3 min read

Did God send Independent Christian Church preachers and pastors to baptize?

A friend of mine doesn’t believe water baptism is involved in our salvation and he used Paul’s comment, “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel …” (1 Corinthians 1:17) to prove his point.

Apostle Paul Wasn’t Sent to Baptize

Jeff Strite, Preacher at Logansport

Jeff Strite, Preacher at Logansport

If Paul wasn’t sent to baptize, baptism (my friend said) can’t be all that important.

But that argument has never made any sense.

It’s illogical.

But why is it illogical?

2 Reasons Baptism is Important to Apostle Paul

First, Paul DID baptize people.

He notes that he baptized Crispus and Gaius and the household of Stephanas, and maybe few he couldn’t even remember at Corinth (I Cor. 1:14 &16).

And earlier, in the book of Acts, we read that Paul baptized several other people he met on the way to Ephesus (Acts 18:1-5).

Second, Paul always spoke of water baptism’s part in salvation.

  • In Acts 22:16 Paul told of his conversion experience and explained that Ananias told him to “rise and be baptized and wash away your sins.”
  • In Romans 6:1-5 Paul taught that in baptism we are buried with Christ and rise to “walk in newness of life.”
  • In Galatians 3:27 Paul wrote that “as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
  • And in Colossians 2:12 Paul declared that “having been buried with (Jesus) in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”

Paul DID baptize folks into Christ.

And he he taught that baptism was:

  1. part of a person’s having their sins washed away
  2. receiving the newness of life in Christ
  3. putting on Christ and
  4. being raised with Christ through faith.

But why then did Paul say he wasn’t sent to baptize?

Well… because he wasn’t sent to baptize.

Baptizing is Every Christian’s Responsibility

That job was parceled out to others in the congregation.

Jesus never intended the church to be built on any single individual.

Already in Corinth there were people saying, “I follow Paul,” and others “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Apollos” (I Corinthians 1:12).

If Paul had been the main baptizer at Corinth he would have simply added to the divisiveness the church at Corinth was experiencing.

It’s healthier if a preacher doesn’t do all the baptisms at a church. We have a saying here at the congregation where I serve – “you bring ‘em, you baptize ‘em.”

Local Church of a Christian Baptizing a Friend

Just last summer, one of our men called me and said his daughter wanted to baptize his niece in the pool in their backyard. He didn’t ask me to come and “officiate”, he just wanted to make sure that he did and said everything the “right” way. I gave him some pointers, but then I told him – “It doesn’t matter if you get all the words right. Your daughter is baptizing her cousin into Christ for the forgiveness of her sins… and right now that’s all they really need to worry about.”

Jesus told His followers, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Mt. 28:19-20).

In other words: each believer is responsible to bring ‘em, dunk ‘em and teach ‘em.

So as preachers we need to challenge our people to go get ‘em!