Baptism: What is the Biblical Position?

The christening of children is still a widely-accepted social custom. But is it right? Are christening and Christian baptism really the same thing?

Let the Bible decide. The New Testament has some very definite things to say about baptism.

Adult baptism in Africa

The first, is that it is an act of faith. Before we can think of confessing Christ in baptism, we must be CONVERTED. Jesus said: “He who BELIEVES and is baptised, shall be saved”. In the 8th chapter of Acts it says: “But when they BELIEVED Philip…. they were baptised, both MEN and WOMEN”. These are just two examples of many in the Bible.

Second, it is an act of repentance. We must KNOW what we are doing, and must resolve to abandon the old life and begin again. Without this, baptism means nothing.

Third, it is an act of obedience. The trouble with christening is that it fulfils none of these things. The baby is not converted; it knows nothing of repentance; nor is the act a sign of the baby’s obedience.

We cannot believe by proxy. In fact, there is not ONE case of baby baptism in the whole of the Bible.

Furthermore, baptism requires complete immersion in water. This is a sign of the burial of the old life. Then, the emergence from the water signifies resurrection to a new life. You cannot represent burial and resurrection by sprinkling a few drops of water on the head. When Jesus was baptised, he went down fully into the water, and came out again. We ought to follow the example he set, especially when we remember that God said at that very moment: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.

“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:21)