The Bible Mode And Formula For Water Baptism
By The Late Elder B.E. Echols
This is one of the LIFE and DEATH messages of the Bible. If you don’t believe it, just read Mark 16:15, 16; John 3:3-5; 2 Thes. 1:7-9. The Bible further teaches that there is but ONE way to baptize or be baptized. This old theory of men that you can choose “the mode” you like best, and just use “any formula” that you prefer, has no Biblical foundation whatever. God has declared to us, through His Prophets and Apostles, that there is but ONE way to be saved (Jer. 32:39; 6:16; St. John 10:1; 14:6). Therefore we must conclude that there is only ONE mode and formula for water baptism (Eph. 4:5).
1. THE ESSENTIALITY OF WATER BAPTISM
According to the Bible, water baptism is essential to salvation. This however, does not mean that water baptism alone ever saves anybody, but it is a part of the Gospel that must be believed accepted and obeyed if one ever expects to be saved. See Mark 16:15, 16; Rom. 1:16; 2:16; St. John 3:5; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:37, 38; 22:16. So God has water in His plan of redemption (1 Pet. 3:20, 21).
2.THE BIBLE MODE OF BAPTISM
The Mode of baptism is IMMERSION and NOT sprinkling. The word “baptize” comes from the Greek word “baptidzo,” which means to immerse, plunge into, to dip, bury, or immerse. We have no New Testament records of any one using the mode of sprinkling for baptism.
Paul says we are BURIED and PLANTED with Him by baptism (Rom. 6:4, 5). Nothing can be either buried or planted until it is completely covered. So it is in baptism that the candidate must be completely immersed in the water. John baptized “in AEnon near to Salim, because there was MUCH water there.” Much water is not needed to sprinkle folks. A multitude could be sprinkled with a teacup of water. Jesus was baptized IN Jordan and straightway came UP and OUT of the water (Mark 1:9, 10). Do you believe John carried Jesus out into the river Jordan in order to sprinkle Him? No, you do not!
In Acts 8:36-39, we have another beautiful picture of a water baptismal service. You will also note that they both went down INTO the water, and then came UP OUT of it, as Jesus and John did. Oh, Hallelujah! There is no argument left as to the mode of baptism; it is by IMMERSION, and no other way.
3. THE BIBLE FORMULA
What is the correct and Bible FORMULA to be used when baptizing? Matt. 28:19? No! Matt. 28:19 is a command that tells us what to do. Do I believe in baptizing according to Matt. 28:19? Most assuredly I do. How many of you have ever been baptized in the SON’S name saying nothing of the other two titles? Not if Matt. 28:19 was used as a formula. The preacher just PROMISED you he would, baptized you, and let you go. You know as well as I do that the Son’s name is JESUS. Then why don’t you be baptized in His name according to Acts 2:38?
Who should know what NAME Jesus had reference to in Matt. 28:19 better than any one else? Certainly the Apostles were the most qualified. What name or formula then did they use? The name of the Lord, Lord Jesus, or Jesus Christ in EVERY instance. Is it safe to follow their teaching and examples? Read Matt. 16:13-20; Eph. 2:20, 21; Rom. 2:16 and see for yourself. Surely Peter must have been right when he told the Jews and Gentiles to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. See R. V., Moffatt and Weymouth’s translations for Acts 2:36-38 and 10:48.
Are there any other reasons for baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ other than those already given? Yes (first), Jesus said Himself, “that repentance and remission of sins should he preached IN HIS NAME among all nations.” The name of Jesus Christ is the only name that will remit your sins, save you, and give you eternal life (Luke 24:46, 47; Acts 10:43; St. John 20:31). Right here, let us take another look at Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you IN THE NAME of Jesus Christ for THE REMISSION of SINS.” Moffatt translates Acts 10:43 and 13:38 as follows: “All the prophets testify that EVERYONE who believes in Him is to receive REMISSION of sins THROUGH HIS NAME.” So you must understand, my brothers, that REMISSION of sins is proclaimed TO YOU through Him (Jesus). We should also see that there is riot any promise for remission of sins in Matt. 28:19, if taken as a formula for baptism.
Second, Jesus is the Bridegroom and we are to be His bride; therefore we must at sometime or other take upon us His name if we are going to be His bride or wife. The only way I know of by which we can take upon us the name of Jesus Christ is in the BAPTISM ceremony (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:4). Webster, in one -definition of water baptism says: “To baptize means to name or give a name unto.”
Third, we pray for the sick in His name, preach in His name, cast out Devils in His name, and do most every thing else in His name: Why shouldn’t we baptize in His name? Ashamed to? Afraid to? You had better not be. See Mark 8:38; Mal. 3:16, 17; Isa. 66:5.
The name of Jesus Christ is the only safe hiding place from that “Great Storm of the Ages” that is soon to strike. Why don’t you run into it by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ? See Prov. 18:10; Gal. 3:27. Why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ — our Lord and Savior who died for us. It is the only Bible way. Paul says, “Whatsoever ye do IN WORD or DEED, do ALL in THE NAME of THE LORD JESUS,” (Col. 3:17).
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