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Cape Coral Church of Christ
   
Is baptism only by immersion?

Why do churches of Christ baptize by immersion only?
 
The short answer is that there is no other way to baptize. "Baptize" and its cognates came into our language from the Greek language of the New Testament. Instead of translating the word, it was anglicized ("to adapt a foreign word to English usage"). Unfortunately, during the early days of translating the Bible into English, not everyone shared the same idea of what baptism was. Some thought of it as "sprinkling" or "effusion" (pouring). Others believed it meant "immersion."
 
A careful study of the subject will show that both its meaning in Greek and its usage in the New Testament demands that baptism be understood as immersion only. Notice these meanings: "to dip, to immerse, to submerge (as vessels sunk)" -- Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by J.H. Thayer; "dip, immerse, plunge, sink, drench, overwhelm" -- A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature by W.F. Arndt and F.W. Gingrich; "to dip in or under, immerse" -- Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Gerhard Kittel; "from the Greek baptizein: to dip" -- Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. From the New Testament, one sees Jesus "coming up out of the water" (Mark 1:10), John was baptizing where there was "much water" (John 3:23); Philip took the Ethiopian "down into" the water and "up out of" the water (Acts 8:38-39); and Paul said baptism was being "buried" with Christ (Rom. 6:4). Practices which are different from the true meaning of the word and different from the New Testament examples are not baptism.
S.T.E.



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