The Practice of Baptism

Brian Mashburn

April 14, 2013

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Be Baptized - But How?

When I was baptized, I was 9 years old. I stepped into a pool of water with my dad. He asked me if I believed in Jesus, and I said I did, and he plunged me in and out, fully submerging me, saying that he did so in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Did we do it right? Was I old enough? Did I know enough? Am I sure that my left arm went fully under the water? Did I happen to grow up in the right church with the right doctrine about it so that I can be assured of my salvation?

Some Christians baptize their babies. Some Christians require weeks of study and preparation before they allow someone to be baptized. Some groups require that baptism be done by official clergy. Some groups baptize only in the name of Jesus, not the Trinity. Some groups pour water on their heads, or sprinkle water on their faces, some on babies, others on adults. Some say baptism is for the remission of sins. Others say it is for membership in the church. Some say it is what saves you and makes you Christian, while others say it is what Christian's do once they are saved. Some say you receive the Holy Spirit when you are baptized, some say baptism of the Holy Spirit is separate from baptism in water. In church history (ancient and current), debates, divisions, and even duals to the death have resulted from disagreements about Christian baptismal practices.

The different groups with different practices all have their scholars who make strong and Biblical cases for their ways. Where should the genuine follower of Christ put his faith?

In Christ, and with a healthy dose of humility to boot. May our group's baptismal practices glorify God and advance the Kingdom. May they win souls, not arguments.

Brian Mashburn

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