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Should you be baptized?

Why be baptized? WHAT IS baptism?
Is it a religious "rite" required by this or that church? Should it be done in infancy?
Should you be sprinkled, poured upon, dabbed at with a damp cloth — or immersed?
What is a valid baptism in God's sight?


“REPENT!" screamed the panting, perspiring evangelist to a crowd of avid followers in Brooklyn, New York.

It was a hot, steamy, sweltering day, with the heat assailing them in waves from the blistering pavement under their feet. As the hoarse voice of the street corner evangelist grew in fervor and intensity, the excitement of the crowd mounted.

Finally, an impassioned street corner plea for repentance was given. Dozens rushed up — tears coursing dusty rivulets down flushed and perspiring faces as they were swept along on the crest of a tidal wave of human emotion.

They were baptized — right then and there.

The method?

The evangelist had secured permission from the city Fire Department. He turned on a street-corner fireplug, and SPRAYED THE WHOLE CROWD — with a fire hose!

Was this baptism VALID?


The Scene Changes

At that same hour, on a Sunday morning, a cultured, well-dressed young couple stood solemnly, proudly holding their infant first-born before the pastor in a fashionable Methodist church.

The pastor graciously sprinkled a few drops of water over the wee bit of humanity. The baby had been baptized.

Was this baptism valid?

The scene shifts again. A baptizing service is in progress in a Baptist church. In waterproof costumes and black robes both the pastor and candidates step down into the tank of water. The pastor bends the candidates over backward, completely immersing them under the water.

Is this the proper mode of baptizing?

Simultaneously, unknown to any of these participants, still another baptizing service is under way, far outside the city. In a swiftly running stream a minister is immersing a number of candidates, also burying them completely. But this minister shunned the water of the baptizing tank. He buried them in the running stream.

Was this baptism more valid than the others?

Pouring, sprinkling, immersing. Indoors, outdoors. Babies, being sprinkled. Some adults being required to repent. Others baptized on profession of Christ without any repentance.

In many churches there is no baptizing whatever.

But it seems that in all there is CONFUSION.

Does anybody KNOW which is right? Does it make any difference which WAY — or whether one is baptized at all? WHY such confusion?


A Confusing World of Religion

Jesus Christ said such things would happen!

He warned you would be living in a world literally filled with religious confusion. He said, "Take heed no man deceives you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:4, 5). Notice Christ said MANY would be deceived, and that MANY would come "in His name," that is, using the name of Jesus Christ as if they had His authority.

He said, "And, many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:11).

In the hodge-podge of conflicts, schisms, splits, divisions, arguments, personal interpretations, and private philosophies that make up our Western world of Christian religion — one starkly clear fact stands out: These plain-spoken prophecies of Jesus Christ have come to be true, LITERALLY!

Today, there are well over TWO HUNDRED different recognized "denominations" — each professing to be preaching and teaching exactly what is in the Bible — and enough other schisms and splits, or independent :organizations" to make up more than 400 differing bodies in the Western world of Christianity!


Can They All Be Right?

Oftentimes, when a person hears The WORLD TOMORROW for the first few times, or reads his first few issues of The PLAIN TRUTH magazine, he is inclined to say, "But SURELY all these churches can't be wrong?"

But why can't they?

Jesus Christ of Nazareth SAID the great majority WOULD BE!

Most never think to put it this way:

"SURELY, all these churches CAN'T BE RIGHT!" All you need to do is simply add two and two together. The very fact there ARE so many different views proves, in itself, the latter statement! No, they CAN'T all be right!

The dilemma facing each layman, then, is to find out WHO is right, and how you can PROVE IT!

Remember, the Apostle Paul said, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (I Thes. 5:21). Isaiah said, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20). The Apostle Paul taught a group of Jews in Berea who were, "more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11) .

Remember! "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Tim. 3:16).

THAT is why we constantly say, on The WORLD TOMORROW program or in the pages of The PLAIN TRUTH magazine, "Don't believe ME, don't believe us, unless or until you check up, and PROVE everything in your own Bible!"

Be sure you DO carefully prove, to your own complete and total satisfaction, that you know the plain truth about baptism — by checking up on these scriptures in your own Bible!


Christ COMMANDED Baptism!

Jesus Christ of Nazareth was baptized! Later, you will see baptism is an outward symbol of the BURIAL of the old self, and of the resurrection to life — to live in a new and a different way! Baptism is commanded as an outward sign of our REPENTANCE, and willingness to surrender our lives completely to God — being willing to bury the old self.

Jesus never sinned! He did not NEED to be baptized as a repentant sinner — but only because "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (I Pet. 2:21). Christ's baptism, then, was an EXAMPLE to all true Christians.

"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:13-17). Notice! Jesus said, "Permit it to be so now — for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness." John RECOGNIZED Jesus did not need to be baptized, but that, rather, JOHN was the one who needed baptism!

Jesus was setting us an EXAMPLE to follow.

After Christ's trial in the wilderness, He "began to preach and to say, REPENT, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). Jesus' message was that of REPENTANCE.

But Christ really meant it. He meant to really repent — not just experience an emotional upset or disturbance.

God says, "For godly sorrow worketh REPENTANCE to salvation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world worketh DEATH! (II Cor. 7:10). There is a "sorrow of this world" which is sheerly human and physical — it is EMOTIONAL — but it works death.

What about it? Do YOU know the difference between sheer human emotion, which would even lead some to sob and SHED TEARS as they "go down the aisle," and GODLY SORROW which leads to real repentance?

Jesus said, "Except you REPENT you shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3, 5).

In His parable of the one lost sheep, and the "ninety and nine," Jesus said, "I say unto you that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that REPENTS more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance!" (Luke 15:7).

Jesus gave this example to show what a RARE thing it is when one really repents. If you have never read our article on the Bible definition of REAL REPENTANCE — then write for it immediately.