Is immersion necessary for baptism?

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  • Is immersion necessary for baptism?

    Hi good people, i was born in a catholic family hence i was baptized in catholic church.
    Am now grown up ănd fellowshiping in a different church where they believe One must be immersed during baptism.
    what do you people think; Do i need to be immersed or should i Stick to the baptism i was given in the catholic church?

  • #2
    In general the Anglican church recognises Catholic baptism and vice versa, as long as it was performed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

    Have you spoken to your pastor or vicar about this? If you don't feel baptised, or as though you need a second baptism into the church of your adult choice instead of the church of your birth, then he can give you guidance on how to proceed. He could also tell you whether your baptism is counted by your current church. Perhaps you should be looking at confirmation into the new church instead of a second baptism, depending on your church's belief?
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    • #3
      Jesus was baptized by immersion.

      In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. (Mark 1:9-10)
      Clyde Herrin's Blog
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      • #4
        Originally posted by theophilus View Post
        Jesus was baptized by immersion.

        In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. (Mark 1:9-10)
        G'day Theo,

        That Scripture doesn't say Jesus was immersed. He could have been standing in knee high water and sprinkled or poured over, and "coming up out of the water" could of referred to the river or its embankment.

        God bless,
        William
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by William View Post
          He could have been standing in knee high water and sprinkled or poured over, and "coming up out of the water" could of referred to the river or its embankment.
          Unless he was being baptized by immersion there would have been no reason for him to get into the river at all.
          Clyde Herrin's Blog
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by adssolsn View Post
            Hi good people, i was born in a catholic family hence i was baptized in catholic church.
            Am now grown up ănd fellowshiping in a different church where they believe One must be immersed during baptism.
            what do you people think; Do i need to be immersed or should i Stick to the baptism i was given in the catholic church?
            I feel that this is more of a question on whether you'd be accepted into that church without receiving their own way of baptism...to which I would answer "when in Rome, do as the Romans".
            Baptism is not just about the ritual itself but also being introduced and embraced by a community of people. After all you said you've been baptized in a catholic church, so there's not the issue of salvation, like a non-baptized person would have. Just because the way that they perform a baptism is slightly different that what you received, it doesn't mean it's less effective.
            So it's more of a personal choice...in my opinion, if you feel that you want to connect on a deeper level with these people, adapting to their pracices would be a good start.
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by Julianne View Post

              I feel that this is more of a question on whether you'd be accepted into that church without receiving their own way of baptism...to which I would answer "when in Rome, do as the Romans".
              Baptism is not just about the ritual itself but also being introduced and embraced by a community of people. After all you said you've been baptized in a catholic church, so there's not the issue of salvation, like a non-baptized person would have. Just because the way that they perform a baptism is slightly different that what you received, it doesn't mean it's less effective.
              So it's more of a personal choice...in my opinion, if you feel that you want to connect on a deeper level with these people, adapting to their pracices would be a good start.
              It's not even connecting with people. And to tell the truth I don't have a problem with immersion but I don't like how people insist on something without having a real reason.
              It sounds like they just want to mark their territory.
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by adssolsn View Post
                It's not even connecting with people. And to tell the truth I don't have a problem with immersion but I don't like how people insist on something without having a real reason.
                It sounds like they just want to mark their territory.
                First, let me state in clear terms that it is not an issue that salvation hangs on. A person can be sprinkled as an infant and be saved by the Blood of Christ. A person can have water poured over his head as a teen and be saved by the Blood of Christ. A person can be immersed in a baptismal pool or a swimming pool or a local river and be saved by the Blood of Christ. The Bible even records a man nailed to a cross next to Jesus and unable to be sprinkled, poured or immersed being saved by the Blood of Christ.

                With that out of the way, the question is more than nothing. At the heart is what you (and the body of believers that you fellowship with) believe that baptism is, does and represents. For Catholics and Lutherans and my Presbyterian brothers, sprinkling or pouring water on a baby represents, signifies, introduces the newest member into the covenant of the Lord. At that point you become part of the people of God, just as the Israelites were God's chosen people in the Old Testement. It falls for you to later grow into a mature faith and choose to become a full member (with whatever ceremony and ritual that entails for that particular body of believers).

                For our Baptist brothers, baptism represents something very different. They look to verses like the command to repent and be baptized and talk of being baptized into Christ's death, burial and Resurection and they apply that literally to adult baptism. For them, baptism is the ceremony of personal admission into the Body of Christ. It is the moment you proclaim that you belong to Jesus and are His disciple. So sprinkling or pouring do not equate burial and resurrection the way that immersion does.

                So you you have two personal questions to answer.
                1. What do you believe baptism is for you and what do you want it to represent for you?
                2. What does your local body of believers teach about it and what message do you want to send to them?
                Last edited by atpollard; 04-30-2017, 06:11 PM.
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                  Unless he was being baptized by immersion there would have been no reason for him to get into the river at all.
                  You mean going down to the water to have the water poured or sprinkled makes no sense? The Scripture doesn't say Jesus was immersed in the river. Again, he could have came up from the river and its embankment. John could have poured water over him or sprinkled Him there while Jesus was on the edge of its shore. It makes more sense than for John to have to walk back and forth carrying a pail of water to everyone, Jesus wasn't the only one being baptized that day. Read Exodus 14:29 "But the children of Israel walked on dry land in the midst of the sea." They were "in the sea" and "on dry land" and "The clouds poured out water." The word of God calls this baptism, for it says, "and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized" 1 Corinthians 10:2. Does not reason teach us here that God baptized by pouring?

                  To answer the OP, no immersion is not necessary. "Some," say baptism only represents regeneration, and if that be the case, then, Ezekiel 36:25-27 would be a more accurate depiction of the imagery:

                  25I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.[a]

                  From a Covenant perspective water is the sign seal and mark of baptism. No amount is specified.

                  What clearly is a preference some are making into tradition.

                  God bless,
                  William
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

                    In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11,12)

                    Immersion is the only mode of baptism that can serve as a picture of burial.
                    Clyde Herrin's Blog
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                      We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

                      In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11,12)

                      Immersion is the only mode of baptism that can serve as a picture of burial.
                      First, it is amazing what our Baptist brethren choose to see and not see in Colossians 2:11-12! :) Baptism itself hardly amounts to being actually buried in the earth or placed in a tomb! Not to mention baptist ignore the parallel Paul is making to circumcision, the sign, seal, and mark of the OT Covenant to water baptism - the sign, seal, and mark of the NT Covenant, a sign, seal, and mark given to infants. Acts 2:38, 39 also links circumcision and baptism. In Acts 2:38 the Apostle Peter calls for repentance, faith in Christ and baptism by Jews who are hearing his preaching. In v.39 he gives the reason for this action: “the promise is to you and to your children, and all who are far off….” The Apostle Peter consciously uses the same formula in his preaching as the LORD himself used when he instituted the sign of circumcision in Genesis 17, which the Jews listening understood precisely.

                      Second, by simply immersing a hand or fingers into water and transferring the baptismal waters by sprinkling on the recipient of baptism demonstrates the process of cleansing, the properties of water with Christ's burial and resurrection (The emphasis is not on dipping or immersing or on sprinkling or pouring, but on the process of identifying the one baptized with a cleansing provided by God himself). Similarly, we should understand that when Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, he went “to” the water, dipped his hand into it, and sprinkled the eunuch, identifying him with the Messiah and his cleansing work (see Isaiah 52:15, a passage that the eunuch would have just been reading, cf. Acts 8:30, 33). Or, they may have stepped into and out of the water, without anyone being immersed. As for your references to the baptized ones going into and coming out of the water please refer to passages such as Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, and Acts 8:38-39. But doesn't that prove immersion? No, the Greek prepositions translated “into” and “out of” may also mean “to,” “toward,” or “unto,” and “from” or “away from.” In fact, in Acts 8, the Greek preposition eis is used eleven times, but only once (vs. 38) is it commonly translated “into.” In verses 3, 5, 16, 25, 26, 27, and 40, it is best translated as “to.”

                      Biblical baptisms have the effect of identifying the one baptized with someone or something else (e.g., Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 1:13; 10:2). When one receives New Testament baptism, that person is identified with Christ in his life, death, resurrection, and reign. (That is why the New Testament often refers to Christians as being “in Christ.”) The one baptized is, by virtue of God's covenant, identified with Christ, so that the person comes under the controlling influence of the only Redeemer of God's elect.


                      Our friends who maintain that baptism requires immersion are not only making a false assertion, based on the incorrect assumption that baptizo and bapto mean the same thing, but are also binding people to believe something that is not given in Holy Scripture. That is a serious error (see Deuteronomy 4:2). It is precisely because we really do believe what the Bible says about the way baptism is to be administered that we do not insist upon immersion as the mode of baptism, but maintain, rather, that it is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person. The word baptize does not mean “immerse”. Those who maintain that the Greek verb bapto means “to dip or immerse” are generally correct. (For example, the term is used in the Old Testament, as it is in classical Greek, for dipping hyssop or a finger in the blood used for sacrifice [e.g., Ex. 12:22; Lev. 4:6, 17; 9:9] or dipping one's feet in the Jordan River [e.g., Josh. 3:15].) However, our word baptize translates the Greek word baptizo, not bapto. While bapto may mean “to dip or immerse,” baptizo does not refer to a mode, but to a process and an effect. While a baptism may include dipping or immersing, baptizo does not, in itself, mean “to immerse.”


                      Old Testament Baptisms

                      Biblical baptisms focus on both purification (either actual or ceremonial) and identification. Most people (including your Baptist friends) are probably unaware of the fact that there were baptisms in the Old Testament. Hebrews 9:10 speaks of “various baptisms” (often translated “various washings”) that were part of the Old Testament economy. The writer refers to three of these ceremonial baptisms in verses 13, 19, and 21. In each verse (together with their Old Testament references), there is a clear picture of the process and the effect that constituted an Old Testament baptism.

                      In verse 13, the writer speaks of a baptism in which “the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh.” This refers to Numbers 19:17, 18. Here a clean person takes hyssop, dips it in a vessel filled with water and the ashes of a heifer that has been used as a sacrifice, and then sprinkles it on those persons or things that are to be cleansed ceremonially.

                      In Hebrews 9:19, we read that Moses “took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people.” This refers to Exodus 24:6, 8, where again we see that the process of an Old Testament baptism was to dip the hyssop and wool into the blood and sprinkle it as a means of ceremonial purification.

                      Finally, in Hebrews 9:21, there is a description of a process by which Moses “sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.” Leviticus 8:19 and 16:14, 16 provide the background for this Old Testament baptism. The priest was to dip his finger in the blood of a bull used for sacrifice, and then sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat (representing atonement). This was a ceremonial means of removing the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

                      In every case the process of baptism included a dipping of the instrument used to baptize into a substance such as blood or water. The instrument was then used to sprinkle the person(s) or thing(s) to be baptized. This process had the effect of identifying the substance used for the baptism with that which was baptized. As a result, the people were regarded as ceremonially cleansed by that substance. The baptism was not the dipping, but the process of dipping and sprinkling according to God's order.

                      The emphasis of these Old Testament baptisms was not on the mode of baptism, but on the effect: cleansing or purification. These baptisms did not represent something that people did, but something that God did in providing a cleansing from sin and guilt. Baptisms were his means of ceremonially providing such purification.


                      New Testament Baptisms

                      By now your Baptist friends may be somewhat upset. “But what does all of this have to do with baptism in the New Testament?” they will ask.

                      You might point out to them that the New Testament builds on the Old, and that it is important that we always define our terms biblically. (Besides, the book of Hebrews is in the New Testament!) Hebrews 9 (and the fuller Old Testament passages to which it refers) clearly describes baptisms. When New Testament baptisms are introduced, they are linked with these Old Testament baptisms.

                      For example, the debate between John's disciples and the Jews in John 3:22,26 focuses on “purification” (vs. 25). New Testament baptisms, like the Old Testament ones, were understood as purification rites. The process of baptizing would certainly be the same in the New Testament baptisms as in the Old Testament baptisms, except, of course, that the only element used in New Testament baptisms was water (see vs. 23). (Incidentally, the “much water” [or “many waters”] mentioned in this verse may well have been the “flowing water” (NASB) [or “living water”] mentioned in Numbers 19:17.)

                      In New Testament baptisms, then, the process of applying water to someone identifies the person baptized with the cleansing properties of the water. The emphasis is not on dipping or immersing (or on sprinkling or pouring), but on the process of identifying the one baptized with a cleansing provided by God himself.

                      This is why the Westminster Confession of Faith (28.3) correctly states that “dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person.” There is no clear example of a person being baptized by immersion in the New Testament, but there is a biblical pattern for a minister baptizing by dipping his hand (or a utensil) in water and sprinkling (or pouring) that water on the one to be baptized. Baptisms in a Presbyterian church simply follow the pattern of baptisms described in the Scriptures.
                      Reference: William Shishko OPC

                      God bless,
                      William
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by William View Post
                        Similarly, we should understand that when Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, he went “to” the water, dipped his hand into it, and sprinkled the eunuch, identifying him with the Messiah and his cleansing work (see Isaiah 52:15, a passage that the eunuch would have just been reading, cf. Acts 8:30, 33).
                        And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:38-39)

                        Clyde Herrin's Blog
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                        • #13
                          William
                          theophilus
                          I just wanted to thak you both for a Christian disagreement on the interpretation of scripture. I just encountered this same topic where one who dared to diagree with the Lutheran Church was accused of rejecting Jesus as Savior among other insane accusations. Words really cannot express how much this place means and just how frustrating the alternatives are. So thank you both for disagreeing like Brothers in Christ.
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by William View Post
                            First, it is amazing what our Baptist brethren choose to see and not see in Colossians 2:11-12! :) Baptism itself hardly amounts to being actually buried in the earth or placed in a tomb! Not to mention baptist ignore the parallel Paul is making to circumcision, the sign, seal, and mark of the OT Covenant to water baptism - the sign, seal, and mark of the NT Covenant, a sign, seal, and mark given to infants. Acts 2:38, 39 also links circumcision and baptism. In Acts 2:38 the Apostle Peter calls for repentance, faith in Christ and baptism by Jews who are hearing his preaching. In v.39 he gives the reason for this action: “the promise is to you and to your children, and all who are far off….” The Apostle Peter consciously uses the same formula in his preaching as the LORD himself used when he instituted the sign of circumcision in Genesis 17, which the Jews listening understood precisely.
                            It is also fascinating what our Presbyterian brethren choose to see and not see in Acts 2:38-39. They can so clearly divine that the promise "to you and to your children, and all who are far off" cannot possibly mean when they reach the age of understanding and can decide for themselves, yet they seem unable to notice that the command is to "Repent and be baptized every one of you". Have your infants repented? If you are to rely on the infant baptism as your one and only baptism, are you certain that you have obeyed what was actually commanded? Did you "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins"? :)

                            (PS. Yes, adult baptism by immersion really can be an amazing event. Words fail to describe it.)



                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by atpollard View Post
                              William
                              theophilus
                              I just wanted to thak you both for a Christian disagreement on the interpretation of scripture. I just encountered this same topic where one who dared to diagree with the Lutheran Church was accused of rejecting Jesus as Savior among other insane accusations. Words really cannot express how much this place means and just how frustrating the alternatives are. So thank you both for disagreeing like Brothers in Christ.
                              HERE! HERE! I second that. Great job and many thanks to Theophilus and William.

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