Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 11, 1956

Sprinkle, Pour, Immerse?

C. R. Nichol, Homestead, Florida

"All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teach them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you." (Matthew 28:18, 19.)

What act did Jesus command the disciples to perform; and what act was performed When they baptized the ones made "disciples"?

"Baptize" is a verb.

Some good people sprinkle water on a person, and say: "I baptize you." Others pour water on a person, and declare: "I baptize you," and yet others immerse a person in water and say: "I baptize you."

Note that three different acts were performed and yet it is well known that each act performed differed from the other. Did the word Jesus used, "baptize" have three different meanings? If yes, just who was given the authority to determine which act was to be performed when a person is "baptized"? Was it the individual to be baptized, or the person who was to do the baptizing?

There is not a passage in all the Bible, Old or New Testaments, where water alone, water unmixed with some other element was, by God's authority, ever sprinkled, or poured on any person for any purpose! Water and blood were mixed; water and ashes were mixed, and water and oil were mixed by the authority of Jehovah, and sprinkled, or poured on a person, but water, alone was never by the authority of heaven sprinkled or poured on anyone for any purpose.

Hence it is certain that one cannot get the idea from the Bible that the word "baptize" means sprinkle or pour water on a person. You need some preacher to assist you before you can even get the thought that sprinkling or pouring is the meaning of the word, "baptize."

"And there went out unto him all the land of Judea and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins." (Mark 1:5.)

"And it came to pass in those days, That Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water." (Mark 1:9, 10.)

Philip baptized the treasurer of Candace: "And they went down both into the water," and Philip baptized him and then they came "out of the water." (Acts 8:28, 29.)

"Buried with him by baptism." (Rom. 7:4.)

"Buried with him in baptism." (Col. 2:12.)

Someone says: "The record says, John baptized 'with water'." (Matt. 3:11.) In the King James Version it is so stated. In the American Standard Version it reads: "In water." The word "baptize" tells -what was done, and the words "in water" tells the element used. The lady washed her blouse in water; another lady washed her blouse in gasoline. The word "washed" tells what was done, and the terms 9n water" and "in gasoline" tells what elements were used by the ladies. The man who talks about "with water" telling what was done does not think clearly. If a preacher says "with water" tells what was done, lie should learn something about the meaning of words before he attempts to teach. The verb, "baptize" tells What was done.

The first instance of other than immersion for baptism came in 251 A.D. A man named Novation was confined to his bed by sickness. It was thought he would not get well. He had not been baptized. Water was poured all around him and over him on his bed. He recovered, and when it was proposed that he become an officer in the church, there were objections; he was not baptized but became the founder of a group of religious people known in history as the Novations.

Eusebius, the "Father of Church History," page 256 says: He "was baptized by aspersion in the bed on which he lay."

"The Council of Ravenna was the first to allow a choice between sprinkling and immersion." (Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, P. 201.)

Sprinkling was "legalized" by the Catholics, it was NOT authorized by Christ!

Mr. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, said: "We are buried with him — alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion." — Wesley's Notes, on (Rom. 6:4). Do Methodists today agree with Mr. Wesley?