Performing Baptisms

Performing Baptisms
By Clark Lott
Baptism is the immersion in water of a repentant believer in Christ in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

The Greek word baptizo, both in Scripture and in classical Greek, signifies to dip, to plunge, to immerse. Consequently, it is evident that immersion is the baptismal act, while the name of Jesus Christ certifies its validity and purpose for the remission of sins.

In addition, a number of scriptural references show that immersion is the proper mode: Matthew 3:16; John 3:23; Acts 8:38; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12. And many passages teach that the proper baptismal formula includes the name of Jesus: Acts 2:38; 8:12, 16; 10:43; 19:4-5; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:612. Moreover, water baptism is part of the experience of salvation in the New Testament church (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; I Peter 3:21).

Since Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:13-17), the purpose and symbolism of baptism require the believer to be immersed in water in the name of the Lord Jesus as part of Bible salvation.

Jesus Christ commissioned us to teach, or make disciples, and to baptize (Matthew 28:19). We are to convince them to believe and be baptized into Jesus Christ that they may be saved (Mark 16:16).

When God commanded Noah to make an ark of gopher wood, He did not explain why gopher wood should be used. The command, however, was positive, and it excluded the use of other wood. May each minister recognize that God’s Word is to be accepted at face value and fulfilled accordingly, adding nothing to it or taking nothing from it.

Here are some basic instructions for water baptism.

1. Each candidate for baptism should be instructed concerning the meaning of baptism and the prerequisites to it (faith and repentance) before administering the ordinance. Unless he understands why he is being baptized, it may have little or no effect.

2. All arrangements should be made before the service lest an attitude of unimportance be expressed by a careless fashion.

3. Baptisms have been administered in many places, such as rivers, pools, tanks, and more commonly today, baptisteries.

4. If the baptism is to occur in a baptistery, it is effective to have the sanctuary somewhat darkened with light centered upon the pool.

5. The best method is a baptistery with a seat in it. The candidate sits, and the minister instructs him to hold his own nose, with one hand over the other hand. The minister can hold the wrist of the candidate with one hand and raise his other hand to pronounce the charge. Then he can place his hand between the candidate’s shoulders and lower him gently backward until completely immersed; he then lifts him up out of the water.

6. Prior to the administration of the ordinance, the minister may quote some passage of Scripture, and a choir or special singers may sing appropriate songs. It is of utmost importance to make the ceremony sacred.

Here is a suggested administrative form:

1. The minister may begin by saying, “Inasmuch as our Lord Jesus Christ gave authority and commandment to His disciples to teach all nations and to baptize them in His name and declared that he who believes and is baptized shall be saved, let us now with one accord invoke the blessings of God.”

2. The minister then may offer a prayer applicable to the occasion.

3. Assisting the candidate into the water, the minister prepares for the administrative charge.

4. The charge may be given in several ways, but the name of Jesus is vital to Bible salvation. The following is an example: “(Name), as a minister of the Lord and in fulfillment of His commission and command, upon the profession of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, your repentance from sin, and in obedience to God’s command, I now baptize you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins [if the candidate has not received the Holy Ghost as yet, the minister may add] that you may receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

If there are several candidates to be baptized, the minister may intersperse the baptisms with applicable verses of Scripture and selected choruses by the choir or special singers. The service should magnify the name of the Lord Jesus and bless the candidate.

Brother Lott is pastor of Charity Tabernacle in Lake Livingston, Texas. This article has been excerpted from The Pentecostal Minister, published by Word Aflame Press.