REV. W. A. McKAY, B.A.,

Pastor of Chalmer’s Church, Woodstock , Ont.







Edited and abridged






To the great disappointment of many, I will not be including the author’s later argument on infant baptism. The task of re-typing the book, and making it a length that on-line readers will examine, compels me to abridge certain portions more than others. I will emphasize many statements of importance in bold type that I feel are relevant or of interest to the reader. There may be repetitious arguments that are found in other posted works on this site, but there is much that is new, or at least fresh in perspective that may stimulate further conversation on the topic. Especially interesting are the unanswered challenges that the author sets forth. I can only wonder in our modern day of immersionism dominance, if anyone could do anything more than evade or avoid the significant arguments of this writer.



 This photo above (a plate drawing in the original work) is from the center-piece of the dome of the baptistery at Ravenna, which was built and decorated A.D. 454.

John the Baptist is standing on the brink of the Jordan, holding a vessel from which he pours on the head of the Savior, who is standing in the water. Over His head is the descending dove, a symbol of the Holy Ghost. The mythical figure beside the Savior represents, according to the custom of the ancients, the river Jordan. The Catacombs near Rome, which were the hiding place of Christians during the early persecutions, contain many representations of our Lord’s baptism similar to the above. Rev. W. H. Withrow, in his recent and excellent work on the Catacombs, gives a number of these figures, and on page 535 he says: “The testimony of the Catacombs respecting the mode of baptism, as far as it extends, is strongly in favor of aspersion or effusion. All their pictured representations of the rite indicate this mode, for which alone the early font seem adapted; nor is there any early art evidence of baptismal immersion.” No Picture in the world older than the sixteenth century represents our Lord being baptized by “dipping.”



The sale of two editions—consisting of four thousand copies—of this little volume, within one year, is sufficient proof that there is a call for a work on Baptism, which would not be apologetic in its tone, or merely defensive in its matter, bur which would faithfully and fearlessly exhibit the Romish origin, the unscriptural character, and dangerous tendency of the views held by the Immersionists on this subject. I am no lover of controversy, yet I dare not give way to that spirit of modern liberalism which sacrifices the truth of God to the courtesies of religious discourse. Liberality to error is treason to the truth. It is possible to be so much opposed to controversy as to have no controversy with sin or Satan. The error in which we contend is a dangerous one. It dilutes the pure milk of God’s Word with “much water”; it, not unfrequently, puts the river or the tank in place of the cross; and it compels multitudes of its adherents to separate themselves from the great Church of God , and to stigmatize their fellow-Christians as “Communion-Table liars.” The ancient fathers, the noble martyrs, the great reformers—devoted and Christ-like men such as Knox, Wesley, Bickerseth, Edwards—were, according to the Immersion theory, never part of the Church of Christ on earth, and they never partook of the Lord’s Supper without profaning it.

Plunging into water for baptism originated in the disposition, too manifest in every age of the Church, to magnify the external and ritualistic at the expense of the real and spiritual. The same parties who vitiated and prostituted the Lord’s symbolic Supper into a physical sacrifice—Transubstantiation—prostituted the ordinance of Baptism from a symbolic cleansing by sprinkling to a water-dipping; as its early advocates were wont to term it, a “soaking out of sin,” and a “soaking in of grace.”

This work has been again enlarged and revised. It has been written, not to wound feelings, or to stir up strife, but to save those who are willing to read and think on this subject from being drawn into the toils of error; and it is sent forth with the prayer that the blessing of the God of Truth may attend it.


                                                                                                   W. A. M.

Woodstock , ONT., July, 1881.













We are deeply impressed with the fact that the ordinance of Christian baptism in its nature, mode, and subjects does not receive the attention it should in our pulpits, especially in view of another fact, that our people are being constantly assailed as to the Scriptural warrant of our practice. This lack in the pulpit is, we fear, is imperfectly substituted by Bible-class, Sunday school, or home instruction.

Our ministers and teachers are so fully occupied in teaching the doctrine of salvation and enforcing the supreme claims of the Lord Jesus, that whatever savors of controversy is ruled out. While the Lord’s Supper and baptism are taught on some level in all churches, the sacraments lie at the very foundation of all satisfactory experience and correct Christian conduct; and the want of clear, distinctive teaching on baptism, and the vital truths it symbolizes, is rapidly producing a deplorable ignorance of the use and benefits of this ordinance, and an alarming and culpable neglect of covenant duties and blessings. 

It is sometimes asked, “Why dispute as to the mode of baptism? What difference does it make whether the element be applied to the person, or the person is applied to the element?” They who thus speak cannot have given much consideration to the matter. First, this subject possesses an incidental importance. Let me illustrate. At present no set of Christians seem to attach very much importance to the mode or posture of the body in the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Some partake of that ordinance sitting, some standing, and some kneeling, and no one, on this account, charges another with impropriety. But supposing a denomination should arise who would adopt (as it was done at the Lord’s Supper in Scripture), reclining as their posture, and who would declare that this being the original mode of observance, no other mode or posture would be valid participation in the Lord’s Supper, and anyone else who did not do so reclining did not really observe the ordinance at all, but that they mocked the Almighty and were guilty of a great sin. And supposing this denomination should acquire considerable strength, and manifest an extraordinary zeal in seeking to lure the young and uninstructed of other churches within its own folds, would it not then be the bounden duty of every intelligent Christian, especially ever religious instructor, to contend earnestly for Christian liberty on this matter, by upholding the truth, as well as exposing the errors of these zealots, and warning others of their proselytizing efforts?

Now, if this language be transferred from the mode in the observance of the Lord’s Supper to the mode in the observance of baptism, we have before us a description of the Baptist denomination, the only difference being that, while “reclining” was undoubtedly the original mode in which the Supper was observed, immersion was just as undoubtedly NOT the original mode of baptism. Baptists have made immersion the corner-stone of their denominational structure. According to their theory, there is, outside of their own circle, no baptism, no Lord’s Supper, no Christian ministry, no Christian church—and of course, no Christian man. Here is how some of their teachers write: “Christian baptism is immersion of a believer in water, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost—nothing else is. Baptist churches are the only Christian churches in existence. Pedobaptists have no right to the Lord’s Supper. Whenever they partake of the Lord’s Supper they partake unworthily, and eat and drink damnation to themselves. “—J. T. Lloyd (Religious Herald). “For Baptists to call Pedobaptists bodies Churches having the right to administer the Lord’s Supper, is logical insanity and idiocy.”—J. M. R. (Western Recorder). “Our system unchurches every Pedobaptist community.”—ROBERT HALL. “If one with full knowledge of the import of the rites begin with the Communion (i.e. partakes of the Lord’s Supper before he is immersed), he does act a lie.”—Prof. Pepper. Such quotes from representative men in the Baptist Church might be multiplied. I know that there are a multitude in that Church that are better than their creed; but as a Church they hesitate not to declare anything else than immersion in water as being real baptism, and debar as an unbaptized throng the ministers and members of non-immersing Churches from all Church fellowship. The most insulting language is frequently applied to the conscientious convictions and practices of their fellow-Christians, and the most offensive charges of want of candor and “common Christian honesty” brought against them. Here for instance, is a sample of the language by a leading Baptist minister that was published by request of the Church, and widely circulated through the denomination;  this is applied to all Pedobaptist churches:--“There are periods in the history of man when corruption and depravity have so debased the human character, that man yields to the hands of the oppressor, and becomes his abject slave. He bows in passive obedience to the hands of despots, and in this state of servility he receives of fetters of perpetual bondage.” Thus all ministers of the Gospel , who do not immerse, are “oppressors” and “despots,” and all Christian people who have not been immersed, are “abject slaves” in “a state of servility,” and wearing “the fetters of perpetual bondage;” and this immersing clergyman, in the largeness of his heart, cries out to his “undipped” and therefore “debased” fellow-Christians as follows:--“Come out of her, my people, that ye may not be partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” And yet this sermon was “published by request of the Church.”

The unscrupulous zeal with which Baptists urge their particular tenets, the unworthy charges they bring against other Churches, the intense proselytizing spirit which pervades the body generally, and the schismatic policy so largely prevalent in unchurching other evangelical denominations, is a wrong done our common Christianity, which ought not be endured in silence.    

But, secondly, the mode of Baptism possesses a very great intrinsic importance. Immersion involves essential error. Pressed by the constraint of their theory, immersionists have really subverted the ordinance of baptism. From its Scriptural significance as a symbol of the Spirit’s work in purifying the soul by applying “the blood of sprinkling,” they, by seizing upon a mere figurative expression of the Apostle Paul, have made it a symbol of the “death, burial, and resurrection” of Christ. They have, therefore, two ordinances setting forth the work of Christ, and none to set forth distinctively the work of the Spirit. This leads to belittling and disparaging of the Spirit’s work. The “Burial Theory,” as it is called, has cause multitudes of those who have adopted it to repudiate the work of the Spirit in the regeneration and sanctification of the soul. Campbellism, or “Baptismal Regeneration,” for instance, is nothing else than this theory carried out to its logical conclusion.  In it “Baptism becomes regeneration or conversion; experimental religion and all spirituality are rejected and ridiculed, and Christianity appears as a stark, gaunt, grinning skeleton, as destitute of spiritual life and power for good as Romanism in its most degenerate days.”  The history of Campbellites, Tunkards, Christadelphians, Mormons, and other immersionists proclaim, as with trumpet tones of warning, the ruinous tendency of the “Burial Theory;” and calls loudly upon all evangelical Christians to testify against that theory and its consequences.  “If,” says Dr. Stuart Robinson, “men may at pleasure substitute for, or add to, the meaning of Christ’s appointed symbols, why may they not add a paragraph to the Scriptures repealing or amending his sacraments? If these theorists may modify the sacrament of baptism, and make it symbolize the burial of Christ instead of the work of  the Holy Spirit, why complain of Rome for modifying the Lord’s Supper into the sacrifice of the mass? Our Lord arranged two sacraments—one to symbolize his own work in the sacrifice for sin, the other to symbolize the work of the Holy Spirit in applying the benefit of his atonement in the purification of the soul. But these theorists change Christ’s arrangement and will have both sacraments to represent the work of Christ—and no sacrament at all distinctly to symbolize the work of the Holy Spirit.”  It will be a dark day for the followers of Jesus, should they ever fail to “set forth a defense of the Gospel” by maintaining the and defending right views concerning the ordinance of Baptism; its design, mode, and subjects.




It is of the utmost importance that we clearly understand the Baptist position. They claim that in every case of baptism the person or thing baptized is moved and put into and under the baptizing element. We emphatically deny this, and maintain that in every case of Scripture baptism, so far as the mode can be ascertained, the baptizing element or instrumentality is moved and put upon the person or thing being baptized. The Greek word, Baptizo, they say, wherever it occurs, denotes to dip, and from this meaning it never in the slightest degree departs. “In the classics it denotes to dip, in the Scriptures it denotes to dip, and in the Fathers it denotes nothing but to dip.” I have before me a large work on baptism by Dr. Carson, published by the American Baptist Publication Society. Dr. Carson was the Goliath of the Baptist denomination. On page 55 of this work he says, “My position is that Baptizo always signifies to dip; never expressing anything but mode.” Again he says, “To dip, and nothing but dip, through all Greek literature.” Since the time of Dr. Carson, Baptists have frequently been driven from this position but only to return to it again according to the necessities of the occasion. And Dr. Carson’s words are in full accordance with the Baptist Confession of Faith, which says, “The way or manner of dispensing the ordinance, the Scriptures hold out to be dipping or plunging.”

Nor is this a mere theory with the Baptists. With unfaltering pertinacity they adhere to the necessity of their creed. Here is a case in illustration. Within a few miles of where I am writing, a few years ago a young lady was immersed by a minister of the Baptist Church . After some time she began to doubt whether she had really been totally under the water on the occasion of her immersion. A certain portion of her face, she complained, had not been touched with the water. She communicated her doubts to others. They tenderly sympathized with her. And the result was that a deputation of Baptists waited upon a worthy dignitary of their church in this town, laid the whole case before him, and he at once consented to supply the lack of the former dipping by re-dipping the young lady, which was accordingly done.

This case is instructive as illustrating the Baptist position. The first immersion was in the name of the Holy Trinity, there was no doubt as to the authority of the immerser, nor yet does it appear that there was any doubt as to there being faith on the part of the young woman. Every condition, it seems, was perfect but one. A “proper subject;” “proper element;” “proper form of words;” “proper administrator;” but there was not a “total immersion in water,”—a “burial”—a “complete envelopment”—a “perfect covering,” and therefore no baptism; and a distinguished minister of the Baptist Church hesitated not again in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost to re-immerse.

This case shows how tenaciously Baptists hold to their creed, that nothing is baptism but a dipping or plunging under water. The exclusive and offensive aspect of this theory seems only to commend and endear it all the more to its advocates.

A man may be as evangelical in his views, and as holy in his life, as were Owen, or Edwards, or Wesley, or Fletcher, or Chalmers, or Hodge, but he could not become a member, much less a minister of the Baptist church, because he was not put upon his back in water.

On the one hand it would seem from late occurrences that a man may hold very loose views indeed on vital Scripture truth and Christian morals, but if he takes to the water he will be welcomed, not merely as a member, but as a pastor into the Baptist fold. Mr. Brookman is sound on the “dipping” question and that is enough to make him a good Baptist, even if he does deny the punishment of the wicked, and the immortality of the natural man, and repudiates the law of God. But suppose this gentleman had repudiated the dipping theory, would that council of liberal Baptists have received him? Certainly not. Does this not then appear that dipping is, in the estimation of these Baptists, of more vital importance to Christianity than the moral law of God, or the teachings of the Bible regarding the immortality of the natural man and the punishment of the wicked?

Having thus considered what the Baptist doctrine is, and having looked at some of the unhappy consequences necessarily and logically resulting from it, we are prepared to inquire on what Scripture evidence does this doctrine stand. If indeed it is clearly and unmistakably taught in the Word of God we are bound to accept it, whatever be the consequences. But let us see.


This, although referred to so frequently and with so much confidence by Baptists, really affords no support for their theory, that Baptizo means to dip and never has any other meaning. In classic Greek the word “baptizo” is never used in the modern Baptist sense of putting a body into water or other element and then immediately withdrawing from it. Here, however, let me observe that the strength of my argument which is designed to show the Scripture meaning of the word, is by no means dependent on the classic usage. Even if the Baptists were able to show (which they have never been able to do) that in heathen or secular Greek, “baptizo” always means to dip, it would not at all follow that the in sacred Scriptures it must mean the same thing.

The Gospel was a new thing among the Greeks in the time of the apostles. Its mysteries, doctrines, rites, hopes, were all novelties to Grecian thought (Acts 17: 19). Now, words are the offspring of ideas. They are contrived to meet exigencies of thought, and exist only as revealers of thought. We could not, therefore, reasonably expect to find in heathen Greek, pre-existing words that were exactly adapted to the expression of Christian thought. What kind of a Bible would we have were we to take all Scripture words in a strictly classic sense? Take for instance the following words: Theos (God), ouranos (heaven), angelos (angel), pneuma (spirit), sarx (flesh), pistis (faith), diakaiosune (righteousness).

Baptists themselves freely acknowledge the distinction between the secular and sacred meaning of words; Presbuteros, for instance, in the classic Greek means “an old man,” but in the Scriptures it means “a ruler in God’s house”—an “elder,” who might be a very young man, as was Timothy, to whom Paul (even in the same connection in which he calls him an “elder”) says: “Let no man despise thy youth.” The word ekklesia, in classic Greek means, “an assembly,” even though it be a tumultuous one, but in the Scriptures it means the Church, a holy and orderly body. The word deipnon, in the classic Greek means “a banquet,” and in the New Testament it is used in this sense no less than nine times.  But in the Scriptures it also means the Lord’s Supper, between whose sip of wine and fragment of broken bread and the profusion of the Grecian feast the contrast is scarcely less, as even Baptists will allow, than between our little bowl of water and Jordan’s “swollen flood.” And if all these words and many others have a secular meaning in classic Greek which is one thing, and a sacred meaning in the Scriptures which is an entirely different thing, why may not the same be true of the precisely similar word “baptizo”? Even if Baptists could produce hundreds of instances from heathen Greek writings where the word means to dip, and we were not able to produce a single exception to this usage, it would no more follow that Christian baptism must be by dipping than that the Lord’s Supper (deipnon) must be observed as a physical feast.

But although the Scriptural mode of baptism is not to be determined from the heathen meaning of baptizo we nevertheless firmly maintain that the Greek classics are just as free from baptism by dipping as the Scriptures. Dr. T. J. Conant, who stands at the head of the Baptist Bible Revision movement, and who is undoubtedly one of the best scholars at present in the Baptist Church, has published a book (Baptizein) in which he gives one hundred and seventy-five instances of the use of the word in Greek literature. These instances are selected for the avowed purpose of proving the Baptist theory. Collected by such a man, and for such a purpose, we may safely assume they are the most favorable to that theory that can be found. And yet what was the result? Why when Dr. Conant comes to translate these passages does he give the word “baptizo” seven different meanings, using seven different English words?  Dr. Conant translates Baptizo as: dip, immerse, immerge, merge, submerge, plunge in, whelm, and  overwhelm). What then of their own showing becomes of the Baptist argument, that baptizo only means “to dip, and nothing but dip, through all Greek literature?”  Nay more, of the one hundred and seventy-five instances quoted to prove dipping, no less than sixty-four (more than one-third of the whole) are translated by Dr. Conant himself by the English word overwhelm, that is a word which clearly implies that the overwhelming (baptizing) element comes upon the person or thing overwhelmed (baptized). Rev. Dr. Gallher, in his “Short Method,” after a thorough examination of every sentence containing baptizo that was written before the time of Christ, and quoted by Dr. Conant, says, In every instance the baptizing element or instrumentality is moved and put upon the person or thing being baptized, never is the person put into the element.”    

Dr. Dale in his great work on baptism has virtually demolished the Baptist theory. It may continue a struggling existence for a while, but it will in time die out of all intelligent minds. Already Baptists have been compelled to acknowledge that the Greek word baptizo does not imply “the taking out of the water.”  In the whole range of Greek literature no instance occurs where baptizo is used in the modern Baptist sense of putting a body into a foreign element and then immediately withdrawing it. If slavish and unbending adherence to classical meaning of Greek words is an argument at all, than the only true Baptist is a drowned Baptist! The word expressing the action of the Baptist “dipping” is bapto, not baptizo; but bapto is never in the Word of God, applied to the ordinance of baptism. “Baptists,” says Dr. Dale, “put Christian disciples under the water, and are, then, under the necessity of saving them from their “watery tomb” by changing baptizo into bapto. We do not object to men being taken out of the water after they have been improperly put into it; but we object to men being dipped into water and then claiming to have received a Greekly baptism.” Dr. Dale’s position is that baptizo is not a modal term, that it does not prescribe any specific act, but that it denotes a condition or result altogether irrespective of the mode or act by which it is brought about. In the Greek language, a ship was baptized when it was sunk in the depths of the sea. A man was baptized when he was drowned, or baptized by his tears when he wept over his sins, or when he drank water from the fountain of Silenus, or drank an opiate or liquor, or fell into a heavy sleep.  Dr. Dale shows that “dip” will not answer in a single one of these instances. Drowned ships and drowned men are not “dipped,” i.e., plunged beneath the watery element, and then immediately withdrawn. A man is not “dipped” into his own tears, nor “dipped” when he drinks a liquid. 

On page 274 of “Classic Baptism,” Dr. Dale says: “if anything in language can be proved, it has been proved that baptizo does not express any definite form of act, and therefore does not express the definite act to dip.” Dr. Hodge states in agreement: “It (baptizo) is analogous to the word “to bury.” A man may be buried by being covered up in the ground; by being placed in an empty cave; by being put into a sarcophagus; or even, as among the Indians, by being placed upon a platform elevated above the ground. The command to bury may be executed in any of these ways. So with regard to the word baptizo, there is a given effect to be produced, without any specific injunction as to the manner, whether by immersion, pouring or sprinkling.” But if this be true, what then becomes of the Baptist theory of “dip and nothing but dip through all Greek literature?” It is buried, never to rise again. And yet immersionists tell us that dipping alone is baptism, and that they alone are baptized, and that they are the only worthy communicants on earth!

We must not close this part of our discussion without….



“I really do not know any heresy (which word I use in its proper original sense, i.e., ‘opinion’) in the Christian world that has less to base itself on than that of ‘immersion,’ yet its advocates are using the most reckless statements, which have gained ground among critics and lexicographers—who generally follow each other like a flock of sheep—entirely by the boldness of the assertion.” ~ Robert Young, LL.D., author of the “Greek and Hebrew Analytical Concordance.”

These men have made the Greek language their special study; they write as scholars, and not to uphold any theory of baptism. What, then, is their verdict on this question? I wish the reader to mark it. No lexicographer in the world gives “dip and nothing but dip” as the classical meaning of baptizo. Even Dr. Carson, the greatest scholar by far that the Baptist Church has yet produced, acknowledges this. On page 55 of his work, having said, “My position is that baptizo always signifies to dip; never expressing anything but mode,” he adds, “As I have all the lexicographers and commentators against me in this opinion, it will be necessary to say a word or two with respect to the authority of lexicons.” On the immersionist side of the question we have Dr. Carson; on the other side, even as acknowledged, we have “all the lexicographers and commentators” in the world.  Intelligent and impartial judges will not have much difficulty in deciding on which side the truth is most likely to be found.

But many of Dr. Carson’s less learned, though equally zealous, brethren are not willing to admit with him that they are opposed by all the lexicographers. These lexicons are admitted to be of the highest authority. They all agree in giving tree meanings of baptizo; to dip, to wash, to cleanse, and some give a fourth, to dye or color. To dip may necessitate an immersion (though I do not believe that Jesus was up over His head in the bowl in food when He stated ‘he who dippeth his hand with me in the dish); but also to wash, to cleanse, to color, certainly do not. When a servant washes the floors, she does not immerse it in water, but pours water upon it. When she cleanses the window glasses, she does not dip the sash in water, but applies water to the sash. As to cleansing, Dr. Carson tells us that “Never since the creation of the world was a man cleansed by sprinkling.” If by this he means physical cleansing we observe that such cleansing is not part of the ordinance of baptism; and if it were, who will say that the modern dipping with water-proof garments on is a physical washing. “Never since the creation of the world was a man cleansed physically by being dipped with an water-tight India-rubber bag tied around him. Dr. Carson must go back to the naked immersions of Rome . But if he means a symbolic cleansing, then we reply that sprinkling is as adequate, and infinitely more appropriate than dipping. Every case of such cleansing recorded in the Word of God was by sprinkling, and none by putting under the water. Against Dr. Carson I put an inspired prophet, who tells us that sprinkling of clean water is cleansing: “I will sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean” (Ezek. 36:25); and an apostle: “Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Heb. 10:22). Believers are “cleansed from all sin” (1 John 1:7); but how? The Word of God says “by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2; Heb. 12:24).

We see then that no lexicographer gives “dip and only dip” as the classic meaning of baptizo, and therefore, none of them endorse the Baptist theory. But more than this no good lexicographer ever gives “dip” as a New Testament meaning of baptizo. Many do not give the New Testament meaning at all. Those who do are careful to distinguish between it and the classical usage. Schleusner says of baptizo, “to immerse, to dip in, to plunge into water,” and gives illustrations from Greek authors, to sustain (as he thought) these definitions; but he adds these words, clear and ringing, In this sense it never occurs in the New Testament.” He gives the New Testament meanings, “to wash, to cleanse, to purify. And yet, with a strange sense of honor and Christian truthfulness, Baptist writers very frequently claim this great scholar as endorsing the “dip and only dip” theory. And nothing is more common than for these writers to quote from lexicons what were merely intended as classical meanings, and impose these upon the English reader as including the sacred usage. The truth, however, is, that no lexicographer—whose opinion is entitled to any weight—gives “dip,” “plunge,” or “immerse” as the meaning of baptizo in the New Testament, much less the only meaning. No Pedobaptist scholar in the world ever believed the exclusive immersion theory, viz.: that baptizo means “dip, and nothing but dip.” If Baptists deny this, let them produce the names. Dr. Ditzler, in his recent work on baptism, after a most thorough examination of no less than thirty-one of the best Greek lexicons and authors, says (p.161), “every one of the thirty-one authorities sustains effusion as baptism.

We next come to


This, let me observe, is a far more important part of our subject than that which we all have hitherto been discussing. The ultimate appeal in all matters of faith must be not to human authorities, heathen or Christian, but to the Word of God.

Here I put the reader upon his guard against a mistaken view of our opinion. We do not hold that the word baptizo signifies to pour or to sprinkle. This has been explained a thousand times to our opponents, but all, it would seem, to no purpose. The very next day they are back again to their old charge, “If baptism means to sprinkle, why don’t you substitute sprinkle for the word baptize? I reply, anointing was thus by pouring, as even Baptists will acknowledge; and yet “to anoint” does not mean “to pour.” Why then may not baptism be by sprinkling, although to baptize does not mean to sprinkle? We do not hold that baptize means to sprinkle any more than it means to dip, or immerse. They believe that it always expresses a condition or result irrespective of the mode or act by which it is brought about, and that Christian baptism denotes a thorough change of spiritual condition affected by the Holy Ghost applying the “blood of sprinkling” to the soul. And this spiritual baptism of the soul is “made manifest” or signified by an external rite in which pure water is “sprinkled” or poured upon the person. But in all this the word baptize has no reference to mode.

To ask us therefore to prove that to baptize means to sprinkle, is asking us to prove what we never believed or affirmed. And yet this is what the Baptists are constantly doing, and then ignorantly exulting as if they had obtained a triumph because we decline to prove what we have always denied. Baptists alone have fallen into the absurdity of making baptizo indicate “mode and nothing but mode.” They say baptize means “to dip and nothing but to dip,” and their action in baptism is in perfect keeping with this definition. But the absurdity of the “theory” will at once appear as we apply it to some passages of Scripture. How, for example, would our Lord’s commission to his disciples read, were it rendered, “Go, teach all nations, dipping them into the name of the Father,” etc.? Dipping all nations! And dipping them into a name!! And what sense could be made of such expressions as, being “dipped with the Holy Ghost and with fire?” “dipped into one body,” or “into one Spirit?” “Unto what then were ye dipped? And they said, unto John’s dipping. Then said Paul, John verily dipped with the dipping of repentance,” etc. “In those days came John the Dipper,… and they were dipped in Jordan, confessing their sins.”  Again, if baptize always means to dip and nothing else, why do they not render it dip and nothing else? Why do they not call themselves “Dippers,” instead of taking shelter under the alias “Baptists?” Why do they speak of the Baptist Church , Baptist denomination, Baptist Sunday school, rather than the Dipper’s Church, the Dipper denomination, the Dipper’s Sunday school, the Dipper’s newspaper, etc.? Why, just because they instinctively feel the absurdity of carrying out their theory “mode and nothing but mode,” “dip and nothing but dip.”

Here I will propose a question for Baptist scholars to answer. If to baptize means to immerse or dip, as you say, why is it that those excellent scholars of the second century, who could speak both Greek and Latin while both Greek and Latin were living languages, did not translate the word “baptizo” by the Latin word “immergo,” which signifies to immerse, but transferred the Greek word into the Latin or Vulgate just as our translators have done into the English? In that venerable translation, the Greek verb is never rendered by any form of the Latin immergo (to immerse).  Will Baptists tell us that the Greek and Latin scholars of the early centuries did not understand their own language as well as the modern Baptists do?

But although the word baptizo does not indicate mode, and therefore cannot indicate the specific act of sprinkling any more than it indicates the specific act of dipping; yet as water baptism is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual cleansing is represented as taking place. The sign or emblem invariably conforms, as far as possible, to the thing signified. Now, the saving, sanctifying operations of the Holy Spirit upon the soul of man are never once represented under the idea of dipping. Such expressions as “I will immerse you in my Spirit,”  “I will plunge you in my Spirit,” “I will dip you in clean water,” are unknown in the Scriptures.

But the Spirit’s work is represented as a “pouring,” or a “sprinkling,” and always under the condition of its descent upon the subject. Take the following passages from the Old Testament.

“I will pour water upon him that is thirsty; I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessings upon thine offspring.” (Isa. 44:3). Mark well the parallel: “I will pour water”—“I will pour my Spirit.”

“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean… and I will put my Spirit within you.” (Ezek. 36:25-27). Observe again the connection between the Spirits work and the sprinkling of clean water.

“He (messiah) shall come down like rain upon the mown grass.” (Ps. 72:6).

“Seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12).

“I will be as the dew unto Israel .” (Hosea 14:5).

“And it shall come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. In those days will I pour out by Spirit.” (Joel 2:28, 29).

If we come to the New Testament we find in like manner the Spirit of God is always represented as descending upon persons, but never the persons being dipped or immersed in the Spirit. See particularly the following passages where the Spirit is represented as:

Descending, John 1:32

Pouring, Acts 2:17

Shedding forth, Acts 2:33

Falling, Acts 11:15

Coming upon, Acts 1:8

Sent from on high, Luke 24:49

Anointing, Acts 10:38

Given to, Acts 15:8

Sealing, Ephesians 1:13

Breathed upon them, John 20:22

Ministered to, Gal. 3:5

Received from, John 7:39

These passages plainly show that Jehovah’s mode of baptizing with the Holy Ghost is by sprinkling, pouring, or in some other way the Spirit coming to or upon the person baptized: never by the person being dipped or immersed into the Spirit. We say, then, not that baptism means to sprinkle, but that the mode of water baptism that is the most Scriptural and edifying is where the baptizing element comes upon the person who is baptized. It behooves erring man to follow the example of his God, who baptizes by pouring or sprinkling, but who has never given the sanction of his example or authority to such a mode as dipping or immersion.

We will now proceed to a consideration of



We will show that Scripture gives the least countenance to the dipping theory, and prove that the Word of God repudiates that theory. I know very well the charming complacency with which many Baptists, who boast that they are not learned, and have “never rubbed their back against a college wall,” tell us that every case of Bible baptism is a case of dipping. It certainly requires a little learning and less veracity to make such a statement as that. But we need more than just confident assertions; we want convincing proof—such proof as would convince as intelligent and impartial jury in a case of life or death.  We have a right to demand such proof of Baptists. They presume to denounce all their fellow Christians who have not been dipped as “living in willful disobedience to a divine command;” they un-church nine-tenths of Christ’s people, and treat them as “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,” to be saved, if saved at all, by the “uncovenanted mercies of God.” Have we not then a right—yea, is it not our bounden duty –to demand of them a “Just saith the Lord” for such conduct, and for a theory that leads to such unhappy results?  We have a right to ask Baptists to give us at least one clear, undoubted case of baptism by dipping, in the Bible. Give us chapter and verse where God commands one man to dip another, or where dipping is called baptism. Produce at least one instance of baptism that is not by the baptizing element coming upon the person baptized, but by the person being put wholly under the element and then being immediately withdrawn. It will not do for Baptists to say that certain cases may have been done by dipping; we want not a “may,” but a “must.” Nor will it do to present us with an ostentatious parade of names of learned men, who thought that certain cases of baptism were cases of dipping, or who said something charitable about immersion. Names of learned men can very easily be quoted on both sides of any question.     

We proceed therefore to a consideration of the examples of baptism recorded in the scriptures, and if we find that dipping is found in none of them, we will be prepared to look for its origin, where, without much difficulty, we can find it, in the Church of Rome—that mother of abominations.

First we will look at the


In Hebrews 9:10, the sacred writer, speaking of the Jewish ritual, says, “It stood only in meats and drinks and diverse washings.” The word here translated “washings” is in the original baptismois, i.e., baptisms. These ceremonial baptisms, let it be clearly remembered, were not external or physical washings of the body, but only symbolical cleansings. The water, or blood or other element was a symbol, emblem, or sign of purification as consecrated to God and accepted of him. The smallest quantity of water or other element employed would therefore serve the purpose, just as the smallest quantity of bread and wine, broken and poured out, are sufficient as symbols, emblems, or signs of the broken body and shed blood of Christ, in the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. It is of the greatest importance to remember that fact. In the context the apostle refers to some of these “baptisms,” and incidentally mentions the mode in which they are performed. Verse 13, “For the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ,” etc. Verse 19, “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people,” etc. Verse 21, “Moreover he sprinkled likewise with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.”

The two principle purifications or baptisms under the law were those of the water of separation and the purification of the leper. An account of the former we have in Num. 19:17,18, and we are expressly told it was by sprinkling: “A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels and upon the persons,” etc. In Lev. 14:5-7, we read how a leper was to be cleansed:--“The priests shall command that one of the birds be killed… and he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed  from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean.” A leprous house was to be cleansed in the same manner, by sprinkling (vers. 50, 52).  And so in the case of other ceremonial baptisms, they were performed by sprinkling. When the whole Israelitish nation entered into covenant with God at Sinai, Moses sprinkled all the people (Heb. 9:19). On the great day of atonement the high priest entered the most holy place and sprinkled the ark of the Covenant (Lev. 4:17, and Heb. 9:25). When the Destroying angel passed over Egypt only the blood sprinkled afforded protection (Exodus 12: 7, 13). And when speaking of the spiritual cleansing produced by the blood of Christ, of which water baptism is the sign, Paul says “the blood of sprinkling” (Heb. 12: 24), and Peter calls it the “sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2).

In all cases of the use of water or blood, in the Old Testament, as an emblem of purification in respect to persons, sprinkling was the mode used. And in Heb. 9:10, the apostle speaks of these ceremonial purifications of persons, and calls the baptisms (baptismois). Here we stand on a rock. The Bible calls that baptism which the Bible itself tells us was performed by sprinkling; and if so, the “nothing but dip” theory is a lie.

It is worse than quibbling for Baptists to say that in connection with the sprinkling there was a bathing, and that this constituted baptism. Unfortunately for the Baptists, the Word of God says that the sprinkling constituted the baptism. In Numbers 19: 13 we read that the person “is unclean because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him.” Again, in verse 20, we read, the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean.”  So also the apostle’s words, “For if the blood of bulls…sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth.” Mark it well, it was the sprinkling that sanctifieth.

Besides, even among ourselves to bathe does not necessarily mean to “go into water,” and certainly not to “go under” the water. The physician directs the patient to “bathe the part affected with liniment.” When a person “bathes his temples with camphor,” he does not dip his head into a vessel filled with the solution, but he applied the solution to his temples. And we have the clearer evidence that not one of the bathings of the Bible for ceremonial purposes was ever by total immersion of the body in water, but by the sprinkling of the cleansing element upon the person.  Dr. E. Beecher stated after a thorough examination of all the cases of Jewish purification says, “It is perfectly plain, therefore, that, whatever was the practice of the Jews, no immersions of the persons were enjoined, and the whole Mosaic ritual, as to personal ablution, could be fulfilled to the letter without a single immersion. The only immersions enjoined in the mosaic law were the immersions of things, as vessels, sacks, skins, etc., to which no reference is had in Heb. 9:10.”

Professor Stuart also says, “We find, then, no example among all the Levitical washings, or ablutions, where immersion of the persons is required.”

The baptisms of the law were “divers,” not in their mode, but in the baptizing element used. Some of them were with pure unmixed water; some with water mixed with blood of divers animals; others with water mixed with the ashes of a heifernot one of them by immersion.  

One other observation here: The water used in these baptisms was always pure, clean, and fresh as it fell from the heavens. It was a real symbol of spiritual purification. How different the modern baptisteries, violating as they do our common notions of cleanliness. God’s ancient people would have abhorred the idea of symbolically cleansing a person in a cistern of stagnant water in which a score of others had just been immersed, some of whom may not have seen the inside of a bath-tub for a year.



In 1 Cor. 10:2, Paul tells us that the Israelites were all baptized, eis, not into (not unto, as in the English version) Moses” when passing through the Red Sea . And in Exod. 14: 16, 21, 22, 29, we are repeatedly told that the children of Israel passed “on dry ground,” through the midst of the sea.  Jehovah therefore baptizes on “dry ground,” and it becomes us to follow his example. How would it sound to read that they were “dipped” or “immersed” on “dry ground!” But it seems that there was no difficulty. As the fathers, mothers, and infant children passed through the sea “upon dry ground,” “they were all {infants not excepted} baptized into Moses.” There was here no “dipping” or “plunging” or “burying” or “covering with water,” or “watery grave,” or “liquid tomb,” and yet on the authority of an inspired apostle there was baptism. And it was real, divine baptism effected in the minds and upon the hearts of the people. The state or condition of the people towards Moses was changed from that distrust and rebellion into that of confidence and consequent obedience, so that we read, “Then the people feared the Lord and believed the Lord and his servant Moses.” (Exodus 14: 31). This change was wrought by the miraculous display of God’s power in or by the cloud and sea. Origen II, 743, speaking of the Israelites crossing the river Jordan , says the Israelites were baptized “into Joshua.” He repeats this in several passages. Determined to fit the Scriptures to his theory, Dr. Carson labors hard to improvise “a box” at the Red Sea for dipping the people “into Moses,” but both ends of the box are wanting at the sea, and both ends and one side are wanting at the river.

I do not know that there was any external symbol of this real divine—internal baptism; but is there was any water used it came from the cloud which “poured out water” on this occasion. (Ps. 77: 17, also Judges 5: 4).



We have already seen that baptism with the Holy Ghost is always effected by the Spirit coming upon the person baptized, and that consequently as water baptism is an outward sign of this inward spiritual baptism, that mode is most Scriptural and appropriate in which the element (water) comes upon the person baptized. We will now see a particular case in illustration:

In Matt. 3:11, John the Baptist says: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he (Christ) shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Our Lord referred to this promise just before his ascension, and commanded his disciples “that they should not depart from Jerusalem , but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. (Acts 1: 4,5). Here is the promise, and the only question before us is, how was this promise fulfilled? When baptized with the Holy Ghost, were the apostles dipped or plunged into the Holy Ghost? Or did the Holy Ghost come upon them? Or did the Holy Ghost come upon them? Let the Word of God answer. The reader will turn to Acts, chapter 2. Cloven tongues like as of fire “sat upon” them (ver. 3); The holy Ghost was “poured out” upon them (ver. 17); was shed “forth” (ver. 33),; and “fell on them” (chapter 11: 15). Here, then, is another undoubted case of baptism, not by putting the subject into the element, after the manner of the immersionists, but by the baptizing agent coming upon the persons baptized, according to nine-tenths of the Christian Church. But all this weighs nothing with the immersionist. He is as blindly devoted to his “nothing but dip” theory as a Hindu to his caste.




In Acts 2: 41 it is said: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and that same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” This is the first account of the administration of baptism after the ascension of the Savior. And that this baptism was by total immersion is almost impossible to conceive, even judging by the simple narrative itself: for, after the close of Peter’s sermon, there were but five hours of the day remaining, and the account states that the three thousand were added to the Church “the same day.” But to have immersed them all in five hours, each of the twelve apostles must have immersed fifty persons every hour, or five every six minutes! This, I need scarcely say, would have been impossible. But if the ordinance was administered according to the prediction of the prophet (Ezek. 36: 25), and the invariable mode of purifying among the Jews, by sprinkling, all difficulty vanishes.

Besides, it has been abundantly proved to the satisfaction of all excepting Baptists, that there was no place for the immersion of such a multitude. The late Rev. Dr. Robinson, who twice journeyed over Palestine making the most minute inspections, and whose printed researches are quoted as authority by every scholar, says: “Against the idea of full immersion there lies a difficulty, apparently insuperable, in the scarcity of water. There is in summer (and this baptism took place in June) no running steam in the vicinity of Jerusalem, except the mere rill of Siloam a few rods in length; and the city is and was supplied from its cisterns and public reservoirs.” (See Robinson’s Lexicon, Art. Baptizo). Nor can we for a moment suppose that the enraged people and authorities of Jerusalem, who had just crucified Jesus, would have put the reservoirs, from which the people of Jerusalem were supplied with water for drinking, cooking, and other purposes, at the disposal of the hated followers of Jesus for plunging three thousand persons into them. Such were not Jewish ideas of cleanliness or decency.

Then again, were these three thousand dipped in water in the same dress with which they came to the meeting? If so, did they go home through the streets of Jerusalem in their dripping garments? If not, where did they go through the process of disrobing and enrobing? And what about the female portion of the three thousand—their dripping, robbing and disrobing? Let me quote from Dr. Dale: “We deny the dipping altogether; and sustain the denial by the absence of fact and precept, and the pronounced impropriety of the age as to the dipping of females into water, publicly, by men. It will not do to say, that those who practice the dipping of females by men into water see no impropriety in it.  Females were dipped naked into water for a thousand years, and they who did it ‘saw no impropriety in it.’ All see the impropriety now; and the feeling of the millions to-day is against the becomingness of the public dipping of women into water by men.”  



In Luke 11: 37, 38, we read that a Pharisee, who had invited Jesus to dine with him, wondered that he had not first washed (ebatisthe, “did not baptize himself”) before dinner. Did this man expect our Lord to plunge himself under water, a’ la Baptist, before every meal? In Mark 7: 4 we read of the “Pharisees and all the Jews,” that except they wash (baptisontai, baptize) on returning from the market, “they eat not.” But if the Pharisees and all the Jews took a total immersion head and ears under water, before every meal and on every return from the market, it is evident that they must have been under water a good amount of the time.

The meaning doubtless is, that the Jews on these occasions were accustomed to perform some ceremonial washing of the hands and face, and this, although far from being a total immersion of the body, the Holy Ghost calls baptizing themselves (not merely baptizing their hands and face). And it must be here observed that the Jews, in ancient as well as modern times, washed their hands or feet, not by dipping them into water, but by having water drawn from the water pots (John 2: 6) poured upon them. (See Josephus’ “Ant. Of the Jews,” Bk. 3, ch. 6, sec. 2). The Greek of Luke 7: 44 says, “water upon my feet;” and the same verse represents the Saviors feet as washed with tears falling upon them. The Syriac version says, “baptized with tears.” From 2 Kings 3: 11 we learn that the customary, if not invariable, mode of washing the hands, was by pouring. The description there given of a servant is, “Elisha which poured water on the hands of Elijah.” The Jews could not wash ceremonially in a basin of water, for the first dipping of the hands or feet would render the water to be defiled.

It is evident, then, that a person is baptized in the Scripture sense, not by being plunged into the water, but by having the water applied to them. And if so, then the exclusive immersion theory is proved to be nothing better than the “baseless fabric” of Baptist, Campbellite, Christadelphian and Mormonite visions.



In Mark 7: 4, it is a fact that the Siniatic and Vatican Manuscripts (the two oldest in the world), and even others, read rantizonai (sprinkle) instead of baptisontai in the beginning of this verse—thus clearly showing that the copyist deemed sprinkling and baptizing as synonymous.  The passage states that the Pharisees observed the baptisms (it is “washings” in the English translation, but the original is baptismous, i.e., baptisms) of cups and pots, brazen vessels and tables. The word here translated ‘tables’ is klinoon, and properly signifies beds or couches. It is so translated in the 30th verse of this chapter, and in eight other places where it occurs in the New Testament.  Here, then, we find the word baptism  applied to utensils which we cannot suppose for a moment  were dipped or immersed in water. The might contend that they would immerse their tables, their couches, and beds? These were very cumbrous articles of furniture “being a kind of sofa or divan on which they were accustomed to sit, usually about twenty feet long, four feet  wide, and four feet high.” Rather large, one would think, to be conveniently immersed; and yet Dr. Carson declares he will rather believe that they immersed their beds, couches and tables in water, than yield that baptism signifies anything but immersion! And he would further this absurdity upon the Spirit by whom the Scriptures were inspired. “To maintain,” says Dr. Hodge, “that desperation.” But to such “desperation” Baptists will blindly go rather than abandon their “pet theory” that nothing is baptism but dipping. All who are not hopelessly given over to that theory will have no difficulty in believing that tables were baptized then as they are now, in a common-sense way, by having water applied to them with the hand.



There is a class of passages which Baptists are fond of calling their “proof-texts.) To a consideration of these we now come, and we will find that none of them, fairly and honestly interpreted, gives the least countenance to immersion, much less proves it. These passages are, Baptists themselves acknowledge, are the strongest to be found in their favor. If then, it can be shown that these very “proofs” not only do not state immersion, but in fact, repudiate the claims of their “theory,” will they be honest enough to admit that “dipping” finds no support in the Word of God? Will they admit that it is a theory with only “eternal” origin and support?

Let me preface what I have to say on Baptist “proof-texts” by two quotations. The first is from Dr. Owen,. He says: “No one instance can be given in Scripture, in which the word which we render baptize does necessarily signify either to dip or plunge.” Dr. Hodge from Princeton says, “So far, therefore, as the New Testament is concerned, there is not a single case where baptism necessarily implies immersion.” Will Baptists say that Owen and Hodge did not study their Bibles, or that they were hypocrites, or that because they were not Baptists, they were not capable of forming an impartial judgment?

In the following passages the reader will clearly bear in mind that the object is not to prove baptism by sprinkling, or by pouring, or by effusion, or by any other mode, but simply to show how these passages utterly fail to prove immersion.

We referred to



In 2 Kings 5: 14 we read: “Then went he [Naaman] down and baptized (epaptisato) himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God.” “Stop, stop,” shouts some Baptist, “does not the Bible say that he dipped himself?” Baptists are ready enough to appeal to what “the Bible says,” when, through the blunders of our English translators, they find an expression which seems in favor of dipping. But of all the people immersionists are the most dissatisfied with, it is the translation of the English Bible, which they have for years been at work trying to get their own sectarian version of it out on their own. Baptist writers sometimes represent our translators as “baby sprinklers,” but as compelled by the force of the original Greek to use certain expressions which favor immersion. But this is one of those perversions of the facts of history for which Baptists have become so enviously notorious. Each one of the translators of the King James Bible had been “dipped” himself, and that three times; for this was the faith and practice of the Church of England at the time. Is it no wonder then, that they manifest a bias towards immersion in the passage before us as well as others?

Our translation is, on a whole, an excellent one; but in any disputes as to the meaning of Scripture, the appeal must be made not to the translation but to the original words as dictated and inspired by the Spirit of God.

Applying this principle to the passage in question, we observe that the Bible, as given by God, either in Hebrew or in Greek, does not say that Naaman dipped himself.  

  1. Naaman was commanded to wash (v.10). The Hebrew word used is (rahats), which never means “dip.”  Joseph washed his face, his brethren washed their feet, the priests washed their hands. Gesenius says, “To wash, to lave, the human body or its parts.”
  2. Naaman’s leprosy was local and not all over his body. This we learn from verse 11, which announces his expectation that Elisha “would strike his hand upon the place, and recover the leper.”  The direction, therefore, to wash, without anything more specific, would on the principles of reason and common sense apply only to the diseased part—the washing would be limited to the parts affected.
  3. This was a “symbol washing.” Water could not wash away leprosy any more than it can wash away sin. But as we have already shown, symbol washings under the law were performed by sprinkling, and never by total immersion of the person in water. Naaman baptized himself according to the saying of the man of God (v.14). and the man of God would command him to do what the law of God prescribed; this was sprinkling seven times. Lev. 14: 7—“He shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed [of the leprosy] seven times.” And as Naaman was not a Jew and was not to associate with the Israelites, the “washing” and “shaving” and “sacrifice” which ordinarily followed the cure, were omitted.

In view of all these considerations the intelligent and impartial reader can, without much difficulty, decide whether this is a clear case of dipping.



Matt. 3:6; Mark 1:5.—Baptists generally assume without any argument whatever, that John baptized by immersion. Even if he had it would not follow that Christian baptism must be administered the same way, for John’s baptism was not Christian baptism. A sufficient proof of this is that some who were baptized by John, afterwards received Christian baptism (Acts 19: 1-6). But there is not the slightest proof that John immersed, but a probability, amounting almost to a certainty. That he did not.

  1. John belonged to a priestly order. His father was a priest, and his mother was of the daughters of Aaron; and we have already seen that the priests invariably baptized by the sprinkling of water. It is reasonable to suppose therefore, when nothing is said to the contrary, that John baptized in the same way, and according to the prediction of the prophet (Ezekiel 36: 25), “I will sprinkle clean water upon you.”
  2. Taking the words as we have them in our English translation, “in Jordan does not imply being under it. Many go into a river without going head-and-ears under it. “John baptized in the wilderness” (mark 1: 4). Did he plunge the people under the rock and sands of the wilderness? He was “Baptizing in Bethabara, beyond Jordan .” Did he plunge the people into or under the town?
  3. The Greek word en, here translated “in,” has a variety of significations. In the Gospel of Matthew alone, it is translated by ten different English words, namely, on, with, by, for, among, unto, through, because of, in and at. In Ephesians 1: 20, we read, “When He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at his own right hand.” This could not be rendered in or under his own right hand.” But is it be “at” in Ephesians, why may it not be “at” in Matthew? And where then is immersion?
  4. The expression “in Jordan ” “in the river of Jordan ,” does not necessarily indicate more than a district or locality, without any reference to water for dipping purposes. A few instances will make this clear. In 1 Kings, 2:8, we read that Shimei came down into the Jordan to meet David. Did he wade into, or plunge under the water, to do homage to the King? 2 Kings 6:4—“ And  when they [the sons of the prophets] came into the Jordan they cut down wood.”  Did they work under diving-bells or did they wear water-proof pants? According to Baptist logic they would require these. For other instances see, 2 Kings 2: 6, 21; 1 Kings 18: 40; Judges 4: 7.
  5. The mode of John’s baptism seems clearly indicated by his own words (Matt. 3: 11), “I indeed baptize you with (en) water, but He…shall baptize you with (en) the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Let it be observed that John uses the same word (en) to denote his own use of water and Christ’s mode of baptizing with the Spirit. But we have already seen that in the baptism of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost is “poured out,” “shed forth,” and “falls upon” the persons baptized. (See Acts 2: 17, 33; and 11: 15).
  6. Even Baptists will acknowledge that anointing was not by immersion, but by pouring. Well, the Greek form of expression (en with the dative) here used by John to denote his mode of baptism is precisely the same as is used in Old Testament Greek to express anointing. John says en hudati (with water), and to express the mode of anointing we have no less than five times the expression, en elaio (with oil). The passages are, 2 Sam. 1: 21; Ps. 89: 20; Ps. 23: 5; Ps. 92: 10; Ezek. 16: 9.  Anoint (en) with oil, and like expressions where oil was poured, occur over forty times in the books of Moses in Greek. According to unassailable Baptist reasoning, the anointed must have been immersed in oil!
  7. We learn from John 3: 25, 26, that John’s baptism was a legal purification or cleansing. And we have already shown that these purifications were always performed by water sprinkled on the unclean. We have every reason to believe that John baptized the people in the same manner in which Moses consecrated all the people, namely, he took a bunch of hyssop, dipped it into the water, and then sprinkled the people by the thousands.
  8. The numbers that flocked to John’s baptism made it physically impossible that he could have baptized them all by dipping.  It is said that all Jerusalem , all Judea, and the entire region round about Jordan came and were baptized of him. We need not, of course, take the expression in its most literal sense as meaning all without exception, but it undoubtedly means a large portion of the people. It is probable that the entire population of the district was about five million. If we suppose that even one-fifth of these were immersed, and that John’s ministry lasted for a whole year, then he must have immersed at least 2,700 people a day, which is an impossibility. No man could stand day after day for a year up to his waist in water. If on the other hand John baptized by sprinkling or pouring, it was conceivably possible and easy.
  9. The unseemliness of the sight makes it morally certain that John did not baptize by dipping. Baptists will admit that John’s followers did not come prepared with special garments that protected privacy when they became wet as modern robes are designed for dipping. They did not even come prepared with a dry exchange of clothing. How then could they be immersed? Either in a state of nudity, or their ordinary garments. Decency would forbid the former, and a due regard to health the latter.

The Scriptural mode of baptism is such as can be practiced in all seasons, in all climates, in all countries, and under all circumstances. But this cannot be said of immersion, which is often impractical, indecent, dangerous, and impossible. It cannot therefore be the Scriptural mode of baptism.



John 3: 23—“And John also was baptizing in Aenon, near to Salim, because there was much water there.” Why, say the Baptists, should John choose such a place “because there was much water there,” if it was not for the purpose of dipping? No one will deny the “much water” of this passage has been put into play for the Immersionists during the past two hundred years. They have ranted upon the “much water” until many of the more ignorant of them regard this as the greatest thing in religion, and have brought them to think more of the river than of the Cross. It does not require much labor to let some of the water escape.

Anyone who knows even the rudiments of Greek Grammar knows that “polla” is a word of number and not of quantity. This is even evident from the meaning of the English composition; for instance, Polynesia (not much island, but many islands) and many other words. The expression, pola hudata” occurs fifteen times in the Scriptures, and this is the only place where the translators render it as “much water.” In the other fourteen, it is always rendered “many waters.” The New Testament instances are Rev. 1: 15; 14: 2; 17: 1: 19: 6, and the text in question. That “hudata” rendered “water,” means “springs,” is capable of demonstration, and will not be denied by any scholar.

The name Aenon is a Chaldee word signifying “a place of springs.” Dr. Robinson, who traveled extensively in the east and who visited this very spot, says, “the place is about six miles north-east of Jerusalem . Many springs burst from the rocky crevices at various intervals, for some miles.”

In the light of the foregoing considerations the following will be seen to be the correct rendering of this place. “And John also was baptizing in Aenon (or at the springs near to Salim, for there were many springs there, and people came to be baptized.” The explanatory clause “for there were many springs there” were not added to show that people were dipped, but that water was available for the people and for sprinkling. Many who have traveled there have remarked about the inadequate depth of any water suitable for immersion.

If much water for the purpose of immersion was what John wanted, why did he leave the river Jordan ?  Was there not enough water there to satisfy any Immersionist?

Can anything be more absurd than to talk of John and his followers going to Aenon in order to enough water to dip someone in? Why not just have one big tub or tank in which to baptize thousands upon thousands in, as the modern Baptist fashion is of plunging people under the same water? A crowd the size that John was drawing would require more water for drinking than for dipping purposes.



Matt. 3: 16—“And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water;” and Mark 1: 9—“Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan .”  Dr. Carson says that he is willing to hang the whole controversy upon these texts, and it is really amusing to witness the sublime complacency with which the ordinary Baptist assumes that our Lord was immersed, and how they urge the undipped to “follow Him into the water.”

If Baptists consulted their Bibles more, and their “peculiar” theories less, they would see that following Christ was something far higher and more spiritual than being plunged into a pool of water, and they would then expunge forever from their hymn-books such silly, unscriptural statements as:

“Did Christ the great example lead

In Jordan ’s swelling flood?”

What proof is there that Christ’s baptism was by immersion? None—none whatsoever! We have already said enough of John’s baptism to show that it was by the strongest probability administered by sprinkling. “O but,” says the Baptist, “He came up out of the water.” That, I reply, is not coming from under the water. Besides, if He had been immersed He would require to have been taken out of the water, instead of coming out of it by his own action.

Would not these words be quite appropriate to describe the Lord’s baptism if He had only stepped a little distance into the river, and when John had taken up water and poured it upon Him, according to the mode which we find represented on most ancient monuments?

But the language of the original implies nothing more than that our Lord went down to the banks of the Jordan , and after his baptism came up from the water’s edge. The preposition in Mark 1: 9, which is translated as “in,’ is the Greek word eis. There are many examples from Scripture which show the absurdity of demanding that the word mean “in,’ and only “in.”  In 2 Kings, 2: 6, we read, “ The Lord hath sent me to (eis) the Jordan .” “They came,” we read, “unto (eis) the Jordan .” The eis brought them to the banks but not “into” the river, much less under it. Elisha and the sons of the prophets surely did not go into or under the waters of the Jordan to fell trees. In 1 kings, 1: 33, 38, 45, we read that Solomon was anointed eis Gihon (a river, 2 Chr. 32: 30; 33: 14); and in Mark 1: 9, we read that Jesus was baptized eis ton Jordanen (a river). No one will say the anointing was by “immersion.” (1 Kings 1: 39); why then contend that the baptism must have been by immersion when it is precisely the same form of expression that is used?  In both cases people were “at” or “near” the stream, but there is not a word to indicate that they were in it.

The Greek word in Matt. 3: 16, translated “out of” is apo, and its primary meaning is “from.” It is found in the seventh verse of the same chapter, and there it is translated “from.” “Flee from the wrath to come.” It occurs in Matthew, one hundred and nine times, and is rendered sixty-five times as “from,” and only ten times as “out of”.

Dr. Carson, with all of his love for the “nothing but dip” theory, says of this verse, “I admit that the proper translation of apo is from, not out of, and that it would have its meaning fully verified if they had only gone down to the edge of the water.” (page 200). That its usual meaning is not given to it in Matthew 3: 16, shows the strong bias of the King’s translators to sustain their faith in immersion.

Here are some passages in which the same verb and preposition occur in the Greek:

Luke 2: 4—“And Joseph also went up from Galilee .” Did he emerge from under the soil of Galilee ?

Song of Solomon 3: 6—“Who is she coming up from the wilderness?” Did the spouse emerge or ascend from under the sands of the desert?

Genesis 17: 1—“ And God went up from Abraham…” Comment is unnecessary here!

John 11: 55—“ And many went out of the country up to Jerusalem.” Did they emerge from out of the earth?

In view of all this the reader can easily judge the desperate resort to which the Immersionists are driven when they maintain that Christ was immersed, and fill their hymn-books with gushing effusions about the “holy stream,” “the swelling flood,” “the sacred wave,” and the Redeemer “bowing his head” beneath these.

This “proof-text,” like all its predecessors, declines to do service to the “Theory.” Nay, it testifies clearly against it, and points us to another mode of baptism, in which the baptizing element comes upon the person baptized. For, in addition to what we have already said, let it be observed that, after being baptized with water by John, our Lord was baptized with the Holy Ghost by God. But how? What was the mode?  Let the Word of God tell us. “The Spirit of God descended like a dove—the symbol of purity—and lighted upon him.” And Luke says in Acts 10: 38—“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost.” Anointing was performed, not by dipping the person into oil, but by pouring or sprinkling oil upon the person.

Christ was baptized with water by John, and with the Holy Ghost by God, but we read nothing of immersion in his case.    



Acts 8: 38, 39—“And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him; and when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip.” The Baptists regard this as their sheet-anchor in the controversy. Dr. Carson says, “Had I no more conscience than Satan himself, I could not as a scholar attempt to expel immersion from this account.” This, like a good deal more on the same side of the question, is a strong statement but a weak argument.

Where is the evidence that the eunuch was dipped? “Why,” cries the Baptist, “he went with Philip into the water and came out again.” But is not such reasoning trifling with common sense? Do not thousands go into the water and come out again without going under the water? Is it not said that Philip went into the water and came out of it as well as the eunuch? The “both” went. If then the prepositions prove that the eunuch was immersed they prove also that Philip was immersed too!

Every scholar knows also that the Greek words that are translated “into” and “out of” may be rendered in equal harmony with the original “to” and “from.” Indeed the word eis, rendered “into,” occurs eleven times in this very chapter, and this is the only case where it is translated as “into.”

Mathew 17: 27—“Go, thou (eis) to the sea.” Did the Savior mean that Peter should plunge himself into the sea?

John 11: 38—“Jesus therefore cometh (eis) to the tomb’ of Lazarus, not into the tomb.

John 20: 4, 5—“So they ran both together (Peter and John), and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first (eis) to the sepulcher.” Did he go into the sepulcher? What says the Word of God? “Yet went he not in.” He went (eis) to the grave, but yet he went not into it. And so we may read of Philip and the eunuch, “They both went down (eis) to the water, yet went they not into it.”

We may observe that this preposition eis is translated in our New Testament, no less than five hundred and thirty times by “to” or “unto.”

The other preposition translated “out of,” is ek. It occurs in the single form as in this passage, no less than sixty-four times in the Acts of the Apostles. And how often do you think that it is translated “out of?”  Only five times, and one of these is the case before us! This will show how much truth there is in the oft-repeated Baptist statement that the translators were favorable to sprinkling and opposed to dipping.  A most unusual meaning is given to the word in order to countenance as far as possible the (trine) immersion theory, without actually committing themselves to it.

The preposition ek is translated in our New Testament one hundred and eighty-six times by “from.” The following are a few passages where it must mean from and cannot be rendered “out of.”

Romans 1: 17—“Herein is the righteousness of God revealed, (ek) from faith to faith.” What sense would out of its fruits?

Matt. 12: 33—“The tree is known (ek) from its fruits.” Who would render it out of its fruits?

John 10: 32—“Many good works have I shown you (ek) from my Father.” Not out of my Father.

Immersionists, instead of dwelling upon unusual or doubtful translations to sustain their tottering theory, would do well to follow a better way. If they will examine their Bibles they will see that the eunuch was on this occasion reading a passage of Isaiah (there was no division into chapters and verses then), in which it is predicted of Christ, among other things, that “He shall sprinkle many nations.” As Philip was explaining this Scripture to him, they came upon a certain water, and the eunuch said, “See! Water (the words indicate that the quantity was small, and that Philip was likely to pass it by unnoticed), what doth hinder me to be baptized (i.e., sprinkled), since this great Savior has come who was to sprinkle many nations, and I am one of those He was to sprinkle?” The reader can now judge if this is a clear case of immersion. And yet this passage immersionists themselves claim as their strongest text! Well may the learned Robert Young, LL.D., say: “I really do not know of any heresy (which word I use in its proper original sense, i.e., ‘opinion’) in the Christian Church that has less to base itself on than that of Immersion, yet its advocates are using the most reckless statements, which have gained ground among critics and lexicographers—who generally follow each other like a flock of sheep—entirely by the boldness of the assertion.”

We come now to the examination of



Two passages in the writings of the Apostle Paul have been strongly and strenuously pressed to do service for immersion. The passages are Romans 6: 3, 4, “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life”; and in Col. 2: 12, we have a similar expression, “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God.” Baptists say that these passages clearly teach us that baptism is equivalent to immersion—that as burial and resurrection are a going down into the earth and coming out of it, the person being completely covered according to the one figure by earth, and according to the other by water.

This interpretation is commonly called the “burial theory.” It was never heard of till after the council of Nice, in A.D. 325, and it was adopted by the Church of Rome as a prop for the immersion theory. The ancient Waldenses never accepted it. The first mention we find of it in those popish documents called “Apostolic Constitutions,” Bk. 3, sec. 2; and its superstitious associations clearly indicate its Romish origin. Here are the words employed:--“The water is used instead of the sepulcher, the oil instead of the Holy Ghost, the seal instead of the Cross, the anointment is instead of the Confirmation, the dipping into water (katadusis, not baptizo, is the dying with Christ, and the rising out of the water (anadusis) is the rising again with Him.” So says Rome , and so practice the immersionists.

The best scholars during and since the Reformation have repudiated the Romish and Baptist interpretation of Romans 6: 3-5; and Col. 2: 12. Melanchthon, the most learned and accurate Greek scholar of the sixteenth century, utterly rejected it. So did Matthew Henry and Dr. Thomas Scott, the most popular commentators since the Apostolic age. Even candid Baptist scholars such as Robinson frankly admit that these passages are misapplied when used as evidence of the mode of baptism. On page 550, Robinson says, “the Romans did not bury but burn their dead, so that no fair reasoning on the form of baptism can be drawn from the mode of burying the dead in England .”

We are not disposed to settle a question of faith like this, by a citation of authorities, but as Baptists seem particularly fond of this mode of settling disputed points, and some of their books contain little else than an ostentatious parade of names, we give the above to show how easy it is to produce names, and those of good men and eminent scholars, on both sides of most questions. And we undertake to increase the above list by scores, if necessary.  

  1. The Romish theory adopted by the Baptists, that baptism is burial, is founded on an entire misconception of the mode of burial practiced in the East. We bury our dead under the earth, and this, by a stretch of the fancy, may be conceived as something like putting a person under water; but there was no such custom known to the Apostles or those to whom they preached or wrote. The Greeks and Romans who were numerous in Judea, and almost the sole inhabitants in the other countries where the Apostles labored, always burned the dead bodies of their friends, and collected the ashes and bones that remained into an urn. Such a burial surely has no resemblance to a dipping in water. And so also with the mode of burial practiced by the Jews had not even the most distant resemblance to dipping.  Was Christ buried? Not in our manner, by being put into a coffin, and covered up with earth, but by being carried into a cave cut out of the face of a perpendicular rock, and laid on a niche in the wall. Many such tombs are still to be seen around Jerusalem. If four men took up a dead body, carried it into a room, and laid it on a table, would there be any likeness between that and immersion? Yet just this was the burial of Christ. Neither Paul, nor any Jew or Gentile of this time could perceive any resemblance between the dipping of a person in water and burial.
  2. The Romish and Baptist theory very conveniently overlooks the fact that the Apostle does not say that burial is baptism, or that baptism is a burial. He says “we are buried with Him by (dia) baptism into (eis) his death.” Here observe that the burial and the baptism are not the same as the immersionists make them, but the “baptism” is the cause, and the word “buried” describes the effect; and unless a cause and its effects must resemble each other in respect to the mode, it cannot be concluded from these Scriptures that there is any resemblance between baptism and burial. If a man buries with a spade, the spade does not become the burial, nor has it any necessary resemblance to the mode of the burial. Yet this absurdity the Romanists and Baptists would force upon the Word of God by confounding the baptism here spoken of with the burial.
  3. The popish inventors and first propagators of the “burial theory,” and its ablest defenders for sixteen hundred years, taught explicitly that “emersion” (taking out of the water) was as much a part of the act of baptism as immersion (putting into the water). Such Romish writers as Basil, Cyril, Chrysostom, Gregory Naz, Photius, Theophylact, distinctly affirmed that “taking out of the water” was as certainly part of the word “baptizo” as “the putting in.”

It seems to me that the fact that baptizo never takes any person or thing out of the water, is most fatal to the Baptist theory. For if the withdrawing from the water be a mere act of humanity and not a part of the act of baptism, what, we would ask, is there in Christian baptism to play the part of “birth from a womb,” or “resurrection from a grave,” of which Baptists talk so much. And why will the Baptists go on adding to the Word of God by interpreting a resurrection into the taking out, when they have no evidence that baptizo includes “taking out” of the water. It is a Scripture fact that baptizo does not include “emersion,” or the “taking out of water,” and therefore, they have no Scriptural command to lift them out of their watery grave. If they do, they are guilty of the very charge they impugn non-immersionists with, i.e., they are “living in willful disobedience to a command of God,”  Most persons will, however, conclude that baptizo means putting into the water and leaving them there cannot be the act commanded by Christ, for Christ never commanded one man to drown another.

4. In Rom. 6: 3, 4, and in Col. 2: 12, there is no reference whatsoever to water baptism, but to the baptism of the Spirit. “Know ye not,” says the Apostle, “that so many of us were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death.” Now, I ask, can a man be baptized by water into Jesus Christ?  Will Baptists knowingly baptize a man who is out of Jesus Christ; and if they do, will that make him in Jesus Christ? It will be admitted that water baptism, whatever the mode, cannot baptize into Jesus Christ, but the Holy Spirit can. “By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12: 13).

“If,’ says Prof. Witherow, “Paul is here speaking of water baptism, he was one of the weakest reasoners that ever tried his hand at logic.” The baptism of which Paul speaks is that which produces a believer’s death unto sin, or a change from sin to holiness, but the baptism of the Holy Ghost alone, and not water baptism, can do this. To be consistent with their interpretation of these passages all Immersionists should hold to the soul-destroying doctrine of “Baptismal Regeneration.” Many of them hold to it. In Rom. 5, we see that the promise of the believer being resurrected is conditioned upon “If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death.”  The point is inescapable; if we force water upon the passage, we must believe that only immersion in water saves a soul, which is a far cry from the salvation by grace through faith of the Bible. It exchanges salvation by the grace of God in all circumstances, into the limited water-god of Baptismal Regeneration.

Thus far we have examined the Old Testament and the New, but we have not been able to discover a single case of immersion that will stand the slightest examination. Not surprisingly, many of the so-called Baptist “proof-texts’ have been found to repudiate the service which Baptists require of them.

As to their cases of Scripture baptism, Baptists act on the principle that the less said about them the better for immersion. They all indicate very clearly some other mode than immersion. The baptism of Paul by Ananias (Acts 9: 17, 18; 22: 12-16) was in the solitary chamber where a penitent man was fasting and praying, and his baptism was received standing. The baptism of Cornelius and his family (Acts 10: 43-48) was administered in the Centurions’ own house, upon the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostle saying, “Can any man forbid water” that it should be brought. The baptism of the jailor and his household at Philippi (Acts 15: 32-44) was at the dead hour of night and in a jail, and by one of his prisoners—at this time, and in a place and by a person, which forbids the use of any other mode than that of sprinkling or pouring. Every one of these instances is evidence against immersion.

Seeing that the Bible knows nothing of immersion, where, it may be asked, are we to look for its origin? I reply, just in the same fertile Romish brains that, as we have seen, invented the “burial theory.”

Fallen humanity has always been disposed to exalt outward and ritualistic religion, at the expense of the inward and spiritual. And Rome , that mother of abominations, has never hesitated to gratify this disposition by adding to, or taking from, the Word of God. We know how very soon after the time of the Apostles the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was perverted, till, instead of being the symbolic feast as Christ designed it, it came to be regarded as a real sacrifice, in which the “body and blood” were really and physically present. Every essential principle and fundamental doctrine of what is now called popery, originated and made considerable progress during the second and third centuries. The doctrine of the “Invocation of the Saints,” “Baptismal Regeneration,” “That there is no salvation outside of the Visible Church,” “Purgatory,” The Supremacy of the Bishop of Rome,” “That the Supper was a Vicarious Sacrifice,” “The Virtue of the Work of Penance and Supererogation,” etc., etc., can all be found in germ or fully fledged before the end of the third century. Dipping into water for baptism grew out of the perversion of the ordinance from its original symbolic design into a real spiritual cleansing. It came to be believed that just as the “body and the blood of Christ” were really and physically present in the Supper, so was the Spirit in reality, though mysteriously, present in the water so that it cleansed from sin. There was what was called a “vis baptismatis” in the water which, applied to the body, reached the soul, and cleanses it from all past sins. It therefore became the general practice to immerse both infants and adults, males and females, in a state of entire nudity, because it was feared that their entire garments might prevent the water from reaching every part of the body, and thus their regeneration would be imperfect.

The very first distinct mention of dipping, as a mode of baptism, is by Tertullian, who lived about the beginning of the third century, and he mentions it as associated with such Romish practices as those indicated above,--“in a nude state”—for the purpose of “washing away the sins of the soul,” accompanied by the “sign of the cross,” “anointing with oil,” “blessing the water.” Etc.; and Tertullian himself acknowledges that all these (dipping included) are based on tradition, and are destitute of Scriptural authority.

Baptists are fond of claiming the practice of the early centuries as wholly in their favor. But is they take this as authority for immersion they must take the other superstitions mentioned above along with it. There is the very same evidence in favor of immersing, divested of all clothing, and accompanied with numerous Romish rites, as there is for immersing at all; so that these practices must stand or fall together.

It took a great deal more than dipping into water to constitute baptism in the estimation of the “ancients,” to whose practice the Baptists are constantly appealing as authority. “Tell us,” says Dr. Dale in “Christic Baptism,” “of one man who, during a thousand years after the institution of baptism, wrote or said, or believed, that dipping into water was Christian baptism?” “To dip,” was in the estimation of these persons [the ancients], only a small meaning of baptizo. Nor was the dipping practiced by Rome and the Eastern churches required to be total. The head was not necessarily put under the water, and frequently there were severe laws against doing so.  This dipping would not therefore be recognized by modern Baptists as baptism at all. Where then is the sense or honesty of appealing to it as precedent and authority?  

Dipping, as now practiced by the Baptists, Tunkards, Campbellites, Mormons, etc., cannot be traced further back in the history of the past than September 12th, 1633, when John Spilesberry and a few others began the first regular Baptist church on earth—and the first exclusive dippers on earth. Prior to that date, immersion was regarded only as a mode, not the only mode of baptism. The theory of exclusive immersion is a modern novelty, it thrusts “much water” between the soul and Christ, and its tendency is to make its advocates bitter and intolerant.

It ought to be mentioned here that the Waldenses of Piedmont, who always stood separate from the corruptions of Rome, always baptized a Scriptural way, by sprinkling—(1) They say so in many words. (2) They put down dipping as among the superstitions of Rome . (3) No trace of the “burial theory” can be found in their writings, but their Confessions make baptism an external sign of internal grace—the sprinkling of the soul by the blood of Christ. (4) It was through the influence of these pure Apostolic churches that Rome, during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, was compelled to abandon her heathenish dipping, and come back to the Scriptural mode of baptism, by effusion or sprinkling.

There is no baptism by immersion in the Bible, nor in any ancient version of the Bible—not one case from Genesis to Revelation; there is no example, precept or warrant for plunging people into water and calling that baptism. God never, so far as the record tells us, commanded one man to put another into and under water for any religious purpose whatever. It has pleased Him in his wisdom and grace to appoint pure water as the element, by the application of which, is always applied to the person, not the person applied to it.  Additions have been made in late times to this simple, clear, and precious teaching of the Word of God; but God’s revelation was finished eighteen hundred years ago, and if any one thinks that he has a dream, or a vision, or a revelation, in these last times in which he has license to add to our Bible, God has left no room in our Bible for the commandments of men. Show us one word, in any neglected corner of our Bible, which God has spoken as to the use of water in baptism beyond that of a symbol of the spiritual purification of the soul by the blood of sprinkling, and we will engrave it with gold, and write it as a frontlet between our eyes; but until that happens, we will be satisfied with the Word of God a He has given it. We will continue to endure the questioning of our Christianity, the denial of our sacramental rights, and our assignment to a lower place in the kingdom of heaven. The Lord knoweth them that are his.  




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