Baptism (a 6-part study)

Some evangelical churches require a person to be baptised before being accepted into membership of their congregation. Does this practice have the support of Scripture?

When the thief was sentenced to death, never did he suspect that while suspended on the cross he would receive salvation and have the event recorded in God’s word for all time.

It’s not unusual to hear many in the evangelical community seize upon Paul’s words, "Christ did not send me to baptise" to support their position that baptism is not part of the conversion process. Do Paul’s words support their argument?

Churches have different teachings about baptism. Some churches sprinkle, others pour water on the forehead of the candidate's head and others practise immersion. Some understand baptism as freeing the candidate from original sin, others believe that baptism regenerates the candidate, some require baptism before becoming part of that denomination and others see baptism as the believer responding in faith to the sacrifice Jesus offered for the forgiveness of sins.

The practice of baptising infants is not apostolic in origin though it is widely practised today. The baptising of infants made a late entry into the church and conflicts with Scripture. The following examples demonstrate that infants or unbelievers are not candidates for baptism.

Acts 16 provides us with several illustrations of God's involvement in evangelism and in conversions. Paul and his companions were "kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia." Later "the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them" to enter Bithynia. Finally in a vision Paul saw a man from Macedonia calling him to come and preach the word and concluded "that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." (Acts 16:6-10)