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By Curtis Pugh

            Why are babies sprinkled with water and then said to have been baptized? Does such a ritual make the baby a disciple of Jesus? Why are some adults dipped in water and told that this ritual makes them a disciple? Why indeed, since none of these things were ever New Testament practices nor teachings.

            Some people believe that a religious ritual involving water makes a sinner into a disciple of Jesus Christ. Others believe that water has nothing at all to do with becoming a disciple. Let us examine one brief historical statement that proves that baptism does not make a person into a disciple of Jesus Christ.            

            Consider this sentence fragment: “...Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John...” (John 4:1). That brief phrase says that Jesus and John did the same thing. It says that Jesus made more disciples and then baptized more disciples than John made and then baptized. It is clear, then. Making disciples is one thing and baptizing disciples is another! First the disciples were “made” and then they were “baptized.”

            So then the making of disciples does not involve baptism. Making disciples is accomplished by preaching and it has to do with the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in bringing life to spiritually dead sinners who are then able to believe with “the faith of God's elect,” (Titus 1:1). Baptizing disciples follows the making of disciples. John and Jesus first made disciples or followers and then those disciples were dipped in water. Baptism does not have anything to do with making disciples.

            By the way, the Greek word for baptize is “baptizo” and means to dip or to plunge. There is another Greek word, “rhantizo,” that means to sprinkle. This latter word appears four times in the Bible, but never in regard to water put upon a body. If the Holy Ghost had wanted us to understand that baptism was by sprinkling, surely He would have used the correct word for that act.

            We do understand from the Scriptures that baptism is an important act of righteousness and that every disciple should seek out a church that has biblical authority to exist and to administer baptism. If baptism were a matter of indifference, the Lord Jesus could have been baptized by anyone in several places in Galilee. However, He walked about sixty miles from Galilee down to the Jordan River where John the Baptist was baptizing. John baptized at such places “because there was much water there,” (John 3:23). Dipping requires “much water.” After all this dipping in water portrays the believer's positional burial with Christ. Paul wrote, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life,” (Romans 6:4). The questions are these: have you been made a disciple? And have you, as His disciple, followed Christ's example and submitted to scriptural baptism?

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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