April 17, 2021

Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?

One of the most interesting things about baptism and being a Baptist is that we are very dogmatic about certain things. We truly believe that the Bible teaches that one must be submersed in water to be baptized. We believe that baptism is a step of obedience– a symbol of our relation to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection– but nothing more. We don’t believe that it saves you. We don’t believe that you should be baptized unless you have a clear confession of faith in the Lord as your Savior and that you have repented of your sins.

So far, no problem. What is interesting, however, is that we place a lot of emphasis in baptism in our sermons, but, in practice, we don’t seem to make it out to be as important as we say. What do I mean? Well, I have been in two or three different Baptist Churches in my lifetime, and most of them will have a set day (sometime in the future) that will be a night of baptism. We hold courses, in some cases have a test, and have an interview with the church deacons.

At the end of all of this, the candidates have a baptism inside the church, in a “tub” or “baptismal tank” in front of usually the congregation and maybe families, and then, in some churches, we have a vote on them to become members.

However, for all of our emphasis on the New Testament mode, we aren’t following the rest of the patterns laid out in the Bible!

Check out this chart and see how we compare…

Biblical Baptism Today’s Baptisms
Occurred immediately following salvation. Occurs days, weeks, months, years (!) after salvation.
Done in a public place. Done inside a church building.
Done by immersion. Done by immersion.
Were a testimony to the public. Were a testimony to those that are in the church (primarily) and anyone the candidate can get to attend.

So, the question I have is, if we’re going to be dogmatic about immersion, what about all of these other factors? Some of these other points seem to be pretty important too, and yet we are very dogmatic on the mode and not everything else!

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5 thoughts on “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?

  1. Those are great points. I confess I hadn’t thought much about the differences. In Oregon, my dad always baptized new believers in the Chetco River. Here in the mid-west, we go out to the town lake and have a ceremony. My daughter has her last baptism class today.

    You’re so right about how many people wait years after salvation to be baptized. It’s almost become a “Baptist” only thing as far as the emphasis goes–I say that coming out of both Baptist and non-denom backgrounds…

    So…how to make it more public? Put an announcement in the paper? Rent the swimming pool? 🙂

    In Biblical days, maybe the conversion ratio was so high that people always knew where to go to be baptized. John the Baptist kind of had a walk-in business down at the river…

  2. “Occurs days, weeks, months, years (!) after salvation”
    For me personally, no one ever really explained the significance or importance of baptism until I went to the church we attend now. As a result, I’d be one of the “year’s after salvation”… which really is a shame.

    My church holds baptisms once a month, and encourages people who just gave their life to Christ that Sunday to also go and get baptised that evening. In our church to be baptised soon after giving your life to Christ is very normal, though it isn’t always the same day (I wonder what the logistics of that would look like).

    We do not have a Baptismal pool at our church so we rent space at the local YMCA pool to do the baptisms. Its usually right after the pool closes though, so I’m not sure if you’d really call it a “public” place. We did have one life-guard who chose to give their life to Christ and be baptised after watching everyone there be baptised. That was a pretty cool story. If our baptisms were public I wonder how many others would also come?

  3. I think that it would be cool if people could get baptized at the local lake. Both in summer and winter, because then others could really see how many people are baptized every month at our church, and they would also see people willing to jump in the lake in winter for Christ. Cool testimony. But I have this feeling that there are regulations against entering the water! LOL… legislation regulation blah blah blah….

    Mrs. Meg Logan
    p.s. I was baptized twice. Once when I made a public profession of Christ as a teen, and then again at this church where I was submersed (important). looking back I don’t think I was truly saved as a teen. But that is a long story.

  4. We have a baptismal tank, but it’s hard to get the water heated. Every time we go to have a baptism, there’s always talk about how the water is warmer than the water at the local creek. Someone always jokes about doing it outside.

    A friend was telling me about one church that actually has baptismal candidates walk out of the church and to the local pond in a procession– that really draws attention.

  5. Over the years I’ve been saved and baptized 4 times depending on what church/movment I was following at the time 🙂

    In general I say I got saved at Frazer Lake Camp in Northern Ontario when I was around 12 years old. Baptized can’t remember.

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