What Is “Scriptural Baptism”?

Richard Thetford

As I talk with people about baptism I can't believe all the different opinions that I've heard about what baptism requires, what precedes it, and why even be baptized. I underlined opinions because that is exactly what all this variance amounts to - somebody's opinion on the subject and in many cases they have never looked into the Bible to find out what GOD says about it. Scriptural baptism was administered by Christ, and therefore we must do what Christ has instructed us to do. He has all authority! "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matt 28:18-19).

Scriptural baptism requires WATER (Acts 10:47). Not just a little water but much water as it states in John 3:23 "...because there was much water there; and they were coming and were being baptized". In Acts 8:36 it says "...they came to some water..." and in Acts 8:38 it says "they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him". Can this be anything but emersion? What about sprinkling - did they come to a pot filled with water and "Philip sprinkled him"? No. You see, scriptural baptism requires much water because baptism represents a burial as stated in Romans 6:4 "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life". Col 2:12 says "...buried with Him in baptism...". To be obedient to Christ one must be baptized in accordance with God's will.

Before the physical act of baptism can occur one must first hear the word of God (Acts 18:8), then believe that God's word is true (Mark 16:16), which results in a change of heart (called repentance) which is denying our worldly walk and turning ourselves over to Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38), and then confessing Christ as the Son of God (Acts 8:37-38). Then we are baptized INTO Christ (Gal 3:27) to have all our sins washed away (Acts 2:38).

One might ask at this point "so why do I really need to be baptized?" I can think of several reasons why all mankind needs to accept Jesus as their Lord and be baptized. Jesus is our great example and we should strive to please Him in all things. He said that if we love Him that we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). Jesus, being our example, was baptized (Matt 3:13-16) to show God His Father that even though He was without sin He was not above keeping all the commandments and as a result of His baptism God was pleased (Matt 3:17). Failure to be baptized is to reject God's counsel (Luk 7:30). Baptism is an act of obedience to God's word (Acts 10:33,48), and it washes our sins away (Acts 22:16). Without baptism we cannot be saved (Mark 16:16; 1 Pet 3:21). Therefore, we can learn from God's Holy Word that without scriptural baptism WE CANNOT ENTER INTO HEAVEN as Jesus said in John 3:5 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God".

Have you been scripturally baptized? If not, why not? Do you try to justify and reason within yourself that baptism by emersion is not really necessary? If you are of the opinion that baptism is not necessary for salvation where do you get your facts for such a conclusion? All of us need to ensure that all we do is in accordance with God's will and desire not OUR OWN.