Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 10, 1967
NUMBER 14, PAGE 1-2a

Take Your Pick

Jefferson David Tant

Nearly every church practices baptism of some sort, in one form or another. There are so many in vogue among the various religious bodies that one could spend a considerable amount of time in studying them before making a choice.

Realizing this problem, and being aware of the fact that many people do not have ready access to the creedal works of various denominations that could give a definitive view of the baptisms practiced by the denominations, we desire to give somewhat of a panoramic view of many of the baptisms, based upon the official and authoritative statements of belief emanating from the particular denominations.

1. POURING (Popularly, but erroneously, called baptism) OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. While the church will accept sprinkling and immersion, her teaching stresses the pouring of water upon the candidate. This "baptism" is usually administered apart from faith and repentance on the part of the candidate, inasmuch as the rite is given most frequently to infants who are incapable of believing, and who have no sins from which to repent. The rite can also be given to those who are unconscious, dying, or dead, and may still effect the "salvation" of the individual, according to the teaching of the church.

2. SPRINKLING (Also mistakenly called baptism) OF VARIOUS PROTESTANT DENOMINATIONS. This "baptism" is practiced by METHODISTS, PRESBYTERIANS, LUTHERANS, etc. While immersion and pouring are both acceptable, it is my understanding that sprinkling is the more common. This is similar to the Catholic "baptism" in that it is often performed without belief or repentance on the part of the one baptized, as these churches practice infant baptism.

It is the common teaching of these churches that their "baptism" is not essential to salvation, as expressed in the Presbyterian Confession of Faith: "Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it..."

3. BAPTISM OF THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES. This is properly immersion of adults, but is only a "symbol of dedication to God," and "does not wash sins away."

4. PENTECOSTAL BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST AND FIRE. The various Pentecostal bodies believe that they have the baptism of the Holy Ghost today, and that it enables them to perform miracles, even though the Bible teaches that the purpose of miracles (to confirm the spoken word) has been fulfilled and that the age of miracles has come to an end (I Cor. 13.)

Just what they mean by the "baptism of fire" is not too clear to many, since the only "baptism of fire" spoken of in the Bible is in Matt. 3:11-12. Herein the baptism of fire is depicted as the everlasting and "unquenchable fire" of hell. It is hard to imagine that people could long for and desire such, so either the Pentecostal people misunderstand the Bible on this point, or they have some sort of baptism that is as unknown to the New Testament as sprinkling or pouring.

5. BAPTISMS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS (Popularly called the Mormon Church.) The church teaches baptism in water for remission of sins, baptism of the Holy Spirit, baptism of fire, and baptism for the dead, to my knowledge, baptism for the dead is unique among the Mormons. In this ceremony, one can actually be baptized in the place of ancestors who did not receive baptism, and thus effect their salvation.

6. BAPTISM OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH. Rightly, this baptism is performed only upon responsible beings by immersion. But it is NOT for remission of sins. It is, to Baptists, symbolical and in and of itself constitutes membership in the Baptist church. Declaring their belief in its connection with salvation, they state: "Baptism is not essential to salvation..."

7. VARIOUS ANDSUNDRY BAPTISMS, which are so numerous that they cannot all be listed. A colorful and fragrant example of such would be the baptism practiced by the Crown Heights Christian Church in Oklahoma City. This church baptizes, not with water, but with rose petals. And on we could write, even mentioning other baptisms practiced by some churches we have already considered, but let us note one more:

8. NEW TESTAMENT BAPTISM. This is baptism in water (Acts 8:36-39) and is a burial, or immersion (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12.) It is for the remission or washing away of sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16) and thus is necessary for salvation (Mark 16:16; I Peter 3:21.) Since it is preceded by faith (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12) and is connected with repentance (Acts 2:38), it is only for responsible individuals, not infants, and certainly not for those unconscious or dead.

It is baptism into Christ, or into a saving relationship with Him (Gal. 3:27) and thus constitutes membership in the church or body of Christ (Acts 2:47; I Cor. 12:13.) The Bible teaches that now there is but ONE baptism (Eph. 4:5), and since we cannot be saved outside of Christ, nor can we be saved without remission of sins, and since the New Testament knows nothing of baptism into any denominational body, we must conclude that the ONE BAPTISM of Eph. 4:5 is this one we have written of under # 8.

Furthermore, we must conclude that ALL OTHER BAPTISMS ARE EITHER (1) in the past (Holy Spirit, John, Moses); (2) in the future (fire); or are (3) manmade, and thus invalid (sprinkling, rose-petals, etc.)

Yes, you can TAKE YOUR PICK, but why not be wise and pick the one the Lord ordained.