The Foundation Principles

4. Doctrine of baptisms


This teaching is the third principle of those mentioned in Hebrews. Scripture speaks of four baptisms of which only the last two will concern us in our study of foundations. The four are :

i. The baptism of John.

This was practised by John the Baptist and was involved with a message of repentance.

Mark 1:4 (NIV) And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

ii. The baptism of suffering.

Jesus spoke of this in reference to the surrender of His whole being to the will of the Father that He would be the price to be paid for sin.

Luke 12:50 (NIV) But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!

iii. Baptism in Water.

Christian baptism in water was commanded by the Lord. This was to involve the authority of the threefold name.

Mat 28:19 (NIV) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

iv. Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is being endued with power from on high. Jesus spoke of this and contrasted it with water baptism.

Acts 1:5 (NIV) For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 1:8 (NIV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Baptism is derived from the Greek word ‘ baptizo ‘ which means to dip, immerse, submerge or plunge. Literally to put into or under water, (or any penetrable substance.) so as to entirely immerse or submerge.

The root word of ‘ baptizo ‘ is bapto. This occurs in the following extracts.

Luke 16:24 (NIV) So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip (BAPTO.) the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
John 13:26 (NIV) Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped (BAPTO.) it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon.
Rev 19:13 (NIV) He is dressed in a robe dipped (BAPTO.) in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

The meaning supports the idea of immersion into a fluid. (i.e. to dip.) Linguistic study will also strongly support the view that baptizo means fully immersed. as does the New Testament allegory that likens baptism to burial.


These two activities of the church have become confused in many places. Where the local church practises infant baptism by sprinkling or by partial immersion the confusion is more likely to occur.

i. The name and baptism.

We should note that Christian baptism is to involve the name of the triune Godhead. This is spoken over the candidate together with the laying on of hands, followed by full immersion in water. It is ‘ believer ‘ baptism.

Mark 16:16 (NIV) Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

The requirement for baptism is that a person first believes the gospel.

ii. The name in Christening.

The infant is given a ‘Christian ‘ name with which he/she will be identified while with the earthly church. The Elder/minister has the authority given by the Lord and does all things in the name of Jesus but since the infant cannot repent in faith and believe, this is not ‘ baptizo ‘ or Christian baptism. This ceremony is more closely identified with dedication, as seen in the example of Jesus

Luke 2:22 (NIV) When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.
Luke 2:23 (NIV) (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”),


Because of the importance of these two believer baptisms a separate chapter will be written for each.

Note: Any adult, baptised Christian may perform the act of baptism. All Christians are priests before the Lord and as such may baptise in the Name of the Lord.