1 Corinthians 1:13 (See above)


1 Corinthians 10:2 (pg. 1111)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "They [Jews] were all ________________________ into Moses in the _______________________ and in the sea."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Were the cloud and sea sprinkled onto and under the Jews?  Is sprinkling baptism?  ______________________


1 Corinthians 12:13 (pg. 1114)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "For we were ____________ ________________________ by one Spirit _________________ one ________________________...and we were __________ given the one ________________________ to drink."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Ephesians 1:22-23 (pg. 1133) says the body is the church.  Therefore, when I am baptized, I am baptized into what?  __________________________________


1 Corinthians 15:29 (pg. 1117)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "Now if there is no _____________________________, what will those do who are __________________ for the dead?  If the dead are not raised at all, why are people __________________________ for them?"


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Remember Romans 6 says we are baptised into the _______________ of Jesus in hope that some day we will be _________________________ with him to live eternally.  Do I want to be raised with Jesus in baptism now so I can be raised with him eternally?  _________________


Galatians 3:27 (pg. 1130)  WHAT GOD SAYS:  "For ______________ of you who were _____________________ into Christ have clothed yourselves with ___________________________."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  When I am baptized, I put on who?  ___________________________





Matthew 28:19 (PG. 967)  WHAT GOD SAYS, AND JESUS' ACTUAL WORDS:  "Therefore, go and make ________________________________ of all nations, ________________________ them in the name of the _______________________, and of the ________________________ and of the ___________________________, and teaching them to obey __________________________ I have _____________________________ you."


WHAT THIS VERSE TELLS ME:  Baptism is one of Jesus' commands.  If I am to at least try to obey every one of his commands, what will I do?  _______________________________________





If you would like to be baptized (immersed) tell us privately.  We will explain what it is like, and then find someone to baptize you.  You will not be baptized into a denomination or the beliefs of the person who baptizes you.  You will be baptized simply into God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for the remission of your sins.














Acts 2:

37-41, 47

3,000 Jews - Jerusalem







Acts 8:

5-6, 12

People in Samaria







Acts 8:









Acts 9:

3-6, 17-19










Acts 10:

1-2, 48

Cornelius & Household*







Acts 16:


Lydia & Household








Acts 18:

1, 8








Acts 19:









Acts 22:



(future apostle)







*Receiving Holy Spirit is another study.  Notice, even though he was morally upright, he still had to do something else.

**Notice, even though he had seen a vision of Jesus, he still had to do something else.


            Now back off from this page for a moment and look at the chart without being able to read what it says.  Something stands out.  It is the fact that only one row is completely checked off.  What is that row?  Some things were taken for granted, but the writers always emphasized one thing so that people would never take it for granted.  They were all baptized!  Isn't that amazing?







            Oh, Jesus, I didn't understand.  Your flesh.  It was torn for me.  I was the one who should have received the lashing that turned Your back into meat.  And the thorny slivers on the cross.  The slivers that went into Your already shredded back to create gangrene.  The lashing and thorns were supposed to be for me, not You.  And the nails too, Jesus.  The nails too.  How could You go through that in my place?


            Oh, Jesus, I didn't understand.  Your nakedness.  They stripped You instead of me.  I was the one who's nakedness should have been exposed, and put on display for the whole world to gawk at and ridicule.  I was the one who was supposed to have been subjected to exposure, enduring both the heat of the day and the cold of that strange noon-time darkness.  How could you have endured this for me? 


            Oh, Jesus, I didn't understand.  Your blood.  It was shed for me.  If I had been the only sinner in the world, You still would have had to die to free me from hell.  That was my blood that was supposed to be falling off the cross that day, not Yours.  How could You love me that much? 


            Oh, Jesus, I didn't understand.  Your every breath.  Taken away from You a gasp at a time as You hung there by merciless nails tearing away at your life, rendering your lungs almost paralyzed, piercing Your soul.  Each time You chose to ignore the screaming blood vessels in Your back and the unbearable spasms in Your arms and legs just so You could get just one more taste of breath, that should have been me.  How could You volunteer Your own body to be tortured like that in my place?


            Oh, Jesus, I didn't understand.  In the flames of Your fever and the darkness of my sins, You descended to a horrible place where God does not go.  Completely forsaken by Your God.  Completely deserted by Love.  Not because You simply bore my sins, but You actually became my sins.  How could You, who struggled a lifetime to make sure You never sinned, become exactly what You hated for me? 


            Oh, Jesus, I did not understand.  All my little lies, little things I took home accidentally and kept, the strangers I never encouraged, the friends I never shared my love for You with, my arrogance in not following you.  Oh, Jesus, I am so ashamed.  How can I ever make it up to You?  How can I tell You how sorry I am?  I want to see You face to face and tell You how much I love You.  How can I convince You to let me do that?


            "I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies" (John 11:25).  Oh, Jesus, say no more!  I do believe that You are the Son of God!  I do believe!           


            "Unless you repent, you too will all perish" (Luke 13:3).  I'm so glad You said that, Jesus!  I truly am sorry for all those sins I have committed that caused You to die!


            "Whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven" (Matthew 10:31f).  Well, isn't it enough that I believe?  Do I have to get my friends involved?  If I told them I believed in You, they'd assassinate me.  Are You sure, Jesus?


            "Jesus be baptized...'It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness'" (Matthew 3:13-15).  "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:15).  Oh, Jesus, I wish you hadn't been baptized and said I needed to be also.  My friends and pastor tell me I don't need to be.  I know they didn't die for me, but surely they wouldn't steer me wrong.  Please, Jesus, not that!  Please.... 


            Would it be okay, Jesus, if I just do the first two?  Everyone says that's all I have to do to please You.  I'll even throw in the third one and tell a few of my friends what You've done for me because I believe in You.  But the last one.  I know You Yourself said to, but I just couldn't!  Please, spare me that!  Please, Jesus!  It would kill me....


K. Haddad








Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism, Part Four, Articles I-IV:  "Baptism is not simply water, but it is the water comprehended in God's command [Matthew 28:19-20]....It worketh forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and confers everlasting salvation on all who believe....the water without the Word of God is simply water and no baptism....a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost; as St. Paul says to Titus in the third chapter verses 5-8....It signifies that the old Adam in us is to be drowned....St. Paul, in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 6, verse 4 says:  'We are buried with Christ by baptism into death'."




Institutions, c. xvi:  "Baptism resembles a legal instrument properly attested, by which he assures us that all our sins are canceled, effaced and obliterated so that they will never appear in his sight, or come into his remembrance, or be imputed to us.  For he commands all who believe to be baptized for the remission of their sins."




Confession of Faith, Chapter xxviii, Sec. i:  "Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be to him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his engrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life."


The Larger Catechism:  "Baptism is...a sign and seal of engrafting into Christ, of remission of sins by his blood and regeneration by his Spirit."




Wesley's Commentary on the New Testament, pg. 350:  "Baptism administered to penitents is both a means and a seal of pardon.  Nor did God ordinarily in the primitive Church, bestow this upon any unless through this means."




Church Constitution, Articles XIII:  "We believe that Christian baptism is a sacrament signifying acceptance of the benefits of the atonement of Jesus Christ, to be administered to believers."



First Century Church Accounts


            Ignatius wrote about 90 AD in his Epistle to Polycarp, v. 6: "Let your baptism abide with you as your shield; your faith as your helmet; your love as your spear; your patience as your body armour.  Let your works be your deposits, that ye may receive your assets due to you."


            A collection of miscellaneous writings called Didache 9,written about 100 AD, says, "No one is to eat or drink of your eucharist except those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord.  For also concerning this the Lord has said, 'Do not give that which is holy to the dogs.'"


            Justin Martyr wrote in his Apology I, 65 about 150 AD, "After we thus wash [baptize] him who has been persuaded and agreed entirely with our teachings, we take him to the place where the brethren have gathered together yo make fervent prayers in common on behalf of themselves and of the one who has been illuminated in baptism and of all others everywhere.  We pray that we who have learned the truth may be counted worthy and may be found good citizens through our works and keepers of his commandments so that we may receive the eternal salvation.  When we cease from our prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. 


"Next there is brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of water mixed with wine.  Taking these he sends up praise and glory to the Father of all through the name of his Son and of the Holy Spirit and makes thanksgiving at length for the gifts we are counted worthy to receive from him.  When he completes the prayers and thanksgiving, all the people present sing out their assent by saying 'Amen.'....give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water for which thanksgiving has been given, and they carry some away to those who are absent."



Second - Fourth Century


            120 AD, Egypt, Barnabas, 11:1,8,11 - "Let us inquire if the Lord was careful to make a revelation in advance concerning the water and the cross....Blessed are those who placed their hope in his cross and DESCENDED into the water....We DESCEND into the water full of sins and uncleanness, and we ascend bearing reverence in our heart and having hope in Jesus in our spirit."


            130 AD, Rome, Italy, Shepherd of Hermas, Vision III.iii.3; Mandate IV.iii.1; Similitudes IX.xvi.3-6 - "Your life was saved and will be saved through water....there is no other repentance except that one when we DESCENDED into the water and received the forgiveness of our former sins....Before a man bears the name of the Son of God he is dead, but whenever he receives the seal, he puts away mortality and receives life.  The seal then is the water.  They DESCEND then into the water dead and they ASCEND alive.  The seal itself, then, was preached to them also, and they made use of it in order that they might 'enter into the kingdom of God.'...They DESCENDED therefore with them into the water and ASCENDED again.  The former went down alive and came up alive, but the latter who had fallen asleep previously went down dead but came up alive."


            150 AD, Rome, Italy, Justin Martyr, Apology I,61 - "As many as are persuaded and believe that the things taught and said by us are true and promise to be able to live accordingly are taught to fast, pray, and ask God for the forgiveness of past sins, while we pray and fast with them.  Then they are led by us to where there is water, and in the manner of the regeneration by which we ourselves were regenerated they are regenerated. 


            "For at that time they obtain for themselves the washing IN water in the name of God the Master of all and Father, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.  For Christ also said, 'Unless you are regenerated, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.'"


            170 AD, Sardis, Turkey, Melito, On Baptism, fragment - "Are not gold, silver, copper, and iron, after being fired, baptized with water?  One in order that it may be cleansed in appearance, another in order that it may be strengthened by the DIPPING....why is Christ also not washed in the Jordan?"  [See Bible account below]


            180 Antioch, Turkey, Theophilus, To Autolycus II.xvi - "Moreover, the things which CAME FROM the waters [at creation of earth] were blessed by God, in order that this might be a sign that men were going to receive repentance and forgiveness of sins through water and the 'washing of regeneration,' namely all those who come to the truth and are born again, and receive blessing from God."


            190 Carthage, Africa, Tertullian, On Baptism 1, 7, 4, 12 - "We as little fishes, in accordance with our 'ichthys' Jesus Christ, are born IN water....Baptism itself is a bodily act, because we are baptized IN water, but it has a spiritual effect, because we are set free from sins.  There is no difference whether one is washed IN the sea or IN a pool, IN a river or a fountain, IN a reservoir or a tub, nor is there any distinction between those whom John DIPPED in the Jordan and those whom Peter DIPPED in the Tiber, unless that eunuch whom Philip DIPPED in the chance water found on their journey obtained more or less of salvation....It has assuredly been ordained that no one can attain knowledge of salvation without IMMERSION.  This comes especially from the pronouncement of the Lord, who says, 'except one be born of water he does not have life.'"


            195 Alexandria, Egypt, Origen, Homilies on Exodus V:5 - [in commenting on the crossing of the Red Sea speaks of Christian baptism] "The evil spirits seek to overtake you, but you DESCEND INTO the water and you escape safely; having washed away the filth of sin, you COME UP a 'new man,' ready to sing the 'new song.'"


            In the same century that Constantine who built the first known separate baptistery and font, these early Christians wrote describing baptism as an immersion:


            350 Jerusalem, Palestine, Cyril, Catechetical Lectures XCVII:14 - "For as he who PLUNGES into the waters and is baptized is SURROUNDED on all sides by the waters, so were they also baptized completely by the Spirit.  The water, however, flows around the OUTSIDE, but the spirit baptizes also the soul within completely."


            350 Caesarea, Palestine, Basil, On the Holy Spirit XV:35 - "How then do we become in the likeness of his death?  We were BURIED with him through baptism....How then do we accomplish the DESCENT into Hades?  We imitate the BURIAL of Christ through baptism.  For the bodies of those being baptized are as it were BURIED in water."


            380 Milan, Italy, Ambrose, On the Sacraments III.i.1,2 - "We discoursed yesterday on the font, the appearance of which in shape is like a TOMB, into which we are received, believing in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and we are PLUNGED and we LIFT ourselves UP, that is we are RESURRECTED....So therefore also in baptism, since it is a likeness of death, without doubt when you DIP and RISE UP there is made a likeness of the RESURRECTION."


            390, Antioch, Turkey, John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instructions II;26; Homilies on John XXV:2, on John 3:5 - "When the priest pronounces, 'So-and-so is baptized into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,' he three times puts the head DOWN and RAISES it UP, preparing you to receive the DESCENT of the Spirit by this mystical initiation....Exactly as in some tomb, when we SINK our heads in water, the old man is BURIED, and as he is SUBMERGED BELOW, he is absolutely and entirely HIDDEN.  Then when we LIFT our heads UP, the new man again COMES UP."


            Only once in the 2nd century is anything preserved of writings saying baptism did not have to be immersion, only once in the 3rd century, and only once in the 4th century.  They are as follows:


            100, Syria, Didache 7 - "Concerning baptism, baptize in this way.  After you have spoken all these things, "baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," IN running water.  If you do not have running water, baptized in other water.  If you are not able in cold, then in warm.  If you do not have either, pour out water three times on the head 'in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.'  Before the baptism the one baptizing and the one being baptized are to fast, and any others who are able.  command the one being baptized to fast before hand a day or two" [Notice the person is standing IN water and then water is poured over the head.]


250, Carthage, Africa, Cyprian, Epistle 75 [69]:12 - "You have asked also, what I thought concerning those who obtain God's grace in sickness and weakness, whether they are to be accounted legitimate Christians, because they are not washed with the water of salvation but have it poured on them....In the sacraments of salvation, when necessity compels, and God bestows his mercy, the divine abridgements confer the whole benefit on believers, nor ought any one to be troubled that sick persons seem to be sprinkled or poured upon when they obtain the Lord's grace....Whence it appears that the sprinkling also of water holds equally with the washing of salvation."  [Notice this was in case of "sickness and weakness."]


320 Caesarea, Palestine, Eusebius, Church History VI.xliii.14, quoting a letter from Cornelius of Rome, Italy, 251-253 - "[Novatian] fell seriously ill and was thought to be about to die.  In the bed itself on which he was lying he received grace by water being poured around over him, if it is proper to say that such a one received it." [Notice, this was one instance when someone was ill.  The text goes on to state that immediately Novatian was then made a bishop of the church.  Neither was approved by the writer, Cornelius.]





One Man's Quest


            If one has been taught all one's life things about baptism that are not in the Bible, it is hard for an honest heart to work through that.  It could take years if there is no one around to encourage. 


            That's what happened with Al.  This is the true story of one man's search for the answer to baptism much of his adult life.  It took a long time because he wanted to do what God said, but people around him kept telling him he did not have to.


            BIRTH:  He was sprinkled as an infant by his Presbyterian minister father.  His grandfather and great grandfather (who lived to be 105) were Roman Catholic, and they also approved of this baptism.


            About this same time, there was an unbelieving woman who wanted yet another minister in the area, Dr. Innes, to sprinkle her infant, as he had done her other children.  However, before this baby was born, her husband died.  Dr. Innes said he could not baptize the baby of a non-believing mother because it was through her husband's faith the other babies had been baptized.  After considering this dilemma for some time, Dr. Innes decided that he could no longer baptize infants.


            AGE 19:  Al's father began preaching that we should "speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent."  As a result, his Synod said he could no longer be affiliated with them.


            So the father began preaching wherever people would accept him.  When he brought this up at the congregation where he lived and worked the most, his congregation agreed this was a good policy.  Then one of the members, Andrew Munro, said, "If we adopt that as a basis, then there is an end of infant baptism."  Al's father was startled.  But he knew this was the truth, so had to agree.  He said, "Of course, if infant baptism is not found in the Scripture, we can have nothing to do with it."  It made them all nervous, but they had agreed they would never go beyond what the Bible specifically said.


            AGE 21:  The previous year, Al preached his first sermon while his father preached elsewhere, urging other congregations to work for Christian unity in their communities by emphasizing speaking where the Bible speaks, remaining silent where the Bible is silent, and keeping opinions to themselves. 


            One day someone approached Al who had been baptized as an infant and asked if they could be baptized as an adult.  Perplexed, he asked his father, "I can see no propriety in their unchurching themselves, or in putting off Christ, merely for the sake of making a new profession; thus GOING OUT OF THE CHURCH MERELY FOR THE SAKE OF COMING IN AGAIN."


            Neither had an answer, so put it in the back of their minds.


            AGE 23:  Al got in a debate with someone about baptism.  He said, "The Lord has nowhere expressly enjoined it [infant baptism].  Until this be done, we think it highly anti-scriptural to make it a term of communion, for to do this is to make it a term of salvation.  It is as much as to say, 'EXCEPT YOU BAPTIZE YOUR CHILDREN YOU CANNOT BE SAVED!'"


            Later that same year, an adult in Al's father's congregation decided he wanted to be immersed in baptism, and asked his father to do it.  So his father did, although he himself had never been baptized and saw nothing essential in it.


            AGE 24:  Al preached three sermons - once a month - on Mark 16:15-16:  "He [Jesus] said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news [gospel] to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."  Toward the end of each sermon he said, "As I am sure it is unscriptural to make this matter a term of communion, I LET IT SLIP.  I wish to think and let think of these matters."


            The more he thought about it, the more he wondered why Jesus connected baptism to salvation.  How could the two possibly be connected?  He asked, "May we omit believer's baptism, which all admit to be divinely commanded?"


            First he searched the scriptures and translated from the original Greek the word baptism each time it occurred, and each time it meant to immerse, to bury.  He now concluded that his infant sprinkling as an unbeliever was invalid and that he was actually an unbaptized person.


            Al went to visit Elder Luce, a Baptist preacher friend, and asked him to baptize him.  The friend refused because Al did not believe everything exactly as he did; but finally he consented.  Then he went to see his father and mother to ask if they would like to be immersed when he was.  The father - who had been sprinkling infants for over 25 years - did not want to talk about it.  But Al's teenage sister said she wanted to be.


            The next day when Al and his wife went by his parents' home on his way to his baptism to get his sister, his father and mother said they were prepared to be baptized also.


            The preacher baptizing them asked if they had had any kind of religious experience to prove they were worthy of baptism.  Al said he had found nothing in the Bible prescribing a religious experience.  So, since the Bible was silent on it, he had to be also.  Instead, Al insisted that he be baptized using the same words Jesus had in Matthew 28:19, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."


            AGE 32:  Al had nine years earlier decided baptism was necessary for salvation and had been baptized himself.  But he still did not understand everything about it.  Acts 2:38 caught his attention:  "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."


            Then he realized, "Baptism is connected with the promise of the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit."


            AGE 35:  Al was in a debate with another minister, John Walker.  Walker said babies needed to be baptized because of their "original sin" which they'd inherited from Adam.  Al replied that if babies have only original SIN, being singular, then baptism would not apply to them because it is for the forgiveness of SINS, being plural (Acts 2:38).


            AGE 39:  Al talked at length with another minister, Walter Scott.  Together they came to realize that, just as the blood of bulls and goats that died on the altar in Old Testament worship represented the forgiveness of the Jews' sins, the symbolic death and burial of the believer in the waters of baptism in the New Testament worship represented the forgiveness of the Christians' sins.  In both cases, the forgiveness through these rituals was made possible by the blood of the Lamb of God whose sacrifice was also retroactive to people of the Old Testament (Hebrews 9:15).


            It also hit them that the Holy Spirit does not come upon people until after they are baptized.  Acts 2:38 says, "Repent and be baptized...for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."


            END OF THE CONFLICT:  It took Al three years just to decide he needed to be baptized as part of his salvation.  But it took a total of 18 years for him to sort out all the benefits of baptism.  He has since died and gone on to heaven.  But during his ministry, he baptized hundreds - perhaps thousands - of people.  What if self-righteous people had told Al he could not associate with them because he did not understand baptism enough?  Let us, therefore, be patient with one another.