What is the significance of water baptism? Who should be baptized? Is infant baptism scriptural? Which is the proper baptismal mode: sprinkling, pouring, or immersion? Should people be rebaptized if they join a church that teaches a different form of baptism? Should baptism be required for church membership? These and other questions are explored in this thought-provoking book.
“These and many other NT passages seem to indicate that baptism is much more than a symbol. In the language of the Bible, spiritual realities such as rebirth, renewal, forgiveness, salvation, and union with Christ are intimately associated with the rite of baptism.” (Page 61)
“Baptism unfailingly initiates people into the visible church, but it provides entry into the invisible church only for those who have saving faith.” (Page 69)
“Calvinists have characteristically spoken of baptism not only as an ordinance but also as a sacrament or a mystery, a rite through which God applies grace.” (Page 60)
“What we do have is a consensus, at least regarding the first few hundred years, which suggests there was a great deal of flexibility in actual baptismal practice. In the record of the early church there is evidence for infant baptism, child baptism, adult baptism (including those born into Christian families), immediate baptism (upon profession of faith), delayed baptism (sometimes for as long as several years), and even various modes of baptism (though the Didache, a second-century guide, points to immersion as the mode to be used).” (Page 15)
“In the OT, physical circumcision pointed to the need for inward spiritual circumcision; in the NT, physical washing in baptism points to the need for inward spiritual washing. The parallels are between two outward acts and the inward realities they represent.” (Pages 45–46)
John H. Armstrong is president of ACT 3 in Carol Stream, Illinois and served as a pastor for more than twenty years. He is an adjunct professor of evangelism at Wheaton College Graduate School. His online commentaries regularly appear at www.Act3online.com. He holds degrees from Wheaton College, Wheaton Graduate School, and Luther Rice Seminary. He is the author or editor of a number of books including The Catholic Mystery, Five Great Evangelists, Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper, and Understanding Four Views on Baptism.