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Christian Denominations & What they believe: Water Baptism

Water Baptism: When available, all of the teachings and practices are from the website of the organization itself.  Many denominations will have an official Statement of Fundamental belief and others will have a more fluid offering of their beliefs.

Denomination Water Baptism
Anglican (Episcopal) “…baptism service is similar to the service for a child’s baptism, except that because you make the decision and the promises yourself, there is no role required for parents or godparents (who make decisions and promises on behalf of a child)… you may be either fully immersed in water, or, you may simply have water poured or wiped on your head.”  Done by a vicar (clergy person – priest – or clergy representative).

“Anglicans will tend to say that someone who has been baptized as an infant and then baptized as a professing believer is being ‘re-baptized;’ whereas a Baptist will tend to speak of the believer as their first ‘true’ baptism.”

The position of the Church of England, Anglican and “the Episcopal Church as part of the Anglican Communion…” is they believe in infant and or adult baptism; and no need for immersion.

Assemblies of God “We believe… and practice two ordinances – Water Baptism by immersion after repenting of one’s sins and receiving Christ’s gift of salvation, and in Holy Communion (the Lord’s Supper)…” “The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures.”

The position of the AOG is baptism by immersion ‘under water’ at an age of accountability or understanding.


(Southern Baptist Convention)

“Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. …It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.”

The position of the SBC is parents can have infants baptized; but only an adult believer being baptized by immersion meets the “act of obedience.”

Catholic Church “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213).

“The early Church admitted three valid methods of baptism: immersion, sprinkling, and pouring.” “The Council of Carthage, in 253, condemned the opinion that baptism should be withheld from infants until the eighth day after birth. Later, Augustine taught, “The custom of Mother Church in baptizing infants is certainly not to be scorned . . . nor is it to be believed that its tradition is anything except apostolic” (Literal Interpretation of Genesis 10:23:39 [A.D. 408]).”

The position of the Roman Catholic Church is that baptism is a sacrament to be performed by a priest; and that infant baptism is as adequate as adult baptism.





Lutheran Church Missouri Synod




Martin Luther’s

Large Catechism

Lutherans bible that a person is saved by God’s grace through faith, but that baptism is important.  The Missouri Synod ( states, “we believe that when an infant is baptized God creates faith in the heart of that infant.  We believe …that infants can believe (Matt.18:6) and that new birth happens in Baptism (John 3:5-7)… Faith can also be created in a person’s heart by the power of the Holy Spirit working through God’s Word… The LCMS does not believe that Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation… The Scriptures distinguish Baptism and the spoken Word – but do not separate them; they are both means of grace… only one Baptism (Eph. 4:5).  There is no indication that God has limited this …basis on age or maturity.”

Martin Luther’s Catechism states, “The Lord Christ says in the last chapter of Matthew, “Go into all the world, teach all the heathen, and baptize them…  The one who believes and is baptized will be saved… To be baptized in God’s name is to be baptized not by human beings but by God Himself… Thus, it is not simply a natural water, but a divine, heavenly, holy and blessed water…  it is called a sacrament, as St. Augustine taught, ‘Accedat verbum ad elementum et fit sacramentum,’ which means that ‘when the Word is added to the element or the natural substance, it becomes a sacrament,’ that is, a holy, divine thing and sign…  Christians always have enough to do to believe firmly what baptism promises and brings—victory over death and the devil, forgiveness of sin, God’s grace, the entire Christ, and the Holy Spirit with his gifts.  we must regard baptism and put it to use in such a way that we may draw strength and comfort from it when our sins or conscience oppress us, and say: ‘But I am baptized! And if I have been baptized, I have the promise that I shall be saved and have eternal life, both in soul and body.’ This is the reason why these two things are done in baptism; the body has water poured over it, because all it can receive is the water, and in addition the Word is spoken so that the soul may receive it. Because the water and the Word together constitute one baptism, both body and soul shall be saved and live forever: the soul through the Word in which it believes, the body because it is united with the soul and apprehends baptism in the only way it can.”

In other writings Luther said, “you only received the sacrament of baptism once, you are continually baptized anew by faith…”





“Baptism is a sacrament. In a sacrament, God uses common elements – in this case, water – as means or vehicles of divine grace. Baptism is administered by the church as the Body of Christ. It is the act of God through the grace of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit…

Salvation is a lifelong process during which we must continue to respond to God’s grace. Baptism offers the promise that the Holy Spirit will always be working in our lives, but salvation requires our acceptance of that grace, trust in Christ, and ongoing growth in holiness as long as we live.”

“Baptist is entry into the Church.  The use of the biblical term covenant links baptism and its related services to the work of God on behalf of God’s people.  A covenant is a two-sided agreement involving promises and responsibilities of both parties…”

Orthodox Church




In part from





“Holy Baptism is the first of seven Sacraments in the Orthodox Christian Church. Together with the Sacrament of Holy Chrismation it joins the candidate to the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. Some people argue that the only valid baptism is that of an adult who believes in Christ first. They argue that to baptize a helpless infant only a few weeks old who is unable to believe is meaningless. So why baptize a baby when it doesn’t know yet what is happening? Why not wait for the baby to grow and believe in Christ and ask for baptism? If we were to follow this line of reasoning, we wouldn’t inoculate the baby against diphtheria until he grows up and asks for it! But we know better. Baptizing infants before they know what is going on is an expression of God’s great love for us. It shows that God loves us and accepts us before we can ever know and love Him. It shows that we are wanted and loved by God from the very moment of our birth. Nothing shows the nature of God’s grace more than infant baptism. The Orthodox Church does not belittle personal faith in an adult who seeks baptism, but instead insists that the whole emphasis of baptism is not in what the baby does or the parents or the godparents, but on what God does. The fact that we are Christians is not due to any act on our part; it is due to the act of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Of course Baptism demands a personal response on the part of the baptized child when it reaches the age of reason. The child must accept what God did for him or her in Baptism. Baptism is not a divine pass that will get us into Heaven automatically. It must be followed by a personal awareness or awakening to the many gifts of God’s love bestowed upon us through this great sacrament.”  “The purpose of Holy Baptism.  To remove the consequences of the original sin.  To was away all other sins committed before the time of Baptism if the person is above the age of infancy… To united the person to ‘the Body of Christ (the Church)’…”

Rite in part Priest says: “…That he (she) that is about to be baptized herein may become worthy of the incorruptible Kingdom; let us pray to the Lord.  That he (she) that now comes to holy Illumination and for his (her) salvation; let us pray to the Lord.  That he (she) may prove to be a child of Light, and an inheritor of eternal blessings; let us pray to the Lord. That he (she) may grow in, and become a partaker of the Death and Resurrection of Christ our God; let us pray to the Lord.  That he (she) may preserve the garment of Baptism, and the earnest of the Spirit undefiled and blameless in the terrible Day of Christ our God; let us pray to the Lord…”




“The saving gospel is the good news that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.  We obey the gospel by repentance (death to sin), water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial sign of speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance…”

“He that believes and is baptized shall be saved… (Mark 16:16).”


“Baptism unites us with Jesus Christ and makes us members of God’s family, the church. It is God’s gift of grace and also his summons to respond to that grace. It is a promise of repentance, faithfulness, and discipleship. Presbyterians believe baptism is a public confession, not a private one. It is a statement of faith made in the presence of others. Presbyterians believe sacraments in themselves do not save people or even help us to have more faith, and unbaptized people are not necessarily denied salvation. The baptism of infants and children witnesses to the truth that God’s love claims people before they are able to respond in faith. When an infant is baptized, it is God’s activity—God acts to make us his own, pledging himself to us. Furthermore, the parents and the church family commit themselves to nurture the child in faith.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses

“Baptism is a requirement for Christians.  …Jesus directed that his disciples be baptized. (Matthew 28:19, 20) In fact, Jesus himself submitted to baptism. To follow Christ, you need to be baptized when you’re mature enough to make that decision and have a genuine desire to do so.

…Baptism is a public symbol of your dedication to Jehovah. The Bible says that baptism is an important step to gaining salvation. (1 Peter 3:21) This doesn’t mean, though, that baptism is like an insurance policy that you buy to protect yourself in case disaster should strike. You get baptized because you love Jehovah and want to serve him forever with your whole heart. …Baptism is a life-altering step that leads to many blessings. At the same time, it entails a serious responsibility—that of living up to a personal dedication you’ve made to Jehovah.”


“…Baptism by immersion in water by one having authority is the first saving ordinance of the gospel and is necessary for an individual to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to receive eternal salvation. All who seek eternal life must follow the example of the Savior by being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.  The Savior revealed the true method of baptism to the Prophet Joseph Smith, making clear that the ordinance must be performed by one having priesthood authority and that it must be done by immersion:

“The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

“Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water” (D&C 20:73–74).

Immersion is symbolic of the death of a person’s sinful life and the rebirth into a spiritual life, dedicated to the service of God and His children. It is also symbolic of death and resurrection. (See Romans 6:3–6.)”

Seventh – day



Baptism symbolizes and declares our new faith in Christ and our trust in His forgiveness. Buried in the water, we arise to a new life in Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit.  By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings. (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38; 16:30-33; 22:16; Rom. 6:1-6; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12, 13.)”



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