An ordinance immediately instituted by Christ (Mat_28:19, Mat_28:20), and designed to be observed in the church, like that of the Supper, “till he come.” The words “baptize” and “baptism” are simply Greek words transferred into English. It means to dip a thing into an element or liquid. In the LXX, the Greek version of the Old Testament, it is used of the ablutions and baptisms required by the Mosaic law. These were effected by immersion, and the same word, “washings” (Heb_9:10, Heb_9:13, Heb_9:19, Heb_9:21) or “baptisms,” designates them all. Moreover, all of the instances of baptism recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (Act_2:38-41; Act_8:26-39; Act_9:17, Act_9:18; Act_22:12-16; Act_10:44-48; Act_16:32-34) suggests the idea that it was by dipping the person baptized, i.e. by immersion.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two symbolical ordinances of the New Testament. The Supper represents the work of Christ, and Baptism the work of the Spirit. As in the Supper a small amount of bread and wine used in this ordinance exhibits in symbol the great work of Christ, so in Baptism the work of the Holy Spirit is fully seen in the water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The apostles of our Lord were baptized with the Holy Ghost (Mat_3:11) by his coming upon them (Act_1:8). The fire also with which they were baptized sat upon them. The extraordinary event of Pentecost was explained by Peter as a fulfillment of the ancient promise that the Spirit would be poured out in the last days (Act_2:17). He uses also with the same reference the expression shed forth as descriptive of the baptism of the Spirit (Act_2:33). In the Pentecostal baptism “the apostles were not dipped into the Spirit, nor plunged into the Spirit; but the Spirit was shed forth, poured out, fell on them (Act_11:15), came upon them, sat on them.”
The subjects of baptism. This raises questions of greater importance than those relating to its mode.
The controversy here is not about “believers’ baptism,” for that is common to all parties. Believers were baptized in apostolic times, and they have been baptized in all time by all the branches of the church. It is altogether a misrepresentation to allege, as is sometimes done by Baptists, that their doctrine is “believers’ baptism,” Every instance of adult baptism, or of “believers’ baptism,” recorded in the New Testament is just such as would be dealt with in precisely the same way by all branches of the Protestant Church, a profession of faith or of their being “believers” would be required from every one of them before baptism. The point in dispute is not the baptism of believers, but whether the infant children of believers, i.e., of members of the church, ought to be baptized.