God sent John the Baptist to prepare "the way of the Lord" by preaching repentance and baptism. John baptized his converts by immersion in water. The very meaning of the word baptize means to immerse.# When a person is baptized they will go completely down in the water. Jesus was God manifested in flesh. Therefore, He was perfect and sinless and yet, even the Lord and Saviour Himself was baptized by John the Baptist.
"And without controversy great is the
mystery of godliness: God was manifest
in the flesh, justified in the Spirit,
seen of angels, preached unto the
Gentiles, believed on in the world,
received up into glory." (I Timothy 3:16)
There are many debates over whom baptism is for, how it should be done and why it is significant. Many religious denominations today will sprinkle water on infants as a way of baptism. Others reserve the practice of baptism by immersion for one who is of an accountable age and able to make their own decision to believe in and follow the teachings and commands of Jesus concerning baptism.
In church history there is no record of infant baptism until the year 370. It resulted from the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, the teaching that baptism is essential to salvation. It was natural for those holding this teaching to believe that everybody should be baptized as soon as possible, and so baptism of unconscious infants came into vogue among many of the churches.# Since salvation must come, according to the Word of God, before there can be baptism, it is very clear that there is no reason to baptize infants. There is not one instance given in the Bible of an infant being baptized.
Baptism itself is a picture of salvation. If we change the form of baptism, we change the meaning of baptism, we change the doctrine of salvation.# An infant cannot make a deliberate decision to accept Christ as their Saviour, yet when an infant is baptized it is leaving the impression that...
Bibliography: Beller, James R. The Collegiate Baptist History Workbook. Prairie Fire Press. 2005.
Fickett, Harold L. Jr. A Layman 's Guide to Baptist Beliefs. Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. 1968.
Pettingill, William. Infant Baptism, It 's History and It 's Harm. Texas: http://cnview.com/on_line_resources/ infant_baptism.htm.
Rice, Dr. John R. Bible Baptism. Tennessee: Sword of the Lord Publishers.
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