The Bible Teaches Baptism By Immersion

By David J. Stewart

Matthew 3:16, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.”

       I recently watched a 382 minute movie titled, “JESUS OF NAZARETH (1977). In the movie John the Baptist is pouring water over people's heads to baptize them. Jesus comes to be baptized and John also pours water over His head. This is unbiblical. The Bible only teaches baptism by total immersion under water. The person's head must go completely under water to be properly baptized.

As we just read in our text verse above in Matthew 3:16, Jesus...

 “went up straightway out of the water...”

Carefully notice that the Bible DIDN'T say that Jesus had water sprinkled upon Him, nor was the water poured over the top of His head. The Bible teaches that John baptized Jesus UNDERNEATH the water, so that Jesus came up straightway OUT OF THE WATER. The only way that you can come up OUT OF THE WATER is to first be IN THE WATER.

The Presbyterian church, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Lutherans and other denominations practice the heresies of sprinkling and pouring. They also practice Infant Baptism (which is totally unbiblical). Only a born-again believer ought to be water baptized, which is their public profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Water baptism is symbolic of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is why sprinkling and pouring of the water is wrong, because only by total immersion can Christ's BURIAL be adequately represented.

The following Scripture references can only be properly demonstrated by immersion...

THE GOSPEL (Christ's death, burial and resurrection) cannot be properly represented by sprinkling nor pouring of the water over a person's head. In order to demonstrate Christ's resurrection from the dead, the body must be completely submersed under water.

There is no certain Biblical attire required for baptism, although churches should provide clean baptistry gowns, towels, hair-dryers and a private changing area. There's nothing in the Bible which says a minister can only baptize. Any Christian may baptize another Christian. There are no certain number of witnesses required.

The Ethiopian Eunuch asked Philip to baptism him in a local natural water source (pond, lake or river). There may have been another man in the chariot, but as far as we know there was only Philip and the Eunuch from Ethiopia...

Acts 8:35-38, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Also, notice that salvation was the only prerequisite to being baptized. Philip said if he believed on Jesus, then he could be water baptized. This plainly evidences from the Bible that baptism has nothing to do with being born-again; but rather, is the believer's public profession of faith and the first act of obedience as a new convert. God wants every Christian believer to be water baptized as an act of obedience. Baptism will not affect a person's salvation (unless you trust in baptism in fear, just in case, to be safe). In this case you've actually added baptism to your faith, which is no faith at all.

I read a news article years ago during the Iraqi War in 2002. U.S. troops were lining up to be baptized in Iraq by a military chaplain, just in case they died in battle (and some did). They went to Hell sad to say. You don't get saved by being dunked in a tank (anymore than walking into a garage makes you an automobile). The news article said they were getting baptized to make sure they were ready to go to Heaven. Isn't that sad? My friend, Heaven's not for good people and Hell's not for bad people. We're all bad sinners, every one of us. I don't care who you are, we are all filthy sinners in God's holy sight. James 2:10 says that committing even one sin makes us guilty of all in God's eyes (because even one sin will send a person to the Lake of Fire forever and ever). That's why Jesus said firmly, “YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN” (John 3:5-7).

Being water baptized clearly was not part of the Eunuch's salvation in Acts 8:35-38. Philip said IF HE BELIEVED WITH ALL HIS HEART, only then could he be baptized. The Eunuch professed his faith that Jesus is the Son of God. Do you remember when the Apostle Peter professed his faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God? (Matthew 16:16). Whom do you say that Jesus is... liar, lunatic or Lord? I say that Jesus is Lord, the Christ, the only begotten Son of the living God!!! Amen and amen!

How To Baptize

Being baptized is very simple. The person is asked to cross their arms across their chest. Then the person doing the baptizing will begin by saying something like...

“I baptize you my brother (or sister) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

The left hand is placed behind the neck of a person being baptized to support them from falling back, and then the right hand gently pinches their nostrils closed to keep water from entering their nose (a clean napkin is usually used). The minister says...

“Buried in the likeness of His death.”

Then the person is gently lowered back into the water until immersed completely, and then immediately raised back up out of the water. As soon as they come up out of the water the minister says...

“Raised in the likeness of His resurrection.”

It's that simple.

Every Believer Ought To Be Water Baptized By Immersion

If you were baptized as an infant, then you need to be baptized again properly by immersion. If you were sprinkled or had water poured over your head, then you need to get baptized again properly by immersion. If you were baptized BEFORE you were saved, then you need to be baptized again properly AFTER you are saved.

I was baptized as a child because my teacher led the kindergarten class through a 1-2-3, follow-me type of prayer and said that we were all saved, but I wasn't. Not at all. I was actually old enough to be in first grade, but I failed the placement tests when I changed schools, so I failed first grade. I'm one of few people in this world who actually failed first grade. Ah, yes, such a promising start in life. I'm being comical of course. Most children never have the opportunity to attend school at all, so I am very grateful for what schooling I have been blessed to receive in life.

Anyway, I was baptized at age 6, but I wasn't saved. I actually got saved at age 13, but couldn't settle the assurance of my salvation. So at 17 I went to my pastor for counsel and he figured since I wasn't saved that I must not be. So he led me in a sinner's prayer and I was baptized again, but I had already been saved for 4 years. From that experience at age 17 I've learned that a person can indeed be saved, but not have peace about it. Just because somebody does not know they are saved doesn't mean that they aren't.

I still had doubts about my salvation, based in fear and uncertainty. My problem was that I was ignorant of the Bible. Although I had learnt some truths since I was saved at 13, I still didn't understand exactly how salvation worked. I was afraid of the unknown. What if I missed something? What if I didn't have enough faith? What if I go to Hell forever? What if? What if? What if? I drove myself crazy with what if questions. I used to sit on the edge of my seat in church everytime my pastor or a visiting evangelist mentioned faith, salvation or assurance. I learned a little at a time. When I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Bible college, I discovered a wealth of books and Christian resources. At age 20 I finally received the blessed assurance of my faith. I have written a book of the things I learned.

The value of a Christian education cannot be overrated. But beware, NO education is better than wrong education. Most preacher's seminaries are preacher's cemeteries, where men come out dead and have no passion nor mandate to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, nor to contend for the faith, nor to take a stand against sin, nor to rock-the-boat and shake-the-tree. If I could teach young preachers one thing besides the importance of doctrinal purity and using only the King James Bible, it would be to stand alone and ruffle-the-feathers! I don't care who you are, there will be many and oft times when you will either go along to get along in sinful compromise, or you'll take a stand for God.

Every Christian should be water baptized as soon as possible after being saved, although there are many Christians who never do get baptized (most in fact). It is absurd for any religious denomination to teach that water baptism is required to get to Heaven. Salvation is about having one's sins forgiven, not about getting dunked in a tank filled with H2O (water).

Water Baptism Is Not Required For Salvation

There's no way possible to baptize the men (and even some women) down on Skid Row at the missions because of the disease, open sores, uncleanliness, et cetera. They survive on the streets and it would be unsanitary to baptize them, spreading infections and such to others. So for a Skid Row mission operating on a shoestring budget, baptizing converts is not an option. But thankfully many of the people on Skid Row do come to the Lord Jesus and trust Him as their Savior, receiving His death, burial and resurrection as payment for their sins.

As a side issue I want to say something here. The average person takes much for granted in life, unable to realize how some folks survive on the streets from day-to-day. Many die in the winter from exposure, others are murdered, some die of cancer of the liver from alcoholism, but most just keep going from day-to-day until it's their time to go. You'd be surprised who's on Skid Row... former doctors, disabled military veterans, bankrupt businessmen, men of every profession, et cetera. Sin, alcohol and drugs, epilepsy, poverty, mental illness... it leads many people to Skid Row. Most people are not familiar with Skidrow, which goes back to th era of The Great Depression; but those horrible times are now returning to America. As of 2012 there are over 53,000,000 Americans on welfare receiving government food stamps (because they can't find a decent job). We've been sold out by Congress and by our nation's highest leaders to the private banking cartel. Hell will be hot.

Anarchy is absolutely NOT the answer. That's what the globalists want, so they can bring in foreign troops and further the Police State in America. The answer is found quietly in 2nd Chronicles 7:14... "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." That's the answer! No amount of patriotism, waking people up or taking a stand for our rights will restore liberty in America unless we return to faith in God once more. Zechariah 1:4, "Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD."

Anyway, back on subject, water baptism is NOT mandatory for Heaven. Faith in the Lord's blood sacrifice is sufficient. Our part is simply to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the only begotten Son of God, died, was buried and miraculously raised up from the dead three days later. Those three things constitute the Gospel (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). If you receive the Gospel (good news) of the Lord Jesus Christ as payment for your sins, then you are saved immediately, irrevocably and eternally. Amen for that! Being water baptized is one's profession of faith, showing that you have placed your faith in Christ's death, burial and resurrection (and that's what going down into the water represents). Sprinkling and pouring is wrong, because it does not properly portray the Lord's death, burial and resurrection.

So if you've never been water baptized properly, then I encourage you to do so. Of course, a Baptist church is my recommendation, but you can be baptized anywhere by another Christian (preferably with some fellow believers as witnesses). Baptism is not very popular in many religious groups. Although it's not required to walk with God as a Christian, it will hinder your fellowship with the Lord if you have the opportunity to be baptized and don't pursue it. I am convinced of that. Anything that God wants us to do is important. Being baptized with water is the first thing God wants us to do AFTER we are saved. It's an act of obedience, an ordinance (not a sacrament), which the Lord instituted in His earthly life and ministry. The Lord set the example by being baptized Himself.

I mention water with baptism usually because there are a several different baptisms in the Bible. I have only been speaking about water baptism in this article. However, at salvation we are all baptized with the Holy Spirit. Here are the different baptisms in the Bible...


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