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By Curtis Pugh

Baptism is important! Jesus thought so: He walked some sixty-odd miles from Galilee down to the Jordan River where God's man, John the Baptist, was baptizing in order to be baptized. When John objected knowing that Jesus was greater than himself, Jesus said, “Suffer [allow] it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness,” (Matthew 3:15). Baptism, then, is a righteous act of obedience.

There are four things we know from the Bible about all those who performed valid baptisms. Consider first of all that every person who baptized in the Bible were men. Neither women nor children administered the ordinance.

The second thing we know about valid baptism in the Bible is that all those men who baptized had been baptized: that is dipped or plunged into a body of water. The Greek words used of “baptize” and “baptism” both mean to dip or plunge. Never is any other meaning attached to the ordinance.

The third thing we know about valid baptism in the Bible is that all those baptized men who administered baptism were ordained men. That is, they were recognized by a congregation as being called of God to teach the Word and so were authorized by their congregation to do so. None were ordained by a so-called bishop, or an association or a convention or a denomination or a college or seminary. This is not the way men are sent out by the Holy Ghost. Acts 13:1-4 gives us the proper pattern: “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost...” The Holy Spirit calls and a congregation recognizes that call and authorizes them to do the work. Free-lancers and self-appointed preachers are not found in the New Testament.

The fourth thing we know about those baptized ordained men is that they were members in good standing of a previously existing New Testament kind of congregation. Congregation is the meaning of the Greek word ecclesia which is often translated as the misleading word church. This means that they were subject to the discipline of that congregation as Paul wrote: “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without [outside the church membership]? do not ye judge them that are within [the membership]? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person,” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). Baptism then is a church ordinance undeniably connected with a previously existing congregation through their authorized administrator. Does your baptism measure up to biblical baptisms?

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

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