In a few weeks my church and a local Assembly of God church in my area will be holding a joint water baptism service. I thought it would be a good time to write down my thoughts concerning water baptism and why a Christian should get baptized in water. Both the Assemblies of God and my church which is part of the Association of Vineyard churches have 2 ordinances that we observe. They are communion and water baptism. These ordinances are practiced by every major Evangelical church across the world and also are practiced in some form by many other churches as well.
The Two Types Of Water Baptism Practiced.
There are two types of water baptism practiced in the majority of Christian churches. They are baptism by sprinkling and baptism by immersion. As much as I love our brothers and sisters who are in churches that practice sprinkling, I do not find the biblical evidence to support this practice. That does not mean I believe that they are in sin, second class Christians, or apostates as some would contend. Instead I believe that they have either been raised in that tradition not knowing any better or they believe that the symbolism is more important than the actual practice. Personally, I like to stay as close to the practices of N.T. biblical Christianity as I can. So we immerse people in water as was done in the Bible.
Water Baptism Defined
The word for baptize in the greek is baptizo. It means…
to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk), to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe, to overwhelm
There are some groups of Christians take this definition to literally mean to dip them in water 3 times. Once for each member of the trinity listed in Matt 28:19. Personally I think once is enough. However it is clear by the definition of this word that baptism in it’s truest form was practiced by immersion in the N.T.
The Symbolism Of Water Baptism
In order to understand why baptism is so important you need to understand the symbolism of it when practiced by N.T. Christians. The practice of water baptism first started with John the Baptist who was a Jewish prophet calling the people to repentance and to prepare the way of the Lord. (Mark 1)
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