Does your church practice baptism by immersion in water?


No, our church does not practice any form of immersion in water.

Water baptism was dispensational (that is, belonging only to the people of a particular age) and here are a few additional thoughts on this. Remember, though, that the point is one of emphasis and not correctness for the command to baptize was a definite part of the law of God and was to be honored from the time it was instituted to the end of the time for which it was intended. However, this does not imply that it applies to all God’s servants in all ages.

There is no record of baptism having been practiced in Old Testament times, nor do we find any continuing directive to us to practice it today. While it is not necessarily “wrong” to baptize today, it certainly does not accomplish what many claim for it.

In fact, the Apostolic Commission recorded in Matt. 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-18 was given only to the eleven apostles. Eleven, in that Paul, the twelfth apostle, himself states that “Christ sent [him] not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel” (1 Cor. 1:17). The purpose of the Commission was to spread the Gospel throughout the Roman world. Additionally, it was to be miraculously supported by Jesus for a specified time, or until “the end of the age.” This age is the Jewish age, which ended A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jewish people dispersed. Lastly, it was supported by visible signs (Holy Spirit power) that would “follow those who believe” No one today, baptized believer or not, cannot come close to performing the “signs” which were a significant part of the commission, among which are the h ealing of the sick, immunity to poison and the ability to speak languages they haven’t studied (also called speaking in tongues). Accordingly, were the commission to baptize carry over to us today, we would be in serious trouble.

Not possessing the Holy Spirit power, we do not feel bound by any command to observe the literal rite of baptism. Were to do so, it would be without effect, lacking the “accompanying signs.” Nor are we, living well after the Jewish age, under the apostolic commission, which, as stated at the end of Mark’s Gospel, was fulfilled by the apostles who “went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20).

Even Paul, not given the commission, places limited emphasis on the significance of baptism. His unconcern with baptism in favor of preaching seems unlikely, were literal baptism a mandate of obedience.

However, it was, as you recognize, a symbol with deeper spiritual significance, symbolizing the “one baptism,” the inner cleansing which is essential to salvation and from which, dead to sin, one must rise to “walk in newness of life”. This baptism is binding upon all Christians in all ages and its effect must be as total as that of being immersed in water.