Is Water Baptism Important in the 21st Century? Print E-mail

IS WATER BAPTISM IMPORTANT IN THE 21ST CENTURY?

By Bishop Samuel Smith

Twenty centuries after the birth of the Christian Church, strangely, there is confusion over the correct method of water baptism. The “last message” preached by Jesus was a command to baptize all nations (St. Matthew 28:19). The “first message” preached by the Apostles resulted in a command for everyone to be baptized (Acts 2:38). Baptism is clearly important and should be administered according to plainly stated scripture.


JESUS TAUGHT, “That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (St. Luke 24:47).

At Jerusalem PETER OBEYED saying; “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

The SAMARITANS; “…only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16).

The GENTILES; “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48).

PAUL RE-BAPTIZED THE CHRISTIAN EPHESIANS, “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).

The above scriptures are not given to refute Matthew 28:19, where Jesus told the Apostles to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; they merely show how the command was interpreted and obeyed by them.

The Apostles knew the name of the son was “Jesus” (St. Matthew 1:21). They knew that the Son came in the Father’s name (St. John 5:43). They also knew that the Holy Ghost was the Spirit of Christ, and would come in “Jesus” name (St. John 14:26).

The facts confirm that the early Christians clearly understood the doctrine of water baptism relative to the name of “Jesus”! BRITANNICA ENCYCLOPEDIA volume 3, page 82 – “Everywhere in the oldest sources it states that baptism took place in the name of Jesus Christ.”

CANNEY ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION, page 53 – “The early church always baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

HASTINGS ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION, volume 2, page 377 – “Christian baptism was administered using the words, “In the name of Jesus.”

HASTINGS ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION, volume 2, page 377 on Acts 2:38 – “name was an ancient synonym for person.” Payment: was always made in the name of some person referring to ownership. Therefore, one being baptized in Jesus name became his personal property, “Ye are Christ’s”.

SHAFF-HERZOG ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE, volume 1, page 435 – 1966 edition – “The New Testament knows only baptism in the name of Jesus…”

HASTINGS DICTIONARY OF BIBLE, page 88 – “It must be acknowledged that the three-fold ‘name’ of Saint Matthew 28:19 does not appear to have been used by the primitive church, but rather in the ‘name’ of Jesus, Jesus Christ, or Lord Jesus.”

FAUSSETS BIBLE ENCYCLOPEDIA, page 539 – The name Jesus, means “Jehovah Salvation.”

The above references are in agreement with the command Apostle Peter gave on the Day of Pentecost; when asked …”what shall we do?” Peter replied, “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). Peter continued, “The promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).

Historical facts make it quite apparent that people in the early church obeyed the command relative to water baptism as Apostle Peter gave it. Furthermore, the authenticity of water baptism today in the name of “Jesus Christ,” cannot be denied! “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Apostle Paul said, “And whatsoever ye do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus...” (Colossians 3:17). Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” (St. Mark 16:16).

The Biblical and historical facts set forth in this article are worthy of the reader’s prayerful consideration. Regardless of one’s loyalty to tradition, we all stand before God on the solitary merit of our obedience to His Word.

 
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