Question:I get confused about baptism. I believe a person should be baptized by immersion. Some feel the mode does not matter - just as long as you get baptized. I have attended a Baptist church that says baptism does not save you - that the thief on the cross next to Jesus was saved and he was not baptized. They also believe in the sinner's prayer. I'm thinking they feel that THIS saves you.
The word "baptized" in English is a transliteration of a Greek word. English letters were substituted for the Greek letters, but the meaning of word remains the same. Baptizo means to immerse or to submerge. It is the word the Greeks used when saying a ship sunk at sea, or when you were dying cloth. Thus, in the Bible there is only one mode of baptism -- immersion. Sprinkling and pouring of water were innovations which came many years after the Bible was completed. Knowing this, take a look at Paul's illustration of the purpose of baptism:
"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin" (Romans 6:3-7).
Since baptism represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, as well as the believers death to sin and resurrection to a new life, which mode of modern-day baptism carries out this symbolism? Do we bury a person by sprinkling a little dirt on top or is the body completely covered over? Only immersion demonstrates the symbolism.
In regards to the thief on the cross, I get asked this so often, I'm just going to point you to the answer. See: "What about the thief on the cross?"
Rather than going by what people claim, wouldn't it be better to do what God tells you to do?
Thank you so much for getting back to me on this subject. Such a complete help to me! I appreciate this so very much. I feel I'm "back on track" now. I need to find a good Church of Christ or one that adheres to these teachings.
Let me know what city you are in and I'll see if I can find a nearby congregation for you.