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Developing a Systematic Messianic Theology
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Baptism The Biblical Doctrine Of
Believers’ Baptism

Dr. Ari Levitt-Sawyer

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Introduction and Contents • Lesson 1 • Lesson 2 • Lesson 3 • Lesson 4 • Glossary • Appendix

One of the most often debated and most misunderstood doctrines of the Church is the doctrine of “Baptism.” This confusion is due, I believe, to the fact that the Church has either lost sight of — or deliberately chosen to ignore — the fact that “Christianity,” when properly understood, is a “branch” of Biblical Judaism and should derive its doctrine from what the Jewish Messiah and the Jewish Rabbis who were His disciples actually believed and taught, and not from what the Roman Church teaches and which has been largely “borrowed” from Rome and carried over into the Protestant Church.

A few of the issues regarding baptism that cause division within the Church are:

 • Is water baptism essential to “salvation”? That is, does water baptism “save”?

  • If water baptism is essential to “salvation” and we want our children to be “saved,” should we baptize our children?

 • What is the proper “form” of baptism: immersion, sprinkling, or pouring; or are any of these acceptable?

 • When immersing, is the person being baptized supposed to be dipped forward or backward?

 • It the person to be immersed once in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or three times — once for each name?

 • Should a person be baptized only once, or each time he/she ”backslides” and repents?

In this series of lessons I have attempted to ignore all the traditional teaching of the Church and focus on what the Scriptures actually teach about what Yeshua and His emissaries believed and taught.

Topics in These Lessons

Lesson One: The Types or Kinds of Baptism in Scripture

The Mention of Baptism

Ceremonial Washings

Proselyte Immersion (Tevilah)

Yochanan’s Tevilah

Yeshua’s Tevilah by Yochanan

Ruach HaKodesh Baptism

The Tevilah of (or by) Ruach HaKodesh

The Tevilah with (or in) Ruach HaKodesh

Lesson Two: The Vocabulary of “Baptism”




Believers’ Baptism

The Meaning of Baptism

The Mandate of Baptism

The Method of Baptism

How is the baptismal water to be applied?

Who is to be baptized?

Into what are we to be baptized?

How often is water baptism to be repeated?

Why should baptism precede membership in the local congregation?

The Formula for Baptism

Lesson Three: The Efficacy of Baptism or The “Baptismal Regeneration” Debate

The Argument for Baptismal Regeneration

Some Rules of Interpretation

A Rebuttal of the Argument

The Final Argument

Two Challenges

The Challenge for the Local Assembly

The Challenge for the Unbaptized Believer


Lesson Four: Selected Scriptures Related to Baptism


Appendix: And the Debate Goes On

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)

Probably Not Even Scripture (Mark 16:16)

Peter’s First Sermon (Acts 2:38-41)

Paul’s Baptism (Acts 22:16)

Baptism into Messiah (Romans 6:3-11 and Galatians 3:27)

Romans Chapters 4, 5, and 6

One Baptism (Ephesians 4:4)

Colossians 2:10-14

Baptism Now Saves You (1 Peter 3:21)

Some Additional Passages for Consideration

The word “baptism” in the New Testament does not always refer to water baptism.

The Agency of Messiah’s Baptism is the Holy Spirit

God the Father has given the Elect to God the Son (John 6:37-40)

The Elect are Chosen by God the Father and/or God the Son - They Do Not Come by Free Will

We are made sons of God (saved) through faith in Christ Jesus, and we are at that time baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit, not saved by water baptism.

The Philippian jailer and his household were baptized after they believed and were saved.

The household of Crispus and other Corinthians baptized after they believed and were saved.

Paul was not commissioned to baptize, but only to preach the gospel.


Related Articles in Other Sections of This Site

Baptism and Betrothal

Questions About Baptism

Yeshua’s Immersion


Page last revised on Thursday 18 August 2016

Page last updated on Saturday, 27 August 2016 04:31 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes after May 3, 2015 are identified as "Revisions”)