In the following paragraphs, we will see some interesting quotes about baptism from Christian preachers.
Quotes from The Large Catechism, Part Fourth, Of Baptism
* I can boast that Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself, moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, lest any one regard it as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat.
* But as our would-be wise, new spirits assert that faith alone saves, and that works and external things avail nothing, we answer: It is true, indeed, that nothing in us is of any avail but faith, as we shall hear still further. But these blind guides are unwilling to see this, namely, that faith must have something which it believes, that is, of which it takes hold, and upon which it stands and rests. Thus faith clings to the water, and believes that it is Baptism, in which there is pure salvation and life; not through the water (as we have sufficiently stated), but through the fact that it is embodied in the Word and institution of God, and the name of God inheres in it. Now, if I believe this, what else is it than believing in God as in Him who has given and planted His Word into this ordinance, and proposes to us this external thing wherein we may apprehend such a treasure?
Now, they are so mad as to separate faith and that to which faith clings and is bound though it be something external. Yea, it shall and must be something external, that it may be apprehended by the senses, and understood and thereby be brought into the heart, as indeed the entire Gospel is an external, verbal preaching. In short, what God does and works in us He proposes to work through such external ordinances. Wherever, therefore, He speaks, yea, in whichever direction or by whatever means He speaks, thither faith must look, and to that it must hold. Now here we have the words: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. To what else do they refer than to Baptism, that is, to the water comprehended in God’s ordinance? Hence it follows that whoever rejects Baptism rejects the Word of God, faith, and Christ, who directs us thither and binds us to Baptism.
* But if they say, as they are accustomed: Still Baptism is itself a work, and you say works are of no avail for salvation; what then, becomes of faith? Answer: Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God’s (for, as was stated, you must put Christ-baptism far away from a bath-keeper’s baptism). God’s works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended. For by suffering the water to be poured upon you, you have not yet received Baptism in such a manner that it benefits you anything; but it becomes beneficial to you if you have yourself baptized with the thought that this is according to God’s command and ordinance, and besides in God’s name, in order that you may receive in the water the promised salvation. Now, this the fist cannot do, nor the body; but the heart must believe it.
Thus you see plainly that there is here no work done by us, but a treasure which He gives us, and which faith apprehends; just as the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross is not a work, but a treasure comprehended in the Word, and offered to us and received by faith. Therefore they do us violence by exclaiming against us as though we preach against faith; while we alone insist upon it as being of such necessity that without it nothing can be received nor enjoyed.
Quote from the commentary on John 3:5
It is true that, by neglecting baptism, we are excluded from salvation; and in this sense I acknowledge that it is necessary; but it is absurd to speak of the hope of salvation as confined to the sign.
Quote from the “Institutes of the Christian Religion”, Book IV, Of Baptism
Then, again, when they ask us what faith for several years followed our baptism, that they may thereby prove that our baptism was in vain, since it is not sanctified unless the word of the promise is received with faith, our answer is, that being blind and unbelieving, we for a long time did not hold the promise which was given us in baptism, but that still the promise, as it was of God, always remained fixed, and firm, and true. Although all men should be false and perfidious, yet God ceases not to be true, (Rom. 3: 3, 4;) though all were lost, Christ remains safe. We acknowledge, therefore, that at that time baptism profited us nothing, since in us the offered promise, without which baptism is nothing, lay neglected. Now, when by the grace of God we begin to repent, we accuse our blindness and hardness of heart in having been so long ungrateful for his great goodness. But we do not believe that the promise itself has vanished, we rather reflect thus: God in baptism promises the remission of sins, and will undoubtedly perform what he has promised to all believers. That promise was offered to us in baptism, let us therefore embrace it in faith. In regard to us, indeed, it was long buried on account of unbelief; now, therefore, let us with faith receive it.
Wherefore, when the Lord invites the Jewish people to repentance, he gives no injunction concerning another circumcision, though (as we have said) they were circumcised by a wicked and sacrilegious hand, and had long lived in the same impiety. All he urges is conversion of heart. For how much soever the covenant might have been violated by them, the symbol of the covenant always remained, according to the appointment of the Lord, firm and inviolable. Solely, therefore, on the condition of repentance, were they restored to the covenant which God had once made with them in circumcision, though this which they had received at the hand of a covenant-breaking priest, they had themselves as much as in them lay polluted and extinguished.
Ulrich Zwingli and his friends
* Baptism under the New Testament is what circumcision was under the Old; consequently, baptism ought now to be administered to children, as circumcision was formerly.
* We cannot prove the custom of re-baptizing either by examples, texts, or arguments drawn from Scripture; and those who are re-baptized crucify Jesus Christ afresh.
Benjamin B. Warfield
Quote from Sermon 45, “The New Birth”
And, First, it follows, that baptism is not the new birth: They are not one and the same thing. Many indeed seem to imagine that they are just the same; at least, they speak as if they thought so; but I do not know that this opinion is publicly avowed by any denomination of Christians whatever. Certainly it is not by any within these kingdoms, whether of the established Church, or dissenting from it. The judgment of the latter is clearly declared in the large Catechism: [Q. 163, 165. — Ed.] — Q. “What are the parts of a sacrament? A. The parts of a sacrament are two: The one an outward and sensible sign; the other, and inward and spiritual grace, thereby signified. — Q. What is baptism? A. Baptism is a sacrament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water, to be a sign and seal of regeneration by his Spirit.” Here it is manifest, baptism, the sign, is spoken of as distinct from regeneration, the thing signified.
J. N. Darby
* I would as much avoid being an antibaptist as a baptist. If you can offer to persons means of appreciating truth and prevent souls from falling into sectarian spirit I desire no better (Vol. 1: 244). They have been harassed by ardent baptists; such a display I have rarely witnessed, it was deplorable. I decline controversy and sought only liberty of conscience. The whole Baptist principle is nothing more than conscientious want of light. I occupy them rather with Christ for half the evil is being occupied with ordinances, whatever side may be taken (1: 309). Reference to John’s baptism, as far as it went, would have hindered His (Christ’s) being put to death. I see a command to baptise, none to be baptised (1: 363). We purge ourselves from evil in a great baptised mass. But there has been much confusion and abuse that one must have patience with those thrown on these ordinance ways of correcting them (1: 444).
I never have pressed any to baptise their children. While recognising it as a christian ordinance I think it is in scripture purposely left in the background, while eternal life and union with Christ are fixed in Him. Ordering of all on earth is provisional. I have no doubt as to infant baptism of the children of a Christian. But I feel that Christ did not send me to baptise. I leave to others activities on either side. With Peter it is everywhere to repent and be baptised for the remission of sins and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. He does not go to our death with Christ or resurrection with Him (2: 55-66). Ifear in being occupied with the manner (of baptism) Christ should become less the only object of the heart (2: 176). Peter said, “Repent and be baptised for the remission of sins” not “because your sins are remitted.” “Be baptised” means “become a christian.” It was profession they came into. If true faith and repentance were there they got the actual administered remission and received the gift of the Holy Ghost…. My thought has always been to connect baptism ecclesiastically with the house (one of the two characters of the assembly), not with the kingdom. Baptism is the formal entrance into the place of privilege (2: 494). The mischief is occupying people with an ordinance. If a person has not been baptised, he ought to be. I should not rebaptise a person sprinkled in infancy, though I do not like the form . . . I have no wish to enter controversy with you on baptism.
I dread a sectarian tendency. It blots out the House of God, where God’s blessings and presence are found. But I have no wish to persuade anyone on these points (2: 536, 569).
Baptism is to death; no hint in scripture of giving life. The English service gives forgiveness of sins to an infant who has never committed any and has no real forgiveness by redemption at all (3: 242). If one makes it a sect it is a very great evil; baptism becomes the centre of union instead of Christ. The Holy Spirit has never been received by baptism of water. As to baptism of infants I have never tried to persuade anybody; I believe everyone must act according to his own conscience. The children of believers are relatively holy. 1 Cor. 7: 14 has precisely that bearing. I deny this is a matter of obedience, those who treat it so upset christianity in its first principles. (The doctrine of remission of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by baptism comes from the enemy) (3: 328-329). A person who never has been baptised ought to be before breaking bread. The only commission to baptise was to the twelve to baptise Gentiles (not Jews). Baptism has nothing to do with the unity of the body, but admission by a form which expresses Christ’s death (3: 495). A great mistake Baptists make is not seeing that there is a place of blessing set up by God besides the fact of individual conversion (3: 557). I am baptised to His death, not because I have died! I wash away my sins, not because my sins are washed away. It is a formal entrance into the privileges, not a witness that I have received them. I have never sought to convince anyone. If they are content to follow their conscience I have nothing to say, but I am sure if scripture be right their views are wrong (3: 560).
* Baptism never supposes life in the one baptized though it may be there, but it always supposes death. Thus Saul was in the condition that attached to him as a sinner with sins on him, though himself safe, when he was bidden to “arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins” (Acts 22: 16). His sins were not washed away, that is to say, he was outwardly connected with the first man, until baptism to Christ, and as to himself as a man on the earth was not in a Christian state till after baptism. If life were implied in baptism, would it not have been written, “Arise, and be baptized, because your sins are washed away”? Again it is said, “Repent, and be baptized, for the remissions of sins,” not “because your sins are remitted,” which is the ground taken by those who refuse baptism for any but believers. “They that gladly received the word were baptized,” and it was “for the remission of sins”; that is to say, they could not be acknowledged as outwardly free from sin until they had in type died in the waters of death, and waters of baptism (1 Peter 3: 20, 22), “wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by waters!” etc.
* Believing, then, that the first man is entirely condemned and judicially ended in the death of Christ, baptism is faith’s acceptance of this judgment that if God has given me children they are born not in connection with the second man, but in the nature of the first, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Believing that these children, though thus born in sin and in the nature of the first man, the ended man, are to be trained for God, brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (He who has attained that Lordship by death); it is the privilege of faith to reckon such as judicially ended, to start from the death of Christ, remembering what God thinks of that death, that it is either salvation or judgment, that in it is displayed the righteousness of God which is unto all but is only upon all which believe. “We are unto God a sweet savour,” etc. (2 Cor. 2: 10, 15). The cross of Christ has become that which accredits the holiness of God in the face of sin. We, as believers, are bound before God to present the death of Christ for the acceptance of our children as soon as they become responsible to receive it. But faith in me at the earliest moments lays hold of that death for my child, who is part of me, and for whom I am responsible to God.