Apologetics: Baptism

We believe that water baptism soon after accepting Christ as personal Savior is a testimony of death to sin and resurrection to a new life.

– Beatty Community Church
Statement of Faith

What is baptism?

Basically, to baptize means to immerse in water. Water baptism is a ceremonial washing. Greeks used the word for dyeing cloth.

What is its purpose or meaning?

Water baptism symbolizes union and identification with Christ . It is a public testimony symbolizing our dying to self and sin and living for Christ (Romans 6:3-6). It is not a “sacrament” as there is no sacrament concept in the Bible.

John the Baptist baptized to repentance, meaning it symbolized the repentance on the part of the one being baptized (Matthew 3:11). But this is insufficient to save. One must come to faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 19:1-5, Romans 8:9).

According to James Montgomery Boice, when the word baptism is used in the Bible, it more often refers to the thing it symbolizes (our union with Christ and the permanent change that results) than the immersion ( 1 Corinthians 12:13). A text from a Greek poet and physician named Nicander, who lived about 200 years before Christ, contains a recipe for making pickles. He says to make a pickle, you first dip the vegetable in boiling water, then you baptize the vegetable in a solution. The dipping is temporary. The baptizing produces a permanent change. (Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989, quoted in Online Bible Greek Lexicon, Strong’s #907)

The word baptized in Mark 16:16 refers to our union with Christ. Intellectual acknowledgement is not enough. We must be united with Christ, which produces a permanent change, like the vegetable to the pickle. See John 1:33

(Even if Mark 16:16 refers to water baptism, the verse does not mention a lack of baptism will condemn someone.)

Who should be baptized?

All believers should be baptized (Matthew 28:19). Water baptism is not a requirement for salvation ( Luke 23:39-43, 1 Corinthians 1:14-17), but it is commanded nonetheless.

The New Testament tells us through many examples that baptism should immediately follow faith (Acts 2:41, 18:8, 10:44-48). It is not for infants. Acts 17:31-34 is used to show baptism of infants, but no infants are mentioned. Instead, it says that the whole household believed (vs. 34), so it couldn’t include infants.


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