What is the proper mode of baptism?



Question: "What is the proper mode of baptism?"

Answer:
The simplest answer to this question is found in the meaning of the word "baptize." It comes from a Greek word which means “to submerge in water." Therefore, baptism by sprinkling or by pouring is an oxymoron, something that self-contradictory. Baptism by sprinkling would mean "submerging someone in water by sprinkling water on them." Baptism, by its inherent definition, must be an act of immersion in water.

Baptism illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. “Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:3-4 NIV). The action of being immersed in the water pictures being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection. As a result, baptism by immersion is the only method of baptism which illustrates being buried with Christ, and being raised with Him. Baptism by sprinkling and/or pouring came into practice as a result of the unbiblical practice of infant baptism. For more information about infant baptism, see "What does the Bible say about infant baptism?"

Baptism by immersion, while it is the most biblical mode of identifying with Christ, is not (as some believe) a prerequisite for salvation. It is rather an act of obedience to the command to “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). Those who believe in baptismal regeneration fail to understand that it is the “repent” part that is necessary for salvation, not the act by which we declare that repentance to the world.


Recommended Resource: Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ by Schriener and Wright.

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Related Topics:

What is the importance of Christian baptism?

Is baptism necessary for salvation? What is baptismal regeneration?

I was baptized unbiblically. Do I need to be rebaptized?

Is baptism required before a person can receive communion?

Who is permitted to baptize / perform baptisms?



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What is the proper mode of baptism?