Baptism is a doctrine that many people have come to contend with in Christianity; so contentious that it’s made some to veer off the faith.
Many denominations have had completely different views in regards to how they interpret and conduct baptism. However, the initiator of the Christian faith, The man Jesus Christ Himself, had only one way with which His baptism was conducted – and therefore should be conducted thereafter.
Jesus Christ did not create a scenario where there would be variable interpretations of a particular doctrine that He had practiced, or initiated. There would only be one interpretation that was meant to cut across the entire Christian faith, in all generations to come. To lend credence to this fact, I have read several biblical texts that outline the doctrine of baptism – or, to a larger extent, speak on the matter of baptism.
In the New Testament books, and in particular from the onset of all the four gospel books (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), all the authors outlined how Jesus Christ underwent through water baptism. This ceremony involves a complete emersion of oneself in water. That is the exact thing that Jesus Christ went through at the hands of John the Baptist; it was a complete water emersion.
Essentially, this was quite a symbolic event of what would later happen to Christian faithfuls. For example, in the book of Mark 1:9-11, Mark has outlined to us on how the baptism of Jesus Christ happened. There is a conspicuous and consistent mentioning of water in the above mentioned scripture. That should tell everyone that baptism requires water. In essence, without water, there is no baptism. It is that simple. Jesus had to undergo through the same.
Different types of baptism
It is worth noting that many people have come up with different types of what they call ‘baptism’. With things spiritual, I learnt that it would only be safe if you practice – or confess – something that has its roots and foundation in the bible. For example, a denomination that has children get baptized is not practicing a doctrine that is anchored in the bible. Reading the book of Matthew chapter 28:19, King James Version, it say, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost:”
The reading and understanding of the above text made me know that it is not scriptural to baptize a baby. A baby is not capable of professing whatever he or she may believe in. Children are not capable of holding on to salvation. That is why I was convinced that children are not within the brackets of baptism.
Doctrines that frighten
Of course, a number of doctrines have emerged that do frighten. Ever heard of baptism where someone is required to run many laps around a flag? Yes. That is another form of baptism for you! I found it difficult to agree with that method of ‘baptism’, because I have never read about it anywhere in the bible. So, it would not feature anywhere as part of my menu.
However, it is also good to realize that there is another form of baptism that both Jesus Christ and even the apostles exclusively spoke to. In the book of Ephesians 4:4-6, Paul tells us of ‘one baptism’ – among other things. For example, Jesus, at one point, asked two of His disciples (John and James) if the duo would be baptized with the baptism that He was going to be baptized. The two disciples agreed with Him. These two disciples did not know that the baptism that Jesus had spoken to had nothing to do with water baptism, since He had already gone through water baptism when He was at river Jordan with John.
Another baptism is well captured by John the Baptist. He promised those who were following him that he was baptizing them with water, but there was one who was coming that would baptize them with Holy Spirit and fire. This is the same baptism that Jesus had promised the two sons of Zebedee – which they would undergo. From there, we can confidently say that there are two different types of baptism that Jesus Christ spoke to – and even taught.
No other baptism but one…
When we now know that the true form of water baptism is the deep emersion in water, as the sign of dying and resurrecting with Jesus, Christians need to embrace that practice – and continue with it. There is no other manner with which water baptism should be carried out other than what Jesus Christ told us to do.