Holy Baptism

 

I. THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

 

(1) The Position of Baptism
There can be no doubt that Baptism and Eucharist are the two premier events in the Church’s sacramental life. Baptism is the door and way the Eucharist begins, and the Eucharist is the way Baptism is sustained in the life of the Church. This means that, far from being totally separate events, Baptism and the Eucharist work in the closest tandem. Their content is identical: Christ dying and rising still among the members of his Church, only the idiom of its realization differs. In one case the idiom involves bathing, while in the other the idiom involves dining together.

 

Baptism is a Holy Sacrament by which we are born again by being immersed in water three times in the name of the Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, receiving the grace of justification, and hence becoming a child of God, a brother of Jesus, and an heir (inheritor) of the kingdom of God..

 

The Sacrament of Baptism has the first rank among the Seven Holy Sacraments, as it is the door by which the believer enters the church and has the right to partake in the rest of the Sacraments.

The Holy Baptism holds the first place among the sacraments, because it is the door of the spiritual life by which we are made members of Christ and incorporated with the Church. And since through the first man death entered into the world, unless we are born again of water and the Holy Spirit, we can not enter into the kingdom of Heaven, as Truth Himself has told us. The matter of this sacrament is true and natural water; and it is indifferent whether it be cold or hot. The form is: I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We do not, however, deny that the words: Let this servant of Christ be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit;  constitute true baptism; because since the principal cause from which baptism has its efficacy is the Holy Trinity, and the instrumental cause is the minister who confers the sacrament exteriorly, then if the act exercised by the minister be expressed, together with the invocation of the Holy Trinity, the sacrament is perfected. The minister of this sacrament is the priest, to whom belongs baptism, by reason of his office, In case of necessity, however, not only a priest but even a deacon can baptize, provided he observes the form used by the Church, and intends to perform what the Church performs. The effect of this sacrament is the remission of all sin, original and actual; likewise of all punishment which is due for sin. As a consequence, no satisfaction for past sins is enjoined upon those who are baptized; and if they die before they commit any sin, they attain immediately to the kingdom of heaven and the vision of God.

II. ETYMOLOGY

(1) The means of the word Baptism
The word Baptism is derived from the Greek word, βαπτο, or βαπτιζο, to wash or to immerse. The Syriac/Aramaic word is ܥܡܕܐ which means immerse, wash, plunge, sink, dip in. It signifies, therefore, that washing is of the essential idea of the sacrament. Scripture uses the term baptizeboth literally and figuratively. It is employed in a metaphorical sense in Acts 1:5, where the abundance of the grace of the Holy Spirit is signified, and also in Luke 12:50, where the term is referred to the sufferings of Christ in His Passion. Otherwise in the New Testament, the root word from which baptism is derived is used to designate the laving with water, and it is employed, when speaking of Jewish lustrations, and of the baptism of John, as well as of the Christian Sacrament of Baptism (Hebrews 6:2; Mark 7:4). In ecclesiastical usage, however, when the terms BaptizeBaptismare employed without a qualifying word, they are intended to signify the sacramental washing by which the soul is cleansed from sin at the same time that the body immersed in the water.

 

(2) The names of the Baptism
Many other names and terms of Baptism have been used by our Syrian fathers. They derived these names from the works of this Sacrament, and the spiritual gifts it bestows upon the baptized.  The descriptive synonyms for baptism both in the Bible and Christian antiquity, the Fathers of the church called the Sacrament:

  • ܥܡܕܐ ܐܘ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܐ ܩܕܝܫܬܐ 'modo or Ma'moditho Qadishto (the Holy Baptism)

  • ܐܪܙܐ ܕܣܝܡܬ ܒܢܝ̈ܐ Rozo d-simath bnayo (the Sacrament of adoption)

  • ܐܪܙܐ ܕܗܝܡܢܘܬܐ Rozo d-haymonutho (the Sacrament of faith)

  • ܐܪܙܐ ܕܡܢܗܪܢܘܬܐ Rozo d-manehronutho (the Sacrament of illumination, enlightenment)

  • ܐܪܙܐ ܕܬܕܟܝܬܐ Rozo d-tadkhitho (the Sacrament of cleansing)

  • ܡܘܠܕܐ ܕܡܢ ܕܪܝܫ Mawlodo d-men drish (Regeneration, Born again)

The Syrian fathers called the sacrament in these names because:

  • by baptism the believer is immersed completely into water when baptized,

  • by adoption the baptized believer by the grace of God become a son of God, adopted by Christ to be the son of His Father.

  • by faith, the person receiving this Sacrament must believer in Christ first “He who believes and is baptized is saved” (Mark 16:16),

  • by illumination or enlightenment the person being baptized becomes enlightened with the light of faith, “but recall the former days when after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle” (Hebrews 10:32),

  • by purification or cleansing the baptized believer is purified of his original sin.

  • by Regeneration or Born again the baptized believer is born again of water and Holy Spirit.      

and so on... In English, the term christen is familiarly used for baptize. As, however, the former word signifies only the effect of baptism, that is, to make one a Christian, but not the manner and the act, moralists hold that "I christen" could probably not be substituted validly for "I baptize" in conferring the sacrament.

III. DEFINITION

The Fathers of the church define baptism thus: Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration by water. Baptism is the external ablution of the body, performed with the prescribed form of words. Later theologians generally distinguish formally between the physical and the metaphysical defining of this sacrament. By the former they understand the formula expressing the action of ablution and the utterance of the invocation of the Trinity; by the latter, the definition: "Sacrament of regeneration" or that institution of Christ by which we are reborn to spiritual life. The term "regeneration" distinguishes baptism from every other sacrament, for although penance revivifies men spiritually, yet this is rather a resuscitation, a bringing back from the dead, than a rebirth. Penance does not make us Christians; on the contrary, it presupposes that we have already been born of water and the Holy Spirit to the life of grace, while baptism on the other hand was instituted to confer upon men the very beginnings of the spiritual life, to transfer them from the state of enemies of God to the state of adoption, as sons of God. The definition of the church combines the physical and metaphysical definitions of baptism. "The sacrament of regeneration" is the metaphysical essence of the sacrament, while the physical essence is expressed by the second part of the definition, i.e. the washing with water (matter), accompanied by the invocation of the Holy Trinity (form). Baptism is, therefore, the sacrament by which we are born again of water and the Holy Spirit, that is, by which we receive in a new and spiritual life, the dignity of adoption as sons of God and heirs of God's kingdom.

 

IV. TYPES

Having considered the Christian meaning of the term "baptism", we now turn our attention to the various types which were found in the writings of some Fathers and theologians of the church. Some theologians considered only two Baptisms:

a) of John the Baptist, b) of the water and Holy Spirit (NT).

The baptism of St. John the Baptist. John baptized with water (Mark 1) and it was a baptism of penance for the remission of sins (Luke 3). While, then, the symbolism of the sacrament instituted by Christ was not new, the efficacy which He joined to the rite is that which differentiates it from all its types. John's baptism did not produce grace, as he himself testifies (Matt. 3) when he declares that he is not the Messiah whose baptism is to confer the Holy Spirit. Moreover, it was not John's baptism that remitted sin, but the penance that accompanied it; and a remission of sins in hope. The baptism of John was not a sacrament of itself, but a certain sacramental as it were, preparing the way for the baptism of Christ, and those who had previously received John's baptism had to receive later the Christian baptism (Acts 19).

And others like Gregorios Theologos, Mushe Bar Kifo, John Bishop of Dara, Bar Hebraeus, and Bar Salibi... considered some types of this sacrament are to be found among the Jews and in the Old Testament, such as:

a) Baptism of the Flood which cleansed the sin of the earth according to St. Peter the apostle in: "when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ," (1 Peter 3:21), types of the purification to be found in Christian baptism.

b) Baptism of the Red Sea and Clouds; St. Paul stated in his epistle: "Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea," (I Cor. 10:1, 2). Thus St. Paul adduces the passage of Israel through the Red Sea and cloud.

c) Other forerunners of baptism were the numerous purifications prescribed in the Mosaic dispensation for legal uncleanness (Exodus 29: 4; 30:18). The symbolism of an outward washing to cleanse an invisible blemish was made very familiar to the Jews by their sacred ceremonies. But in addition to these more direct types, both the New Testament writers and the Fathers of the Church find many mysterious foreshadowing of baptism.

d) Baptism of St. John the Baptist (mentioned above).

e) Circumcision; its place in the sacramental system of the Old Law was taken by circumcision, which is called by some of the Fathers "the washing of blood" to distinguish it from "the washing of water". By the rite of circumcision, the recipient was incorporated into the people of God and made a partaker in the Messianic promises; a name was bestowed upon him and he was reckoned among the children of Abraham, the father of all believers.

f) Baptism of Blood; during the days of persecution, many pagans believed in Christ from simply being touched by witnessing the strong faith of the Christians who were martyred for Christ. As a result, these pagans welcomed martyrdom for Christ, even though they had not been baptized previously. In this situation, the blood they shed is recognized, and considered a “Baptism of Blood”. hence, they receive the crown of martyrdom and eternal life. In essence, Baptism is dying with Christ, and these martyrs shed their blood honorably for and with Christ.

Many saints spoke about the “Baptism of Blood”. St Cyril of Jerusalem said, “Whoever does not accept Baptism has no salvation, except the martyrs, who without the Baptism of water are granted salvation by the Baptism of Blood”.  When our Savior was crucified on the Cross, He was wounded by a spear in His side, and water and blood came forth. Likewise, during times of peace, baptism is carried out through water, and during times of persecution, by blood. The Savior Himself called martyrdom by blood and Baptism by saying: “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Matthew 20:22).

Other foreshadowing of the sacrament are found by the Fathers in the bathing of Naaman in the Jordan river, in the brooding of the Spirit of God over the waters, in the rivers of Paradise, in the blood of the Paschal Lamb, during Old Testament times, and in the pool of Bethsaida, and in the healing of the dumb and blind in the New Testament,

 

V. INSTITUTION OF THE SACRAMENT

The Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of Baptism by being baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, when the Holy Spirit came upon Him as a dove, anointed Him, then He assured it after the resurrection when He said to His disciples:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew: 28:19),  “He who is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).  Baptism is a redemptive Sacrament, necessary for redemption and entry to eternal life according to the Lord's saying: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”(John 3). 

That Christ instituted the Sacrament of Baptism is unquestionable. Christ not only commands His Disciples (Matthew 28:19) to baptize and gives them the form to be used, but He also declares explicitly the absolute necessity of baptism (John 3): "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he can not enter into the Kingdom of God." Moreover, from the general doctrine of the Church on the sacraments, we know that the efficacy attached to them is derivable only from the institution of the Redeemer.

Various occasions have been pointed out as the probable time of institution, as when Christ was Himself baptized in the River Jordan, when He declared the necessity of the rebirth to Nicodemus, and when He sent His Apostles and Disciples to preach and baptize. The first opinion was quite favorable to many Fathers, and they are fond of referring to the sanctification of the baptismal water by contact with the flesh of the God-man.

The more probable opinion seems to be that baptism, as a sacrament, had its origin when Christ commissioned His Apostles to baptize, as narrated in John, 3 and 4. There is nothing directly in the text as to the institution, but as the Disciples acted evidently under the instruction of Christ, He must have taught them from very outset the matter and form of the sacrament which they were to dispense. It is true that St. John Chrysostom (Hom., xxviii in Joan.), and Tertullian (De Bapt., c. ii) declare that Baptism given by the Disciples of Christ as narrated in these chapters of St. John was a baptism of water only and not of the Holy Spirit; but their reason is that the Holy Spirit was not given until after the Resurrection. As theologians have pointed out, this is a confusion between the visible and the invisible manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

All things considered, we can safely state, therefore, that Christ most probably instituted baptism before His Passion. For in the first place, as is evident from John 3 and 4, Christ certainly conferred baptism, at least by the hands of His Disciples, before His passion. That this was an essentially different rite from John the Precursor's baptism seems plain, because the baptism of Christ is always preferred to that of John, and the latter himself states the reason: "I baptize with water . . . [Christ] baptizes with the Holy Spirit" (John 1). In the baptism given by the Disciples as narrated in these chapters we seem to have all the requisites of a sacrament of the New Law:

  • the external rite,

  • the institution of Christ, for they baptized by His command and mission, and

  • the conferring of grace, for they bestowed the Holy Spirit (John 1).

In the second place, the Apostles received other sacraments from Christ, before His Passion, as the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, and Holy Ordination. Now as baptism has always been held as the door of the Church and the necessary condition for the reception of any other sacrament.

 

VI. MATTER AND FORM OF THE SACRAMENT

(1) Matter

In all sacraments we treat of the matter and the form. It is also usual to distinguish the kind of matter and the type matter. In the case of baptism, the remote matter is natural and true water. We shall consider this aspect of the question first.

 

(a) Kind of matter

It is of faith that true and natural water is the kind of the matter of baptism. We may mention that the early Fathers, accepting water as the ordinary matter of this sacrament, and recognize water as the necessary matter of the sacrament. Scripture is so positive in its statements as to the use of true and natural water for baptism that it is difficult to see why it should ever be called in question. Not only have we the explicit words of Christ (John 3:5) "Unless a man be born again of water", etc., but also in the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St. Paul there are passages that preclude any metaphorical interpretation. Thus (Acts 10: 47) St. Peter says "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized?" In the eighth chapter of the Acts is narrated the episode of Philip and the eunuch of Ethiopia, and in verse 36 we read: "They came to a certain water; and the eunuch said: See, here is water: what doth hinder me from being baptized?" Equally positive is the testimony of Christian tradition.

 

(b) Type of matter

The type of the matter of baptism is the ablution performed with water. The very word "baptize", as we have seen, means a washing.  The most ancient form usually employed was unquestionably immersion. This is not only evident from the writings of the Fathers and the early rituals of both the Oriental and Latin Churches, but it can also be gathered from the Epistles of St. Paul, who speaks of baptism as a bath (Eph. 5: 26; Rom. 6: 4; Tit. 3: 5). In the Latin Church, immersion seems to have prevailed until the twelfth century. After that time it is found in some places even as late as the sixteenth century. Infusion and aspersion, however, were growing common in the thirteenth century and gradually prevailed in the Western Church. The Oriental Churches have retained immersion, though not always in the sense of plunging the candidate's entire body below the water. 

 

Although, as we have said, immersion was the form of baptism that generally prevailed in the early ages, but in the case of the sick or dying, immersion was impossible and the sacrament was then conferred by Infusion in most cases. This was so well recognized in the early ages, that infusion received the name of the baptism of the sick. St. Cyprian (Ep. lxxvi) declares this form to be valid. So such persons, however, were not to be rebaptized is an evidence that the Church held their baptism to be valid. It is also pointed out that the circumstances under which St. Paul (Acts, xvi) baptized his jailer and all his household seem to preclude the use of immersion. Moreover, the acts of the early martyrs frequently refer to baptizing in prisons where infusion or aspersion was certainly employed. It is to be noted that The threefold immersion is unquestionably very ancient in the Church and apparently of Apostolic origin.

 

(2) Form

The requisite and sole valid form of baptism is: "(name of the baptized) or this servant of Christ is baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." This was the form given by Christ to His Disciples in the twenty-eighth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, as far, at least, as there is question of the invocation of the separate Persons of the Trinity and the expression of the nature of the action performed.

 

The Syriac Orthodox Church has never rebaptize other Oriental or Catholic baptized person.

 

In administering this sacrament it is absolutely necessary to use the word "baptize" St. Paul (Colos. 3) exhorts us to do all things in the name of God, and consequently an ablution could be performed in the name of the Trinity to obtain restoration of health. Therefore it is that in the form of this sacrament, the act of baptism must be expressed, and the matter and form be united to leave no doubt of the meaning of the ceremony. In addition to the necessary word "baptize", or its equivalent, it is also obligatory to mention the separate Persons of the Holy Trinity. This is the command of Christ to His Disciples, and as the sacrament has its efficacy from Him Who instituted it, we can not omit anything that He has prescribed. Nothing is more certain than that this has been the general understanding and practice of the Church. St. Justin Martyr (Apol., I) testifies to the practice in his time. Fathers of the church declare that: "Unless a person has been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he can not obtain the remission of his sins," The same is declared by many other primitive writers of the church, as St. Jerome (IV, in Matt.), Origen (De Princ., i, ii), St. Athanasius (Or. iv, Contr. Ar.), St. Augustine (De Bapt., vi, 25).

 

The singular form "In the name", not "names", is also to be employed, as it expresses the unity of the Divine nature.

 

The mind of the Church as to the necessity of serving the Trinitarian formula in this sacrament has been clearly shown by her treatment of baptism conferred by heretics. Any ceremony that did not observe this form has been declared invalid. The Montanists baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and Montanus and Priscilla (St. Basil, Ep. i, Ad Amphil.). As a consequence, the Council of Laodicea ordered their rebaptism. The Arians at the time of the Council of Nicæa do not seem to have tampered with the baptismal formula, for that Council does not order their rebaptism. When, then, St. Athanasius (Or. ii, Contr. Ar.) and St. Jerome (Contra Lucif.) declare the Arians to have baptized in the name of the Creator and creatures, they must either refer to their doctrine or to a later changing of the sacramental form. It is well known that the latter was the case with the Spanish Arians and that consequently converts from the sect were rebaptized. The Anomæans, a branch of the Arians, baptized with the formula: "In the name of the uncreated God and in the name of the created Son, and in the name of the Sanctifying Spirit, procreated by the created Son" (Epiphanius, Hær., Ixxvii).

 

Other Arian sects, such as the Eunomians and Aetians, baptized "in the death of Christ". Converts from Sabellianism were ordered by the First Council of Constantinople (can. vii) to be rebaptized because the doctrine of Sabellius that there was but one person in the Trinity had infected their baptismal form. The two sects sprung from Paul of Samosata, who denied Christ's Divinity, likewise conferred invalid baptism. They were the Paulianists and Photinians.  The Council of Nicæa (can. xix) ordered the rebaptism of Paulianists.

 

There has been a theological controversy over the question as to whether baptism in the name of Christ only was ever held valid. Certain texts in the New Testament have given rise to this difficulty. Thus St. Paul (Acts, xix) commands some disciples at Ephesus to be baptized in Christ's name: "They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." In Acts 10, we read that St. Peter ordered others to be baptized "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ". Those who were converted by Philip. (Acts, viii) "were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ", and above all we have the explicit command of the Prince of the Apostles: "Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins (Acts, ii).

 

Owing to these texts some theologians have held that the Apostles baptized in the name of Christ that the Apostles so acted by special dispensation. The most probable opinion, however, seems to be that the terms "in the name of Jesus", "in the name of Christ", either refer to baptism in the faith taught by Christ, or are employed to distinguish Christian baptism from that of John the Baptist. It seems altogether unlikely that immediately after Christ had solemnly promulgated the Trinitarian formula of baptism, the Apostles themselves would have substituted another. In fact, the words of St. Paul (Acts, xix) imply quite plainly that they did not. For, when some Christians at Ephesus declared that they had never heard of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle asks: "In whom then were you baptized?" This text certainly seems to declare that St. Paul took it for granted that the Ephesians must have heard the name of the Holy Spirit when the sacramental formula of baptism was pronounced over them.

 

VII. INSTRUCTIONS OF BAPTISM

These are some canons and instructions from Hudoyo and other ecclesiastical canons written in the Book of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism:

  1. Holy Baptism is a Sacrament, being the door through which the human being enters into the Christian faith. Therefore, it should be performed with utmost reverence and awareness by the priests, and received with true faith by the believers.

  2. The Sacrament of Baptism shall be performed at the baptistery in the church, except in cases of necessity resulting from extreme sickness or forcible circumstances; then baptism shall be performed in the homes of the believers by permission of the bishop. In this case, a wide and deep basin should be made ready in which water is to be sanctified. This basin is to be used exclusively for baptism. This procedure shall also be followed in countries where we have no church or house of prayer.

  3. The bishop as well as the priest shall perform the Sacrament of Baptism fully dressed in his vestments. Incense shall be offered as is required by the rituals of the Church.

  4. Baptism shall be performed in the morning after the Divine Liturgy, unless an emergency may require its performance before or at any other time.

  5. For every male child there must be an Orthodox godfather, and for every female child an Orthodox godmother.

  6. Two kinds of oils shall be used in the administration of baptism. The oil of ointment (mesh'ho), which is consecrated by the bishop, shall be administered before immersion. The holy chrism (myron), which is consecrated by the patriarch, confirms the baptized and shall be administered after baptism.

  7. The godparents, before participating in the baptismal ceremony, shall, with due respect and purification, confess and receive Holy Communion. They should also instruct the baptized male or female in the Christian doctrine and religion.

  8. The priest shall register the name of the baptized in the church baptismal registry. It is proper and commendable that the baptized be given a Christian name.

  9. When the priest baptizes male and female children at the same time, he is not permitted to immerse them simultaneously in the same water. He should immerse the male children first, and after changing the water, the female children. In cases of multiple baptisms, the priest shall immerse the children in descending order with the oldest being first.

  10. If a child is near death, the priest shall baptize him without immersion but infusing, by pouring water upon his (her) forehead and the rest of his (her) body if possible.

  11. The Sacrament of Baptism should be fulfilled two weeks after birth, unless an emergency requires postponement. In such a case, baptism may be performed after one month but not later than two months.

  12. A priest shall baptize his own child only in cases of emergency or when another priest is not available.

  13. If a child is near death, a full deacon (or Archdeacon) can baptize him or her, in the absence of a priest. Later on, if the baptized lives the priest shall confirm the child by anointing him (her) with holy chrism.

  14. In an emergency, the priest can baptize even after having had his meal. In an emergency of death, the priest shall use the shortened Service of Baptism of Mar Severus (+538), Patriarch of Antioch.

  15. When a maiden or a mature woman is to be baptized, the priest shall pour the oil of ointment as well as the holy chrism in water in a large vessel and draw a curtain between him and the baptized. Then he shall confirm the baptized with the holy chrism by anointing the forehead. After placing his right hand on the head of the baptized and baptizing her in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the baptized shall immerse herself three times in the water while wearing a white robe. In former times, deaconesses and nuns used to anoint baptized women. At the present time, it would be preferable for the priest's wife to assist the celebrant in anointing the baptized. In the same manner, if a man is to be baptized the priest shall follow the above instructions, and perform the ceremony alone. After the ceremony, the white robes should be kept in the church. As to the holy water, it should be poured in the baptismal font or in a clean place, such as a field or a garden.

  16. If the baptism of a person is doubtful or cannot be substantiated by a certificate, the priest shall baptize him (her) saying: N... , if you are not baptized, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and, the Holy Spirit.

  17. The Church accepts the baptism of the (Apostolic Churches) Chalcedonians, i.e. the Byzantine Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholics. If one of the faithful is baptized in one of the Protestant Churches, he or she must be confirmed by being anointed with holy Myron inasmuch as the said Churches do not employ holy chrism.

 

VIII. REBAPTISM

The point in the ancient Church is that; in Africa and Asia Minor the custom had been introduced in the early part of the third century of re-baptizing all converts from heresy. As far as can be now ascertained, the practice of rebaptism arose in Africa owing to decrees of a Synod of Carthage held probably between 218 and 222; while in Asia Minor it seems to have had its origin at the Synod of Iconium (Konya, Turkey), celebrated between 230 and 235.

After these Synods, the Fathers of the church see that forbidding the rebaptism of converts, are in accordance with antiquity and ecclesiastical tradition, and are consecrated as an ancient, memorable, and solemn observance of all the saints and of all the faithful. St. Severus of Antioch believes that the custom of not rebaptizing is an Apostolic tradition, and that the Synod of Carthage introduced rebaptism against the Divine Law against the rule of the universal Church, and against the customs and institutions of the ancients, and the sacrament was not to be repeated because its first administration had been valid, This has been the law of the Church ever since.

 

IX. NECESSITY OF BAPTISM

Baptism is held to be necessary since it is the door through which the human being enters into the Christian faith. This doctrine is rounded on the words of Christ, in John 3, He declares: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God." Christ makes no exception to this law and it is therefore general in its application, embracing both adults and infants. It is consequently not merely a necessity of precept but also a necessity of means. This is the sense in which it has always been understood by the Church and the Holy Synods. The absolute necessity of this sacrament is often insisted on by the Fathers of the Church, especially when they speak of infant baptism. No one is excepted of baptism for salvation, not the infant, not the one hindered by any necessity. The infants may be saved by an act of desire on the part of their parents.

The necessity in this case is shown by the command of Christ to His Apostles (Matt., xxviii): "Go and teach all nations, baptizing them", etc. Since the Apostles are commanded to baptize, the nations are commanded to receive baptism.

 

X. SUBSTITUTES FOR THE SACRAMENT

The Fathers and theologians frequently divide baptism into two kinds: the baptism of water, and the baptism of blood. However, only the first is a real sacrament. The latter is denominated baptism only analogically, inasmuch as it supplies the principal effect of baptism, namely, the grace which remits sins. It is the teaching of the Church that when the baptism of water becomes a physical or moral impossibility, eternal life may be obtained by the baptism of blood.

 

The Baptism of Blood

The baptism of blood is the obtaining of the grace of justification by suffering martyrdom for the faith of Christ. The term "washing of blood" is used by Tertullian (De Bapt., xvi) to distinguish this species of regeneration from the "washing of water". "We have a second washing", he says "which is one and the same [with the first], namely the washing of blood."  When any die for the confession of Christ without having received the washing of regeneration, it avails as much for the remission of their sins as if they had been washed in the sacred font of baptism." The Church grounds her belief in the efficacy of the baptism of blood on the fact that Christ makes a general statement of the saving power of martyrdom in the tenth chapter of St. Matthew: "Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven" (5: 32); and: "He that shall lose his life for me shall find it" (5: 39). It is pointed out that these texts are so broadly worded as to include even infants, especially the latter text. That the former text also applies to them, has been constantly maintained by the Fathers, who declare that if infants can not confess Christ with the mouth, they can by act.

The Fathers of the church speak of the infants slaughtered by Herod as martyrs, and this has been the constant teaching of the Church, and the church commemorates the third day of Christmas to remember their martyrdom.

Baptism of Blood; during the days of persecution, many pagans believed in Christ from simply being touched by witnessing the strong faith of the Christians who were martyred for Christ. As a result, these pagans welcomed martyrdom for Christ, even though they had previously not been baptized. In this situation, the blood which they shed is recognized, and considered a “Baptism of Blood”. Hence, they receive the crown of martyrdom and eternal life. In essence, Baptism is dying with Christ, and these martyrs shed their blood honorably for and with Christ.

Many saints spoke about the “Baptism of Blood”. St Cyril of Jerusalem said, “Whoever does not accept Baptism has no salvation, except the martyrs, who without the Baptism of water are granted salvation by the Baptism of Blood”.  When our Savior was crucified on the Cross, He was wounded by a spear in His side, and water and blood came forth. Likewise, during times of peace, baptism is carried out through water, and during times of persecution, by blood. The Savior Himself called martyrdom by blood and Baptism by saying: “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Matthew 20:22).

 

XI. UNBAPTIZED INFANTS

The fate of infants who die without baptism must be briefly considered here. There is no any clear pronouncement of the Church on the subject, but learn that the Orthodox teaching is uncompromising on this point, that all who depart this life without baptism, be it of water, or blood, are perpetually excluded from the vision of God. This teaching is grounded, as we have seen, on Scripture and tradition, and the decrees of the Church. Moreover, that those who die in original sin, without ever having contracted any actual sin, are deprived of the happiness of heaven. Many Church theologians have declared that infants dying without baptism are excluded from the beatific vision; but as to the exact state of these souls in the next world they are not agreed.

In speaking of souls who have failed to attain salvation, these theologians distinguish the pain of loss, or privation of the beatific vision, and the pain of sense. Though these theologians have thought it certain that unbaptized infants must endure the pain of loss, they have not been similarly certain that they are subject to the pain of sense. St. Gregory Nazianzen (Or. in S. Bapt.) expresses the belief that such infants would suffer only the pain of loss. And some declare that while they are certainly excluded from heaven, yet they are not deprived of natural happiness. Since the twelfth century, the opinion of the majority of theologians has been that unbaptized infants are immune from all pain of sense. This is now the common teaching in the church. The punishment of original sin is the deprivation of the vision of God; of actual sin, the eternal pains of hell, infants, of course, can not be guilty of actual sin.

The vision of God is not something to which human beings have a natural claim. It is a free gift of the Creator who can make what conditions He chooses for imparting it or withholding it. No injustice is involved when an undue privilege is not conferred upon a person. Original sin deprived the human race of an unearned right to heaven. Through the Divine mercy this bar to the enjoyment of God is removed by baptism; but if baptism be not conferred, original sin remains, and the unregenerated soul, having no claim on heaven, is not unjustly excluded from it.

 

XII. EFFECTS OF BAPTISM

This sacrament is the door of the Church of Christ and the entrance into a new life. We are reborn from the state of slaves of sin into the freedom of the Sons of God. Baptism incorporates us with Christ's mystical body and makes us partakers of all the privileges flowing from the redemptive act of the Church's Divine Founder. We shall now outline the principal effects of baptism.

 

(1) The Remission of All Sin, Original and Actual

This is clearly contained in the Bible. Thus we read (Acts 2:38): "Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call." We read also in the twenty-second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles (5: 16): "Be baptized, and wash away thy sins." St. Paul in the fifth chapter of his Epistle to the Ephesians beautifully represents the whole Church as being baptized and purified (v. 25 sq.): "Christ loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it: that he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the washing of water in the word of life: that he might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." The prophecy of Ezechiel (36: 25) has also been understood of baptism: "I will pour upon you clean water and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, where the prophet is unquestionably speaking of moral defilements. This is also the solemn teaching of the Church. The same is taught by the Fathers. St. Justin Martyr (Apol., I, Ixvi) declares that in baptism we are created anew, that is, consequently, free from all stain of sin. Tertullian (De Bapt., vii) writes: "Baptism is a carnal act in as much as we are submerged in the water; but the effect is spiritual, for we are freed from our sins."  It is needless to multiply testimonies from the early ages of the Church. It is a point on which the Fathers are unanimous, and telling quotations might also be made from St. Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria, St. Ephraim, St. Jacob, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and others.

 

(2) Remission of Temporal Punishment

Baptism not only washes away sin, it also remits the punishment of sin. This was the plain teaching of the primitive Church. We read in Clement of Alexandria (Pædagog., i) of baptism: "It is called a washing because we are washed from our sins: it is called grace, because by it the punishments which are due to sin are remitted."

 

 (3) Infusion of Supernatural Grace, Gifts, and Virtues

Another effect of baptism is the infusion of sanctifying grace and supernatural gifts and virtues. It is this sanctifying grace which renders men the adopted sons of God and confers the right to heavenly glory. 

 

(4) Conferral of the Right to Special Graces

Theologians likewise teach that baptism gives man the right to those special graces which are necessary for attaining the end for which the sacrament was instituted and for enabling him to fulfill the baptismal promises.

In an infant, of course, this would be impossible, and as a consequence, the infant receives at once all the baptismal grace. It is otherwise in the case of an adult, for in such a one it is necessary that the requisite dispositions of the soul be present.

 

(5) Impression of a Character on the Soul

Finally, baptism, once validly conferred, can never be repeated. The Fathers (St. Chrysostom, and others) so understand the words of St. Paul (Heb. 6: 4), and this has been the constant teaching of the Church both Eastern and Western from the earliest times. On this account, baptism is said to impress an ineffaceable character on the soul, which is spiritual and indelible mark. That baptism (as well as Confirmation and Holy Ordination) really does imprint such a character, calls a "holy and indelible seal", and "the seal of the Lord". The baptized is for "holiness, salvation, a blameless life, an for blessed resurrection from among the dead in the hope of life and the forgiveness of sins". (The book of the Sacrament of the Holy Baptism

 

XIII. MINISTER OF THE SACRAMENT

The Minister of the Sacrament

The ordinary minister of solemn baptism are the bishop and the priest. By delegation, a deacon may confer the sacrament solemnly as an extraordinary minister. Bishops are said to be ordinary ministers because they are the successors of the Apostles who received directly the Divine command: "Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy spirit." Also the minister of this Sacrament is the priest, to whom it belongs to administer baptism by reason of his office." As, however, bishops are superior to priests by the Divine law, the solemn administration of this sacrament was at one time reserved to the bishops, and a priest never administered this sacrament in the presence of a bishop unless commanded to do so, How ancient this discipline was, may be seen from Tertullian (De Bapt., xvii): "The right to confer baptism belongs to the chief priest who is the bishop, then to priests and deacons, but not without the authorization of the bishop." St. Ignatius of Antioch (Ep. ad Smyr., viii): "It is not lawful to baptize or celebrate the agape without the bishop." St. Jerome (Contra Lucif., ix) witnesses to the same usage in his days: "Without chrism and the command of the bishop, neither priest nor deacon has the right of conferring baptism." Deacons are only extraordinary ministers of solemn baptism, as by their office they are assistants to the priestly order.

Philip the deacon is mentioned in the Bible (Acts 8) as conferring baptism, presumably by delegation of the Apostles. It is to be noted that though every priest, in virtue of his ordination is the ordinary minister of baptism, yet by ecclesiastical decrees he can not use this power licitly unless he has jurisdiction. Hence it is known through the tradition that: The legitimate minister of baptism is the parish priest, or any other priest delegated by the parish priest or the bishop of the place.

 

XIV. RECIPIENT OF BAPTISM

Every living human being, not yet baptized, is the subject of this sacrament.

(1) Baptism of Adults

With regards to adults there is no difficulty or controversy. Christ's command excludes no one when He bids the Apostles teach all nations and baptize them.

 

(2) Baptism of Infants

Infant baptism has, however, been the subject of much dispute. The Church, however, maintains absolutely that the law of Christ applies as well to infants as to adults. When the Redeemer declares (John 3) that it is necessary to be born again of water and the Holy Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God, His words may be justly understood to mean that He includes all who are capable of having a right to this kingdom.

But some people delayed their Baptism and thus fell in more sin losing the grace of Baptism. Some people refrained from Baptism as they were hooked to worldly pleasures and wanted more, so they kept postponing Baptism.  Therefore, when Sts. Athanasius, Baselius and Gregory realized the dangers of postponing Baptism, for various reasons, they urged Christians to receive this Holy Sacrament at any stage of their life.  At any rate, Apostolic tradition always stressed the necessity of baptizing both children and adults.  The Holy church received this tradition from the Apostles directly who themselves practiced it.  St. Peter declared on the Pentecost “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children” (Acts 2: 37-39).  This is a clear statement that justifies baptizing children.  Furthermore, when the disciples were preaching the Gospel, they accepted whole families into Christianity baptizing children and adults alike.  St. Paul, for instance, baptized the whole household of Steven and there must have been children among them “I did baptize also the house of Stephan’s  ...” (I Cor 1:16).  As mentioned earlier, Lydia, the seller of purple and her family were baptized, and the prison keeper and his family too.

The Holy church deemed necessary the Baptism of children for the following reasons:

Since all people, children and adults alike share the original sin, they all need to be purified and justified to inherit the kingdom of God, and thus baptism is necessary for their salvation.

Children have always been venerated.  Both the old and the New Testaments gave them special honor.  In the old Testament, God filled Jeremiah with the Holy Spirit while a baby in his mother’s womb and so did to John the Baptist (Luke 1:15).  Children received special and affectionate treatment by the Lord Jesus who loved children very much and blessed them saying “Let the children come to me, and do not hide them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Mathew 18:3; 91:4).  It follows that baptism is necessary for children due to their special honor and status.

The Holy fathers of the church present us with strong testimonies supporting the Baptism of children. Origence says “The church received the tradition of baptizing children from the Apostles”.

Children are baptized on the faith of their parents, and they must be baptized at a very early age lest they might die without being baptized, and thus be deprived of the Kingdom of Heaven.  The best time for baptizing children is between the 8th and the 40th day after their birth.  There are those who oppose to the baptism of children on the grounds that one has to believe first, and then be baptized.  How can a child believe when he understands nothing? Does not faith come first and then Baptism? Our answer to these questions are:

1. Yes, faith comes first, and then Baptism, but this is true for adults, not for children, for adults need teaching preaching and persuasion to accept faith.  Children, on the other hand, believe whatever they are told, and so they are baptized on the faith of their parents.

2. If a baptized child rejects the Christian faith when he reaches adulthood, his Baptism will do him no good any way.  But if he confirms the faith of his parents, he is already baptized, and does have the great advantage of being worthy to enter the Kingdom of God if it happens that he dies in the period before his adulthood, because the other conditions of salvation, namely, faith, repentance, and good works do not apply to him.  But, if an unbaptized child dies, although he has not a sin, he still carries the original sin with which he was born, and those who die with their original sin will not be able to enter the kingdom of God.

3. There are those who claim that Baptism should be performed at the age of 30.  But what is magic about the age 30? Why can’t one be baptized at 25, or 20? Does he not understand faith less? We have great thinkers at the age of 20’s.

Moreover, St. Paul (Colossians 2) says that baptism in the New Law has taken the place of circumcision in the Old. It was especially to infants that the rite of circumcision was applied by Divine precept. If it be said that there is no example of the baptism of infants to be found in the Bible, we may answer that infants are included in such phrases as: "She was baptized and her household" (Acts 16:15); "Himself was baptized, and all his house immediately" (Acts 16:33); "I baptized the household of Stephanus" (I Corinthians 1:16).

The tradition of Christian antiquity as to the necessity of infant baptism is clear from the very beginning, as you have read above. The Church received from the Apostles the tradition of giving baptism also to infants. Theologians also call attention to the fact that as God sincerely wishes all men to be saved, He does not exclude infants, for whom baptism of either water or blood is the only means possible. The doctrines also of the universality of original sin and of the all-comprehending atonement of Christ are stated so plainly and absolutely in Scripture as to leave no solid reason for denying that infants are included as well as adults.

 

XV. ADJUNCTS OF BAPTISM

(1) Baptistery

According to the canons of the Church, baptism except in case of necessity is to be administered in churches. Inside the churches there is a baptismal font, or where there is a baptistery close to the church. The term "baptistery" is commonly used for the space set aside for the conferring of baptism. As a rule, however, the church itself contains a railed-off space containing the baptismal font. Anciently fonts were attached only to cathedral churches, but at the present day nearly every parish church has a font. However, that if priest see that the great difficulty of bringing an infant to church is a sufficient reason for baptizing in a private house. The font must be of solid material, so that the baptismal water may be safely kept in it.

 

(2) Baptismal Water

In speaking of the matter of baptism, we stated that true, natural water is all that is required for its validity.

In administering solemn baptism, however the Church prescribes that the water used should be hot and cold water, the priest stands before the baptistery, With his right hand, he holds the vessel which contains the hot water, and with his left hand, the one which contains the cold water. With arms crossed, right above left, he then pours the water slowly into the font, according to the season of the year. Next he pours into the water, first the oil of catechumens and then the sacred chrism, and lastly both holy oils together, pronouncing appropriate prayers.

 

(3) Holy Oils

Two kinds of oils shall be used in the administration of baptism. In baptism, the priest uses the oil consecrated by the bishop on Maundy Thursday, and Chrism (Myron), the latter being consecrated by the patriarch only. The oil of ointment (mesh'ho), which is consecrated by the bishop, shall be administered before immersion. The holy Chrism (Myron), which is consecrated by the patriarch, confirms the baptized and shall be administered after baptism immediately. The anointing in baptism is recorded by ancient Fathers. The baptized person thus receives two sacraments together Baptism and the Holy Myron (Chrism) and is to be applied to the crown of the head, and ended with participation of the baptized to the third sacrament the Holy communion.

 

(4) Sponsors

When infants are solemnly baptized, persons assist at the ceremony to make profession of the faith in the child's name and receive . This practice comes from antiquity and is witnessed to by Fathers of the Church. Such persons are designated ܫܘܫܒܝܢܐ (Bridegroom's friend) or ܥܰܪܳܒܐ (sponsor) orܩܪܝܒܐ (approaching, nigh). The English term is godparents, godfather and godmother, or in Anglo-Saxon, gossip. For every male child there must be an Orthodox godfather, and for every female child an Orthodox godmother. That means: the godparent is he/she has stood as the sponsor of the infant by giving the prescribed denunciations of Satan and affirmations of accepting Christ and it is he/she who finally recites the Creed signifying the personal belief of the candidate to Baptism and receives in his/her arms the newly baptized infant. But before that. However, the godparent has assumed the important obligation of seeing together with the parents that the infant is brought up within the Church and in the life of Christ. It is on account of this obligation that the baptismal sponsor is called godparent 'parent-in-God'.

The godparents, before participating in the baptismal ceremony, shall, with due respect and purification, confess and receive Holy Communion. They should also instruct the baptized male or female in the Christian doctrine and religion.

Since baptizing a child creates for the godparent a spiritual relationship not only between him and his godchild but also with the child's family, the Orthodox Church by a tradition expressed in the rubrics (baptismal instructions for the priest), accepts only one godparent. There is a dogmatically and canonically entered spiritual relationship between godparent and godchild and, as a result, the Church has by Synodical decision prohibited marriage between the godparent and his/her godchild; also, marriage between the godparent and the biological parent (father or mother) of the godchild is prohibited. The godparent must have been baptized in the Orthodox Church, be in full sacramental communion, and a member in good standing of a local Syriac Orthodox parish.

These sponsors, in default of the child's parents, are obliged to instruct it concerning faith and morals. The object of these restrictions is the fact that the sponsor contracts a spiritual relationship to the child and his parents which would be an impediment to marriage. Sponsors must themselves be baptized persons having the use of reason and they must have been designated as sponsors by the priest or parents.

Certain persons are prohibited from acting as sponsors. They are: members of religious orders, married persons in respect to each other, or parents to their children, and in general those who are objectionable on such grounds as infidelity, heresy, excommunication, or who are members of condemned secret societies, or public sinners. Sponsors are also used in the solemn baptism of adults. They are never necessary in private baptism.

 

(5) Baptismal Name

From the earliest times names were given in baptism. The priest is directed to see that obscene, fabulous, and ridiculous names, or those of heathen gods or of infidel men be not imposed. On the contrary the priest is to recommend the names of saints. This rubric is not a rigorous precept, but it is an instruction to the priest to do what he can in the matter. If parents are unreasonably obstinate, the priest may add a saint's name to the one insisted upon. The Sacrament of Baptism should be fulfilled eight days after birth, unless an emergency requires postponement. In such a case, baptism may be performed after one month but not later than two months.

 

(6) Baptismal Robe

In the primitive Church, a white robe was worn by the newly baptized for a certain period (at least one week usually) after the ceremony. As solemn baptisms usually took place on Saturday of Lights ܫܒܬܐ ܕܢܘܗܪܐ of the eves of Easter or Pentecost, the white garments became associated with those festivals. Thus, Shabtho d-haworé (ܫܒܬܐ ܕܚܘܪ̈ܐ) received its name from the custom of putting off at that time the baptismal robe which had been worn whole the week after Easter.  It is thought that the English name for Pentecost -- Whitsunday or Whitsuntide, also derived its appellation from the white garments of the newly baptized.

 

XVI. BAPTISM IN THE HOLY BIBLE

  • As administered by John. 
    Matthew 3:5-12 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

    John 3:23
     And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

    Acts 13:24 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

    Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
     

  • Sanctioned by Christ's submission to it. 
    Matthew 3:13-15 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

    Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
     

  • Adopted by Christ.
    John 3:22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

    John 4:1-2 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
     

  • Appointed an ordinance of the Christian church
    Matthew 28:19-20
     Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
     

  • To be administered in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 
    Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:

  • Water, the outward and visible sign in. 
    Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

    Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
     

  • Regeneration, the inward and spiritual grace of. 
    John 3:3
     Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

    John 3:5-6 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
     

  • Remission of sins, signified by. 
    Acts 2:38
     Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord
     

  • Unity of the Church effected by. 
    1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

    Galatians 3:27-28 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
     

  • Confession of sin necessary to. 
    Matthew 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
     

  • Repentance necessary to. 
    Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
     

  • Faith necessary to. 
    Acts 8:37
     And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
     

  • There is but one. 
    Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
     

  • ADMINISTERED TO

    • Individuals. 
      Acts 8:38
       And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

      Acts 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
       

    • Households. 
      Acts 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

      1 Corinthians 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
       

  • Emblematic of the influences of the Holy Spirit. 
    Matthew 3:11
     I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire:

    Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit;
     

  • Typified. 
    1 Corinthians 10:2
     And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

    1 Peter 3:20-21 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
     

  • Foretold. 
    Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
     

  • Is through Christ
    Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 
     

  • Christ administered. 
    Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

    John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
     

  • Promised to saints. 
    Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

    Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
     

  • All saints partake of. 
    1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 
     

  • Necessity for. 
    John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    Acts 19:2-6 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
     

  • Renews and cleanses the soul. 
    Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

    1 Peter 3:20-21 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
     

  • The Word of God instrumental to.

    Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

    Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
     

  • Typified. 
    Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.