Baptism, the New Testament, and the Baptist Tradition: Towards a Baptist Sacramental Theology and Practice of Baptism

Anthony R. CROSS


In the New Testament baptism is an integral part of becoming a Christian and part of the proclaimed gospel. Yet many Baptists fail to see this, understanding it merely as a sign of a salvation already secured. However, this article argues that the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4.5 is faith-baptism/missionbaptism, conversion-baptism/initiation, and that the baptism referred to in the New Testament refers to this one baptism of Spirit and water. In this article he outlines the case for this, contending that in key passages “baptism” is an example of synecdoche, a form of metaphor in which a part of something is used to refer to the whole – in this case, baptism for the whole process of becoming a Christian (cf. 1 Peter 3.21). He then argues the case for a sacramental interpretation of baptism – that it is more than a symbol – from a thorough-going Baptist and Evangelical perspective. The author concludes with reflections on the necessity of baptismal reform and the relevance of a return to conversion-baptism for the contemporary church in a post-Christian, post-Christendom, mission setting.


baptism, faith, conversion, Holy Spirit, sacrament, synecdoche


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Copyright (c) 2019 Anthony R. CROSS


ISSN 2521-179X (Online), ISSN 2415-783X (Print)