Baptism: Sprinkling or Immersion?

Richard Thetford

In many denominations today individuals are being “sprinkled” instead of being" immersed.” Those “sprinkled” are said to have been baptized. The word baptize is the Greek word “baptizo” which means to dip or plunge. One is not “dipped” or “plunged” into the water when one is sprinkled. We learn from the New Testament that John was baptizing in Aenon near Salim because “there was much water there” (John 3:23). There needed to be “much water” because one is not scripturally baptized until one is plunged beneath the water (immersed). Baptism by immersion represents the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5). The following facts are true concerning “sprinkling.”

Sprinkling – has no suggestion of your buried past (Romans 6:5)

Sprinkling – has no New Testament command to obey (Acts 10:48)

Sprinkling – has no divine example to follow (Mark 1:9-10)

Sprinkling – has no promise of remission of sins ( Acts 2:38)

Sprinkling – has no assurance of hope for the future (Romans 6:3-4)

Sprinkling – has no divine origin for existence (Colossians 2:12)

Furthermore, sprinkling has only the creed and tradition of man for its authority. When an infant is sprinkled, he or she is sprinkled WITHOUT desire, WITHOUT faith, WITHOUT repentance, WITHOUT confession, WITHOUT love, WITHOUT expectation, WITHOUT consent, WITHOUT an inspired example, and WITHOUT divine authority. To sprinkle water on an infant is presumption by the preacher, force by the parents, disliked by the infant, and disobedient on the part of all those who had a part in the forced dedication.

When we consult God’s Word, the Bible, we can find that baptism was ALWAYS accomplished when one was immersed into the watery grave, not sprinkled. When one is laid to rest in an open grave, sprinkling dirt on top of the casket and calling it a burial does not make it so. When one is sprinkled with water and calling it a burial does not make that so. It is only when we believe and obey God’s teaching on this or any subject can we be in the right fellowship with Him. We MUST do His will and not the will of man (Matthew 7:21; John 12:48).