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The Doctrine concerning


What is Baptism? -Who preached it first? - baptism administered by John the Baptist-his
converts-his mode of baptism-baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ-example set by Jesus Christ-
results of John’s baptism.
Values of the New Testament baptism eligibility for baptism-the reason why Apollos’
converts were rebaptized – who should administer baptism.
Conditions to be fulfilled for taking baptism-explanation of the term households-
circumcision and infant baptism-the parents’ covenant at infant baptism-origin of infant
baptism, extracts from Church History.
`Immersion’ explained-comments of certain Church historians.
A step to enter the kingdom of God-death to the nature of sin-a step to receive the Holy
Spirit-sanctification by the Word begins-overcoming life begins ensure physical
An exposition about the baptism that is to be administered in the name of the Father, the Son
and the Holy Ghost as commanded in Matthew 28:18-20-Contentions of those who baptize
in the name of `Jesus only’ proved wrong.


Christian denominations differ in the doctrine concerning Baptism. They dispute about the
mode of Baptism, the formula of Baptism, the purpose of Baptism etc. Many have not arrived at
the correct Baptism taught by the apostles of the first century and have therefore missed the real
blessings and power connected with Baptism. In this volume we not only deal with the mode
and formula of Baptism and the early forms of Baptism down the centuries but we also expound
clearly through the Word of God all the blessings and power which it holds for those who
sincerely want to live an overcoming life led by the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Jacob Ratnasingham.

Chapter 1

Let us consider in this chapter what baptism really is, who preached it first and its result.
What is ‘BAPTISM’?
The word ‘Baptism’ explains itself. ‘Baptism’ is not an English word; it is derived from
the Greek word ‘baptizo’ which means to dip something beneath the surface of water or any
liquid, and take it out again. We do not see any trace of baptism having been administered in the
Old Testament until the days of John the Baptist. It was not in the Mosaic law; nor was it taught
by the priests and the prophets. But we see a similarity. God had commanded Moses that the
bodies of the priests be washed with (not immersed in) water, and then be clothed and anointed
before they entered into the tabernacle for the service of the Lord (Exo.29:4-7). It is strongly
believed that due to this Old Testament ritual, baptism by immersion took a different turn after

the second century; instead of immersing the candidates in water, they began to sprinkle water
upon them.
Who preached ‘baptism’ first ?
The Bible says that “... John had first preached before his (Christ's) coming the baptism of
repentance to all the people of Israel” (Acts 13:24). John the Baptist claimed that he was directly
com- missioned by God to administer baptism (Jn.1:33).
John's Baptism
John the Baptist was only a forerunner of Christ to prepare a people for Christ; his main
ministry was to preach repentance, to baptize those who sincerely repented, confessing their
sins, and preach Christ to them as the One who would baptize them with the Holy Ghost and fire
(Matt. 3:6,11). He did not interfere with the activities of the temple or with the then existing
priesthood and their doctrines, but he stressed and warned the seriousness of sin and its wages.
He made it clear to his converts that his life was insignificant, and not worthy to be compared
with the greatness of Christ, and that his baptism covered only the one and the primary doctrine
of Christ, namely ‘repentance’ (Matt.3:11).
His converts
He never baptized children, nor did he baptize even adults if he discovered in them any
trace of inclination towards sin. When he saw the sophisticated Pharisees and Sadducees, who
had swerved from both God and His Word, he called them a ‘generation of vipers’, and
commanded them to “Bring forth ... fruits meet for repentance” (Matt.3:7,8). He never used
baptism as a means to extend his mission, or to increase the number of his followers; he did not
assure his converts that his baptism was a guarantee against hell, or against continued sinful life
His mode of ‘Baptism’
Those who advocate infant baptism hold a traditional view that John the Baptist did not
immerse people in water, but only sprinkled them, or poured water on their heads or on their
foreheads. Apart from its being unscriptural, and contrary to the very word ‘baptizo’, which
means ‘immerse under the surface of water’, it is clear as noonday that he did not sprinkle water
from a font or from a bowl. He baptized them in the river Jordan. He avoided shallow places
where immersion of the bodies would have been impossible and chose the deep places of the
river. “And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water
there: and they came, and were baptized” (Jn.3:23), we read.
The Baptism of Jesus Christ
Jesus needed no baptism, because He was sinless. He was the immaculate Son of God.
There was nothing He had to repent of. Why then did He take baptism? To quote His very
words, it was to ‘fulfil all righteousness’ (Matt.3:15).
Christ had to fulfil all the demands of the law in order to deliver us from the curse of the
law (Gal.4:4,5). Furthermore He had to carefully set an example for us, His followers, (that) we
might follow Him in the ‘new and living way, which He (had) consecrated for us’ (Heb.10:20).
He was able to say, ‘for their sakes I sanctify myself’ (Jn.17:19). On another occasion, He was
able to say, “... I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you”
(Jn.13:15). St. Peter says, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us,
leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found
in his mouth” (I Pet.2:21,22).
What is the example Jesus set us concerning baptism?
1. He responded to the call for adult baptism. Though He was circumcised, like any other
infant, according to the law of Moses, He was never baptized as infant.
2. His baptism was by immersion and not by sprinkling. “Jesus ... was baptized of John in
Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened” (Mk.1:9,10).
Had Jesus been sprinkled, and not immersed, as some assert, there would have been no need to
go in search of a river, nor would it have been necessary to get into the water.
From the example set by Jesus Christ, we learn that we should not encourage infant
baptism or baptism by sprinkling.
What results did the baptism of John bring?

1. It brought new and bitterly debated discrepancies between the teachings of John and
that of the Jewish religious teachers. They questioned his authority: “ ... Why baptizest thou
then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?” (Jn.1:25). They had no spiritual
vision neither could they understand the mind of God. They could not accept baptism as the
commandment of God. The Bible says that “... the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of
God against themselves, being not baptized of him” (Lk.7:30).
Even today, traditional churches which have been advocating infant baptism by sprinkling,
are so completely trapped in their own traditions that they find it difficult to humbly accept the
scriptural baptism by immersion in water. It takes a great deal of humility to admit the error, and
take a ‘second’ baptism.
2. It brought division among the local Jewish churches. It is evident that many would have
been excommunicated from the churches by the leaders who resisted John the Baptist, for we
read, ‘all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the
baptism of John’ (Lk.7:29).
It is obvious that even today, many who are convinced of the correct baptism do not
decide to obey God's Word for fear of their leaders. They seek the honour and justification that
come from their ministers rather than that which comes from God. Jesus said “How can ye
believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God
only?” (Jn.5:44). It is also a fact that many who took the correct baptism after coming to the
knowledge of the truth, were put out of their local churches.
It is always best to obey God's Word in the face of persecution, and to live with a pure
conscience, so that we may have God on our side, to justify us and fight for us.

Since the day of Pentecost, when the New Testament Church was born with the receiving
of the baptism in the Holy Ghost in the upper room, John's baptism has been replaced by the
New Testament baptism which came as a direct commandment from Jesus Christ. Apart from
repentance, which John the Baptist had preached, many more spiritual laws and blessings were
added, as revealed by the Holy Spirit to the holy apostles. Jesus Himself had said to the apostles:
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the
Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (Jn.16:12,13).
These values were not revealed to John the Baptist.
1. The New Testament baptism is a step to enter the (spiritual) kingdom of God.
“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” (Jn.3:5).
2. At water baptism we die to the nature of sin which is inherent in man.
“God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that
so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom.6:2,3).
3. It is a burial of the old man with his body of sin, and we share in Christ's death with the
hope of sharing in the life in His resurrection (which we receive at the baptism in the Holy
Ghost), in order to walk in ‘newness of life’.
“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. For if
we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in (the likeness of)
his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might
be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom.6:4-6).
4. It marks the beginning of a victorious life.
“How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of
us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. ‘For he that is dead is freed
from sin.’ ‘Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more

dominion over him’ (Rom.6:2,3,7,9).
5. It is called ‘salvation’, because we are not only dead to sin but are saved or delivered
from the inner rebellious nature of sin (Mk.16:16). This rebellious nature of sin which troubles
us is compared to the armies of Pharaoh, which pursued the children of Israel when they crossed
the Red Sea.
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were
under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud
and in the sea” (I Cor.10:1,2).
6. It is a preparatory step to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
“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 2:38).
In the incident mentioned in Acts 19:1-5, we see that the disciples at Ephesus received the
baptism in the Holy Spirit after they were rebaptized with the New Testament baptism.
7. It is an important step towards the literal resurrection or rapture of our body at the
Coming of the Lord.
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in (the
likeness of) his resurrection” (Rom.6:5).
The New Testament reveals that only born- again believers who had received a genuine
experience from God, of the assurance of the forgiveness of their sins, and of their hearts
cleansed by His precious blood, were baptized.
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mk.16:16).
“Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ ... ” (Acts 2:38).
“Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea ... And were baptized of him in Jordan,
confessing their sins” (Matt.3:5,6).
It is to be noted that believing, repenting and confessing of sins with a view to acquiring a
complete change or renewal of life, lead to the born-again experience.
There is an interesting passage in the book of Acts, where we observe that St. Paul
rebaptized some believers (or ‘disciples’ as they were called), who had already taken John's
(immersion) baptism. Let us quote the incident as recorded in the Word of God:
‘And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the
upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 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. And all the men were about twelve’ (Acts 19:1-7).
It is evident from the context that these were the converts of Apollos, of whom it is said
that he was “an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, ... instructed in the way of the Lord;
and being fervent in the Spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing
only the baptism of John” (Acts 18:24,25). He was not acquainted with the deeper truths
concerning water baptism, the Holy Spirit, nor with the further teachings of the New Testament
Church. When Aquilla and Priscilla, who had laboured together with St. Paul, saw Apollos
diligently teaching the things of the Lord, “... they took him unto them, and expounded unto him
the way of God more perfectly” (Acts 18:26).
Here is the reason why those twelve disciples were rebaptized. They had known only
John's baptism unto repentance. Apollos could not have taught them the deeper truths as he
himself needed to be taught the way of God more perfectly. It is, therefore, evident that they had
not known the newly-revealed New Testament truth concerning water baptism, the baptism in
the Holy Spirit and other doctrines of the New Testament Church. From the way St. Paul
approached them with the question, ‘Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?’ and

from their negative answer, which reveals their ignorance, we can infer that he proceeded to
clearly teach them that ‘John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance’ and that its validity
expired with the birth of the New Testament dispensation on the day of Pentecost; for on that
day, water baptism had many more divine truths added to it, one of which was that water
baptism was a preparatory step to receiving the Holy Spirit. The very fact that they received the
Holy Spirit immediately after the second baptism, confirms the truth that the New Testament
water baptism is a step towards receiving the Holy Spirit.
There are many evangelical churches all over the world today, that preach the truth in a
limited sense as Apollos did, not knowing ‘the way of the Lord more perfectly’ about the
baptism in the Holy Ghost. They teach their converts the baptism of repentance without showing
its relevance to a deeper life. They are ignorant that water baptism is a step to receiving the Holy
Spirit, as St. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). Some teach that one receives
the baptism in the Holy Spirit at conversion, or when one is born again. In all such cases, re-
baptism is vitally necessary if one is to experience the true values of the New Testament
baptism, especially the truth of the baptism in the Holy Ghost.
Can anyone who calls himself a minister of Christ, baptize?
It is a well known fact and commonly believed by most churches that the New Testament
Church was inaugurated on the day of Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus
had commanded His apostles “that they should not depart from Jerusalem, ... but wait for the
promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4,5). The Church was thereafter officiated by His Spirit-filled
ministers. St. Paul calls it ‘the ministration of the spirit’ (II Cor.3:8). And of the New Testament
ministers, he says that they are ‘able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter (law) but of
the spirit’ (II Cor.3:6). Of Jesus we read “... God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy
Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the
devil; for God was with him” (Acts10:38). There was a difference in the ministry of the apostles
before Pentecost, and afterwards. Before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was with them, but after
Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was IN them. Jesus told them that ‘he (the Holy Spirit) dwelleth with
you, and shall be in you’ (Jn.14:17).
The Old Testament priests were anointed with the holy oil before they entered the
tabernacle to minister unto the Lord (Exo.30:30). Similarly, New Testament ministers must be
anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power as were the apostles in the first century.
Apollos was serving the Lord in the same capacity as the apostles before Pentecost. The
Holy Ghost was with him but was not in him. That is another reason why St. Paul, who had a
Spirit-anointed ministry, rebaptized the converts of Apollos at Ephesus (Acts19:5). Water
baptism must therefore be administered only by the ministers of Christ who have received the
baptism in the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues (Acts2:4).

Chapter 3
There is not a single scripture portion in the whole of the New Testament in support of the
baptism of infants. This may surprise some; nevertheless it is true. Neither Jesus nor the apostles
advocated it. Some quote Matthew 19:13-15 as their authority for advocating infant baptism:
“Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and
pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not,
to come unto me : for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and
departed thence.”
The following facts stand out clearly from these verses: (1) They brought the children that
He might put His hands on them and pray, and not for Him to baptize them. (2) Jesus laid His
hands on them; He did not baptize them or sprinkle water on them. (3) Jesus made a remarkable
statement: ‘of such (children) is the kingdom of God’. This was to prove that infants are sinless
in the presence of God, and that they therefore have acceptance into His kingdom. Should

someone still contend that the laying on of His hands referred to the sprinkling of water on the
infants, the fact that Jesus said that ‘of such is the kingdom of heaven’ before He laid his hands
on them, proves that baptism was not necessary for them. Nor has it ever become necessary for
infants of any other generation.
A convert who desires baptism must satisfy at least three conditions. Firstly, he must
believe in Christ and His Gospel: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ...”
(Mk.16:16). Secondly, he must repent of his sins: “... Repent, and be baptized everyone of you
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins ...” (Acts2:38). Thirdly, he must confess his
sins: “And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matt.3:6).
Can infants satisfy these three conditions? Are they capable of using their mental or
spiritual faculties to believe in Christ and the Gospel, and grasp the truth of water baptism? Have
they grown out of their state of innocence to be able to discern through their conscience, right
and wrong, good and evil? Can they be convicted of sin, that they may repent? What have they
to confess, and how can they confess? Rather, are they not so innocent that they are worthy of
the blessing of the Lord, for Jesus said, ‘of such is the kingdom of heaven’? How then can the
baptism of infants be justified?
Some suggest that whole families or ‘households’ were baptized in the days of the
apostles, and to support their claim they refer to the households of Cornelius, Lydia, the Roman
jailor and the household of Stephanas. Let us examine these four cases carefully.
1. The household of Cornelius
It is evident that Cornelius was ‘one that feared God with all his house’ (Acts10:2). He
was instructed by an angel to call for St. Peter, the apostle, who would preach the word to him.
When St. Peter arrived he (Cornelius) said, “... Now therefore are we all here present before
God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God” (vs.33). Then St. Peter began to preach
the word and ‘... the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word’ (vs. 44). When it was
confirmed to St. Peter that they accepted the Gospel by the pouring out of the Holy Ghost upon
them, he commanded them to be baptized. It is clear that those who had assembled were capable
of hearing the Word of God. Not only did they hear, but they accepted the Word as the
commandment of God and were ready to obey it to such an extent that their hearts were
sufficiently sanctified to receive the Holy Ghost. It is possible that infants were present, but they
cannot have been included among those who heard the Word of God, and received the Holy
2. The household of Lydia.
Full details of Lydia's conversion and that of her household do not appear in the
Scriptures; but the preliminary work of grace, which necessarily precedes baptism, was evident
in her life, because, it is written: “whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things
which were spoken of Paul”. Furthermore she had a good conscience for we read that she was
“faithful to the Lord” (Acts16:14,15; I Tim.3:9). It goes without saying, therefore, that St. Paul
baptized her and those in her family who had had the same experience as she did. We know that
infants cannot have been included in the same group as those whose hearts the Lord had opened,
and who had listened attentively to the things which were spoken of St. Paul.
3. The household of the jailor of the city of Philippi
This Philippian Jailor was brought under deep conviction when he saw the miraculous
earthquake that shook the prison and freed Paul and Silas. Seeing that they had not fled, and
knowing that they were servants of God, he cried to them saying, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be
saved?’ (Acts16:26-31). A careful study of this account will reveal three identical experiences
that all his household shared together.
(i) All the members heard the message which Paul and Silas preached. “And they spake unto
him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house” (vs.32).
(ii) All his household were baptized. “(he) was baptized, he and all his, straight way” (vs.33).
(iii) All his household rejoiced and believed in God. “... and rejoiced, believing in God with
all his house” (vs.34).

Infants cannot hear the message of God, cannot understand the way of salvation and
cannot rejoice in God, due to spiritual immaturity.
4. The household of Stephanas
It is true that Paul made the statement “I baptized also the household of Stephanas” (I Cor.
1:16). Did he baptize infants too? Writing about the household of Stephanas in the same epistle
he says that “they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints” (I Cor.16:15). Can
infants minister to the saints?
There are some who seek their authority for infant baptism from Old Testament
circumcision. They say that infant baptism has precisely the same federal and initial character as
circumcision; they are of the opinion that circumcision ushered the children into the Jewish
church, and that in like manner, in the New Testament it is through infant baptism that children
are admitted into the New Testament Church. This seemingly logical statement has no scriptural
bearing whatever.
Mentioned below are a few reasons which show clearly that baptism does not take the
place of circumcision.
1. Circumcision was a national token of the covenant between God and Abraham,
concerning his generation (Gen.17:11-14), but baptism is not a mere token to show that a child
is born in a Christian family. In New Testament baptism, the covenant is made between God and
the individual believer (I Pet.3:21). Each one identifies himself with the death and burial of the
body of Christ, through baptism, to walk in ‘newness of life’ (Rom.6:3,4).
2. St. Paul compares circumcision to the conversion of a sinner, (and not to baptism, which
follows after the heart-circumcision or conversion) when he is born-again, putting away sin from
his heart, and from his body. ‘But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of
the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God’ (Rom.2:29).
“In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the
body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Col.2:11).
When interpreting the significance of circumcision, St. Paul uses such phrases as
‘circumcision of the heart’, ‘in the spirit’ ‘circumcision made without hands’, ‘putting off the
body of the sins of the flesh’. If circumcision bears a direct reference to infant baptism, the
question arises, do babies, at baptism, go through the spiritual experiences referred to by St. Paul
in these phrases?
3. Only male children were circumcised in the Old Testament; ‘Every man child among
you shall be circumcised’ (Gen.17:10). Why then are female infants baptized?
4. Christ was circumcised on the eighth day, as any other Jewish infant (Lk.2:21);
nevertheless He was baptized in water by immersion at the commencement of His ministry. If
circumcision had referred to baptism, there would have been no need for Christ and the apostles
to be baptized later.
5. If baptism was instituted in the place of circumcision, it can also be argued that the
Lord's Supper has taken the place of the Passover of which small children were allowed to
partake, in the Old Testament (Exo.12:4). Why then should we forbid those children who are old
enough to digest the food, from partaking of the Lord's Supper?
At infant baptism, parents make a covenant with the Church to get their children admitted
into it because they think that their infants will otherwise be outside the Church. They promise
that they will teach the child the Word of God, and train the child to walk in the footsteps of
Christ etc. Now it is obvious that parents have a tremendous responsibility to teach, train and
bring their children up in the way of the Lord; but nowhere in the Bible do we find that they are
required to make a covenant with the Lord at the infant's baptism. When children become adults,
the responsibility of the parents ceases, and God holds each one of these young adults personally
responsible for his or her salvation; the responsibility of taking the believer's baptism by
immersion in water then falls upon them.
MILLER - “Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, is the first of the Fathers who alludes to infant

baptism. He died about the year AD 200, so that his writings are placed towards the close of the
second century. The apostolical fathers never mention it. By this time, superstition, to a great
extent, had taken the place of faith, so that the reader must be prepared to hear some extravagant
notions advanced by some of the great doctors; yet many of them, we doubt not, were true
earnest Christians. ‘Christ came to save all persons by Himself,’says Irenaeus, ‘all I mean, who
by Him are regenerated - baptized - unto God: infants and little ones; children and youths, and
elder persons. Therefore he went through the several ages: for infants being made an infant,
sanctifying infants: to little ones he was made a little one, sanctifying those of that age: and also
giving to them an example of godliness, justice, and dutifulness: to youths he was a youth,’ etc.
Baptism was thus taught to be a complete illustration of the soul for all ages and conditions of
mankind. But the controversy soon resolved itself into the one question - infant or adult.
Regeneration, born-again, baptism, are used as interchangeable terms, and as meaning the same
thing, in the writing of the Fathers. Here we have the origin, so far as ecclesiastical antiquity
informs us, of infant baptism. The passage is somewhat obscure and extremely fanciful but it is
the first trace we have of the yet unsettled question, and probably the root of all its variations
ecclesiastically viewed. The effect of such teaching on superstitious minds was immense.
Anxious parents hastened to have their delicate infants baptized, lest they should die under the
curse of original sin, and the man of the world delayed his baptism until the near approach of
death to avoid any subsequent stain, and that he might emerge from the waters of regeneration to
the realms of pure and unmingled blessedness. The example and reputation of
Constantine led many thus to delay their baptism, though the clergy testified against the
(Miller's Church History - pages 219,220)
E.DE PRESSENSE - ‘In order to comprehend aright the ordinance of baptism as then
ministered, we must bear in mind the wide difference between the church of this epoch and that
of modern Christendom, the latter gathering its adherents almost everywhere by right of birth, so
that we are accustomed to designate as Christian people those who live within certain degrees of
latitude and longitude. Religious statistics thus become a matter of geography. Baptism is little
more than a semi-civil rite, distinctive rather of nationality than of faith. We hear even in these
days of baptised nations, and the Europe of the eighteenth century was called ‘Christian Europe.’
These anomalies arise from the fact that the baptism of infants, which was the exception in the
second century, has become the rule since the confusion of the Church with the Empire. It is
unquestionable that infant baptism is to be traced back as far as the period we are now
considering, (the end of the second century) though, as we have already shown, it is impossible
to prove its apostolic origin. In the second and third centuries we find it the practice of all the
Churches; the protests of Tertullian are alone sufficient evidence of this fact’.
(‘Christian Life & Practice in the Early Church’, pages 19,20).
TERTULLIAN - ‘It is well to delay the baptism, especially of young children. Let them
come to adult age; let them come when they can understand and know what they are about to do;
let them become Christians when they have become able to know Jesus Christ. Why press upon
this innocent age the forgiveness of sins? People act more prudently in the things of life. Why
should the heavenly treasures be committed to those who are not considered competent to hold
earthly goods?’
(‘Christian Life & Practice in the Early Church’ by E.De Pressense, pages 34,35).
WADDINGTON - ‘A great proportion of those baptized in the first ages were, of
course, adults, and since the Church was then scrupulous to admit none among its members,
except those whose sincere repentance gave promise of a holy life ... In after ages, by an error
common in the growth of superstition, the act which washed away the inherited corruption of
nature was supposed to secure a general impunity, even for unrepented offences. But this double
delusion gained very little ground during the first two centuries.’
(‘Waddington's History of the Church’, page 27).
W.JONES - ‘Whatever may be said respecting the mode by which baptism was
administered in the times of Christ and of His apostles, it is certain that there is neither precept
nor example in all the New Testament for applying it to infants. In the original institution of it as

an ordinance of the kingdom of Christ, baptism stands inseparably connected with the preaching
and believing of the gospel. ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;
He that believeth (the gospel) and is baptized shall be saved ... ’ (Mk.16:16). The practice of the
apostles was in all respects strictly comformable to the commission which was thus given them
by their Divine Master. They baptized none but such as were made disciples by their teaching.
On the day of Pentecost, St. Peter preached the gospel to the Jews, and they only ‘who gladly
received his word, were baptized’ (Acts 2:41). Philip preached the gospel to the Samaritans, and
‘when they believed ... the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ,
they were baptized, both men and women’, (Acts 8:12). The Ethiopian eunuch also was baptized
on a profession of his faith.’
(Jones’ Biblical Cyclopaedia’, page 114).
WHITELY STOKES, LL.D. - ‘I suggest that the source of Christian infant baptism is
to be found in folk-lore, and that this kind of baptism was originally a pagan rite of purification,
which at first perhaps, included the mother as well as the child’
(The Academy, Vol. XLIX).

Chapter 4
It has to be admitted that the word baptism is derived from the Greek word ‘baptizo’
which means ‘to dip’ or ‘to immerse’.
As we have already seen elsewhere, John the Baptist immersed the bodies of his converts
in water; he chose a place where there was ‘much water’ because ‘much water’ was necessary to
carry out his mission of baptism by immersion.
Jesus was also baptized (immersed) by John in Jordan. It is obvious that He went into
Jordan and came out of the water after having been baptized (Mk.1:9,10).
St. Paul teaches that baptism is a burial in water where ‘we are buried with him by baptism
into death’ (Rom.6:4). If dropping a handful of earth over a dead body cannot be called a burial,
neither can sprinkling a few drops of water upon a person constitute baptism.
JOHN WESLEY - commenting on Romans 6:4, confirms that St. Paul refers to ‘the
ancient manner of baptizing by immersion’
(Methodist Commentary).
CALVIN - ‘... the very term ‘baptize’ means to immerse entirely, and it is certain that the
custom of their entirely immersing was anciently observed in the church’
(‘Institutes of the Christian Religion’, Vol. IV, page 344).
ADDIS AND ARNOLD - in their Catholic dictionary, state ‘In apostolic times the body
of the baptized person was immersed, for St. Paul looks on this immersion as typifying burial
with Christ, and speaks of baptism as a bath. Immersion still prevails among the Copts and
Estorians, and from many ages baptism was so given among the Latins also, for even St.
Thomas in the 13th century (not the apostle of the 1st century) speaks of baptism by immersion
as the common practice of his time.’
LUTHER - ‘Baptism is a Greek word’, says Luther, ‘and in Latin it may be rendered
mersio, immersion; ... and though among the greater part of us this practice has fallen into
disuse, nevertheless, they that are baptized ought to be entirely immersed, and forthwith lifted
out of the water, and this the etymology of the word indicates, as also in the German language.’
(‘Miller's Church History’, page 219).
NEANDER - ‘Baptism was originally administered by immersion; and many of the
comparisons of Paul allude to this form of its administration. The immersion is a symbol of
death, of being buried with Christ; the coming forth from the water is a symbol of resurrection
with Christ; and both taken together, represent the second birth, the death of the old man, and a
resurrection to a new life’.
(‘Miller's Church History’, page 219).

W.JONES - ‘Baptism, in the apostolic age, was performed by immersion ... Had a small
quantity of water been sufficient, the inspired historian would never have said, that John
baptized in the river Jordan, and in Aenon because there was much water there. The
administrators and the subject of baptism are always described as descending into the water, and
again ascending out of it. When St.Paul affirms that we are buried with Christ in baptism and
raised again, he not only alludes to immersion, but, upon any other supposition there would be
no propriety in the metaphor which he employs’. (Jones’ Biblical Cyclopaedia page 114).
E. DE PRESSENSE - ‘The word baptism itself, which signifies dipping, points to the
immersion of the neophyte. The sacrament is sometimes called simply the water, or the
‘washing’ or the ‘fountain’. These expressions have a mystical sense beyond their natural
meaning. The Apostle Paul speaks of the ‘washing of the regeneration’, and there are other
similar expressions in Holy Writ’.
(‘Christian Life and Practice in the Early Church’, page 22).
JUSTIN MARTYR - ‘Those who are fully persua- ded that what we have taught them is
in accordance with the truth, and who have devoted themselves to a Christian life, are invited to
seek of God, with fasting and prayer, the pardon of the sins they have committed and we also
fast and pray with them. We then lead them to a place where we find water, and they receive
their regeneration as we received ours; for they are plunged into the water ...’
(‘Christian Life and Practice in the Early Church’, page 23).

Chapter 5
It is professed by most of those who advocate baptism by immersion that such a baptism is
only an act of obedience, and an outward sign of the inward change which a believer is already
enjoying in his heart through his faith in Christ. This is not altogether true. Admittedly a born-
again believer is really happy over his new experiences. Nevertheless, baptism, apart from being
an act and sign of obedience to the commandment of our Master, brings new blessings, and it
prepares us for higher experiences and a deeper life.
Listed below are the benefits of the New Testament baptism.
Water baptism, referred to by Christ as a ‘birth’, is an essential step to enter the Kingdom
of God.
“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” (Jn.3:5).
Though a man may be born again, he is not yet delivered from the nature of sin, the inbred
Adamic nature of disobedience and rebellion, of which David says, ‘Behold, I was shapen in
iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me’ (Psa.51:5). St.Paul says, ‘By one man's
(Adam's) disobedience many were made sinners’ (Rom.5:19). This scripture has a direct
reference to the nature of sin in every man.
St. Paul, to whom God revealed the deeper truth of baptism, refers the crossing of the Red
Sea by the children of Israel to baptism. It thrills one to see the depth of revelation hidden in it.
over, brethren,’ says St. Paul, ‘I would not that ye be ignorant, how that all our fathers were
under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud
and in the sea’ (I Cor.10:1,2).
The children of Israel were already delivered from Egypt through the blood of the pascal
lamb (Exo.12:27); but they needed another deliverance from the pursuing armies of Pharaoh
God performed a tremendous miracle that night when the pascal lamb was slain, in order
to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt; but then He had to perform another equally
tremendous miracle to deliver them, not from Egypt this time, but from the pursuing Egyptians.

Moses said ”Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you
today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today ye shall see them again no more for ever”
(Exo.14:13). God promised them the second salvation, which took place at the Red Sea, which
brought total destruction to the Egyptians and total deliverance to the children of Israel.
Similarly, a born-again believer, is certainly already enjoying deliverance from his
spiritual Egypt, or from the dominion of sin by virtue of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb
which was slain on Calvary; but at water baptism he enjoys another miraculous salvation, which
is deliverance from the nature of sin. This has been warring within him, and is a direct parallel to
the pursuing armies of Egypt. So there is another salvation to be experienced in baptism. That is
why Jesus said ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved’ (Mk. 16:16).
St.Peter brings another analogy, when he reveals the secret of (another) salvation in water
baptism. He compares water baptism to the flood in the days of Noah, when eight souls were
The flood, which was sent by God to destroy the sinners of Noah's generation, was the
same flood in which God saved and preserved Noah and his family. Similarly, St. Peter affirms
that ‘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’ (I Pet.3:21).
The removal of the nature of sin, as explained is necessary for receiving the Holy Spirit.
The reason is clear. The Holy Spirit comes not only to dwell in us, but also to lead us into all
truth, to sanctify us wholly, to teach us to do the whole will of God, and thus to discipline us
(Jn.16:13; Rom. 8:13,14; I Pet.1:2). The Holy Spirit cannot do these works of sanctification
where there is rebellion and disobedience. Either the nature of sin must reign, or the Holy Spirit
must reign. At water baptism, having been delivered from the nature of sin, the baptized
candidate is prepared - body, soul and spirit, to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, and walk in
newness of life, being led by the Holy Spirit. That is why St. Peter said, ‘Repent and be baptized
... and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost’ (Acts 2:38).
The Adamic nature of disobedience and rebellion in man is opposed to the will of God.
Here is St. Paul's own confession, about the rebellion of the nature of sin against the will of God:
“For I delight in the law of God (the will of God) after the inward man; But I see another law in
my members, warring against the law of my mind, (which delights to obey the law of God) and
bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom.7:22,23). Though St.
Paul delighted in the law of God, or in the Word of God, the Adamic nature of sin revolted
against his inner desires and brought defeat into his life.
By one act of obedience in baptism, according to the commandment of God we revoke the
act of disobedience committed in the garden of Eden by the first man, Adam, for it was through
him that we inherited the Adamic nature of disobedience; and at the same time, through the
same baptism in which we share Christ's death, we also partake of Christ's will, which did the
whole will of God. St. Paul therefore says, ‘by the which will (which did the whole will of God)
we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Heb.10:10). The
will of Christ (His absolute obedience to God's will when He said ‘Lo, I come to do thy will, O
Lord') became our nature at water baptism. After water baptism one discovers a new grace to
delight in the Word of God which reveals His will. Thereafter, the Word of God begins to
sanctify us.
Though we are delivered from the dominion of sin at repentance, and from the rebellious
nature of sin at water baptism, yet it is not a victorious life; baptism does no more than bring us
to a place where the victorious life is wholly possible, through the power of the Holy Ghost. God
was not satisfied that the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt and from the pursuing
army; His greatest concern was to change these bondmen into a mighty army; He purposed to do
this by trying them gradually in the wilderness, so that they might be able to fight all the nations

of Canaan, overcome them and possess the land. Through the anointing of the Holy Spirit
whereby the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, we overcome all manner of trials and
temptations, and become ‘more than conquerors through him that loved us’ (Rom.8:37).
“If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in (the
likeness of) his resurrection” (Rom.6:5). The words ‘in the likeness’ are not found in the original
Greek manuscript, which confirms that baptism is accepted by God in lieu of our real burial; by
this step our present body, sealed by the Holy Ghost, is earmarked for its literal resurrection at
the second coming of Christ.

Chapter 6
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and
in earth. 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 alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”
Of late, certain Christian sects have changed the formula of baptism which Jesus had set
forth in the Church as seen above, and have started rebaptizing ignorant believers ‘in the name
of Jesus' only, contending that all baptisms recorded in the book of Acts were in Jesus’ name
The following are the main points of their contention:
CONTENTION NO.1: The formula of baptism in Matthew 28:19 (baptism in the name of the
Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost) is not confirmed by any other New Testament
texts and should therefore be rejected.
Those who seek to establish this contention, quote Deuteronomy 19:15: “One witness shall
not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin”, and Matthew 18:16: “... at the mouth
of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established”. They
overlook the fact that the precept ‘at the mouth of three witnesses shall the matter be established’
is intended for the settlement of human disputes only. In God's eyes, ‘every word of God is pure’
(Prov.30:5); ‘God ... cannot lie’ (Tit.1:2); ‘All scripture ... is profitable for doctrine’
(II Tim.3:16). So we should not conclude that the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 mean
nothing, just because they were mentioned only once in the Scriptures. It is evident that all
available ancient Greek texts, approved by scholars, contain Matthew 28:19, in its present
familiar form.
There are many important incidents, parables and doctrines which are mentioned only
once in the Bible, but we accept them all as the Word of God. Incidents such as the marriage in
Cana of Galilee (Jn.2:1-11) and the conversion of the Samaritan woman (Jn.4:1-29); parables
such as that of the tares and the wheat (Matt.13:24-30) and that of the ‘prodigal son’ (Lk.15:11-
32); teachings such as that concerning those perfected in Christ being caught up to meet the Lord
in the air (I Thess.4:17) and that concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. ch.12), and many
other valuable passages, are mentioned only once in the Bible. Are we to reject them as spurious
just because they are not confirmed in other books of the Bible?
CONTENTION NO.2: The practice of the early Church, since Pentecost, was to baptize in the
name of Jesus only. (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 9:15; 10:48).
In His final words to the apostles, Jesus Christ commanded them clearly that they should
‘go ... and teach ... baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy
Ghost.’ He also added, ‘teach(ing) them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
you.’ He never said that such a commission was to cease at Pentecost; instead we read that “they
went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word
with signs following. Amen” (Mk.16:20). If a change in the formula of baptism was to take

place after a set time, He would have told the apostles of such a change, either through a
revelation, or by a vision, or through a dream, or through the ministry of an angel. Do we find
information of any such event in Scripture, authorising them to break away from the original
commission of Jesus to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost? No, we do not. It is therefore absurd to imagine that His disciples have changed the
formula of baptism after His ascension. On the contrary, the apostles had learnt, by experience,
the importance of obeying the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ to the very letter,
because they had heard Him often speak as follows: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings
of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock”
(Matt.7:24); “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall
know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or, whether I speak of myself” (Jn.7: 16,17). We are,
therefore, persuaded that the apostles carried out the commandments of Jesus Christ to the letter,
baptizing their converts in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
We do not deny that Jesus clearly taught the disciples that they must pray in His name (Jn.
14:13), preach repentance and remission of sins in His name (Lk.24:47), and heal and cast out
devils in His name (Mk.16:17,18). However, when He gave them the commandment to baptize
their converts, He clearly and specifically told them to baptize new believers ‘in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’. There must have been some divine reason for
giving them so specific a formula such as this concerning baptism alone. Did the disciples
disobey His commandment? Certainly not. The phrase ‘in the name of Jesus’, when carefully
studied, relates to the whole ministry which they performed in order to bring the converts to
repentance before those converts became ready to be baptized in water in the name of the Father,
and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Let us bear in mind that Jesus Himself said that
‘repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning
at Jerusalem’ (Lk.24:47). The emphasis is not on baptizing in His name, but on preaching
remission of sins and repentance in His name.
The apostles laid greater emphasis on the sound teachings which made the New Testament
baptism a blessing to the believers, than on the formula of the baptism. This can be clearly seen
in the book of Acts. In the seven cases of baptism recorded, no formula is mentioned; but in
every case, Christ was preached clearly (See Acts 8:35,36; 9:17,18; 10:47; 16:15; 16:32,33;
18:8; 22:14-16).
Let us consider the incident recorded in Acts 19:1-7. When the disciples at Ephesus stated,
“We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost”, St. Paul's immediate
response was, “Unto what then were ye baptized?” What he had in mind in asking this was that
if those disciples had received the New Testament baptism, they would have naturally heard of
the Holy Spirit, as the baptism would have been administered in the name of the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit. From this it is evident that the formula of the New Testament baptism
includes the name of the Holy Spirit.
CONTENTION NO.3: ‘Jesus’ is the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, because
the words Father, Son and Holy Ghost are not names but titles. Thus they conclude that the
Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are not three Persons, but One, Who is Jesus. In other
words they deny the Trinity.
(i) If we conclude that ‘Jesus’ is the one name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, it
confirms the spurious teaching that the ‘Father’, the ‘Son’ and the ‘Holy Ghost’ are one and the
same Person. But are they? The separation of the words “the name of the Father” and ‘of the
Son’ and ‘of the Holy Ghost’ by the conjunction ‘and’ proves that they are three separate
persons. Jesus Himself taught that the Father had His own name. ‘I am come in my Father's
name’ (Jn.5:43). “And now, O Father, I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou
gavest me” (Jn.17:5,6). In these scriptures we can see at first glance that the Son and the Father
are two different persons; otherwise these words have no meaning. Secondly, Jesus states: ‘I
have manifested thy (the Father's) name’ (Jn.17:6). This implies that the word ‘father’ is just not
a title but is also a name, seeing that Christ revealed the Father as ‘father’ both in name and
character. There are many earthly fathers; therefore each human father must have his own

personal name; but we have only“ one God and Father of all, who is above all” (Eph.4:6). The
same principle applies to the Holy Ghost as well.
(ii) The ‘Lord Jesus’ is only the earthly name of the Son of God. The ‘Lord Jesus’ means
‘the Saviour’, “for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt.1:21). It is in that sense that it
is written: “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be
saved” (Acts 4:12). These two scriptures alone are enough to prove that ‘The Lord Jesus’ is an
earthly name and that He is the only Saviour on earth or ‘under the sun’. That is why He was
called ‘The Lord Jesus’ of Nazareth. Secondly, it is stated in the Word of God that He has
received ‘a new name’, ‘a more excellent name’ and ‘a name which is above every name’ in
heaven, because ‘The Lord Jesus’, the earthly name was meant for the earthly ministry only
(Rev.3:12; Heb.1:4 and Phil.2:9). Therefore the name ‘The Lord Jesus’ cannot be applied to the
Father or the Holy Ghost.
(iii) The word ‘The Lord Jesus’ was never attributed to Christ before His physical birth.
Before His incarnation, He was known as ‘The Word’ or as ‘The Son’ (Jn.1:1; Psa.2:12) or by
other names. How then could ‘The Lord Jesus’ be the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy
(iv) We do not find a single scripture in the Holy Bible which says that ‘The Lord Jesus’
was the all-inclusive name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. On the contrary,
there is abundant evidence that the apostles spoke of them separately, and were careful to apply
the name ‘The Lord Jesus’ only to Christ, the second Person of the Trinity. ‘Grace be unto you,
and peace from God our Father, and from ‘The Lord Jesus’ (I Cor.1:3). ‘Paul an apostle, (not of
men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead)’
(Gal.1:1). St. Peter says ‘Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God,
and of ‘The Lord Jesus’ our Lord’ (II Pet.1:2).
CONTENTION NO.4: The baptism in the New Testament corresponds to the ‘circumcision’ of
the Old Testament; and that a ‘Christian’ who has not been baptized with the correct formula
has not therefore been ‘circumcised’ spiritually.
‘Baptism’ is nowhere referred to as ‘circumcision’; it is very often spoken of as ‘death and
burial’ (Rom.6:4; Col.2:12). Before the ‘burial’ (or the baptism) the ‘old man’ must be crucified
and be made ready for the burial (Rom.6:6). Clearly, the crucifixion of the old man points to
repentance and the putting away of sin, before the believer in Christ is ‘buried’ in water baptism.
The same idea is conveyed in Colossians 2:11,12, where St. Paul speaks of ‘circumcision’ as
‘putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ’; this constitutes
repentance and confession of sins with a view to forsaking them once and for all. After this, one
is ‘buried with him in baptism’. Therefore we may rightly conclude that ‘circumcision’ has
nothing to do with water baptism.
New Testament baptism, unlike John's baptism, was a step intended to prepare the hearts
of believers to receive the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit through the experience called “the
baptism in the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). When Jesus spoke of the baptism in the Holy Spirit He
also said that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - all three - would come and abide within
those who received this baptism. Let us read it in His words: “And I will pray the Father, and he
shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you forever ... At that day, (when the
Comforter comes to abide) ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me and I in you”
(Jn.14:16,20). And He continued to say in verse 23, ‘ ... we will come unto him and make our
abode with him’.
We see the presence of the Father and the Holy Spirit when Jesus took baptism. The
Father witnessed the baptism of Jesus Christ, saying: ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am
well pleased’, whilst the Holy Spirit descended ‘like a dove, lighting upon him’ (Matt.3:16,17).
That is why the New Testament baptism must be administered in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to perceive the subtlety of this doctrine. By insisting on baptizing ‘in Jesus’
name’ only, they have little by little stepped into the territory of the heresy of denying the

Trinity. Some of them have gone so far as to say that Jesus is the Father, the Son and the Holy
Spirit, and that they are one and the same Person, and not three. St. John says “He that abideth in
the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and
bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that
biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (II Jn.9-11). Again he says, “He is
antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (I Jn.2:22).
If one hunts for the word ‘Trinity’ in the Bible, one will search in vain, for it is not to be
found there any more than the word ‘Rapture’ is to be found there; but numerous are the
scriptures which clearly reveal that God is three distinct Persons, namely the Father, the Son and
the Holy Spirit. Given below are a few clear verses.
“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized,
and praying, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Ghost descended, in a bodily shape like a
dove, upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I
am well pleased” (Lk.3:21,22). Here, one sees distinctly the presence of Christ on the earth, the
presence of the Father in heaven testifying about His Son, and the presence of the Holy Spirit
descending from heaven. They are seen as three Persons in three different places.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter” (Jn.14:16).
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not
away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you” (Jn.16:7).
The following points are crystal clear in the above two scripture portions:
1. Jesus prays to the Father.
2. The Father answers the prayer.
3. The Holy Ghost is called ‘another Comforter’, which suggests that Jesus Christ is the first
4. Christ and the Holy Spirit exchange places. Christ goes to the Father in heaven to send
down the Holy Spirit.
Does Jesus play with words? After saying ‘I tell you the truth’, did He deceive the
disciples by showing three Persons in the Godhead, when He Himself was all three Persons all
the time?
Let us now consult Church History and see what historians have to say.
The following are some extracts from Church History which show that the primitive
Church baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
JUSTIN MARTYR (2nd century) - ‘Those who are fully persuaded what we have taught
them is in accordance with the truth, and who have devoted themselves to a Christian life, are
invited to seek of God, with fasting and prayer, the pardon of the sins they have committed and
we also fast and pray with them. We then lead them to a place where we find water, and they
receive their regene- ration as we received ours; for they are plunged into the water in the name
of God the Father and Sovereign of all things which exist, of Jesus Christ our Saviour, and of
the Holy Ghost’.
(Christian Life and Practice in the Early Church’, E.De.Pressense, page 23).
WADDINGTON - ‘The ceremony of immersion (the oldest form of baptism) was
performed in the name of the three persons of the Trinity’.
(‘Waddington's History of the Church’, page 27).
E. DE PRESSENCE - ‘Immersion, and the benediction in the name of the Father, Son
and Spirit seem to have been the sole rites of baptism at this period (the first two centuries). It
still retained its primitive character.’
(‘Christian Life and Practice in the Early Church’ by E.De Pressense, page 25).
MATTHEW HENRY'S COMMENTARY - ‘... This baptism must be administered in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. That is, 1. By authority from
heaven and not of man; for his ministers act by authority from the three persons in the Godhead.
2. Calling upon the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Every thing is sanctified by
prayer and particularly the waters of baptism. But3.It is into the name of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; this was intended as the summary of the first principles of

the Christian religion. By our being baptized, we solemnly profess, (1) Our assent to the
scripture-revelation concerning God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; (2) Our consent to
a covenant-relation to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.’
(Comment on Matthew 28:19)

Chapter 7
St. Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto
salvation” (Rom.1:16). One of the signs of the last days is that people will have a form of
godliness but deny the power of it (II Tim.3:5). Jesus told the Sadducees that they erred, not
knowing the Scriptures and the power of God (Matt.22:29).
In taking baptism we might have obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine delivered
unto us (Rom.6:17). However, we still need to discover the power in the doctrine through a daily
exercise in the word of righteousness (Heb.5:13).
Sinners and people who are not baptized carry about with them a body called the body of
sin (Rom.6:6). St. Paul calls this body also a “body of ... death” (Rom.7:24). He explains that in
such a body the motions of sin are at work in its members as a law warring against the law of
God, bringing man into captivity to the law of sin and death (Rom.7:5,22,23). Such a man serves
sin, yielding his body and its members for uncleanness and wicked works bringing forth fruit
unto death. He also becomes an enemy to God in his mind through these wicked works
(Col.1:21). When such a sinner really repents and confesses his sins to God, his sins are forgiven
and washed away and the old man who once fulfilled the desires of the flesh and mind in the
body is crucified with Christ.
In baptism by being buried into the death of Christ, we die to sin (the nature of sin) and we
are thus freed from the power of it (Rom.6:2,3,7). Thereafter as long as we reckon ourselves
dead to sin (Rom.6:11) this nature stays condemned in the flesh (Rom.8:3). On one hand we are
thus dead with Him and on the other hand we are alive with Him unto righteousness with a new
will and a new body. Jesus said, “A body hast thou prepared me ... Lo, I come to do thy will, O
God” (Heb.10:5,7).
In such a body we must not once again be conformed to the world yielding our members
unto unrighteousness. Instead we must consecrate our body to God daily as those that are alive
from the dead that He may renew our mind through the word to know His perfect will. We must
yield our members continually to the Holy Spirit as instruments of righteousness (Rom.6:13).
When we practise this, just as we are baptized (immersed) into Christ's death so that everything
that belongs to the old man and the body of sin might pass away we can be baptized (immersed)
in the Holy Spirit and His power so that everything may become new and we become new
creatures in Him (II Cor.5:17). Sin, sickness or death cannot have dominion over the body of
such a person. On the contrary, God re-creates every member of the body into a weapon or
instrument of warfare, empowered with the power of resurrection to live resisting sin, sickness,
death and the devil continually. This is how St. Paul could say, “so fight I, not as one that
beateth the air, But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (I Cor.9:26,27).
A person who striveth for masteries is not crowned except he strive lawfully (II Tim.2:5).
Let us therefore continue in this exercise in godliness and go on to perfection being changed
from glory to glory and going from victory to victory.