Should Baptism be administered by Sprinkling or by Immersion?
Many spiritual leaders immerse their fingers in the water and then sprinkle the member. We have clearly seen that an infant cannot be baptised. Secondly, we will prove that baptism should be administered by immersion and not by sprinkling.
The practice of sprinkling came into force centuries after the New Messianic Congregation of Messiah was established. Nowhere in the Bible is this injunction to be found. Most historians agree that Baptism in the first 2 centuries after Messiah, was performed by immersion. Testifying to this, are the many baptismal fonts to be viewed at the ruins of ancient churches in Europe and the Middle East.
An investigation of the Greek text of the New Testament sheds much light on the subject. The Greek word “Baptizo” means to immerse or to dip. “Rhantizo” means to sprinkle. The New Testament Scriptures use the word ‘Baptizo’ when referring to Baptism, The word that we use in English, namely, ‘baptise’, is directly translated from the Greek word ‘Baptizo’. The mandate given to His disciples by the Messiah in Matt. 28:19 therefore, is to go and ‘immerse’ (baptise) all the nations. There should also be no doubts as to whether the Messiah Himself was immersed or sprinkled by John the Baptist.
In order to further confirm the correct procedure, let us investigate the different instances of Baptism which is recorded in the New Testament to judge for ourselves with an open mind, whether sprinkling or immersion was the practice in the first few centuries after Messiah.
Acts 8:36 -39 The baptism of the eunuch by Philip “. . . as they went along . . . they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What is to prevent me being baptised?’ . . . and they both went down into the water . .. and he baptised him. And when they came up out of the water, … ”
Undeniably, this recorded instance of baptism suggests nothing else but immersion. It must be remembered that the eunuch, being a rich man and also a man of great authority, would not be travelling, alone in the Gaza desert, nor would he be travelling without drinking water. If sprinkling was the norm, why would the eunuch point out a place of ‘some water’ and enter into the water with Philip if it was not to be immersed?
Another account of baptism is the very example of the Redeemer Himself, when He came to John the Baptist to be baptised :
Matt. 3:13-16 “John tried to dissuade Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptised by You, and yet You come to me?”‘
Note well, Messiah’s confirmation: “. . . Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he (John) consented. And when He (Messiah) was baptised, He came up from the water… ”
What can be more clear? This was the Creator Himself showing us the Way. He was baptised in the river Jordan ant not with a few drops of the river Jordan. Messiah said to Thomas, one of His apostles, “I am the Way” (John 14:6). And to the rich man: “Come, follow Me” (Matt 19:21). Again, to all of us, “He who does not … follow Me, is not worthy of Me,” (Matt.10: 38). Do you want to be worthy of Him? Then simply follow Him through the Baptismal water.
Where did John baptise? How did he baptise believers?
Math. 3:4-6 “Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan, they confessed their sins”.
The only people who would not allow themselves to be baptised, were the Pharisees and the lawyers. Luke could say of them:
Luke 7:29, 30 “All the people who heard him and the tax collectors too, acknowledged God’s Plan by accepting baptism from John; but, by refusing baptism from him, the Pharisees and lawyers had thwarted what God had in mind for them,”
Did you get that? These are awesome words with terrible implications! They rejected Divine council by not being baptised! Will you follow the modern Pharisees who deny that Baptism by immersion is a part of God’s Salvation Plan or follow the example of our Saviour and Redeemer by following Him through the waters of Baptism?
We have yet another clear account in the Bible, of baptism by immersion in water:
John 3 : 23 “At the same time John was baptising at Aenon near to Salim, where there was plenty of water, and people were going there to be baptised.”
Some religious teachers and leaders declare that Baptism is not essential for Salvation. Baptism on its own, surely cannot save you. The Rebirth by the Spirit should precede the act of Baptism, as explained earlier. Messiah, Who is the King of Heaven and will be the Coming Judge of mankind in the Great Judgment Day, unequivocally specified “I tell you most solemnly, unless a person is born through Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom. ” (John 3 : 5).
This is affirmed by the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3: 20, 21 “Now it was long ago, when Noah was still building that Ark which saved only … eight people ‘by water’, and when God was still waiting patiently, that these spirits refused to believe. That water is a type of the Baptism which saves you now and which is not the washing off of physical dirt, but a pledge made to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Messiah”.
The Bible, therefore, is very clear and emphatic that immersion is the only means by which a person may be baptised.