Since my recent video inviting all baptized Christians to share the Lord’s evening meal with us, there has been a lot of activity in the comment sections of the English and Spanish YouTube channels questioning the whole issue of baptism. For many, the question is whether their former baptism as a Catholic or a Jehovah’s Witness is valid; and if not, how to go about being rebaptized. For others, the question of baptism seems incidental, with some claiming that only faith in Jesus is needed. I wish to address all these views and concerns in this video. My understanding from Scripture is that baptism is a solemn and vital requirement for Christianity.
Let me explain it with a little illustration about driving in Canada.
I’m turning 72 this year. I started driving when I was 16 years old. I have put over 100,000 km on my current car. So that means I’ve easily driven more than a million kilometers in my life. A lot more. I try to obey all the rules of the road. I think I’m a pretty good driver, but the fact that I have all this experience and obey all the traffic laws does not mean that the government of Canada recognizes me as a legal driver. For that to be the case, I must meet two requirements: the first is to carry a valid driver’s license and the other is an insurance policy.
If I’m stopped by the police and cannot produce both of these certificates – a driver’s license and proof of insurance – it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been driving and how good a driver I am, I’m still going to get in trouble with the law.
Similarly, there are two requirements Jesus established for every Christian to meet. The first is to be baptized in his name. At the first mass baptism following the outpouring of the holy spirit, we have Peter telling the crowd:
“. . .Repent, and let each one of YOU be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ . . .” (Acts 2:38)
“. . .But when they believed Philip, who was declaring the good news of the kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, they proceeded to be baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)
“. . .With that he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.. . .” (Acts 10:48)
“. . .On hearing this, they got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 19:5)
There are more, but you get the point. If you’re wondering why they didn’t baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as Matthew 28:19 reads, there is a strong body of evidence that indicates that verse was added by a scribe in the 3rd century to bolster belief in the Trinity, since no manuscript from before that time contains it.
For a more thorough explanation of this, please check out this video.
Besides baptism, the other requirement of all Christians established by Jesus was to share in the bread and wine which are symbolic of his flesh and blood given in our behalf. Yes, you have to live a Christian life and you have to put faith in Jesus Christ. Just as you have to obey the rules of the road when you drive. But putting faith in Jesus and following his example won’t enable you to please God if you refuse to obey His Son’s commands to meet these two requirements.
Genesis 3:15 speaks prophetically about the seed of the woman which will eventually crush the seed of the serpent. It is the seed of the woman that puts an end to Satan. We can see that the culmination of the woman’s seed ends with Jesus Christ and includes the children of God that rule with him in the kingdom of God. Therefore, anything Satan can do to impede the gathering of this seed, the gathering of the children of God, he will do. If he can find a way to corrupt and invalidate the two requirements that identify Christians, that give them legitimacy before God, then he will delight in doing so. Sadly, Satan has had enormous success by using organized religion to pervert these two simple, but necessary, requirements.
There are many who are joining us this year for the memorial because they want to partake in accordance with the Bible’s direction on observing the Lord’s evening meal. However, a number are concerned because they are uncertain as to whether their baptism is valid. There have been many comments on both the English and Spanish YouTube channels as well as numerous emails that I get daily that show me just how widespread this concern is. Given how successful Satan has been in clouding the issue, we need to clear away the uncertainty that these various religious teachings have created in the minds of sincere individuals wanting to serve our Lord.
Let us start with the basics. Jesus did not just tell us what to do. He showed us what to do. He always leads by example.
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, in order to be baptized by him. But the latter tried to prevent him, saying: “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you, and are you coming to me?” Jesus replied to him: “Let it be this time, for in that way it is suitable for us to carry out all that is righteous.” Then he quit preventing him. After being baptized, Jesus immediately came up from the water; and look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw God’s spirit descending like a dove and coming upon him. Look! Also, a voice from the heavens said: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.”” (Matthew 3:13-17 NWT)
We can learn a great deal about baptism from this. John objected at first because he baptized people in symbol of their repentance of sin, and Jesus had no sin. But Jesus had something else in mind. He was instituting something new. Many translations render Jesus’ words as does the NASB, “Allow it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
The purpose of this baptism is much more than accepting repentance of sin. It is about ‘fulfilling all righteousness.’ Ultimately, by means of this baptism of the children of God, all righteousness will be restored to earth.
Setting an example for us, Jesus was presenting himself to do God’s will. The symbology of full immersion in water conveys the idea of dying to a former way of life and being reborn, or born again, to a new way of life. Jesus speaks of being “born again” at John 3:3, but that phrase is a translation of two Greek words that literally mean, “born from above” and John speaks of this in other places as being “born of God”. (See 1 John 3:9; 4:7)
We will be dealing with being “born again” or “born of God” in a forthcoming future video.
Notice what happened immediately after Jesus came out of the water? The Holy Spirit descended upon him. God the Father anointed Jesus with his holy spirit. At this moment, and not before, Jesus becomes the Christ or the Messiah—specifically, the anointed one. In ancient times, they would pour oil on the head of someone—that is what “anointed” means—to anoint them to some high position. The prophet Samuel poured oil, anointed, David to make him king of Israel. Jesus is the greater David. Likewise, the children of God are anointed, to rule with Jesus in his kingdom for the salvation of humankind.
Of these, Revelation 5:9, 10 says,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9, 10 ESV)
But the father doesn’t just pour out the Holy Spirit upon his son, he speaks from heaven saying, “this is my son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” Matthew 3:17
What an example God set for us. He told Jesus what every son or daughter yearns to hear from their father.
- He acknowledged him: “this is my son”
- He declared his love: “the beloved”
- And expressed his approval: “whom I have approved”
“I claim you as my child. I love you. I’m proud of you.”
We must realize that when we take this step to be baptized, this is how our heavenly father feels about us individually. He is claiming us as his child. He loves us. And he is proud of the step we have taken. There was no great pomp and circumstance to the simple act of baptism that Jesus instituted with John. Nevertheless, the ramifications are so profound to the individual as to be beyond words to express fully.
People have asked me repeatedly, “How can I go about getting baptized?” Well now you know. There is the example set by Jesus.
Ideally, you should find another Christian to perform the baptism, but if you cannot, then realize it’s a mechanical process and any human can do it, male or female. John the Baptist was not a Christian. The person doing the baptism does not confer upon you any special status. John was a sinner, not qualified even to untie the sandal that Jesus worn. It is the act of baptism itself that is important: the full immersion into and out of water. It is like signing a document. The pen you use doesn’t hold any legal value. It is your signature that matters.
Of course, when I get my driver’s license, it is with the understanding that I agree to obey the traffic laws. Likewise, when I get baptized, it is with the understanding that I will live my life by the high moral standard set by Jesus himself.
But given all that, let us not complicate the procedure unnecessarily. Consider as a guide, this Bible account:
“Tell me,” said the eunuch, “who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”
Then Philip began with this very Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
As they traveled along the road and came to some water, the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is there to prevent me from being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:34-39 BSB)
The Ethiopian sees a body of water, and asks: “What prevents me from being baptized?” Evidently, nothing. Because Philip quickly baptized him and then they each went on their separate way. Only two people are mentioned although there was somebody driving the chariot evidently, but we only hear about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. All you need is yourself, someone else, and a body of water.
Try to avoid religious ceremonies if at all possible. Remember the devil wants to invalidate your baptism. He doesn’t want people to be born again, to have the Holy Spirit descend upon them and anoint them as one of God’s children. Let us take one example of how he is accomplished this sinister work.
The Ethiopian eunuch could never have been baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses because first he would have had to answer something like 100 questions to even qualify. If he answered all of them correctly, then he would have had to answer two more questions in the affirmative at the time of his baptism.
(1) “Have you repented of your sins, dedicated yourself to Jehovah, and accepted his way of salvation through Jesus Christ?”
(2) “Do you understand that your baptism identifies you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with Jehovah’s organization?”
If you are unfamiliar with this, you might wonder why the second question is needed? After all, are Witnesses getting baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, or in the name of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society? The reason for the second question is to address legal issues. They want to attach your baptism as a Christian to membership in the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses so that they cannot be sued for revoking your membership. What this amounts to essentially is essentially that if you’re disfellowshipped, they have revoked your baptism.
But let’s not waste time with the second question, because the real sin involves the first one.
Here is how the Bible defines baptism, and notice that I’m using the New World translation since we are dealing with a doctrine of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“Baptism, which corresponds to this, is also now saving you (not by the removing of the filth of the flesh, but by the request to God for a good conscience), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:21)
So baptism is a request or appeal to God to have a good conscience. You know you are a sinner, and that you sin constantly in many ways. But because you have taken the step to get baptized so as to show the world that you now belong to the Christ, you have a basis for asking for forgiveness and getting it. The grace of God is extended to us through baptism through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and so he washes our conscience clean.
When Peter says that “which corresponds to this” he’s referring to what is stated in the previous verse. He refers to Noah and the building of the ark and likens it to being baptized. Noah had faith, but that faith was not a passive thing. That faith induced him to take a stand in a wicked world and build the ark and obey the command of God. Likewise, when we obey the command of God, we get baptized, we identify ourselves as a faithful servant of God. Like the act of building the ark and entering into it, it is baptism that saves us, because the act of being baptized allows God to pour out his Holy Spirit upon us just as he did with his son when his son performed the same act. Through that spirit, we are born again or born of God.
Of course, that’s not good enough for the Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have a different definition of baptism claiming that it corresponds or is symbolic of something else.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that baptism is a symbol of one’s dedication to God. The Insight book reads, “In a corresponding way, those who would dedicate themselves to Jehovah on the basis of faith in the resurrected Christ, get baptized in symbol of that…” (it-1 p. 251 Baptism)
“…she decided to go ahead and get baptized in symbol of her dedication to Jehovah God.” (w16 December p. 3)
But there is still more to it. This dedication is accomplished by swearing an oath or making a vow of dedication.
The Watchtower of 1987 tells us this:
“Humans who come to love the true God and who determine to serve him completely should dedicate their lives to Jehovah and then be baptized.”
“This accords with the general meaning of “vow,” as in the definition: “a solemn promise or undertaking, especially in the form of an oath to God.”—Oxford American Dictionary, 1980, page 778.
Consequently, it does not seem necessary to limit the use of the word “vow.” A person who decides to serve God may feel that, for him, his unreserved dedication amounts to a personal vow—a vow of dedication. He ‘solemnly promises or undertakes to do something,’ which is what a vow is. In this case, it is to use his life to serve Jehovah, doing His will faithfully. Such an individual should feel seriously about this. It should be as with the psalmist, who, referring to things that he had vowed, said: “What shall I repay to Jehovah for all his benefits to me? The cup of grand salvation I shall take up, and on the name of Jehovah I shall call. My vows I shall pay to Jehovah.”—Psalm 116:12-14” (w87 4/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers)
Notice that they acknowledge that a vow is a sworn oath to God. They also acknowledge this vow comes before one gets baptized, and we’ve already seen that they believe that baptism is a symbol of this oath-bound dedication. Finally, they close their line of reasoning by citing the Psalm that says “My vows I shall pay to Jehovah”.
Okay, it all seems well and good, doesn’t it? It seems logical to say that we should dedicate our lives to God, doesn’t it? In fact, there was a study article in The Watchtower just a few years ago all about baptism, and the title of the article was, “What You Vow, Pay”. (See April, 2017 Watchtower p. 3) The theme text for the article was Matthew 5:33, but in what has become more and more typical, they only quoted a part of the verse: “You must pay your vows to Jehovah.”
All of this is so wrong I hardly know where to start. Well, that’s not exactly true. I do know where to start. Let’s start with a word search. If you use the Watchtower Library program, and search on the word “baptism” as a noun or verb, you will find well over 100 occurrences in the Christian Greek Scriptures to baptism or being baptized. Obviously, a symbol is less important than the reality it represents. Therefore, if the symbol occurs 100 times and more one would expect the reality – in this case the vow of dedication – to occur as much or more. It doesn’t occur even once. There is no record of any Christian making a vow of dedication. In fact, the word dedication as a noun or verb occurs only four times in the Christian Scriptures. In one instance, at John 10:22 it refers to a Jewish Festival, the festival of dedication. In another, it refers to the dedicated things of the Jewish temple which were going to be overthrown. (Luke 21:5, 6) The other two instances both refer to the same parable of Jesus in which something dedicated is cast in a very unfavorable light.
“. . .But YOU men say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother: “Whatever I have by which you may get benefit from me is corban, (that is, a gift dedicated to God,)”’— YOU men no longer let him do a single thing for his father or his mother,” (Mark 7:11, 12—See also Matthew 15:4-6)
Now think about this. If baptism is a symbol of dedication and if every person getting baptized was supposed to make a vow to God of dedication before being immersed in water, why is the Bible silent about this? Why doesn’t the Bible tell us to make this vow before getting baptized? Does that make any sense? Did Jesus forget to tell us about this vital requirement? I don’t think so, do you?
The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses has made this up. They have fabricated a false requirement. In doing so, they have not only corrupted the baptismal process but have induced Jehovah’s Witnesses to disobey a direct command of Jesus Christ. Let me explain.
Going back to the aforementioned 2017 Watchtower article, let’s read the whole of the context of the articles theme text.
“Again you heard that it was said to those of ancient times: ‘You must not swear without performing, but you must pay your vows to Jehovah.’ However, I say to you: Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, since you cannot turn one hair white or black. Just let your word ‘Yes’ mean yes, your ‘No,’ no, for what goes beyond these is from the wicked one.” (Matthew 5:33-37 NWT)
The point the Watchtower article is making is that you have to keep your vow of dedication, but the point Jesus is making is that the making of vows is a thing of the past. He commands us not to do it anymore. He goes so far as to say that making vows or swearing oaths comes from the wicked one. That would be Satan. So here we have the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses requiring Jehovah’s Witnesses to make a vow, to swear an oath to God of dedication, when Jesus tells them not only not to do that, but warns them that it comes from a satanic source.
In defense of the watchtower doctrine, some have said, “What’s wrong with being dedicated to God? Are we not all dedicated to God?” What? Are you smarter than God? Are you going to start telling God what baptism means? What father gathers his children around him and tells them, “Listen, I love you, but that’s not enough. I want you to be dedicated to me. I want you to swear an oath of dedication to me?”
There is a reason this is not a requirement. It doubles down on sin. You see, I’m going to sin. As I’m born in sin. And I’m going to have to pray to God to forgive me. But if I have sworn an oath of dedication, that means that if I sin, I have in that moment, the moment of that sin ceased to be dedicated servant of God and have become dedicated or devoted to sin as my master. I have broken my oath, my vow. So now I have to repent for the sin itself, and then repent for the broken vow. Two sins. But it gets worse. You see, a vow is a kind of contract.
Let me illustrate it this way: we make wedding vows. The Bible doesn’t require us to make wedding vows and no one in the Bible is shown making a wedding vow, but we do make wedding vows nowadays so I will use that for this illustration. The husband vows to be faithful to his wife. What happens if he goes out and sleeps with another woman? He has broken his vow. That means the wife is no longer required to hold up her end of the marriage contract. She is free to remarry, because the vow has been broken and rendered null and void.
So, if you vow to God to be dedicated to him and then sin and break that dedication, that vow, you have rendered the verbal contract null and void. God does not have to hold up his end of the bargain anymore. That means that each time you sin and repent you have to make a new vow of dedication. It gets ridiculous.
If God required us to make a vow like this as part of the baptismal process, he would be setting us up for failure. He would be guaranteeing our failure because we cannot live without sinning; therefore, we cannot live without breaking the vow. He wouldn’t do that. He hasn’t done that. Baptism is a commitment we make to do our best within our sinful state to serve God. That is all he asks of us. If we do that, he pours out his grace on us, and it is his grace through the power of the Holy Spirit that saves us because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Both my driver’s license and my insurance policy give me the legal right to drive in Canada. I still have to obey the rules of the road, of course. My baptism in the name of Jesus together with my regular observance of the Lord’s evening meal fulfill the requirements for me to call myself a Christian. Of course, I still have to obey the rules of the road, the road leading to life.
However, for the vast majority of Christians, their driver’s license is fake and their insurance policy is invalid. In the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they have so perverted baptism as to make it meaningless. And then they deny people the right to partake of the emblems, and go so far as to require them to be present and reject them publicly. Catholics baptized children by sprinkling water on them, completely shirking the example of water baptism set by Jesus. When it comes to partaking of the Lord’s evening meal, their laity only get half a meal, the bread—except for certain high masses. Further, they teach the fallacy that the wine magically transforms itself into real human blood as it goes down the pallet. Those are just two examples of how Satan has perverted the two requirements all Christians must meet through organized religion. He must be rubbing his hands and laughing with glee.
To all who are still uncertain, if you want to be baptized, find a Christian – they’re all over the place – ask him or her to go with you to a pool or a pond or hot tub or even a bathtub, and get baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. It is between you and God, who through baptism you will call “Abba or dear Father”. There is no need to utter a special phrase or some ritualistic incantation
If you wish to have the person baptizing you, or even yourself, say I’m getting baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, go ahead. Or if you just want to know this in your heart as you get baptised, that works as well. Again, there is no special ritual here. What there is, is a deep commitment in your heart between you and God that you are willing to be accepted as one of his children through the act of baptism and to receive the outpouring of holy spirit that adopts you.
It is so very simple, and yet at the same time so profound and life altering. I really hope this has answered any questions you may have regarding baptism. If not, please place your comments in the comments section, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Thank you for watching and for your ongoing support.