The Bible teaches us that there is only one way to be baptized. The teaching that a man can choose “the mode” he prefers and use “any formula” he likes has no biblical foundation. The apostle Paul declared in Ephesians 4:5 that there is “one Lord, one faith, (and) one baptism.” This agrees with Jeremiah’s prophecy of Jeremiah 32:39: “And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them.” Please read and compare Acts 2:37¬39, 41.
By B.E. Echols
We shall now deal with another essential scriptural element of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is: “water baptism by immersion” administered in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There are three main points to consider in this chapter: (1) the essentiality, (2) mode, and (3) formula of water baptism. If the reader has an open heart and mind to accept the plain teachings of God’s holy Word concerning these fundamental points pertaining to water baptism, and has already thoroughly repented of his sins—he is a candidate for scriptural bap¬tism as taught and administered by the apostles and their associated ministers—which you will find recorded in the “Acts of The Apostles.”
- The Essentiality of Water Baptism
Water baptism administered in the proper mode and formula is one of those “life and death messages” of the Bible and a “cardinal doctrine” of the Scriptures. For, “He that believeth (the gospel of Jesus Christ, when he hears it preached or taught) and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not (the gospel and does not obey it) shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). Compare II Thessalo¬nians 1:7-9 and II Peter 3:9.
Again we read in John 3:4-5, and 7 (Weymouth’s translation): “‘How is it possible,’ Nicodemus asked, ‘for a man to be born when he is old? Can he a second time enter his mother’s womb and be born?’ In very truth I tell you,’ replied Jesus, ‘that unless a man is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God’ . . . ‘Do not be astonished at my telling you (Nicodemus), You must all (no one left out) be born anew . . . of water and of the Spirit;'” for he who thus fails to enter God’s kingdom here on this earth, or during his lifetime, will never enter it in the world to come.
What did the man to whom Jesus gave “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19) say con¬cerning the essentiality of water baptism? “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you.” Definitely, the apostle Peter understood and taught that every person should be properly (or scripturally) baptized in water. (See Acts 2:37-38 and 10:44-48.) There would have been no reason for Peter commanding the Gentiles, who assembled at the house of Cornelius, to be baptized after they had received the Holy Ghost had it not been essential to their salvation. Remember, Jesus put the same stress on being “born of water” as He did “of the Spirit.” They are both equally essential to one’s eternal salvation.
According to Paul’s testimony, concerning his own need of being baptized in water after he had been repent¬ing with fasting and prayers for three days and nights, Ananias said to him: “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16). We will explain more thoroughly when dealing with “the formula of water baptism” further in this chapter, one must be baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ in order to obtain remission of his sins. (See Acts 2:38 with Luke 24:46-47.) This point makes it essential for one to be scripturally baptized in water.