Water Baptism was instituted by Christ in fulfilment of prophecy (Ezek 36:25) to serve as the cleansing reminder (sign) and consecrating rite (seal), precondition to participation in the Christian Church fellowship – much like circumcision was the precondition sign and seal for Israelite Tabernacle fellowship (Rom 4:11-13; Col 2:11-13). It is the first thing done to disciples or believers and their households before they join to participate in Apostle’s fellowship and Apostle’s teaching (Mat 28:18-20; Act 2:37-42).
This simple Apostolic concept of baptism has been subsequently distorted in the Church through alternative wisdom derived from cultural conceitedness that do not necessarily submit to scriptural comprehensiveness.
Baptismal modes have become confusing and controversial since the Anabaptists of the 16th century. It is time to stop this mudslinging and muddling up of issues and ask ourselves what we really understand as the meaning and purpose of our choice of baptism. It is time to ask how our understanding conforms with the comprehensive context of the Scriptures.
Baptism is divinely instituted means of covenant cleansing grace for “admission into covenant fellowship” not merely a formal repeat “confession of faith”. Because Christ has authoritatively commanded the Church so, Baptism is necessary for adults and their children before admitting them into Church participation and membership, though many Churches have rationalized to do otherwise.
Therefore, apart from scruples, there is no valid spiritual or scriptural basis whatsoever to admit unbaptized children and adults into Church fellowship and ministrations under whatever guise (such as modern probational “dedication” for children or ancient probational “catechumenate” for adults), just like it was unthinkable to admit the uncircumcised and unclean children or adults into the congregation of Israel at the Tabernacle or Altar (Gen 17:10-14; Num 19:18-20).