What is Baptism?

Baptism is being immersed in water in the name of the Trinity for repentance and faith in Jesus denoting entry into the Christian Church. But a few points need to be unpacked from this statement:

Who was baptised in Bible times? 

The Acts of the Apostles gives the strong impression that “wherever and whenever the gospel was proclaimed, those who believed were baptised immediately”. Of course, this raises the vexed question of whether infants (those too young to express their belief) were baptised. There are four “household baptism” recorded in the New Testament (Acts 10:48, 16:15, 16:33, 18:8), and some argue that there must have been infants in at least some of these. Others argue that any infants can’t have been baptised since baptism denotes faith which the infants wouldn’t have been able to profess.

The text of Acts doesn’t tell us either way, and there is no definite historical evidence about infant baptism dating before AD 200. We recommend Kevin Roy's book: Baptism, Reconciliation and Unity p37 and p41-63 for a serious examination of this question, and the item "Baptism and Reconciliation" included on this website is a brief summary of what he says.

What does baptism do?   

There are, roughly speaking, four views of the effect of someone being baptised:

For further examination of these views we recommend Gordon Kuhrt’s book Believing in Baptism p83 -101, and the item "Believing in Baptism" included on this web-site is an introduction to this area of theology.