Saturday, December 2, 2006

The Baptism Debate: How & Who? Introductory Remarks

The debate over baptism has been raging for centuries! Some claim only believers should be baptized, meaning that the children of believers should be denied the rites of baptism until they reach the age of accountability (whatever that is). To support that claim, they quote Acts 2:38, "Repent and be baptized." "See, you must repent first, then get baptized. And a baby can't possibly repent. Baptism must always follow repentance, therefore we mustn't baptize infants." They conveniently forget to mention verse 39, which says the promise of forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit is for you and your children.

Not only is there a debate over who should be baptized, but there is also a debate over how to baptize. Baptists claim that "baptizo," the Greek word for baptize, can only mean to immerse. Those on the other side concede that baptizo can and often does mean to immerse, but it can also mean to pour or sprinkle.

There are many good arguments on both sides. But one thing is for certain - only one side can be right. Either the Bible allows babies to be baptized or it doesn't. Either the Bible allows for modes other than immersion or it doesn't.

Regardless of your present position, you need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. You need to have both eyes wide open. The purpose of this blog site is to provide a format where both sides can interact and hopefully find a resolution to this age-old controversy. I welcome and strongly encourage all thoughtful comments. If you wish to remain anonymous and don't wish to use your real name, that's okay - feel free to use an alias.

Debate is important. Many of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith were the result of debate in the early church. Iron sharpens iron.

A final note: Please be respectful to our brothers and sisters on the other side of this issue. No name calling. A perfect example is John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul. These men are close friends and, I might add, two of the finest Bible teachers around. They often share the same speaking platform. But they disagree on the mode and means of baptism. Remember: In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.

Let the baptism debate begin!

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