by Dick Ward

Friend, baptismal controversy has vexed the religious world for centuries and people today are still divided on this subject. If nothing else, this division reinforces the plea to return to the Bible to find God's answer on the subject of baptism.


Often, an appeal is made to the modern English dictionaries for the definition of baptism. The affusionist appeals to the modern dictionary because he likes the following: "To dip or immerse in water, to POUR or SPRINKLE water upon. . . ." (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 69). So, the affusionist wants to take the idea of pouring and sprinkling from the dictionary but will refuse to take other definitions from the same dictionary! For example, Baptism is defined as, "a sacrament by whose reception one becomes a Christian. . . 2. purifies. . ." Will the preacher who argues for sprinkling and pouring from Webster also take the part that states, "by whose reception one becomes a Christian. . . to cleanse, purify. . ."? Most denominational preachers deny baptism "cleanses, purifies" and they also deny the act of baptism makes one a Christian. let us look carefully at the Bible to learn about scriptural baptism.


Look at the clear picture painted for us in the following scriptures speaking of baptism. Can we think sprinkling and pouring are "modes of baptism" after reading the following?

"went up straightway out of the water" Matthew 3:16
"because there was much water there" John 3:23
"and they went down both into the water" Acts 8:38
"buried with Him by baptism" Romans 6:4
"buried with Him in baptism" Colossians 2:12

No question now can be in the mind of the Bible-believer. We see baptism described as a "burial" not a sprinkling or a pouring! Also, the leading Greek scholars in the colleges and universities are quick to point out there is not a standard Greek-English lexicon that gives sprinkle or pour as meanings for baptizo. Two arguments can clearly show BAPTISM is not sprinkling or pouring: (1) The formal definition of the original Greek word and (2) the Bible word picture describing the act of baptism as a "burial". --Dick Ward

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Dick Ward for the article! He can be reached at 18 El Dorado East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405; (205) 556-2407).

Email the Editor at