My understanding is that Baptists and Jehovah’s Witnesses reject infant baptism and advocate full water immersion of adults who fully understand what they are doing and what baptism means.

Believer's baptism (occasionally called credobaptism, from the Latin word credo meaning "I believe") is the Christian practise of baptism as is understood by many evangelical denominations, particularly those that descend from the Anabaptist and English Baptist tradition. According to their understanding, a person is baptized on the basis of his or her profession of faith in Jesus Christ and as admission into a local community of faith. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Believer%27s_baptism

The Baptist Union of Great Britain says this in their Declaration of Principle:

Christian Baptism is the immersion in water into the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, of those who have professed repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ who 'died for our sins according to the Scriptures; was buried, and rose again the third day'. Source: https://www.baptist.org.uk/Groups/220595/Declaration_of_Principle.aspx

Do Baptists believe adult water baptism is essential to salvation? If not, why not? This question is not about “right or wrong” but is seeking clarification on how Baptists view baptism in relation to salvation.

  • Many Baptists do not absolutely require that Baptism be by full immersion. Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 20:34

2 Answers 2


Most Baptist churches do not teach that Baptism is essential for salvation.

See https://www.christianity.com/church/denominations/the-most-well-known-protestant-denomination-10-things-everyone-should-know-about-baptists.html

Baptism is not a requirement for salvation and many churches do not subscribe to infant baptism Instead, Baptism in the Baptist church is a public expression of faith. “While it is personal, it is not private,” an article from the Southern Baptist Conventions’ journal says. “Such an act of obedience actually then clarifies their testimony and opens the door for ministry in the church.”

I belong to an American Baptist Church. We require baptism for membership as a public declaration of the faith that already saved the believer.

  • 1
    Very useful and interesting link. Thank you.
    – Lesley
    Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 17:38
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    I agree that is the usual balance among Baptists, generally. That baptism is primarily an outward confession of faith in Christ and an outward departure from the world and an outward joining to the Body of Christ by repentance and faith. Whilst important and necessary, the specific ritual (of immersion) is not an absolute requirement, especially in circumstances where that would be difficult. I have known a congregation in an area devoid of rivers, to simply pour water over the head in signification. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 17:40
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    I have most often heard Baptists teach water baptism as a primary step of obedience consequent to salvation. Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 22:25
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    I saw an old lady being baptised in a UK Baptist church by sprinkling with water (as she sat in her seat at the front of the church). This was because she was too old and too frail to be "dunked" but she realised she had never made her confession of faith public. She had come to saving faith a long time before but had resisted being baptised till then.
    – Lesley
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 8:37

Most Baptists in the US teach that Baptism is an outer sign or public proclamation of an inner work.

They say that Christ commanded it so Baptism is the act of obedience and showing our allegiance/ commitment to Christ, but it in no way saves us. Further- the word in Greek is Baptizo and literally means "to bury." When someone is buried he is not sprinkled with dirt.

  • Of course there are many different Baptist denominations with shades of differences, but for most Churches, they require baptism by immersion to be a member. While they teach baptism is by immersion, they make exceptions for people with health conditions, but the biggest factor is that the person is old enough to understand what it means to repent and follow Christ. - [[NOT INFANT SPRINKLING]
    – Tennman7
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 14:13
  • Can you provide a link please in order to support your statements.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 5:03

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