Do Protestants Get Baptized?

by Elise Medina
Jesus was baptised as an adult.

Jesus was baptised as an adult.

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Protestants do get baptized and they generally agree that baptism is a holy sacrament symbolic of dying to sin and becoming a new creation in Christ. Protestants believe baptism to be an act of obedience to God and a sign of submission and loyalty to him. However, each Protestant denomination has unique beliefs about the details surrounding the sacrament. Denominational views differ regarding who may be baptized, when a person should be baptized, and whether or not a person should be fully immersed in water.

Biblical Mandate

Protestants follow Jesus' own example in becoming baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River during the early days of Jesus' ministry. In baptism, Protestants also obey one of Jesus' final commands before his ascension, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Infant Baptism

Some Protestant denominations such as the United Methodist and Presbyterian Churches believe in infant baptism. They believe baptism is a means of grace and symbolic of God's initiation of the process of salvation. Presbyterians teach that "baptism of children witnesses to the truth that God’s love claims people before they are able to respond in faith.”

Believer's Baptism

Protestant denominations such as the Baptist and Pentecostal Churches practice believer's baptism and hold infant baptism to be unbiblical. These denominations teach that only those who have trusted Christ should be baptized. They may perform a baby dedication, thanking God for the infant's life and promising to raise the child in a godly manner, but this ceremony does not replace baptism. Children may be baptized, but only when they are mature enough to make a profession of faith and grasp the meaning of baptism.

Immersion in Water

Protestants hold differing views regarding the application of water during baptism. Some denominations teach that full immersion in water is the only appropriate way to be baptized. Southern Baptists point out that immersion is the only baptismal method used in the Bible. They also believe that full immersion offers the best symbolic reference to Christ's death and resurrection. The United Methodist Church, however, performs baptisms in which water is sprinkled or poured on the individual's head. They assert that "the power of the Spirit in baptism does not depend upon the mode by which water is administered...It is God’s grace that makes the sacrament whole."

About the Author

Elise Medina writes and cooks in northern Virginia, where she works as a nutrition consultant. She holds a B.A. in political science and Spanish from Virginia Tech, as well as a master’s degree in political science from George Mason University.

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