Baptism: A Sacrament by which a person is cleansed of all sin, by water, and by the Word of GOD.
In Baptism sin goes out and GOD comes in.
"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." CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) 1213.
In Baptism, we become the sons and daughters of GOD.

of Baptism, prefigurements from the Old Testament...

The Lord said to Moses, "Take the Levites from among the Israelites and purify them. This is what you shall do to them to purify them. Sprinkle them with the water of remission then have them shave their whole bodies and wash their clothes, and so purify themselves."
Numbers 8:5-6

"Any unclean man who fails to have himself purified shall be cut off from the community, because he defiles the sanctuary of the Lord. As long as the lustral water has not been splashed over him, he remains unclean. This shall be a perpetual ordinance for you." Num 19:20-21

"Sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed; wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow ."
Psalms 51:9

"Wash your heart from wickedness, O Jerusalem, that you may be saved."
Jeremiah 4:14

"For I will take you from among the Gentiles, and will gather you together out of all the countries, and I will bring you into your own land. And I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols. And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh. And I will put My Spirit in the midst of you, and I will cause you to walk in My Commandments, and to keep My judgments and to do them." Ezek 36:24-27

"...And I will save them out of all the places in which they have sinned, and I will cleanse them, and they shall be My people, and I will be their GOD."
Ezekiel 37:23

"In that day there shall be a fountain open to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; for the washing of the sinner, and of the unclean woman."
Zechariah 13:1

The first mention of Baptism in the New Testament is in the story of John the Baptist...

"...and they were Baptized by him in the Jordan."
Matthew 3:6

However, the Baptism by St. John was not yet a Christian Baptism, which began with Jesus Baptizing His disciples in John 3:22, and for all after the Resurrection of Christ. St John's was a Baptism of repentance.

"I indeed baptize you with water, for repentance. But He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to bear. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire."
Matthew 3:11

"If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture says, From within Him there shall flow rivers of living water." He said this, however, of the Spirit whom they who believed in Him were to receive; FOR THE SPIRIT HAD NOT YET BEEN GIVEN, SINCE JESUS HAD NOT YET BEEN GLORIFIED.
John 7:37-39

And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?" But they said to him, "We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "How then were you baptized?" They said, "With John's baptism." Then Paul said, "John baptized the people with a baptism of repentance, telling them to believe in Him who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus." On hearing this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus;"
Acts 19:2-5

What Church Fathers had to say about the Baptism by St. John...

"Even the Lord Himself said that unless He first ascended to the Father, the Spirit would not otherwise descend (John 16:7). Thus, what the Lord was not yet conferring, certainly the servant was not able to supply. Accordingly, we find afterwards in the Acts of the Apostles that those who had the Baptism of John had not received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-5)."
Tertullian, Baptism, 10:4

"Know then, my beloved, that the Baptism of John was of no value for the forgiveness of sins, but for repentance."
Aphraates, Treatises, 12:10

"I ask then, if the Baptism of John remitted sins, what more could the Baptism of Christ do for those whom the Apostle Paul wanted to be baptized with the Baptism of Christ after they had received the Baptism of John? (Acts 19:4-5)"
St. Augustine, Baptism, 5:10:12

"...but those of whom John baptized, were they not baptized again?"
St. Augustine, Homilies on John, 5:18

It is to be noted that the same holds true for the Baptisms given by the Apostles also before the resurrection. It was not until Acts 2:3-4, when the Apostles received the Holy Spirit, that they were able to perform the Baptism of Christ.
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the very ends of the earth."
Acts 1:8.
"And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak."
Acts 2:3-4.

Soon after the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles began Baptizing the people...

"But Peter said to them, 'Repent and be Baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'."
Acts 2:38

"Now they who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand."
Acts 2:41.

"And now why do you delay? Get up and be Baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name."
Acts 22:16

Where is the authorization for Baptism?

"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
Matthew 28:19

Q. Who can Baptize?
A. Anyone who has the right intention to do what the Church does and has the use of reason.

Q. Who can be Baptized?
A. Anyone who has not been Baptized and who has the right intention. Anyone can be Baptized conditionally if there is doubt.

Q. What is the proper way to Baptize?
A. "The essential rite of Baptism consists in immersing the candidate in water or pouring water on his head, while pronouncing the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church...CCC-1278

Questions I have received regarding Baptism. My answers follow.

Baptism by immersion, I believe, is the only valid Baptism. After all, the very word Baptism, is taken from the Greek word 'baptizo' which means 'to dip'. Why doesn't the Catholic Church Baptize by immersion?

Yes you are right that the Greek word 'baptizo' (also 'baptisma', and 'baptismos' for baptism) means to dip. However, it also means to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to MAKE CLEAN WITH WATER, to wash ones self, or to bathe. If you wish to use the word 'dip' as the only meaning of baptism, then to 'dip' ones hand or foot in the water would be correct also. Is the purpose of Baptism to clean our bodies by immersion, or to 'make clean' our souls and make them pleasing to GOD, by the removal of original sin?
The Catholic Church does Baptize by immersion when requested, see CCC-1278.
Not all Catholic Churches have the facilities to Baptize by immersion, so you might have to go to a Church which does.
Now, why do you ask this? Is it because Jesus Christ was Baptized by immersion? If so, then I will have to say, He was crucified too before He arose into heaven. Does that mean we have to be crucified also before we can enter heaven?
Show me in the Bible where every time a Baptism was performed, it was said it was done by immersion? Show me where Jesus Christ was immersed? Scripture says He came up from the water, Matt 3:16, Mark 1:10. It does not say He was immersed. Throughout Scripture it says Baptize with water. Never does it say Baptize immersed in water. Jesus Christ said in John 3:5, "...unless a man be born again of water..." Again He did not say, 'born again Immersed in water'.
John 13:6-10, "He came, then, to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord do you wash my feet?" (7) Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you know not now; but you shall know hereafter." (8) Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you shall have no part with Me." (9) Simon Peter said to Him, "LORD, NOT MY FEET ONLY, BUT ALSO MY HANDS AND MY HEAD!" (10) JESUS SAID TO HIM, "HE WHO HAS BATHED NEEDS ONLY TO WASH, AND HE IS CLEAN ALL OVER. And you are clean, but not all.""
Verse 8 makes it clear that Jesus is talking about Baptism. Verse 10 makes it clear that the whole body does not have to be washed to make it clean. It is obvious that He is not talking of a cleansing of the body, but of the soul, thus making baptismal immersion not mandatory.

Go back and read Ezekiel 36:25 again. The Old Testament "type" of Baptism was by pouring or sprinkling.

The "Didache" is a  genuine historical document which contains the teachings of the Apostles.
Here is how they performed early Baptisms...

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;
7:2 but if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;
7:3 but if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
7:4 But before the baptism, let him who baptizeth and him who is baptized fast previously, and any others who may be able. And thou shalt command him who is baptized to fast one or two days before.

Notice that the Apostles made no mention of "Baptism by Immersion" in this document..

Q. The Catholic Church Baptizes infants. Show me the Biblical authority to do this?

A. Where does it say in Holy Scripture, "Do not Baptize infants"? Show me the Biblical authority NOT to Baptize infants?

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 28:19, "GO, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit..."
He did not say adults only did he? Did he ever put an age limit to receive Baptism?

Acts 22:16, "and now WHY DO YOU DELAY? Get up and be Baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name."
So why do you delay in Baptizing your children?

Acts 2:38, But Peter said to them, "Repent and be Baptized every one of you..."
I would say that verse would include everyone, including infants and children of all ages. Peter did not say to leave your infants at home.

Acts 16:15, "And when she and her household had been Baptized..."
Did her household have infants maybe? Did Luke say "everyone in her household except infants"?

Acts 16:33, "And he took them at that very hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he and ALL his family were baptized immediately."
Again, were infants excepted here?

1Corinthians 1:16, "I Baptized also the household of Stephanas..."
Did Paul say "everyone except infants"?

Luke 3:21, "Now it came to pass when all the people had been baptized..."
Aren't infants part of "all the people"?

For those who deny infant baptism, the burden of proof is upon you to show that in all of the verses listed above there were no infants in all of those households and families.

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 19:14, "Let the little children be, and do not hinder them from coming to me."
He also said in John 3:5, "...unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD."
How are they to come to Him unless they are Baptized?
Those who say not to Baptize infants clearly have a Biblical conflict here, and they risk the salvation of the souls of their children.

The baptism of the New Testament makes a man a Christian, and baptism saves,
Acts 2:38, Romans 6:4, 1Peter 3:21.
The "type" of baptism in the Old Testament was circumcision, which made a man a Jew,
Genesis 17:10-14.
Circumcision had to be done early in life, on the eighth day of birth.
"He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male throughout your generations..."
Genesis 17:12
Eight days old and every male, certainly does include infants, does it not?
I must ask: Since circumcision of infants was so important for the GOD of the Old Testament,
why then are children excluded from Baptism by some in the New Testament?

"When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him as GOD had commanded him."
Genesis 21:4

"And when eight days were fulfilled for his circumcision, his name was called Jesus..."
Luke 2:21

Where in the Old Testament does it say not to circumcise infants?

Once again, where does it say in the New Testament not to baptize infants?

One final note regarding infant baptism:

Infant baptism in the Catholic Church is just about the strongest demonstration of salvation without works that there could possibly be.
The infant can do nothing, nor does the infant need to do anything, in order to be "saved". The church freely supplies all that's necessary, including the water, the faith, and the grace, while the infant truly becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit, an adopted child of God, a member of the Church, and co-heir with Jesus Christ ... simply because God desires all to be saved.
The Catholic sacrament of Confirmation later allows each person to make the declaration of faith that was made for them at baptism.

"Have I then become your enemy, because I told you the truth?"
Galatians 4:16

Compiled by Bob Stanley, October 25, 1999
Updated, December 2, 2002
Updated March 27, 2007

A special thanks to Larry Douglas for his valuable input.

Do not forget towear your glasses!

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