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Questions and Answers | Baptism - Sprinkling or Immersion?

If I was baptized as an infant by sprinkling, do I need to undergo baptism by immersion?

Baptism is a significant step in the life of a believer. Often it is a time celebrated by friends, immediate and extended family, and church members. But, as you’ve noted, baptism takes various forms in different faith traditions.

You say that you were baptized as an infant, which follows the tradition of paedobaptism. In Roman Catholic teaching, the baptism of an infant is believed to ensure the salvation of the child. In the Reformed tradition, infant baptism is a covenant sign, holding out the hope of the salvation of the child but not guaranteeing it. In both cases, paedobaptism occurs before the child has made a personal profession of faith.

In contrast, the tradition of credobaptism (or what many call believer’s baptism) is performed on those who have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. It occurs after salvation and is not a part of salvation. Believer’s baptism usually occurs through immersion into water. This follows the type of baptism we see in the New Testament, when John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River (Matt. 3:13–17). Baptism by immersion portrays the mysterious union of the believer dying with Christ, being buried with Him, and rising with Him (Rom. 6:3–5).

The issue of whether or not you should be baptized as an adult by immersion depends upon your personal choice and the requirements of your church for membership. I would encourage you to consult with your pastor or elders as you decide whether or not to be baptized again as a professing follower of Jesus.

BY Dr. Eric C. Redmond

Dr. Eric C. Redmond serves as a professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and as associate pastor of adult ministries at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Ill. He is married to Pam and they have five children. He is the author of Say It!  Celebrating Expository Preaching in the African American Tradition (Moody Publishers), Where Are All the Brothers? Straight Answers to Men's’ Questions about the Church (Crossway), a commentary on Jonah in the Christ-Centered Exposition Series (B&H Publishers), and a study guide on Ephesians in the Knowing the Bible series (Crossway).

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